Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Oh, Here We Go Again…

Youngsters at a Welling primary school were shocked to find a giant egg in their playground yesterday.
Yes, it’s the old ‘creative writing’ event again. We've been here before. Many times. Oh, so many times....
Children had many questions about the egg wondering how it got there, where it came from and what might be inside it. They put their writing skills to the test by creating reports for museums and making posters as well as interviewing eye witnesses.
It all sounds jolly wonderful, doesn't it?
Headteacher Miranda Hornett said: "The egg appeared in our school grounds and has got everyone talking.
"It’s wonderful to see the children so inspired and determined to solve the mystery."
Why, yes. I mean, it might have been daft, but it's clearly not a total waste of teachers' time.

Other people's time, however...
The area around the egg at Eastcote Primary School, in Eastcote Road, was taped off by a PCSO, who then stood guard for the rest of the day.

Post Title Of The Month

From MacHeath:

Because we all love a good pun...

Quote Of The Month

The incomparable DumbJon on the BBC's attempts to avoid the Savile fallout:
This is what liberals do. They claim the right to torment private businesses in the name of accountability, but when their own people are under fire, nothing less than conviction in a court of law counts. Hence the BBC's new slogan 'You can't prove nuffink, guv'.

Post Of The Month

Well., Anna Raccoon did it again, with not one, not two, not even three, not even four, but  five outstanding posts culminating in this revelation.


Update: Six! Is there no stopping her?

Oh, Here We Are Again!

The incident happened after Marina Bradbury, aged 31, of Glascote Heath, entered Crossfell Stores with her two-year old black Labrador/Retriever cross Spyder.
Marina, who has retinitis pigmentosa, an inherited eye disease, said she was told to leave the shop by store owner Albert Lalli.
Yup, it’s one of those, albeit without a ‘Religion of Peace’ aspect, seemingly.
"I explained to him that Spyder was a guide dog and by law I was allowed to have her in the shop with me. But he continued to ask me to leave. "I was annoyed and felt embarrassed, so walked out."
And what does the shopkeeper have to say for himself?

Well, denial that any such discussion took place. And ignorance of the law is always a good ploy, don’t you think?
When approached by the Herald, Mr Lalli said: "When I asked her to leave the store, she didn't say anything to me and left straight away. If she was upset by this, I would have spoken to her.
"I was concerned that the dog would lick the fresh fruit and veg.
"I hadn't seen a guide dog in our shop before this. I felt I wasn't doing anything wrong."
Of course you hadn’t! Of course you didn’t!
But after being informed of laws that allow owners of guide dogs to enter shops with their animals, Mr Lalli said he wasn't aware of these rules and would allow Mrs Bradbury and Spyder back in to his store.
He added: "As long as the dog is responsible, they are welcome back."
No, you still don’t quite get it, do you – they are allowed back by law whatever you think of the dog…
Colin Elliot, mobility team manager for the Guide Dogs charity, said he would contact Mr Lalli. He said: "The Equality Act 2010 makes it illegal to deny access to a guide dog owner."
Colin, you’d do better to pop along to the council’s health and safety and trading standards departments and tell they that there’s a store that’s ignorant of the law on this, so might well be ignorant of the laws on a whole stack of other things, too.

When it starts to affect these people financially, they might start to actually pay some attention to the law.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Good Fences Make Good Neighbours…

…especially when someone else is paying:
Pait, aged 44, appeared before magistrates earlier this week and admitted a charge of being the owner of a dog which was dangerously out of control in a public place.
Judge Bennett placed Pait on a one-month curfew order, ordered her to pay £85 costs and £200 to Mr Thompson, and made a contingency destruction order on the dog to keep it under proper control and muzzled.
He also ordered her to erect high fencing all the way round her house and fit a secure gate so the Alsatian cannot get out. If the orders are breached the case will come back to court for the animal to be destroyed.
That’ll cost her a pretty penny, right?

St Leger Homes, which owns Pait’s council house, has opted not to evict her but will help her comply with District Judge Jonathan Bennett’s order to erect a high fence all the way around her house in Welfare Road, Woodlands.
The court was told Mr Thompson was returning to his home one Saturday morning when he was pounced on by the dog and knocked to the pavement.
When Mrs Brown screamed the owner appeared and called the animal off but Mr Thompson was rendered unconscious and needed hospital treatment for a head injury.
Mr Thompson is 87. He’s lucky to be alive.

The ‘attack’ may not have been anything more than a boisterous dog jumping up at him, though. I can’t find any other report of it.

But unless the cost is being borne by Pait and the agency is merely agreeing to the alterations to comply with the court order, it means she’s getting away with the implicit costs of being a responsible dog owner.

And that’s wrong.

If This Is What He’s Like At 10..!

Police are now investigating the incident which involved a 10-year-old pupil at Eastwood Primary School, in Rayleigh Road, who went on the rampage in the canteen.
An Essex Police spokesman said: “Police were contacted by the headteacher of Eastwood Junior School shortly before 9.30am on Thursday October 18, who was reporting a student had been involved in a knife-related incident the previous day.
“A ten-year-old boy from the Southend area had run through the building with a children’s cutlery knife before it was taken off him by staff.
“He was excluded from the school for four days.”
Blimey! Given they usually fight tooth and nail NOT to exclude, this little hellion must be something special...
Police said they had no previous involvement with this boy. Headteacher Rebecca Perman said she could not comment on the case for confidentiality reasons.
Well, of course!
Jane Theadom, Southend Council’s Head of School Support and Preventative Services, said: “The Council can confirm that an incident took place at Eastwood Primary School on Wednesday during which a Year Six pupil made racist comments to another child.
“The pupil later assaulted two members of staff. We are unable to give any further details at present because the matter is currently the subject of an investigation by Essex Police.
“However we can confirm that in the interests of the safety of all concerned the child involved was immediately excluded from school to allow for a thorough investigation to take place.”
Still, why worry? It’s not as if it’ll affect his ‘rights’, is it?
Under the Government's admissions code, schools are told that progression into the sixth form must not be dependent on attitude, attendance or behaviour records.
The ruling emerged as a grammar school was reprimanded by the local government watchdog for refusing to offer an A–level place to an unruly teenager.
Yes, it was a Labour initiative (of course) but have the Tories rescinded it?

No. Prizes for all!

In What Version Of Reality Are These 'Serious Consequences'?

Sergeant Catherine Offord said the sentence sent a message to drivers who did not stop for the police.
“It does have serious consequences,” she added.
And those are..?
A man who ploughed into two vehicles during a police car chase before running off has been given a suspended jail sentence.
You couldn't make it up...

Monday, 29 October 2012

Actually, No, Children Shouldn’t ‘Need To Learn How To Deal With This’…

I mean, I'm all for ‘tough love’, but…
One mother, a nurse aged 36 who gave her name only as Adele, said: “I agree you can’t have strangers in the school, but children in teams need to learn about crowds who swear at them and give verbal abuse.
By banning parents, it’s not giving them the real experience of the crowd.”
This is in response to a head teacher who used the fact that some spectators got ‘aggressive’ (and more importantly, she didn't have enough staff to police events) to ban parents from watching sports days.

Now, yes, I don’t believe in wrapping youngster in cotton wool, but seriously, how can you claim swearing and verbal abuse during sport is something they have to get used to?

Does it ever really happen in anything other than football, anyway?

The Mystery Of The Missing Meat!

Thousands of Muslim children have been left without meat in their school meals after the county council suddenly axed its contract with a halal products supplier.
Education chiefs admitted it could take months before a replacement for KQF Foods is found – prompting the Council of Mosques to warn that youngsters’ diets could suffer.
What, by not having meat at school? Feed 'em it at home!
Confusion surrounds why KQF lost its contract, which started in May 2009 and was renewed in April.
The move follows an unexpected county council food standards inspection into the composition, labelling and quality of the meat on October 9.
The company, based in George West Street, Blackburn, said it had not been given full details of the justification for the decision but believes it relates to paperwork. A spokesman added the firm was seriously concerned about damage to its reputation.
The county council has refused to disclose the reason but stressed it did not relate to the meat’s Halal accreditation or health and hygiene.
So, if it's not hygeine, and they aren't passing off non-halal as halal, what's the ...errr... beef, then?
It is understood that the decision to end the contract concerns the precise legal terms between the two parties over the proportion of meat as opposed to water and other bulking products in the halal products following a complaint.
Ah! So, it appears they haven’t been getting that much meat in their diets anyway!

Ah, I See The Problem Here - Too Little Petrol...

...or possibly, no ignition source:
Frank Phillips, representing Morgan, said he was “sorry for what happened” but acted out of paranoia after himself being a victim of an attack.
He said his client had previously been involved in an attack where petrol was thrown over him.
“When he went into this restaurant he thought the complainant’s partner had looked at him in a strange way. Clearly he misunderstood the situation,” said Mr Phillips.
Oh. You think?
“It escalated from there. That’s an explanation but it’s not put forward as an excuse,” said Mr Phillips.
*chuckles* Yeah. Sure it isn't...
Judge Keith Thomas, sitting at Swansea Crown Court, said he had acted without “any reason or provocation”.
“It was a disgraceful attack on a lady who is disabled,” he added.
“You have a quite dreadful record for violence and public order matters, particularly in the last couple of years.”
“You rarely go out, but it seems when you have, you have caused trouble,” he added.
He then jailed Morgan for 10 weeks.
So he'll serve...half?

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Call The Whaaaaambulance!

Anna Chen sulks and pouts and whines (in an inscrutable fashion):
It's no fun being bred out of the cultural gene pool.
Watching TV, theatre or film, I'm on constant alert for a glimpse of someone who looks Chinese, for the slightest resemblance to an estimated 499,999 others like me living in the UK.
Blimey! Can’t you just relax and watch the programme, like other pe…

Oh. Right. I forgot. This is Grievance Land.
Barring Gok Wan, scientist Kevin Fong and the odd TV chef, UK Chinese are virtually absent from mainstream media.
Well, you must be ecstatic about the new 'Sherlock Holmes' adaptation, then! But a word of warning - don't discuss it at the 'Guardian' watercooler with some of your colleagues, eh?
So it was with a sense of "here we go again" that we learned that the esteemed Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) is mounting the classic play The Orphan of Zhao in the way prize trophies usually get mounted: gutted and stuffed. This 13th-century Yuan-dynasty masterpiece may be the first Chinese play, to make it to the hallowed RSC, but the only parts given to actors of east Asian heritage are two dogs. And a maid-servant. Who dies. Tragically.
All director Gregory Doran came up with is that the blizzard of complaints is a case of "sour grapes", and that the critics should "get real"; not the most eloquent response you might expect from the intellectual heavyweight described as "one of the finest Shakespeareans of his generation".
Maybe he just feels it’s all you deserve? I mean, why waste any effort on such a pathetic attack?
Playwright David Henry Hwang of the Asian American Performers Action Coalition which fought in the Nightingale battle, says: "By producing The Orphan of Zhao, the RSC seeks to exploit the public's growing interest in China; through its casting choices, the company reveals that its commitment to Asia is self-serving, and only skin-deep."
Waah, boo hoo, etc *repeat ad infinitum*

Clearly, Anna feels only the nuclear option will do:
The RSC casting is something of a litmus test, indicating how a failing superpower asserts its cultural dominance when its economic base is disintegrating.
Ummm, what? Is the 'failing superpower' the RSC? Or the British Empire?
Such minds are hard-wired to eliminate an entire group's cultural representation, and they don't even realise it. Amanda Rogers of Swansea University, says: "As a national company they have a responsibility to represent all sectors of British society. There is a real paucity of east Asian representation in this country, and when we do see it, it is usually confined to minor or stereotypical roles."
Victimhood Poker is in play, folks!

Oh, Just Make It STOP!!!!

…Bear Grylls will now fall foul of new guidelines from the Scout Association, which has banned all nicknames in a bid to reduce bullying among its young members.
The organisation founded by Lord 'B-P' Baden-Powell believes that giving children nicknames could encourage taunting and bullying.
The organisation founded by Lord Baden-Powell has clearly gone as mad as almost every other organisation the nannying ninnies have managed to infest…
Training sessions are being offered to new and current leaders, who have also been warned not to use the shortening technique amongst themselves.
I do like the word ‘offered’. I suspect it’s the offer you can’t refuse, if you want to be a new or current leader…
It is particularly concerned aboutthe use of nicknames which focus on an individual’s physical characteristics – such as their hair colour, height or weight.
And who is responsible for this outbreak of cretinism? Step forward, ‘Barmy’ Sam Marks.

Oh, sorry, was that offensive? So sad, too bad…
The association’s chief 'safeguarding' officer Sam Marks drew up the plans. He told Scouting Magazine: 'Bullying can advance gradually and can start with something as simple as a nickname.
'Research and experience all highlight that name calling – whether it be nicknames or harmless taunting – is often the largest form of bullying.'
Brilliant! So, to reduce the risk of bullying, we ban nicknames! What a genius plan! That one's up there with blaming the victim...

I mean, never mind intent. That’s hard to prove. No, the ‘new and current leaders of the Scout movement’ can’t be expected to make judgement calls. They need firm, clear, black and white guidelines.
'We don’t have a black and white list of approved nicknames. 'If someone is called Frederick and you call them Freddie then there is no problem with that.
'But you need to ask why that person has a nickname – if it is because they have red hair or are fat or they have a funny face, or because they did something funny and it stuck with them? They might be quite embarrassed by that.'
Well, how about you ask them? And if they don’t mind, why should you?
Mr Marks continued: 'It is in response to industry standards – all the anti-bullying work mentions name calling and teasing as the main form of bullying.'
Translation: ‘ I've read all the stuff pumped out by the fakecharities and I don’t understand half of it, but my job depends on me coming up with a policy, so I've come up with one. Whew!! Earned my salary there!’
'It is about getting the adults to think about their behaviour and how they are role models, because what they do, the children may do. 'If adults don’t use nicknames then the children are less likely to do so.'
Yes, children will always do just what adults do. It’s the way of the world, right?

Finally, We Reach The Limit Of Judge Hagen’s Patience…

…or do we?
A judge who tried to help a prolific offender jailed her for 12 months, saying she had reached "the end of the line".
It’s a pretty long line, with this particular judge, though.
Sundee Spaulding admitted to Judge Carol Hagen she had "messed up", after pleading guilty to failing to attend court and breaching a community order by shoplifting.
The homeless 25-year-old told the judge: "I wanted to apologise. You did give me so many chances. I did mess up and the only option now is custody. I think that is the best option. I did mess up. I know you don't care that I messed up. I'm sorry for letting you down."
Oh, give it up! It’s not going to work, and even Caring Carol has realised she can’t string this out any longer.

Though clearly, she’d like to:
Judge Hagen said she did care Spaulding had not complied with the court, and said she hoped she could go on to lead a decent life.
She said: "This was a combination of factors. I do understand, but I have no option today. It is the end of the line. I hope the future is not without hope."
So, in other words, if she’d have been given any leeway at all, this habitual criminal would again be walking free?

Friday, 26 October 2012

A Dirty Job, Maybe, But Someone’s Gotta Do It!

A pregnant woman in a wheelchair was tipped up and had her feet held by G4S staff as she was forcibly removed from the country.
The employees from the firm behind the Olympics security fiasco used substantial force and the 'risk of injury to the unborn child was significant', revealed a report.
Well, what’s the alternative? Not deport anyone who is pregnant and kicks up a fuss?

You know just who would love that, don’t you? And here they all are:
Judith Dennis, of the Refugee Council, said the case was 'shocking' and called for the UK Border Agency (UKBA) to heed the report’s recommendations, which include that force should only ever be used against pregnant women and children 'in order to prevent harm'.
That, however, is just what they claim they were doing:
The pregnant woman had been given a wheelchair to assist her in the departures area, said the inspectors. When she resisted, 'substantial force' was used by G4S staff and the wheelchair 'was tipped up with staff holding her feet'.
'At one point she slipped down from the chair and the risk of injury to the unborn child was significant,' the report said.
'There is no safe way to use force against a pregnant woman, and to initiate it for the purpose of removal is to take an unacceptable risk.'
I don’t think it’s ‘unacceptable’ – she’s the one putting her baby at risk by resisting, after all. She wasn't the only one, either:
The pregnant woman’s husband had been disruptive the night before his family’s planned removal from Cedars, 'shouting and kicking doors, causing some damage', the report found.
'At one point it was judged that he had been trying to separate healthcare staff offering to examine his wife to take them hostage,' the report added.
I rather doubt the Refugee Council concerns itself with the risks to anyone else, though.
'Staff were sufficiently concerned by his behaviour to take him to the "cool down" separation room in full personal protection equipment before his removal.'
The so-called 'cool down' room was 'stark and not conducive to helping people calm down', the inspectors added.
What should it have had? Candles? Mood lighting? A cozy sofabed?

If It’s Not ‘Serving The Needs Of Local Residents’…

…just who is it serving?
Trojka, known as the Russian tea rooms, closed down a fortnight ago after owner Sophia Szymankiewicz was faced with paying a 70 per cent increase in the cost of a new lease. The Regent’s Park Road café had become a local institution since Ms Szymankiewicz founded it in 1992, but she says the street has now changed and established businesses are being driven out by a new wave of expensive cafés.
“Camden High Street is now all coffee and food places and Regent’s Park Road is going that way too,” she said.
Places change. That’s not news. Areas that were once little hotspots for books, or records, or fashion, change. Other shops move in.

The new owners don’t even plan to change the business all that much – it’ll still be a café:
The lease is being taken over by Morfudd Richards who has renamed it the Greenberry Café and plans to sell coffees, charcuterie and ice-cream.
But other businesses say there are too many cafés and warned that the area’s diversity is being eroded.
If there really were ‘too many cafes’, then there’d be no point in people opening them – there is such a thing as ‘market saturation’.

And hey, it's not like they are that dreaded modern scourge, Costa Coffee!
Peter Haxton, who opened the Sesame health food in 1983, is closing next month after he realised he was facing a tripling of his rent. He said: “I’ve had a very kind landlord who has kept my rent below market value for years but he can’t keep doing that and I can’t afford to pay that much more. When I first opened up there was huge diversity on this street — lots of different quirky shops and only one café. That’s all changed now and it’s a terrible shame.
This road is no longer serving the needs of local residents; it’s all about expensive cafés for the people who come in at weekends — but will they still come when there’s nothing but cafés to look at?”
I find it very hard to believe that a shop can take in enough revenue on two days of the week to offset the other five making a loss. Can that really be the case?
Amit Jain, who runs the long-established Shepherd’s café, estimates that one in three businesses on the street is now selling food and drink.
He said: “I don’t think people realise that soon Primrose village will be café village.
“The yummy mummies just want somewhere to settle their prams and have a mummies’ meeting, so anywhere with coffee and a table is in demand.”
Well….you seem to have just such a place, so why are you complaining?
But new café owners hit back at the criticism. Natalie Allen has been running her cake company, Sweet Things, for seven years and opened her offshoot shop and café in Regent’s Park Road 10 months ago.
She said: “Everyone is being very negative but people wouldn't open a café if they didn't think the demand was there. We have just taken on more employees, so we are contributing to the local economy. And I hate this phrase ‘yummy mummy’ — I'm a mum of two but I'm running a business too.”
In business, as in life, there are winners and losers. What we are hearing here is the whining of the (imminent) losers.

So, Just Who Else Should Bear The Burden?

Mr Justice Collins ruled in her favour, saying that the crown court judge had wrongly decided that "the burden was on Ms Kelleher to establish that the dogs were not a danger to public safety".
The judge should have first considered whether the "new measures and arrangements" were sufficient to stop the dogs being a hazard, he said.
And what 'new measures and arrangements' are we talking about?
She put forward evidence from Dr Roger Mugford – one of the UK's foremost experts on canine behaviour – to back her claims.
Dr Mugford had visited Ms Kelleher at her new home in Knowle, Bristol, the court heard, which is spacious and has a garden, giving the robust animals more room to let off steam.
Dr Mugford stated that with the right precautions – such as microchips for both dogs – Amber and Shadow could be successfully "rehabilitated".
Unless those microchips are implanted in their brains, I really fail to see how that makes a scrap of difference...

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Elephant In The Room Only Recognised In Comments…

A lost generation of 14 million out-of-work and disengaged young Europeans is costing member states a total of €153bn (£124bn) a year – 1.2% of the EU's gross domestic product – the largest study of the young unemployed has concluded.
The report, by the EU's own research agency, Eurofound, has discovered that Europeans aged 15 to 29 who are not in employment, education or training (known as Neets) have reached record levels and are costing the EU €3bn a week in state welfare and lost production.
They are also providing a lot of jobs ‘servicing’ that population, though. I wonder if that’s been taken into account?
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) said Europe was "failing in its social contract" with the young and rising political disenchantment could reach levels similar to those that sparked North African uprisings during the Arab spring.
Really? I rather doubt that. Unless we have a population that closely matches the demographics of North Africa.

Not that the EU aren’t working on that!
"The consequences of a lost generation are not merely economic," the report warns, "but are societal, with the risk of young people opting out of democratic participation in society."
Looking at the voting breakdown by age, that ship has well and truly sailed…

Of course, nowhere (except in the comments) is the chief cause elucidated:
Nobody to blame but the EU itself. When I was 17/18, I was working part-time in Tesco. These days the youth find it extremely difficult to get work in places like Starbucks or a supermarket, why? The free market and the uncontrolled open door immigration policy has changed the demographics of the UK. I am not opposed to immigration, but when it is uncontrolled this like it puts enormous pressure on public services. From housing, schools, NHS, policing, public transport, the list goes on. The worst thing is nobody is doing anything about it. During a recession you would have thought a limit would have been slapped on so our own people have a chance of getting work having been laid off elsewhere. I'm sorry but I see no growth in Britain for at least a decade, for as many jobs the government creates through big projects the army of workers from Europe will sweep them up.
Hard to disagree…

No Humans Involved...

Friends of a popular teenager killed in a street brawl have said the sentence given to his killer is "not enough".
A court heard there was a history of "bad blood" between two men which led to a tragedy when one of them killed the other after repeatedly hitting him around the head as he lay unconscious during a violent street fight.
Another story of youth and lax justice?
Richard Winn knocked 18-year-old Daniel Cooper to the ground with two powerful punches and continued hitting him while his defenceless victim was slumped unconscious on the ground. Daniel died four days later from serious head injuries, the court was told.
Winn, 20, of Grimsby, was locked up for five years after admitting manslaughter on July 15 last year. Today, friends of Daniel, who lived in Rutland Street, Grimsby, said the sentence was too lenient.
Who could disagree?
Councillor Jon-Paul Howarth, a volunteer at The Shalom youth club, where Daniel spent time, said: "Five years for taking someone's life is nothing.
"It is just my personal view but I expect he will be out on good behaviour after just two-and-a-half years, which is no where near enough. If someone takes someone else's life they should expect a long time locked up. His mum has lost her son and she got a lifetime punishment because she is not going to see him growing up."
Ah, but...dry those eyes!
A teenage thug who chased a neighbour out of his own house before returning to steal from the property has been jailed for a year. Grimsby Crown Court heard Daniel Cooper, 18, of Rutland Street, along with an accomplice – who cannot be named for legal reasons – got into the house and hit the startled occupant with such force, he left him with a suspected fractured nose.
That puts a rather different complexion on things, doesn't it?
Diana Maudsley, prosecuting, told the court Cooper had also viciously knocked his victim to the ground and kicked him in the chest during the break in on May 25.
*shrugs* If you live by the sword...
Judge Peter Clark said that due to the serious nature of the offences he was left with no choice but to hand down a custodial sentence. Cooper was sentenced to 12 months inside a young offenders institution. His accomplice was sentenced to eight months.
Perhaps if it had been longer..?

Meet The New Boss...

Health Minister Anna Soubry, on her way to Downing Street for a hard day's work worrying about what other people put in their mouths...

...just exactly the same bossy, obnoxious, tinkering Nanny State cow as the last boss, the one you thought you'd managed to vote out of office...
Cakes and croissants have doubled in size in a generation adding to Britain’s obesity problem, health minister Anna Soubry claimed today.
Launching a fresh attempt at clearer food labels advising shoppers on calories and fat content, Ms Soubry said supermarkets and manufacturers also had to make it clearer when a ready meal is meant for more than one person.
Obesity and poor diet cost the NHS billions of pounds every year and the Department of Health claims voluntary deals with big food companies is the best way to influence what we eat.
'Voluntary'. Yeah. Sure they are. At the moment...

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

So, Riddle Me This....

...if the feminist crackpots regard anonymity for men accused of rape as an awful idea, preventing further victims from coming forward, why the double standard here?
A television actor has been charged with the rape of a teenage boy. The star, who cannot be named for legal reasons, allegedly attacked the 14-year-old at a theatre in the London area.
Is it because they think they've got all the victims already?
He is also accused of three other sex attacks and an "assault by beating" at a London school, Scotland Yard said.
Or is it because, if the 'Mail' is correct, the actor in question is only 17 himself?

But if so....doesn't that totally invalidate the crazy feminist's objection? Why should the age matter if the lack of anonymity is purely to encourage further victims?

I guess we might know in November, when he appears at court. They'll have to name him then, won't they?

The Tutu Foundation – What Does It Really Want?

Desmond Tutu in CiF:
The riots that gripped British cities in August 2011 were a graphic manifestation of the most disturbing global trend of our time: the growing gap between rich and poor, between the powerful and powerless, between those with unfettered dreams and hopes and those forced to focus on mere survival.
Yes, I remember all those disaffected youth stealing bread and milk to feed their hungry families, Desmond…
The powerless have been increasingly alienated from decision-making. They have been asked to accept relatively modest lifestyles for themselves while tolerating extreme and obscene consumption by their more fortunate brothers and sisters on the other side of the fence.
Is this socialism? It sure sounds like it to me! I rather thought that sort of thing was incompatible with religion…
The 2011 riots laid bare the truth that few human problems are more pressing than halting the slide of young people into absolute disaffection. Have we stopped to understand the factors that drove some young people to go out and riot and loot, while others of similar background – and facing similar predicaments – did not?
We understand them, actually. We understand them all too well.
But these riots did not explicitly echo the common protest themes of human rights, equality and justice. And the violence and looting that took place did not seem to be perpetrated by any identifiable or organised group, with any particular goals besides personal enrichment and breaking societal rules.
By George, I think he’s got it!
This situation is not unique to the UK; it is the global trend. At home, in South Africa, we are experiencing a spate of popular protests – termed "service delivery protests" – many of them characterised by violence, looting and the destruction of property. Eighteen years since the demise of apartheid, people rightly feel it is unfair for them to accept their marginalisation forever. Different countries, different contexts; similar causes and outcomes.
Ah, I see. ‘It’s my turn in the driving seat’, right?
In Britain this week I will participate in an important conversation to examine the causes and effects of the 2011 riots, bringing together people of all ages and backgrounds to articulate their needs and those of their communities. The inter-generational character of the conversation – marrying the tremendous energy and power of young people to the knowledge and wisdom of adults – is fundamentally important. Conversation for Change is a key programme of the Tutu Foundation UK. We don't expect to turn things around overnight but recognise the importance of affording people a sense of hope – in themselves, in each other and in their communities.
So, just what is this ‘Tutu Foundation’ doing that’s going to be different from all the other ethnic-specific pressure groups?

The answer seems to be ‘Nothing’:
The Tutu Foundation has slammed Croydon Council on the eve of the internationally renowned archbishop's visit to the borough. The attack comes after last-ditch attempts to persuade councillors to drop plans to cut funding for extra education for struggling children from the black and minority ethic (sic) communities (BME) were defeated on Monday.
Ah. I see. Austerity should affect everyone but the BME 'community'…
Chief executive of the Tutu Foundation UK – set up by South African human rights campaigner Archbishop Desmond Tutu – Alexandra Ankrah branded the decision a "disappointing step".
"I visit programmes for young people all around the UK and see the tremendous difference that supplementary education programmes can make to young lives," she said.
"I am under no illusions about the funding challenges facing everyone, but there can be no doubt that history will judge harshly if, by our apathy, we place the greatest burden of the economic crisis on those least responsible for it."
History will judge us harshly? History, love, is written by the winners. Whinging for more resources when everyone else is getting on with things isn't the action of a potential winner.
Labour councillor, Kathy Bee told the meeting she believed secondary schools were "still failing our black children and that isn't good enough."
The council still needed a strategy, she said, which supported people providing additional education.
It’s left to the commenters to point out the obvious:
by swsquires1
“Firstly, I find it a little rich when the labour councillor says that we are still failing our black children. Labour had 13 years in power, that is long enough to have done something about it.
Also, education is education, I cannot understand how teaching white, black, blue, green or purple kids should be any different. You are teaching them Maths, English, Science etc.
A second point, if this impacts 16 organisations and only 40 people (including kids) turned up to protest, there is hardly a large movement here. If I had read that 500 had appeared I would have thought differently. These organisations supplement what is provided by the state.
To me, this means that they should be responsible for raising money. Every day at work I see people doing charity runs, swims, hikes, cake selling, etc to raise money for charities. Many firms also allow staff to devote a number of days per year to work in the community for charities. Across 16 organisations we are talking £6,250 each and if we take the 40 people who turned up, that is £2,500 each (less with gift aid). So, my suggestion, do some marathons, a sponsored swim or something to raise the money.
Well, indeed. Rattle that church collecting plate all you want, Tutu! Just get your hands out of MY pocket…

What Should ‘Respect’ Be Doing In A Court Of Law Anyway?

Either you can prove the accusation, or you can’t:
Lawyers for the women said they felt the women's testimony had not been respected during the trial.
It’s not about ‘respect’, it’s about proof!
The women's minister, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, said the case had shown that better education on sex and sexuality was needed in schools.
Oh. Yeah. That’ll fix everything.
The women were hailed by their lawyers for their bravery in speaking out against a "culture of silence" surrounding sexual violence against girls on estates.
Not once in this entire story is the elephant in the room ever mentioned…

Might I Suggest Rothiemay Is Nice This Time Of Year?

After all, what’s a few more?
Convicted dangerous dog owner Nigel Palmer says he is considering leaving North Lincolnshire after he was found guilty of breaching a dog banning order imposed on him last year.
Oh, no, not just that, of course. It never is, with these people, is it?
Nigel Palmer, 58, of Abercorn Street, Scunthorpe stood trial at North Lincolnshire Magistrates’ Court, where he was convicted of breaching an order banning him from being in custody of dogs and of assaulting a police officer.
With a door, rather than a dog. But still…
Palmer has vowed to keep the five German Shepherd dogs and one Rottweiler, which now all belong to his partner Agnes Little.
“The best thing we can do is pack up and leave North Lincolnshire altogether,” he said.
Judging by the comments, the neighbours would be only too happy to see him go…

The incidents that got him banned? Ah, yes:
Nigel Palmer, 57, of Burke Street, Scunthorpe, was sentenced to six months in prison by North Lincolnshire magistrates in February.
This was later reduced to four on appeal.
Palmer did not challenge the order banning him from owning dogs for ten years.
Since he clearly didn't plan on obeying it, why bother?

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

No Wonder Our Mental Health Service Is In A Mess…

A mental health worker who twice went drink-driving when acting as a designated driver for her friends has been banned from the roads for almost two years.
I rather think she’s confused as to what the term ‘designated driver’ actually means…

And yes, you read that right. Twice!
She was on bail at the time having been arrested for drink-driving two months earlier and was awaiting the result of a blood alcohol test.
Penalty? Well, nothing at all, really:
In addition to a 22-month driving ban, she was given a 12-month community order with 40 hours’ unpaid work. She was also told to pay £170 prosecution costs.
You will have to hope the authority for which she works takes a good, hard look at her powers of judgement.
Her solicitor, Mark Thompson, said Fairclough was on her way home from the funeral of a friend who had died unexpectedly when she was stopped in Haxby Road. The death had caused Fairclough anxiety and she was on anti-depressants.
The court was told she had not thought about the effects of the amount of alcohol she had drunk at the funeral.
Or, presumably, about whether they should be mixed with alcohol!
Fairclough told a probation officer the bar she had been at that day had been offering two drinks for the price of one, so she had taken up the offer.
/facepalm She clearly learned a few techniques for court from her work:
Mr Thompson said Fairclough was remorseful for her actions.
Well, of course she was!

Those Terrible, Awful Cuts (cont)...

A search has been launched to appoint a £70,000 a year tourism boss for Plymouth.

No. Seriously?
Over 30,000 jobs in the city rely on tourism and visitors and it is an important part of Plymouth's economy, with 3.5 million day visitors and 2.4 million staying visitors.
All of whom would vanish like smoke in the breeze without a 'chief executive responsible for boosting the visitor economy', clearly.

“It’s The Job Of The Council To Stop My Kids Running Into The Road!”

Ummmm, no. It’s your job. You’re the parent.
Hichame’s father, Hamid, 49, welcomed today’s patrols, but urged TfL to also reinstall barriers that were removed from the road before his son’s death.
He said: “Having a lollipop lady there is very important but it needs to be permanent and we also need speed bumps, new barriers and signs saying there are schools nearby to warn drivers.
“It’s such a busy road and this patrol is just there for short time in the mornings and afternoons, but at least there’s someone there.
I just hope the council find the extra funding to keep it and they must work with TfL to improve safety.
Without these measures, kids will jump in the road, look what happened to my son.”
So, what happened to your son?
Hichame was holding his mother’s hand when he broke free and dashed onto a busy one-way street near a pedestrian on an exit road from Elephant & Castle roundabout.
Has no-one in this family heard of reins? Have they fallen out of favour, as a result of the ‘My children must be free to express themselves’ brigade?

It's not like they weren't aware of the dangers of the road, is it?
"I was always scared of that road," says Mr Bouadimi.
"Most of the drivers drive fast, and if the police put a camera there they would see it. The school is very close to the main road, and I don't know who was the clever man who made the decision to take away the barriers. It's really upsetting to be honest with you. My son is gone but I'm really worried. There has to be a camera and a flashing sign showing kids coming out from school, at least at 9 o'clock and 3.30.
It's not complicated to do, it's just a sign. I don't want anybody else to experience what I've experienced."
Sorry if I sound heartless, but most of my sympathy is going to the lorry driver who was part of an unnecessary accident caused by someone else’s carelessness.
The driver, 46, of the flat-bed lorry was arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving and bailed by police until January.
I wonder if it’ll go forward, or be quietly dropped? Given the kid dashed out into the road, what more could he possibly have done?
Barrie Hargrove, cabinet member for transport, environment and recycling, said: “We do not want anyone crossing that road to feel unduly anxious or have heightened fears or anxiety.
“While this is only temporary measure in response to a tragic situation, there will be local funding available which can be used to secure a patrol for the longer-term.”
It’s not the job of councils to ‘alleviate anxiety or worry’, or to try to work out ways in which the population can take increasing risks without suffering any consequences!

And why does no-one seem to want to point out that this family's tragedy was, in most part, down to their error? I mean, as Very British Dude's experience at the swimming baths shows, some people have no trouble raising Cain over highly unlikely 'child endangerment', yet the preventable death of a toddler seems to render the family immune to all criticism.

Monday, 22 October 2012

So...I'm Helping Pick Up The Tab For This Instead?

Oh, and you too, if you are a motorist:
James Williams, 26, of Stoke Gifford – who was described as a "very unhappy young man" – caused massive damage to the outside of the House of Fraser store in a crash in December 2008 which almost cost his own life, as well as that of another driver whose car was in his path.
Lord Justice Ward told London's Civil Appeal Court yesterday that Mr Williams drove his Ford Puma at speeds of up to 100 mph along the M32 and Newfoundland Street before deliberately swerving into a low wall.
The car span into the air, bounced off the roof of another car waiting at a junction and smashed into the shop window.
The other driver was lucky to survive:
The driver of the other car, Jamie Haynes, also suffered serious injuries, including a fractured shoulder, four fractured spinal vertebrae, a broken rib and punctured lung.
His Audi A6, which was waiting at a red light, was pushed on to its side, writing the 11-year-old car off, the court heard.
Williams was prosecuted:
Mr Williams, of Fabian Drive, was later jailed for 21 months for dangerous driving and causing criminal damage.
He was also banned from driving for five years and ordered to take an extended driving test before ever getting back behind the wheel.
And after that, the 'fun' begins:
The crash sparked a legal battle between the shop's insurers, Bristol Alliance Limited Partnership, who initially covered the cost of replacing the vast windows, and EUI Ltd, with whom Mr Williams had a motor policy.
EUI fought the case tooth and nail – insisting they were not liable for the damage as it had been caused by Mr Williams' "deliberate act" – and yesterday finally triumphed in what is likely to be seen as an important test case for the insurance industry.
Allowing EUI's appeal against an earlier ruling against the company, Lord Justice Ward, sitting with Lord Justice McFarlane and Dame Janet Smith, said that what Mr Williams did fell outside the terms of his policy and his vehicle was therefore uninsured at the time. he's now an uninsured driver, guess who'll be picking up the tab? Yup. That's right. Me and you, via the MIB and higher premiums!
In his ruling, the judge described Mr Williams as "a very unhappy young man".
Yeah, I'm pretty unhappy too, now.

Yes, Prison Doesn’t Work, Right?

David Parfitt was locked up for 12 years in 2003 for the manslaughter of PC Ged Walker in Bulwell. Dog handler PC Walker, 42, suffered head injuries trying to stop Parfitt driving off in a stolen taxi in St Alban's Road.
He actually only served about eight years…
Parfitt, now 35, was released on licence in March and was staying at a hostel in Lincoln. In May he punched and head butted his new partner, from Lincoln, who he met online.
And so it was back to jail for him!
Parfitt was given a two-year jail sentence at Leicester Crown Court yesterday for actual bodily harm and six months for attempting to pervert the course of justice, to run consecutively.
The police are delighted, even though – as far as the justice system is concerned – this is nothing to do with the original sentence and is merely a violation of his parole:
Notts Police Federation chairman Phil Matthews said: "We think he should have got longer in the first place. The fact that he's been given parole and abused that speaks for itself.
"It is good news that he is back in prison and hopefully he will now serve the rest of his sentence."
Not serving his entire sentence, though, seems to have been a habit:
Parfitt, then of Wareham Close, Aspley, was also on licence from prison after being released early from a robbery sentence when he killed PC Walker.
When are we going to start demanding that the justice system actually does the job it’s supposed to do, which is to protect us from recidivists?

Hull: Darwin Award Capital Of The World…

The mother of a boy who died after running in front of a bus in Hull city centre wants improved road safety measures.
Well, at least she isn’t asking for buses to be fitted with pedestrian airbags! It’s not entirely clear what she is asking for, though….
The calls come after last week a woman was involved in a collision with a bus on a pedestrian crossing where two countdown timers were introduced weeks previously.
A woman. Not a child, not even a teenager. An adult. Albeit one of those modern adults MacHeath describes, infantile and prone to immediate gratification of their desires, however foolhardy.

And this isn't even the usual excuse of there being ‘no safe place to cross’:
Colette Scholes, whose 14-year-old son Jack Fisher died in April 2008 after being hit by a bus as he ran across the nearby Brook Street junction with Ferensway, said more needs to be done to prevent accidents.
"Even with the new timers, people are still risking their lives crossing the roads," she said. "I think everyone could be doing a bit more to prevent accidents."
And by ‘everyone’, I think you must surely really mean ‘Hull pedestrians’? Because there’s precious little the local council and the bus companies can do that they haven’t already done!

It just doesn't seem to be sinking in, even with people who should know better:
Two years after Jack's fatal collision, pensioner Colin Lyon lost his life at the crossing in Margaret Moxon Way. An inquest heard he failed to look properly before crossing the road.
You can almost feel the palpable despair of the transport chief:
Graham Hall, assistant head of transport and asset management, said: … "I would urge people to take care and only cross when the green man shows as it's for their safety.
"Pedestrians may have to wait a few moments but it's better than being seriously injured.
"The countdown timers have been recently added to give pedestrians a ten-second warning to when the red man appears and traffic will start to move again."
Sadly, I fear they've only provided the lemmings of Hull with a challenge: ‘Beat The Clock!’

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Inspector Gadget's 'Col Jessop' Moment...

Hmmm, sounds a bit...familiar?


Pity the unnamed Taser-wielding incompetent has nothing to fear from his colleagues in the way of a 'Code Red', though, eh?

Tom Bensted - 'Big Society' Candidate

"First of all the police came along towards Round Hills. They stopped at the lights there and turned around and drove off," he said.
"They came around 15 minutes later, pulled up and asked what I was doing and why I was doing it.
"They said 'you shouldn't be doing that' and I said 'what else is supposed to happen?'
"I guess I'm not supposed to direct traffic - I haven't got the training."
The officers told the former Davenant Foundation School pupil they would 'make some calls'.
"They made some calls and then they drove off," he said.
"I guess they hadn't got the training either."
Heh! That just about says it all, doesn't it?

Hey! Maybe Signposts Will Help!

About a fortnight ago, these started showing up in Southend High Street:

There’s one at almost every ‘junction’ point down the high street, and near the new Victoria Circus development.

Not only do they pick out the stations, university, courts, bus stops and other points of interest, they have sprouted direction-pointers at the top with the estimated walking time to each of these.

It’s all part of the SSHAPE High Street Enhancement scheme apparently, as a plaque set up where the (non-working) Millennium Clock used to be tells us.

 However, if Southend Council wanted to ‘enhance’ the high street, putting up street furniture like this (in an age of smartphones and voice-activated GPS mapping) seems a little pointless.

Surely a far better idea would be to stop issuing temporary occupation licenses for high street shops like Boots (moved into the vast over-half-empty white elephant of the Victoria Circus shopping mall) to be turned into purveyors of cheap tat?

Or preventing the opening of yet another 99p shop?

Or ensuring that the beggars, drunks and mentally ill from the nearby estates are kept away?

If you want the high street to welcome shoppers, they have to have a reason to go there and the fact that you can’t walk 50 yards without a bit of street furniture to tell you exactly where things are and how long it’ll take to get there just doesn’t cut the mustard…

It Seems They Might Be Struggling With The ‘English’ Bit At The Local Newspaper…

…maybe they should try that again in Spanish?

Sunday Funnies...

What, only four..?!

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Joseph Gillinder, New Man…

A family has called for the culling of foxes after one
Killed their cat? Savaged their elderly grandmother? Stole their car?
… crept into their south London home and headed towards a baby’s bedroom.
Oh. Well. That was a bit of an anticlimax.
Mr Gillinder, 31, and his partner, Vix Henstock, 28, said that foxes circle their neighbourhood in Bromley at night and they feared that one could harm Violet.
‘Circle their neighbourhood at night’? Perhaps they need to build a boma
Mr Gillinder said he backed a cull because of the growing numbers of the creatures prowling around his neighbourhood and fears over the safety of his family.
I'm sure the people of Churchill, Alaska and the Sunderbans region of Asia feel your pain, Mr Gillinder. As does Ben Douglas...
He added: “It is one thing to have the mangy horrible creatures waltzing around the neighbourhood but last week one actually came into my house whilst my back was turned for just a minute whilst putting out the bins.
“It was in the hall and I didn’t want to chase it into the house so I took a few steps back towards the door and it ran out.
"We have a very small baby in our house and that makes it not just a small problem but one of utmost concern and worry. I dread to think what one could do to a small baby.”
If the only thing in your life of ‘utmost concern and worry’ is whether a fox will run off with your baby, then I have to say, your life is pretty good in comparison to others…
The couple have written to Bromley council asking them to clamp down on rubbish left on the streets which attracts the animals.
Bromley Council is dumping rubbish on the streets..? Really?

Shouldn't you maybe be writing to your neighbours instead, Mr Gillard?
Councillor Tim Stevens, who is Bromley council’s representative for public safety, said: “Bromley council’s approach to foxes is to discourage an increase in their population without physically harming them.
“This is achieved by advising residents to stop doing things that might encourage foxes. These include removing attractions from the garden, sealing up holes and hiding places.”
Oh! I bet Mr Gillard never thought of that. Surely everything is the responsibility of the council?

Ouch! It’s Painful Getting Hoist On My Own Petard!

Gallaudet University's embattled chief diversity officer said she wasn't taking an anti-gay stance when she signed a petition advocating for Maryland's same-sex marriage law to be put to a vote.
Instead, Angela McCaskill says she was joining 200,000 others in standing up for the rights of voters to make decisions at the ballot box.
"I thought it was important that as a citizen of the state of Maryland I could exercise my right to participate in the political process. I am pro-democracy," McCaskill explained at a news conference Tuesday in Annapolis, Md., speaking out for the first time since the university's president placed her on administrative leave last week after it became public that she had signed the petition.
You can be disciplined for that?
Hurwitz clarified his actions in a statement released Tuesday morning. He wrote that McCaskill is welcome to return to her job but doing so will require "that she and the University community work together to respond to the concerns that have been raised."
Ahhh, the taking of offence - the new sport!
McCaskill, 54, was the first deaf African American woman to earn a doctorate at Gallaudet, a university for the deaf and hard of hearing in the District of Columbia. She has worked at Gallaudet for more than 24 years and was named top diversity official last year.
And how did she go about her task?
McCaskill said she rearranged her budget to find money to open a resource center on campus for sexual minorities, hired an openly transgender employee and hosted many events centered around discussing lesbian, bisexual, gay and transgender issues.
And…how much of any of that did you put to a vote?

I mean, since you are so keen on it, surely you must have done..?
This summer, McCaskill and her husband attended Reid Temple AME church and heard a sermon about "different types of marriage," then signed the petition there, Gordon said. That petition was obtained and made public by the Washington Blade. A faculty member saw McCaskill's name on the petition and confronted her in early October, Gordon said. McCaskill confirmed that she had signed the petition, alerted the Gallaudet president that it could become an issue and offered to organize a panel discussion to address the topic, Gordon said.
The next day, the faculty member and her partner filed a formal complaint with the president, he said. Gordon said that McCaskill was asked to issue an apology and that she declined to do so. Days later, McCaskill was notified by e-mail that she would be placed on paid leave and that an interim chief diversity officer would take over, Gordon said.
The action was announced publicly Oct. 10.
And McCaskill is shocked, shocked, to find that the tactics she has no doubt encouraged and used can be turned on her, just as easily...
"I was shocked, hurt, insulted. I was humiliated," McCaskill said at the news conference, with the assistance of an interpreter.
"I am dismayed that Gallaudet University is still a university of intolerance, a university that manages by intimidation, a university that allows bullying among faculty, staff and students."
Gosh. I can't really feel anything other than schadenfreude and a feeling that what goes around, come around...

Decline In Public Trust In The Police? Why, No, Me Neither…

Bill Gatenby needed 20 stitches in his arm and back when the animal leaped at him while outside the Bird Inn pub, in Washington, as he innocently watched a fight roll on to the street.
At the time, he was arrested for being drunk and disorderly, although he was later cleared during a trial after it emerged he was simply an innocent bystander.
Now, while it’s unwise to watch a fight that requires the attention of police to break it up, the penalty shouldn’t be arrest and a savaging, should it?
An officer originally claimed the 59-year-old had “gone at him”, which led the dog to bite and bring Mr Gatenby to the ground.
But it was only thanks to CCTV footage of the attack, which the police lost, that the real facts were shown.
Which the police ‘lost’, eh? How fortuitous…
The grandad-of-six, who lives with his wife Jane in Washington, said he can’t thank the landlord enough for coming forward with it. He said: “After I was arrested and the case had gone to the first appearance at court, it was originally said that there was no CCTV in the area at the time.
“I was just thinking, it’s going to be a case of my word against the police. I really wasn’t hopeful anyone would believe me. ”
Sadly, that’s no longer as true as it once was. We are far, far from the days when a policeman’s word was sufficient.

Now, it’s a case of ‘Trust, but verify’:
“Then the landlord of the pub got in touch with me and said he thought I needed to see the CCTV he had.
“He saw on the CCTV that I had done nothing wrong. “He gave me a copy of it and I gave it to my solicitor.
The landlord said he had given a copy to the police but they said they’d lost it. “It was clear to most that there wasn’t a case against me once the CCTV had been seen. The magistrates agreed.
“I’m just so thankful to the landlord for contacting me and telling me about it. I don’t know what would have happened otherwise.”
Oh, I think I do. You’d have been convicted.

So, what does Northumbria Police Farce have to say for itself, and it’s officers?
A Northumbria Police spokeswoman said: “A number of his concerns were found to be unsubstantiated.”
So what? Not the crucial one, which is that your officers lied to the custody officer about the incident!
“However, we accept CCTV footage was misplaced and appropriate action was taken at the time.
“It was established Mr Gatenby had been accidentally bitten by a police dog.”
That’s an unfortunate happenstance. It’s not unusual, and though it’s a bad thing to happen, it’s what you do about it when it happens that is crucial.

Lying about it and hiding the evidence is criminal behaviour, is it not?

So…what ‘appropriate action’ was taken over these police officers? Were they dismissed? They certainly should have been!
After his trial, in November 2008, Mr Gatenby launched legal action against the police for his injuries and the stress he endured, yet it was not until nearly four years later that a court date was set at Newcastle’s County Court.
But a couple of weeks before the date, in July this year, an out-of-court settlement was reached and the Asda worker was awarded a five-figure payout and a personal, written apology from Chief Supt David Pryer.
If they hoped the out-of-court settlement would prevent any publicity, they clearly had their hopes dashed…
But it was the behaviour of the arresting officers that also disgusted Mr Gatenby. CCTV captured the immediate aftermath of Bill Gatenby’s arrest in Washington Police Station custody suite.
The officers can be heard laughing and joking and branding the attack “decent”. One of them even says “He’ll (the dog) not need feeding today”.
The dog handler in charge of the animal at the time of the attack, can be heard claiming Mr Gatenby had “just turned on us and, like, took a step forward and the dog has just gone for him” .
This was clearly not the case from CCTV footage taken from outside the pub, which shows Mr Gatenby never turned around and didn't seem to realise the officer was there.
So…what happened to those officers? Are they still walking a beat somewhere? Are they lying about any future arrests they may make?

Since they aren't named, who can have any confidence that they aren't being dealt with by them?

Yes, The Cuts Will Be Painful – But Consider The Alternative…

The ‘Guardian’ is in one of its fits of supercilious moralising, holding up a litany of hard-luck cases and inviting us to consider their plight before we go too far down the route of those awful, terrible Tory-led cuts. 

They know full well how it’s going to be received, even by their own readers, mind you:
Housing is an emotive subject because most people are struggling to pay rent, or a mortgage, making life-altering decisions about where to live based on how much they can afford to spend – so making the case for the state to be subsidising large chunks of rent for other people to live in London does not instantly elicit sympathy.
If you're in any doubt about this, just glance below to read the comments that inevitably follow pieces on this theme.
Yes, this is all about the effect on low-income families of the benefit cap, which numerous charities and pressure groups fear will remove their client base from comfortable walking distance from their cosy London offices…

So let’s have a look at the examples quoted, shall we?
Rana and Mina (who, like most people interviewed for this piece, asked for their real names not to be printed in case any suggestion that they might be complaining rebounds on them in the council's housing office) are living in this bed and breakfast, as a direct result of changes to the housing benefit system.
The precise thinking of Mina's previous landlord is not clear, but she was charging £500 a week for the two-bedroom flat in St John's Wood in north London, paid for by housing benefit, when a new housing benefit cap was introduced, which would have reduced the maximum payment available to Mina to £290. Rather than waiting for her tenant to fall into arrears, the landlord gave her notice to leave earlier this year.
Ah. See, according to the ‘Guardian’, this was a dreadful miscalculation by the ConDems when they put the benefit cap in place:
The coalition's introduction of a housing allowance cap was based on the theory that by capping the amount available to housing benefit recipients, landlords would drop their rents and renegotiate lower contracts with tenants.
But because the rental market in the capital remains so buoyant, what appears to have happened instead is that families like Mina's have been evicted and made homeless.
Mmm, yes, expecting the landlords to take a loss on the chin was rather daft, come to think of it.

So, how did Mina wind up in this situation where she required benefits?
A refugee from Iran who has lived in London for many years, Mina used to work in a cafe but now has arthritis in both knees; she walks with difficulty and does not work. There was nowhere else she could afford to move to in the vicinity of her daughter's school
Ah. Ok. Stop right there. People have to live according to their means.

And the ‘Guardian’ is quite right when they assume that all those others living within their means aren't going to be too happy. Even Mina herself sort of gets it. She just thinks she should be exempt.
Mina understands that the government has to save money, but wonders if they need to target people like her, who have long-term roots in the area. "I've had the same GP for 20 years, the same hospital. All my daughter's friends are here. Are we meant to change all these things? " she asks.
"Suddenly they've changed all the rules. They are playing with people. They are messing around with people's lives. It's a lot of stress for a single mother."
Guess what? Recessions are ‘a lot of stress’ for everyone. And yes, you are meant to change all those things if they will no longer support you – haven’t you already changed Iran for the UK when things became untenable? So swapping one part of the UK for another should be a breeze!

They desperately try to find a more ‘worthy’ example. They fail. Miserably:
This housing crisis affects people who are working, as well as those who are not. Helena Carroll, who works in accounts, spent two nights in a bed and breakfast in west London last month with her seven-year-old daughter…
She was evicted from her flat in Hammersmith in August, probably also the victim of the incoming benefit cap. She works 25 hours a week, earning around £800 a month, and paid part of her own rent, but is unable to afford to live in the part of London where she grew up, and where her daughter has always lived, without state support.
Ah, but see, she only paid ‘part of her own rent’. Those paying ALL of their own rent are quite entitled to think ‘Hey! Hang on a minute here…’

And she can’t live in the part of London where she grew up without state support? So what? I can’t live in Mayfair without state support, so where’s my flat, then?

Got anything else, ‘Guardian’?
Meanwhile Abdul has been living in a string of bed and breakfasts with his wife and 18-month-old son since June 11, when they were evicted from their home in Maida Vale, north London, where he has lived for 11 years since he arrived as a refugee from Syria.
*throws PC out of the window*

Last one. Make it good!
Grace, a mental health nurse, has been living in a room with her 16-year-old son, in a white stucco-fronted hotel in west London for five months…She became homeless when she and her son were thrown out of the flat they were sharing with friends. Her son is at school nearby, but as a newly-qualified nurse earning a salary of £21,000, Grace, who moved from Nigeria over a decade ago, is unable to afford to rent in this part of central London, where she wants to be so that her son can stay in the school where he has begun his A-levels, and so she can easily travel to the hospital where she often works nights and early morning shifts.
Ah, so, we’re back to the Mina situation. With the added fillip that she’s a public sector worker. You know, I'm not sure that’ll be the argument-swayer that you fondly imagine it to be…
Romin Sutherland of the NextDoor project, a charity helping people affected by housing benefit cuts believes the system of benefits will not be fairer and argues that capping the housing benefit "is driving a huge rise in homelessness, which is itself costing the taxpayer many millions. And this doesn't account for the longer term costs of uprooting established communities and dumping them without support in unfamiliar areas that are unable to provide for their needs.
"Instead of capping housing benefit, perhaps the government should be focusing on providing low-cost housing that gives back to the taxpayer over generations, rather than squandering our money on exorbitant rents," he says.
The comments, as you can imagine, soon descend into a screaming rabble demanding rent controls, more council housing, higher benefits, the immediate execution of the Housing Minister (in fact, all the Tory cabinet), government-mandated social mixing for areas, you name it.

And no-one, not one that I can see, seems to have asked the question; If these are the people that the ‘Guardian’ chooses as the most sympathetic, what must the rest be like?

Friday, 19 October 2012

Does This Really Have Anything To Do With Public Health?

Pregnant women and children have been warned against eating game such as pheasant, deer and grouse killed with lead shot because it could pose a serious risk to their health.
In an official statement released on Monday, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) said that everyone who ate lead-shot game regularly should cut down on it because it was potentially toxic.
Hmm, personally, I don’t eat any lead shot I find in game, I roll it to the side of the plate.

But it turns out it’s just as toxic if it’s left in too long, though ‘just as toxic’ might just mean about as much as second hand smoke, i.e. hardly at all…

Certainly, they had a fight on their hands in trying to put this out:
The release of the FSA's advice follows a row last week after its expected publication last Wednesday was delayed following disputes in its expert advising panel, the lead ammunition group, over the terms and extent of the warning.
Hardly surprising. It was, however, welcomed by a certain wildlife pressure group…
The Wildfowl and Wetland Trust (WWT) has been at the forefront of campaigns against lead shot. Its analysis showed lead shot was to blame for poisoning thousands of waterbirds.
And I guess, since they weren't making much headway with that claim, why not try frightening humans by suggesting it’s poisoning them?

Not that the ones who drink liquid nitrogen will probably care, but still…
Christopher Graffius, head of communications for the BASC, said the risks of eating lead-shot game "should not be exaggerated" and insisted it posed a minimal risk to consumers.
He said that "pound for pound", chocolate had more lead in it than game.
Now, you’re trying to handle an emotive subject with science. You should really know that’s not going to work!

And as Clarissa points out, it's interesting to see how the animal right lobby is branching out to previously unheard depths of insanity. It's not really surprising, since they are clearly losing the argument.

Oh, Well, It's Another One On The DNA Database, Eh?

Remember this story? Well, it seems the police now have their 'clear picture':
...police last week closed their investigation into the death of William Phillips.
Mr Phillips, of Derby Street, died following an altercation near to the doctors’ surgery in Oak Street, Norwich, which took place at about 8.50am on Wednesday, July 18.
Police said last week that no further action would be taken against a 22-year-old man arrested in connection with the incident, and Mr Phillips’ family was also informed. A Norfolk police spokesman said a team had concluded that no criminal offences had been committed in relation to his death, and it was no longer being treated as suspicious.
Oh, well. At least you got a cyclist's DNA, eh? Maybe it'll come in useful later?

Some curious comments about him, however, amongst the tributes:
Su Waterman said: “I feel terribly sad to have just heard the news about Will. I used to own the cafe on St Benedicts Street ‘House’.
“Will would often come in a for a cup of tea and a chat. His condition meant he might sometimes cross certain boundaries but he knew when he was ‘misbehaving’.
“Those on the street who knew him, knew he meant no harm and he always apologised if he ‘overstepped the mark’.”
Another friend, Genevieve Marten added: “Will was a wonderful guy, very intelligent, enthusiastic and so positive about life. He had a difficult disease that people could not relate to, so he could not control his nerves.
He was very misjudged due to a lack of understanding.
Often, the medication was enough to let the real Will shine through. I feel honoured to have been able to know him.”
How very odd. Does it shed more light on why an innocent man was arrested?

H/T: Dave Ward via email

An End To Compo Culture At Last?

Mrs Fari said she was due £740,000 for an injury so severe she needed on-going care. The judge said the figure was nearer £1,500 for a minor injury that would cause her three months’ discomfort.
Ouch! It gets worse…
Undercover surveillance was carried out and it was discovered that Ms Fari had a pre-existing deformity in her knee. The judge was so angry she now faces the prospect of prosecution for contempt of court and a prison sentence.
This is because of a recent landmark case, which – hopefully – could well spell the end to the notorious compo culture:
Judge Christopher Mitchell struck out her entire claim for damages at Central London county court so she will not get a penny. He said she had attempted to deceive his court by wildly overstating the suffering caused and that the scale of exaggeration involved in her claim amounted to an abuse of process.
He has referred the case to the High Court which may allow contempt of court proceedings to be brought against Ms Fari.
And, if the defendant’s lawyers have anything to say about it, that’s just the start:
Jennifer Harris, a solicitor at Plexus Law who represented Homes for Haringey, said the judge’s verdict should be a warning to other potential fraudsters seeking to make exaggerated compensation claims.
She said: “This is a significant success in the fight against fraudulent and exaggerated claims and sends a strong message that genuinely injured claimants and their representatives should not attempt to exaggerate the extent of injuries.
“This is one of the first cases to follow the principles established in Summers v Fairclough Homes and confirms that a grossly exaggerated claim can amount to an abuse of process significant enough to warrant striking out in its entirety a claimant’s case.”
Of course, there’s outrage on the part of the claimant, strangely only articulated by her mother. Perhaps she herself is a bit too busy with her huge brood to comment...
Ms Fari’s mother defended her daughter, telling the Standard she had told the truth about the extent of her injuries.
Speaking at the family home in Haringey she said: “My daughter told the truth in court and was made to look a liar. It is disgusting, there has been no justice, she does not deserve this.”
If not her, who?
Ms Fari has 21 days to appeal against the judge’s decision. If she fails to do so, or if her appeal fails, the Attorney General can opt to prosecute her for contempt of court.
If he decides not to, lawyers for Homes for Haringey are expected to bring their own High Court action.
*orders popcorn*

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Look, You Amateurs, Just Leave It To Us Professionals, M’Kay?

The Potato Council said the fungal disease, that manifests itself as a mould on the leaf and roots, has hit the potato crop badly this year due to the wet weather.
And if it wasn't wet weather, it’d be dry weather. Or hot weather. Or cold weather. For as long as I can remember, there’s always been something affecting something else, every year, as an excuse for price rises.

But it seems a brand new scapegoat has been found:
‘Allotment amateurs’ were also blamed for a "disproportionate amount of overall blight pressure."
Inexperienced gardeners could make blight spread by dumping infected potatoes on the compost, where the spores can spread on the wind to neighbouring farms.
*shakes fist* "You Maniacs! You blew it up! Ah, damn you! God damn you all to hell!"

It seems those awful amateurs are lax with their pesticide regime as well (surely a another reason one might want to grow their own?):
In contrast commercial farms regularly spray the crop with fungicide to stop infection and bury any infected potatoes.
Naturally, this is very regrettable, and should stop. Says the pressure group for commercial potato farmers:
Allan Stevenson, Chairman of the Potato Council, told trade journal The Grocer, that people should be buying potatoes from the supermarket rather than growing their own as this may help spread blight.
Well, yes. You would say that, wouldn't you?
"People should be encouraged to grown their own vegetables to learn about the origins of their food,” he said.
"But the blight risk is real and it would be preferable if people bought healthy, well produced potatoes from their retailer rather than grow their own."
Preferable for your members’ pockets, you mean?
A spokesman for NSALG insisted that their members were aware of how to deal with blight and it was unfair to 'tarnish everyone with the same brush".
“People being able to grow their own should be celebrated," she said.
"Like everything else people should be supported and educated about the right and wrong ways to deal with things but I would say our members are fairly well educated in knowing how to deal with pests and diseases. It is unfair to tarnish everybody with the same brush.”
Unfair, yes, but when you have a captive market to protect, every little helps, hmm?