Saturday 31 May 2008

Because They Just Don't Have Enough To Do Already....

It seems teachers are to be tasked with yet another area of responsibility - spotting if little Johnny is hungover, as opposed to just lazy or suffering from migraine:
Teachers will be told to look out for pupils with hangovers and refer repeat offenders to addiction clinics or counsellors under plans to be unveiled on Monday.
And if they don't go...? Lines or detention, probably!

Understandably, they aren't happy about this:
Martin Ward, deputy general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said teachers already knew how to spot binge-drinking teenagers.

"What may be more problematic is what they expect teachers to do," he told the Daily Mail. "While teachers give advice to young people already, they wouldn't want it turning into another duty and another set of bureaucracies."
Tough luck, Mr Ward. That's all this increasingly clueless government knows how to create..

Playing Into Their Hands....?

Are the 'Times' and 'Mail' keen to see the BNP get even more electoral victories next time round...?

Both have printed reports about the case of Keith Brown and his manslaughter by neighbour Mr Khan that give the subtle undertext of 'the victim deserved to die, he was a violent racist':
'Times':"Like most neighbourhood feuds, it boiled down to a row over boundaries. Mr Brown accused Khan of putting a fence on his land and said that the conservatory blocked his light. Mr Brown was a dangerous man with convictions for what Judge Simon Tonking called “extreme violence” in his twenties. In 2000 he was convicted for punching a man in the face."

'Mail':"Keith Brown, the court heard, was not a 'white martyr,' but had a history of violence. The man in the dock, on the other hand, was a community leader who had never been in trouble before. He also happened to be Mr Brown's next-door neighbour and a Muslim."
This kind of utterly biased reporting can only serve to fuel anger and resentment, and help to encourage the view among voters that the 'establishment' is prepared to use any tactic to persuade voters not to vote for the BNP, even to misrepresenting a recent murder trial.

There are no comments (yet) on the 'Mail' piece (their Turing code system seems to be broken as valid codes are not accepted) but the comments on the 'Times' piece show a great deal of anger at the slanted reporting.

This is irresponsible journalism.

Foxes Invited To Look After Henhouse

Over at Fulham Reactionary, a teensy flaw in the government's thinking on the 'imams in schools' idea is pointed out:
Because, of course, no British-born Muslim has ever turned to extremism, have they? And "multicultural values" (whatever they may be)? They're just what we haven't had enough of lately!
But the Government has a plan!
In an effort to allay fears that imams taking part in the scheme could themselves be spreading extremist doctrine, education chiefs will be required to look into the political background of individuals and any organisations invited through the school gates.

The measures will go significantly further than current vetting checks, which are limited to criminal convictions.
Just wait for the squeals of 'Islamaphobia' from the usual suspects...

"Errr, Bit Too Strong Even For Us...!"

A little while ago, it was announced that Sir Ian Blair would not be continuing in the role of Met Police Chief until the 2012 Olympics, as he'd hoped, and I noted the 'Times' front runners were reported to be:
Speculation has focused on Sir Hugh Orde, head of the Police Service of Northern Ireland, and Sir Paul Scott-Lee, chief constable of West Midlands police, Britain’s second largest force.
With Sir Paul Scott-Lee's WMP tripping over their shoelaces and hurling custard pies at one another over the Ofcom judgement, Sir Hugh obviously decided to seize his moment. But what to do..? What could possibly indicate to the Govenment that here was a man to follow in the footsteps of the PC PC?

Well, Sir Hugh must have thought he'd found the perfect cause to get behind:
One of the country’s most senior police officers has said Britain can only stop al-Qa’eda by negotiation.

Sir Hugh Orde, head of the Police Service of Northern Ireland, said his experiences of dealing with the IRA proved that detection and arrests would not defeat the terrorists.

Sir Hugh said he could not think of one terror campaign in history which had ended without negotiation and said Britain’s leaders had to “think the unthinkable”.

He said: "If you want my professional assessment of any terrorism campaign, what fixes it is talking and engaging and judging when the conditions are right for that to take place.

"Is that a naïve statement? I don’t think it is. It is the reality of what we face."
Sadly for Sir Hugh, the Government has decided that yes, it is indeed a naive statement to have a top copper suggest negotiation with fanatics:
A police chief was slapped down by the Government yesterday for suggesting Britain could open talks with Al Qaeda.

But his suggestion was immediately dismissed by the Foreign Office.

A spokesman said: 'It is inconceivable that Her Majesty's Government would ever seek to reach a mutually acceptable accommodation with a terrorist organisation like Al Qaeda.'
Wow! To be slapped down by the Foreign Office on matters of appeasement is some feat...

Back to the drawing board, Sir Hugh!

Friday 30 May 2008

But Will He Go South Of The River Late At Night...?

Poor cabbie Laurence Kirk has been denied a private hire driver licence in Bournemouth. Why, you ask..? Motoring offences?

Well, no. Because he can't use apostrophes properly!

If they bring this in for grocers too, there'll be a huge rise in the unemployment figures!

Joking aside, the refusal is totally ridiculous. What's brought it about?
Grandfather Laurence, 50, says he is a victim of a new "barmy" test that Bournemouth Borough Council in Dorset has introduced.

All applicants have to pass a BTEC qualification in taxi driving and the council has designed its own English test to check if they are suitable to take it.

Mr Kirk said the idea was potty because it did not test his driving skills and instead, questions included picking up grammatical errors in a text about a fictional football match between Harchester United and Barton Rovers.
Ah, yes. New government legislation 'designed to catch out foreign drivers who do not speak English' traps a native English speaker instead. Who have thought that would happen? Other than anyone who has ever dealt with a local council...

What did the council have to say for itself?
Steve Wright, principal licensing officer for the council, said the English test was a way to evaluate the level of support the drivers will need to take a BTEC in Transporting Passengers by Taxi and Private Hire.

He said: 'The test allows us to assess the candidate's abilities and understanding to enable us to offer the right support in order to fulfil the further requirements in gaining their licence.'
Was that English, Mr Wright? Sounds a lot like mealy-mouthed long-winded gabble to me. Perhaps someone should take away your license...

Maybe We Should Ask Gok Wan If He Can Teach…?

After all, the teachers in North Shields seem more interested in doing his job:
His spiky new haircut left Connor Madden looking literally too cool for school. The trendy redhead was ordered straight back to the barbers after teachers branded his striking new do too “extreme”.

A letter was sent to the seven-year-old’s mum warning her that she had until the end of the school holidays to “reconsider” Connor’s look.
Or what..? They’d call her and her husband in and give them lines? Little Connor isn’t the only troublemaker in the family though:
Connor’s sister Amie’s haircut has also proved a shortcut to trouble. The 10-year-old has a dash of highlighted hair in her fringe .

But the letter sent in the name of headteacher Dr James Crinson adds: “You may also need to reconsider Amie’s blonde streak in her hair. As you know, we have a policy of not allowing extreme haircuts.”
What’s the policy on, say, teaching kids to read and write, Dr Crinson? Because I think that’s what we pay you for, not to recreate ‘Extreme Makeover: Kiddie Edition’ during the school term.
Now, an investigation has been launched after the parents put in an official complaint to the local education authority.

A spokesman for North Tyneside Council said: “We are aware of this issue and are supporting the family to see a resolution.”
You want to see a resolution? Sack Dr Crinson. The man’s an idiot with too much time on his hands if this is the sort of thing he spends his time doing.

Out of The Mouths Of Babes Social Workers…

Over at ‘House of Dumb’ it has been noted before that there is one class, race, creed that gets cut no slack at all. So I wasn’t too surprised to see a very revealing little anecdote over at the Social Work Blog from one Anabel Unity Sale:
We all have days when we forget things we have said and done - or at least we want to. There was the time when I walked into a meeting at a local authority - which shall remain nameless to protect the innocent - in order to interview the four heads of social services for a feature. The first thing out of my mouth wasn't "Hello, nice to meet you" but "Oh... four, white middle-aged men." Perhaps it should have been an internal thought...
Perhaps it should, Anabel, perhaps it should! By the way, got to assume that’s a ‘trendy’ first name, rather than a typo…

But just imagine for a moment little Anabel tripping in to a meeting of the Black Police Federation and saying ‘Oh…no white faces?’. I wonder if she’d have admitted to that on a public blog?

Yet, what’s the difference..?

Chutzpah...? I Haz It...

It appears that social workers have discovered the world of blogging, which gives us a chance to see exactly how they view their jobs. Not that that's a good thing, as it seems to give them one more outlet to whine about how unfair it all is, like grown up Kevins.

Mithran Samuel takes a dim view of the behaviour of the MSM in the Khyra Ishaq case. Well, not all the MSM - the 'Guardian' and 'Independant' get off scot-free, though they had similar reports. No, it's that old favourite, the 'Daily Mail' and its readers than get the wrath of Samuel:
This much we know: that Khyra died at hospital over the weekend and the cause of death is as yet unknown; and that two people have appeared in court charged with neglect. They are named as Angela Gordon, 33, and Junaid Abuhamza, 29, and are believed to be Khyra's mother and step-father.

Beyond this point begins the speculation in today's press: that she died of starvation (unproven, ahead of the postmortem); that Khyra and her siblings were taken out of school several weeks ago and then received a visit from "an educational social worker" and that no follow-up visits took place.
You don't think it's a little rich whining about other people's speculation and jumping the gun after Orkney, Cleveland and Rochdale, do you, Mithran..?

Thursday 29 May 2008

Whose Money Is It Anyway….?

No clearer display of exactly how local councils view the public (i.e. as walking cash cows, to whom legal rights do not apply) could be given than the petulant attitude taken by spokesman Nick Lester over the issue of refunding illegally-charged parking fines :
Some councils have earned hundreds of thousands of pounds by enforcing unlawful traffic and parking restrictions, the BBC has learned.

Fines are said to have been levied despite incorrect road markings and on parking bays which are too small.

The Department of Transport said it expected councils to "seriously consider" repayment of illegal fines. But a spokesman for London councils questioned whether returning the cash was the best use of public money.

Nick Lester from London Councils, which represents authorities in the capital, argued that handing the cash back was not necessarily in the public interest. He said: "Where there's only a technical error, a small issue, where no-one was genuinely misled, the council can take the view, is it really a good use of public money to repay the penalty? Is that really what they should be doing?"
Well, yes. Yes it is. You see, you had no right to the money! It doesn’t belong to you anymore than the haul from the Brinks Mat job belonged to Michael McAvoy’s gang! How is knowingly enforcing illegal traffic markings anything other than fraud, exactly…?

And yes, Nicky, people were ‘genuinely misled’. They were misled into thinking that the council parking enforcers had the law on their side, yet they patently didn’t.
Caroline Sheppard, Chief Parking Adjudicator for the National Parking Adjudication Service for England and Wales, said motorists should appeal if they believe they have been wrongly fined. But she said that many motorists would not want to take the risk of taking their case to tribunal because it would mean losing their 50% discount - and that the onus was on local authorities to put things right.
And how much have they been getting away with..? In the case of Haringey Council, at least £120,000 from illegal boxes alone. And the entrance to a bus and tram lane which was incorrectly marked has gained Sheffield City Council £350,000. (Notice I, unlike the BBC, don’t use the word ‘earned’ here).

That’s a pretty audacious haul, if repeated across the country. Tell me again why respect for politicians and council officials is at an all time low…?

Wednesday 28 May 2008

Not A Good Judge Of Character Then....

Mr Godwin will be eating takeaways for a few months, I think, if he's sensible:
A former hospital cook who baked a fruitcake laced with rat poison for her husband has been given a 12-month suspended prison sentence.
The judge was apparantly swayed by the history of marital abuse claimed by the wife's defence solicitor:
Judge Jamie Tabor said he was being lenient as Yvonne Godwin had been in an abusive relationship.

"In my judgment (this) meant you weren't seeing things straight at all.

"You've been a mother to several children. You've worked hard in several places of employment. You are not a criminal in any shape or form."
Well, except for the whole poisoning attempt, your Honour...

The BBC - Always First With The Breaking News...

The BBC has suddenly discovered a phenomenon that most people will have been aware of for a few years - the 'TV appeal killers':
The boss of a limousine firm has been convicted of ordering the murder of his wife, an off-duty special constable. Fadi Nasri, who made a televised appeal for information in the days after she was stabbed, is not the first killer to cry crocodile tears.
They list such recent stars of the small screen as Tracie Andrews, John Tanner and Susan Smith.

Of course, it's long been a habit in my household to cock an eyebrow at the sobbing relative on the televised appeal and remark 'Wonder when they'll be arresting them..?', so the good old Beeb is a bit behind the curve here.

I can even remember the first one that came to my notice, quite a few years now - at least 15, or even more. It was a couple appealing for the return of their baby who had been snatched with their car while parked outside a shop, or so they claimed. The baby had Downs syndrome, and the car snatch story was an attempt to cover up his murder; the body was found shortly afterward. Can't find any report on the web about it, but I remember quite clearly the shock as the facts of the case unravelled.

Now, such a story has become unremarkable...

No Signs Of Intelligent Life...

No, not a post on the Mars lander! Though the images were stunning, it's a more down to earth matter...

After a decent interval to allow undertakers to collect the still-warm bodies from the streets after a Bank Holiday weekend full of reports of stabbings and beatings, the liberal do-gooders are striking back, lest we actually do anything too harsh, like punish offenders. First up is Magnus Linklater from the ‘Times’, who is quick to claim that prison doesn’t work:
Here is John Carnochan, head of the Violence Reduction Unit at Strathclyde Police, where knife crime is more than three times higher than in the rest of the UK: “It is a truism that putting people in jail doesn't work,” he says. “It may make the rest of us feel better, but it was never intended to solve the problem, nor does it.”
Well, obviously not, John, if your knife crime figures are three times higher than the rest of the country! Perhaps you aren’t jailing enough people…?
Most detailed surveys show that people are fully aware of the limitations of prison. They know that they have become, for the most part, universities of crime, and the public are more interested in schemes that work - that offer treatment to drug addicts, training programmes for young offenders, or properly supervised service to the community. They would probably understand the Sure Start programme, which helps young families, if the Government was prepared to come out and sell it properly.
Ah, yes, the age old cry of the liberal do-gooder; ‘people just don’t support my policy, there must be something wrong with them...!’

Actually, they understand all right – it’s why they don’t want to buy into more crazy schemes designed to ‘help and assist’ those who have repeatedly shown no inclination to change or help themselves.

Next up is everyone’s favourite PC PC, Sir Ian Blair, who thinks a solution to the rising tide of crime is more police ‘plastic police’:
Dedicated police staff are to patrol London's youth courts to encourage knife crime victims and witnesses to testify against their attackers.
The decision to put police community support officers inside the capital's youth courts is part of a series of special measures to tackle knife crime in London to be outlined by the Metropolitan police commissioner, Sir Ian Blair, later this week.
I wonder why the victims and witnesses are afraid to give evidence…?
The papers for the Metropolitan Police Authority meeting make clear that Scotland Yard is well aware of the possible implications of stepping up the scale of "stop and search" operations, which will disproportionately hit young people from minority ethnic communities. The police say they will monitor the ethnic impact of the new stop and search campaigns and will try to secure a community mandate for this approach by recruiting local community leaders as observers of the enforcement campaign.
Oh, yeah, that’s why. Senior police worry too much about the sensitivities of the youths, and not so much about the safety of the public. Not reassuring, is it? Nor the bit about recruiting ‘local community leaders’….

Still, that isn’t Blair’s most daft statement :
Sir Ian Blair, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, said that families must confront their children over weapons in the same way as they would over drugs and excessive drinking.
Yup, the most senior police officer in the land believes that it’s just escaped parent’s minds not to add in ‘Don’t carry a knife’ to the routine ‘Don’t drink and take drugs’ warning! Frankly, I’d be surprised if some of these parents can remember their kids’ names, never mind actually talk to them…
Sir Ian welcomed recent comments by a senior judge last week that said those caught carrying knives should face jail and called for a simple, tough stance, criticising the “conflicting messages” on what penalty those found with knives can expect.
The police chief added: “The knives we are seeing are not nearly as often home-made constructed weapons, as weapons you would take from the kitchen drawer.
Perhaps I’ve missed something, but as the UK isn’t a giant open air prison (despite the best efforts of the Labour government and local councils), why on earth would kids need to resort to ‘home made weapons’?

Has Blair watched too many episodes of ‘Prisoner Cell Block H’ on DVD or something..?

Tuesday 27 May 2008

A Prediction...

Very little detail yet in the MSM about Karl Bishop, the 21 year old accused of the murder of Robert Knox, other than to describe him as 'unemployed'.

So here's my prediction - he'll have a string of low-level criminal offences on his record, and probably be from a disfunctional family. He'll have been an underachiever at school, with few if any qualifications. Almost certainly, the warning signs will have begun there, with suspensions and perhaps even an expulsion or two; certainly, accusations of bullying and disruptive behaviour will have dogged his education record. He'll have had repeated warnings (or possibly even ASBOs) and numerous 'second chances' from the justice system, but will have spent few (if any) days behind bars.

After his conviction (which will no doubt be followed by the disclosure of his record) a politician will claim we need better methods of 'identifying problem youngsters'...

Yeah, That'll Work....

In an ever-increasing sense of desperation and desire to 'do something' (or rather, be seen to be 'doing something'), one of Labour's ministers has come up with a plan:
Parents of children under 16 who repeatedly break the law should be "named and shamed" and forced to attend classes in how to bring up children, a minister has said.

Ivan Lewis, the minister for care services, said the plan to identify the parents of young troublemakers would help curb anti-social behaviour across Britain.
Yeah, stunning idea, can't fail...
"We need to have a very clear understanding that if your child is out late at night, after dark, under the age of 16, drinking alcohol, doing it repeatedly, making a nuisance of themselves, you are responsible," Mr Lewis, the MP for Bury South, said.
You don't think it might be a bit, err, late by then, Mr Lewis...? Or that the people who brought such a child into the world might not really give two hoots about being shamed in the eyes of society? For that matter, where do you think they are themselves?

You see, you can't systematically dismantle all the apparatus of social control - church, nuclear family, strong social cohesion, national identity, world-class education system, strong and fair justice system - and then whine about parents lacking 'responsibility' when their feral offspring run riot.

The genie is well and truly out of the bottle now.

Not Quite Got The Hang Of Political Correctness.... China, where a guide for assistants at the Beijing Olympic Games caused a bit of a kerfuffle:
The guide for Chinese volunteers at the Games this summer explains that disabled people are a “special group” with “unique personalities and ways of thinking”.

The section of the manual entitled “Skills for helping the disabled” goes on to say: “Some physically disabled are isolated, unsocial, and introspective. They can be stubborn and controlling . . . defensive and have a strong sense of inferiority.

“Sometimes they are overly protective of themselves, especially when they are called crippled or paralysed. Do not use ‘cripple’ or ‘lame’ even if you are just joking.”
But it's such a progressive country...!

Chickens Come Home To Roost For Gordon...

The useless MSM is finally getting around to analysing the Budget changes to vehicle tax, with a report in the morning's edition that shows that one in seven will be affected by the new rates:
Many of those who will be most heavily penalised by the rises are people on low incomes, who could have to pay up to an extra £245 a year to tax the family car.
That'll be popular!
There has been growing anger among Labour MPs, who warned Gordon Brown that road tax could become "the next 10p tax" crisis.
And we aren't exactly finished with that crisis yet!

Labour backbenchers are flexing their muscles, afraid of losing their cozy sinecures at the next election:
Mr Darling has been forced to agree to a meeting next week with Labour MPs who are threatening a revolt over the road tax increases.

They plan to argue that the new rates should not be imposed retrospectively on vehicles bought before 2001, when drivers could not have been expected to know of the Government's plans to raise taxes as part of its environmental measures.
Except, of course, it has nothing to do with 'green issues', and everything to do with raising as much tax to fund Labour's other initiatives as they think they can get away with....

Monday 26 May 2008

Knife Crime - It's A Problem We Can't Solve With Platitudes

The 'Telegraph' has a neat summation of the current toll of young lives lost to crime in London. The list includes death by gunshot, beating and most of all stabbing, which is the most prevalent cause of death.

It's a grisly toll, and makes you wish the UK had a Children's Commisioner, or something, who could...oh, wait! It seems we do. What's his take on this epidemic of violence then...?:
New laws to crack down on knife crime could cause increased hostility among young people, the Children's Commissioner for England has said.

Sir Al Aynsley-Green called for more research into the effects of increased police powers.
Quite right, Sir Al. One can never have too much 'research'. Who would do it though? Perhaps a quango like the Children's Commission...?
Sir Al said young people should be seen as part of the solution rather than part of the problem.
Except, they are the problem. None of these teenagers were stabbed by 40 year olds, they were stabbed by other teenagers. Your clientele are reducing their own numbers, shouldn't that be more of a concern than whether they feel 'alienated'?

A father who lost his son to knife crime has the right idea:
Gerald Pontet, the guardian of 14-year-old Nuttawut Meechao, who was stabbed to death near Finchampstead in Berkshire in 2005 by another teenager, told the BBC News website he was "appalled" at Sir Al's comments.

"Sir Al's concern is for the effect on youngsters and their relationship with authority," Mr Pontet said. "As parents our concern is what our, or other youngsters are up to - are they safe to be out and about and are they going to come home safely?

"To say that our children 'should be part of the solution not part of the problem', Sir Al is using meaningless doublespeak, and if this is his position, he has no real contribution to make."
Perhaps the first thing to be done on the road towards an end to this is to abolish the Children's Commission and put the money to better use.

Saturday 24 May 2008

'Impartial' BBC...? Yeah, Right!

The trial in the case of Keith Brown has finally delivered its verdict:
A man has been convicted of the manslaughter of a BNP activist in a long-running neighbour dispute.

As all the other BBC web reports on this have been calling it (they can still be seen in the sidebar), he's been a 'neighbour':

Jury out in neighbour murder case
Court hears of neighbour 'hell'
Man stabbed neighbour in dispute

So why the change to an unsympathetic description now his violent attacker has been convicted? It's almost as if they were suggesting that...

Nah, couldn't be.

Update: The 'Times' report is even worse, using the headline 'Muslim cleared of murdering BNP man'! The report skips over the fact that he's been convicted of manslaughter, and proceeds to lay out all the alleged 'provocation' that Khan's defence lawyer claimed at the trial.

It seems the MSM is happy to blame the victim, so long as they are the 'right' victim...

Social Workers Asked About Khyra Ishaq Case Weep For.....Other Social Workers

Over in the 'Telegraph' this morning, a reporter tries to get to the bottom of the reasons that nothing was done about Khyra Ishaq.
Wes Cuell, a former social worker and senior officer in the NSPCC, understands the pressures social workers can find themselves under. "The main problem we have is a lack of continuity in council social services departments due to a shortage of permanent, experienced social workers. Councils since Climbié have done their utmost to put in place adequate numbers of frontline staff but have been hampered by a national shortage of qualified people."
And the reasions for this? Well, all the fuss made when they screw up, apparently - it's so unfair:
But why is there a shortage? "Social work is a high-risk and often thankless job – just look what happens to those who get it wrong, as in the Climbié case. One woman was told she would never be allowed to work with children again."
Oh yes. Social workers everywhere know exactly who the real victims of the Climbié case were...

Now, I'm Normally In Favour Of Harsh Punishment...

...but two years for a misleading quote on a movie poster...?
Theatre owners and film company executives risk being jailed for up to two years if they publicise shows by twisting quotations from unflattering reviews to read as praise.
That's the craziest thing I've ever heard! Who comes up with this stuff..?

From next week, European legislation will crack down on the practice of promoters taking critics' words out of context to advertise theatre productions, films and books.
Good old EU. Addressing the important issues....

Friday 23 May 2008

Teaching Is A 'Professional Vocation', Right...?

Strange. Seems their standards aren't that high. A teacher in Kent has been struck off for asking children with special needs which of them was most likely to be raped.

Pretty bad, you'd think...? Well, she's certainly no 'Mrs Chips':
Forster had previously been suspended from teaching for six months after selling cigarettes to students at Meopham School in Wrotham Road.
With the current health Nazi regime in place, I'm surprised she wasn't sacked for that!
GTC committee chairman Tony Neal said: "We had no doubt whatsoever the gravity of her conduct required a prohibition order.

"She has expressed no remorse for her actions and demonstrated no insight."
Sounds like the perfect modern teacher to me! Still, there's always a career in politics...

You Don't Have To Be Mad To Work Here....But It Helps!

Very odd details emerging from the Exeter restaurant bombing (not a sentence I ever thought I'd type...):
Mr Reilly had a history of mental illness and had been "preyed upon" by "radical" Muslims in the area, police officers said.
The police have decided to release a picture as they seem baffled too:
Deputy Chief Constable Tony Melville last night launched a plea for information on Mr Reilly's movements and took the unusual step of releasing a picture to assist the investigation.

He said: "Our investigation so far indicates Reilly, who has a history of mental illnesss had adopted the Islamic faith".

"We believe despite his weak and vulnerable illness he was preyed upon, radicalised, and taken advantage of."
If true, this is made even more wicked by the revelation from a friend:
“He is a very lonely guy and that is because of his mental illness. He has a big lurcher dog called Gypsy who he adores."
I guess his new 'friends' never read him all the Koran...

The Beginning Of The End For Labour...?

..let's hope so:
Tory candidate Edward Timpson won 7,860 more votes than his Labour rival, overturning a 7,000 Labour majority at the general election - a 17.6% swing.
And it's all down to Gordon Brown!

Thursday 22 May 2008

"I've never seen a mummy look like this before. He's still... still... juicy clothed.."

Well, just when you think you've seen the craziest thing that the new fondness for avoiding anything that might upset someone somewhere's sensitivities, along comes something like this:
A museum has covered up Egyptian mummies to hide their nakedness after a surge of complaints from visitors.
I know what you are thinking - who the hell complains about this sort of thing..?!?

Well, it seems 'more than 100 people' have found the sight of a centuries-old dessicated musuem exhibit too much of a problem (or perhaps, a turn on..!):
Bob Partridge, editor of Ancient Egypt magazine, said: “We are shocked and amazed this has been done in advance of any results from the public consultation. The mummies have always been sensitively displayed and have been educational and informative to generations of visitors.”
Educational and informative doesn't cut it in the modern world of museums, Bob - gotta be modest too...

"Igor! Bring Me The Brain..!"

While the police are getting stuck in to Labour's performance on mass immigration, one of the UK's top judges rouses himself from somnolence, blinking sleepily, and reaches a conclusion anyone else fixed in the real world reached long, long ago:
Knife crime has escalated to “epidemic proportions” and has to be “confronted and stopped”, said Sir Igor Judge, the President of the High Court Queen’s Bench Division.
Yeah, thanks for that blinding flash of wisdom, your Honour. However, I'm not sure we can draw the same conclusions from this as the 'Telegraph':
The judge’s stern remarks, mirroring public concern over rising knife crime on the nation’s streets, are likely to result in stronger sentences being passed in cases of knife-related crime in the future.
No, I don't think so somehow. After all, just days ago the 'Telegraph' took a somewhat different view. I can't see Sir Igor's wise words having that much of an effect...

Will It Cause Global Warming As Well...?

According to Julie Spence, Chief Constable of Cambridgeshire, we are in for 'ethnic violence' caused by....wait for it....the credit crunch:
Speaking at the Police Federation conference in Bournemouth on Wednesday, Mrs Spence said: "We do wonder what is going to happen as the credit crunch starts to bite. We have already seen [claims that] 'people are taking our jobs'.

"What does the future hold? We have to be very alive and alert to that as police officers if we want to live in cohesive communities."
Hmm, a little controversial. But there's more:
The police chief claimed that "poor" Government figures on migrant numbers could not be trusted.

Ministers had underestimated the number of Eastern Europeans in the UK by up to two thirds, she said, adding that her own research suggested there were as many as 1.4 million living in Britain.

According to official statistics published this week, 845,000 Eastern European migrants have applied for the Worker Registration Scheme.

Mrs Spence told delegates at the Bournemouth conference that reports that some migrants were returning home were wrong. She gave a series of examples of new problems faced by her officers as a result of the growing migrant population.
Ouch! No promotion for you, Julie...

Wednesday 21 May 2008

Are We Living In 2008? I Just Feel A Need To Check...

This beggars belief:
A seven-year-old girl has died of starvation after police found her and five other children in an emaciated state and living in squalor.
But it's not the child neglect, nor even the mother's 'converted to Islam' quirk of this case that is so infuriating. It's this:
Other neighbours told ITV that three of the children were seen in recent months looking "extremely thin".

Mohammed Khalil, who lived nearby, said he used to see some of the children in their uniforms on their way to the nearby Grove School but that he had not seen them for months.
So, obviously, the school were alerted by this non-appearance and social services (hah!) swung into action? It seems not:
Parents collecting children from the primary school tonight were handed a letter informing them of Khyra's death.

Signed by the school's headteacher, Pamela Matty, it read: "Dear Parents, We have been informed by the police that a child in Handsworth has died.

"As a mark of respect for the family and the community, we are postponing tonight's music concert to a future date."
Well, I suppose that's something....

"Don't Tell 'em Your Name, Pike!"

Signs of increasing stroppyness with officialdom among the population are increasing, with 'Times' columnist Hilary Rose's account of being stopped by the police while driving in London.

Had she committed an offence? Were they checking for valid tax and registration?

Not quite:
A woman in a reflective jacket stuck her head through the window and thrust a card at me. “Thank you for taking the time to provide Transport for London with this important information,” it read. Eh? Transport for London? What information? Since when do the police pull you over so you can have a chat with TfL?
Since now, it seems. The TfL employee didn't like being challenged on this, either, as petty officialdom seldom does:
When I queried this, the surveyor got stroppy. “The police have the authority to pull you over,” she snapped. True, but that's not the point. When pushed, she admitted that I didn't have to answer their questions (so I didn't), but how many people are going to make a fuss?
Once upon a time, not many. But the comments are cheeringly obstreperous, with suggestions for the best ways of zero cooperation and data sabotage.

TfL state that they will be operating 230 of these roadside surveys across Central and North London; so if stopped, tell 'em where to go. It's the only 'transport advice' these people understand...

"Killed Someone With A Screwdriver..? Oh, Well, You're All Better Now!"

Over at An Englishman's Castle yesterday, there was a piece from the 'Scotsman' about a teenage thug who had been in trouble since the age of 11, and who had now disfigured a stranger in a random attack. I commented (sarcastically, of course) that the article's note - 'The sentence effectively means Cornelius will remain behind bars until a panel of experts say he is safe for release' - reassured me!

However, it seems that 'experts' are happy to let you roam the streets if you have done a bit more than that - if you have, in fact, killed a man:
Darrell McLeish was 19 when he was given an indefinite hospital order under the Mental Health Act for killing 29-year-old David Rodway in Bromley town centre.

But two years after the attack it has been revealed McLeish, formerly of Widecombe Road, Mottingham, is set to be allowed to go on day release from his medium-security hospital.
It's not just the parents of the murdered man, David Rodway, that (understandably) find this baffling:
Bromley police borough commander Chief Superintendent Charles Griggs is also angry at the news.

He said: "I'm outraged. How can someone who was so ill that he couldn't be given a prison sentence 17 months ago have made such a miraculous recovery that he's fit to be released?"
Don't know, Mr Griggs. But it seems to happen a lot...

Tuesday 20 May 2008

I Thought 'Softly, Softly' Was the New Watchword...?

This could be a very bad blow to police/public relations:
A girl of 16 died after being knocked down by a police car as it followed a suspect vehicle down a residential street. Hayley Adamson was thrown 50ft into the air after she was struck by the marked patrol car at 11.20pm last night.

It was one of two patrol cars following a suspicious vehicle that had shown up on the officers' in-car Number Plate Recognition System as having no insurance or tax.
Seems a bit of an overreaction for such a minor infraction, doesn’t it? I didn’t think that kind of ‘low level’ crime warranted a late night pursuit:
Eyewitness David Forrest, 20, was among the group walking with the popular youngster when the crash occurred.

He said: "There were seven of us and we were about to cross the road. I was at the front of the group and as I looked both ways I could not see any vehicles coming.”

"Hayley was right behind me in the group, but when I crossed the road and reached the curb on the other side I heard an almighty bang.”

"I turned round to look and a police car had hit Hayley and thrown her about 50ft down the road.The police car had come out of nowhere. There were two police cars and neither had flashing lights on or their sirens going. The car that hit Hayley didn't even have headlights on.”.
Well, the inquest and forensic examination will prove whether this was an accurate reflection of what happened, but the police don’t appear to have covered themselves with glory in their reaction to the aftermath:
Hayley's 23-year-old boyfriend, George Oliver, was apparently tasered by officers and arrested after remonstrating with police.
It seems he isn’t the only one :

Police have warned they will not tolerate disorder in the wake of the death of a 16-year-old girl who died when she was hit by a patrol car.
Northumbria Police said several arrests were made after trouble flared following the death of Hayley Adamson in Denton Road, Newcastle, on Monday.

Vote For Me And I’ll Make You….Err….Cold, Poor and Hungry!

The US Election is (pun intended) warming up nicely, with Democratic Nominee hopeful Barak Obama trying an….interesting new rallying call.
Pitching his message to Oregon's environmentally-conscious voters, Obama called on the United States to "lead by example" on global warming, and develop new technologies at home which could be exported to developing countries.

"We can't drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times ... and then just expect that other countries are going to say OK," Obama said.

"That's not leadership. That's not going to happen," he added.
Didn’t American politicians once think promising ‘three acres and a mule’ was a vote winner?

Perhaps Obama should try that tack instead, it might prove even more popular with the global warming fanatics!

Signs Of The Times Part 2…

A FATHER who pocketed £80,000 in benefits by claiming he had 36 children was jailed yesterday .
As he sentenced Fraser to 13 months in jail, sheriff Alexander Jessop said he couldn't understand how the con had gone undetected for so long. The sheriff added: "These claims were going in and all the money was being paid into one bank account and no one made any inquiries to check him out.

"It seems surprising that a person can just phone up and have children added as a tax credit without any inquiry as to whether there are such children living with them".
Doesn’t seem so surprising to me, given the deplorable lack of commitment to stopping fraud in, well, nearly every branch of the government….!
After Fraser was sentenced, Anne-Marie Gordon of HM Revenue and Customs said: "The defendant deliberately claimed tax credits to which he was not entitled. This investigation has shown our determination to seek out people who are tempted to cheat the tax credit system by submitting fraudulent claims."
You might think that’s what it shows, love. Anyone else might think it showed what a shower of useless, expensive, unimaginative button-pushers are being employed in HMRC…

Strewth, Bruce!

Baz Lurhmann's new film, 'Australia' appears to be the closest thing to a Mills & Boon novel ever filmed. Let's see:

plucky heroine with an inheritance? check
rough hewn son of the soil (but one who scrubs up nice in a dinner jacket)? check
unhappy past of said rough hewn son of the soil? check
impossible task facing heroine? check
strange, far-away land? check
adorable little child? check
impending war? check

It may be beautifully shot, but so should the scriptwriter! One to miss, I think...

Monday 19 May 2008

Oh, The Wailing And Gnashing Of Teeth Will Be Awesome!

State school pupils will be encouraged to sign up for military training with the cadet corps under a review of the armed forces which is published today.
Cue NUT outrage in 1…2….3…

Of course, there’s always the possibility that this won’t actually result in anything:
Davies told the Observer that the proposal had the enthusiastic backing of the prime minister, Gordon Brown.
Ok, more than a possibility!

Sunday 18 May 2008

Ooopsie! Part 3

Oh, dear. This sort of thing never happens on CSI:
A piece of bone that sparked a massive police search at a former Haut de la Garenne children's home now appears to be a shard of wood or coconut shell.
Still, they aren't letting it get them down:
Police in Jersey say the latest twist does not affect their investigation.

The wider search across the complex has led police to what they believe are bone fragments and children's milk teeth buried beneath the old foundations of the building, although forensic testing is still underway to confirm whether or not the 20 pieces of bone are human or animal.
Or pottery....

Maybe the Jersey police should approach these guys for some assistance...?

'You Are The Weakest Link. Goodbye!' will soon be said to Sir Ian Blair:
The embattled Metropolitan police commissioner, Sir Ian Blair, has been told that his contract will not be renewed and that he should start planning for retirement, senior police officials have disclosed.

The Met chief, who has survived a series of demands for his resignation, was notified in a private conversation that his plea for a second term had been rejected and the search for his replacement will begin soon. The decision is a grave blow to Blair, who has previously spoken of his desire to stay on until after the 2012 London Olympics.
Hoping for a front row seat at the high jump, was he...? So, who's likely to succeed him? Well, according to the 'Times', the front runners are:
Speculation has focused on Sir Hugh Orde, head of the Police Service of Northern Ireland, and Sir Paul Scott-Lee, chief constable of West Midlands police, Britain’s second largest force.
Hmm, I think recent developments might scotch that one!

Saturday 17 May 2008

Surely Some Mistake...?

The family of a senior BBC executive who committed suicide after she was "demonised" by management and branded a failure, have said they would consider taking legal action against the corporation.
"Kevin Burden, the head of training at the trust, told the inquest that he witnessed Mrs Boto being "marginalised and demonised by the management". "The director of the world service said to me she was a failure and there was no place for failures at the BBC," said Mr Burden."
Funny. Seems to me to be plenty of room...

Of course, the lawyers are circling hungrily. The attitude of the husband shows a new brand of cheek:
"Mrs Boto's husband Tom said the family would consider the possibility of taking legal action against the BBC.

"The question will always remain – even if the BBC did everything correct in terms of procedure, is there something more that they could have done?" he said."
I suspect he wouldn't like to see that particular tack tried against, say, gynaecologists...

Friday 16 May 2008

Well, Thank Heaven For Small Mercies...!

Two supermarkets in Gloucestershire were surrounded by police after a man walked in and sprayed what is thought to be urine over meat, salad and fruit.
"It is alleged that a man was spraying a foul-smelling substance, thought to be urine, on the foodstuffs, including the salad bar, fruits and meat," said a police spokeswoman.

"The device he was using is described as a kind of tube. Clearly this is a very unusual incident. A man has been arrested and a full investigation is under way," she added.

Oooopsie! Part 2

A man who helped set up a Government database of violent sex offenders has been jailed on child pornography charges.
Barron has since been sacked by the Probation Service.
I was somewhat relieved that didn't read 'promoted'...

Fashion Sense. Always The First Thing To Go....

A man who ram-raided a supermarket clad only in a sheet and a pair of Ugg boots has been jailed for four years.
The judge said Ball had "50 to 60" convictions for theft which dated back to 1990 and had spent a number of "short spells" in jail.
It's almost like those two things are ... some way...


The BBC had some truly shocking pictures of the floods in Burma last night. Trouble was:
"Last night the BBC broadcast a still which we said showed dozens of bodies lying in the waterfront of the Irrawaddy delta.

We have since discovered that the picture was actually taken in Aceh, Sumatra following the tsunami of 2004".
Ah, that world-renowned BBC news service. Paid for by license payers for the good of the nation, don't you know...

Hmmm, New ‘Experts’ Needed, I think…

17:39 GMT, Friday, 9 May
Det Ch Insp Colin Sutton said: "We still haven't ruled out a gas explosion but experts say it is unlikely to be the cause."
16:06 GMT, Thursday, 15 May
Gas was the most likely cause of the blast in Stanley Road, South Harrow, London last Wednesday, they said.

Ah, If Only Social Workers Had The Same Dedication

I can’t really fault the RSPCA’s attempts to ensure the best possible life for the cat (though I’m surprised they didn’t simply suggest it be rehomed on the basis of being an indoor-only cat).
However, the family were told by the RSPCA that they could not take the animal because the estate where they live in Ashford, Kent, is notorious for anti-social behaviour. The animal welfare charity claims that the majority of complaints about the mistreatment of cats stem from that area.
However, I can’t help wondering if we shouldn’t be as strict with child adoptions

Satire Takes Another Shoeing From Reality…

Ever wonder why council tax goes up and up and up each year…?
Steve Heyman said that six week's work by three different groups of contractors had so far resulted in two poles standing next to each other on both sides of the road, with only one of the four orange flashing globes actually lighting up.
Wow! The council must be pretty ashamed of that dismal episode, eh? Well, not quite:
A spokeswoman said the project was a Fishergate ward committee "Local Improvement Scheme" to replace existing poles with illuminated ones to improve the visibility of the crossing at night.
It's certainly improved the pay packets of all those council contractors, love!

Thursday 15 May 2008

“Truth is the thread-killer. Truth is the little-death that brings total obliteration….”

Yesterday, ‘CiF’ decided to give Claudia Webbe a platform to claim that the rampant knife crime on the streets of the UK was the fault of…well, everbody and everything except the knife-wielding thugs themselves.

Sadly, she began by mentioning (as if they were the same) the cases of 16 year old Jimmy Mizen, murdered while minding his own business on a shopping trip, and the twice-bailed-on-rape-and- stabbing-charges thug Stephen Bigby, whose lifestyle appears to have caught up with him on Oxford Street.

She was duly monstered by all in the comments for this, and other fallacies in her ‘argument’, as well as her profile, which indicates that she would view any success in combating street thuggery as a loss of a meal ticket. This forced the ‘CiF’ editor to swoop to her rescue with a plausible excuse:
Comment No. 1348767
May 14 18:25
This thread will shortly be closing for the night.
Checking it out this morning, however:
Comments have now been closed on this entry.
Oh, well. I really must time these threads one day, and see who sets the record for ‘Quickest Thread to Close at CiF in 2008’….

Missing – Sense of Proportion. If Found, Return to Rangers Fan...

It seems some people have a rather... loose …grip on what’s important in life:
But fans who had been waiting in Piccadilly Gardens all day were unimpressed. One said: "This is absolutely ridiculous - there's Rangers fans throwing bottles and cans at each other because the game's not on.

"We've been sat here since 12 o'clock waiting on the game coming on. The coverage started at seven o'clock and then five minutes later the game's off.

"It's an absolute shambles, shame on Manchester, shame on Manchester - it's let the country down."

Wednesday 14 May 2008

Valid Tax Disc? ‘Computer Says No…’

A Dagenham woman had a shock (according to the ‘Barking and Dagenham Post’ – story missing from the online issue) when she saw a car clamper applying a Denver Boot to her legitimately-taxed vehicle, because it had been flagged as ‘untaxed’ by the council’s pride and joy, the roving Smart car with camera:
Running outside in her pyjamas, the mother-of-one was confronted with the sight of a huge penalty notice slapped across her windscreen, and a man preparing to fit the clamps to the wheels...Holly pointed out that there was a tax disc valid until August 2008 clearly visible on her windscreen.
So, faced with the evidence before his own eyes, and knowing that computer systems aren’t reliable (particularly at the DVLA, home to more cock-ups than Cynthia Payne’s little Streatham semi-detached), obviously he apologised, reported the DVLA error to his control team and went on his way. Right?

Well, no:
She claims the clamper then placed a call to the DVLA - who told him to clamp it hour and several phone calls later, Holly was finally able to get the clamps removed.
So, although they had no way of proving the disc was a forgery, they decided to err on the side of caution….for the council, not the resident!

Because the public who pay their wages are obviously all lying, cheating scum who can be fleeced at will…

A spokesman for the company (Tim Cowan of NCP Services) said:
We clamped this car by mistake. The database showed it as untaxed, and though it was showing a valid disc, we take into account that some tax dodgers display what appears to be a valid disc.'
Note: this council already has ‘form’ for this kind of attitude, the official adjudicator for the Parking and Traffic Appeals Service slamming them for behaviour that amounted to ‘misconduct’ recently.

Cosseted Media Darlings In Uproar - Part 756

Oh, dear. The new Mayor of London caused mass spitting-of-dummies over his pre-election campaign to end the arts gravy-train for the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square:
Mr Johnson supports a campaign launched in March to erect a permanent statue of Air Chief Marshal Sir Keith Park, a Battle of Britain hero, on the plinth.
But beware, Boris! They are massing their armies against you:
Leading figures from the arts world criticised Boris Johnson, the new Mayor of London, and said he would be forced into an embarrassing climbdown over his pledge to scrap the competition for a temporary work of art to be placed on the empty plinth in Trafalgar Square every 18 months.
Oh noes! Not leading figures from the arts world!!

I'm not quite sure how they plan to achieve that climbdown, but I expect they've got a plan figured out.
Mr Gormley said: "He promised that he's going to run as new Boris. I hope that the new Boris is going to be more culturally aware."
Oh. They plan to whine and criticise his taste in art...?

Good plan, guys. Good plan. Can't fail....

Taking Environmental Enthusiasm A Little Too Far…

The decomposed body of a man found in Crayford yesterday had been through the recycling system.
I wonder what the fine is for that...?

NUT – Good Name Choice….

A NUT representative has thrown his toys out of the pram again over the issue of ‘support’ for the Armed Forces:
A school in Leicester is at the centre of a controversy after accepting sports equipment from the Army. The tennis team at Lancaster Boys' School, which reached the national finals this year, was given new kits and racquets.

But a teachers' unions felt the donation was just a ploy to boost recruitment for the armed forces. Peter Flack, from the National Union of Teachers, said: "They have access to facilities that schools don't have, which are paid for by the taxpayer, which they are then exploiting to get themselves a privileged track into schools. We don't think that's reasonable, we don't think that's fair."
‘We’ (being the people who are taxed to the hilt to pay your wages and public sector pension) would far rather you shut up and stuck to ensuring that the children leaving your schools could read and write, frankly…
The school's head teacher Paul Craven said there were no deals with the Army. "What this is about is the boys who have expressed an interest in the armed forces being given an opportunity to speak directly with representatives from the organisation," he said. The Army will also be providing a climbing tower for the school's sports day later this term.
Those that can, do. Those that can’t, teach. Those that want a cushy feather-bedded job pumping out left-wing agitprop, get a NUT post…

More Trouble Ahead for Gordon…

The Joint Select Committee on Human Rights has rejected the extension of the pre-charge detention limit to 42 days, calling it ‘wholly unnecessary':
The Joint Select Committee on Human Rights has proposed a series of reforms which it says are a viable alternative to increasing the current 28-day limit.

They include ending the ban on granting bail in terror cases, and allowing post-charge questioning of suspects.
The JCHR seems to have realised what the public learned
long ago – why have a committee make recommendations if you aren’t prepared to accept them?
The JCHR says the government has largely ignored the proposals it has put forward in a previous report.

Chair Andrew Dismore MP said: "We are astonished - and extremely disappointed - that the government have failed even to consider our proposed alternative, in the meagre four paragraphs of official response we have received so far."
I wouldn’t be so ‘astonished’, Mr Dismore…

Tuesday 13 May 2008

Scrap A Vanity Project, Plant A Tree!

As we saw in his first few days in office, Boris Johnson is going to make some real changes. First, appointing the impressive Ray Lewis to the position of deputy mayor, with a key role in tackling youth violence. And oh, how he has his work cut out for him, if the last few days is anything to go by....

Next, by bringing Ken's vanity paper and propaganda sheet 'The Londoner' to a screeching halt:
Mayor Boris Johnson has scrapped the Londoner newspaper in a move his office claims will save £2.9m.

The Londoner, a freesheet, was distributed to three million homes across the city.

Up to £1m of the saving will be used to fund the planting of 10,000 new trees in London's most deprived areas, says Mr Johnson.
Heh. Surely no-one could object to that? We'll see....

Joined Up Government….?

Just four months after Gordon Brown promised a "zero tolerance" approach to knife crime, some people have other ideas :

Magistrates have been told that the "starting point" for sentencing many offenders caught with knives should be a community order.

Some may be let off with a fine and even carrying a knife in school may not result in a custodial sentence.
I shall be watching this site carefully for views...

Whew! That’s a Relief…!

No need to panic about the murder of promising young lad Jimmy Mizen. There’s no hint it was a gang-related or racial killing :
The police officer leading the investigation into the murder of teenager Jimmy Mizen says it is progressing well.
Jimmy, 16, of Dallinger Road, Lee, was killed in an unprovoked attack in the Three Cooks bakery near his home at 11.50am on Saturday (May 10).
Detective Chief Inspector Cliff Lyons said: "CCTV footage has been gathered from the surrounding area and we have also been conducting house-to-house inquiries.
He added: "I would like to stress this incident is not being linked to any ongoing police investigation. Neither does it have any racial or gang element."
Just a normal, everyday stabbing then…

But wait! Not so fast, CI Lyons…:
Police forensic staff continued to comb the inside of the shop for evidence. It is understood they have a suspect - a 21-year old man thought to be of Turkish descent. They have searched a number of properties in the area but by yesterday afternoon had not made any arrests.

Police have issued an all-ports warning to stop the suspect, who is believed to have several previous convictions for assault and minor offences, fleeing the country.
I guess now we know why the police requests for help were so studiously failing to mention any description of the person sought for the crime, as House of Dumb noted yesterday....

Here’s a New Excuse!

Obviously, social services departments have been advised to avoid the overuse of such phrases as ‘learning lessons’ and ‘organisational review', probably to spare Google’s servers when they keep cropping up in cases where they’ve blundered, or simply failed to do anything at all.

So they apparently have a new phrase to use: ‘It’s never happened before! How could we possibly know...?’:
Trycia Balhous was stabbed five times by her mother Galtricia Ntsimbi, 23, at their flat in Law House in Barking, east London, on 14 August 2007. The child died from a stab wound and her mother also had stab wounds.

Six days before the stabbing Ntsimbi was arrested for harassing a local shop keeper and was referred to Barking and Dagenham social services by a police doctor. But the Old Bailey heard that she was released without charge and did not receive any follow-up help.

The council had said she was found not to have any mental health care issues, but she was later found to be suffering from paranoid schizophrenia. Barking and Dagenham council said: "This clearly was a tragic incident. The family only came to the attention of agencies a matter of days before Trycia's death and there was no history of intervention prior to this."
Ooops! Mind you, you have to dig a little deeper into a few more newspaper reports to get the full picture:

The ‘Mirror’: “she was released without charge after Barking social services had difficulty finding an interpreter.”

The ‘Mail’: “One psychiatric report later suggested her use of cannabis may have triggered her "episode of mental illness".”

The judge was pretty scathing:
Judge David Paget said: "It seems a thousand pities that his views (the doctor's) were not followed up more precisely. It might have avoided this tragedy."

Prosecutor Christopher Tehrani said the doctor thought Ntsimbi was suffering from a "fixed delusional disorder".

Mr Tehrani said: "He suggested a follow-up. The trouble was the defendant was referred to the local social services. There was no follow-up."
But Barking and Dagenham Council weren't particularly concerned:
It said following the girl's death a serious case review was carried out on behalf of the Barking and Dagenham Local Safeguarding Children Board, which concluded that it was highly unlikely that Trycia's death could have been prevented.
Move along, nothing to see here....

Monday 12 May 2008

Leave It Alan, He Isn't Worth It....!

Is this the best the Brownites can do? Wheeling out Alan Johnson to refute the claims of Frank Field, Prescott and Blair’s wife that Brown is, frankly, not up to the job?
"They are just all coming out of the woodwork now. Just stop it and let's get on with talking about the things that people really care about and the things that Gordon Brown is focused on."
What ‘things’ would that be then…? Uncontrolled immigration? Rising street crime? The credit crunch? The interminable NHS funding problems?

Not quite:
Mr Brown is unveiling a round of eye-catching schemes, including one to reform social care for Britain's ageing population, in a bid to turn his fortunes around.
In other words, more tinkering with the apparatus of tax credits to carefully dole out people's own money back to them via an army of state employees....

Saturday 10 May 2008

Today's 'WTF....?' Moment

Over at Unenlightened Commentary, Ross has a post contrasting two recent decisions on immigration matters.

Words truly fail me....

Friday 9 May 2008

Indicators of Efficacy

A stumbling block for any project or initiative is working out what your success criteria are going to be. How will you know you are on the right track..?

Well, with some initiatives, that's easy. You measure success by the amount of screaming, shouting and wailing produced by lefties and 'hug-a-hoodie' social workers it produces. If it's a high level, you are on to something worthwhile.

On those criteria, 'Operation Leopard' is an astounding success as it has produced Defcon 4 levels of outrage. Leading the charge is AllyF for 'Comment is Free' (a man who must surely be a contender for 'Author Image Most Likely To Scare Small Children', along with Rupa Huq...).

'Operation Leopard' is an initiative from Basildon, whereby a team of police officers supported by photographers were deployed to bring some order back to a council estate plagued by low level anti social behavior by known thugs.
Burglaries, criminal damage and car crime on the estate dropped to zero during the period. Residents were delighted.
Good, no...? No:
Anyone who has talked to or worked with persistent young offenders will describe some recurring common attitudes. Anger at the world is normal, as is a sense of persecution and injustice. There is a nihilistic indifference to their own fate and a belief that, whatever they do, life will inevitably kick them in the teeth - all of which combines to make self-destructive, antisocial behaviour and criminality a no-brainer. It is just impossible to believe that any young person going through an intense experience of state harassment would emerge on the other side a more rounded, responsible individual, committed to a law-abiding future.
You see, it shouldn't be used because, well, the anti social young thugs will feel that people are picking on them....

As I pointed out on the thread, the leopard is the most widespread and adaptable of all the big cats. Here's hoping its namesake quickly becomes as widespread.

Ya Think…?!!

Mr Justice Collins said he was aware he might cause controversy, and that he was conscious the council might criticise his decision to delay judgement.
So, the traveller’s illegal occupation continues and the taxpayers of Billericay and Wickford have to pay for yet another delay in this interminable saga.
They have an uphill struggle too, as the local paper reports, on a call for more sites to be built for when they are finally evicted:
Locals fear the travellers' representation will be given more weight than their own, after learning travellers held a meeting with the Government Office of the East of England, which was not open to settled residents.
There’s precious little chance of Home Secretary Jacqui Smith’s call
for those who ‘persistently misbehave and intimidate others in their communities’ to be ‘harassed themselves’, if another government department is continually siding with those who flout the law.

Just Shut Up And Cook!

Publicity hungry TV chef Gordon Ramsey is obviously aiming for some kind of ‘Most Amount of Bollocks Talked’ award next:
Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay says British restaurants should be fined if they serve fruit and vegetables which are not in season.

He told the BBC that fruit and vegetables should be locally-sourced and only on menus when in season.
Where on earth does anyone like a chef get the idea that we want to hear their crazy ideas on what legislation is required regarding menus…oh:
Mr Ramsay said he had already spoken to Prime Minister Gordon Brown about outlawing out-of-season produce.
Doesn’t the PM have anything better to do with his time, like perhaps trying to figure out why, in a popularity contest, he’d lose out to Josef Fritzl?
"I don't want to see asparagus on in the middle of December. I don't want to see strawberries from Kenya in the middle of March. I want to see it home grown."

Ramsay, whose London restaurants include Petrus, The Savoy Grill and Maze, added that Britain had become a nation of lazy eaters, following trends and fads, rather than substance.
God forbid we become ‘lazy eaters’ following ‘trends and fads’ promoted by….err….chefs!

Look, idiot, if you don’t want to serve out-of-season- vegetables in your overpriced, trendy cafeteria, then don’t! If customers are in favour, they keep coming. If they really want Kenyan strawberries and winter asparagus, they’ll go somewhere else. That is why restaurants exist, isn’t it – to bring in the customers?

Why Bother To Commission One At All…?

Just days after Jacqui Smith decided to throw out a report on the reclassification of cannabis in pursuit of votes, the government are at it again, allegedly trying to nobble a study into the 60-tonne ‘superlorries’, presumably because they think there might be votes in not having these behemoths on the road:

The authors of a government-commissioned study into 60-tonne superlorries have come under pressure to alter their findings to give ministers an excuse for rejecting road trials.

A source close to the study said part of the reason for the delay was that the DfT had been trying to persuade the authors to make their findings less positive. The source said that the authors had refused to allow their independence to be compromised. “You have to draw a line between accepting amendments to clarify arguments and changing the final conclusions and recommendations.”
More money down the drain on ‘expert studies’ that produce the wrong answers….

ASBOs On The Way Out….

Well, this’ll please most of the judiciary, who were never in favour of curbing this ‘anti social behavior’ in the first place:
the number of people breaching the terms of their orders rose to almost a half. Among juveniles the rate is 61 per cent and among adults it is 43 per cent, according to the Home Office figures. The overall breach rate is now 49 per cent.
I thought the idea was that if they breached, they went to jail...? Oh, but the jails are too full of people caught not paying their council tax or TV licence, aren't they?

Joined-up government at its finest!

Because He Was Shooting At People, That’s Why..!

The father of the barrister shot by police demands answers , according to the media this morning:
Barrister Mark Saunders' father wants to know why the police shot his son five times
Dunno, Mr Saunders! Perhaps they’d all played a bit too much ‘Grand Theft Auto IV’ that morning…?

Mr Saunders’s father has demanded answers over why his son was shot, and insisted that he had not put anyone in danger.
Except for the volley of shotgun blasts into the street, into his neighbour’s flats, at the police….
He said: “Put it this way. He didn’t endanger anyone at all to my knowledge and we can only surmise what might have happened before the whole thing started. I just don’t know. You would imagine that it will come out in the fullness of time. We will want answers as to why police shot him.”
I really don’t think we need to wait for ‘the fullness of time’, do you...?

Love Music Hate Racism Kinda Keen on Violence

Over at UK Commentators , Laban Tall wryly notes that the ‘Love Music Hate Racism’ music festival so beloved of lefties didn’t quite manage to convince all its attendees, as the local ‘East London Advertiser’ reports:
A gang of 20 youths attacked four Asian youngsters outside Victoria Park's Love Music Hate Racism carnival last month, leaving them needing hospital treatment. As they left the festival ground, the group was set upon by the gang of between 15 and 20 white and black youths around 6.30 pm on Sunday, April 27.
Well, at least they were united in something!

This will no doubt come as a shock to the organisers, who were planning more flag-waving and attention-seeking following the election of a BNP representative to the London Assembly.

Clean up your own back yard first, in my opinion...

Thursday 8 May 2008

Start As You Mean To Go On….

Boris Johnson has lit the blue touchpaper with his plans to honour his election commitment to ban the drinking of alcohol on London's transport system.

Boris appears to be relying on the ‘broken windows’
theory of crime prevention – crack down on the small stuff and you create an environment where the greater crimes can get no traction.

The mayor said: "I firmly believe that if we drive out so-called minor crime then we will be able to get a firm grip on more serious crime.
I’m not ever in favour of blanket legislation – if a few people are making a nuisance, target them and crack down on them, and leave those who can enjoy a drink on Tubes or buses without annoying anyone else alone. But it was an election promise, so it would be hypocritical of him to scrap it now he’s won….

Predictably, the left-winger dominated unions are the first to throw their toys out of the pram at the prospect of the slightest change to the status quo:
But the Rail Maritime and Transport Union said the policy appeared "not to have been thought through very well" and could make matters worse.
Bob Crow, RMT leader, said:
Perhaps the mayor will come out with his underpants on over his trousers like Superman one Saturday to show us how it should be done, and maybe tell a crowd of Liverpool supporters that they can't drink on the train. We are being told that it will be our members who will have to approach people drinking and ask them to stop - but the mayor hasn't asked us what we think.
He doesn’t need to, Mr Crow. What do you plan to do, pull a strike over it, and see if your union’s popularity can actually achieve negative popularity figures….?

At least if it achieves nothing else, it might mean that the ambulance service isn’t used as a ‘wake-up-the-drunk-on-the–bus’ service, as reported so frequently by Paramedic’s Diary.

Wednesday 7 May 2008

Maybe The Education System Does Work After All....

Well, it certainly has resulted in some very shrewd kids in Barking Abbey Upper School, according to the print edition of the 'Barking and Dagenham Post'.

They had a story in this week's paper about Foreign Secretary David Miliband visiting the school along with Margaret Hodge to speak to sixth form students about the London Elections. Their online edition is a bit of a puff piece:
When Mr Miliband had finished taking questions from the students, Mrs Hodge reminded them of the importance of casting their vote during the election tomorrow. She said: "This is a wonderful multicultural school.

"The BNP create division within this borough so it is crucial that people turn out to vote to prevent them from gaining a hold on London."
However, the print edition reports:
As the discussion neared its conclusion, Mr Miliband asked how many of the students would be voting for Ken Livingstone by a show of hands.

He looked disappointed as only two or three students raised theirs, and one shouted out: "You haven't sold him to us yet!"
Yeah, I agree with 'The Who' - the kids are alright...

Top Quality Political Advice, Love..!

Over at the ‘Times’, Alice Miles seems to be under the delusion that Gordon Brown is PM of Burma . She also shows just how out of touch many of the MSM columnists are, and how little they've managed to learn since last week:

So a progressive, green policy joins the rest of the rubbish being chucked out of No 10. No wonder environment ministers are fighting back, and insisting that the moves towards bin taxes are progressing nicely, thank you: pilots on course and all that.
Of course! Just because the voters are protesting, that’s no reason to think again. Who the hell do they think they are, expecting ministers to listen to their complaints..?

We don't want to hear about plastic bag taxes or the latest crime initiative from the Prime Minister. His Cabinet can deal with all that. He cannot anyway speak to all the diverse local priorities of a nation that last week voted out a councillor in Manchester because he supported a congestion charge, and a council leader in Barrow-in-Furness because he supported an academy.
Except, of course, we do want to hear about these things. Disasters in Burma and ‘international development’ are not big issues at home, especially while we begin to enter a period of economic slowdown.

He should stop striking poses on issues such as 42 days, and offer more clearly his compelling vision about equal opportunity. Let his policies speak for themselves. He may be out of office in two years' time, but what a glorious two years he could have until then. He might as well do it. I don't think his core beliefs and priorities are all that out of tune with the British people's anyway.
Well, it certainly looks as if yours are, dear...

“That’s it, Captain Brown! Full speed ahead. Pay no attention to the big white icy things in front of your Titanic or the cries of alarm from the passengers…”

Better Move to Westminster, Birdies….

…there’s a big rotting carcase there!

The new rules state that dead animals need to be removed from the land, meaning the carcases, or carrion, the ravens feed on are no longer available.

The birds, which are protected, are instead attacking vulnerable and newborn animals, claim farmers.

This Explains a Lot….

A survey for Norwich Union Healthcare is all over the news this morning, claiming that one in three employees admitted they have been to work with a hangover and more than one in 10 has been drunk at their desk:

Some occupations are worse than others with regard to drinking and the workplace.

Forty-one per cent of people working in media and creative jobs said they had been to work while still drunk - four times the average.

Tuesday 6 May 2008

Paging Mulder & Scully....

The parents from Magherafelt who were reported drunk in charge of their children in Portugal? It's 'very strange', apparently:
A councillor who knows the couple from their County Londonderry home town insists Mrs McGuckin was merely unwell.

She said she could not understand why Portugese authorities took the action they did against the couple, who are from Upperlands.

"Late last night I spoke to somebody close to the family and there's a very different picture emerging," she said.

"Even yesterday it was fairly obvious that there was something very strange about this, for example, how could you possibly go from escorting three children from a bar to being completely comatose in a hotel as suddenly as that."
Dunno, Mrs Lagan. Couldn't possibly have anything to do with cheap alcohol and lack of inhibitions, could it?

Nah, probably a mystery, like the disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa, or Shergar...

Some Good News…

….for Pete Docherty.

Unfortunately, it’s swiftly followed by some bad news .

Monday 5 May 2008

Today's Addition to Ever Growing List of Human Rights

Remember the last one?

Well, here's today's 'Human Right You'd Never Dreamed Of'. It's the 'Right not to have an autopsy performed on your murdered daughter - even though you requested it'.
However, a second post-mortem examination, urged by her mother, showed she had been raped and killed after taking ecstasy, cocaine and LSD.

Her body was brought back to the UK for a third post-mortem, which revealed some of her organs were missing.

Mrs MacKeown said: "As far as I am concerned it is against human rights to violate a child's body like that and not inform the parent.

"They've agreed to give me the organs back, they've never had to do it before so they don't know what the procedure is."
Not against medical ethics, or against autopsy guidelines. Against human rights!

And, how exactly did she think an autopsy was going to be performed without the removal of organs? Doesn't she watch 'CSI' at all...?

Signs of the Times...

Over at Hickstead, it seems that Thelwell's rosy-cheeked, indulgent gymkhana parents have given way to something more like, well, Karen Matthews:
Director Lizzie Bunn said wet weather last summer forced junior classes out of the main arena, leading to "very unacceptable behaviour" from parents.

"My father started Hickstead nearly 50 years ago and I've actually been running the show for 21 years and I've never had to witness the scenes that we had last year," the show secretary said.
In fact, they've decided to scrap the event altogether, in the hopes that an older age group might be more civilised:
She said she had now decided to replace the event with a Young Rider group for 18 to 21-year-olds.

"We just hope that the slightly older children know how to behave a bit better."
Good luck with that, Mrs Bunn..!

Sunday 4 May 2008

Cognitive Dissonance In The UK

A teenager stabbed to death in south London was a "good guy" who wanted to be a lawyer.

Said his mum...? No, not quite - try his 'youth worker':
Mr Seshmi directs the Peckham-based From Boyhood to Manhood Foundation, which helps boys excluded from mainstream education.

Lyle joined the programme after he was thrown out of Peckham Academy.

Mr Seshmi said Lyle "had his contradictions, he had his troubles, but he was a good guy".

"He realised he had made mistakes," he said.
So far so good....
Mr Seshmi said Lyle mixed with "unsavoury guys" out of school, but he did not believe he was a gang member.

"But he had his enemies - he was on the streets and street life is a tough life. Some people didn't like his independent manner," he said.
Ah. Not such a reformed character as Mr Seshmi would have us think, then?