Tuesday 31 March 2009

This Is A Public Service Announcement...

This is an ambulance. This is what a typical NHS ambulance looks like.

So when a paramedic (the man or woman dressed in green or yellow overalls with 'NHS' all over them, attending to your desperately ill neighbour) asks you to move your car out of the way so they can take their patient to hospital, you move it.

Are you listening, Mrs Gillian Birdsall?
'I came back out again and I heard Mrs Birdsall shouting at the ambulance lady, saying "Has anybody died?" really sarcastically and she repeated it again, "Has anybody died?"
That cost you £500 plus costs.

And the contempt of everyone who reads this story in the newspapers. Hope you think it was worth it.

A Right Good Monstering...

...is being administed to Polly Toynbee in the comments at her latest 'CiF' column. There's 454 at the moment, overwhelmingly negative by a factor of about 150 to 1.

In fact, I'd venture to say that she's being spanked so hard and so mercilessly, Richard Timney might even dig deep into his own pocket for the film rights!

All Must Worship The State And Its Minions...

A pregnant woman, her husband and their three-year-old son were killed in a house fire early yesterday as police who arrived before the fire brigade prevented neighbours from trying to save them.
And all because of ‘health and safety’ and not getting sued…
Davey Davis, 38, a friend of the family, said: “It was the most harrowing thing I have ever witnessed. Michelle was at the bedroom window yelling, ‘Please save my kids’ and we wanted to help but the police were pushing us back and not allowing us near. We were willing to risk our lives to save those kiddies but the police wouldn’t let us.

“Tempers were running very high, particularly with the women who were there, but the police were just saying we have to wait for the fire brigade because of health and safety.

“There were four or five police officers. They were here before the fire brigade.

We heard the sirens and we came across to help but they wouldn’t let us.

“I thought the police were there to protect lives. At one time they would have have gone inside themselves to try and rescue them.

“When a family is burning to death in front of your eyes, rules should go out of the window – especially with kids. Everybody wanted to try and help.”
Hard to argue with that. Who could stand by and do nothing?

Even worse, who could prevent other people from doing what your ‘rules’ don’t allow you to do yourself?
A South Yorkshire Police spokeswoman said: “The senior officer in charge is confident we handled this incident as professionally as possible. In a situation like that you could end up with more deceased bodies than you had in the first place.”
You could, indeed. And you could end up with less. But I guess we’ll never know now, will we?

And I seem to recall a hell of a lot of opprobrium being hurled at the Saudi religious police for failing to rescue schoolgirls ‘immodestly attired’ from a burning building. Is it expecting too much for our own media to similarly criticise police who worship not at the altar of Islam, but at the altar of ‘elf and safety?

Meanwhile, forget all that rubbish about ‘helping police with their enquiries’, they’d rather you didn’t publicise information to catch criminals.

Presumably in case it cuts into their future appearances on ‘Crimewatch’:
Police have warned the fiancé of a rape victim to shut down a Facebook site he set up to catch the attacker in case it 'victimises' the criminal, it has been claimed.
Yes, amazingly, it’s ok to publicise a suspect’s picture on a hardly-ever-viewed police website, but if you actually put it where people might see it, why, anything could happen…
The police had published a CCTV image of the suspect on their website but took it down after just 10 days.
No explanation was given for the length of time – perhaps that’s all they do allow for this in any case?

But when the fiancé set up his Facebook page, suddenly, information flooded in:
Greater Manchester Police are said to be taking seriously a name suggested by one contributor.

But the distraught fiancé, who is in his 20s, has been warned to remove the site out of fear the rapist will become a 'victim' of vigilante attacks.
So once again, ultra-caution is the watchword here, in case ‘something happens’.

But the message being sent by these two episodes is a subtle one: ‘Don’t do things for yourselves. We want no independent thought or action. Only the servants of the state are skilled and empowered to act. Leave it to them...’

We used to give medals for acts of bravery and community service. Now, we give lectures instead, about ‘what could have happened’ and how ‘the experts are best placed to deal with this situation’. We’ve lost our country, haven’t we? All without a shot being fired.

It’s enough to make you weep...

I Thought Lawyers Were Good With Words And Stuff….?

The anonymous lawyer who put innocent chef Peter Bacon through months of hell has been persuaded to open her trap to a newspaper. I thought lawyers were supposed to be quite canny about allowing people not to hang themselves with their own words?

She doesn’t seem to have learned that lesson for herself:
In her interview, the woman said she would never have consented to sex with Mr Bacon because he was 'not her type', and she did not feel the need to 'chase after a 20-something man'.

She told the newspaper: 'I'm fussy about the men I date, I'm quite a snob. For example, I would never date a brick-layer.'
Darling, after six bottles of wine, they’re all Brad Pitt, aren’t they? Or Lord Cholmondley, if that’s what floats your boat…
She said she did not blame herself for what happened and did not regret the drinking.

'I concede I was drinking far more than I should have been-far more than was good for me-and as a result I've since cut back on my drinking. But what happened wasn't my fault.'
Well, of course not! That’s the prevailing attitude, isn’t it, these days? Someone else is always to blame…
She claimed she would never willingly have sex in such a drunken state, and could not understand why Mr Bacon had not noticed how inebriated she was.

'My nickname is Baggy because, when I drink, my face drops and sags very obviously,' she told the newspaper.
Perhaps he didn’t know that, sweetie. Perhaps it never got as far as nicknames. Perhaps you failed to mention your unfortunate ‘condition’, you know, in case he thought you were some kind of old lush?

And perhaps he’d had one too many as well, did that thought ever occur to you?
The woman admitted that she knew her story was weak and that, were she defending such a case in court herself, she would be confident of getting the defendant acquitted. But she reported the incident to police out of 'a moral duty to other women'.
Oh, good grief! Self awareness isn’t this woman’s strong point, is it?

And ‘morals’? A little late in the day to discover those, I think…

But she’s got someone else to blame now:
She believes the acquittal was due, in part, to the fact that seven of the 11 jurors were female.

'In date rape trials, women tend to side with men. That is their inherent nature. They judge other women more harshly. That is my experience.'
Not all other women.

Just the ones who get blotto, and in trying to evade any responsibility, choose to put a blameless young man through a hellish court case you know you don’t have a hope of winning….

Monday 30 March 2009

So, What Exactly WAS His Job….?

…if it wasn’t communicating accurately with people?
One delay was caused by a British Transport Police communication officer.

He wrongly claimed to Essex Police that trains were fitted with sensors that would detect any collision on the line.

This affected the police's "perception of the likelihood of Natasha being on the railway lines", the report said.

"The communications officer admitted he lied to an Essex police officer, initially telling IPCC officers that he did so to end the call which would allow him to get on with his job, and that he actually had no knowledge of train sensors," the report said.
Well, he was in the wrong job there.

If he wants to be allowed to lie and make stuff up out of thin air, he should have been in the PR department…

Post Of The Month

Behind Blue Eyes on the threat the G20 protests may pose for our democracy.

Quote Of The Month

From 'Counting Cats In Zanzibar':
And then they summoned from whatever park bench he currently uses as a postal address that tramp’s mate Dolly Draper to attack Hannan on C4 News. And the best he could muster was some dismal toss-pottery about “Old Etonians”.

Sunday 29 March 2009

Sunday Funnies...

From 'Cracked', a round up of the most disgusting soft drinks from around the world.

What, no Irn-Bru...?

Saturday 28 March 2009

"Power to the people!"

A comment regarding the vandalism of Sir Fred Goodwin's house:
Sometimes the sound of breaking glass resonates with meaning, however strong one's abhorrence of violence. Such a moment came with the bricks lobbed through the windows of Sir Fred Goodwin's empty Edinburgh property.

People are angry. Every public and political voice calling on him to give back his ill-gotten gains was met with arrogant obduracy. When the law says nothing can be done, a hurled brick has an extra gust of public opinion behind it.
The rabble rousing anarchist smugly endorsing criminal damage?

Step forward Polly Toynbee, hugely-salaried 'Guardian' columnist and Italian villa owner.
So this week there will be anger on the streets with antics and theatrics to challenge the moribund political system. What's the point? What can mere protest do? Rouse the listless, alarm the powerful, alert MPs to the possibility that radicalism might be popular. Even if it feels infantile and powerless as spitting in the global wind, doing nothing is no answer either. So be there today.
Where will you be, oh champion of the oppressed? Dining at the Ivy, probably...

Thursday 26 March 2009

”Who Are You, And What Are You Doing In My Bed The White House…?”

The President held the second prime-time of his presidency after a difficult ten days in which he has been forced on the defensive after apparently failing to anticipate the public backlash over the bonuses paid out at the ailing AIG insurance giant.

In a press conference dominated by his handling of the recession, Obama was asked why, after being informed of the bonuses, he had waited several days to inform the public.
Well, he probably waited because he was frantically attempting to come up with a plausible reason why he rushed through a bill with an amendment that clearly stated that bonuses included in contracts signed before the bill passed were excluded. That wording was necessary to ensure the bill was constitutional.

So it’s a little strange that he’s drumming up public anger about it now, isn’t it?
Perhaps someone might like to ask some awkward questions about that?

The CNN White House correspondent, Ed Henry, who asked the question, also suggested that the New York attorney-general, Andrew Cuomo, was doing a better job of dealing with AIG than the White House.

Obama gave a general answer and Henry asked again why he had taken a few days to inform the public. The normally cool and controlled president replied sharply: "It took us a couple of days because I like to know what I'm talking about before I speak."
Pressure getting to you, is it, Mr Smooth…? Oh dear!

Even the ‘Guardian’ can’t deny the reality for much longer:
The exchange was unusual, both because it is rare to hear US journalists ask Obama hard questions and rare to see Obama in a testy mood. Much of the rest of the press conference was so carefully choreographed, with a long opening statement, it seemed at times like an extended political broadcast.
Well, well, well.

It seems young female lawyers aren’t the only ones waking up to a horrifying sight on the pillow after throwing caution and principles to the wind and indulging themselves…

Denying Misconduct Reality…

And just to further highlight the gulf between public sector workers and their private counterparts:
Two ambulance workers used an uninsured NHS vehicle to make a 'booze-cruise' trip to France, a disciplinary panel heard yesterday.

Paul Leaman and Richard Lane even ripped the back seats out to make more room for alcohol, and removed crests from the vehicle so they could slip through customs unnoticed.

They then got Essex Ambulance Service NHS Trust to foot the bill, the Health Professions Council was told.
Oh, dear. And there’s more:
In a separate allegation, the men, who were both paramedics but later moved into management positions, are said to have colluded with a company selling health service equipment and 'hassled' colleagues to give the firm business, even though it did not offer competitive rates.

The misconduct hearing has also been told they bullied a colleague, Paul Holmes, when he reported their behaviour to trust bosses.

But how did they have time for all this? Aren’t ambulance personnel undermanned and underresourced, and always rushing to meet senseless deadlines and impossible targets?

Well, these weren’t the frontline workers that do a mostly difficult and thankless job. The clue is in the paragraph above, referring to 'management positions'. These were civil service pen pushers of the kind that no self-respecting empire likes to be without:
Leaman was the trust's director of modernisation and service delivery, before going on to become deputy chief executive.

He is now on secondment with Midlands Air Ambulance as charity appeals director.
That’s really no surprise, now is it?
Lane was the associate director of human relations but left in 2005. He admits colluding with a supplier between 2000 and 2001.
He admits it?

So why the disciplinary panel? Do they deny the other allegations then?
Both admit making unauthorised alterations to a company vehicle before taking it on a trip to France in 2001, with no tax or insurance and at a cost to the NHS. They also admit bullying a colleague.

So, they admit doing these things. Why is the hearing still continuing then?
However, they deny misconduct.
Yeah, I know. I had trouble with that one too. Let’s have it again:
However, they deny misconduct.

Nope, still doesn’t compute. If the above misdeeds don’t add up to misconduct, there’s something very, very rotten in their contract of employment…

I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar Evade Responsibility….

No doubt the usual suspects will soon be jumping on the report in the ‘Mail’ today about the poor chap standing trial for rape after a lawyer allegedly sank enough alcohol to kill an elephant, and then claimed she couldn’t therefore have consented to sex:
The lawyer, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had been drinking heavily on the night of the alleged attack, Winchester Crown Court was told.

She shared a meal and four bottles of wine with her former flatmate, who then invited Bacon over to the house for a few drinks. By that stage the lawyer said she was so drunk that she cannot remember the chef arriving or her former flatmate leaving half an hour later.

But the court heard the woman, who is in her 30s, then shared another two bottles of wine with Bacon before going to bed.
And she’s concerned about rape…?

She should think herself lucky to have woken up at all
The alleged victim said she found Peter Bacon lying naked next to her in bed one morning with no memory of what had gone before.

She immediately accused the chef of taking advantage of her, shouting: 'It's because of b******s like you that the law has been changed.'
No, sweetie, sorry.

It’s not because of people like this man – it’s because some women seem to lack all self-control with regards to alcohol and casual sex, and when they regret their actions afterwards, want to be able to have the judicial system absolve them of any responsibility at all in the matter.

So they lobby the likes of Harriet Harman and her lawyer friend Vera Baird to get the law changed so that, no matter what, their own actions are never allowed to hinder them in any way.

The man in the situation? Well, you can see how he is treated:
Bacon, 26, voluntarily went to a police station and told them what the lawyer had said when he woke up in her bed.

He said he wanted to find out what his legal position was but was arrested and later charged.
Now, no doubt, his behaviour wasn’t the conduct of a gentleman. And I’m bound to be accused of ‘blaming the victim’ here.

Which, I say, if there’s blame on both sides, then we aren’t doing women a favour by trying to claim that there isn’t. That’s not ‘empowering women’. That’s treating them like children.

Spoiled, wilful children who don’t need to ever grow up. I don’t know about anyone else, but I don’t think this is what all those early feminists really had in mind when they campaigned for equality. Was it..?

Update: It took the jury 45 minutes to acquit him. I guess it was lunchtime and they really, really liked the sandwiches from the local deli...

On a less amusing note, it cost the taxpayer £80,000 for the CPS to bring this case. It should come out of the pay packet of the two 'rape specialists' who insisted on pressing ahead with it.

‘Educating’ The New Generation….

The dumbing-down bandwagon rolls on, as NuLab realise that there’s still a few areas of the national curriculum that they can still utterly ruin before the Tories get in:
Children will no longer study the Second World War and Queen Victoria, but instead learn about Twitter and blogging under radical plans to overhaul primary school teaching.
I guess they are pinning their hopes on the new generation producing a far better Derek Draper for their next attempt to get into power…
The new draft curriculum commissioned by the Government claims that pupils can do without learning about the battle against Nazism and the rise and fall of the British Empire.

In a move which will horrify many parents, it would see children focus on internet tools such as Wikipedia and podcasting, as well as innovations such as blogging and Twitter, which allows users to post instant minute-by-minute updates about their lives.
History…? Waste of time.

Gotta be down wif da kidz. Innit…?
The proposals to shake-up primary school teaching were drawn up by Sir Jim Rose, Britain's former schools inspector, and will be published next month.

In the leaked copy seen by the Guardian newspaper, he lays out plans to replace the traditional 13 subjects with just six.

It would completely overhaul the education of five- to 11-year-olds, stripping away hundreds of criteria for their knowledge of history, geography, language and science, and instead give teachers would be given unprecedented freedom over which areas they cover.
Because that isn’t going to end in tears, is it? But what are the six subject remaining from this bonfire of the values?

Well, you could have guessed:
The revamped curriculum also contains environmental lessons and 'physical health and wellbeing' which were previously not part of the curriculum.
Critics suggested the proposals sidelined the joy of reading in favour of computers.

Teresa Cremin, president of the UK Literacy Associations said: 'Our main concern is that there is no emphasis on reading for pleasure or the enjoyment of literacy.'
Because NuLab doesn’t want people reading for pleasure in the future, Teresa.

That way lies madness independent thought. And that won’t elect another Labour government in the future, will it?

Wednesday 25 March 2009

For Anyone Wondering What Matrix Are Up To These Days…

From time to time, I like to lift a rock and watch the scurrying things underneath, see what they are doing under there:
'A dangerous' paedophile is claiming damages from the police after they told his employer about his conviction for molesting a three-year-old boy.
Now, that’s chutzpah!
His barrister, Julian Knowles, QC, of human rights specialist Matrix - the legal chambers Cherie Blair practises with - told the High Court yesterday that W had 'little or no contact' with children in his job.
The police disagree, and the case gravy train rumbles on.

Wonder if he’s getting legal aid?

I Didn’t Much Care For The Seventies The First Time Around...

A series of inflation-busting pay rises for millions of public sector workers was given the green light yesterday – at a time when private firms are freezing wages and cutting jobs.
How can this be?

Well, it’s quite simple. The unions have scented the fear from Brown over the forthcoming election:
In a sign that Labour is unwilling to take on the unions, the Government has agreed to honour increases of more than 2 per cent a year until 2011.
So it’s up to others to do what should be done by the government and holler from the rooftops at the unfairness of this:
But in a clear sign of rising anger, British Chambers of Commerce chief David Frost said: ‘Across the country I am hearing of more and more businesses left with no choice but to freeze and cut wages.

‘It is unacceptable that the public sector should not share any of this pain. There is already an apartheid between public and private sectors on pensions. We cannot have apartheid on pay too.’
Indeed we can’t. The public sector monstrosity is unsustainable.
John Cridland of the CBI said: ‘The growing gap between public and private sector pay increases must be addressed, particularly as government debt skyrockets and the recession deepens.’
But the unions aren’t about to loose their grip on the hapless Gordon’s throat, no matter how much the private sector shouts and waves burning torches:
TUC general secretary Brendan Barber issued a warning to ministers not to renege on their promises.

How long before the rubbish piles up in the streets and the dead go unburied yet again? So do all Labour governments perish….

Ranting Stan hopes for the revolution. I don’t see Call Me Dave as Che Guevara, though.

Taking The Phrase ‘God Is My Co-pilot’…

…just that little bit too far:
A pilot accused of praying when he should have been taking emergency measures to avoid a crash in which 16 people died has been sentenced to 10 years in jail by an Italian court.
This is not what you want to hear over the intercom as your plane plummets from the sky….
The judges accepted the prosecution case that the pilots, instead of making a crash landing on the sea, should have been able to glide the plane to Palermo airport. Instead, Gharby was said to have panicked. In cockpit recordings entered as evidence he was heard calling for the help of "Allah and Muhammad his prophet".
Yeah, I can see that helping. Not!
His lawyer, Francesca Coppi, said: "Faced with danger, he invoked his god as would any one of us."
If you say so, Francesca!
She described her client as "a broken man" who was "convinced he did everything possible to save as many lives as possible".
Apart, that is, from actually flying the damn plane!

Great On Maths & English, But FAIL! On Ideology & Grievance-Mongering…

…is the damning verdict on Stretford Grammar School:
A grammar school with a 96 per cent GCSE success rate has been threatened with closure after inspectors criticised its 'outdated' race equality policy.
Because what’s a great academic record, if you aren’t indoctrinating the kiddiewinks in the latest progressive agenda?

I mean, how will they be employable in the future if all they can do is read and write?
Stretford Grammar was branded 'failing' by Ofsted inspectors who also singled out its sex education programme.

They said the school's curriculum was 'inadequate', while admitting academic standards were 'exceptionally and consistently high'.
Pshaw! Who expects a school, of all places, to concern itself with producing children that can read, write and add up?

What were these teachers thinking….?
Robert McCartney, of the National Grammar Schools Association, said: 'This report seems ludicrous.

'Here you have a school getting almost 100 per cent five A* to C GCSEs and they are getting caned because they're not allegedly up to the mark in some non-academic subjects.

'This smacks of a plot, another line of attack, to try and undermine grammar schools. Ministers have a skewed idea of what is really valuable to children in education.

'You wonder how many comprehensives are failing on the criteria this school is alleged to have failed.'
None of them, probably, Mr McCartney. You see, state school administrations know what’s really important…
Last year, 96 per cent of Stretford pupils achieved five GCSEs at A* to C grade, or vocational equivalent.

But Ofsted said achievement, the curriculum and leadership were inadequate. It said of the curriculum: 'Arrangements for sex and relationship education are underdeveloped.'

Its report also warned that the school was 'not compliant with statutory requirements in relation to race equality and community cohesion'.

Achievement was judged inadequate despite its headline results because 'girls and higher ability students make very slow progress'.
So basically, they are doing everything right with regards to the old fashioned ‘teaching’ stuff, but failing to swallow every single bizarre and intrusive policy dreamed up by the Righteous in the Departments of Education, Health, Business and Telling Us All What To Think?

Is that about the size of it?

And if that’s slow progress, what would fast progress look like?
Ofsted found persistent 'significant underachievement' in relation to children's abilities on arrival.
Presumably, if this is resolved successfully, they’ll be getting 126% achievement in GCSEs in future…

And it’s red meat to the Righteous:
Stretford is in the constituency of Children's Minister Beverley Hughes, who criticised the school and Tory-run local education authority.

She added: 'This is the first grammar school in the country to go into special measures. The Conservative council is trying to brush this under the carpet and pretend this is not happening. This is a shocking indictment of the management.'
No, actually, it’s not, Bev old girl.

And the parents agree:
But parent Kevin Parker, 50, said: 'On one hand Ofsted are saying how excellently they have done in their exams, on the other there is an assertion of out-and-out failure. It's hard to make head or tail of it.

'We have been pleased. My son gets all kinds of great attention.'
Well, yes, but schools aren’t meant to be run for the likes of you and your child, Mr Parker. What do you think you are, some sort of ’customer’…?

Still, the school can surely count on the support of the local Conservative MP to champion the cause of academic excellence and condemn the focus on politically correct nonsense with a stirring rebutta….

Oh. Wait:
Graham Brady, the Conservative MP for nearby Altrincham and Sale West, said: 'Any school can suffer if its management and leadership are not right, and it appears from this Ofsted report there are significant problems in that regard at Stretford Grammar.'
Odd choice of statement from a former staunch defender of grammar schools.

At least one local councillor has his head screwed on right:
Councillor David Higgins, chairman of Trafford council's children's committee, said: 'Schools depend very heavily on a good head teacher and unfortunately the head has been away through illness for some time.'

But he added: 'There must be a lot of teachers doing a good job to have obtained the results Stretford Grammar School has obtained. They stand very well against results across the country. It's hard to argue how much further you can get above excellent.'

Fighting For Control….

Disabled people have no right to choose their NHS-funded carers despite complaints that current rules are robbing thousands of claimants of their "dignity and autonomy", the High Court ruled yesterday.
Why should they be any different from the rest of us who are daily robbed of freedom, rights and dignity by this government, I cynically say to myself…
A case brought by a paralysed former soldier and a woman suffering from a progressive muscular disease who wanted the NHS to provide a direct grant allowing them to live independently by employing their own care staff was dismissed after a judge found that legislation prevented any such payments.
Still, at least legislation to change this is on the horizon:
The court ruling was greeted with anger by organisations representing the disabled, who warned that handicapped people were being discriminated against for "bureaucratic convenience" and pointed out that legislation allowing the payments is already before Parliament.
Which does make you wonder why they brought this case, if the current legislation was clear, and a remedy was in the pipeline?

But still, a worthy cause, and all that:
An estimated 150,000 disabled people in Britain receive direct social care grants from their local authorities to pay for trained staff of their own choosing. But if an individual's health worsens, meaning they need so-called "continuing care" at home funded by the NHS, then they are no longer allowed direct control of the funds and must accept whatever provision is made by their primary care trust.
Ah, yes, can’t have people making their own decisions. All largesse must come direct from CentGov with numerous strings attached, less the populace become independent….
Mr Harrison, from Wakefield, West Yorkshire, and Mrs Garnham, from Holloway, north London, claimed their human rights were breached by the denial of direct payments and that the legislation governing the health service meant that such funding could already be given legally.

Mrs Garnham said: "I don't look at myself as a useless cabbage that sits at home and gets withered and wizened. Is my life worth living if I'm going to stay in bed and wait for a local authority nurse to turn up? We were very proud that we actually employed five people."
Five people!? Well, no wonder the local Care Trust wants to administer this themselves – she’s surely squandering public money on blatent overmanning, and we can’t have tha…

Islington Primary Care Trust in north London, which pays for Mrs Garnham's care, is expected to pay up to three times the amount it paid her in the form of a direct grant to cover the cost of employing a nursing agency to do the same work.
Words fail me…

So the NHS would rather pay three times the amount (of our money!) to keep Mrs Garnham dependant on their bounty and beholden to the State…?

Tuesday 24 March 2009

You WILL Eat Two Courses, Or Else!

The Local Authority Caterers Association is up in arms about the plans for menus in secondary schools:
From September secondary schools in England will only be allowed to sell food that meets high nutritional standards and pupils will have to buy a two-course lunch rather than just an individual item, such as a baked potato, as they do now.
? I thought the government wanted us all to eat less, not more...!
Laca wants only the main meal of the day to have to comply with the new standards from September and for schools to still be able to sell items such as pizza slices and sandwiches as single items.
Sounds sensible. And faced with a mass revolt of customers (because secondary schoolkids will simply visit the nearest cafe at lunchtime instead), pretty much the only option.

But Laca have reckoned without the blind, unswerving devotion to the cause of a NuLab apparatchik:
But Judy Hargadon, the School Food Trust's chief executive, said the changes were "the final piece in the jigsaw to overhaul school meals". The nutritional standards were "tough but achievable", she said. "We have to succeed. There are no half-measures if we are going to dramatically improve the health, wellbeing and performance of children."
Well, I'm sure you do 'have to succeed', Judy sweetie, But these nice people are telling you that you can't.

You really should listen to them...

"The flashing red light on the car you hit blinded you...?"

Oxford City Council is paying for 50-minute "green driving" lessons in order to save money on fuel - but they are not cutting expenses handed out to staff.

More than 330 workers from every department were this week being given a £30 pounds class in efficient driving.
Hey, at least one private enterprise is making money in this recession - the one that saw these suckers coming, and is being paid for such sterling advice as:
Employees will be told not to accelerate too quickly, move into higher gears earlier and remove excess weight from their vehicles.

They are also being taught to observe roads carefully so they can save fuel.
Yeah, that'll lead to a 'Cleaner, Greener, Oxford' I'm sure....

Monday 23 March 2009

"Two men kids enter.....one man kid leaves!"

They don't seem to be shy about punishing disobedient schoolchildren in Texas:
Some schools have counsellors to settle disputes between students. But South Oak Cliff high school in Dallas preferred another, more direct method: bare-knuckle fighting inside a steel cage.
Hey, don't knock it, liberals! You never know until you try...
On another occasion, according to the report, a member of the school's security staff tried to fight a student in the cage, but the principal intervened.

"What Do You Mean, We Need 'Proof'...?"

Charges of illegal hunting against three members of the Devon and Somerset Staghounds have been dropped, a decision described by the Countryside Alliance as further evidence that the ban has failed.
It seems the bunnyhuggers are getting out of their tree because the law states that you need to prove that someone is doing something illegal. And they weren't planning on having to account for that...

Strangely, standing there pointing at your arch enemies and saying 'Arrest them, officers, they're icky and we hates 'em!' doesn't fly in this country, despite the best that NuLab has done to it.

And if you are expecting the CPS to do some work for a change, well, forget that!
The CPS said yesterday that in the light of a High Court ruling in February, that it was for the prosecution to prove a hunt was not carrying out exempt hunting, it would drop the case.
Oh, deer dear. Sucks to be you, League Against Cruel Sports.

Sunday 22 March 2009

Saturday 21 March 2009

Guess Who's Complaining (Again)....

The postmaster who banned customers who can't speak English from his branch today faced calls for him to be sacked from angry local English people.
Oh, wait. That's not right...
The postmaster who banned customers who can't speak English from his branch today faced calls for him to be sacked from angry fellow Sri Lankan immigrants.
Whoops, no, that's not right either...

Ah, here's the right quote:
The postmaster who banned customers who can't speak English from his branch today faced calls for him to be sacked from angry local Muslims.
Be honest. You knew that was coming, didn't you?
Aurangzeb Kahn said: 'There has been concern that people can be denied Post Office services because they can't speak English.

'There is a strong feeling among some local people that this is wrong.

'A single employee should not have the right to make that decision, especially if he is an employee of what is a public facility provided by the Government.'
If the 'authorities' could have taken action, they would, chum. Believe me, they probably want this headache to go away, because it throws into sharp relief the bending over backwards attitude that they have adopted. And what has it gotten them so far?

This kind of attitude:
One man, who refused to be named, said: 'There is a lot of anger about this.

'We understand his point but it can take years to learn English and there are some elderly people who are too old to learn.

'A lot of people think he is wrong and want him gone.'
Well, lots of people want lots of other people 'gone' in this country. And you've just increased the vote for the party that will do their best to see that happen.

Spectacular own goal, Mr anon!

Still, Mr Kumarasiri can count on support from the...

Oh, wait:
Police have also been keeping a discreet eye on the premises to ensure he did not attract the wrong sort of attention from people who may resent his new found celebrity status.
Yup, that's what's going to cause this to become a flashpoint, all right - resentment that he's got his name in the paper....

And the political establishment?
Meanwhile the Liberal Democrats distanced the party from Mr Kumarasiri, who claims to be a Lib Dem member on his local Gedling Borough Council.

A spokesman for the party said: 'Mr Kumarasiri has not been a party member since October 2007 when his membership lapsed.'
Remember when people in Britain stood up for what's right, no matter what the consequences?

Yeah, me too....

It's Time To Play A Game Of 'I Can See Discrimination Everywhere!' Again...

Joseph Harker has a problem, that reveals to him the depths of institutional racism in the UK:
This week has provided me, a black person born and raised in Britain, with another of those regular gentle reminders seemingly intended to make me feel I don't belong here.
OMG! What could it be?

That infamous sign ('No Dogs. No Blacks. No Irish') on a nearby B&B?
A separate drinking fountain in his office kitchen?
A lynched body slowly twirling on a rope at his local park?

No. It's the heinous crime of being unable to find a card with a black face on it for Mother's Day in WH Smiths.

Hey, stop laughing at the back there! This is serious:
Choosing a card is difficult enough, without having to discard a whole section because it effectively excludes you. But people of colour are so used to this that it's just become one of those little irritations we have to grin and bear.
Oh, Joseph! You're so noble and stoic!

I can feel a tear welling up inside. No, really, I can!
Frankly, I'm sick of missing out on the joke cards, and always having to choose cuddly teddies (as, I'm sure, is my other half who receives them).
Well, if you're sick of teddies, Joseph old chum, there's always these instead.

The comments, needless to say, are hilarious...

Update: Ross at Unenlightened Commentary noted this one too, and had the foresight to copy his favourite comment (from a CiF contributor) before the mods ran amok, zapping everything into oblivion.

Friday 20 March 2009

If People Are Happy To Tell Their Doctor To Mind His Own Business...

...what do you think they are going to tell Bob from next door?
Public health "mentors" will be enlisted by the NHS to offer 'on the spot' advice in their local neighbourhood when they see people smoking, eating or drinking too much.
And I thought we had a prison spaces crisis. Obviously, not as big a crisis as we are going to have, if this ever sees the light of day....
The mentors, who as volunteers are not paid, are expected to work to influence the people around them, offering advice to workmates, family and friends about how they should change their unhealthy habits.

Eating a third fried breakfast of the week in the office canteen, having a drink 'for the road' at your local pub or chain-smoking another cigarette while waiting for the bus could all see the mentors spring into action to offer the Government's advice.
Think, government advisors, think! Where are we going to bury all these bodies?

Is there salivation at the thought of this from a fakecharity, by the way?

Why, yes! Who could have guessed:
Martin Dockerell, from Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), the anti-smoking charity, said: "If you get the mentoring scheme right and if you manage to turn things around so it seems that healthy behaviour is not abnormal then that can be very powerful."
Stalin would have loved you, Martin. And that's not a compliment....
Volunteers attend training sessions where they are taught how to offer appropriate advice on health issues including how to become more active, have a better diet, stop smoking and reduce stress.

They then spread those messages when it seems appropriate to them during their everyday life and also offer advice on request.
Self-defence classes optional, I presume..?

Gankers, Griefers And Playakillas Take Note...

The Department for Work and Pensions claimed the virtual meeting place could save taxpayers money in the long run.

A DWP spokesman said: "We are currently exploring the potential of using Second Life and have active interest from a number of government departments.
£20,000 start up cost and £12,000 a year, just so top civil servants can appear in wonky 3D for their 'meetings'...?

Bring on the flying penis attack!

Thursday 19 March 2009

Well, Quite..!

Local Graham Telfer, 32, said: "Let's hope this isn't a sign of things to come. The last thing we need is a bunch of walking catfish taking to the streets.
Is it me, or has Silly Season started awfully early this year...?

"Bring me....a shrubbery!"

But not one that spells out 'MUFC':
One local said: “The design of the property is self indulgence but to have a shrubbery shaped in the letters of his football club is beyond belief.

Why can’t he grow normal privet hedges like everyone else. This was once a traditional old farming community and now it looks like something out of Beverley Hills.”
His land. His plants. His choice.

Wednesday 18 March 2009

Excuse: D Minus. Must Do Better....

A maths teacher who invented the deaths of three girlfriends to take time off work has been banned from teaching.

David Flinn, who skipped school to attend their fictitious funerals, was suspended from Hartlepool's Manor College of Technology in 2006.
‘My girlfriend died’…? Is that the teaching equivalent of ‘the dog ate my homework’?
They heard Mr Flinn also falsified claims of ill health, inventing elaborate stories about his misfortunes.

He came into school with a walking stick, telling colleagues he had been injured by a car during a hit-and-run incident.

On another occasion, Flinn appeared at work with his arm bandaged, explaining to staff that he had been given an implant to control his adrenalin levels.
Hmmm, shouldn’t alarm bells have been ringing at this sort of behaviour?

Oh. They were. But what the hell, he’s a teacher, right? Gotta stick together:
The college's deputy headteacher, Martin Robson, told the hearing: "There was a suspicion that something wasn't right, but we continued to support him.

"He engaged in systematic and wilful deceit over a long period of time."
Because you let him….

And it seems his sins weren’t confined to attention-seeking and work-dodging:
Karen Cork, presenting officer for the General Teaching Council, said Flinn had also communicated in an over-familiar and sexual manner with pupils, asking them details of their sex lives and encouraging them to confide in him.

She said that several pupils had reported feeling uneasy in his presence.
When..? And to whom…?

We aren’t told, but I’d be interested to know if that also was glossed over by the management.

Still, no reason to be too harsh, is there?
The panel ruled that although Mr Flinn was adamant he would not return to the profession, he could apply to regain permission to teach in 2014.

"Problem...? What problem? I don't see a problem..."

The motorist:
'I've never been so terrified in my life. I was driving along with my son in the back when all of a sudden I had all these kids surrounding me, stamping and kicking my car.'
The pensioner:
'They were being really rowdy, I saw stones thrown into the air near cars and they were chanting very loudly.

'The group of children were walking down the middle of the road, buses and cars were stopped in their tracks, they shouted at the occupants and stones were thrown at the vehicles.'
The local businessman:
'I saw them throw eggs at passing buses. They were a big noisy and rowdy group.'
All just making something out of nothing, according to the headmaster of Halifax High:
'The kids were out of school, they were in a large group and people will tend to brand any large group of children as yobs. They were making a protest, it was inappropriate and unhelpful to the gentleman's cause but they were well intentioned.'
The pictures show a strangely, well, homogeneous group of 'schoolchildren' too...

I guess diversity isn't a priority at Halifax High.

"Lights! Camera!...FAIL"

Sir Paul, making his first high-profile public appearance since his appointment in February, was philosophical. 'That's policing,' he declared.
No. That's a PR stunt gone horribly wrong.

Almost makes you wish to see Sir Ian Blair back, doesn't it?

Oh, I Think It Puts Food On The Table, All Right...

...way too much of it, frankly:
Mr Chawner said: "What we get barely covers the bills and puts food on the table. It's not our fault we can't work. We deserve more."
But perhaps I'm being too hard on them? Perhaps it really is genetic, as they claim?

"We have cereal for breakfast, bacon butties for lunch and microwave pies with mashed potato or chips for dinner," Mrs Chawner told Closer magazine.

"All that healthy food, like fruit and veg, is too expensive. We're fat because it's in our genes. Our whole family is overweight," she added.

Yup, now even I'm speechless...

Tuesday 17 March 2009

Signs The Apocalypse May Be Almost Upon Us, Part II….

A council is actually considering lowering parking costs in order to encourage trade and support local businesses!

No, I didn’t believe it either:
Basildon Council has recommended a major review of parking costs across the district to support shoppers and businesses through the recession.

Suggestions include cutting as much as 20 per cent off season ticket prices at council car parks for the district’s residents and reducing charges for business parking permits by a third, from £150 to £100.
Well, well, well…..
Basildon Council leader Malcolm Buckley said town centres would die without strong businesses and it was important to keep a constant watch on the prices. He added: “We do keep all the charges under review and we are concerned to make sure businesses are supported as best we can.

If you don’t have businesses that thrive, you have town centres that die.”
It seems that at last some sound business sense is beginning to filter down to town halls.

This recession is really biting hard, isn’t it?

Signs The Apocalypse May Be Almost Upon Us….

Four Horsemen roaming the streets. Cats & dogs living together. The grievance-mongers getting slapped down as a result of the recession…
The body responsible for safeguarding equality in the UK will tell the government today that the economic climate is too fragile to impose equal pay reviews on business.
Sorry, ‘sisters’, but needs must when the Devil drives, and there are some things we can no longer afford.

And chief among those things is the notion that there is ‘unequal pay’ in the UK when what there really is, as Tim Worstall points out, is a disparity in how these figures are compiled.

But they haven’t quite given up on the idea, merely trimming their sails to meet the unfavourable winds:
Summarising the strategy, the chief executive of the EHRC, Nicola Brewer, said an entirely new equal pay act was needed, and called for "radical reform in the future." This would be a long-term exercise, requiring several years of work. More immediately, the commission's approach is based on "encouraging" companies to improve their record voluntarily.
‘Several years of work’ = ‘several years of continued employment for Nicola Brewster’, that is….

Even this doesn’t please the sistren though, as you might have expected:
The focus on what is realistic in the light of the recession dismayed campaigners for women's rights. "We must not get caught in this trap of saying in difficult times we will trade in women's rights," said Katherine Rake, director of the Fawcett Society.

Sarah Veale, head of the equality department at the TUC, said pay audits were "a crucial part" of eliminating the pay gap. "Until companies are forced to shine a light on where the anomalies are, you can't address the problem," she said.

Bronwyn McKenna, a director of Unison, said she was "very sceptical about any measure that doesn't actually compel any employers to do an audit". "The voluntary approach simply hasn't worked," she said.
Ladies, ladies! There’s a new mood in the country. Can’t you sense it?

We are having to cut out luxuries. Make too much noise, and someone might start to wonder if, given Tim’s observations, we really need, and can justify, your positions.

Ah, The Riches We Have Thanks To ‘Diversity’…

The NHS is to advertise free operations to reverse female circumcisions, with experts warning that each year more than 500 British girls have their genitals mutilated.
Fantastic! We’re spending taxpayer dosh on fixing the problem, so are we also spending it on jailing the scum responsible for these crimes?

Well, no:
Police have been unable to bring a single prosecution even though they suspect that community elders are being flown from the Horn of Africa to carry out the procedures.
So if a British girl is discovered by her doctor, teacher or health worker to have had this done to her, is action taken against the family?

It certainly doesn’t look like it:
Sarah McCulloch, of the Agency for Culture Change Management UK, said that every year more than 500 British girls were having circumcisions. “A lot of them are done in the UK, but some still travel overseas,” she said.

She said that a code of silence in Britain’s African communities had allowed circumcisions to continue and prevented arrests. The unqualified female elders, known as “house doctors” because they act in secret in a family home, are flown into the country.

“What the communities do is they gather together and collect money to pay for the ticket for a ‘doctor’ to come from Somalia, Sudan, or whatever,” she told The Times. “And when she arrives here, she goes to a house and has the girls brought to her.”
A ‘code of silence’ from ‘communities’….

And one that the authorities are apparently happy to go along with:
While Scotland Yard is understood to have made investigations into female circumcision in the UK, and offered a £20,000 reward for information, no one has been successfully prosecuted for carrying out the procedure.

Detective Constable Jason Morgan, from Scotland Yard’s Project Azure, denied that police were complacent. “We don’t bury our heads in the sand and say it’s not going on,” he said.

It is illegal to take a person abroad for the operation but no one has been prosecuted for this either.
So we have evidence that it’s happened to British girls, with the connivance of their families and ‘communities’ and no-one’s been arrested?

Instead, we’ll just pony up the money to get it fixed on the NHS, sigh to ourselves that ‘it’s their culture…’ and carry on turning a blind eye?
Ain’t ‘diversity’ grand?

Monday 16 March 2009

”’Ello, ‘ello, ‘ello, what seems to be occurin’ ‘ere, then?”

If pupils are found to have sweets, chocolate, fizzy drinks or full-fat crisps, teachers confiscate them and hold them in the staffroom.

The snacks are returned at the end of the day but only if parents ask.
Yes, it’s the ‘Food Gestapo’ in action yet again, rifling through primary school children’s lunchboxes and removing anything Big Brother is telling them is ‘unhealthy’ this week.

But it was the little tagged-on story at the end that really made me pause:
In 2007, Standish High School in Wigan banned pupils from leaving the school grounds at lunchtime, stopping them from going to fast food outlets.

Some children phoned a local sandwich delivery man who came to the school and passed his wares through the gates.

However, teachers complained and the sandwich seller was asked to move on by police.

Selling sandwiches to schoolchildren (who showed a nice line in initiative there!) is illegal now…?

Sunday 15 March 2009

Saturday 14 March 2009

Setting Yourself Up For An Epic Fail…

Chris Eakin had been discussing on air a story about a chimp at a zoo in Sweden which collects stones to throw at visitors.

He then asked: 'Can you see any likeness?' before handing back to 53-year-old Mr Alagiah, who is of Tamil descent.
Something Eakin had clearly forgotten, and so therefore included Alagiah in the usual banter between presenters, something he might have done to any colleague, say, perhaps one with sticky-out ears, or hairy arms.

And isn’t that what we should be aiming for? That race is no bar and is forgotten, as we all treat people equally, and tease them or banter with them as we would any other colleagues?

Sadly, that used to be the plan, before the race baiters and professionally aggrieved got involved:
The newsreader looked surprised by the remark before he tried to laugh off the attempted joke which followed a review of the newspapers at the end of a ten o'clock bulletin on the BBC News channel.

But Mr Eakin's quip - just over a month after Carol Thatcher was axed from a BBC show after referring offair to a black tennis player as a 'golliwog' - was criticised by a race equality spokesman and by the head of a media pressure group.
In other words, by people whose job demands that they have an opinion on this, irrespective of what Eakins meant, or how Alagiah might have felt…
John Beyer, director of Mediawatch UK, said: 'I think this clearly points to the fact that people have to be careful what they say’.
No, it doesn’t. And no, they do not.
TUC race equality officer Wilf Sullivan added: 'Even if it was a light-hearted piece this is supposed to be a serious news programme. Because there is this anti-political correctness thing going on at the moment people seem to have got the idea they can say or do anything.

'If he was doing it in a way to refer to George then it would be a bit out of order.'
People should be able to say ‘anything’ (provided it does not fall within the ‘inciting violence’ category or break broadcasting guidelines).

And this is rightly not considered a gripping issue across the nation – yet. Though I’m sure if the likes of Wilf and John get their way, it’ll be the new ‘Gollygate’:
The BBC said it had received only one complaint about the comment which aired at 10.25pm on Monday.
You might think it odd that they haven’t received three, mightn’t you?

That’s because the likes of Wilf and John don’t write letters to the BBC, it wouldn’t get them what they crave – publicity and a chance to advance their cause, that of being paid to police language on behalf of everyone else.
Mr Eakin said: 'This was a light-hearted comment with absolutely no other intended overtones and I know that George did not interpret it as anything other than that.

'George and I are old friends and I would be horrified if anyone has interpreted this in any other way and I regret if I have unintentionally caused any offence.'
Nicely done, Mr Eakin. You could have left off the ‘regret if I have unintentionally caused offence’ bit and pointed out that you are not responsible for people purposely misinterpreting your words, though.

But you are ill-served by your ‘old friend’:
Mr Alagiah said: 'Chris Eakin has spoken to me privately and I have accepted his apology.

'He fell into one of those pitfalls of live TV - the banter that goes horribly wrong. I think it was unfortunate and inappropriate and I can see why it may have troubled some people watching the programme.'
Why did you accept his apology, George? What did he have to apologise for?

And why do you concern yourself with the people who claim to be ‘troubled’ by the remark? Surely you are not so dumb as to think their feigned outrage is genuine?

But then, George is toeing the company line, rather than supporting his ‘old friend’:
A BBC spokesman said: 'It was an inappropriate remark that shouldn't have been made. We have accepted the explanation given by Chris and he has reassured us that it will not happen again.

'We are very clear presenters should not make remarks that could be misinterpreted and BBC News apologises for any offence that may have been caused.'
Congratulations, BBC News. You’ve now placed yourself squarely in the hands of the hostage takers.

How, in the name of God, are presenters supposed to ensure that they ‘do not make remarks that could be misinterpreted’ when there are people out there whose sole job and reason to get up in the morning is to misinterpret things for publicity and political gain…?

This subject has been touched on recently across the pond over political commentator Rush Limburgh’s comments over Obama, sparking an all-out blogger’s war, and uberblogger Jeff Goldstein at ‘protein wisdom’ has been leading the charge to take possession of the intent of a statement back from those who would gleefully misinterpret it for their own ends, and place it firmly in the hands of the person who made it in the first place.

In this post he accurately sums up the situation:
“Because make no mistake: the current view of how speech and interpretation works necessarily results in meaning being nothing more than a function of power.”
Wilf and John have been allowed to wield that power, abetted by the media and the likes of George Alagiah, who go along with the ‘offence’ line without heed to the damage they cause.

Chris Eakin needs to pick better ‘friends’ in future…

Friday 13 March 2009

“I’ve Got A Great Idea…!”

Lord Laming, the independent expert asked to review child protection in the wake of Baby P's violent death in Haringey, north London, in 2007, will today unveil his recommendations for how to prevent more such killings.
Sounds like a plan – get the guy in who drafted the last set of recommendations (that some of them failed to follow) and let him draft some more.

After all, at least that can’t make things worse, right?

Oh. Wait:
Lord Laming, a former chief inspector of social services, established the current framework for social care with his report into the abusive death of Victoria Climbié in 2000.

As a result of that report, councils have merged their social services and education departments into single divisions led by a single director.

That structure will not be changed after the new Laming review, but ministers now accept that it has meant that some combined children's services departments are being run by directors who have made their career in one field and have little experience of the other.

Never mind, can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs children, can we…?
It will also be confirmed that from next month, councils' child protection departments will face unannounced surprise inspections by Ofsted, which monitors children's services in councils.
You mean, they weren’t doing this before?

I despair…

I Thought We Were Short Of Jail Space…?

A West Midlands sandwich bar worker who was prosecuted after footage of him stuffing lettuce up his nose appeared on YouTube has avoided a jail term.
I’d think so too.

Yes, what he did was disgusting, and there’s no doubt he should have been sacked for gross misconduct, but a public prosecution…?
Walsall magistrates said he had avoided a jail term due to his "early guilty plea" and because he had shown remorse.
You mean, if he hadn’t done either, he’d have been allocated a costly jail cell? Give me a break!

If Subway wants to sue him for harming their brand, that’s their prerogative. But wasting public funds on such a trivial matter is utter lunacy.
Shannon, who was prosecuted under the miscellaneous provisions in the Public Order Act, could have been jailed for up to six months.
Who thought prosecuting him was a good use of public money? As Bystander points out, the magistrates court service is facing cuts in hours that are going to lead to increased use of out of court disposals in future.

So throwing the book at a silly fool who did no real harm to public order, and bringing the law even further into disrepute, is the icing on the increasingly bitter and unpalatable cake of illiberal justice New Labour are cooking up:
Magistrates' chairman Elizabeth Baugh, who viewed the video footage, said his actions could have merited a custodial sentence.

She told him: "Your actions caused great distress, not only to the public who consume this food, but also to the company.

"I think you have learnt a very, very serious lesson."
Yes, indeed.

That the law is an ass!

Thursday 12 March 2009

Jon Cruddas Thinks He Has The Answers…

In ‘CiF’, the socialists in New Labour are pushing to advance their agenda on the back of the recession:
Archbishop Rowan Williams is right to raise larger questions about our economic predicament. The political elites of both New Labour and the Conservatives offer no economic analysis of the crisis and no political leadership. Their goal is to return the economy to business as usual. But the status quo has vanished and there is no turning back to the neoliberal model of the past.
So, what does he suggest in its place?

Well, you might call it ‘New Socialism’:
The policies we develop to tackle the crisis will shape our society for generations to come. We need to create a new kind of economy and we need a set of principles to guide us because this recession is also a moral crisis.
This is the progressives making their move, finally, and seeking to shape the sort of society they wish mankind to conform to (while no doubt staying aloof from the process themselves, as befits the rulers of society).

And they are as wrong, and for the same reasons, as the multiculti crowd that is still in power:
How shall we live together and build just institutions that create a sense of belonging? We can find an answer in the ideas of socialism. Not the old socialism of command economy and centralist state. We can create a new socialism that recognises cultural difference and whose civic state is democratised and decentralised.
If you ‘recognise cultural differences’ you enshrine separate identities, and create the climate for pressure groups to argue for ‘recognition’ under the system for them.

You’ll have what we’ve got now - but with added socialism! That’s never going to be any kind of answer.
The central value of the new socialism is equality, the belief that each individual is irreplaceable and of equal worth. People today no longer accept that morality should be imposed on them by the state or by so-called social superiors. But we are not witnessing a decline of morality. People are making their own ethics to live by.
But they aren’t going to be ‘of equal worth’ if you ‘recognise cultural differences’ are they…?

And what we are witnessing is exactly a decline of morality. If there’s no clear agreed standard of ways to behave that ‘society’ as a whole signs up to, then, indeed, what you have is people ‘making their own ethics’.

How’s it working out so far, Jon? Is it bringing you votes in Barking and Dagenham?
The neoliberal right in both the Conservative and Labour parties treat individuals as if they are atomised units of economic calculation. Governance is either by market or by a micro-managed culture of targets and performance. But individuals cannot be reduced to this kind of one-dimensional existence. We are essentially dependent upon one another throughout the course of our lives. Society is made in our relationships.
Really? It sounds a lot like your idea of ‘society’ was made in a sociology department…
When David Cameron gave his speech about hugging a hoodie he was scorned, but he was right. Without love people lose their self-esteem. They lose the capacity to be true to themselves.
The problem we currently have is NOT people with low self esteem, though. It’s people with far too much, totally unwarranted, self-esteem! It’s the Baby Boomer generation grown up, and demanding ever more attention and political power to continue their hedonistic lifestyles.

And passing that attitude on to their children. Hence we have the Darrens of the previous post, believing the world owes them a living because ‘government money’ falls out of the sky.
But there is the kindness of solidarity with others, the generosity that comes with mutual sympathy. To live well and to live together requires give and take. Equality is the measure by which we judge who takes too much in the way of advantages and who not enough in terms of burdens. Equality is the ethical core of justice.
Britain is indeed starting to judge ‘who takes too much in the way of advantages’, Jon. I don’t think you are going to care much for the conclusion they’ve reached, though….
We are in danger of becoming a society of strangers. We have to build a political community to develop a new kind of economy and determine the just distribution of resources. We need political leadership in which government and the people work together toward a good society. This requires a new socialism committed to the common good, to equality and to social justice.
‘Social justice’. There ain’t any such animal, Jon.

And until you can ask the people to work towards a ‘good society’, they need to agree on a definition of same. And if you plan on ‘recognising cultural differences’, you’ve rather painted yourself into a corner there. Haven’t you?

Two Columnists, Two Outlooks, One Basic Problem…

First, Alice Miles looks at the increasing demand for jobs facing the older generation (who are keenly aware of the need to provide for old age care that never seems to reduce, only increase in cost), and the difference between them and the younger generation, as she found on her visit to a Job Centre:
Sitting for a day with the advisers, I was struck by how young most of the claimants were. And how fit and able-bodied and capable of work. The computer flickered all day with jobs that they could do - bar staff, drivers, packers, quite a few decent NHS posts, none of it well paid but a lot better than the £60 a week jobseeker's allowance.
But that’s the problem, Alice. If they can get £60 a week for doing nothing, plenty of people reason that there’s no point in doing something for a little bit more than £60 per week. Especially when you can earn money on the black economy as well..
So the young shouldn't worry about the older employee who wants to work a little longer. They should worry instead, I would suggest, about the younger person who foresees a life supported by their taxes.

Grandad elbowing his way into the queue for a job isn’t going to be the problem, this is:
Give me any day the 65-year-old who wants to squeeze a few more taxpaying years out of his profession rather than the 16-year-old I met recently, slumped on a sofa with his father. Darren had left school, tried a few local supermarkets - amazingly none of them offered this sulky young man a job - then he'd joined an EMA course. That's the education maintenance allowance, payable to children of 16 and over if they stay in education or training. Many payments were late last year, because of computer problems.

And what happened to that course, asked the support worker visiting the family, encouragingly. “The EMA never got paid,” his father replied aggressively. Darren had only joined the training course - an EMA course, note, not a practical painting and decorating National Vocational Qualification or an Employability and Work Skills course - to claim the benefit.
Meanwhile, Daniel Finkelstein views the increasingly gloomy outlook for the UK economy:
We are insolvent. Out of money. Financially embarrassed. Strapped. Cleaned out. We are skint, borassic lint, Larry Flynt, lamb and mint. We are lamentably low on loot. We are maxed out. We are indebted, encumbered, in hock, in the hole. We are broke, hearts of oak, coals and coke. It doesn't matter whether money can buy us love, because we haven't got any.
When do you think this situation is going to start hitting the Darrens of this world?
The central fact of British politics in the next ten years, and perhaps longer, is not hard to spot. British politics isn't going to be dominated by interesting debates on the future of capitalism. It isn't going to be the stage for a revival of interest in democratic socialism. It isn't going to play host to the interplay of competing ambitious projects. No. We're in for a hard slog. Because what British politics is going to be about in the next ten years is living with the consequences of the State being broke, of the Government running out of money.
And those consequences are going to be harsh for the Darrens of this world. I hope…

And not just the Darrens and other underclass, shirking jobs entirely.

They also need to be made very, very harsh for the many middle-class people in non-jobs’, the Diversity Outreach Co-ordination Communication Directors, shuffling endless paper, holding endless meetings, and producing meaningless stats but nothing of real value.

But it seems that this hasn’t yet hit home to the politicians:
I don't mean to make a meal of this. It's just that sometimes when I listen to the political debate, I wonder if everyone is still connected with reality. They're all busy announcing new schemes and White Papers or dreaming of tax cuts and so forth, and no one seems to talk much about the cash. La la la la (fingers in ears). The Conservatives occasionally bring it up, a little gingerly. They think the problem is going to land on their plate, after all. But they are also worried about being seen as gloomy, so they try not to bang on about it.
And sadly, they need to step up to the plate and begin asking the awkward questions, the ones they fear to ask because they will be branded ‘the nasty party’ again.

Because Britain can’t afford this level of state expenditure on ‘non-jobs’ any longer.
But things will be grim for the Right, too. Many Conservatives have lived in a dreamworld. Cutting spending would be easy. Cutting tax is a moral necessity. They are about to find out just how difficult it is even to control the amount Government pays out. Consumers of public services have rising expectations and most of the services are labour intensive. Both these things keep pushing up costs, even if government does nothing.
He’s right, consumers do have high expectations of public services – but those aren’t met by having a ratio of 5:1 backroom staff to frontline operators, where 2 or 3 out of those backroom staff are employed in, basically, ‘make work’ jobs.

The customer doesn’t care, and will care even less in the future as the necessary cuts are made, whether an organisation has an ‘inclusive social policy’, or features high on any of the ‘corporate responsibility indices’ touted around government and private industry, or supports ‘Black History Month’.

They just want their hospitals cleaned, their bins emptied, and their roads maintained. It’s what they pay their tax for. It’s ALL they pay their tax for.

Who’s prepared to tackle this? I don’t think it’s Dave. Is it?

Wednesday 11 March 2009

Beware! Strangers!

Police are looking for people to act as a community look-out on every street as part of a crackdown on burglary.

Residents will be selected from streets across South-end, Rochford and Castle Point and given a hotline number to call if they spot any suspicious behaviour.
Didn’t we use to have this? I’m pretty sure we did, and it was called ‘Neighbourhood Watch’…
The initiative is possible thanks to a £34,000 Home Office grant to tackle the rise in house burglaries in the South East.
Ah, my mistake. This must be a ‘new initiative’. Look, it’s attracted government grant money, and they don’t dish that out just for recycling old ideas.
Do they…?
Chief Insp Paul Eveleigh, of Castle Point police, said he hoped the community would galvanise itself against crime. He said: “If there is anybody, or vehicles, in a community people are not happy with, they will be able to phone this hotline and officers dedicated specifically to the operation will be able to come and check them out.”
Hmmm, I sure hope the people who will use this idea are careful how they phrase their calls, or they might find themselves on the wrong end of a policeman with a thirst for easy detections….
Mr Eveleigh said: “We can blanket a hotspot where we’ve got problems and almost ask someone to provide sentry duty.” The money will also be spent on targeting vulnerable areas, giving crime prevention advice and marking property.
And how is this any different to what should already be done?

‘Intelligence led policing’. Remember that?
Officers will also be using automatic number plate recognition cameras in an attempt to find burglars who escape by car.
You mean, no-one thought of doing this before…?

This is just more rearranging of the deckchairs on the Titanic, isn’t it?

You Don’t Say…

Government guidelines on the treatment of child asylum seekers are being "routinely flouted" by UK Border Agency staff, according to a report.
Really…? What are we doing, beating them with whips? Starving them?

Not quite:
Young people are regularly locked up and face a "culture of disbelief" among officials, the report adds.
Well, of course they do!

It is, after all, the job of the UKBA to be sceptical of the people who try to enter the country, whether they be doe-eyed little orphans or adults.

But that doesn’t suit the bleeding-heart brigade:
The government introduced a code of practice two months ago to safeguard the welfare of the more than 7,000 asylum-seeking children who arrive in the UK each year.

But the Does Every Child Matter? report from Refugee and Migrant Justice - formerly the Refugee Legal Centre - describes cases which it says show the guidelines are ignored.
And they cite this example:
It says an eight-year-boy who had fled his country after his home had been destroyed in fighting was given no legal help with his asylum interview and application.

His claim was refused because of his lack of "credibility", the report says.
Hmm, how does an unaccompanied eight-year-old enter the country, you say? Well, it happens when he’s smuggled in by adults, of course. From a neighbouring country...

So we’re the bad guys for not just saying ‘Oh, well, come on in...’?

The same goes for their other example:
In another case highlighted in the report, a 16-year-old was wrongly assessed to be 26 and detained in an adult centre for six months where he became severely depressed.
The person who ‘wrongly assessed’ him as 26 was not, as you may assume from reading this extract, someone in the UKBA. It was someone from ‘another organisation’ who filled in his asylum claim, and the UKBA took him as his word.

So they were castigated for being sceptical about the first case, and now are castigated for not being sceptical about the second! Ever feel they can’t win?

Of course not. At least, not according to this activist group:
Lisa Nandy, policy adviser at the Children's Society, said the report highlighted the "discriminatory treatment of children who seek asylum in the UK".
Frankly, it seems to me they are treated no better and no worse than adult illegals.

And that’s how it should be…
A UK Border Agency spokesman said treating children with care and compassion was "number one priority".

"Whenever we take decisions involving children, their welfare comes first. That's why we have transformed our children's policy, enshrining in law a commitment to protect youngsters and keep them safe from harm," said the spokesman.

"When the independent courts find a family has no need for protection, we expect them to return home.

"We would much prefer it if they did this voluntarily - enforced removals are very much a last resort
The solution, it seems, is therefore within their own hands.

Isn’t it..?

Tuesday 10 March 2009

Spending £90 Million To Make Things Worse…

That’s the verdict of a damning report on the government’s efforts to tackle Muslim extremism by…employing known extremists:
A new generation of Muslims is being radicalised using the very Government funds that are supposed to be fighting the problem, a new report by the Policy Exchange think-tank says.
There’s a surprise…
An obsession with talking to extremists means that moderates are being ignored, leaving the stage clear for radicalisation, according to the report.

The Government is "underwriting the very Islamist ideology which spawns an illiberal, intolerant and anti-western world view" the report says.

"Political and theological extremists, acting with the authority conferred by official recognition, are indoctrinating young people with an ideology of hostility to western values."
Epic Fail, Gordon…
The Policy Exchange says the Government has made a "strategic error" that is "born of a poverty of aspiration," and the result has been to "empower reactionaries within Muslim communities and to marginalise genuine moderates."
This all stems from the poisoned chalice of ‘multiculturalism’ – the idea certain sections of society can divorce themselves from the main body and have their own culture, their own laws, and their own customs, and the state will bend over backwards to see that they are accommodated.

Thus, when it transpires that the ‘community’ is full of angry young men resenting Western society, instead of ensuring that they face the full weight of the law, it’s ‘softly, softly’ policies and negotiating with ‘community leaders’.
The Government has ploughed at least £90 million over three years into community groups as part of a project called "Prevent" aimed at diverting Muslims away from violent extremism.

But the project is not working, according to the report's authors Shiraz Maher, himself a former radical who knew the Glasgow bombers, and Martyn Frampton.
And who better to know…?
The authors say there is a "central theoretical flaw" in the project which means that "some within government and the police service believe that only nonviolent radicals, otherwise known as 'political Islamists,' possess the necessary 'street cred' to control angry young Muslims."

The problem has been caused by the link between violent and non-violent extremism being "habitually underplayed in official documents produced by central government, local government and the police."
And paid for by you and me…
Part of the problem is that the police and local authorities are ill-equipped to assess the groups they are funding, according to the report and funds have been granted on an "almost indiscriminate basis."

The criteria for appointing groups is "so vague and open-ended as to be almost meaningless" and bare (sic) no relation to any idea of "Britishness."
Hardly surprising, when no-one in government seems to have much of a clue as to what ‘Britishness’ actually means, and in particular, when they are reluctant to challenge any behaviour that doesn’t meet that test as somehow ‘unfair’ to minorities…
"Exotically-clad Abu Hamza-style ranters are unlikely to be favoured," the report says, "but plausible and well-mannered radicals, often representing themselves as moderate, are welcomed with open arms, however hardline their underlying philosophy."

The report draws particular attention to groups influenced by the Muslim Brotherhood in the Middle East and by Jamaat e-Islami in Pakistan and Bangladesh and suggests funding them would be similar to providing government funds to the BNP to fight fascism.
Ahhh, all the old favourites…
It says West Midlands Police tolerated an extremist preacher in the hope that the promotion of his fundamentalist version of Islam might act as a safety valve for young men who might otherwise be attracted to terrorism while he was preaching an incendiary message against the West, women and homosexuals.
Tower Hamlets Council awarded a substantial grant to the Cordoba Foundation, an Islamist pressure group, which in turn offered a platform to the radical Islamic group Hizb ut-Tahrir which promotes the message that democracy is forbidden in Islam.

Other councils criticised include Bradford, who have worked with the Islamic Society of Britain, Lambeth who have worked with a hard-line Salafists from Brixton Mosque, and Redbridge who worked with a former official from the Muslim Council of Britain.
Nice to see the WMP in that list. Their disgraceful, politically motivated behaviour over Channel Four’s ‘Undercover Mosque’ programme has underlined this report’s findings perfectly, hasn’t it?

Getting Your Retaliation In First?

A Muslim police officer claims he was forced out of his job by colleagues who made fun of his beard and called him a 'f***ing Paki'.

Because in today’s post-McPherson police service, I’d say there’s about as much chance of any police officer doing that as there is of them using their initiative or settling for a warning to a speeding driver instead of a fixed penalty.
PC Javid Iqbal, 38, said white officers openly discussed in front of him how they were ' better' than their ethnic-minority colleagues.

The married father of two also claims officers pulled faces at each other if told they had to go out on patrol with him and forced him to walk home from a job instead of picking him up.
So why isn’t he bathed in the warm comfort of a racial grievance case, rather than out on his ear and suing for wrongful dismissal?
Mr Iqbal says he was sacked after fellow-officers in Luton launched a 'smear and witch-hunt campaign' during which they lodged a string of complaints about his performance.
Hmmm, complaints about his performance, eh?
Mr Iqbal, who was born and raised in Stevenage, Hertfordshire, told the Daily Mail: 'My beard is an important part of my identity which helps other Muslims relate to me.

'I am disgusted that I was bullied by other officers because of my beliefs. I became a policeman because I believed in putting something back into society.

'I have found that institutional racism is still very much around.'
Have you? And when did you ‘find that out’, I wonder? After they sacked you, or before?
Mr Iqbal was working in Hertfordshire County Council's finance department when he became a special constable for the Bedfordshire force, one day a week.

Following the 7/7 bombings in London in 2005, he volunteered to go on patrol every night after work for two weeks to help reassure the large Muslim population of Luton, who were concerned about revenge attacks.
I’m sorry…?

Correct me if I’m wrong, but we don’t (yet) have separate police services for each minority culture, so if Iqbal thought his main concern should have been ‘the Muslim community’, he is, indeed, not fit to be a police officer, possible boorish treatment from his colleagues notwithstanding…
He says the first racist incident came in early 2006. He claims he was in a van with seven PCs and three 'tutor' constables - including one other Muslim - which stopped for food at a shop which did not sell halal products. When he asked if they were stopping anywhere else, he was told: 'This is it.'

Do you really think you were treated any differently to a vegetarian, or anyone else who believed that his ‘rights’ were paramount and should be adhered to by all present under pain of a tantrum?

Want halal food when the means of conveyance isn’t under your control? Pack sandwiches!
Mr Iqbal had only recently returned to work after a ninemonth leave of absence on full pay owing to depression when he was sacked for poor performance in August last year. He says he was the victim of untrue allegations, such as failing to report a rape claim. He insists the woman complained only of harassment at the time.
Nine months of full pay for ‘depression’, paid for by the taxpayer. Nice...
A source at Bedfordshire Police claimed Mr Iqbal was sacked because he was 'not cut out to be a police officer'. A spokesman added: 'We can't comment on a case that is yet to be heard but the evidence will speak for itself.'
Yes, it’s going to be interesting, I suspect. It will either show that racism is rife in the police ranks and is condoned by senior officers (thus putting Sir Trev’s nose out of joint).

Or it’ll show that cries of ‘racism’ are the last gasp of those who’ve been found wanting in their jobs and given the push.

Thus making the lives of those real victims of racism just that little bit harder...