Tuesday 30 June 2009

Signs Of The Times, Now Reaching France...

A waiter said after the tragedy on Thursday afternoon: 'It was a shocking moment.

'The smashing noise was like a bomb going off as the roof cracked, then everyone there very quickly realised what had happened.

'But the most bizarre thing was, most of the customers just carried on eating. I have no idea why they did that.'

"No, no, there's no problem here..."

The claim that immigrants jump the queue for council houses will be exposed as a myth next week by an exhaustive national survey.

It will undermine Gordon Brown's promise to let local authorities give "more priority" to people with local links in the allocation of empty properties. His move was widely seen yesterday as a response to the suspicion – successfully exploited in last month's local and European elections by the British National Party – that white families were losing out to new arrivals in obtaining council or housing association homes.
Hmm, an 'exhaustive national survey', eh...
The Independent has learned that a two-year investigation has failed to uncover "queue jumping" by immigrants and will describe the belief in its existence as a popular prejudice.
Well, well, well...

And who is responsible for this investigation?

The inquiry – based on analysis of authority housing allocation and interviews with housing association managers – was set up two years ago by Trevor Phillips, the chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, and the Local Government Association.
Now, I just bet all those lefties who wet themselves over the police investigating their own, or doctors reporting on their peers, will be all over this!



Because We Don’t Have Enough Control Freaks Proposing Radical Change…

Packs of red meat should carry warning labels advising shoppers to ration themselves to three portions a week, amid controversial claims that livestock production is killing the planet.

The proposals come from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), which also wants Britons to switch to milk substitutes as part of a radical move away from dairy farming.
And you thought they just spent your donations setting up tiger reserves and cuddling dolphins…
Co-author of a new WWF study, Charlotte Lee-Woolf said: 'We've looked at what people are eating, and at a population level we are over-consuming red meat by 70per cent and dairy by 40per cent.'
Note: ‘over consuming’ just means you are eating too much red meat by Charlotte Lee-Woolf’s standards. I bet you’re really concerned about that, aren’t you? I know I am….
WWF insists that the recent campaign from Sir Paul McCartney to encourage people to go 'Meat Free on Mondays' does not go far enough.

The organisation suggests people could switch to eating more chicken and other poultry and drinking milk alternatives made from soya or rice.

It also argues people should switch to consuming much more fruit and vegetables.
Is this what people intend for the WWF to do with the money they donate to them for conservation and animal welfare? Hector people into changing their diets?
While the ideas may seem bizarre, it is clear that there are elements within the food and farming department, Defra, who will sympathise with its aims.

Both the Secretary of State in the department, Hilary Benn, and his recently appointed number two, Jim Fitzpatrik, are vegetarians.
Poor reporting by the Daily Fail here. We don’t actually know what they’d think about the proposal, and it would be stupid to assume that they would agree, since it would threaten their empire, and thereby their cushy jobs and pension.

Besides, couldn’t they have just asked them about it? Or are reporters now simply making up the ‘news’ openly…?

As Mark Twain said:” If you don’t read the newspaper, you are uninformed; if you do read the newspaper, you are misinformed.”
However, director general of the Provision Trades Federation, Clare Cheney, hit back, saying: 'It's totally unrealistic to expect retailers to do something that would actually work in this area.

'Consumers themselves would have to have the incentive to eat less meat and dairy, and there's no indication of that happening.'
The British Retail Consortium, which speaks for supermarkets, said: 'This approach is very radical.

'Retailers do not want to be seen as responsible for the decimation of the UK meat and dairy industry, which would seem to be the logical outcome of the WWF's approach.'
The logical outcome of the WWF’s approach would be that people wake up and start to see where the money they unwittingly donate to a charity with a panda logo goes – into control over the human animal.

But that’s too much to hope for, I suppose…

”You ain’t comin’ in ‘ere dressed like THAT..!”

”…this ain’t a fancy dress par…”

Visitors to a railway attraction's Second World War-themed weekend were banned from dressing up as Hitler or SS officers.

They were invited to don 1940s-style clothes, both British and German, for Severn Valley Railway's re-enactment yesterday and today.

But the Swastika, Nazi uniforms and Hitler impersonations were barred from the popular tourist draw in Worcestershire because organisers feared they would cause offence.
Because a Second World War re-enactment party is the last place you’d expect to see people dressed as Hitler or the SS!

I’m confused. Did we win that war? Or not…? Perhaps I should have gone along to the event to find out:
The ban was introduced after someone turned up at a previous re-enactment dressed as the Fuhrer.
And what happened?

The article didn’t say, but we can only assume some awful calamity (earthquake? rain of frogs? Gordon Brown surprise guest appearance?), to cause the organisers to fear a repeat.
Organiser Steve Fulcher said: "The public like to see both sides of the re-enactment and we do have people dressed in the uniforms of German soldiers.

"But there were some pretty nasty things that went on in that war and we didn't want to cause offence to anybody who could still be offended by what happened."
Oh, ffs..!

That’s like organising a Sealed Knot re-enactment event and insisting no-one comes as Oliver Cromwell or King Charles I (depending on your preference).

Or a Tolkien afternoon where no-one is allowed to come as Saruman or an orc…

When did we fetishise the ‘not giving of offence’ to this degree? And the banality of that description of the events of WWII defies belief: “some pretty nasty things that went on in that war..”

Indeed there were, you little cretin. And if people like you had their way, they’d be airbrushed out of history, so as not to 'give offence'.

And what would happen then?

Interesting Proposition...

Via North Northwester, an intriguing idea:
The Voice of the Resistance will be made up of a collective of right-of-centre bloggers who all share a common bond in wanting what is right for our country, and are prepared to stand together with other like-minded individuals to provide a coherent and reasoned right-wing (but not extreme) blog that the UK blogosphere is so sorely missing.
One to watch in future...

I Was Hoping The US Social Services Were Better Than Ours...

...but it seems that was a forlorn hope:
Michael Jackson's mother Katherine won the first round of what could be a protracted legal battle yesterday when she was granted temporary guardianship of his three children.
Yeah. Because Katherine and Joe did such a bang up job of raising their own kids...
The family's lawyer, Londell McMillan, told NBC news that the children should be raised by their grandmother because "I don't think there will be anybody who thinks that there is someone better".
Not sure that anyone wouldn't be better, frankly!

Monday 29 June 2009

"..ain't nothing gonna change, if nobody's gonna wake up and start asking who's in charge.."

While you ponder the reports outlining Labour’s intention to keep spending until we are utterly ruined, bear in mind what a valuable job some of those government servants are doing:
Civil servants have sent out thousands of bogus job applications to businesses in an effort to expose racism.
Wondering just how?

Read on:
The applications were written with false identities to see whether firms were unfairly rejecting jobhunters with foreign-sounding names.

Solicitor General Vera Baird said initial results suggested 'there was quite a strong sense that there is race discrimination going on'.
Well, of course. Did you really expect anyone to say ‘Nope! Looks like everything’s just fine..’?
Ministers already spend £70million a year on an equality quango, the Equality and Human Rights Commission, which is charged with investigating alleged racism among employers.

But the fake job application scheme was devised within the Department of Work and Pensions, the ministry responsible for paying most benefits and trying to get the jobless back into work.
Looks to me as if they’ve given up on that vital task, if they have time to mess about with this kind of nonsense…
Officials conducted the exercise by putting in two or more applications for each of 1,000 job vacancies.

CVs would be similar, but the applications would be signed either with a traditional British name or one that looked as if it belonged to an applicant from an ethnic minority.
Based purely on the name? With today’s level of mixed marriages, and underclass-naming conventions?

Yeah, that’s a rigorous scientific procedure, all right…
Miss Baird, who is in charge of pushing Deputy Labour Leader Harriet Harman's Equality Bill through the Commons, has said the research could lead to an addition to the Bill banning employers from asking for names from applicants before they offer an interview.

Such a ban, she said, would also help women overcome discrimination from employers.

Is there no limit to this government’s inexhaustible supply of Ministerial idiocy…?

PC McQuarrie Isn't Helping To Dispel The Image...

...of Scotsmen as chippy, whiny little babies :
David Cameron has ordered an investigation into a claim that a Tory MP manhandled and racially abused a Scottish policeman during a demonstration in Parliament Square.

Mark Pritchard is accused of calling PC Ray McQuarrie a ‘scuffer’ – said to be slang for peasant – and of trying to push him out of the way when his route to the Commons was blocked.
Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but that's an offence, isn't it? Why did PC McQuarrie not arrest him on the spot?

Instead of going home to write a snivelling letter about it later, then ringing the Daily Fail?
He wrote to Mr Cameron: ‘On April 20th between 11pm and 11.40pm I was involved in crowd control duties in Parliament Square. A man approached my inspector and wanted to be allowed through the police cordon which was there because of the Tamil protesters who were seated in the middle of the road.

‘When he was not allowed through he complained saying: “You should have got rid of that lot weeks ago”. (Ed: A very good point..)

‘Then he said, “If you won’t allow me to walk on a British pavement you can arrest me”. He was asked to move on and said, “I’m not talking to a Scottish scuffer” – a derogatory term for the uneducated peasant underclass. He said: “I don’t want to talk to you, I want to talk to the English officer.”

‘He then tried to push me out of the way. We then tried to escort him away and at this point he became abusive towards my inspector and colleagues. It seemed he was under the influence of alcohol. I consider his behaviour to be racist and I would like a written apology.’
Oh, do behave, you whiny little crybaby! Do you want Davey to kiss you and make it all better?

Now, how come police bloggers have to fear the dreaded investigation for telling the truth about policing, and therefore 'bringing the police force into disrepute', yet this delicate little flower is allowed to write to a political party and have his name all over the media showing at least one policeman to be the sort who really shouldn't be allowed to be out on his own..?

Post Of The Month

This month, there can be only one - Laban Tall's post on the utter wreck of our once proud educational system.

Read it and weep...

Quote Of The Month

From Leg-Iron, on the Michael Jackson TV memorial extravaganza:
As for the continuously dead Michael Jackson, I turned on the TV for a brief look tonight and they were showing his trial again. I thought that when you died, your whole life was supposed to flash before your own eyes, not everyone else's.

I Think He Should Sit In His Own Chair...

...and then we should plug it in:
Britain's most controversial police chief is under fire again for spending police funds on a bardic chair for a poetry prize.

The prestigious chair for this year's Royal National Eisteddfod of Wales cost £3,450 with another £750 given as prize money for the winning poet at the festival, being held at Bala in August.
The public aren't amused:
Mr Roberts, who is Welsh-speaking, added : 'As a Welshman I fail to see why there should be a police involvement with a wooden bardic chair, even if the chief is a bard of the Eisteddfod.

'If he really wants to leave his mark on the Welsh language before he finishes in his job then the money could come out of his own pocket.

'Police should be fighting crime, not getting involved with chairs.
At least, in Bournemouth, the public can be satisfied at the sight of their police cracking down on crime...

Sunday 28 June 2009

Barbarians Are Inside The Gates...

..and now inside the chic restaurant diners too:
Strictly Come Dancing star Rachel Stevens and BBC reporter Hugh Pym were among dozens of diners who scrambled for cover when the man began spraying bullets inside the Harry Morgan diner in St John’s Wood, North London, on Friday night.
My dears! How positively frightful...
They seemed to be coming from the vicinity of the deli next to the restaurant, separated by a wall and a doorway so I couldn’t see what was happening. Then a man lurched towards us, coming from the direction of the deli. It seemed that he was being pursued. In that split second I had visions of American gangster movies.
No need to flash on 'The Sopranos' or 'Goodfellas', Hugh. These aren't Italian-American wiseguys. These are home-grown gangstas...
A man in a crash helmet with a pistol had chased another man through Harry Morgan and shot at him. The victim had staggered up St John’s Wood High Street leaving a pool of blood behind him. An ambulance had picked him up. The man in the helmet had come out and been picked up in a car and laid on the floor as the vehicle sped off, driven by another man.
That's a really helpful description, isn't it? You can see why Hugh is a crack Beeb reporter. Police are now looking for 'a man' or 'men'.
As we drove away I felt more shocked. A gun had been fired several times in a crowded restaurant. It seemed extraordinary that a gangster-style shooting had taken place in St John’s Wood High Street of all places. It’s easy to think ‘this sort of thing won’t ever happen to me’. But it just had, and to my son too. The reality of gun crime had been made abundantly clear.
Has it? This sort of gun crime is carried out by 'men', of no appearance, as the saying goes, is it..?

Turn to the 'Telegraph' for a clue:
The Metropolitan Police's Trident unit, which deals with gun crime within the black community, is investigating the shooting, but Scotland Yard said it was too early top say whether the attack was gang related.
So much for 'the reality' of gun crime...

Sunday Funnies

From 'Cracked', it's the revenge of the beasts. The adorable cute beasts ...

Well, maybe not the chicken.

Saturday 27 June 2009

"..the instant, white-hot, wild, wakened female of the species.."

Over at Tim Worstall’s, bonkers feminist Julie Bindel salivates at the thought of the changes she expects to be made to the law, and drags out three ‘heartrending’ tales of domestic violence as examples of the kind of women (not men, oh, dear me no!) who can expect to be handed a get-out-of-jail-free card if it passes:
Judges have been known to express sympathy for men who claim they were nagged or cheated on by female partners, but often appear to have little for women who kill after being raped by their partners or experiencing domestic violence. This tends to be because when women who are being regularly beaten by their partners kill, their dominant emotions are usually fear or despair - not exactly a sudden, explosive "loss of self-control".
So, in mitigation, she presents three case studies sob stories for our delectation.

Let’s take a look, shall we?
On the day she killed Doolan, in October 2003, she had been drinking heavily in her local pub, becoming increasingly distressed. Doolan had been sending abusive and threatening text messages. "I called my mother and said, 'I can't take any more. Nick has ruined my life,'" said Akers. She decided to confront Doolan, and drove to his home, taking a knife with her for protection. When Doolan opened the door she stabbed him.
Hmm, she voluntarily went to the scene to confront the victim and took a weapon with her? I can see why ‘self-defence’ wasn’t going to fly there..!

Still, even so, she got off lightly:
She lost her appeal against her murder conviction in 2007 and her earliest release date has been set for 2015.
Less than 12 years? Not exactly hard-done by, under the circumstances.

Alicia Crown (not her real name) has been in prison for more than eight years. Her tariff was originally nine years, but was reduced to seven and a half in 2006 to reflect the evidence of violence and abuse that led her to kill. For Crown the stigma of being labelled a murderer brings an added burden. Recently she has lost her appeal against deportation to Jamaica, a country she had escaped because her life was in danger from a violent ex-partner as well as the ghetto violence that had led to her brother being murdered.
Hmm, so someone leaves a world of ‘violence’ and immediately takes up with another violent partner?
In May that year, Semple asked Crown if they could meet and sort out some problems in their relationship. When Crown arrived she could tell Semple had been drinking. He noticed Crown had a sore on her lip and accused her of having syphilis. In the ensuing argument, Semple started punching her in the face and threatening her with a fruit knife. Crown grabbed the knife when Semple dropped it and stabbed him during a struggle, running barefoot and injured from the scene, crying for help.

The flat revealed evidence of a struggle between the two, and a police doctor who examined Crown two days later found injuries partly consistent with her account of having been attacked by Semple. Crown pleaded self-defence at her trial, but the jury convicted her of murder.

Following her conviction, the judge said the evidence suggested she may well have killed in "excessive self-defence".
Yet again, she voluntarily met with the victim – though not taking her own knife this time. And are we supposed to be swayed by the deportation mention?
In law, the force used in self-defence must be equal to the threat and there should be no obvious means of escape. But the reality is that in a typical domestic violence relationship, where one partner is physically stronger and more confident in the use of violence, the victim may have an exaggerated fear of the danger. In cases where women kill, a knife is often used to defend against a fist, and sometimes a woman may kill to prevent a further attack.
So, should that argument prevail with a small man/large woman? Or would la Bindel come up with another excuse?

Kirsty Scamp stabbed her boyfriend Jason Bull to death on his 28th birthday. She had been reluctant to go out to celebrate with him because she was wary of his heavy drinking and cocaine use, which often led to violence.

"I had made him a birthday cake and wanted it to be a special day and not the usual drunken display, " she says. But on Bull's insistence, the couple went out in the late afternoon to meet friends in a pub. Bull drank heavily and took cocaine. When they returned home they started to argue, and when Scamp tried to stop him from drinking more, Bull began punching her and pulled out clumps of her hair. She left the flat to let him calm down, and sat on the steps outside the front door. She then overheard him on the phone "slagging me off" and went back in to confront him.

At that point, Scamp says, he turned "really nasty". She said she "had never seen him look the way he did that night. It was frightening." She grabbed a knife and stabbed Bull in the chest. "I ran out into the street and called an ambulance," said Scamp. "He was slumped against the door, and there was lots of blood, but I had no idea he was so seriously hurt."
Well, of course, having fled the immediate danger, it makes perfect sense to go back in because you are being called names….

Sorry, but I don’t find any of these cases persuasive of having somehow not received justice. In fact, given the agreed circumstances, I think they got off lightly.

Each one went back into a situation they had already escaped, voluntarily and of their own free will. Two of them because the man in the relationship was slandering them, in text, or on the phone. Not physically assaulting them, dissing them!

Now, how is that any different to the swaggering young gangstas knifing each other over 'respec', innit?' And if not, would they too have a defence under this new law?

Or just the girl gangstas?

This proposal is dangerous beyone belief. Let's hope it doesn't get through.

The Definitive Michael Jackson Column

Comes to you from the incomparable Mark Steyn:
“Michael’s daughter was called Paris Michael, her dad evidently having spent enough time in London to know the name Princess Michael would be likely to expose her to ridicule.
Read the whole thing...

Friday 26 June 2009

” There were no grounds for concern about the children's living conditions…”

Three young children trapped in a squalid 'hell hole'
were reported to the council by worried neighbours two years before the authorities finally rescued them, it was revealed today.
Hmm, this is becoming a bit of a regular occurrence…
The children, aged one, three and four, were kept in darkness inside the filthy house and never allowed out by their cruel parents.

Neighbours, concerned that the youngsters were hardly ever seen or heard, repeatedly spoke to housing officials about them and have accused social services of negligence.
Surely not!?
Residents say they are furious that the city council tried to claim officials had acted swiftly to help the children after receiving a tip-off.

In reality the authorities did not take concerns about the family seriously enough, neighbours said.
Oh, dear, once again a council's spin slams into the brick wall of cold reality…
The neighbour said they reported their concerns in person to the council official 'on two or three occasions'.

'She told us they were aware there were issues with the family.

Council housing officials would do walkabouts on the estate and they would stand and look at the house quite a few times. Officials went to the house but no one seemed to do anything.

'Seeing those pictures of the state of the house I am really angry that we expressed concerns and nothing was done. Social services should take reports like this more seriously. You only had to stand near the front door and smell it, it was obvious something was wrong.

'You trust the local authority when you report something like this but it wasn't until the police were involved that something was done.'
I’m sure they did ‘do something’ – they ticked the ‘visited house’ box on their sheet, went back to their offices, and called it a day until the next time someone called…
The jailed parents, who cannot be named for legal reasons, did not come from the kind of deprived backgrounds usually found in cases of extreme child negligence.

They met in a nightclub six years ago when she was a first-year university student and he was working as a DJ and part-time graphic designer. The couple quickly moved in together and before long started a family.

He was said to suffer from 'anxiety and fear of open spaces' and according to the woman's family she was 'trapped in an abusive relationship'.
So, it seems despite being ‘highly intelligent’, this woman’s family actually had as much ability to deal with their problems as the average inner-city chav?

And despite knowing about this ‘abusive relationship’, the parents and siblings were content to let little sister wallow in squalor and bring up children in such conditions?
The children's mother, who worked part-time as a caterer, came from a respectable family. Her father is a leading authority on the famous composer Sir Arthur Sullivan, while her sister is a shop manageress and brothers works in television production.
All that family, and they never once raised any concerns over the welfare of their own relatives…? It took strangers to do that?
The local authority has admitted having previous involvement with the family before the parents' arrest late last year, but it denies acting too slowly.

Eoin Rush, assistant director of Children and Families at the council, said: 'The Local Authority's Children Services department has provided occasional advice and support to this family in the past. There were no grounds for concern about the children's living conditions during this period and contact was not related to the more recent acute deterioration in the family household.'
So, you could see and smell the condition of the house, you knew children were living there, but that was ‘no grounds for concern’?

Just how many family houses are there like this in York (of all places) that this could be considered ‘normal’?
York City Council is to hold an internal review to see if lessons can be learned.

Carole Runciman, the councillor overseeing children's services, said: 'No authority is ever perfect but we got the children out reasonably promptly, we know that they are flourishing where they are now and for me the most important thing is they are safe, they are being properly looked after and they have been dealt with through the courts.'
‘Tut! What’s the big deal, it’s all sorted now, isn’t it? Quit complaining…’

”They have everything for you men to enjoy, you can hang out with all the boys...”

Canterbury is now officially ‘gay enough’:
One of Britain's most historic cities has today been told it IS gay enough - after a complaint sparked a two-month investigation costing thousands of pounds.
Ah, well, it’s only taxpayer money, after all…
The Local Government Ombudsman - who asked for the city's council to provide evidence of how it supported the gay community - said it was satisfied the community was being catered for.

But the conclusion the council was not at fault was only reached after council officers had to painstakingly build a case for its 'inclusiveness'.

It had to provide the ombudsman with 'details of touring plays and musicals, for example, which would be of interest to the LGBT community'.

And it had to show that it had 'put forward suggestions for small events that it might help fund, as well as proposals for other events such as exhibitions'.
Thus diverting three council workers from their usual jobs of harassing families who’d put the wrong waste in their bin or planning how to encourage more restrictive parking in the town centre.

So, maybe not such a bad idea after all!
The two-month investigation began at the end of April after a letter was sent from two representatives of Pride in Canterbury.

Chairman Andrew Brettell lodged a formal complaint with the Local Government Ombudsman claiming his initial letter to the council in November fell on deaf ears.
It took two months…?
The letter, written by the ombudsman Christine Kane, said the council had 'no statutory duty' to promote LGBT culture.

The letter read: 'I see from information provided by the council that it has given your organisation funding in past years.

'It has invited you to provide details of touring plays and musicals, for example, which would be of interest to the LGBT community.

'And it has also invited you to put forward suggestions for small events that it might help fund, as well as proposals for other events such as exhibitions.'

She also wrote that there was no basis for continuing to respond to the same complaint from the activists after the council apologised for failing to send a letter to the initial complaint last year.

She said: 'I see no reason, therefore, for the council to keep revisiting complaints that have been properly considered simply because you are unhappy with the outcome.'
It took them two months to find the letters they’d sent in the first place to this whining cretin asking him for the information they needed to meet his own complaint! Good lord…

And what the hell are ‘plays and musicals, for example, which would be of interest to the LGBT community’…?

Isn’t that treating them as a block, not as individuals, with the same likes and dislikes in entertainment as everyone else?

What was the council supposed to do, ensure that ‘Mamma Mia’, ‘Priscilla Queen of the Desert’ and ‘Rent’ was on at the local playhouse, then say ‘job done’?
A spokesman for Pride was not available for comment.
No, I’ll just bet….

Thursday 25 June 2009

So, What Are ‘Inappropriate Plants’ Then…?

A public-spirited gardener has been told she could face prosecution for criminal damage after sprucing up a neglected patch of land in a car park.

Green-fingered Jayne Bailey gave the concrete island on her housing estate a makeover as the 30-year-old cobbles were coming loose and becoming a safety hazard.

So she removed the stones and replaced them with flowers from her own garden and from friends, turning a crumbling eyesore into a bright display that won praise from some of her neighbours.
Oh oh, you can see what’s coming next, can’t you?
However, she has since been told by Cornwall County Council to rip out the flowers and replace the cobbles herself - or foot the bill for contractors to do it.

'In a letter I have been told I have 28 days to replace it or they will come out and do the work and send me the bill,' said Mrs Bailey, who is in her 50s.

'They also threatened that they would go to the police and report me for criminal damage.
Because the police haven’t got anything better to do in Cornwall than respond to reports of Aggravated Flower Arranging…
Many of Mrs Bailey's neighbours in Bodmin have welcomed the new greenery.

Naomi Luke said: 'It looks a lot nicer. It was disgusting before.
In fact it was a hazard. Now it is somewhere everyone can enjoy and looks pretty.'

It is not Mrs Bailey's first brush with town hall bosses for showing the kind of initiative that many would see as entirely praiseworthy.

Five years ago she planted an overgrown area on the estate that was being used for fly-tipping.

'They threatened me then too,' she said. 'I do not want to make a claim on the land - I just don't want it turning into a dumping ground.

'I was told to replace it then but I didn't - how do they expect me to get brambles that I cut down?'
Now, that’s expecting a sensible approach, so you were on a hiding to nothing there, weren’t you?
A spokesman insisted the council backed residents who wanted to spruce up the public areas around them but added: 'This is done in partnership with ourselves to ensure appropriate plants and maintenance.'
Councils keep and maintain lists of ‘appropriate plants’?

I wonder what’s on them – and more important, what’s not?

Black Eyed Susan – out. Domestic violence shouldn’t be encouraged.
Foxglove – out. Animals wearing clothing compromises their welfare.
Michaelmas daisies – out. Not inclusive enough to other faith’s festivals.
Honesty – out. Too judgemental.
Johnny jump up - out. Offensive to the disabled.
Pansy - don't even go there!

In fact, it’s hard to see what would be in

Update: A song for the council, couresy of Newgate News...

Another Nail In Gordon's Coffin..?

A £1million Government scheme to help failed asylum seekers return home resulted in just one family leaving the UK.

A scathing report from the Children's Society says the scheme, which ran for less than a year, failed because government officials did not seem to know what it was for or how to run it.
That sounds about right, frankly…
A centre run by the charity Migrant Helpline was supposed to process 260 families in a year but in reality it dealt with only 13 - only one of which was returned to its native country.

Set up in November 2007, the centre did not take in anyone until January last year and it was closed down a month before its planned 12-month span.
Hmm, I suspect this project succeeded in at least one of its objectives then.
That one being to ensure a nice (if short lasting) sinecure for somebody.

And yes, as Mark Wadsworth points out, it’s yet another fakecharity.
Lisa Nandy of the Children's Society said: 'The project was mismanaged from start to finish. The money would have been well spent - it's just a real scandal that the opportunity was missed.

'Unfortunately when the UK Border Agency set the project up they had no clear objectives or evaluation criteria so they didn't know actually what it was they were trying to achieve.'
You wouldn’t think anything complicated was needed, would you?

I mean, ‘assist illegal families to vacate the country’. It’s not rocket science…
'There was a substantial amount of confusion, even among UK Border Agency officials themselves about what the pilot was intended to achieve. Many people didn't actually know about the pilot.'
Could that possibly be because the UK Border Agency is yet another example (as with the disastrous merger of HM Customs and the Inland Revenue) of Gordon Brown’s idea of decision-making, whereby a new department is cobbled together like some Frankensteinian monster and then set free to wander, leaderless, sowing destruction and confusion in its wake?

Rather than look at why the existing departments aren’t working, and doing the necessary work to get them back on track?
The chairman of the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee Keith Vaz said the pilot had been 'a waste of money' because it was applied to families who had been in the UK waiting for a decision on their asylum claim for as long as 10 years, rather than intervening earlier in the process.
And how come we have people waiting 10 years to be kicked out?

Shouldn’t that be tackled in the first place, before we start looking at ‘assistance’ for the others?
Migrant Helpline insisted today that the Kent project had not been a waste of time.

'There was a huge amount of learning that came out of that pilot and we hope that learning will be put to good use,' said deputy chief executive Roy Millard.
But surely this project will never be repeated?

I mean, who on earth would allow them to waste another £1 million by trying agai…

A UK Border Agency spokesman said: 'Keeping families out of detention remains a priority.

He told BBC News that a new project in Glasgow was 'building on what we learnt from our experiences in Kent'.

Telling Us Something We Already Know. And Charging Us For It Into The Bargain...

Three quarters of the population believe the police have failed to get to grips with anti-social behaviour and drink-fuelled violence, a damning Whitehall survey showed yesterday.

It found police forces and other public services are said to neither listen to what people say about crime and rowdiness nor do anything to stop it.
They needed a survey for this? Couldn’t they just read a few blogs, or the ‘letters’ pages of some newspapers?
The poll of more than half a million adults also suggested that councils are out of touch, unpopular, and take too much of residents' money.
Heh! It’ll be interesting to see what they propose to do about this…
The findings appear to reflect deep disillusion with years of promises that initiatives such as ASBOs and greater efforts by the police and the justice system would make streets safer.

They suggest the great majority do not believe everyday crime has been successfully tackled.

They also point to public disaffection through the impact of high council tax and a widespread view that town halls are arrogant and incompetent.
Seriously, fellas, didn’t the election results tell you this?
The findings drew a rebuke for councils from Local Government Secretary John Denham, who said: 'The improvements we have seen in local services are not being reflected in people's perception of their council.
Hmmm, or in other words: ‘How the hell can we convince the rubes that things have never been better?’

And the local councils’ response? Pretty much sticking their fingers in their ears and saying ‘La la la la we’re not listening’…:
The Local Government Association, the umbrella body for councils, said: 'This survey shows that the vast majority of residents are happy with services which their councils provide.'

Were they reading the same survey I just was?

Wednesday 24 June 2009

This Is NOT The Job Of The Police...

Police chiefs have come under fire for arranging a party for gipsies and travellers using £2,000 of taxpayers' money - to help improve relations.
I don't really need to say anything else.

Do I...?

'Not A Violent Young Man'...

A man was kicked so hard he was left with a vivid shoe print on his face.

John Alderton was punched to the ground and repeatedly kicked after he told two men he had not got 40p for a phone call.
And their mouthpiece had a sterling excuse for leniency:
Tony Loder, defending Lee, said: “He is full of remorse for what he did and accepts his behaviour was totally out of order.

“He was remanded in custody as a result of the offence and has been working hard in prison in an effort to put this behind him.

“He has been accepted as a listener with the Samaritans and is helping other young prisoners with their problems.”
Well, theier website does say that 'Everyone has it in them to be a Samaritans volunteer' but I don't think that's quite what people imagined...
Richard Barton, defending Lane, said: “This is not a violent young man but he accepts joining in the attack after it had started.

“This is his first conviction and he pleaded guilty at the first opportunity.”
I suspect it won't be his last. I also suspect it's not his first. Merely the first he was caught doing.

The judge was only half swayed by this:
Judge Richard Hayward told Lee: “You have had problems in your life but that cannot be an excuse for gratuitous violence on a total stranger.

“Mr Alderton was left with the imprint of your trainer on his face and he was shocked and distressed by what happened to him.

“Only a prison sentence is appropriate to punish you, to mark public disapproval of those who use such violence and to try to deter others.”

Lee, who has previous convictions, was jailed for 18 months and Lane was given a 52-week prison sentence suspended for two years.
Which I suppose is better than nothing. But not much.

Let's hope the next person walking through Brighton late and night is Judge Richard Hayward. And that he doesn't have any change on him...

Now, They'll Have To Find Another Excuse...

Parents who want to take photos of their children in school plays or at sports days can once again snap happily away.

The privacy watchdog says authorities that have banned parents taking shots for the family album are wrongly interpreting the rules.
It's cheering, but at the same time, disheartening, that we have to rely on a public body like the Office of the Information Commissioner to tell us all what we already knew, and thereby provide parents with a way to challenge the barmy school rules.

But what took them so long?

Tuesday 23 June 2009

"Foreman says these jobs are going, boys, and they ain't coming back, to your hometown..."

Well, this might be shaping up to be a real summer of discontent after all:
Workers building a Teesside biofuels plant have walked out for a third time in support of sacked strikers at an oil refinery in Lincolnshire.
I have a certain amount of sympathy for the workers if it turns out they are being priced out of the market in favour of cheaper foreign workers, as Ranting Stan believes, and that's obviously something for the government to resolve with tax breaks and concessions.

But I can't help but agree with Blue Eyes and Patently that we need to evolve out of dependence on these jobs, and diversify into other markets too, in order to protect our competitive edge.

Because even if (when) Call-Me-Dave takes the reins, most decisions are taken far beyond these shores now. And replacing the man in the big chair, and all his minions in the little chairs, isn't going to have much material effect on the economy.

Whose Life Is It Anyway?

It looks as though the British Meddling Association has finally woken up to just how much their ‘care’ is valued by some people:
Senior doctors will tomorrow express concern over the number of Britons suffering from non fatal illnesses such as rheumatoid arthritis and kidney disease who have used the Swiss suicide service, Dignitas.
Probably because they can’t face many years of misery and struggling to get appropriate care and medical assistance from the crippled NHS, where resources flow like water for the latest fad, and the authorities positively relish control over the tiniest minutiae of the lives of the people who have no choice but to use it, but where simple things like clean, non-mixed wards are increasingly hard to come by.

But the BMA members have no wish to sully their hands with anything like the facts, or spend time debating the shocking state of the NHS. Not when they can whine about the ‘immorality’ of people choosing to escape their tender mercies instead:
Their fears were raised after the Guardian obtained a list drawn up by Dignitas which reveals the medical conditions which have driven 114 Britons to end their lives at the clinic.

The document shows that while many had terminal illnesses such as cancer and motor neurone disease, others had non-fatal conditions which doctors say some people can live with for decades.
But here’s the rub, doctors; they didn’t want to!

And it’s their life…
The details have prompted deep concern among senior doctors, calls for the NHS to provide much better end-of-life care and a renewed debate over demands for a new legal right of assisted death to render the growing British use of Dignitas unnecessary.
Well, there’s a nice rallying call: ‘British death factories for British sufferers!’

How about calling for a long, hard look at what’s wrong with the NHS instead?

But it’s not all about simply not biting the hand that feeds you. There’s principle at stake here, it seems.

The principle of doctor-as-god:
Professor Steve Field, chairman of the Royal College of General Practitioners, said: "I'm horrified by this list. While I appreciate that some patients with conditions like these experience great suffering and misery, I'm concerned because I know that many of the conditions outlined are conditions patients live with and can live with for many years and continue to have productive and meaningful lives."
But everyone’s different. And just because some people can live with a non-lethal condition doesn’t mean everyone is able to, or should therefore want to.
Dr John Saunders, chair of the Royal College of Physicians' ethics committee, said: "The conditions are so varied that it suggests that Dignitas is not undertaking the adequate medical assessment [of patients seeking its help] that might be expected. The list does suggest that Dignitas is cavalier in arranging for people to end their lives."
Well, it’s what they do, after all.

You might as well whine that Apple don’t ask if people buy iPhones to make important business calls rather than rabbit to their friends about the latest Big Brother shenanigans…
Dr Tony Calland, chairman of the ethics committee at the British Medical Association, the doctors' union, said: "This list raises considerable concern. There are some conditions such as Crohn's disease and rheumatoid arthritis that, whilst extremely unpleasant, are eminently treatable and many of the symptoms can be relieved. To go off and commit suicide simply on the basis of these conditions would be premature and unreasonable."
And there you have the attitude of the modern concerned medical professional in a nutshell – that you might feel that your life is so full of pain and misery that it’s no longer worth continuing is a personal affront to him and all his colleagues.

You should suffer so that he can feel useful.
Their fears were echoed by Edward Turner, whose mother Anne, a retired doctor who had the incurable degenerative condition supranuclear palsy, became a focus of the right to die debate when she killed herself at Dignitas in January 2006. "The principle should be that if somebody is terminally ill and has started the process of dying, it's not unreasonable for them to have an assisted death. When people have non-terminal conditions, that's more troubling", said Turner.

"I don't want to see assisted suicide legalised for people who are disabled but not dying because morally that's a different thing. With the right care and support someone with tetraplegia, for example, can find quality and meaning in life."
There’s the operative word there – ‘can’.

It’s logical to suppose that for some, they cannot. And that should remain their choice, no matter how uncomfortable it makes some doctors.

Anyway, aren’t doctors supposed to consider the needs and wishes of the patient over those of their own ego?
Next week's annual conference of the BMA will debate calls to end the threat of imprisonment hanging over those who go with loved ones travelling abroad to commit suicide, and a right of assisted dying in the UK for the terminally ill.
It’s worth keeping an eye on this one – there’s bound to be some spectacularly ill-thought-out suggestions that throw the attitudes of some doctors into sharp relief…

Why You Shouldn't Source Your News From The Internet...

A Bolivian television station aired photographs from the television drama 'Lost' presenting them as images of an Air France airliner that went down in the Atlantic, the station's news director said on Monday.
In other news, police in France looking into a massive jewellery heist are interested in talking to this top suspect:

Twitter Twat Twatted...

Celebrity blogger Perez Hilton says he got a black eye from the manager of the Black Eyed Peas.
Hilton tweeted shortly after being punched, claiming in a 4am posting that: "I am bleeding. Please, I need to file a police report. No joke."
Surely it takes more time to tweet than to dial 911...?

Ace of Spades has further details of this chap's total disconnection from the real world...

Monday 22 June 2009

That's A Lot Of Schools & 'Ospitals....

Asylum seekers who should have been deported from the country cost £73 million to house and feed last year, new figures have disclosed.
And there's no getting away from this as a purely Labour failure:
Ministers have admitted the significant increase in costs borne by the taxpayer – almost 20 times the £4 million spent four years ago – is due to a large backlog of failed claimants, who cannot be removed despite judges ruling they have no right to stay here.
And it seems Shakespeare was spot on:
The rise was due to failed claimants becoming more aware they are entitled to receive benefits under Section 4 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999, the spokesman said.

The Act says that those who can prove they are destitute can claim free accommodation and £35 a week in food vouchers.

Although the assistance is supposed to be temporary, most who qualify will continue to receive it as their lawyers engage in protracted legal battles against their removal.

How Are The Progressives Going To Explain Away This Report?

Gang rape is happening here – and what I have found most disturbing as an African is that a disproportionate number of these attacks are being carried out by black or mixed-race young men.
Sorious Samura is lucky - if a white male journalist was to submit a report like this one, he'd be accused of racism, or lack of understanding of 'black culture'.

But he understands the issues all too well:
Gang rape, while constituting only a tiny percentage of all rapes in the UK, is a horrible reality in this country. The nature of the crime is so appalling that much more research needs to be carried out into its causes. But what seems evident from my investigation is that the key to preventing it will be changing the way young men view women and the kind of group sexual activity they are engaging in at such a young age.
Good luck with that, Sorious, since (as your report admits), no-one's even keeping track of the figures:
Despite the seriousness of the crime, I was amazed to discover that no national statistics exist: gang rape is simply not recorded as a separate crime category.
Funny. It seems to be the only thing no-one wants to keep any stats on...

'Catch 22' - Required Reading For The SS...

Or so it seems, when they swooped on a young couple who had paid £38,000 in IVF fees to have children:
Nurses reported that the mother appeared to feel ' bitter' towards her children after her joke about the caesarean's effect on her body.

And when the desperate woman lost her temper at social workers who had taken her babies, officials said she had 'anger problems' and could pose a threat to her twins.
React as any mother would to interfering officialdom, and you are therefore a 'danger'. Nice.

They get you coming and going, don't they?
The couple, from Hornchurch, Essex, can be identified only as Mr and Mrs N to protect the identity of their children.

They are allowed only supervised contact for ten hours a week with their son and daughter, and have been warned that the babies could be handed to strangers for adoption if a judge rules they cannot care for them.
And the SS aren't the only ones lacking in basic humanity in this case.

The 'angels' have turned out not to be quite so angelic here too:
They both weighed little more than 3lb and were kept in incubators at the NHS hospital's neonatal unit, where their parents were eventually able to help feed and care for them.

But staff became concerned that they were not giving the twins enough milk or changing them often enough.

On January 29 a senior nurse referred the family to social services.

Mrs N said: 'The hospital could see we were struggling but they made no attempt to help us. They just decided we didn't have the parenting skills to look after the babies.

'They wrote down everything we did and said so they could use it against us. They twist everything. I remember talking to my son while he was in his cot, and saying jokingly, "You want to see what you have done to your Mummy's body".
Does that repair anyone's faith in the NHS?
Social workers visited the couple and asked to take the children into foster care. When the parents refused, Havering Borough Council took the case to court and in February was granted an interim care order to give the twins to a foster carer.
My, they certainly seem to have no problem seizing the children of normal families, yet chavs and mental cases are free to injure and kill their children almost at will.

Something's very wrong in this country.
Mr and Mrs N were allowed to visit but have found it difficult to see their babies in a stranger's care, and Mrs N admits she has shouted at the foster mother and social workers during angry confrontations over the twins' welfare.

The petite, 5ft 2in woman was accused of throwing her mobile phone at a social worker, and officials once called the police during an angry case conference.
Hmmm, maybe someone should be looking at Gordon and Sarah Brown then...
'Of course I get frustrated and I sometimes lose my temper, but never with the children. We don't drink, smoke or take drugs. Neither of us has a criminal record. All we wanted was to have a family.'
There's your problem, Mrs N. You obviously need to do all those things. Then maybe the SS will leave you in peace to bring up your children.

Or murder them. It's all the same to them...

Saturday 20 June 2009

Age Un-Concern

It seems another fakecharity is pleading poverty in the recession, and looking for a (further) government handout to keep going:
More than 60 furious elderly residents have signed a petition protesting against the planned closure of their activity centre.

Members of Active Age, at Park Centre, in Rectory Road, Dagenham say they are angry and distraught, to hear their club, run by Age Concern Barking and Dagenham, may shut for good in three months.
And theirs isn’t the only one:
Last week the POST wrote about Age Concern's proposal to end the Active Age service, which is run at seven separate centres across the borough and offers a host of activities, including bowling, dancing and outings.

The charity say they have been hit by the credit crunch and can no longer afford to cover the rent and staff costs, especially, they say, as the council have decreased their subsidies.
Hmmm, nothing to do with the fact that concentrating on the lucrative ‘frail and elderly’ targets instead nets them even more money from the government?

And if costs are such an issue, how come their staffing levels (looking just at Barking and Dagenham) are on the increase despite the decrease in centres?
The furious Park Centre members, who sent their petition to the POST, say many elderly people will lose a vital life line if their club shut.

Doris Thornton, 73, said: "It's ever such a happy club and a great place to meet friends and have a laugh. If you are feeling down or lonely, which many elderly people do, it is the perfect place to go as you always feel better afterwards."
But you see, Mrs Thornton, you aren’t worth the money to Age Concern to be kept healthy and active – you are worth far more to them in government targets, and hence subsidies, if you are frail or depressed.

So, when Age Concern roll out another of their high profile campaigns, think of the people they are cutting off here, and don’t reach for your wallet.
Members of all the clubs have been told they would need to raise £8000 for each centre, and increase the weekly membership fees.

Many now hope the council, who funded the entire service until 2002, will step in to help.
And this seems likely:
Councillor Herbert Collins, Executive Member for Adult Services and Public Health, said: "This came as a real surprise as we have always enjoyed an effective working relationship with Age Concern. A number of residents have told us that they would like to keep this service going and we are now urgently looking at ways in which that can be done.

"In these tough times, it is important that the council and its partners tackle issues of this nature together and that there is a joined up approach.
Sadly, with the government planning to hive off more and more of its services to unaccountable and unelected charities, this is going to happen more and more often…

Turkeys Get The Feeling Christmas Is Coming…

However, while some MPs like Brian Binley wriggle and squirm on the hook, it’s starting to dawn on many others just what the future has in store for them:
Demoralised MPs were last night bracing themselves for a potentially lethal backlash as constituents, journalists and political opponents trawled through their expenses claims, and started to publicise how they had used taxpayers' money to subsidise mortgages, enjoy food worth £400 a month free of charge, pay parking tickets, or purchase pastel-shaded sofas.
They’re demoralised?

The immediate damage to the political class will come less through the revelation of complex property deals, since such detail has been censored, but in the sense that MPs lived a life apart.
Which is what people have been saying for a while now – we don’t have a representative democracy when we have MPs who are, for the most part, insulated from the effects of the policies they impose on everyone else by virtue of being able to exempt themselves from regulations and live in areas unaffected by the mass immigration and building projects, and by doing so while awarding themselves ever increasing piles of taxpayer cash.

And if people are angry about the expenses scandal, how are they going to feel when the MP Pay Board recommends yet another inflation-busting ‘pay’ rise for them? Figures like 10% are being alluded to, in the middle of a recession when most will get 01.0%, or even no pay rise at all.
On the ever-unforgiving blogosphere, there is talk of protest marches through the towns and cities of Britain, as well as reheated promises to put up independent candidates, in an attempt to rekindle the anti-sleaze mood already reflected in this month's European parliament election results.
People always say it was ‘sleaze’ that brought down the Major government, but that was nothing compared to this.

And this is cross-party. No party is innocent. They’ve all had their snouts buried deep in the trough.
Sir Stuart Bell, a member of the members' estimates committee (MEC), the Commons body that has struggled to handle this fiasco over the last year, told the Guardian last night: "There are many more MPs going to give up, and not just because of the allowances fiasco. Some are looking at the other changes, the end to MPs' self-regulation, the changes to the appointment of select committees, and they have decided [not] to be part of it."
In other words, stop the ride – I want to get off, now it’s not fun any more!

Couldn’t happen to a more deserving bunch of people, frankly.
… MPs now look as if they are shutting the proverbial stable door, not just after the horse has bolted, but sold to the highest bidder at auction. A Speaker and parliamentary leadership without a tin ear to the public's outrage might have printed the lot weeks ago. But parliamentary authorities said that would have been unlawful.
And as we can see from the shameless excuse spewing of the likes of Brian Binley, they don’t have a tin ear – they have two!
Regardless of the narrow requirements of the Data Protection Act, John Mann, the reforming Labour MP, said: "We are our own worst enemies. We look like we are ducking and diving."
If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, etc, John!

And no, you are not ‘your own worst enemies’. Not while I’m still drawing breath, anyway…

Hark, What Do I Hear…?

Why, it’s the world’s tiniest violin, playing for Brian Binley MP, as he cranks the hyperbole all the way up to 11:
Happily, I have never lived in a totalitarian state. But this week I was given an insight into what it must have been like in the dark days of East European Communism to receive the infamous knock on the door from those delightful individuals who once did the dirty work of the Stasi and the KGB.
Oh, my!

Did someone knock down his door, intimidate his family, drag him off to a secret interrogation room somewhere, never to be seen again? What horrors can have befallen the poor man?
In my case, it came in the form of an email from the Daily Telegraph, informing me that I had "questions to answer" about my living arrangements in London in the three years after I was elected to Parliament in 2005.

My conscience was perfectly clear, and after reading the "accusations", I knew there was nothing for which I had to answer and duly contacted the reporter to explain the situation.
An email? Asking perfectly legitimate questions about his expenses? Expenses paid for from public money?

Cancel the pity party!
But frankly, I might not have bothered. Sadly, such is now the Telegraph's thirst and hunger for making mischief since obtaining the records of MPs' expenses, that it has long since abandoned the idea of fair and honest reporting.
Funny, I didn’t hear a peep out of you about this when it was Labour or Lib Dem MPs on the rack…
.. now the newspaper has turned it into a McCarthyite witch-hunt for the sake of a circulation increase. It is doing the reputation of British journalism a lot of damage.
Mmmm, you’re really concerned with some fictitious ‘damage’ you claim is being done to journalism, I’m sure. And not at all concerned at the very real damage being done to the reputation of MPs!

Oh, and you might want to steer clear of using McCarthy in the pejorative sense, since history proved him right about the ‘Reds under the beds’…
I phoned the reporter, and began to explain the situation, but it did not take me more than a few seconds to realise that she had no intention of engaging in a fair and proper conversation. She – or rather the Telegraph's newsdesk – had already decided that they were going to run a story about me and whatever I said was not going to change that. Her attitude was aggressive and sometimes downright rude, and it left a sour taste once I put the phone down.
Oh, you mean, you thought you try to persuade them that ‘these aren’t the expenses you’re looking for’, but your Jedi mind tricks didn’t work over the phone, eh?

Still, maybe it’s not your fault? Maybe someone told you it was ok and…

Well, of course:
I had cleared my living arrangements with the Fees Office at Parliament, and then the rules changed, so I had to move out, though I appealed against the changes before I did so.
You admit you were desperate to hang on to the cash so you appealed against the changes? That’s not helping your argument, is it…?
this has gone too far, and it is about time someone stood up to them. They have taken it upon themselves to become judge and jury, without any thought to seeking the truth before they publish.
They did seek the truth, though, didn’t they? Have you forgotten?

They emailed you, you explained, and they decided your explanation wasn’t good enough, and they’d let the people decide. You know, the people whose money it was.

Hey, if it’s not the truth, as you claim, sue them Brian.

That’s your prerogative, after all.
It reminds me of Rudyard Kipling's famous quote for Stanley Baldwin: "What the proprietorship of these papers is aiming at is power, and power without responsibility – the prerogative of the harlot throughout the ages."
You know, of all the many, many comments that induce vomiting in this shabby little whinge, this one takes the biscuit!

That Brian Binley MP, who voted moderately for a smoking ban despite MPs having exemption from it, should seek to criticise someone else for desiring ‘power without responsibility’ is beyond belief…

Friday 19 June 2009

Knife Crime - It's Getting Worse

Now look where it's spread to...
'It seems to me that Barika was something like a little bit proud of what she has in her hand, and it was a little bit … for power.'
I guess they really are like us!

Why Is No-One Asking The Obvious Question?

This little gem from the ‘Mail’ is intriguing for what it doesn’t say:
MPs are to be 'gagged' from warning the public that a killer, paedophile or terrorist is being released into their community, it has emerged.

A leaked letter revealed that politicians are being asked by the Government to sign an astonishing secrecy contract.
Why are they telling MPs about it, if they aren’t supposed to tell anyone else?
The Ministry of Justice says that, unless MPs sign the code of silence, they will be denied information about any dangerous criminals being freed into their constituency.
Again, for what purpose?

To ensure they are housed well away from them?
Last night, shadow justice secretary Dominic Grieve slammed the secrecy clause.

He said: 'Managing the release of serious offenders is a difficult issue. But the government is trying to impose a blanket gag on MPs doing their job, in return for being kept informed of dangerous offenders released into their constituencies.

'The scheme is unenforceable, but it is still surprising that Ministers would expand it in this way, without advance consultation or thinking through the implications.

'At a time when the government is releasing thousands of dangerous offenders early - having undermined the probation service’s ability to supervise them properly - this measure will only further weaken public confidence.'
You know, Dominic, I think you are on a hiding to nothing if you think that public confidence can possibly be weakened further…
The letter, circulated among MPs last week, says the gagging clause will relate to so-called Critical Public Protection Cases - which include the worst offenders in the country.

In almost all cases, the criminal is assessed as presenting a very high risk of serious harm.

There is considered to be 'an imminent risk of serious harm on release from prison'.
In which case, why the hell are they being let out of prison?

And why are no MPs asking this question, instead of bleating about secrecy codes?

Remember, They Are Valued Professionals...

A fantasist who hired a hitman to kill her former husband was employed as a senior social worker in charge of vulnerable children after a council failed to properly check her criminal record.
Words fail me...
At the time of her conviction Barnes was a social worker in the child care department of Avon County Council.

She tried to take her employer to a tribunal for unfair dismissal, but the case was dismissed.
Now, that's chutzpah!
Despite her conviction and sacking, Barnes was given a job at Bath and North East Somerset Council in September 2005 as an assistant team manager and became a team manager a year later.

But details of her past emerged during a child protection case at Bath county court last June where she allegedly lied on oath and asked another social worker to do the same.

Judge Paul Barclay said he was "appalled" and carried out his own investigation into Mrs Barnes' past.
Well, at least we've found a judge who is on the ball...
Judge Barclay's report into the case was made public after Mrs Barnes failed in a Court of Appeal application to prevent her being identified.
Wonder if it was Judge Eady again?

Nah, he'd probably have allowed her appeal...
Bath and North East Somerset admitted it was a mistake to employ Barnes but said no children under Barnes' protection had been unfairly removed from their families.

"We have looked again at our systems and found that they are correct but need more rigorous enforcement," a spokesman said.
Ya think..?!?

North Northwester has a piece on this too.

You Can Whistle For It, Chum!

I’m going to have to pay an extra £6 to ensure the country is carpeted with broadband from Land’s End to John O’Groats? I think not:
Households and businesses will have to pay a £6-a-year tax per landline telephone under proposals to extend internet access across the country.
Well, in that case, I don’t need a landline, do I?

I have a mobile…
The cost of a television licence will also go up £9 to £151.50 in 2012 when most of the increase will be diverted to support regional news on ITV, the first time licence fee cash has been offered to a broadcaster other than the BBC.
So, having realised that the TV tax is iniquitous, the answer is not to cut it off, but to increase the size of the trough and the number of snouts in it?
Nearly everyone would have access to fast internet access at work and home within eight years but the Tories criticised the levies. Jeremy Hunt, their culture spokesman, said: “The cable revolution happened without a cable tax; the satellite revolution happened without a satellite tax.”

And since when was it a ‘right’ to have broadband? Is Mad Gordo worried there are people in Soggy Bottom, Shropshire or Ram’s Tackle, Cornwall, who are missing the chance to see his gurning mug on YouTube?
Lord Carter believes its development would help to give the country an alternative economic base to banking and finance.

He believes the plan is honest with the public about the cost and that the cash will help to encourage about three times the amount of private money for each pound raised from public funds. However, with the cost of extending broadband so uncertain, he admitted that “if it’s not enough, we’ll keep the levy going for long, or we’ll raise the sum” .
Hmm, really?

I remember all those toll roads and bridges that were promised as free once costs had been covered?

Yeah, it’ll be just like that…

Are They Trying To Recreate The Recent Belfast Scenes Here?

Because it certainly seems like it:
Gipsies and travellers should be given priority in NHS hospitals and GP surgeries, doctors have been told.

They will be fast-tracked for doctors, nurses and even some dentist appointments above all other patients.
Are they insane? This couldn’t be worse timing…
GPs have also been told to see any travellers who simply walk in without an appointment, even if all consultation times for the day are full.
It gets even better worse…
They will also be given longer consultations than other patients. Five or ten minutes is the average but travellers will be given 20 minutes and allowed to bring relatives into the consulting rooms.
And don’t think it’s just the patients who will have to put up with this.

They have plans for the staff too:
Staff will be given 'mandatory cultural awareness' training so they can fully understand what it is like to be a traveller or gipsy.
Oh, ffs…!
The guidelines have been introduced because, under race laws, gipsies and travellers are defined as minority ethnic groups and the NHS is obliged to consider their special needs and circumstances.

Yet no special treatment is promised for other groups such as those from the Asian sub-continent or Africa.
So, will common sense prevail, and these guidelines therefore be scrapped?

Or will this be an excuse for those aforementioned groups to start saying ‘Hey! Us too!’?
Tory health spokesman Andrew Lansley said: 'No one should get priority treatment in the NHS apart from our Armed Forces, to whom we owe a special debt of gratitude.

'Decisions about who should be treated first should be based on a patient's medical needs, not their ethnic group.

'NHS managers need to get off doctors' and nurses' backs and start letting them get on with what they do best - looking after sick people.

'Such a policy of fast-tracking one section of society over another goes against the founding principles of the NHS’.
Well said. No ‘Ah, but…’ from Call-Me-Dave’s mob here. Makes a nice change…
Traveller spokesman Gratton Puxon, from the illegal camp at Crays Hill in Essex, welcomed the initiative.

He said: 'The problem stems from years ago when there was simply no access to healthcare, but things have greatly improved. Health workers visit the site quite regularly if people have chronic problems.'
I bet, in true NHS fashion, they urge their customers to abstain from alcohol, cigarettes, bareknuckle figting and dangerous sports like buggy-riding on motorways.

Don’t they?
The Department of Health said: 'We are aware that gipsies and travellers have experienced tremendous difficulties in accessing primary care.

'Partly as a result, community members experience the worst health inequalities of any disadvantaged group.
Hmm, could that be lifestyle related?
'The framework suggests fast-tracking for two reasons. First, as a matter of urgency, inroads need to be made into the health problems of gipsies and travellers.

'Second, if mobile community members are not seen quickly, the opportunity could be lost as they move on or are moved on. This should not be to the detriment of service provision to the settled community.'
How is it not to the detriment of the ‘settled community’ if these people are to be given priority treatment under the NHS…?

I’m really beginning to wonder if there isn’t some agenda driving this.

Perhaps, as Leg-Iron has often suggested, they truly do want ‘a summer of discontent’?

Economical With The Actuality

Over on ‘CiF’, Fionola Meredith has this heartrending (and disingenuous) sob-column about the Belfast ‘Romanians’:
At a south Belfast primary school many desks are standing empty today. The Romanian children who attend this richly multicultural school have suddenly vanished.
Notice that a ‘richly multicultural school’ is taken as a desirable thing in and of itself…
The other children wonder where their friends, who arrived after Romania's accession to the EU in 2007, have gone.
Do they? Have you asked them, then, Fionola?

Or are you just indulging in a wee bit of hyperbole there?
The scenario demonstrates the two faces of Northern Ireland.
It does…?
It's the one where newcomer families from other cultures are made welcome, where the children play trombones 10 sizes too big for them in the school orchestra, where mums bring their own speciality dishes to the summer fair. It's the one where a friendly, community-minded local church took in those bewildered Romanians, numbering more than 100, fed them and tucked them in for the night.
Ah, yes, of course.

The typical progressive view of ‘multiculturalism’, where a rainbow of smiling cherubs play together, and a whole world’s cuisine is spread out for their choosing. Everyone gets on with each other, no-one’s views impinge on anyone else’s and the only fly in the ointment is the stuck-in-the-mud Brits who unaccountably whine about the loss of their culture.

As if that was worth preserving, or something…

But please, Fionola, continue:
This Northern Ireland exists episodically, and in patches. Then there's the old, familiar, insular Northern Ireland, rooted in tribalism; fiercely territorial, truculent, self-loathing and hostile to outsiders. The racist intimidation of the Romanians – the latest and most visible in a sustained campaign of attacks against migrants in the area since trouble broke out at a World Cup qualifying match between Northern Ireland and Poland in March – has been described as the new sectarianism.
Notice how it’s only the ‘natives’ that are viewed as ‘rooted in tribalism, fiercely territorial, truculent’.

Never the incomers, who are, presumably, made of sugar and spice and all things nice. Quite unlike the slugs, snails and puppydog tails that make up those damned Northern Irish!

I’m sensing a pattern here:
Such sentiments have been evident in the tortuous logic used by some to justify the attacks, from well-spoken callers on radio shows claiming that a Romanian once looked sideways at their granny, to comments such as this one from a political blog ers-continues-unabated-in-south-belfast/P50> :

The attacks were wrong and unacceptable but sometimes it's the only way that some people can express themselves when they are powerless and disadvantaged by the political system and political elites.
Ummm, isn’t that view not too unlike that expressed by the likes of Guardian stalwarts like Milne and his ilk, when they are ‘resisting the imperialist forces of the West’?

Or is it just applicable to Third Worlders, and never to anyone else?

But Fionola almost, but not quite, lets the cat out of the bag here:
Even where an embryonic form of integration is working, it's not all sunshine and clapping games. Despite Paisley's beguiling vision, the journey towards a truly culturally diverse Northern Ireland will inevitably be marked by suspicions and embarrassments. Yes, it is uncomfortable to see a Romanian mother at the school gate, then later begging outside the market, or on the street with her kids at 2.30am, trying to flog plastic roses to drunk students coming out of clubs. But that's the reality. It's difficult and complicated.

Two things – firstly, here we see the first glimpse of the truth behind these attacks that Fionola doesn’t mention in her article (but which is mentioned by the commenters to it) – this isn’t targeted indiscriminately at immigrants in general, but at one section in particular. Roma gypsies.

Secondly, that the Northern Irish must simply accept that these people have a right to come to their country and beg, and not raise any kind of fuss about it. This leads, inevitably, to the kind of simmering tensions that cause the kind of acts we’ve seen.

And while we are on the subject, when did the Northern Irish people vote to make their country a ‘culturally diverse’ one? Were they ever asked?
Was it ever debated whether this was something worth pursuing?

I think we all know the answer, though…

Thursday 18 June 2009

From....Well, Who Else?

The last word on MP's expenses:
Constituents of Tory MP Douglas Hogg said that unless they were able to see his address they would have no way of finding out which gigantic house with the pristine moat was his.

No Escape. Not Even In The Grave

If you thought you could at least escape the clutches of the green fascists when finally in the sweet embrace of the grave, think again:
Grieving relatives have been left distraught after a council banned them from dressing loved ones in their favourite outfits in a crackdown on pollution.
Yup, councils now abrogate to themselves the right to tell us how to dress our deceased – for Gaia!
It means an end to people being cremated wearing their football shirts, or parents placing soft toys in children's coffins.
Because it’s killing polar bears if you bury your dead child with a Chad Valley polar bear soft toy. Or something…
Kirklees Council in West Yorkshire is the only authority in the country to adopt the approach, according to a national cremation body.

On top of the normal funeral arrangements, mourning families in Huddersfield are being forced to spend £60 on natural-fibre shrouds or seek permission from council officials to help honour their loved ones' last wishes.
So, it’s a money-making scheme too, is it? Fantastic!

Who’s got the contract for these ‘enviroshrouds’, I wonder? Al Gore? George Monbiot? Some other watermelon?
One man, who did not want to be named, was shocked to find his relative could not wear the 100 per cent cotton outfit she had chosen before she died.

He said: 'We knew it had to be natural fibres so she chose a top and slip that was 100 per cent cotton.

'But when the funeral director came we were told she would have to wear a special shroud. He pulled out a swatch of different colours to choose from.

'We didn't know what it looked like and when we went to see her in the chapel of rest, we couldn't believe it.

'It was all fluffy and frilly. The deceased would not have wanted to have been seen dead in it - unfortunately she was.'
And now that this pointless (and heartless) decision has come to light in the media, are Kirklees backtracking wildly?

What do you think?
A Kirklees Council spokesman said: 'Crematoria must maintain strict emission controls and it is because of this that Kirklees Council has a policy that bodies be dressed in approved garments such as cremation shrouds and that no artefacts are placed within the coffin.

'If a family wish to request a cremation in something other than a funeral shroud the funeral director needs to provide sufficient evidence that the proposed alternative was made completely of natural fibres. '
Well, no wonder it was an unnamed spokesman…

Listen, you little snivelling apparatchik – you aren’t employed to decide the minor funerary arrangements of the loved ones whose rates keep you in a comfortable job and a guaranteed pension.

You are employed to keep the streets clean, ensure the drains work, and the roads are pothole free. And nothing more.

Did even Soviet Russia aspire to these depths of control over their citizens lives?

‘No Consequence’ Britain…

Let your child play with a lighter and burn down a shop? No problem:
A fire at a clothes shop which led to a shopping centre being evacuated was started by a child using a cigarette lighter, it has emerged.
Consequences for the ‘parents’ of said junior firebug, who by the way was four years old?

After consultation with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), no criminal proceedings will be brought, Staffordshire Police said.

"The owners of the store are aware of these developments and they have been informed that officers have interviewed the parents of the child involved," the spokesman added.
I bet they’ve learned their lesson…

Get drunk (again) and assault a police officer? No problem:
A female police officer who was
battered by a drunken thug, leaving her face potentially scarred for life has watched her attacker walk free.

Again, zero:
But despite the seriousness of the offence which was caught on CCTV, Ryan Thomas was given a suspended prison sentence, a community service order and a fine.
I bet he’s learned his lesson…

Though, judging by the picture of him and his equally scummy wife (who the police thought he was about to assault, hence the intervention) leaving court, probably not.