Wednesday 30 September 2009

Oh Noes! Women And Minorities Hardest Hit!

Hugh Muir is banging on about his nemesis again:
There are many options on how best to spend a shrinking pot of public money. But if one of the goals is preserving fairness, safeguarding cohesion and ensuring that everyone – regardless of background – gets the best chance to thrive, Doncaster provides the perfect example of what not to do.
Oh, oh!

It seems Peter Davies hasn’t been paying the Danegeld, and now the Danes are starting to…write angry ‘Guardian’ columns as a result:
Since May, Peter Davies has been the south Yorkshire town's elected mayor, representing the English Democrats. He has sought to make "soft" cuts – the kind that make ratepayers feel their money is not being wasted.
That ‘representing English Democrats’ is a little ingenuous; as Mayor, he represents all of Doncaster.

So, what’s he cut, then, Hugh, that’s got your knickers in a twist?

Vital waste collection services? Meals-on-Wheels? Park services?
Here are some of the issues he has targeted: a gay pride event; translation of leaflets into minority languages; funding for Black History Month; jobs of diversity officers; funding of groups that do not specifically serve the majority "indigenous" population.

Sounds like he’s targeting all those areas that don’t qualify as vital for council business, or apply to all people equally. And doing what he promised to do in his manifesto! What’s not to like?

Of course, Hugh is worried that this will catch on with other political leaders. And the people who make their living off this sort of thing are even more worried!
"The very area we should be strengthening -equality- is under the greatest threat," says Simon Woolley, coordinator of Operation Black Vote.
I’ll let that sink in – ‘Operation Black Vote’…

Does it sound like something that would be required in 1960s Alabama? Do we not have equal voting rights? What’s the point of it, then?

Well, it’s ‘mission statement’ says:
“Operation Black Vote is the first initiative to focus exclusively on the Black democratic deficit in the UK. We believe that without a strong political voice for African, Asian, Caribbean and other ethnic minorities, the ideal of equality of opportunity - regardless of race and colour - will remain an ideal. ”
So, it’s a special interest lobby group.

And so we certainly don’t need to fund it with public money.
"We get this wrong and those least likely to defend themselves will be readily thrown out of work, and find it most difficult to be re-employed.

Furthermore, our inability to close the inequality gap could result in community antagonism, and in some places rising crime."
I’m not sure who will be ‘thrown out of work’ by these plans, other than the race hustlers and grievance mongers of course…

I’m not seeing that as a bug, more as a feature.
The decision for policymakers, at local and national level, should not be solely what a service costs, but what it is worth.
And these things are worth a lot to you, Hugh, but not to the majority. Particularly the majority who are paying for them, yet see no benefit from them.
Not all grants to all minority groups are deserved or well spent; some have squandered the money or have been ineffective. But focus on the bulk of the money spent on community inclusion and cohesion. How much does an area such as, say, Tower Hamlets, east London, benefit from residents who do not have English as a first language being able to participate in the community?
I don’t know, Hugh. Tell us.

But he doesn’t.
How much does London benefit from the £100,000 the Greater London authority grants to the annual gay and lesbian Pride event, in terms of what it says about the capital – let alone the financial gains to bars, shops and restaurants?
Because people wouldn’t come to London to shop, eat and drink and see the sights, if not for Pride. It’d be a veritable ghost town, obviously…

Last chance, Hugh. Convince us:
…when community services are assessed, let us think of Jagtar Singh Dhindsa, who came to Britain without English as a first language. He benefited from funding– in his case, section 11 money that was channelled towards the education of young people from ethnic minorities and. Today, he is leader of the Labour group on Watford borough council and is chair of the National Association of Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority Councillors.
That’s it?

The shining jewel in the crown of these projects is yet another token who wraps himself in his ethnic group in order to push forward Labour policies for his fellows?

If that doesn't represent best value for him and the wider community, what does?
I can confidently say – pretty much anything

The piece signs off with “Hugh Muir is a Guardian journalist”. Thanks for that.

However would we have known…?

Sticks And Stones May Break My Bones…

…but letters will really hurt me *sob*:
The prime minister was among dozens of people across the UK who were targeted by a poison pen letter writer.
And this is news?
Gordon Brown's Fife constituency office received a letter in April, while others were sent to mosques, hospitals, universities and private homes.

Much of the hate mail, mostly posted from Hampshire, includes references to "repatriation" and "exit Europe".
That’s what constitutes ‘hate’ now..? Wanting to get out of Europe?
They have also been received in Derbyshire, Merseyside, Lincolnshire and Bedfordshire.

These forces had initially been conducting separate investigations until Hampshire Police set up Operation Heron in January 2009 to co-ordinate the search.
There’s a manhunt going on for a poison pen crank?

I’m sure it’s not nice to have a letter full of obscenities, perhaps written in green ink, delivered to your door, but seriously! Don’t the police have better things to do?
One of the letters was sent to Somers Park Primary School in Portsmouth.

Head teacher Janet Fleming said: "The content of the letter was sickening.

"But I would want to assure parents that this is a perfectly safe environment for their children to be in and that all the steps necessary to keep children safe were in place and still are in place.

"I am concerned that the person who sent it is not mentally stable. The language is appalling."
Oh, good grief! Have we lost all sense of proportion in this country?

Just throw it away, love. Unless it contains a direct threat to your children, or perhaps a severed body part, it’s just a crank.

By now, you must know (the police would have told you) that he or she has written to all sorts of people. So why the ‘CODE RED! CODE RED!’ response? Do you think it will reassure the parents?
Det Insp Donna Goff, of Hampshire Constabulary, said: "Many of the letters people have found extremely distressing.

"Many people have felt extremely victimised by the letters."
By receiving one letter, no matter how obscene?

People need to get a grip…
The letters do not target a particular race, culture or religious group but are all pro-English, investigators said.
Ah, I see where this is going…
The inquiry will feature on the BBC1's Crimewatch programme on Tuesday night when officers will appeal for assistance in tracing the culprit.
What are they going to do? Ask the audience if they know anyone who is too ‘pro-English’?

Al-Jahom concurs on the pointlessness of this manhunt, and has an example of the letters from the Beeb too.

It's All About Meeeeee!

America's lack of knowledge on climate change could prevent the world from reaching an agreement to stop catastrophic global warming, scientists said in an attack on the country's environmental policy.
Oh, here we go again
Professor John Schellnhuber, one of the world's leading global warming experts, described the US as "climate illiterate"
He said Americans have a lower understanding of the problems of climate change than people in Brazil or China.
A lower understanding, or are just becoming more discerning and less easily manipulated?
Prof Schellnhuber said rich countries have to cut emissions by at least 40 per cent by 2020 on 1990 levels to stand a chance of stopping catastrophic climate change.

However President Obama is already struggling to get legislation through the Senate that will commit the US to cutting emissions to 1990 levels and will face an even greater public backlash trying to meet more ambitious targets.
And if even the Shining One (though currently looking very tarnished lately) can’t do it, who can?

The problem seems to be, Prof, your lot has been rumbled. You are the little boy who cried ‘Wolf!’, and not only has no wolf yet shown up, people are beginning to wonder why you keep saying it, and what you stand to gain…
Prof Schellnhuber, who has played a key role in waking the world up to climate change through his work advising the German government, described the Copenhagen conference as "the most important meeting in the history of the human species".
Certainly seems to be the most important thing in the history of Prof Schellnhuber, doesn’t it..?

Suddenly, The Progressives Are All For Listening To The Victim…

Duncan Campbell is yet another Polanski apologist, with a rather unique USP:
The most important person in the story of Roman Polanski's arrest in Switzerland at the weekend is Samantha Gailey, a middle-aged bookkeeper living quietly with her family in Hawaii. In 1977, as a 13-year-old in Hollywood, Gailey was given champagne and drugs by the director, who then had sex with her.
Think the phrase you were looking for there was ‘raped her’, Dunc old chum…
Polanski, who was then aged 44, pleaded guilty to unlawful sex with a minor, spent 42 days in prison in Chino, California, and was due to be sentenced to time served when it became clear that the deal his lawyers had negotiated with the prosecution was not to be honoured – and he would have had to spend much more time in jail than had been agreed.
You mean, he suddenly discovered that being a feted pet of the art world didn’t cut him as much slack as he thought it did?

Well, what’s a chap to do, then, but become a fugitive…
Seven years ago, after Polanski had won an Oscar for his film The Pianist, the case came once again under scrutiny in the US. Gailey was tracked down to her home in Hawaii where she had settled with her husband and three children. In a television interview, she did not exonerate Polanski for the way in which he had taken advantage of her – "what he did to me was wrong" – but she did say that she had felt more damaged by the media's subsequent handling of her case than by what had happened to her at the time.

Here’s Dunc’s angle – the media are going to be raping her all over again if Polanski is brought to trial! You see, he’s doing it for the victim!
… as Gailey has said herself, Polanksi has been punished. He lost what was, at the time, a glittering career in Hollywood. He has been publicly humiliated. His name is associated by many people as much with that sex offence as with all his cinematic achievements, from Rosemary's Baby and Chinatown to Tess and The Pianist. He has also suffered separately in ways that few people who stand in judgment of him can understand, in that his then wife, Sharon Tate – who was eight months pregnant with their child – was murdered in vile circumstances by the Charles Manson gang in 1968.
So, because his wife was murdered, we should cut him some slack..?

What will be served by Polanski being extradited to the US to stand trial? Gailey will have her privacy invaded once more as the details of the case, already posted in prurient detail around the world, receive more coverage. The case itself is already mired in confusion as a result of allegations of judicial misconduct at the original trial and is unlikely to have a swift conclusion. Some lawyers will benefit, but who else?
Well, a hell of a lot of Guardian column writers, it seems. This is, what, the fifth article on it, and he hasn’t even been extradited yet…

But Dunc has suddenly discovered that victims must be listened to:
The real victim in this case has called for compassion. But compassion is unfashionable at the moment, so the chances of her voice prevailing may not be great. The desire to exact punishment, regardless of how the actual victim is affected by it, and to justify that punishment with some grandstanding rhetoric, is the fashion of the moment.
Just one question, Dunc: if she’s been howling for the justice denied her all those years ago, would you be encouraging us to listen to her?

Get Ready For MacPherson, Part II…

In the wake of the awful death of Fiona Pilkington and her daughter, I can feel a huge case of déjà vu coming on:
There are few concrete statistics on the level of hate crime against the 1.2m people in Britain with a learning disability. In a survey by the charity Mencap, nine out of 10 said they had been bullied in the past year. Two-thirds of those questioned said they were bullied on a regular basis, and a third told of being bullied daily or weekly.
And this case is therefore proving a godsend for special interest groups to push their agenda, and create a new ‘protected class’ of victim, when what is needed is not new legislation, not ‘high profile campaigns’, but a simple return to law and order.

For everyone
Official attempts to gather data about such crimes against disabled people generally only started last year. Experts and campaigners regard this as the most stark evidence of the failure by the authorities, and in particular the police, to take seriously the routine suffering of those with learning disabilities.
The routine suffering of those without learning disabilities doesn’t seem to be attracting any attention, does it?
It tends to take a death to gain any serious attention, says David Congdon, the head of campaigns and policy at Mencap. What he calls "low-level harassment and bullying" goes largely unnoticed unless it drives someone to such depths of despair as it did Fiona Pilkington.
So why not attack the policies and procedures that have driven this, Dave?

Why not argue that the policy of creating ‘special interest groups’ – such as ‘underprivileged children’, who may be the ones causing the problems – has helped to create this very situation, with the police reluctant to act for fear of ‘criminalising’ them?

But there’s no job for you in that, I suppose…
"Often people with learning disabilities aren't believed, which is a major, major problem," he said. "And they can be frightened to report incidents because they fear it will make it worse."
Sometimes, Dave, that is the actual advice from the police themselves, no doubt as a result of the 'softly softly' politically-correct crap that their higher-ups have pushed further and further down the food chain.

And note that this woman doesn’t seem to be in your protected class, so what should the police do for her anyway, in your view?
Ruth Scott, of the charity Scope, said: "Disabled people still find they report something to the police and nothing gets done, or the paper gets lost.

"But incidents can start at a low level and get much worse if they are not checked."
And that’s different from incidents featuring non-disabled people, is it?

I think not…
A similar lack of awareness pervades public opinion, according to Scope. It likens the situation to the general ignorance of race hate crime before Stephen Lawrence's death.
What general ignorance?
He (David Congdon) would like to say the Pilkington case will be a turning point – just as Lawrence and the subsequent Macpherson report were a watershed in the treatment of race hate crime – but fears there is still some way to go.
Well, good!

Because the MacPherson case proved a monumental failure for all but the vocal race-grievance industry, and imposed huge overheads on policing with no noticable reduction in 'hate crime' to thank for it.

It should be the last thing that people point to and say ‘We need some of that!’ in this case.

But it’s going to be…
"I hope it's a step on the way to a turning point. There's a very painful message for the police here, but the other agencies have got to ask themselves a lot of questions as well.

"Fiona and Francecca did not need to die."
No-one needs to die from a preventable breakdown in law and order, Dave. Not black people, brown people, learning disabled people or people of no known special interest group.

But the target for that should be the ‘law and order’ part, not the introduction of yet more special interest groups into the creaking, not-fit-for-purpose justice system…

If You Only Read One Blog Post Today...

...then make it this one from MummyLonglegs.*

Who thought NuLab's perfidy went quite that deep?

*OK, you'd have to read two, I realise that.. :)

Tuesday 29 September 2009

Come ‘n ‘Ave A Go…

…if you fink yer ‘ard enuff!
Roman Polanski's own lawyers may have provoked his arrest after 31 years as a fugitive from American justice by complaining that prosecutors were not serious about apprehending him, it has been claimed.
Friends have expressed shock that the Polish-French director was not arrested earlier, as he had been travelling widely in Europe in recent years and even owned a home in Switzerland.

But two sources familiar with the case told the Los Angeles Times that it was his lawyers who may be to blame for the sudden activity by prosecutors.
Couldn’t have happened to a more deserving chap, could it?
As part of their court filings in July requesting charges against him to be dropped, they said that the Los Angeles district attorney's office had never once sought to have him extradited.
So the LA DA said ‘We’ll see about that!’

Polanski might need new lawyers soon. Better ones…

Is It ‘Cos I Is Music Of Black Origin..?

Nine people have been arrested after a handgun was fired outside a Southend nightclub.

Armed police swooped outside Talk nightclub, in Lucy Road, which had been holding a special garage night.
I’m guessing that doesn’t mean a meeting of car enthusiasts..?
They had received reports of a man with a gun in the Seaway car park area who was believed to have fired shots at 2.45am on Sunday.

Officers immediately arrested a man and recovered a handgun which will now undergo tests.
You wouldn’t think Southend had such a big problem with…

Ah. It seems these were from out of town, as a glance at the comments will show:
Five people from the London area and one man from Harlow were arrested on suspicion of firearms offences and remained in custody last night.

A juvenile and a 20-year-old man were arrested on suspicion of public order offences and were also being questioned by detectives.

A 24-year-old man was arrested for carrying a wheelbrace and received a caution.
Mmmmm. Diverse and vibrant..!

Not that this latest incident will prevent Smirkin’ Sunny Hundal from whining that the police are persecuting certain types of music.

But then, I don’t recall seeing anything about these sorts of incidents after choral events or at turning out time at folk music venues…

British Workers Lose Out Again…

…to foreign competition:
British Asians are hiring contract killers to carry out up to 100 murders in India every year, according to campaigners in rural Punjab state.

BBC Asian Network understands targets such as family or business associates are lured to the sub-continent, where assassins can be hired for just £500.

Cheap foreign labour undercuts the hard-working British hitman again

Can You Identify The Suspect, Madam?

You can..?! Oh, bugger:
When Tracy Ryan spotted a suspected burglar emerging from the dog sanctuary where she works, she thought she would have little problem pointing him out to police.

After all, he had a large port-wine stain on his face.

But when police set up an identity parade, they refused to take the man's distinctive birthmark into account - in case it infringed his human rights.
Wait, what..?

Incredible as it sounds, if a suspect is too identifiable, that’s bad news…
An officer from the Nottinghamshire force explained that the mark was too rare to be included in a profile of the burglar when it was entered into a computer database.

It would leave only a small pool of potential suspects in the electronic ID parade, he said, breaking police rules.
So, whereas 40 years ago, Dixon of Dock Green would be round sharpish, rubbing his hands at the prospect of an easy collar, today’s modern crim has nothing to fear from the PC PCs…

No wonder most of the good ones are leaving these shores, and the rest of us are thinking about joining them:
Under laws designed to take into account 'the rights and freedoms of the public', witnesses must be shown a minimum of 12 photographs before they are allowed to identify a suspect.
So, if you have a really, really horrible, disfiguring disease or accident, welcome to your new life of crime!

You won’t need a mask…
It was on August 25 that £300 in charity donations was stolen from the Crossing Cottage Greyhound Sanctuary in Sutton on Trent, Nottinghamshire.

Mrs Ryan noted that, apart from his birthmark, the suspected culprit was tall and wore a white tracksuit. She also took his car registration number.

Police have subsequently made an arrest and Mrs Ryan is due to attend a second identification parade which will include the suspect, who is on bail.

He will be pictured alongside 11 people of a similar appearance. But if he has a birthmark, it will still be kept secret.

The suspected thief and the other participants will be made to cover one side of their face.
So, his most distinguishing feature, the one that will enable him to be identified, is to be removed…

In order to be ‘fair and impartial’.

Unsurprisingly, the witness and the victim aren’t impressed:
Mrs Ryan said: 'Surely an unusual characteristic like a big birthmark should help a police investigation?

'If there were just four or five people on the database with such marks, all the better.

'I understand police have to follow procedures, but to me the
rules are flawed and amount to a pretty lame excuse
Too true.
Her boss John Morton, who manages the home for 30 former racing dogs as part of the Retired Greyhound Trust, said: 'The police are saying they can't infringe human rights. But what about our human rights?

'We are law-abiding people who have been victims of crime, and the police have a responsibility to maximise their chances of solving that crime. If this is the law, it has to be changed.'
So, where does this law come from?
Joanne Hall, of Nottinghamshire Police, said the force had to abide by the rules of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984.

She said: 'The witness had to be shown not less than 12 photographs at a time. PACE sets out to strike the right balance between the powers of the police and the rights and freedoms of the public.'
Note the date of that act.

Can’t blame NuLab for this one, can we..?

Update: Thanks to Moriarty, captainff and TDK in the comments, it appears we can...

Post Of The Month

A tie again this month.

This post from DumbJon skewers the BBC attitude to the news - and their role as progressive gatekeeper - with deadly precision.

While this post from North Northwester describes a Britain that Dante would have found oddly familiar somehow...

Quote Of The Month

Comes from MummyLonglegs on the subject of school dinners and hospital meals:
The shocking state of NHS food needs sorting out ASAP, Jamie Oliver is not the solution. The NHS needs on-site cooks, fry up’s, Sunday Lunches and a good selection of food that is fresh cooked (aka not re-heated 7 times) and served piping hot. The last thing it needs is some jumped up Essex boy deciding that all the sad, deprived, sick peeps need to hit the path of wellness is a healthy dose of Cous cous Burger and Sweet potato and quorn bake.

Monday 28 September 2009

First They Came For The Dogs…

All dogs children in Britain will be fitted with microchips which contain their owner’s parent’s details, under cross party plans designed to track family pets children.

Owners Parents will be forced to install the microchip containing a barcode that can store their pet's child’s name, breed description, age and health along with their own address and phone number.

The barcode's details would then be stored on a national database which local councils could access in a bid to easily identify an owner’s pet a parent’s child.
Come on, you just know it’s going to be next, don’t you..?

Ah, But I Bet She Ticked The Right Boxes For The Diversity Targets!

At Croydon Crown Court on Friday, mother-of-two Ali, of Merton, south London, was jailed for five years after pleading guilty to 12 charges of misconduct as a public officer, and asking for 37 offences to be taken into consideration.
Ah, well. Who could have suspected?
Shahnaz Ahmed, prosecuting, said Ali, whose children go to a private school, worked as an executive officer at the immigration unit in Croydon, Surrey, and was elevated to higher executive.
She was promoted during the course of her deception? Boy, I bet her manager feels silly now...
"She was able to grant leave to stay by falsifying records, using random computer numbers and manipulating false applications from asylum seekers."

Those she helped were mainly Pakistanis, Indians, Sri Lankans and Afghans. Suspicious investigators, who spent two months full-time on their searches, have only been able to trace five of them.
Can we send her back in their place?
When interviewed in July last year, Pakistan-born Ali, wife of an £80,000-a-year finance director, said:" I just wanted them to earn some money."
Well, I hear Baroness Scotland has a vacancy.

The defence was, well, interesting:
Joan Mitchell, defending, said:"She is highly regarded in the community, and always ready to help others. They were people who had families and wanted to earn money. Being an intelligent woman, she would have realised the risks she was running."
What risk? Five years - presumably automatically cut to half - then time off for good behaviour. She'll be out in, what, two?

And she can bathe in the admiration of the 'community'...

Animals Shouldn't Be Allowed To Keep Animals...

A 20 year old woman has admitted starving her rabbit to death.

Nateshia Hills was given a two-year conditional discharge by Dartford Magistrates’ Court last Friday (Sep 18) after pleading guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to an animal.
Wouldn't a more fitting punishment be locking the waste of oxygen up for a week on bread and water?

Still, she had a novel excuse:
Hills told the court she had not fed the rabbit because her partner would not allow her to go into the garden.
So, why wasn't he in the dock with her then?

He Said, She Said...

The council's story:
A spokesperson for Wiltshire Council said they had received a complaint from Mrs Whalley and had launched an investigation.

'We are sorry that Mrs Whalley feels that our officer acted in an inappropriate manner. This was never their intention. The officer was sympathetic to this woman once he realised the situation she was in and offered assistance,' the spokesperson said.
The mother's story:
Mrs Whalley, 36, said: 'I was just driving along when he started coughing and spluttering.

'I pulled over at the first place I could, because I saw that he was having real trouble breathing and had started to turn blue. I was really frightened - it was a complete emergency.

'I had been trying to help Christien for about 30 seconds when the parking warden tapped on my window.

'I opened the door and he told me I couldn't park there but I just told him I wasn't parked, I was trying to save my son's life.'

Mrs Whalley, who lives in Salisbury with Christien's father Dean, who is in the army, said she slammed the door on the warden, who then went to the back of the car and took her number plate.

Then he walked back to the side of the car and tapped on the window again.

She added: 'I got out of the car and was trying to pat my son on the back to stop him choking but the warden just kept badgering me.

'I was really panicking but all he kept saying was that I had to move my car. It was staggering.

'He didn't offer to help me at all even though he could see what was happening. I just kept telling him that there was no way I was going to move until I had made sure my son was alright.

'The only advice he offered was that if my son was choking I should call an ambulance.'
Go back 10-15 years, and people would take such a tale with a big pinch of salt, because who would expect someone to act in such a fashion, even a hated traffic warden?

But today..?

Sunday 27 September 2009

"Sanctuary! Sanctuary!"

A council has joined a scheme allowing youngsters to take refuge in the town hall when they feel in danger.
From what...?

Asteroids? Marauding vikings? The Blob?

Oh, wait. This is 'other kids', isn't it?
Lewisham Council staff will be trained by police and London Citizens to protect scared youths. This could involve locking up the building or moving the vulnerable person to a safer area.
It's come to this? Municipal buildings are turning themselves into medieval fortresses now?

Will all future council buildings need a moat and drawbridge before they get planning permission?
After discussions with youngsters in the borough they decided the town hall was a vital refuge point because so many buses converge on Catford town centre and some schoolchildren expressed feeling vulnerable at peak-travel times.
How about increasing the presence during those times of people we pay to stop this sort of disorder? 'Policemen', I think they are called.
...Mayor of Lewisham Sir Steve Bullock, said: “I’m immensely proud Lewisham is the first local authority to open it’s doors to young people, at a time when they may be in great need.

"By working together, to support and protect one another, we show others we are a community that cares. "
You have very strange priorities, Steve...

Now, me, if I needed to open the Town Hall to children running from gangs, I'd see that as a sign that law and order had completely broken down in my 'community'. Not be proud of the fact.

Sunday Funnies...

Via 'Cracked', it's nature's best assassins.

I think the Portia spider must be some diabolical genetic experiment. Please god, no-one puts it near a nuclear reactor...

Saturday 26 September 2009

Six Of One...

...half a dozen of the other:
A bus passenger who repeatedly stabbed a 'volatile and violent' stranger after a row was jailed today.

Marcus Ball, who said he was carrying a knife to protect himself, plunged the blade into unarmed Derek Spaulding in front of shocked passengers after an argument.

Today a judge found that the 22-year-old had used 'grossly excessive force' when fending off Spaulding, who had threatened him and chased him down the stairs of the bus.
Public transport. Great, isn't it..?

"Act submissive!"

"I've never been so submissive in my life!"
'I saw the panda car pull up on the opposite side of the road and both officers were staring at me with their mouths wide open. They didn't seem too keen to get out initially so stayed in their car just looking at me.

I think they twigged it wasn't an actual gorilla when they saw I was wearing trainers and had a rucksack on my back.'
I rather hope they realised a bit sooner than that...
'One of the officers that turned up had heard me on the radio that morning so once he knew who I was they let me carry on.'
Say what..?

You mean, if he hadn't heard about you, he might not have let you go?
A spokesman for Leicestershire police said: 'We did receive a call from a member of the public on Wednesday at about 4.30pm who reported seeing a gorilla on the A6 and was concerned for their safety.'
Please do him or her for wasting police time...

”How many divisions has the Pope?”

About as many as the progressives, as Hugh Muir finds out while lamenting the lack of progressive forces in Doncaster.

Oh, they talk a good fight, but when it comes to actually tackling their enemy when he gains a foothold, they are nowhere to be seen...
Lunchtime and it's all bustle in Doncaster city centre. Schoolchildren and shoppers coming and going, talking about all sorts of things. Some stop to discuss the mayor, Peter Davies. Whadda guy.

The "un-PC supermayor" they are calling him, five months into his new tenure, leading the charge for the English Democrats ("England's fastest-growing political party!" according to their website). A breath of fresh air, say the rightwing bloggers – and quite a few others in Doncaster's airy Frenchgate shopping centre.
Oh, dear. I don’t think Hugh found Doncaster a very welcoming place for Guardian intellectuals…
But there is another view of the mayor. Talk to members here of the black community, the gay community, Muslims, Travellers – indeed, anyone who doesn't look just a bit like Peter Davies – and you might sense that the air in the town has become a tad fetid.
Why, it’s positively 1930s Austria! Though perhaps with better food…
Yes, he's great copy for the local newspaper, with threats to the funding of the local gay pride march (which he later learned the council didn't significantly fund anyway), plans to axe translation services for minorities who don't speak English (possibly illegal), promises to expunge diversity from the town hall lexicon, and suggestions that he might bleach Black History Month. He says he will cut funding to the Ethnic Minority Welfare Service (it closed in 2006). You've got to laugh when he tells the Daily Mail we have much to learn from the Taliban about family values. It's all good stuff, just so long as you are not in the firing line.
But you see, Hugh, no-one – least of all the Mayor – is suggesting that we begin the pogroms tomorrow in Frenchgate Shopping Centre, bring your own flaming torches.

He’s simply suggesting turning off the flow of public money to special interest groups. What’s wrong with that?

Certainly, it’s resonating with the public:
I chat with a thoughtful, white middle-aged man and a sunny blonde woman enjoying a fag break, and both tell me that they voted for Davies. The man says give him time; the woman says she agrees with him on political correctness and immigration. Shame, she says, about his divisive style.
Note the ‘fag break’ thrown in there. I guess the right wing aren’t the only ones who can be accused of dog-whistle politics, eh Hugh?

So, who isn’t in favour of the mayor’s approach? Give you three guesses…
But it is about more than style. "We felt we were breaking down barriers here," one gay resident tells me. "Things seem to be going the other way."
What specific barriers need to be ‘broken down’, then?

We aren’t told, just left with the impression that unless we keep ponying up the money, dreadful things will occur.

Others are looking for succour from the fighting forces of progressivism:
And where is the wider condemnation of this political and philosophical assault on diversity, a local black activist asks, exasperated? Where are the MPs? Where are the statutory agencies? Where is the cavalry? Where indeed!
Looks like they have other fish to fry, Hugh. Shame…

A Breath Of Fresh Air in ‘CiF’….

Cracking article by Jenni Russell yesterday, nestled uncomfortably among the usual ‘No borders for cute foreign children!’ rubbish churned out there on a daily basis:
It was never in any election manifesto, and yet it will be one of this government's most disastrous legacies. The transformation of the relationship between adults and children into one of caution, suspicion, confusion and fear will outlast many other Labour reforms.
It will indeed, Jenni.

Mainly because, despite the thrust of this article, it is not as a result of direct legislation proposed by the current government, but as a result of the creeping progressive colonisation of our major institutions.

Hence, it will not suddenly reverse itself when we swap Gordon’s morons for Dave’s shiny ‘new’ Tories…
Stealthily, and without open political debate, we have moved from the assumption that all adults have a role in socialising children, towards a new and uncertain world in which contact with children is increasingly regulated by officials and the state. It is a kind of collective madness, in which the boundaries of what we are allowed to do shift too fast and too secretly for us to keep up.
The catalyst for her column seems to have been the case of school dinner lady Susan Hill.
As soon as the school discovered that Hill had told the parents the truth, she was first suspended for several months, and then sacked by the governors for "breaching pupil confidentiality".

This is a new world, in which schools may effectively lie to parents about traumatic events affecting their children, and yet where the only offence committed is by a person who unwittingly breaks that official secrecy. It is no longer the proper role of adults, even those in a tiny village, where everyone knows everyone else, to discuss the behaviour of children. It is for the state to define who may speak and who must be silent.
Working as intended, Jenni…
What happened in Essex isn't an aberration, but evidence of a new philosophy in action. It's one that expects people to act not as concerned adults, but as automatons.

Yesterday morning the chief executive of the National Association of Headteachers was asked what he thought Hill should have done in the instant that she realised Chloe's parents were in the dark. His response? That she should have refused to comment, and then followed "proper procedures and processes" within the school if she was unhappy with what the family had been told.
So, you see, no secret Whitehall Department run by Peter Mandelson or some other bogeyman is needed to push this stuff forward.

We can’t simply find the single man responsible, remove him, and all will be well.

This stuff is being pushed by all institutions across central and local government.
You don't have to be an employee to fall foul of the new norms. Parents are being caught out by them too. In London this July a mother was banned from her five-year-old's classroom for politely asking another child to stop his continual hitting of her son. Repeated requests to the school to do something had had no effect. It turned out that she was breaking the unwritten rule that says that no unauthorised adult – not even a parent – can remonstrate with a child.
And Jenni reaches the same conclusions about the intended result of this that bloggers came to a long time ago:
This removal of general authority from adults, and its gradual replacement by state-sanctioned interventions, is utterly corrosive. It infantilises grown-ups, who lose one of the roles that societies have always expected them to fulfil. It makes them timid, and demeans them in the eyes of their children, who see that they are powerless in the face of injustice. And by suggesting that adults may not approach, discuss or reprimand a child, it completely undermines the notion of a community, and the importance of social pressure and shame.
It’s the removal of societal pressure and shame, as well as the diminishing consequences for non-compliance with society’s rules that has led us to the point where police spend their days alternately harassing innocents while seeing attacks on them by habitual criminals go unpunished by the very justice system they are themselves a part of.
Exchanging these traditional bonds and constraints for sanctions imposed by schools, courts and police is not only wrong-headed, it is doomed to failure. The state can't enforce order everywhere and at all times; nor should we want it to.
We don’t want it to, Jenni. The progressives do.

And they are well dug in, like all parasites. Uprooting them isn’t going to be as simple as placing a tick in the right box come election time…

Friday 25 September 2009

Julie Bindel Is Off On One Again...

Rekha Kumari-Baker had gone shopping the previous day to buy the knives with which she stabbed her daughters a total of 69 times. Her actions appear to have been premeditated and cold-blooded. This week, the jury took a mere 35 minutes to consider its verdict. The members rejected Kumari-Baker's defence of diminished responsibility, despite the fact that she had previously been treated for depression – rightly so, in my opinion.
Eh...? I didn't even know Bindel had a medical degree!
Instead, they were persuaded by the prosecution case, as I am, that she killed the girls in order to destroy her ex-husband's happiness with another woman.

What a wicked, wicked woman and what a heinous crime.
But a minute ago, you were complaining that she was mad, not bad. What changed?
I only have one question to ask of this case. Why was Kumari-Baker sentenced to serve a minimum of 33 years in prison, one of the longest tariffs ever handed to a woman in England?
Why not?

Ah, but here comes the rub. You see, in two cases, the male killer of children has received a lesser sentence. So, it's all about the sexism, isn't it?

Except, it isn't. The two cases quoted aren't in English courts:
Paternal filicide is at least as common as maternal filicide (depending on how the statistics are compiled). The plea of diminished responsibility on psychiatric grounds by John Hogan, who killed his son and seriously injured his daughter by throwing them off a hotel balcony in 2006, was accepted by a court in Greece; and the Crown Prosecution Service has indicated that no further action will be taken now that he has returned to the UK for treatment. Earlier this year, Ashok Kalyanjee was found guilty of stabbing to death his two sons. The judge sentencing him at the high court in Glasgow reduced his tariff from a potential 28 years to 21, because of Kalyanjee's early guilty plea.

And most of the reason that she's getting a good kicking in the comments. Not that that will prevent the old bat writing yet another column about how foul the male species is as a whole...

Here's Something You Don't See Every Day...

Oh, wow! A school actually taking bullying seriously!

Sadly, it's amongst the parents:
West Blatchington Primary and Nursery School has received a complaint about mothers being intimidated as they drop their children off.

Reports of swearing, cigarette smoke blown at people, and obstruction of the school gates have also been logged.

Teachers are now standing outside the building, in Amberley Drive, Hangleton, Hove, to resolve any potential conflict during drop-off periods.
Good grief...!
Rachel Simmonds, acting deputy headteacher of the school, said: "A complaint was brought to our attention and we began investigating it immediately.

"We are not aware of any clashes between parents before that date. We are an inclusive school and committed to providing a safe and enjoyable educational environment.

"The governors and senior leadership team are working together to resolve any issues raised."

Why do I suspect that if this was a bullying incident by the pupils, there wouldn't be half as much fuss?

And when was it the job of the teachers to prevent the adults from acting like children outside school premises?

I Though Mugging Was A Young Man's Game?

Clearly not:
Gurdial Matharu, 67, was on his way home from the Dartford Working Men’s Club in Essex Road when he was punched and kicked to the ground on April 23.

His attackers, Joselyn Watson, aged 38, of Priory Road, Dartford, was sentenced to seven years in prison and Brett Henderson, aged 37, of Trevithick Drive, Dartford, was given a six-year sentence.
Luckily, they were spotted and the police were called.
The pair took £160 and then fled after hearing police sirens.

Police found Henderson pushing Watson over a fence.

She ended up waist-deep in mud and had to be rescued by firefighters.
Which some would say was a waste of their time, frankly. Though looking at the state of her, at least it gave them some practice with their Large Animal Equipment for the next time a bullock falls into a swimming pool...

Did these two charmers have long criminal records, perchance?

Oh, yes:
Maidstone Crown Court heard mother-of-three Watson had previous convictions for common assault, theft and criminal damage.

It also heard father-of-three Henderson had previous convictions for criminal damage, battery and possessing an offensive weapon.

Mark Dacey, mitigating for Henderson, said his client was ashamed of his behaviour but could not remember the incident.

Alan Walmsley, mitigating for Watson, said she suffered depression and had been involved in a number of relationships, many of which contained ingredients of violence.
Does it disturb anyone else that the woman in this story (she's the one on the left, in the pictures, in case anyone is having trouble..) is described as 'a mother of three'?

Three what?

Thursday 24 September 2009

Oh, I Just Bet He Was...

Reading the entries, Mr Butterworth, antisocial behaviour officer at the council, was visibly perspiring.
Never mind, Mr Butterworth.

I'm sure your court ordeal won't be so bad, and go on for so long, that you feel the only recourse you have is to get in your car with a petrol can and a match...


...that'll teach 'em:
A police force has been fined £40,000 after one of its firearms instructors nearly killed a man after accidentally shooting him during a classroom safety demonstration.

Thames Valley police was handed the huge penalty at London's Southwark Crown Court today and ordered to pay another £25,000 to cover legal costs.
Anyone else consider that a 'huge penalty'?

No, me neither. Especially as I'm helping to pay it. Still, at least the clown who fired the shot was fined personally.

It was...

Wait for it...

£8,000! Whoooo-ee!
Micklethwaite, 52, who had previously failed a firearms training course, was fined £8,000 over the incident and ordered to pay another £8,000 in legal costs.
Any bets on whether his union will pay those costs, maybe even that fine?
Judge Nicholas Lorraine-Smith criticised the force's use of containers for ammunition.

He said: 'The aggravating features seem to me the fact that those tins had been in existence for so long and nobody had done anything about it, and also the serious injury caused.'
No kidding...

I Guess It's Not Just Councils, Then..?

Following on from this story, yet another twist in the dinner lady saga shows it isn't just councils that have problems with the words 'fair and independent system':
One of the bullies at the centre of a row over a sacked dinner lady is the son of a school governor.
Parents have questioned whether Mrs Hill's sacking was influenced by the fact that a governor, who did not take part in disciplinary hearings, is mother of one of the four boys accused of tying Chloe's wrists and ankles with the skipping rope.
So, in the public sector, it's not what you know that determines your fate in the various disciplinary systems, but who you know?

And in case anyone felt inclined to say 'Oh, give it a rest, she can always get another job':
She has since been banned from a voluntary post in the Beaver Scouts and a local youth group because of the decision, The Times reported.
Nice country. Stalin had one just like it...

Today's 'WTF?!?' Story...

South Yorkshire Police apparently have enough time on their hands to wander the streets, peeking in car windows and, if there are any items on display, doing this:
If any items are on show, the officer will record it, along with the car registration number, to help identify the car owner. Using the DVLA’s MOT database, they will then be able to find out who are the car’s insurers.

The forms will then be sent out to insurance companies – which will either lead to people’s premiums rocketing or their policies being cancelled.
I'm speechless...

He Ain't Heavy, He's...No, Really, He Ain't Heavy!

Ten million Brits are unaware they are obese because being fat is now seen as the 'norm', according to new research.
'Research', eh..?

I'm starting to love seeing that word in the pages of the MSM, and then going on to find out that it isn't any such thing.
Less than one in 10 people believe the excess pounds they are carrying is significant enough for them to be classified as obese, according to a YouGov poll of more than 2,100 adults.

But measurements found that more than one in four of those questioned were clinically obese, the same as official government figures.
A YouGov poll...? Referring to 'measurements' and governmental 'figures'...?

You mean, like the discredited BMI measurement?

Hmmm, who could possibly want more people to believe they are obese? Who stands to gain from it?

Here's a clue:
It means three in four obese people do not realise their health is at risk, warns Slimming World which commissioned the study to mark its 40th anniversary.
Ah, ha ha ha ha ha!

Seriouslt, the 'Telegraph' decides to print this load of old flannel, despite it being a blatent attempt at rent-seeking?

And they call this proferession 'journalism'...

The Logical Conclusion To The 'Women Don't Lie About Rape' Myth...

A senior council official accused of violently raping a colleague has been awarded £25,000 in damages.

The man, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, was awarded the payout after successfully suing his bosses for wrongful dismissal.

He was sacked on the spot by the council's chief executive after his alleged victim, a director of a separate department, claimed he had attacked her.
It gets even murkier than that, though...
Although she refused to give police a formal statement the council chief, a close friend, was convinced she was telling the truth.

He told Mr A, an assistant director, he believed that 'in all probability' he had 'raped and sexually, physically and mentally assaulted, harassed and abused' his colleague.
A 'close friend' of this deranged woman? What kind of staffing procedures allow this to happen?

I'd expect the council's legal department to step in and ensure a totally neutral panel for...

He was then refused a disciplinary hearing on the basis that he would only deny the attack.
Wait, what...?

That's some disciplinary process! You can only have a say if you admit guilt! The Spanish Inquisition would have loved this guy.

Not that we are allowed to know who any of these people are, or even where it took place, even though the £25,000 awarded comes out of our pockets...
After a six day hearing at Newcastle's employment tribunal last August he was awarded damages for wrongful dismissal and sex discrimination.
It took six days...?!
Documents revealed he was originally awarded £25,000 for wrongful dismissal and a further £16,385 for sex discrimination.

After the appeal hearing, however, the council's claim against the award for sex discrimination was upheld.
...Mr Justice Underhill upheld the appeal by the Council and its Chief Executive, ruling that the man would not have been treated differently by them had he been a woman.
Oh, pull the other one, Judge!

It seems this started when the woman confided in her council friend that she had been sexually harassed and then raped by the man:
Days later the council's chief executive met with Mrs X and a police sexual offences liaison officer who listened to a fuller account of the alleged rape.

She claimed she was pushed into a disabled toilet by her alleged attacker who, she said, held his arm across her neck, before raping her.

He told her that no one would believe her if she ever spoke out and left. She returned home, showered several times and placed her clothing in a black bin liner which she threw into a skip outside her property.

The police informed the council that they believed she was telling the truth and that there were reasonable grounds to arrest Mr A on suspicion of rape.
And that was good enough for the council chief, who took action. And the police?

Ah, well...
Mr A was later arrested and interviewed. He denied the attack and the police took no further action due to lack of evidence as the woman still refused to give a statement.

Nor would she give evidence at the tribunal hearing.
So, to sum up - the taxpayer has shelled out 25,000 smackers, plus the cost of the police investigation and tribunal, and not only are we not informed what action was taken about the council chief and the female, but we can't even know which council this is?

Though, to be fair, it could well be any of them...

But this is the logical consequence of allowing this myth that women never lie about rape to fester unchallenged, and allowing anonymity for accusers (the man can't be identified in this case, presumably to avoid identifying the other participants?).

And The Oscar Goes To...

The family of an artist killed by a teenage thug spoke of their anger yesterday after the attacker was jailed for only two years and allowed to remain anonymous.

Jonathan Harper, 47, was set upon by a 'feral youth' after he refused to give one of the teenager's friends a cigarette.

The 15-year-old punched him in the face with such force that he fell on to the road into the path of a car.
And because it was the car that killed him, the waste of oxygen was merely charged with manslaughter.
There was nothing the driver could have done to avoid Mr Harper and he died minutes later.

Yet while his killer pleaded guilty to manslaughter, he was given only a two-year detention and training order.

Judge Alan Goldsack QC also refused to lift a ban on revealing the teenager's identity.
Apparently, it's 'not in the public interest' to know which of the yobs in North Anston will assault you in the street...
Sentencing, Judge Goldsack said Mr Harper lost his life through the use of 'quite gratuitous violence'.

But he said the teenager 'did not intend to cause serious injury or death' and had shown remorse.

The 15-year-old has a previous conviction for criminal damage and received warnings for burglary and throwing missiles at a woman.
I expect he 'showed remorse' on those occasions too. In fact, I suspect he's Oscar material by now...

This judge has form for this kind of thing:
His Honour Judge Alan Goldsack QC, Recorder of Sheffield, said: "This sort of late night violence is very troubling for the public, who expect courts to take a strong line."
And did he?

Well, what do you think...
Bottomley and one of the 16-year-olds pleaded guilty to causing actual bodily harm and the other 16-year-old admitted affray and were given four months' detention.

Butcher admitted affray and was given 150 hours of community service and ordered to pay £300 costs.
Ooooh, harsh...

Update: Inspector Gadget weighs in on this one too.

Wednesday 23 September 2009

"...I think we did a good job."

So says Ron Grantham, community safety manager at Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council.

Yes, that's right. The council where Ms Pilkington took the only way out she could after years of abuse from what the 'Indy' quaintly describes as 'a problem family'.
Yesterday, Ron Grantham, community safety manager at Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council told an inquest at Loughborough Town Hall that despite seeking an injunction against one family the culprits still caused problems on Bardon Road, where Mrs Pilkington had lived.

"Throughout this tragic case this family still continue to cause trouble to this day," he said. "It's not just one, it's members of the family."
So, what does the man from the council think of these subhuman scum?
Mr Grantham said the parents who were unable to control their children were ultimately to blame.

"It comes down to parental control," he said. "With the best will in the world, and we have done an awful lot of work, if you cannot get a level of parental control, the problems will escalate.

"I dread to think what will happen to these children, criminality wise. If they don't stop they are going to end up in prison. It is a wicked cycle unless intervention is put in to place to stop it. That's my honest opinion."
Is it just me, or does Mr Grantham sound like his concerns are with the children of this 'family', and the possible consequences (Ha! As if...!) to them of their actions, and not with the families on Bardon Road that are still being terrorised by them?
Mr Grantham admitted that had Ms Pilkington complained to the council today, her family would have received greater assistance as they would have realised they were the victims of what could be termed as hate crimes.

He added: "As a partnership between the council and police, we have introduced a way of protecting public confidence and we have introduced an awful lot of ways to stop anti-social behaviour."
I hate to point out unfortunate reality to you, Mr Grantham, but it hasn't worked.

By your own admission, these people are still causing problems.
The inquest heard Mr Grantham and two of his colleagues dealt with 2,476 incidents of anti-social behaviour between April and December 2007. Of those 313 were in Barwell.

Assistant deputy coroner for Leicestershire and Rutland, Olivia Davison, asked him whether this was "an inordinate amount of work".

Mr Grantham replied: "To a degree. Obviously anybody can say that they need more staff but with the resources we have got I think we did a good job."
Tell us, Mr Grantham, do you really consider that you and your team are doing 'a good job'? What exactly did you do?

Oh, sure, you applied for and got an exclusion zone around Ms Pilkington's house. No-one bothered to enforce it, though.

And you provided her with a diary to record the incidents (which she never used - poor woman, at that point, she must have wondered what good it would do), though a 12-gauge and your blessings to do some urban vermin control would have been more use.

And, no doubt, you held many meetings with various people in numerous other departments about the problem.

But you had no effect. So, why do you believe, in spite of the evidence staring you in the face, that you did 'a good job'? Are you a moron? Or a pathological liar?

No. It's just that, by the standards of NuLabour's Britain, you did do 'a good job'. You no doubt ticked many, many boxes. That's what 'a good job' now means...

Complacent, indifferent, caring for the wrong people and a total jobsworth. You will go far in the world of council work, Mr Grantham.

Another Day, Another Fakecharity 'Crisis'...

Ministers have been accused of colluding with the alcohol lobby to water down new warning labels on drinks.

Plans to warn mothers-to-be that alcohol 'can harm your baby' were rejected in favour of telling women to 'avoid alcohol when pregnant'.
Which is basically the same thing, after all; if it was good for your baby, there'd be a quango trying to force it down your throat. Like the folic acid brigade.
Department of Health papers, which officials fought to keep secret, show how it opted for the milder warning.

The document said one of the 'pros' was this message had been 'provisionally accepted by the alcohol industry'.
And this is a bad thing? Surely no-one would be in favour of the government going into costly legal battle with the trade over...

Oh, oh:
Last night, Don Shenker, chief executive of Alcohol Concern, said: 'These papers highlight the intense nervousness and impotence this Government feels in squaring up to the drinks industry.

'Rather than standing up for the public health of consumers, it appears labelling warning options have been watered down to appease the drinks industry. When will the health of consumers start to come before the interests of the drinks industry?'
I dunno, Don.

When will the free choices of consumers start to come before the rapacious need of you NuPuritans to get your fizzog in the newspapers condemning something?

"Maternity can be easily reached through the doors..."

The NHS, folks - wonder of the modern world, according to that hopeless Twitter campaign a few weeks ago:
Although the couple were a few yards from the hospital entrance, there were no medical workers around.

People who were visiting patients heard the mother's screams and went to help.

Alexandra said: 'All these women were helping and a man there panicked.

'He said "Let's call an ambulance" even though we were by the hospital.
It won't surprise anyone to hear that this was Newham again:
The hospital is part of the Newham University Hospital NHS Trust has been criticised by regulators for its maternity services, described as among the 'least well-performing'.

A Trust spokeswoman said: 'The hospital is open 24 hours. Maternity can be easily reached through the doors.'
No apology, no claim that 'lessons will be learned', just indifference...

What's In A Name?

I'm in the wrong job:
A council was criticised today after it drafted in a team of top consultants to rebrand a museum in Bristol - and they came back with the idea of reusing its original name.

The project currently has the working title the Museum of Bristol, but when it opens in 2011 it will be called 'M Shed', the historic name of the harbourside building.

Residents today vented their fury at local reports the rebranding exercise reportedly cost £100,000. But Bristol City Council has so far not confirmed the cost.
Which, knowing local councils, probably means it cost £200,000 and they are desperately trying to find some way to hide the other £100,000.

Still, don't think these consultants didn't work hard for their money - it apparently took them months of 'meetings, brainstorms and site visits'...

And are the council contrite? Don't be silly:
Today the council defended the bumper payout and claimed the name 'demonstrates the direct relationship' with the museum's past.
Well, it could hardly do otherwise, could it?

But why do they waste public money on these modern-day snake oil salesmen? Are council employees incapable of deciding on a name? Are they incapable of organising a public contest to name the thing?

Tuesday 22 September 2009

Utterly Sickening...

Is there anything more stomach-turning than the sight of the £60,000 a year head of Carers UK, Imelda Redmond, clutching the shroud of the unfortunate Ms Pilkington to her breast as she uses the deaths to argue for more money for carers?
The tragic deaths of Fiona Pilkington and her daughter Francecca Hardwick are yet another example of how lives can be destroyed by a lack of acceptance of disability and the caring role associated with it.
Seriously, love, do you really think that that was the sole cause of her suicide and murder of her children?

Do you think that vicious gangs of feral yobs don't torment people without caring responsibilities, or disabilities, unchecked by the police? Because they do.
We need more investment in this most essential of infrastructure services. Despite the recession, politicians need to be bold in finishing the part of the welfare state that Beveridge left out.

If they don't, more carers risk losing their career, their health and their social lives, trapped on state benefits that are a pittance (carer's allowance is just £53.10 a week).
I'm sorry..?

How, exactly, would more money have resolved Ms Pilkington's woes? Should she have used it to hire a hitman, perhaps?

What was needed was the police and justice system to do the jobs we already pay them to do.

These people are scum, there's no doubt. They saw Ms Pilkington and her family as weak. As easy prey.

But you, love? You're worse. You see them as an opportunity...

Star Chambers - Not Just A Historical Oddity

It seems this story has now progressed further, and Carol Hill has indeed been dismissed for her 'crime' of letting the parents of a child assaulted at her school know what the head would have preferred to cover up:
Mrs Hill, 60, was suspended after the incident in June and yesterday it emerged that she has been fired by a disciplinary tribunal for breaching pupil confidentiality at Great Tey Primary School, near Colchester, Essex.

The decision has been condemned by the girl's family, who were prevented from giving evidence on Mrs Hill's behalf.
It seems this may spark a bit of a fightback:
Other parents at the school are considering withdrawing their children in protest.
Let's hope they do.

Certainly, no-one can have confidence in a head who responds to a sitaution in this fashion. And who gives this statement in response to media interest:
Headmistress Debbie Crabb has insisted that Chloe's parents were told of the incident according to school 'accident and first aid procedures'.

This was assault!

How Much Is That Pussy In The Window?

The MSM does love scaremongering, and none more so than the 'Daily Fail'. And they need something new, since swine flu turned out to be, well, just regular flu, and not the 'Captain Trips'-like Doomsday virus they'd been predicting. So, on their horizon is the latest horror story - the rise of the 'supercat'.

Yes, the 'Daily Fail' has just woken up to something that's been normal in cat breeding circles for a few years now - crossing domestic cats with their smaller wild cousins to produce exotic looking new breeds.
They may be the country's most popular pet, but the UK's seven million moggies now face bigger, tougher rivals on their territory

Demand is surging for 'supercats' - domestic breeds crossed with larger African or South American wildcats.

Breeders are reporting up to six-month waiting lists for new kittens, despite price tags of up to £6,000.
Not news, you'll agree, and really nor much of a problem either. If people want to pay £6000 for a pet, so what, as long as that pet is healthy?
But animal welfare groups have warned that the size and instability of such hybrids means they could pose a danger to other pets and even small children.
Oh noes!

How many have they already mauled, given they've been here for years?

Err, none. At least, no horror stories are recounted by these 'animal welfare' groups. And I'm sure if they existed, the 'Daily Fail' would be licking their chops at the thought of printing 'I survived an attack!' recountings...

As always though, the most fun is to be had from the comments, which range from the sarcastic and sensible:
These foreign moggies will get loose and roam the streets at night savaging the drunks lying paralyzed in the streets.
- jack pudding, hammond indiana, 21/9/2009 5:13

Scare mongering utter nonsense.... Nanny state and so called "experts" pontificating
- cruster, London, 20/9/2009 22:20

They are still not as dangerous as the Labour Party
- Jane, Berkshire, 20/9/2009 19:14
To the just plain hysterical:
Just wait for these to turn up on all the council estates in the land!
- Clare, Somerset, England, 20/9/2009 16:13

I've seen wild cats in a private zoo in Malaysia, they are the most vicious creatures I have ever seen.
- Steve, Bedford, 20/9/2009 17:44

What idiot lets people import these things into the country ?
For a government obsessed with surveillance, they sure are useless
- up to our necks in Brown, suffolk, which used to be in England, 20/9/2009 18:37

Absolute lunacy. they will become a menace and a danger to children.
- John R, Chelmsford UK, 20/9/2009 19:30

Protecting the environment is not only about "greenhouse gases" and pollution.
Remember no-one saw any problem with introducing grey squirrels originally.

I do not normally agree with goverment interference, but these creatures are not natural and should be outlawed.
Just wait until the first baby or toddler is taken down by one these!!
- Colin, Aberdeen, UK, 20/9/2009 19:41

Well I guess that's what NuLabours Multiculural experiment has brought!!!! You should always stick to the same breed anything else is just dangerous
- Trevor, Perth, 21/9/2009 0:38
Sadly, there seems to be far more of the latter.

Oh, well. I, for one, welcome our new feline overlords:funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

"...'a terrible week at work'..."

That was the excuse offered by the defence on behalf of the man responsible for this:
A yob who snapped a crying toddler's leg because she wouldn't be quiet has been jailed after the attack was taped on a friend's answer phone.

Lee Nathan Robson, 32, could be heard screaming, 'I will break your leg off if you don't stop crying' after accidentally calling a pal on his mobile.

The terrified three-year-old is heard begging, 'No, no, no, no, no', before Robson twisted her leg 180 degrees.
For that, he got...three and a half years.

Monday 21 September 2009

Oh, That's Good Advice, Headmaster!

Mr Wright’s letter reminded parents about the school’s jewellery ban and also advised them to look on the internet for more information about the bracelets.
Yeah, because the Internet is full of reliable information...


Reading the blogs and news sites on Sunday morning, I was struck by how the awareness that we are heading to a future society we have only previously imagined in sci-fi is beginning to creep into the most unlikely places.

Blogs, of course, have been at the forefront of this, unburdened by 'don't rock the boat' editorial policies; Constantly Furious has a good post about the creeping onset of the nanny state, and some blogs based their entire reason for existing on highlighting these areas.

Well now, two columns in - of all places - the Guardian's 'CiF' have begun to ask important questions.

Catherine Bennett looks at the way the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act was nodded through parliament 'for the children!':
Not once, on its journey towards the statute book, does a peer or MP appear to have expressed the objection that now unites critics from every side: that a presumption of malice on this scale can only poison relations between generations. Nor, extraordinarily, was there sustained pragmatic criticism, casting doubt on the impact of all this costly officialdom on reducing a crime that is usually committed within the family. Up to a point, you can understand their reluctance. It was a trick of Parmjit Dhanda's, the minister who bustled the bill through the Commons, to suggest that such critics wanted to make life cushier for paedophiles.
So our lawmakers are either cowed, or lazy. And as a result, we get laws that practically sit up and beg the Law of Unintended Consequences to pounce...

Jackie Kemp relates some horror stories and a particular instance of her own:
The constant undermining of parental rights in these times, justified by one or two horror stories, is felt in every aspect of life. Recently I took my children to the swimming pool. Despite the fact that swimming is free for children where I live, we were the only people in the pool: I soon discovered why. Within 10 minutes, the lifeguard had blown her whistle three times. At one point my eight-year-old walked to the deep end and dived in. The whistle sounded. Treading water nearby, I inquired as to what we had done wrong. Despite the fact he had recently completed a course of lessons designed to improve his confidence, he had apparently not convinced her that he was capable of swimming 25 metres. "What's the danger?" I asked.

"The danger is that the pool is full of water," she replied. It appeared that the lifeguards saw themselves as heroically foiling my constant attempts to murder my children in their leisure facility. In another case, a neighbour, an elderly widow crippled with arthritis who lives in a bought council flat where she has been for 50 years, takes her life in her hands every time she climbs the stone stairs to her flat. Her son wants to put in a stair lift, but the council says he can't in case a child decides to play on it and hurt themselves.
It shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone that there are people who positively relish the holding of power over others; they don't all aspire to high office, some of them are perfectly content with being a traffic warden, council worker or lifeguard. We've always had a small number of such people among us, and I don't believe the number has significantly grown as a percentage of the population.

What has changed is two things; first, that they are no longer considered to be a figure of fun by the wider population, someone to be laughed at and got round or simply ignored in favour of common sense.

Think of the character of Hodges in 'Dad's Army' - though his role should require respect, his manner and the way he delights in finding fault and sticking to 'the rules' earns him the contempt of all, even the usually happy-go-lucky Pike. It is made clear to the audience that this is one of the people who should not be allowed power over others because he is incapable of handling it. And indeed, laws made 30-40 years ago were made carefully, with an eye to redress for those subject to the depredations of the small minority that would abuse them.

However, we have moved away from the judgement of the majority that something can be safely ignored, even ridiculed, despite being the stated desire of the State, and into the realms of the state's minions being the final authority.

And the second thing that has changed is that the lazy attitude to making laws, as seen above, no longer restricts the power of the small minority of petty despots. Hence, an unelected council official takes it upon themselves to overrule a mother in a public place and she feels no choice but to obey, because otherwise, that unelected official will have the full backing of 'the authorities' to bring about some unpleasant consequences for her.

Those two 'CiF' columns are both worth reading in full (especially with comments), and particularly with regard to these stories in the media:

Self-defence 'no justification' for hitting a 15 year old pupil

Challenge the safety of a vaccine? You must be mad!

'Offend' someone of another religion by simply discussing yours? To court with you!

Want to eat lunch during Ramadan? Not while Muslim colleagues are around, you don't!

Nice society we are building, isn't it?

What Do We Want? 100% Internet Safety!

When do we want it? Whenever our kids pick up an iPod in a store:
A mum is furious after her ten-year-old girl was exposed to pornographic images after picking up an iPod in a shop at Lakeside.

Helen Goodman, 37, said her daughter, Eleanor, was left shocked after innocently looking at an iPod Touch on display at the Apple store.
The iPod Touch comes pre-loaded with free pr0n now?

Wow, Apple don’t seem to be making the most of their marketing then…
Mrs Goodman said: “She picked up one of the demo models and it was playing pornographic material.

“I called to complain, and was told matter of factly by staff this happens a lot as people come in and download it for a laugh.

“I don’t find it funny and all my friends think it’s disgusting, but Apple say there is nothing they can do to stop it.”
Other than remove the display models altogether, or have their shop staff spend all their time pouring through the memory of each free-use display unit to check no-one’s downloaded ‘Debbie Does Dallas’, no. And why should they? The whole point of a display item is to allow people to see how it works.

But that’s not good enough for Mrs Goodman:
Mrs Goodman, of Edmund Drive, Chafford Hundred, has warned other parents.

She said: “If they can’t guarantee 100 per cent internet safety for the kids visiting the store, I feel they should not be allowed to offer internet access to the public without supervision.”
Here’s a thought, Mrs Goodman, since you are now aware of the problem, and through the medium of the local newspaper, you've made everyone else aware. Why not, next time, pick up the iPod before your daughter and check to see if its content is suitable for her?

I know! Taking responsibility for your own kid instead of letting her wander around unattended and demanding everyone else take responsibility instead!

Whatever next..?