Sunday 28 February 2010

They Always Turn On Their Masters...

A government can never be really trusted, you know. No matter how well they've been trained or treated, they remain, at heart, just dumb beasts, reverting to deeper instinct when under threat:
Every dog owner will have to take a costly ‘competence test’ to prove they can handle their pets, under new Government proposals designed to curb dangerous dogs.
Oh, fantastic!

Now little old ladies and families on minimum wage have another choice to make between eating and heating their homes - registering their tiny pooch who may be their only friend and companion, and has never so much as growled at the postman, while the chav down the street with the six ravening pitbull-alikes will either pay with the proceeds of their drug deals or black economy or more likely, not bother.

Knowing that given a choice, the authorities will move them further down the list and concentrate on the soft targets instead.
Owners of all breeds would also have to buy third-party insurance in case their pet attacked someone, and pay for the insertion of a microchip in their animal recording their name and address.
And if that works for dogs (it won't, but still...) how long before some bright spark decides it's a bang-up idea for humans too..?
The proposals are among a range of measures to overhaul dog laws in England and Wales being considered by senior Ministers, who are expected to announce a public consultation within weeks.
Great timing! Alienate a few more millions just in time for the election! Truly, this government never misses a chance to shoot itself in the foot, does it?

Even the sleepy, toothless, trusting old RSPCA has woken up and decided to give voice to the intruders at the door:
The RSPCA said last night it would welcome a review of legislation which has failed to curb the numbers of dangerous dogs that can attack, and sometimes kill, children and adults.

But a spokesman for the charity added: ‘We would not support anything that would hit sensible owners while failing to police those who are a danger.’
Well, no, in your shoes, I'd be bearing my teeth and growling a warning, too.

No more bequests for you, if little old ladies are going to be bled even dryer by legislation you supported, right?
There are also plans to boost the enforcement powers of police, the courts and local authorities.
Ah, of course. More powers. And why not? It's not like that's ever gone horribly wrong in the past, is it?
An RSPCA spokesman said: ‘We welcome a review but the problem is that while responsible owners will abide by the rules, inevitably you are going to get a fraternity that does not. There are always people who will buy a dog from their mate in a pub and won’t tell the authorities.

‘So the danger is that sensible owners will be out of pocket while irresponsible dog owners will ignore any new rules unless the policing of them is rigorous.’
Well, yes, even a child can see that one coming. So why can't our political policy geniuses?
He said, for example, that while the RSPCA encouraged the use of microchips, the system relied on owners keeping the information up to date.

‘It is no good finding an aggressive dog roaming the streets, perhaps having attacked someone, and going to the address on the microchip to find that the owner hasn’t lived there for years,’ he said.
Quite. In fact, just yesterday I got the usual vet's glossy magazine and what was in there? A heartwarming story of a family who regained their lost dog via microchipping, and a story of a lost cat unable to be returned because the owners had moved and not kept up the address details.

That's someone who (presumably) wanted their harmless pet's return, yet simply forgot to update their details.

So we can't really expect Daryll 'Stabby' McChav to do the same with his crossbreed pitbull when it's likely to take a bite out of a member of the public, can we?

When are we going to learn? Ministers should never be left alone with children legislation...

Sunday Funnies...

You know, I really should have set this one to post just before lunch...

Saturday 27 February 2010

Radio Cryer...

Momtaz Begum-Hossain in 'CiF' leads the special pleading for niche broadcasting on the TV licensepayer account:
If today's reports that the BBC Asian Network is closing down are true, then how am I going to get out of bed on a Saturday morning?
Sweetie, if you need a niche radio station paid for by everyone else in order to do that, you've got far more problems than you think...
Listening to Love Bollywood with Raj and Pablo from 9am to noon is my weekend ritual. It's the only place where I can get my fix of movie star gossip. I can't afford to buy digital TV channels or Indian magazines and, anyway, by the time Filmfare arrives at my local supplier near Brick Lane it's usually out of date.
Lots of people can't afford to buy things they want. They don't have the cheek to demand that other people pay for them on pain of imprisonment, though.

Well, not until they get into Parliament, anyway...
Earlier this month the Guardian reported BBC chief operating officer Caroline Thompson's views on why the Asian Network needs to be evaluated. "It broadcasts in a number of different languages to an audience that varies from younger to older listeners," she said, describing this as a "difficulty". I think this should be celebrated as a triumph...
You would, wouldn't you? am I going to learn about Asian life? We are sadly not yet living in a time where minority voices, Asian and non-Asian alike, are completely assimilated into the mainstream media.
And if we maintain niche radio stations broadcasting in foreign languages, they never will be.

You clearly didn't think this through, did you?
I can't even turn to the commercial Asian radio stations any more to hear what's happening in Asian news, sport and entertainment, because last year saw the closure of Club Asia and Zee radio.
And why?

Because there's no demand. Either because it's too niche, or because, as Ross points out, with the BBC providing it for free, commercial stations are crowded out.

We'll find out which, no doubt, when the Beeb stops wasting licence payer money on this sort of thing.

I'm So Proud Of My Country...

A teenager was put behind bars for five years today for killing her boyfriend after a drinking spree on the day of her A-level results.
She failed them, naturally (pity they weren't in binge drinking and mindless violence) though the report says she still had enough to go to a 'college course' in Bristol...
Katherine McGrath, 19, plunged a steak knife into Alyn Thomas's chest after drinking with her schoolfriends to celebrate their exams.

McGrath was cleared of murder after claiming she acted in self-defence when Alyn, 22, bit her thumb in a drunken row.
Seems proportionate to me! And no doubt to the likes of Harriet Harman and Vera 'Pooper Scooper' Baird.
McGrath, who refused to give evidence in her murder trial, was sentenced to five years in a young offenders institution.
That'll teach her...
Judge John Griffith Williams said: 'This is a very sad case and only you know exactly what happened. But I'm sure the jury did not hear the whole truth.

'Clearly you rowed. Whatever the cause of the row, he was not the only one to act aggressively.'
Oh, FFS..! Where do we find these idiot judges, who equate stabbing someone in the chest with a steak knife and a bit of pushing and shoving?

Seriously, if the sexes had been reversed, does anyone doubt that Alyn would be seeing serious jail time here?

One last thing: The 'Mail' reports that:
Cardiff Crown Court heard she stabbed Alyn at her £400,000 detached house in Bridgend, South Wales.
That's got to be a mistake, surely..?

Pass The (Small Portion, Healthy, Low-salt) Popcorn...

Cinema-goers should be warned about how many calories are contained in popular snacks such as popcorn, fizzy drink and icecream, according to the nutrition watchdog.
Really? Having been to the cinema increasingly fewer times over the last few years, I'd say a warning about the decibel level produced when chewed by slackjawed morons would be more sensible.

So why are we paying these cretins at the FSA anyway?
The Food Standards Agency is also concerned that portion sizes offered to filmgoers are getting out of control and have called on cinemas to act to tackle the obesity crisis.
Ah, yes. That non-existent 'crisis' again.

If iDave is looking to cut some fat out of his budget, then I'd start with this quango; it's obviously resolved all the serious food safety issues if it has time for its chief executive, one Tim Smith, to meddle in this area:
'There is a myth that popcorn is calorie-free, but that is not the case. It is a concern to us,' he said.
Really? It shouldn't be. It should be none of your remit, frankly.
Mr Smith added: 'When Coke started out in America it was sold in a 5oz bottle and now you can get it in a 64oz bucket. There are 20 fluid ounces in a pint, so that is a three and a bit pints. There can be nothing materially sensible about that, and no one needs that amount of soft drink.'
This used to be a free country, where when you requested a portion of food or drink from a retailer, it never entered their heads to wonder if you needed it. They simply sold it to you!
He said entertainment venues needed to take responsibility.
In other words, the public are greedy, stupid children who need a nanny. And Tim Smith obviously fancies the job. Mind you, who wouldn't, at nearly £200,000 p.a...?

Friday 26 February 2010

There's An App For Everything These Days...

...even, it seems, for ensuring politicians national and local do their jobs:
A new iPhone application designed to help council workers and housing officers keep their streets clear of graffiti is being launched in the UK.

Citizens Connect enables local residents to pinpoint nuisances on the move and report them direct to the desktop or mobile device of the member of staff charged with resolving the problem.

Belfast-based Lagan Technologies is currently in talks with a number of local authorities in the UK about trialling the application.
And if you want to keep an eye on your MP, rather than your streets...
A new iPhone application that connects voters with their MP has proved popular in Derek Wyatt's constituency.

The member for Sittingbourne and Sheppey is the first to use MyMP.
In fact, you don't even have to have an iPhone to join in:
It's simple enough. Now that most of us have some kind of camera in our pocket, we're encouraged to be active, responsible citizens by snapping photos of flytipped rubbish and rubbish graffiti and submitting them to an online map, thereby alerting the authorities to clean them up.
Interesting times ahead...

Quote of the Month

This month, we have NickM from 'Counting Cats...' on the odd and disturbing case of Theresa Winters:
...that story is just utterly awful. So, after fourteen kids she’s got a contraceptive implant in a bid to get ‘em back to her one bedroom flat… Talk about horses and stable doors. The stallion in this case has been thoroughly Shergar-ed already, love. Hell, if she’d got to fifteen she’d have a complete Rugby Union team! Was that the ambition? God knows. She gives birth about as often as I see the dental hygienist. Did she not at any point think to either use some form of contraception earlier or stop shagging the miserable scrote she’s shacked-up with in Luton (it had to be some shit-hole like Luton). I mean there can’t be much in it for him either. It must be like chucking a Marlboro Light down Deansgate by now. She could try Kegel exercises until the heat death of the Universe and her vayjayjay (to quote Oprah who is probably in talks as I type) would still resemble Dumbledore’s sleeve.

Post Of The Month

This one, from BehindBlueEyes, on the precious connections to the past of small cherished objects...

Anyone Want To Bet...?

...that when we get the background on the savages who murdered Gurmail Singh there will be a startling contrast between their lives and his?
A post-mortem examination showed Mr Singh suffered at least nine blows to the head, probably from a hammer.

Police said two 17-year-olds and an 18-year-old were being held.
Think of that. Nine blows. Count to nine, and imagine how long that attack actually took. And how pointless the last six blows probably were...
More than 30 bunches of flowers have been laid outside Mr Singh's home, which is just a short distance from his store.

One of the tributes read: "In memory of a gentle gentleman."

Another, apparently written by a young child and accompanied by a youngster's picture, read: "You were a nice man. Very kind all the time. Helpful. Shouldn't have been killed."

The tribute finished: "You had a nice shop."
No doubt - when the trial takes place - we will hear the usual suspects bleating about poverty and deprivation, skating nicely over the fact that, while Mr Singh had a 'nice shop', it wasn't exactly Harrods, nor was it in the middle of Mayfair.

I expect they will plead 'provocation' or even self defence, as if a shopkeeper defending his property is on the same footing as beasts in human form.

Already, the politicians are carefully choosing their words, so as not to upset anyone:
Speaking in the House of Commons earlier, deputy Labour leader Harriet Harman paid tribute to Mr Singh.

She said: "I want to express my sincerest condolences to the family for what is an absolutely tragic loss of life, an absolutely tragic situation."
Gurmail Singh didn't 'lose' his life, you increasingly-useless waste of skin; it was taken from him.

The Importance Of Training...

Doin' it right:
"I have no idea how long we were working on her but we were going through our drills, Bob ventilating, me compressing her sternum and checking her pulse. We were sweating profusely and I was hoping the ambulance crew would hurry up. Suddenly, I got a pulse and saw her pupils twitch and I remember the excitement just like it was yesterday. I shouted out, "Fucking hell, I've got a pulse". Then a strange voice behind me said, "That's right mate, I know, stop compressions". I looked round and it was a paramedic. Again, like it was yesterday, I remember asking how he knew I'd suddenly found a pulse. He pointed to a piece of equipment, similar to a `Minuteman Resuscitator` and said that they had been monitoring us for a few minutes, pointing to electrodes that they had attached to her chest. He said we were doing just fine and so there was no need for them to intervene at that stage. Neither of us had noticed their arrival, or remembered answering their questions or had seen them attach their equipment to our casualty."
Doin' it wrong:
Sophie Konderak had a cardiac arrest moments after starting a training session at a leisure centre.

The 16-year-old was dragged from the water unconscious and young lifeguard Katy Butler began cardiopulmonary resuscitation - mouth-to-mouth breathing and chest compressions.

Miss Butler, 23, who had never tried to revive a swimmer before, believed she had saved Sophie when she started breathing again.

However, she did not take the crucial step of checking for a pulse - to determine whether the heart had restarted - and unwittingly left Sophie dying on the wet floor.

Paramedics arrived four minutes later and resumed CPR, only to be asked by one of the lifeguards: 'Why are you doing CPR? She's alive,' the hearing was told.
Poor Kathy Butler will no doubt blame herself, but she should blame her training, if one can dignify it with that word:
The inquest heard the lifeguards had been trained by the Royal Life Saving Society, a charity which provides training and education in lifesaving.

Recording a narrative verdict, coroner Catherine Mason said she would write to the Resuscitation Council of the UK, which provides guidelines for life-saving techniques, to ask it to amend its training guidelines to include checking for a pulse.
I did my training in First Aid (a long, long time ago, and my certificate has now lapsed) with (I think?) the St John's Ambulance as contractors, and they impressed on us that we never, never consider life extinct unless the head is separate from the body, and only to stop our efforts when the paramedics arrive.

Hopefully, none of them will be this guy:
A paramedic refused to resuscitate a man he had been called out to treat and then told a series of lies to cover his tracks, a court heard today.

Karl Harris, 45, told his less-experienced colleague there was ‘no point’ in attempting to resuscitate Barry Baker after the pair were sent to his home, the court was told.
For once, I'm lost for words...

No Point In Appeasement...

Publicans believe they are doing their bit to combat binge drinking and blame cheap deals at supermarkets for south Essex’s alarming drink related hospital admissions.
I love that word: 'believe'.

Not 'claim' or 'say' or 'state'. Believe.

So the Righteous can then point this out as another mistaken belief, like the fallacy that the earth isn't warming. See, they can say, these people are mistaken. We're the ones who know best. Trust us!
Many establishments in Southend are taking precautions, such as training staff to spot potential risks before they become a problem.

Ben Levy, owner of Element nightclub in Alexandra Street, said: “Our staff are all trained not to serve anyone who seems intoxicated and to closely monitor those who are.

“We do not do special drinks promotions because not only do people get too drunk, but they also end up spending less per-head than if the drinks were normal price.”
You and the others are wasting your time in trying to prove to people like the Righteous that you are co-operating with them.

And don't bother trying to blame others, either:
Simon Patterson, owner of Chinnery’s, on the seafront, and chairman of Southend Pub and Clubwatch, which represents 32 licensees across the town centre, said measures have been taken to fight the problems.

He said: “Two years ago, we had a consensus in the watch to charge nothing less than £1.50 for a drink to try to stop bingeing.

“It works quite well, as there are no inclusive deals. They’ve all gone from our members’ premises, but you can’t stop people going to supermarkets.

“Pubs and clubs are doing their bit to make it a better place and it’s time supermarkets did the same. ”
There's an old saying: 'You can't reason someone out of a position, if reason didn't get them there to start with...'

Thursday 25 February 2010

Here We Go Again...

Takeaway and popular brands of soup are overdosing customers with massive levels of salt.
Says who?

Three guesses:
Consensus Action on Salt and Health analysed 575 ready-to- eat ranges and also found high levels in other popular brands.

There were 23 supermarket products with at least two grams of salt - 18 were from brands including Heinz, New Covent Garden and Batchelors.

CASH chairman Professor Graham MacGregor, of Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry, said: 'It is the very high levels of salt that are put in our food that leads to thousands of unnecessary stroke and heart deaths.
And yes, that is the load of old fanny that it sounds like, with yet another 'recommended limit' being pulled straight from the nether regions of the bureaucrats, just like those for alcohol and fat.

Surely, Dracula never regarded garlic with as much fear and suspicion as these people regard a fairly harmless and necessary mineral?

They're going to have a conniption when they see what Hollywood has named one of its proposed summer blockbusters...

Bullies In Blue PLC: We Only Tackle The Easy Cases

So, 'Bullygate' is finally out of the headlines, no doubt much to the relief of the Prime Mentalist and his henchmen, so they can concentrate on the serious task of hunting down the snitches.

Meanwhile, we see that the public services have takwen their cue from the leader of the country in their dealings with the public.

Stolen van? Yes, sir, we might know where it is, especially since you've done most of the tricky work for us, but no, we won't be going in to investigate. They might fight back, you see:
When Christopher Sims had his white van stolen from outside his house, officers told him they had an idea who might have taken it.

But Gloucestershire Police insisted they could not take any action as it would be ill-advised to visit the site because of the strong criminal element who lived there.

Mr Sims, 46, said: 'They said they were sympathetic but couldn't risk putting officers' lives at risk.

'They were saying they knew where the van could be but they weren't prepared to go in and find it.'
On the other hand, 11 year old schoolboy who might not have committed any crime at all? Get in!
Schoolboy Dylan Keetley was mortified when he accidently broke a classmate's arm during a playground 'rough and tumble.'

But the 11-year-old was stunned and shocked when he was later arrested by police on suspicion of causing grievous bodily harm.

Despite the school insisting the injury had been caused in an unfortunate accident the schoolboy was questioned at a police station for three hours.
As Leg-Iron points out, this pussyfooting is likely to have serious consequences:
"We pay them to catch criminals, not to harass the innocent.

Under Labour, the police have lost their way. I don't hear the Tories even mentioning this so it's not likely to change in the near future.

Therefore, the way to avoid arrest is to appear as dangerous as possible. If you are law-abiding and generally peaceable, they'll get you. It's best not to present an easy target because those are the ones the police seem interested in."
Can't really argue with the logic...

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished...

...certainly not in Brown's Britain, anyway:
They thought they were being helpful by collecting litter around their village.

But despite leaving the pavements and verges spotless not everyone was pleased with their efforts.

For it seems the volunteers of North Stifford, Essex, who filled 43 bags of rubbish during three hours of hard work, turned out to be a little too good at their job for the likes of the local council.

Now the litter pickers have received a reprimand suggesting that the results of their labours were 'excessive'.
Well, I suppose it is a little cheeky to go and do this without letting the council know that they'd be expected to collect the...

Oh, wait:
The complaint was all the more surprising as the council had approved the operation and provided the bin bags and litterpicking sticks.
So, what kind of idiot approves this operation and then whines about them actually going ahead and doing it?

Step forward Ashley Cobett, a man depriving a village somewhere of all three of its idiots:
Ashley Cobett, the council's cleansing manager, wrote: 'Please bear in mind that the weekend team have their regular work to do borough-wide and 43 bags and a sofa are a little excessive to collect.

'As this had filled up one of the vans they were unable to complete all of their work that day.

'I am happy to help voluntary organisations, but I would be very grateful if you would consider this for the future.'
Well, gosh, Ashley, did it not occur to you that, knowing as you clearly did that this exercise was being carried out, extra resources for the day might be a good idea? I mean, I'm sure you've got all kinds of fancy qualifications in 'cleansing', but hell, I haven't, and even I can figure out that if there's more waste coming in, an extra truck might be a good idea...
The clear-up was carried out as part of Keep Britain Tidy's 'Big Tidy Up' campaign, during which hundreds of groups have collected rubbish from their streets.

A spokesman for the campaign said: 'If rubbish is being collected off the street then surely that's a good thing?'
I understand your puzzlement, unnamed spokesman, but you've clearly not dealt with many council departments. There's a lot of Ashley Cobetts out there. In fact, I think there might be a cloning programme for them...
Thurrock council yesterday apologised to the group.

A spokesman added: 'Members of the North Stifford Village Community Group did an excellent job at their clear-up, giving up their free time to help improve the local environment.

'We apologise for the email which was sent in error to the group.'
'Sent in error'? That's a pretty odd way of apologising for the catastrophic PR disaster caused by the brain's trust running your cleansing department, isn't it?

Frankly, sending one of your dustbin carts round the estate with the aforesaid cleansing manager strapped to the front for the populace to point, laugh and throw rotten tomatoes at might have been a better way of resolving this...

"The wheels on the bus go round and round..." just better hope that's not with Belinda Mould at the wheel:
An angry passenger who wanted a bus to take a different route attacked the driver and took over the wheel.

Belinda Mould, 31, of Orchard Park, north Hull, screamed at, and attacked, the female driver after she changed the bus number.
She then bit the policeman who turned up to collar her.
Mould's barrister Paul Genney said: "She would like to apologise to the driver and she is sincere. She had an addiction to heroin . She no longer takes it and is on methodone."
And her punishment?
She was given a 12-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, and was ordered her to pay the driver £200 compensation and write an apology.
Oh, well, maybe it was a first offence?
Mould has six previous convictions for assault, two of which were against police officers.

Who Are You Gonna Believe, Me Or Your Lyin' Eyes?

The people who were there:
Eyewitness reports suggested the orca, which has been involved in two previous deaths, rose up to grab Dawn Brancheau by the waist and shook her violently before dragging her under water.
The people who weren't:
An Orlando police spokesman claimed last night that Brancheau tumbled accidentally into the whale holding tank and died.

‘There is no sense of foul play right now. This appears to be an accident,’ he said.
Pretty stupid thing to claim, since surely there's CCTV?

I wonder if Seaworld has put in a call to Industrial Light and Magic..?

Update: Orcas! The cows of the sea..?

Wednesday 24 February 2010

Identity Politics & The General Election

Inayat Bunglawala demands that the Tories will show the Muslims some sugar, if they know what's good for them:
And with the latest polls showing that we may be heading for a hung parliament, the Conservative party leadership could yet come to regret their needlessly offensive snub last night.
That 'needlessly offensive snub' being not turning up at a gala dinner in London held by the Muslim Council of Britain.

Yup. ThatMuslim Council of Britain...

Can't think why the Tories would want to give them a wide berth, can you?

Meanwhile, Smirkin' Sunny Hundal castigates the MSM for being closet BNP supporters:
The problem here is that while newspaper columnists and reporters keep stating they hate the BNP and all it stands for, they nevertheless keep promoting narratives that harden BNP support.
One of those narratives our fearless reporter 'exposes' being this:
Debate on immigration is being suppressed

Probably the oldest trick in the book. The rightwing press talks about immigration every day. And yet commentators on the right maintain with a straight face that the debate on immigration is being suppressed. What they actually mean is: those immigrants who don't agree with us are all bad.
Oh, dear. Bad timing, Sunny. As usual...

This GE is going to be fun to watch, isn't it?

Well, How's Disarmament Worked Out For You?

The 'Indy' writer tries, but fails, to conceal his feelings about those icky guns in this piece about the proposed concealed handgun ban on Colorado State University grounds:
Preventing bloodshed is the first thing on the board's mind. It is three years since the shooting rampage at Virginia Tech that took the lives of 32 students and staff and just under two weeks since Amy Bishop, a professor at the University of Alabama, allegedly shot six of her colleagues, killing three of them.
And what they have in mind is banning legally held and owned guns on campus. Because if they do that, then surely these massacres will stop, right?
Yet there has been such a push-back against the plan that the board may defer a decision today to await further public comment. The proposed change in the rules has reignited emotions about the place of guns in American culture. It is a debate that gets snarled in the conflicting logic of gun ownership rights and the simple notion that bullets and blackboards don't mix.
No, they don't. We can clearly see that. But I can't see how stripping people of the opportunity to defend themselves is going to help with that, frankly.
In December, the students' governing body voted overwhelmingly to resist the gun ban.
And they were backed up in that by...the law of the land:
And the local sheriff said he would never jail a student for breaking the ban because state and federal law comes before campus law.
Which didn't go down too well in the halls of academe, where professors and pencilpushers aren't used to being told they aren't more important than everything else..
Whenever a change in the rules is discussed, national groups rush in with their agendas.
Or, to put it another way, people like to have their say on issues, without simply rolling over and assuming the great and the good know what's best for them...
On Friday, the Colorado board of governors received a petition from Students for Concealed Carry on Campus (SCCC), a group that says young scholars stand a better chance of surviving the kind of rampage that occurred in Virginia if – as it were – they pack a pistol in their pencil case.

"You know, there's a saying: 'When seconds count, the police are only minutes away.' If there was a concealed-carry permit holder nearby, it's possible that a couple lives might've been saved," Tim Campbell, a Fort Collins student and SCCC member, told a local TV channel.
Might as well try it. Leaving people defenceless in the path of a manic shooter hasn't exactly worked out so well, has it?
On the other side of the argument is Gun Free Kids, an organisation that began a "Keep Guns off Campus" campaign two years ago in response to the Virginia slaughter. It deploys research from law enforcement groups that suggests that there is no correlation between gun-toting citizens and lowered rates of violence. The group also says that there are few places where guns should be less welcome than on campuses. "With binge-drinking, drug use and the pressures that college students are under, we just think introducing guns into that environment, it's the wrong thing to do," said campaign director Andy Pelosi.
There are already people 'introducing guns into that environment', Andy. As the t-shirt slogan correctly points out, more signs isn't going to stop them.
...Brad Bohlander, a spokesman for the Fort Collins campus, said that they would merely be falling into line with restrictions in force in the vast majority of American universities.

"It really came down to two general issues, number one: best practices, just looking at what other universities are doing, and very, very few outside of the state of Utah allow concealed weapons on campus," he said recently. "The second is risk management, and it really comes down to this university is responsible for managing risk on this campus of the students."
So, how's it gone so far for those other universities?

Yeah. That's what I thought.

Seriously, this is the best they can think of? Do what everyone else does, even though it hasn't resolved things?

I thought universities were supposed to be places of learning. Doesn't sound like there's a whole lot of that going on.

And You Can Forget All Those Amusingly-Captioned Pictures Too!

The respected American Academy of Paediatrics is calling for sweeping changes in the way hot dogs are designed and labelled to minimise the chances of youngsters dying.
Hmmm, surely that should be 'the formerly-respected...', shouldn't it?
Every year food-related choking kills up to 77 children in the US and up to 15,000 more are treated in emergency rooms.

About 17 per cent of the food-related chokings are caused by hot dogs, according to a report by the academy.
So they want them 'redesigned', clearly in an effort to kill two birds with one stone and avoid the chance of being pictured eating an amusingly-phallic shaped food item too...
The academy said: "Food manufacturers should design new foods, and redesign existing foods, including meat products, to avoid shapes, sizes, texture and other characteristics that increase choking risk to children."
Perhaps we should just liquidise all their food? Until they are, say, about 17 or so?
US federal law requires choking warning labels on certain toys including small balls, balloons and games with small parts.

Unless food makers voluntarily put more warning labels on high-risk foods, there should be a similar mandate for food, the academy said.
Oh, my lord...

"Her three-year legal battle was funded by the charity Shelter."

How nice:
Standing proudly with her arm draped over her 36in television, this is the Somali woman who must be given a council house even though she has no right to live in Britain.

Nimco Hassan Ibrahim - who lives with her four children on benefit handouts - was granted the right to the home by EU judges yesterday because she was once married to a Danish citizen who briefly worked in this country.
There's something to think about, next time a 'Shelter' begging letter drops through your door, eh?
The landmark EU judgment opens the door for hundreds of thousands of unemployed foreigners to claim both state benefits and council or housing association homes.

In particular, it means migrant families from Poland and other Eastern European countries will for the first time have a right to council housing and state benefits even if they have worked for only a brief period in Britain.

It comes at a time of heavy demand for council housing from hard-pressed British families - and as ministers have been promising families in disaffected Labour heartlands that local people will have first call on council homes.

The 'If This Had Been A Man' Conundrum...

Get drunk, sexually assault a colleague in your hotel room?
Sharon Bailey, defending, urged Judge Ian Karsten QC to suspend any prison sentence because Cottingham, who acted 'completely out-of-character' has already suffered enough.
She was jailed for a year. A year. No mention of the sex offenders register, either...

Kill your loved one driving a car you had no license for?
Anna Hibben, 18, had failed her driving test three times but still got behind the wheel of her boyfriend's Peugeot 106.

She drove at speeds of up to 67mph on a country road at night before clipping another vehicle and hitting a tree, killing 17-year-old passenger Gary Pitchford. The car's headlights were turned off at the moment of impact.

Hibben, who was 17 at the time, repeatedly told police that she was 'not driving', but her sandal was found wedged beneath the brake pedal, Chelmsford Crown Court heard.
She walked free, was only given a nine-month suspended sentence.

What is it with judges? Are they all in bed (figuratively!) with Harriet Harman and Vera Baird?

Tuesday 23 February 2010

YONA Go Wild In Orpington...Again

Six boys have been charged with public disorder after a large-scale disturbance in a shopping centre.

Police were called to Orpington High Street at 3.45pm on Sunday (February 21) after receiving reports youngsters were throwing bricks at cars, terrorising shopkeepers and moving traffic equipment into the road.
Oh dear.

And so soon after the last incident, too...

Latest Excuse For Failing Schools

The spokesman also criticised Ofsted for measuring the school in Meadow Road against grammar schools in the area, which select their students based on academic achievement.

He said: “It is most unjust to use a national framework to judge schools in Gravesend, where the educational provision is so diverse.

“In an area where there are successful selective schools, it is unfair to expect non-selective schools to reach the same targets as in areas where all schools are comprehensive.
Yup. St George’s CofE School in Gravesend is advancing the suggestion that it isn't fair to measure them against normal standards when the grammar schools have creamed off the brighter pupils, and they are left with the dregs...

Oh, boy. Wouldn't want to be a representative of the school on the next Parent's Day, would you?

But don't they have a point?

Taking Out A Contract On 'The Little Gentleman In Black Velvet'...

Dog walker Barry Winyard, 67, was mortified when he saw a ranger with the lethal weapon in Langdon Hills Country Park, Basildon.

When he asked what was going on, the ranger explained the moles were causing a big problem there.
So, he wasn't as worried as he wants us to think he was on being confronted by - oh, horror! - a gun, since he strolled up to the deadly armed man to ask him what he was doing?

Still, he struggles on:
He said: “I saw the ranger with the shotgun. It was very disturbing.

“The park was open and there were dog walkers in there.

“What’s going on? For health and safety reasons alone it’s dangerous. What if a pellet hits a dog or even a child? ”
You think the ranger can't tell a mole from a dog or a child? Just who are they employing, Mr Magoo?
“It’s surely not right to just kill moles. I think it’s disgusting.”
Well, they've tried all the humane methods, and they haven't worked.

Still, at least no MPs have jumped on the bandwago...

Animal rights campaigner and Basildon and East Thurrock MP Angela Smith was also shocked.

Mrs Smith, a former officer of the League Against Cruel Sports, member of the RSPCA and patron of the Captive Animal Protection Society, said: “This isn’t the most humane way of dealing with this.
Really? Can you tell us then, with your vast experience in animal control and firearms, what they should use? A howitzer? Controlled thermonuclear device?
“How do they know they are killing an animal and not just injuring it and leaving it to die?
Beats me. How do you know that all those fox shooters that your party preferred to foxhound packs aren't doing the same?
“Also it doesn’t seem sensible to have someone wandering around a park with a shotgun, especially during half-term.”
Oh, I don't know. It could come in quite handy...

One Law For Us....

...and one law for you little people:
He was given a six-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay £2,500.
Utterly disgraceful...

Still, I'm sure the prosecuting authority in this case will point out the discrepancy and demand that the case be sent back for...

The RSPCA, which had prosecuted the case, welcomed the verdict and said that those responsible for animals must be held to account for their actions, no matter what their profession.
Sure, well, no surprise there. Wouldn't do to upset the people you enlist to help you kick down doors, would it?

St Norman And The Dragon

Former Cabinet minister Norman Tebbit was last night accused of attacking a child who was dressed as a ceremonial Chinese dragon.

Lord Tebbit, 78, ran outside his house after revellers celebrating Chinese New Year in the street at a nearby restaurant started banging a drum and cymbals.

He is alleged to have run into the crowd, put his hands over the drums and then kicked the rear of a child who was dressed in the traditional costume dragon.
Tut tut.

There was no need for physical violence. I'm quite sure he could have resolved this with a call to the council, after all:
Bomb disposal squads preparing for Afghanistan have been barred from carrying out controlled explosions because they are too noisy.
I'm sure the council would deal as harshly with people celebrating their culture as they do with people training to keep themselves and their comrades alive in a war zone.

Wouldn't they?

"Hi, everybody!"

It seems The Simpson's Dr Nick Riviera is alive and well and practising at Royal Manchester Children's Hospital:
A children's doctor cut out 90 per cent of a baby's bladder after she mistook the organ for a hernia during a bungled hospital operation, a medical tribunal heard today.

Consultant paediatric surgeon Dr Pierina Kapur, 43, failed to recognise the hernia when she carried out the operation on the seven-week-old baby girl, it was alleged.

Instead she removed almost all of the youngster's bladder by mistake then sewed up the remainder of it not realising what she had done.
She's up before a medical tribunal (I guess she hasn't yet heard about how you can avoid that little awkwardness) and they will no doubt prescribe a slap on the wrist and maybe a spot of retraining.

Retraining Programme for NHS Paediatricians:

Monday 22 February 2010

The Last Word On 'Bullygate'...

...must go to Patently with a post so superb, there's nothing to add:
"Many, many commentators, journalists and former Downing Street staff claim Gordon is a bully. Lord Mandelson says he isn't. Who, I wonder, should we believe?

Surely, the leader of the Labour party could not be a bully? After all, they are the party that:

* tell us we can't smoke
* tell us we shouldn't eat too much
* tell us we shouldn't drink too much
* tell us we must have 5 a day
* tell us we shouldn't discipline children
* tell us not to drive anywhere
* tell us we can't protest against what they do
* tell us we can't take photographs of buildings
* tell us we can't take photographs of police officers
* tell us we can't even discuss immigration because that would be racist
* electronically strip-search us before we can get on an aircraft
* routinely stop and search people who go out for the evening
* want to snoop on all our emails & web usage
* tell us they know best in all aspects of our lives

And we are expected to believe that the leader of this party is a bully? That he orders his staff around and shouts at them?

Surely not?"

"We've tried nothing and we're fresh out of ideas!"

Teenage offenders given community punishments such as building bird boxes went on to commit more than 660,000 further crimes, it emerged last night.
You mean, soft punishments don't work? Well, who could have forseen that!
Parliamentary answers have revealed for the first time the number of new offences by juveniles who received 'soft' punishments instead of custody for crimes including mugging, theft and vandalism.

Between 2002 and 2007, they were convicted of 667,073 new crimes, according to analysis by the Tories.
Still, there's a silver lining:
The number of young offenders involved was 298,609, so the 667,000 crimes were an average of 2.2 each - though not all of them will have re-offended.
Ah. Right. And some of them will have re-offended many, many times…

And it might be even worse than it looks:
This figure relates only to crimes committed within 12 months of the court order being made, meaning many could have been prevented if the offender had been taken into custody instead.
Yes, but that would only happen is we had a justice system keen on crime prevention, wouldn't it?

Instead, we have a lot of government departments and quangos - MAPPA, probation services, etc - with a vested interest in not seeing their jobs disappear, like all those unimportant private sector jobs...
Conservative justice spokesman Dominic Grieve, who obtained the figures, said: 'Ministers need to get a grip of the youth justice system and reduce re-offending rates, which remain stubbornly high.

'We can't go on with a youth justice policy which is failing offenders and creating new victims.'
Note there was nothing there on what the Tories plan to do about it, though.
The re-offending figures emerged on the day the Government officially launched its 'Making Good' scheme, which gives local people the chance to suggest work for young offenders.

Be On The Lookout For...Umm...Err....

An arrest warrant has been issued for a 17-year-old boy who absconded from a courtroom this morning (February 19).

The youth, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was appearing at Bromley Youth Court in Bromley Magistrates' Court on a charge of burglary.
Presumably, he's named on that arrest warrant. So the police can identify him, but no-one else.


Engrish As She Is Spoke

From the Waltham Forest 'Guardian' front page on Sunday morning:

Was the word they were groping for 'harmless', do you think?

Sunday 21 February 2010

Musical Interlude

Apropos of nothing, but just because it's absurdly catchy, and sounds like one of those songs that's been around for ages, yet it's new:

Tomorrow's Manufactured Crisis Today!

The headline screams ''Invisible' children at risk from unofficial fostering'.

Sounds bad, right? Well, this is what is classed as 'unofficial fostering':
One in 10 children surveyed claimed to have been looked after by someone other than a parent or close relative for at least four consecutive weeks, yet only a tiny fraction of this number were registered with local authorities.
The people claiming this is a bad thing? Step forward, the British Association for Adoption & Fostering.

Yeah. They aren't likely to be impartial in this, are they?
BAAF estimates that up to one million "invisible" children could have spent weeks – or even years – living with family friends, neighbours, distant relatives or unregulated nannies without the knowledge of child protection experts.
Oh, noes! How could we let this happen? Wake up, people!
Six per cent of those affected said they weren't well looked after by private foster carers...
That never happens if you have a certificate, though, right?

Wrong. Very, very wrong.
...while a half experienced anxiety and loneliness.
Which children should never, ever experience. And official child fosterers guarantee they never will, right?
The Children's minister, Delyth Morgan, said: "We must do more to ensure local authorities are always notified about these arrangements."

I can't read any more. There's the usual case history of awful things happening, taken as representative of all these arrangements, and absolutely no mention whatsover of the official fostering horrors I managed to find with one Google search.

This is journalism? I think not...

They’re Depraved On Account Of They’re Deprived!

Deborah Orr takes out an onion for the Poor Little Lambs of Edlington:
The boys, now aged 11 and 12, have been given indeterminate sentences, which means that they can be incarcerated forever, if those with a say in the matter decide that this is appropriate. Yet far from questioning whether this sentence is too imprecise and too draconian to be handed down to minors, those pushing for an appeal were upset that the tariff – which decrees that the boys can be considered for release after they have served five years – is too lenient.
That might be because no-one has any faith in the authorities who keep releasing dangerous offenders...
Even more surprising is that these criticisms came from groups styling themselves as children's rights campaigners.
Gosh, yes. That’s a puzzle, isn’t it?

Let me think: why would a group wish to protect other, normal children from the depredations of these two little monsters?
It is a horrible thought: that these two tiny victims of violence that few people will experience even a fraction of in their lives, might be haunted by nightmares about the unpredictable future as well as the unchangeable past.
But obviously, not as horrible as the thought that these two apprentice torturers might have to bear some consequences...
But it is also a horrible thought that the boys who did this to them could, just could, come, quite quickly, to a genuine and profound understanding of what they did, and why it was so far beyond the pale. Would it really be productive, if they had come to experience genuine sorrow and contrition about their actions, for them to count off many years in adult prisons, brooding about the new perspectives they would have developed about the abusive start they had to their own lives, and the horror its legacy visited on others, before they could be said to have "paid their debt to society"?
There's a lot of 'ifs' and 'coulds' in there Deborah. Tell you what, why don't you take the chance. After their five years is up, they should come live with or near you. How about that?
It has already been established that Doncaster Council's children's services, under whose watch these children's lives were left blighted, had been in an awful state for years.

That's what "society" did for these children – nothing like enough to save them from themselves, let alone from others.
Oh, right. Society failed these children. You and me. Even though we've never heard of them, it's all our fault...
All four of the young boys involved in this case were let down by the adult society that allowed this to happen.
No, they were let down by the state authorities that promise up they will do amazing things for us, if we just fork over most of our pay packet. When in reality, what they mostly do is hold useless meetings and find ways to pass the buck when the shit finally hits the fan.
Indeterminate sentences, introduced by Labour and seized on with enthusiasm by judges, say something very harsh and very important about human psychological development, and how close society has come, silently, to acknowledging how awry it can go. Until recently, only the insane could be detained indefinitely. Everyone else was considered able to comprehend their guilt, and expected to serve the time deemed commensurate with their crime.
How awfully, terribly barbaric! How much better off we are now, in the age of no responsibility for anything, right Deborah?
… no child can be clinically diagnosed as psychopathic. A child showing psychopathic symptoms is diagnosed as having "conduct disorder". Intervention during childhood, it is reckoned, can be effective, in a way that intervention at a time when the brain is fully developed cannot.

In other words, the five-year tariff for these boys is clinically crucial.
Only if prison is only ever about rehabilitation. But it's not. There's an element of punishment in there too (at least, there's supposed to be) and also an element of 'public protection', though at the moments that's creaking at the seams.
It is the window during which they can make real progress, if they are capable of real progress at all. If their minds cannot be changed in the next five years, then their minds are unlikely ever to be changed.
There’s a lot of caveats in there again. And I say again: would you be happy to take the chance?

Or are you, like most bleeding hearts, happy for everyone else to take the chance, so you can feel warm and fuzzy inside, and congratulate your like-minded coterie at Islington dinner parties on how progressive and forward-thinking the justice system is in the UK?
It's not just social deprivation. It's brain damage; brain damage caused by the twin psychological cancers of childhood neglect and abuse, which thrive best in socially and economically jettisoned areas, like Edlington.
It isn't deprivation that causes the savagery inflicted by these two junior psychopaths. If it was, you'd need an armed escort to safely travel most of the Labour heartlands, wouldn't you?

Well, This Is Going To Make 'Lark Rise To Candleford' Watchable, At Last!

The Government will this week order television chiefs to include more references to condoms and sexually transmitted diseases in their story lines.

Officials will reveal that they have analysed popular TV shows and concluded that not enough sex scenes feature the characters discussing contraception.
Well, those of a delicate nature will just have to watch more US imports. Like, say, 'True Blood' or 'Californication' instead!
A report, called Mis-selling Sex, to be launched by the Department of Health, will call on television writers to include more dialogue about condoms and plot lines featuring the consequences of unsafe sex such as unwanted pregnancies and disease.

It will also call for more slang words to be used in order to connect with teenagers.
Great. Now, we don't just need subtitles, we'll need translations...

The Writing Is On The Wall For The Justice System…

Graffiti vandals went on the rampage at Chalkwell railway station causing hundreds of pounds of damage.
They had armed themselves with a pink spray can and scrawled tags along Ridgeway ending up in the ticket office.
Not an unusual occurrence, it seems, either.
Barry Bond, who lives in nearby Undercliff Gardens, said graffiti was a persistent problem in the area, which he regularly helps clear up.
He said: “It’s never ending. I don’t think there’s an answer to it apart from punishment, and there’s no punishment given.
“If there’s a deterrant, people wouldn’t do it. I remember when I was a lad you dared not ride a bike without a light on the front and back.”
Never a truer word, Barry, never a truer word…
PC Chris Abbott, neighbourhood specialist officer for Chalkwell Marine, said they keep an eye on all suspected graffiti taggers in the area.
What exactly is he a ‘specialist officer’ in? Keeping an eye on things?
“If anybody sees anybody doing it then they can call 999. Or, if they see new tags, come up let us know so we can go down there and have a look at them.
“We generally have a list of suspects who have links to different tags and if they are tags we are aware of, then obviously those suspects will be spoken to.
Yeah, I bet they are shaking in their trainers at the thought of being ‘spoken to’ by PC Art Critic…

I Now Agree With The Binge Drinking Adverts...

...I think the government, previously referrred to as 'that hectoring, interfering nanny state', should show more of them.

For the sake of the children Labour MPs:
Two Labour MPs took part in a champagne drinking contest on an official Commons junket to Paris, which led to one of them being violently ill.

Left-winger Bill Etherington drank so much that a doctor was called.

It was feared the MP might die after he defeated fellow Labour MP Geraldine Smith in the expenses-fuelled boozing competition.
The fears proved unfounded. They both lived.

The country just can't catch a break, can it?

This Is News Now..?

Wouldn't 'Gunshots not fired in Croydon this morning' be more deserving of a headline?

Sunday Funnies...

Thinking of booking a holiday? Some places to avoid...

Saturday 20 February 2010

Because There Should Be Such Thing As A Free Lunch!

Angry parents have been told their children will go hungry if they fail to pay school dinner money on time.

No, they won’t. They’ll miss lunch, that’s all. It won’t kill them.
Children at West Leigh Junior School, in Leigh, were sent home with a letter telling parents if they didn’t pay up on time their child would not be fed.

The letter is a reaction to a number of parents persistently failing to pay dinner money on time, or at all, causing an administrative headache for office staff.
You'd think no-one could possibly argue about this, wouldn't you? But you'd be wrong:
But John Banks who has two daughters at the school, Molly, eight, and Emily, 11, was shocked by the tough stance.
Really? Why?
Mr Banks, 46, said: “I can’t believe they would let a child go without their lunch.
They aren't. You are, by persistently refusing to pay, or forgetting to pay. They are your daughters, and feeding them - or arranging for them to have the wherewithal to be fed - is your responsibility, not the schools.
“If you have two parents at work in London there is no way on earth they could jump on a train and get back in time to take something into school.

“We all forget things, and to be told ‘you are not eating today little girl’, seems a bit much to me.”
I don't forget things. Well, I do, but it's things like where I put my umberella, or what time a film starts at the local cinema.

I certainly don't forget to pay for things. And consquently expect other people to pick up my slack...
Mr Banks, of Edinburgh Avenue, Leigh, said he realised the extra admin caused difficulties for the school, but said if alternative payment methods, such as account transfers, could be used it would be simpler for everyone.”
What..? Are we supposed to believe that he can't give his daughters cash for their school dinners, but he'll be right on to the bank aranging a transfer of funds, if only it was available?

Pull the other one!
But headteacher Cheryl Woolf defended the decision. She said: “We have a lot of parents who seem to think they can send their child in with no money and expect them to be fed, and we are putting our foot down.

You wouldn’t go into a restaurant and demand a lunch if you had no money.”
Oh, I don't know. Some people would, if they thought they could get away with it...
Mrs Woolf added the school accepted meal payments on a very flexible basis, from weekly to annual payments, and is looking at introducing other methods of payment.
Perhaps those errant parents should be co-opted into doing the school canteen washing up. I believe that to be the traditional punishment in these sorts of cases...

It’s All About The Naked Lust For Power Over Others…

Seth Freedman lets the mask slip in CiF:
Activists have been waging war against Vedanta ever since the Niyamgiri mine was first proposed, though the company's board has so far refused to bow to the pressure.
The swines! Seth is here to stamp his little feet and screw up his little face and make those bullies do what he wants, or else!
In the wake of the Rowntree divestment, Bianca Jagger has issued a call to arms, urging other shareholders to follow suit and sell their stock in Vedanta. Although she is right to continue with her quest for justice, there is an air of futility about the approach being taken to try to force Vedanta's hand.
Oh. why?
Vedanta is a FTSE 100 behemoth, and as such is far less susceptible to boycotts than a smaller company would be. By definition, FTSE tracker funds have to hold a proportional weighting in Vedanta, regardless of criticism of the company's ethics or policies.
Let me translate that into English: Verdanta is too big to force it to do as a small group of single-issue fanatics wants.

And that's apparantly a flaw...
Similarly, save for a tiny minority of dedicated ethical funds, most major investment companies are minded to buy or sell Vedanta stock on the basis of its balance sheet and long-term prospects rather than issues of principle and morality.
Oh, horrors! People invest in something because it's a good prospect, not because it conforms to some nebulous, ever-shifting moral principle!
What would have a far greater impact on reining in immoral corporate behaviour is a tougher approach from financial regulators.
Really? What do financial regulators do currently, then?
At present, if companies breach market regulations governing financial practice, their shares are suspended and cannot be traded. Such measures deal a serious blow to the underlying company and forces it to abide by market rules in order to maintain its listing on the stock exchange.
Hmm, you mean, they regulate companies to ensure that they don't break any, oh, what do you call them? Ah, yes. Laws:
Fear of suspension and delisting acts as a heavy deterrent to those who might be tempted to engage in false accounting and other financial crimes.
And quite right too! We can, after all, all agree that we elect politicians to make laws based on what is good for society.

Not on what is good for a bunch of patchouli-smelling activists and bored socialites...
Yet in the case of companies breaching human rights laws or environmental regulations, no such punitive measures are taken by market regulators, hence public companies are far less constrained in their non-financial dealings than they should be.
Savour that; ‘..than they should be.’ According to Seth and his fellow travellers, that is.
A panel regulated by the FSA or other independent body ought to be established to maintain fit and proper checks on companies' ethical practices rather than just their financial ones.
And who defines what are ‘ethical practices’?

Oh, wait. I’m sure I can guess…
Only that way would companies such as Vedanta sit up and take notice when it comes to their actions. As it is, Vedanta's share price will continue to fluctuate according to commodity prices, and will have little correlation to individual acts of divestment.
So your little protest has failed to bring them to heel - because not enough people give a damn, and quite rightly - so like any other little kid who picked on the wrong target and got the snot beaten out of you, you run crying to big brother to save the day...
Thanks to heavy scrutiny in the wake of the credit crisis, banks and other financial institutions have been forced to clean up their act in line with political and public demand. Conditions are clement for even tighter regulations to be put in place so that companies such as Vedanta are less inclined to dispense with basic morality in their day-to-day activity.
Yeah, good luck with that one, Seth.

When you've finished your little tantrum, the world will still be spinning on its axis, and people will still not be taking any notice of you....

Meet The New Boss….

…trying desperately to hide the fact that he’s exactly the same as the old boss:
A confidential blueprint for David Cameron's controversial bid to impose more women, gays and ethnic candidates on reluctant party activists has come to light.

The explosive six-page document proposes the use of subterfuge to end the white, male and middle-class image of the Conservative Party.
If that's a desirable option, why the need for subterfuge?

Iain Dale thinks that it is a desirable option, as the Conservative Associations in six constituencies have just picked 'diverse' candidates, each spurning the option of the white man. This, apparently, proves that CAs are progressive, changed parties, and the old guard Tories are wrong.

Well, we'll see.
And the language in the document will further exacerbate tensions between the Tory high command and its army of hard working volunteers.

The document suggests using 'stealth' and stresses the importance of keeping 'quiet' over the plans to ensure more women, ethnic and gay candidates. 'Like a conjuror, we'll get more applause if the audience cannot see exactly how the trick is performed,' the document says.
The problem being that we pay to see a conjuror because we expect to be tricked. It's part of the act. We aren't supposed to be tricked by people we elect to positions of power (though god knows why we haven't realised that it seems to happen a lot).

Still, maybe this charge is led by a frighteningly diverse bunch of...

It was written by Tory schools spokesman Michael Gove, an influential member of Mr Cameron's inner circle, and Dean Godson, a director of favoured think-tank Policy Exchange.

Mr Gove is a close friend of Joanne Cash, 40, the poster girl for the Tories' so-called A-list of candidates designed to fast-track women, ethnic candidates and gays into winnable seats.
Now the row over selection has moved to the Warwickshire constituency of Stratford-upon-Avon.

A huge turnout from the 900-strong association is expected this evening to select a candidate.

But the list imposed by Tory Central Office means they have a choice of four women (none of whom has ever fought a Parliamentary seat), one of ethnic origin and only one local (white) man.

Sir William Lawrence, who has served 28 years as a councillor in the town, said: 'Just think of the quality of the MPs who have been chosen by the constituency association in the past. But, today, we are not trusted to make that choice.'
The Tories need to be careful. A similar situation for councillors in Barking & Dagenham last year has caused great upset, and raised the possibility that embittered former Labour members will stand as independents.
Mr Cameron is unrepentant and his decision to seize power from local associations, say his friends, is the culmination of the secret plan on how to neuter the party faithful in the country.
These members of the Tory grassroots, cruelly nicknamed dinosaurs, are seen by modernisers as impediments to a progressive party.
The Prime Minister will launch a weekend of events with a speech today accusing the Tories of harbouring a 'hatred of government that will hurt the recovery'.

He will claim the Tories would peddle a 'narrow nationalism' that will leave Britain 'isolated'.

But Tory chairman Eric Pickles said: 'The choice at the election will be clear: Five more years of Gordon Brown or change with the Conservatives.'
Really, Eric?

What ‘change’ is that, then..?

And just why should I believe you when you tell me your party is the one to vote for? Because it seems to me that it plans to pick up just where the Labour Party left off...

Danger! Danger, Will Robinson!

Hmm, it's been a while since we had a scare about something that required the intervention of the government, isn't it?
A wide-ranging investigation has been launched into the safety of pushchairs following reports of children losing parts of their finger in dangerous hinge mechanisms.
Oh, great...
A new consumer taskforce is acting following problems with Maclaren buggies which have sold by the millions in Britain and throughout the world.

The team, which is part of the Consumer Focus body, believes the problems could be far more widespread.
Well, of course it does! Just think of the extra work to be generated.

Oh, and yes, in case you were wondering, Consumer Focus, despite the friendly-sounding name, is just another quango

Friday 19 February 2010

I Think I'm In Love...

...with Boris, who as noted by Longrider, is causing Hugh Muir to have palpitations:
...Black History Month, for all its good intentions, isn't an obvious commercial vehicle. The Johnsonian view is that these things must pay their way.
And lo, a great clamouring went up in the land, as thousands of racemongers and diversity outreach consultants saw their hard won positions at the trough being stripped away...
Livingstone took the traditional view that one of the best ways to foster community relations in the capital, a legal requirement under the Greater London Authority Act, was to use public money to assist groups seen as disadvantaged. The Johnsonian approach again is different. There is no element of crusading or social engineering. He is into diversity; but that isn't the same thing as equality. It isn't his job to make the playing field level, especially if it means throwing money at groups and initiatives favoured by the left.
Hurrah! At last, sanity...
Some will read this and say, quite right Boris, this is life as it should be. Value for money at last and an end to special pleading.
Who would say otherwise? Except, of course, for those making a tidy living from it...
Others will be critical, that this is simplistic Johnsonian Toryism, where...everyone is equal...
Oh, horrors! Equality? Who wants that? There's no money in it...
Either way, there are dividing lines here that will allow voters to make a coherent choice should the mayor seek a second term in 2012.

Boris's way or another way? Depends whether you like his sort of change.
Check out the comments, Hugh. Looks like the answer's a resounding 'Yes!'

Can I add to that, 'Yes! Yes! Oh, yeesss!'

The What..?

Prosecutor Jane Mitford said: "Police executed a search warrant at the defendant's home and found the gun among toys on top of a wardrobe.

"It was a 9mm weapon with its breach closed.

"Seven live rounds were loaded in the magazine, which itself was loaded into the gun's handle."
Its handle..?

I'm pretty sure that isn't the correct spelling of 'breech' either, but I'm putting that down to lousy journalism...

Turkeys Vote To Conceal Evidence Of Christmas…

Not much to add to this story that Anna Raccoon hasn't already said:
The Government had ordered local authorities to disclose the earnings of all executives after concerns were raised about the size of pay increases granted to council officers.
Two things did strike me, though.
Last year it was disclosed that Andrea Hill, the chief executive of Suffolk county council, was paid £218,000 a year while John Foster, the chief executive of Islington council was paid £210,000.
And they are still unmolested? Their children unaffected?

If so, no excuse for the rest of you.

And then there was this:
Caroline Spelman, the Tory spokesman on local government, said: “Residents have a right to know how their council tax is being spent.”
Hey, if that’s what you really believe, Caroline, how about bringing your own council executives to heel, then?
Wandsworth borough council, a flagship Tory local authority, warned that “families could be at risk of abuse and children of bullying due to press misrepresentation of data” .
Get cracking, Caroline. Otherwise, people might conclude you were just another useless politician prepared to say anything, mightn't they?

”Don’t you know that it’s different for girls?”

We all remember Alan Digby the ‘Beano’ editor, who gave that pompous brush-off to eight year old Jacob Rush, who had the temerity to question Dennis the Menace’s politically correct makeover:
'I would not say Dennis has been watered down, he has evolved as the character has done throughout his lifetime. He still has his catapult and peashooter, but does not use them against people any more.'
Imagine my surprise, then, on opening this morning's 'Metro'. It seems that his fellow Beano character does so quite happily, as long as it’s for charidee:

Hmm. I guess Minnie just hasn’t ‘evolved’ sufficiently, right Alan?

Or perhaps there are people in this world who will do anything - even compromise their stated principles - in order to be seen to be sucking up to the right people, eh?

Thursday 18 February 2010

Here We Go Again…

The ‘Open Borders’ advocates never give up, do they?
Children held at an immigration detention centre face "extremely distressing" arrest and transportation procedures, and are subjected to prolonged and sometimes repeated periods of detention, according to a damning report by the Children's Commissioner.
Well, yes. But that is the fault of their parents, not the government.
In a report that prompted an angry response from the UK Border Agency (UKBA), Sir Al Aynsley-Green highlighted concerns over "significant areas" of healthcare for the 1,000 children held in the Yarl's Wood centre every year.

They include a failure to assess "even at an elementary level" the general psychological wellbeing of a child on arrival and a failure to recognise psychological harm when faced with dramatic changes in a child's behaviour.
Because they won't have other causes, will they? And they will be 100% genuine, won't they?
Aynsley-Green concluded that the poor care and unacceptable delays in the case of a three-year-old child with a fractured arm was symptomatic of a failure to provide a standard of NHS care that any British citizen could expect.

The child had been examined by a nurse hours after a fall, but was not seen by a doctor until 15 hours later and, five hours after that, was taken to hospital.
Ummm, sorry, Sir Al, but a quick trip through the archives of any national or local newspaper would provide you with many, many examples of this sort of thing happening to British citizens…
He concluded that further work had to be done to make arrest and transportation "less distressing for and harmful to children"
Such as..?

Clown cars? UKBA Officers to dress as Disney characters?
Welcoming the report, Dr Rosalyn Proops, officer for child protection at the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, said: "These children are among the most vulnerable in our communities and detention causes unnecessary harm to their physical and mental health. The current situation is unacceptable and we urge the government to stop the detention of children without delay."
Well, of course you do.

Why not simply come right out and admit that you believe a child should be a 'get out of immigration controls free' ticket?