Wednesday 31 March 2010

MP In Petulant Strop Shock!

And who would ever believe that it would be none other than Andrew Pelling, last seen whining about ridiculous security measures despite his own voting record, and enthusiastically endorsing robbing Peter to pay Paul as a way out of Croydon's budget black hole.

Now, he's decided to split the vote by standing as an Independent and potentially let in the Labour candidate as a result.

Why? Well, according to him:
He has spoken previously of his feeling of betrayal when he was ousted and never taken back in by the party he served for more than 20 years.
It's not like they had much choice, though:
Mr Pelling was outcast from the Conservative party after the whip was withdrawn following allegations he assaulted his wife in September 2007.
Whoops! Despite the charges being dropped, they never forgave him, it seems. And forgiveness is therefore in short supply all round.
“My attitude towards the Conservatives is entirely positive. People may get upset or concerned about what I am doing but I am standing because I want to win.

It’s about public service, not self-service.”
Of course it is, dear boy. Of course it is...

"They say a bull learns more in twenty minutes, more than in a lifetime does a man..."

"It is inadmissible (sic) to release a film in which the hero is a matador," said the Alliance Anticorrida, a French anti-bullfighting group, in a message to its 20,000 members. "If they are properly informed, a great number of spectators will avoid this new film."
Oh, I think it'll probably do a lot better business at the box office than some films. No bull!

Scoundrels Defend Scoundrel

Professor Phil Jones, the climate scientist at the centre of the scandal over the leak of sensitive emails from a university computer, has been largely exonerated by a powerful cross-party committee of MPs who said his scientific reputation remains intact.
Whew! It's lucky for Prof Jones that the politicians' reputations are unimpeachable, then.

Oh. Hang on...

Update: For a longer review of this unprecedented government decision, check out MummyLongLegs.

How Many Council Workmen Does It Take..? remove a dumped mattress?

No, it's not a GCSE maths question:
Householders in Little Lever, near Bolton, Greater Manchester, had assumed that the mattress would be promptly removed by one or two workers after it was reported to the local authority.

But they had failed to take into account the health and safety requirements of Bolton Metropolitan Council.
Oh, this'll be good!
An official was duly dispatched to the scene to carry out a risk assessment.
He decided that the only safe way to shift the mattress was to scoop it up in a 1.7 ton JCB digger – an operation that would require the services of a driver, a banksman to guide him, and two officials to make sure it was done properly.
Well, why not? It's only money, right?

Sadly for the council employees, the actual owners of that money thought they could resolve this themselves:
The council said it could be a week before the item was removed but a local councillor and a cafe owner then joined forces to drag it onto the roadside and on Monday the mattress was taken off to a nearby tip in the back of a council van.
Driven by a council workman whose strength is as the strength of ten because his heart is pure? Or who simply isn't aware of the need for a full team to remove one mattress?
Bolton Council confirmed that the on-site assessment had been carried out by a trainee with the council’s “performance and improvement team”.
Ah. I see. A trainee.

Well, that makes sense. If he'd been a fully qualified council worker, he'd have concluded that at least four officials would have been needed to make sure it was done properly, not two...

'Telegraph' Staff Still Clueless...


Seals have pups. Whales and dolphins have calves...

Hyperbole Alert...

Mr Kemp then got back on and, in scenes reminiscent of the 1990s thriller Speed, kept the bus moving normally while waiting for help to arrive.
I really rather doubt that...

The Clue Is In The Name...

The scale of the benefits problem was brought home by a chance exchange with a Polish graduate in London. She had made the shortlist for our intern job from a flood of applicants, UK and overseas, but rang to withdraw. "I couldn't take the job," she explained. "I'd lose both my benefits: jobseeker's and housing."

Tuesday 30 March 2010

Avoiding The Difficult Questions...

So, as noted by Dumb Jon, as the BBC and the left join forces in preparing the ground for soft punishments for those involved in the Massacre of Victoria, other pundits are desperately searching for answers to why this happened at all.

No, not the real answers - that would be crazy, right? They are looking for 'answers' that deflect, that obfuscate, that point people away from drawing inconvenient conclusions.

Mary Dejevsky in the 'Indy' thinks she's found one: it's Tube stations that caused it!

No, really:
Sofyen Belamouadden, it is reported, had been hunted down, then knifed to death – not in the crime-ridden slums of South-East Washington or any benighted banlieue of Paris – but in the ticket hall (District and Circle lines) of Victoria Underground station in central London.

Almost as shocking as what happened, though, is that anyone who passes regularly through this ticket hall, as I do, would not have been entirely surprised.
Why so?
This focal point of the capital's transport system may be overdue for a makeover, but it also seethes with barely suppressed lawlessness. Nor, in this, is it unique. If you have the time to notice, many other London stations, away from the glitzy shops and actual trains, have a similar, slightly menacing air.
Umm, no. Actually, they don't.

Oh, they might be dirty, crowded, noisy, and with the odd beggar or tramp, a little bit annoying, but on those occasions when they are not home to a pack of savages intent on hunting down their human prey, they are perfectly safe to use.
City stations attract all sorts: not just travellers, but people who prey on them. Indeed, stations offer a whole chain of predation. Regular passengers, though, know to keep their eyes and ears about them; they treat stations with the wariness they deserve.
Wariness about having your pocket picked or your shoes vomited on, yes. But wary about the constant threat of gang warfare? I don't really think so. That's hardly an every day occurrence, and nor is it a phenomenon caused by those stations...
The savage children in William Golding's novel are restrained with the reappearance of (a few) responsible adults. Where those responsible adults were as youths routinely ran amok in the weeks before the Victoria station murder is a question that needs to be asked just as urgently as who killed Sofyen Belamouadden – and the two are surely not unrelated.
There's something else that's not unrelated, Mary.

But let's not go there, eh? I mean, if you did, someone might point out you once pooh-poohed such fears, mightn't they?

They might also point out how you routinely make excuses for the worst crimes, and how such attitudes have lead to the situation where no-one is ever punished for their actions.

Not All The Dumb Creatures Are Behind Bars...

...quite a few of them inhabit Sevenoaks Council offices:
Eagle Heights owner Alan Ames has been told he needs to upgrade his wildlife park’s perimeter fence because he has potentially dangerous animals on site such as cheetahs and a camel.
Fair enough. What's the problem, cost?

Well, no:
Sevenoaks District Council met with Mr Ames on Thursday (Mar 25) following a routine Defra inspection which concluded his current fence needs upgrading before his zoo licence expires in two years time.

But the council has told Mr Ames he is unlikely to get planning permission to put up the type of fence required, as the zoo falls on green belt land in Eynsford.
/facepalm Even Yossarian would be hard put to believe that one.

Still, never let it be said that the council can't come up with a solution:
However it says he would not need a fence if the animals were no longer on the site and the park reverted to its original use as a bird of prey centre.
Aha! I think I see the reason for this intransigence. Some animal rights anti-zoo nuts on the council, perchance? Ones who are not keen on animals in captivity?

Ones who are only too happy to let this bureacratic foul-up remove the problem?
Mr Ames, who visits around 100 schools each year lecturing on his work, says he has no idea where the animals would go if the park lost its licence.

He said: "This is incredulous, it's come out of the blue.

The will to carry on is slowly being beaten out of me.

“I’ve spent the last 14 years trying to do something useful and educate people and now I don’t know what to do.”

He added: “I’m an expert in my field and I’m treated like a cretin.”
I think anyone reading this is going to see who the cretins really are, don't worry about that, Mr Ames...
A council spokesman said: “The council is keen to see this valuable tourist attraction continue in the district and will work closely with the owners to try and secure the centre's ongoing viability within the limits of the legislation applicable to zoos.

"If Eagle Heights failed to comply with conditions specified within its Zoo Licensing Act, then ultimately the council has the power to direct that Eagle Heights or parts of it be closed to the public, but it is hoped that the council and the owners of Eagle Heights will continue to work together to ensure Eagle Heights complies fully with the licence conditions."
Allow me to translate that: blah, blah, blah...

Local councils: gradually strangling all businesses they don't have full control over.

Towering Inferno: The Sequel

Nice to see that councils aren't letting the recession stop them from carrying out vital tasks.

Like making the lives of pensioners in sheltered accommodation just that little bit more miserable:
Residents at Rookery Court, in West Thurrock, are furious after receiving a letter from the authority saying all personal belongings in their verandas must go, even the carpets and ornaments on windowsills, because it presents a fire hazard.
Since when? Well, since the Lakanal House fire in London put the wind up all councils and launched a flurry of too little, too late arse covering.

And the fact that this isn't a tower block makes no difference.
Resident Peter Goldsmith, 63, said it has upset everyone there.

He added: “This is smacking us in the face. We feel like we are being treated like schoolchildren or geriatrics, which we are not.

“We all know this is about the fire in a London tower block which killed six people, but our verandas are not communal areas.

“The council built the verandas 12 years ago so we could sit on them and enjoy them. Now they will be unusable because we can’t have a chair and table, carpet, or even a picture frame on the wall.”
That was then, this is now. Now, removing the possibility of being sued is far more important than your rights to sit out and enjoy your sunset years.

Oh, and if we have that barbecue summer? Don't think you'll be regulating your own temperature, either!
To add to the residents’ frustration they have also been told by the council they must keep their front and back doors shut at all times to prevent fire spreading, even in summer.
Well, at least that'll keep out burglars, or those pretending to be burglars!
Labour ward councillor Andy Smith said the letter is crazy and thinks the residents should just ignore it.
Election coming up, Andy, by any chance?
Thurrock Council spokesman Andy Lever said: “We can understand the benefits that arise from items such as plants and ornaments being situated in communal landings and spaces, which help to create a sense of home.

“However, we have a statutory duty to make sure all of our tenants can escape if a fire should break out.

“We must, therefore, ensure all possible escape routes are kept clear and hazard-free.
Except for the doors - those, you must keep shut.

You truly couldn't make it up...

Post Of The Month

This month, Mr Eugenides posts on the news that Ruby Wax had been hired to advise Home Office staff.

A masterpiece...

Quote Of The Month

From Leg-Iron, on the nostalgia of Tory sleaze:
"I think the point is, if there is one, that when Major's government did sleaze, a lot of it was funny. Grey Major was bonking the woman who modelled for Concorde while Mellor probably paid a woman to tell the papers she'd slept with him because he couldn't possibly pay her enough to really do it. There just wasn't that much money in the world at that time. Quantitative Sleazing hadn't been invented."

Oh, I'm Going To Hell...

Famed global warming activist James Schneider and a journalist friend were both found frozen to death on Saturday, about 90 miles from South Pole Station, by the pilot of a ski plane practicing emergency evacuation procedures.

"I couldn't believe what I was seeing", recounted the pilot, Jimmy Dolittle. "There were two snowmobiles with cargo sleds, a tent, and a bright orange rope that had been laid out on the ice, forming the words, 'HELP-COLD'."
*stifled manic laughter*
One friend of Prof. Schneider told ecoEnquirer that he had been planning a trip to an ice sheet to film the devastation brought on by global warming. His wife, Linda, said that she had heard him discussing the trip with his environmental activist friends, but she assumed that he was talking about the Greenland ice sheet, a much smaller ice sheet than Antarctica.

"He kept talking about when they 'get down to chili', and I thought they were talking about the order in which they would consume their food supplies", Mrs. Schneider recounted. "I had no idea they were talking about Chile, the country from which you usually fly or sail in order to reach Antarctica."
No more! Please! Sides....hurting...!!
Mr. Dolittle related how some people do not realize that, even if there has been warming in Antarctica, the average temperature at the South Pole in July still runs about 70 degrees F below zero. "Some people think that July is warm everywhere on Earth."

Update: Sadly, PJH in the comments points out that this is a 'Daily Mash' type spoof site. Some things are just too good to be true...

It's A Bit Late Now, Love...

A Southend councillor is hoping to help Britain's bees by calling on the council to create insect-friendly wild flower areas in the town.
Oh, well, that's a jolly good idea. For once, a councillor is actually doing something sensi...

Waite, what?
Anna Waite, Conservative councillor for St Luke's ward, and executive councillor for transport and planning, is hoping to turn roadside verges in less populated areas of Southend into floral havens.
Anna Waite? This Anna Waite?

The one who has been tearing up every tree and green area in Southend for her 'regeneration' project?
She said: "The loss of bees will have disastrous effects on pollination and food production – but if we can play our small part to help in Southend via some unused areas of land, then that would be excellent."
Now, that's chutzpah!

Monday 29 March 2010

"Acutely conscious of the potential for tensions..."

As we are talking, Kathy Hornig, an animal welfare officer, is on a secret mission further downstream at a place called Black Bridge.

Here, another immigrant camp has been built amid high bushes near the river, and the occupants have been seen repeatedly taking swans from the water.

With the camp residents scattering as she approaches with other animal welfare officers, her mission is a success: she discovers the carcass of a mature, adult swan inside a plastic bag hanging from a tree branch by the camp.

Acutely conscious of the potential for tensions between locals and immigrants over the slaughter of British wildlife, the investigators removed the carcass of the dead swan for further tests to determine how it died.

'We've been aware of this [killing swans] going on for some time,' Ms Hornig said. 'The people trying to catch swans are causing them extreme distress. But I cannot say with 100 per cent proof that the swan was killed for food, nor will I speculate about why it was here. I do not want to make any further comment.'

The authorities aren't usually so reticent when they suspect people of heinous animal-related crime.

Forget Guantanamo Bay And Extraordinary Rendition...

...let's send suspected jihadis to an NHS hospital instead:
A patient desperate for a drink of water had to telephone the switchboard of the hospital he was being treated in to beg to see a doctor.

Derek Sauter, 60, used his mobile phone to request medical attention after his pleas for help were ignored.

But when the doctor arrived he was turned away by ward nurse Caroline Lowe, who said Mr Sauter was 'over-reacting' and threatened to confiscate his phone.
Just lovely...
Eight hours later the grandfather-of-three, who was suffering with a chest infection, was dead.

Rather than offering sympathy to Susan, Mr Sauter's wife of 41 years, Miss Lowe later told her that he could have been prosecuted for harassing the doctor on call.
Having had recent experience of what passes for 'care' for the elderly in NHS hospitals, I can't say I'm too surprised at this.
Some time between 9.30pm and 11.30pm Mr Sauter was moved to a side room where there was no monitoring equipment and, although he was supposed to be checked every four hours, no observations on his condition were made.
Not surprising. What is surprising is that the hospital couldn't quite manage to close ranks and fudge the report this time:
An investigation by the hospital revealed Mr Sauter's oxygen levels, which should have been routinely monitored, were not checked for 11 hours and had dropped 35 per cent below the recommended level.

The report concluded that were it not for the failings of Miss Lowe Mr Sauter would have survived.

She has since been sacked by the hospital, but has not been suspended by the Nursing and Midwifery Council, who are investigating.
Why is she not being investigated by the police?

Needless to say, this one has studied the way social workers deal with this sort of work-related setback:
Miss Lowe, who lives in Essex, said: 'I am so sorry about what has gone on, but there are key facts the family haven't picked up on.

'He didn't press the buzzer. We got him water, but then he spilled it, so we got him another glass. We got him a jug and everything.

'I have been through such trauma with this. I am still traumatised by it.'
Yes, dearie, that's right. You're the real victim here. How could anyone think otherwise?

Youth Justice System In (In)Action

A teenager has admitted committing a violent robbery in Kingston last week, just three days after saying sorry for a gang robbery in New Malden.
Oh, bad timing!
The 15-year-old from Croydon, who cannot be named for legal reasons, pleaded guilty at Kingston Youth Court on March 24 to stealing a mobile phone and cash from a 13-year-old victim in Steadfast Road on Saturday, March 20.

Just five hours later he struck again, just 200 yards away, on Kingston Bridge, this time kicking a 15-year-old in the head and yelling “What have you got for me?”

The two incidents happened less than a week after the 15-year-old pleaded guilty to his part in a robbery outside New Malden station, where he and a gang of up to 15 youths stole a mobile phone and wallet from a 19-year-old man.
Oh, wow! The justice system is really keeping everyone safe in the borough of Kingston and surrounding areas, isn't it?

What sort of unnamed, unknown 'youth' are we talking about here?
It was claimed the incidents were linked because on each occasion the defendant wore a red bandana, suggesting the attacks may have been part of the boy’s initiation into a street gang.
Aha! Just a few steps down the crime ladder from these types of 'youths', then...

Naturally, he's been well briefed in how to curry favour with the court:
The 15-year-old said: “I feel really guilty for the boy and his parents because I tried to rob them.”
Mmmm, convincing, eh?
Kingston magistrate Rabbi Danni Rich said: “You said the same thing last time, didn’t you?”
Hurrah! At last, a magistrate with some sen...

“If you carry on like this, you will go to prison.”
If he carries on...?

Rabbi, he's already carried on! And he shows no signs of stopping, either! Oy, vey...
The teenager will be sentenced at Croydon Youth Court on April 14, before which he is banned from going to anywhere within the borough of Kingston.
So, people in Kingston are safe. Assuming he, you know, obeys the law. What are the odds?

Just What Does It Take To Be Banned For Life?

A teenager who strangled a dog to death using a canvas belt after the owner refused to hand over a £150 ransom has been jailed.
This one's a real charmer:
Officers from Barnet police traced Walker to his home address but when they tried to arrest him, he “resisted violently”, a statement said.
Good. I hope they were all animal lovers, and didn't hold back...
Walker was jailed for three years for blackmail and given three months for cruelty to Lily. He will serve an additional two months for resisting arrest and has been banned from keeping a dog for five years.

What, exactly, would you have to do to get a life ban?

And Barnet Police have obviously sent their cops to progressive PR lessons before allowing them to give statements:
Detective Constable Mark Bennett, from Barnet police, was in court with Lily’s owner when the sentence was passed.

He said: “This was a cruel and deplorable crime, the sentence reflects this.

“It is to the victim’s credit that, although he was satisfied with the sentence, he was sorry to see a young person wasting their life.”

I'm not. I'm hoping the next time we see Jerome Walker's name in the news, it's as the fatality in a very strange, painful, lingering jail 'suicide'...

The 'Daily Mail' Song...

All too perfect:

H/T: Subrosa

"To lose one drugs adviser may be regarded as a misfortune... "

"...To lose both looks like carelessness."
Another senior government drugs adviser has quit, hours before ministers were expected to ban a new "legal high".
Nice going, Postman Pat!
The council will make its decision whether the drug should be banned on Monday morning, and Mr Johnson was expected to announce a ban later in the day.

However, the council's meeting will be overshadowed by the resignation of Dr Taylor - the ACMD's veterinary medicine expert whose post is required by law to be filled on the committee.

She said she "did not have trust" in the way the government would treat the council's advice.
Who could blame her?

Sunday 28 March 2010

Another Attack On Free Speech

So, just as the social workers start getting the wind up about this free speech on the Internet issue, here comes yet another government drone to open his yap about it:
… police have taken the unusual step of making a statement regarding online rumours about the case that began immediately after the body was found.

Mr Fry said he was ‘very concerned’ about comments made on websites including Twitter following the discovery.

He said speculation was ‘inaccurate’ and ‘distressing’.
So what? So’s gossip. Can’t stop it.
'I am very concerned that the speculation regarding this incident, particularly on social media sites and in the local area, could cause distress to members of the public,’ said Mr Fry.

‘I would like to stress that most of the comments I have seen or heard are inaccurate and should be treated with caution.’
The only way it’ll cause ‘distress’ to members of the public is if they go on line and actively look for it.

Get the impression there's a concerted effort in all branches of government to paint the Internet as the root of all evil?

Save Us! Save Us From The Online Mob!

The hounding of social workers by the press for being "baby-snatchers" if they take children into care is a predictable story. But now such persecution has taken a new twist with online campaigns by families protesting about child protection intervention.
'Hounding'..? ‘Persecution’..?

They really don’t want to be held accountable for anything, do they? How dare anyone question their authoriteh!
A proliferation of blogs and pages on social networking sites have sprung up.
Oh noes! The grubby unwashed can have their say!this is unprecedented!
In some cases, the blogs make for uncomfortable reading. Social workers and managers are named and vilified, accusations are hurled at councils, and court injunctions banning the identification of the families and children are flouted.
Hey, if you’ve got nothing to hide, right..? Or does that only work for other people?
According to Hilton Dawson, chief executive of the British Association of Social Workers, websites devoted to attacking social workers are a growing problem.
Yes, it was so much easier for minions of the state to do their dirty work in secret, wasn’t it? When the only hope they had of getting their side of the story told was to convince a reporter or BBC tv crew that there was a human-interest story in it...
"They illustrate the difficulties of the social workers who are damned when they do and damned when they don't," he says. "We get many complaints from people who feel very threatened by the publication of sometimes vitriolic criticism of them, and really very unpleasant personal abuse."
Oh, it’s the ‘damned if we do, damned if we don’t’ whine again, nicely summed up by DumbJon:
See? They're fair-minded: they don't just ignore the guilty, they also persecute the innocent.
And they seem to know there’s no closing this particular floodgate:
Managers are almost powerless to stop what Simon White, director of children's services in Suffolk, describes as "floods of information about the council that is completely false and misleading".
What's your problem, Simon? The competition with the bilge that your council's PR department pumps out?
Some of the blogs are hosted in the US, where the constitution's first amendment, guaranteeing the right to free speech, makes them all but untouchable.
Ah, if only people could be forced to register them in this country, where we don't go in for that free speech stuff, eh?
White's concerns about the content range from the impact on the targeted social workers and the reputation of the council to the effect the content of the sites may have on the cases and the families involved. "There's quite a lot of abusive and personal stuff aimed at named individuals," he says. "Some is clearly defamatory, and obviously we have duties to those staff. And when you get into the wilder edges of it, you are sometimes worried about their personal safety."
Oh, of course.

They've figured out that whining about people being mean to them might not garner the sympathy they feel they deserve, so how about inventing a spurious threat of violence - even though there's no evidence that any social worker has had to face anything more threatening than harsh language...
White also fears that an online campaign might be contagious. "If it started to become commonplace that whenever we did a pre-birth conference, families would consider leaving the country, it would force a change in practice," he says.
You mean you'd stop whisking away the babies of young mothers who'd done nothing to...

Oh, right. Of course that's not what you mean:
"We'd have to be much less open with families."
Wow, that's a convincing argument, there. Along the lines of 'Shut up, or your civil rights get it!'
One Suffolk employee who has been named on a blog says the experience is not just personally upsetting but has a knock-on effect on other cases. "Other families are aware of what's being said and they will bring it up, and that's difficult, especially when people may be making sensitive decisions," the employee says.
You mean other families might become aware that any promises or assurances you may give them might be worthless?

So what? We hear all the time how people need to be made aware of dangers, don't we? Dangers from terrorism, dangers from conmen, dangers from sexual predators. All warning of the possibility of misrepresentation and false promises.

Suddenly, that includes the authorities themselves, and you don't like it one little bit, do you?

But you know also that you can't put the genie back in the bottle (yet - though if Labour get a fourth term...), so what's that leave?

Spin, of course:
White does not think there is much that can be done about the way information spreads, but he would like action beyond the individual local authority when allegations about conspiracies or financial inducements are made. "The profession, or the government, needs to respond," he says. "They need to defend the arrangements and processes, and put right mistakes and misapprehensions."
They already do their best at this, but that pesky Freedom of Information Act keeps turning around and biting them where it hurts...
The BASW works constantly to address the myths about social work, Dawson says. He has recently written to every local authority in the country offering to help them communicate to communities and the local media what social workers do.
Hint: people know what they do. They know what they don't do too. They don't like either.

Publicity isn't going to help you here...

The Value Of School Inspections...

The number of independent schools judged to have breeched minimum standards set by the Government has trebled, new figures have revealed.
Oooh! Sounds bad.

Well, until you read what those standards actually were:
  • Volunteers have not been CRB checked, even thought this is not a requirement for state schools.
  • The school has carried out all necessary CRB checks but the information has been stored separately rather than on "a single central record".
  • There was low water pressure in a shower in one boarding house.
  • Parents were not made aware that they can request sight of a copy of the school's plan to meet the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act 2002.
And this one has to be my personal favourite:
  • Children have "not been taught how to play appropriately" because at break and lunchtimes they "often run around the small area shouting and letting off steam".
It's like something out of 'Monty Python'...

Sunday Funnies

In the past, everything was bigger. Everything!

Saturday 27 March 2010

This Blog Will Be Supporting 'Human Achievement Hour' Tonight

Details here.

I'll Save You The Trouble, Shall I?

It's because you are a pack of bumbling incompetents who couldn't find your own anuses with both hands and a torch:
The UK Border Agency is to launch an inquiry into how Benmakhlouf, who has 12 aliases, was able to make a mockery of Britain's border controls yet again.
Can anyone honestly claim to be surprised by this? Anyone? Bueller?
The 28-year-old, was first thrown out in July 2007 when, while serving a three-and-a-half year prison sentence for theft, he was given £3,000 by the Government to be released early and fly home to his native Algeria.
That went well, eh..?
But 24 hours later he returned to London on Eurostar to continue his extraordinary crime wave.

Benmakhlouf was re-arrested in April 2008 and jailed for three years the following month after admitting two thefts and asking for five similar offences to be taken into consideration.

But he was released last March after serving just a third of his sentence and flown home again at taxpayers' expense.
Ah. The good old taxpayer. The ones he was robbing personally, rather than getting the government to do it for him...
A UK Border Agency spokesperson said: 'We will look to remove this individual as soon as the judicial process is concluded. Those who come to the UK and break the rules will not be tolerated.'
They won't be kept out, either, it seems.

Shall we reserve him a seat now, for his next trip?

Oh, Not These Cretins Again!

A campaign group has won its battle to persuade a major supermarket to remove "sexist" children's clothing from its 500 stores.
Now, who do you think is doing this?

Oh, you guessed right – it’s our old friends, the Pinkstinks mob again.

What are they complaining about? Bunny costumes for five-year-olds?
The Lewisham-based organisation Pinkstinks complained to Sainsbury's three weeks ago about a range of children's clothing which included a doctor's coat with the word 'boy' written on it.

Other items included a pilot, superhero and soldier outfit labelled 'boy' and a 1940s nurse outfit labelled 'girl'.
That’s it?

People have time on their hands to whine about this?
Pinkstinks co-founder Abi Moore said: “We asked what sort of sexist message this was sending to girls about what they are fit for and what their aspirations might be."
Let’s hope their aspirations are to be more than a whining victim, forever complaining when things don’t go 100% their way, eh? Like you.
She added: "One of our most popular role models is Flight Lieutenant Kirsty Moore, the RAF's first female Red Arrows pilot.

"This is an amazing achievement and yet Sainsbury’s pilots’ outfits were also labelled ‘boy’, as were the army outfits - even though women have been fighting alongside men at the front line for years.

We simply drew to Sainsbury’s attention the fact it would be a hugely confident and independent little girl who would dare risk the ridicule of her friends by asking for a costume in-store clearly ‘meant’ for boys."
Well done! I bet you feel proud of yourselves, striking such a blow for womanhood!

Why, there’s Kirsty Moore, out there at mach 2, doing an incredibly skilled and dangerous job and then there’s you (and your equally-irritating harridan friend), writing letters to supermarkets whining about labels.

Truly, I don’t know who is the better role model for womankind…
This week Sainsbury's agreed to remove this range of clothing and announced it will use "non-gender specific" labels on its new children's costume range on sale in July.

A spokesman for the company said: "We made the change as we feel it isn't acceptable to suggest that certain professions are the reserve of any gender."
Oh, well done. Now, you are on the hook for every barmy idea this ditzy bitch gets into her head.

Don’t expect any sympathy when she starts writing to you demanding that all your wrapping paper and birthday cards be devoid of kittens and fairies and kiddies birthday cakes come in a unisex shade of grey icing.

You opened the door…

They Seek Her Here, They Seek Her There...

New Cross ward councillor Madeliene Long is a member of Lewisham Council’s safer stronger communities select committee, which scrutinises the council's crime reduction policies to make boroughs safer.

But since joining the committee in April last year, the Labour councillor has not attended any of its seven meetings.
Attend a meeting in New Cross? Are you mad?

Don't you know it's not safe for a woman to walk the streets!

When Guardian Journalists Attack…

the result is pretty ‘Meh..’:
A journalist tried to arrest Tony Blair for 'crimes against peace' as the former prime minister arrived to give a speech at the European Parliament in Brussels.

Mr Blair flinched as his accuser, left-wing writer David Cronin, wearing a press pass and carrying a notepad, put a hand on his wrist and told him: 'This is a citizen's arrest.'

The former leader is then said to have given would-be detainer a 'bewildered and contemptuous' stare before bodyguards pounced.
And what sort of man is Guardian journalist David Cronin?
He studied history and development studies at University College Dublin, followed by journalism at Dublin City University.

After writing for a variety of Irish publications, he moved to Brussels in 1995, initially working as a press officer and research assistant in the European Parliament for a Green Party MEP.

He was appointed the European Correspondent for The Sunday Tribune, a leading Irish newspaper, in 1998. He then worked from 2001 till 2006 as Political Correspondent for European Voice, a weekly newspaper owned by The Economist.
I think George Monbiot’s money is quite safe…


Proof That We're Getting Dumber As A Nation...

/doublefacepalm But then, that no doubt suits a lot of people. It means fewer and fewer to stand up and object to their plans...

Friday 26 March 2010

"It's gotta be the uniform."

As seen over at Angry Exile’s blog
Officers will be allowed to intercept any suspicious mail anywhere in the country and open it before it is delivered, under plans being drawn up by the Government to amend the Postal Services Act.
Can't they do that already? Well, yes. But with certain restrictions:
The measure is billed as a bid to crack down on tobacco smuggling. However, a HM Revenue and Customs spokesman said the powers could be applied much more widely.
Oh, I’ll just bet they did…
Currently, Royal Mail staff have a legal right to intercept suspicious letters and parcels in mail centres and sorting offices and pass them to HM Revenue and Customs.

Tax inspectors must then notify the addressee and agree a mutually acceptable time to open the letter or parcel, before deciding whether to take any enforcement action.

However the Government is now proposing to remove the legal requirement which will now allow inspectors to open suspicious post without asking permission first.
But only for that wicked tobacco smuggling, we promise!

Yeah, right....

I'm with AE here; these people have form:
"I'm confident that they won't abuse the privilege for, oooooh, it'd have to be minutes at the very least."
That's more generous than I'd have been!

Nothing Odd About This…

Police and the Crown had "a hostile mind" towards Merseyside drugs baron Curtis Warren, an appeal judge in Jersey has heard.
Good. That’s what we pay them for.

A bit pointless to keep a guard dog that never barks at intruders...

Another Day, Another Throw Of The Authoritarian Dice…

Carl Gardner (a former government lawyer) has another crack at getting support for the DNA database in CiF:
The law on DNA has to change. Currently the police in England and Wales can take a sample from anyone they arrest for a recordable offence. The sample, and the DNA profile that results from analysis (20 numbers, plus two letters representing chromosomes) are kept on the national DNA database, for ever.
You’re right, that does need to change.

And for once, the ECHR helped us, rather than hindered us:
But in its judgment in S and Marper v UK at the end of 2008 the European Court of Human Rights ruled out the "blanket and indiscriminate" policy of permanent retention
And now…
…the government now proposes change in its crime and security bill, due to come before the House of Lords next week. If it's passed, although the DNA profiles of offenders will still be retained permanently, those of innocent people – arrested once, but never convicted of anything – will be destroyed after six years.
Not good enough.
But that's too little for the Conservatives, who want DNA profiles of innocent people retained only after arrest for violent and sex offences, and then only for three years initially.
Still not good enough.
The Liberal Democrats go even further, wanting only the DNA of convicted offenders kept.

I knew if I waited long enough, there’d be a Lib Dem policy I could fully support…

Needless to say, little Carl is still sucking government (censored):
The government, though, is in no mood for compromise. Alan Johnson may even make DNA an election issue. I hope he does.

According to one argument, the largest possible database, or at least a large one including everyone who's come into serious contact with the police, will have the greatest use for investigators.
So what? So would locking us all up 24/7/365.
Anyway, the Human Genetics Commission was surely right in its report Nothing to Hide, Nothing to Fear? last year to ask government to consider funding research into the forensic utility of DNA – including into the possible benefits of novel uses of DNA evidence.
Was it? You might think so, you greasy-cheeked little weasel, but you merely prove that you are the government’s man, through and through…
My fear is that limiting the retention of DNA unnecessarily now may hobble a technology that could be a very powerful tool for identifying offenders, eliminating innocent suspects and protecting human rights in 30 or 50 years' time.

It’s going to protect our human rights, so long as we give up our human right not to be considered guilty from birth? That’s pretty retarded…
The growth of the DNA database over the last 10 years has been a brave experiment
..for a brave new world?
The best reason to back the government, though, is that civil liberties concerns about DNA, now almost conventional wisdom, are abstract and overstated.
According to you and all the other authoritarian control freaks…
What's the actual fear?
People like you, Carl…
…much queasiness about storing DNA profiles is based on a vague perception that they contain something ineffably "intimate" that can't, so needn't, be explained. But such higher superstition is no basis for sensible policy: retaining DNA profiles does not meddle with anyone's soul.
I’m fairly sure a soul is something you don’t need to worry yourself about…
Metaphysics aside, being on the DNA database takes away no freedom (and yes, if the bill gets through, I'll go on it voluntarily).
Good for you. But you don’t get to make the choice for me as well…
Lord Steyn was right to suggest that any human rights invasion is "very modest indeed".
No, he wasn’t.
Against this, keeping even innocent people's DNA for six years is amply justified in order to fight crime.
No, it isn’t.
Alan Johnson should take his case to the people.
And if they tell you, loud and clear, to go forth and multiply, what then?

Longrider isn't too impressed with this joker either...

Oh, Here We Go Yet Again!

I’m getting that déjà vu feeling again; another school, another hoax situation.

But the teachers at Blackminster Middle School weren’t satisfied with a bit of police tape or an address to pupils – they wanted to get their inner De Niro on:
Schoolchildren were left in tears after their teacher was gunned down by a crazed hoodie in the playground - in a 'sick' role-playing stunt.

Terrified children - aged from 10 to 13 years old - watched as the supposed gunman strolled into the playground, took aim and shot the teacher, before running into the school's science lab.
Not wanting to be left out of the fun, the supporting cast was huge:
Other staff in on the stunt rushed to the popular teacher's aid and appeared to give CPR in an attempt to save his life.
Unsurprisingly, a lot of the kids were totally freaked out by this.
It was 10 minutes before the shocked pupils of Blackminster Middle School in Evesham, Worcestershire, were rounded up and taken into the school hall where teachers explained that the scenario had been mocked up as part of a forthcoming science lesson.
A science lesson..?

The science of what, ‘Candid Camera’?
But pupils were left traumatised, with one having a panic attack and others being sick.
Parents weren’t amused, as you’d expect.
Parents, with children at the school reacted angrily to the stunt and branded it 'inappropriate and beyond belief'.
And the headteacher was immediately suspended and…

Oh, who am I kidding:
Headteacher Terry Holland said: 'The role play was part of a science lesson where a selection of students and teachers acted out this scenario.

'The problem with a small minority of the pupils was that there was a slight delay in getting them back into the hall to to explain what had just happened.

'Most of them already knew it was a spoof but a couple of them were upset and we have since spoken to them and their parents and apologised to them.
And, proving that Northumbria Police Deputy Chief Constable, Sue Sim doesn’t have a monopoly on crass statements:
'It was one of the more popular teachers who played the victim, I don't think there would have been as much concern if it was one or two of the others.'

Mrs Rigsby looks at the Ofsted report on this school, and suggests the inspectors might want to think again.

For a very amusing take on this, see Dungeekin.

I'd Prefer To Put My Faith In Kevlar...

...if it's all the same to you:
“We know some agents use charms, saints and other methods for their protection," said Elias Alvarez, the Baja California federal Police Chief.

"They look for something to believe in."
Another policeman, who only gave his name as Daniel, added: “We all know that guns and body armour are useless against the cartels because they are well-armed and can attack any time. But this is something we can believe in, that really works.”
Oooo-kay then....

Thursday 25 March 2010

As Excuses For Senseless Murder Go…

this one’s a lulu:
A man accused of murdering a doctor during a mugging near Buckingham Palace was bullied as a child for being the face of Angel Delight, a court heard today.
And so what?
Tom Connor, 20, allegedly battered Dr Nadim Gulamhuseinwala with a cast iron fence railing after a night out in the West End.

He described how he was 'teased and tormented' as a child when he gave evidence to an Old Bailey jury.

Connor said pupils discovered he had done photographic modelling - including being the face of the instant desert - when he started secondary school.
It’s a little strange to beat a doctor to death as a result.

Was he taunting this poor soul with some whipped reconstituted dessert?

Did he resemble the man’s nemesis, the long-ago photographer who took the soul-scarring images?

Well, no. None of those things. The poor guy was minding his own business when he happened to cross the path of these two charmers:
Connor had been out with his friend William Paton - who is jointly charged with Dr Gulamhuseinwala's murder - in a bar in Bromley on July 25, the night of the attack.

He had bought 1g of cocaine for £40 and the pair had then caught an N47 night bus to London. They carried on drinking at the Strawberry Moons club until 3am and then wandered into Soho.

Connor told the jury he had been approached by a woman in the street and offered prostitutes. He claimed she had taken £105 without providing any sexual services.

It was this 'robbery' that made him go 'mental' and attack Dr Gulamhuseinwal after he saw him walking through Green Park.
So, the Angel Delight gig is in the clear – it was the drugs and the booze and the sexual frustration wot did it…
'As he leaned over while on his phone I struck him down, he's got up, looked at me and as I have swung the pole he looked up so I let go of the pole.

'It's just hit him square on the head. It hit his left cheek first and he's gone down. I saw his eyes were open, I thought he was looking at me so I got scared.

'I stamped on his head a couple of times. Then I realised what I was doing. It's not normally I do that.'
Good to know…
Dr Gulamhuseinwala, who worked as an associate at McKinsey's in Jermyn Street, died after suffering multiple skull fractures and brain damage.

Connor, of Orpington, Kent; and Paton, also from Orpington, both deny murder and robbery.
And will probably get away with that, too.

And so another hard-working useful member of society has his life needlessly snuffed out by two people who, if there was any justice, would swing.

Rules And Procedures Are Not Enough...

We all remember Patently Rubbish's classic case of the asthma attack that led to a fatality because the teachers stood around not doing anything because there was 'no medical policy in place', don't we?

Well, several of them, have now been suspended.

And I really, really hope the teachers at Manor School in Melksham, Wiltshire are paying attention:
A boy of five was left stranded in a tree at school because of a bizarre health and safety policy - which banned teachers from helping him down.

The mischievous pupil climbed the 20ft tree at the end of morning break and refused to come down.

But instead of helping him, staff followed guidelines and retreated inside the school building to ‘observe from a distance’ so the child would not get ‘distracted and fall’.
Oh, terrific. Tell me, do they have the same policy for other occurrences? A knife-wielding maniac? A dangerous dog loose in the playground?

So, what happened, while these concerned professionals, acting in loco parentis, were hiding in the staff room taking bets on whether he'd break his leg, arm or neck when he eventually fell out?

Well, a member of the public saw the lad and, lacking the finely honed instincts of the professional Guardian-reading classes thought 'Oh! Child, tree, that's not a good combination!'and simply helped him.

Was she thanked? Reader, she was not:
The boy was only rescued after 45 minutes in the tree when passer-by Kim Barrett, 38, noticed the child and helped him down herself.

But instead of being thanked for her actions by the headteacher of the Manor School in Melksham, Wiltshire, she was reported to the police for trespassing.
Just savor that for a moment...
‘I was immediately concerned. I walked over to the school with the boy and was met by the associate head.

‘He didn't appear at all concerned, and was actually very patronising, patting me on the arm and asking me “what do you expect me to do, exactly, dear?”

‘When I said I thought it was a serious incident, he then said his only concern was me trespassing.
And the police promptly passed this parcel of brown, smelly, ticking PR nightmare to the only people stupid enough to think it was a good idea to remonstrate with a concerned passer by for ensuring a five-year-old didn't break his neck:
Later that evening a letter from headteacher Beverley Martin was posted through Miss Barrett’s door, explaining that the school had contacted police about the incident.

The next morning she was visited by a PCSO who told her she had committed a trespassing offence by helping the young schoolboy down from the tree.
It would have to be a PCSO, wouldn't it?

And isn't it surprising that if you allow your own children to climb a roof, it's 'Go, go. go!' for the police, yet if your child's teacher does it, it's fine and 'within the guidelines'..?

Is a little consistency too much to ask?

H/T: commenter Jeff Wood

Update:C.J. Nerd in the comments points to a rebuttal from the school concerned. The real story, or hasty spin and ass-covering? The really sad thing is would anyone be surprised if the latter?

When Your Lies Are So Blatant Even The ‘Mail’ Can Barely Stifle Their Contempt…

…you know you are on a hiding to nothing:
Gipsies and travellers who break the law should not get favours from authority, ministers declared yesterday.

They warned that public confidence in justice will be damaged if some people think that travellers get special treatment.

This, from the people who for the last ten years have watched passively as these identity groups trampled all over the rights of everyone else?

Pull the other one!

Even the ‘Fail’ can’t help pointing this out, in a rare example of an MSM organ actually goaded into doing its job:
Two Cabinet ministers joined forces to launch new instructions for police and councils on enforcing the law on anti-social behaviour among travellers - an apparent U-turn after years in which gipsies have been considered a racial group in need of state help.

Critics said their initiative was a pre-election stunt that reverses five years of Labour equality ideology.
And it’s something they had the unmitigated gall to castigate the opposition for, as well:
In 2005 ministers levelled scathing accusations of bigotry at Tories who made similar pre-election promises.
Ah, but now there’s an election in the offing, and the stupid sheep voters need to be told lies…
However yesterday Communities Secretary John Denham and Home Secretary Alan Johnson said the law should be applied to travellers in the same way as to everybody else. They said travellers who create noise, spread rubbish or fail to tax their cars should be penalised.

The ministers also said that Asbos could be used to prevent persistent offenders from setting up illegal campsites or in breach of planning rules, although since 2005 councils have been told to show toleration to unlawful sites.
‘Don’t do as we told you back then! Do as we’re telling you NOW! (but it’ll be back to normal when we get back in *wink*)’
Mr Denham has already run a campaign in constituencies where Labour's vote is under threat from the far-right BNP, promising that immigrants will not get first call on council houses.
Anyone stupid enough to believe this is probably already a Labour voter anyway, surely?

It's Always The Quiet Ones...

Byrne, who ran the Young Person's Advisory Service, previously worked with children as young as 10.
But hang on, if his tastes seem to have run only to adult women (albeit those tied up and bleeding, in the main), where's the 'Won't someone think of the children!' angle?

Byrne also admitted four charges of making indecent images of children.

Wearing plain trousers and a checked shirt, Byrne showed no emotion as he admitted carrying out the vicious assaults.

At an earlier hearing in January, Byrne admitted six charges of possessing obscene images of children.

Those charges represented a total of nearly 9,000 images.

He had also admitted a further count of committing a lewd and obscene act on a Merseyrail train while photographing young girls.
It's amazing he had time for any charity work, isn't it?

So, Who Should We Look To Blame For The Latest Dog Attack?

The father, for keeping a powerful animal along with a breeding bitch in the same small council house as a two-year-old?

The mother, for allowing her two-year-old to be put at risk by said father’s evident inability to control or understand such an animal and its behaviour?

Hmm, surely someone else must be to blame?
Her grandmother Alison Leadbeater said her daughter had asked vets to put the dog down two weeks ago after it bit her brother Gary’s hand, but they had refused.
Oh, right….
Mrs Leadbeater said vets had offered to ‘retrain’ the dog after her daughter had asked for it to be put down because of its recent aggressive behaviour.

She claimed vets told the family that the breed was not illegal and not normally aggressive.
Both correct, as long as it was properly handled by someone who knew what they were doing.
‘The dog was a family pet and had been fine for years’, she added.

‘He only started getting aggressive recently when he bit my son’s hand.

Charlene was worried about his behaviour and spoke to the vets as she was concerned about the children.

‘But they said they could retrain the animal and they could not put it down.
Perhaps they could barely conceal their contempt at the sort of person who wants to dispose of a living creature without putting in any effort to resolve the problems arising from the way it’s being kept?
'The dog was lovely but turned into a killing machine because of how aggressive it was getting.'
Yes, and the vets aren’t to blame for that. Are they? It was already a potential killing machine if not handled correctly.

Once again, the blame-seekers seem to be focussed on the wrong end of the leash...

Wednesday 24 March 2010

These Professionals Aren’t Just ‘Stuck’…

…they are actively and deliberately looking the other way for politically correct reasons:
A baby boy has starved to death despite being under the care of at least nine doctors, social workers and health visitors.
That first sentence, something’s missing. What could it be..?

Ah, yes, right. The word ‘another’ as in ‘Another baby has..’.
The helpless 10-month-old wasted away in his pram at his mother's flat even though he was seen at least 15 times in six months by care professionals.
I’m not sure the ‘even though’ is relevant there. Would anyone really be surprised at this, after the others?

So, how was this one allowed to do what she did?

Well, would you believe that political correctness played a part? Well of course you would. You know who we’re dealing with, after all:
Police began a murder inquiry and Saymon's 29-year-old Eritrean-born mother Yirgalem Michael was arrested for child neglect.

She had avoided contact with care workers by complaining that her human rights would be breached if they used an Eritrean interpreter to question her - in case her close-knit community found out she had HIV.

Is that all it takes these days? That’s all you need to back a ravening social work team down?
Despite this and the fact that there were concerns about her parenting skills, she was allowed to keep Saymon and his four-year-old sister.

She had already admitted 'hearing voices' and had expressed fears for her baby's health.
Clearly, she posed less of a risk than someone a little bit slow on the uptake. Except to a social worker’s career, that is, and we know how they value those above all else…

And there’ll be no justice for the child (again):
Miss Michael spent only an hour in police custody before being taken to St Mary's Hospital in Paddington, West London where she died two days after her son from a rare brain condition linked to her HIV.

The family are believed to have come to Britain from East Africa several years ago and settled in the West Midlands.

They immediately came to the attention of social workers and the daughter was placed on the at-risk register.
Was there ever a more aptly-named system than the ‘at risk’ register system? Except for those instances when it should be called the ‘file and forget’ register…
But the girl, who cannot be named, was later removed from the register and the mother moved to Birmingham where she had her son, Saymon, last year.

In September 2009, she was rehoused in London after she claimed she had been beaten up by the children's father.

A series of visits by health visitors and social workers from Westminster City Council followed. But despite a growing file of evidence that all was not well, nothing was done.
Why bother collecting that evidence at all, then? For the inevitable ‘lessons must be learned’ review?
Two health trusts were responsible for the family, and a source with knowledge of the case said: 'It is completely unacceptable in modern Britain that a baby can starve to death while supposedly under the care of a dozen or so professionals.'
No s***, Sherlock…

The inevitable scenes are being played out:
Michael O'Connor, Westminster City Council's director for children and young people, said: 'Neither of the children were on the child protection register and there is no suggestion that they were at risk.'
Apart from, that is, all the evidence in the file no-one bothered to actually act on..?
Terry Bamford of Westminster's Local Safeguarding Children Board, said an independent serious case review would take place.
Oh, how nice – biscuits for twenty in the main meeting room, only soya milk for the tea, please…
Central and North West London Trust refused to comment and Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust said it was carrying out its own inquiry.
Why bother? Your earlier report has already concluded that this was a bolt from the blue, unforeseen and unforeseeable…
…a confidential report on the case - seen by the Daily Mail - concludes: 'Are there any lessons to be learned from this preliminary investigation?
'No. Are there any immediate actions that need to be taken? No.'
‘Will anyone be sacked?’

What do you think?

In The Latest Version... can't even see Jesus behind the extra-large KFC Family Bucket, I suppose?
"Supersizing" - a term that became popular in the mid-1990s and describes the ability of McDonalds' customers to increase portion sizes - is often considered a modern phenomenon. But "what we see recently may be just a more noticeable part of a very long trend," said Brian Wansink, a food behaviour scientist at Cornell University who conducted the study with his brother Craig, a professor of religious studies at Virginia Wesleyan College in Norfolk, Virginia.

"We think that as art imitates life, these changes have been reflected in paintings of history's most famous dinner," he added.
Yes, amazingly, there's enough money sloshing around in US universities to employ Brian and his bro to compare the food portion sizes in paintings of the last supper.

Nice work if you can get it, right?
Computer technology allowed the brothers to scan, rotate and calculate images regardless of their orientation in the paintings, judging the size of the portions against the size of the heads of the disciples.
Oh, boy. They spared no expense, did they? Imagine the shame of the computer modeller who had to set that one up.

Presumably, this was for some art project, or somethi...

Oh, FFS!
Details of the study will be published in the April issue of the International Journal of Obesity.
But some questioned the accuracy of the study.
No kidding! Just the accuracy, or the pointlessness of it, too?
The study is "not very meaningful science," said Martin Binks, a behavioural health psychologist and a consultant at Duke University Medical Centre. "We have real life examples of the increase in portion size - all you have to do is look at what's being sold at fast-food restaurants."
Well, yes. But to do that, you have to mingle with real people.

And there's always the danger one of them might ask what you do for a living...

If Dogging Is The Purview Of Rampant Exhibitionists...

..then isn't cutting down the trees so passing motorists can see them just going to encourage them?
Sergeant Mark Wilson, of Lancashire Police's Darwen Neighbourhood team, explained: 'It's an on-going problem and very worrying for members of the public.

'It's far too early to tell if cutting the trees back has had any impact on the dogging situation, but we'll be paying regular attention to the area.'
I suppose it's too much to expect you to do that before they chop all the trees down? Or are your officers allergic to pine needles?

Yes, What These People Need Is...

...more money and resources, and less government interference:
An Islamic social worker told a drug-addicted Muslim mother to move to Bangladesh or risk losing her children to Christianity, a hearing was told.
Whoops! Oh, well, I'm sure she ticked a box on someones diversity sheet, and that must have been what she was really hired for, all things considered:
The General Social Care Council heard that Le Jardin offered to help her rig a urine test, while she also suggested that the woman's disabled 14-year-old daughter could have been impregnated by her father when she put on weight.

Speaking for the GSCC, Paul Raudwitz told the hearing that Le Jardin, who joined the team in 2002, "did not work sensitively with children to whom she was responsible", adding that she was "not always honest and trustworthy".
Obviously, those weren't considered serious enough failings to warrant sacking her though, because she carried on working:
"She did not work in partnership with childrens’ parents and acted in a disrespectful manner by failing to keep the few appointments she did make," he said.

"She accused people without sound factual basis and was entirely unmanageable."

He alleged that Le Jardin was overtly racist to black colleagues and families she was supposed to be helping, claiming that "she made derogatory and insinuating comments about them."
Wow! She must have held a practically unbeatable hand at Victimhood Poker to get away with this...
Le Jardin - who has since had a nervous breakdown - did not attend the hearing in central London as she now lives in Saudi Arabia.
Hmm, that seems to be a popular way of avoiding justice. So, what's she charged with?

Well, actually, it might be easier to outline what she's not charged with:
Charges she faces include not safeguarding children for whom she was responsible, not implementing child protection plans, not working sensitively with children or in partnership with parents and other professionals.

She also denies producing unprofessional reports, failing to respond appropriately to management, failing to engage sensitively with issues of diversity and dressing and behaving unprofessionally and inappropriately.
Whew! It seems fraud was the only thing she didn't...

It is also claimed that while on sick leave from Merton between June and October 2008 she was moonlighting with a temp agency for the London Borough of Croydon.
In what other profession would someone with a record like this be tolerated for (it seems) quite a few years?

If We're Looking To Make Savings...

Conservative MP Philip Hollobone said wearing a burkha was the religious equivalent of 'going round with a paper bag over your head'.

During a parliamentary debate last month he urged the House of Commons to 'seriously consider' banning the garment.
And that sparked a complaint. From whom?

From a quango, of course (which also manages the double whammy of being a fakecharity), as Al-Jahom points out:
Now it has emerged police received a complaint about the Kettering MP a few days after his comments from the Northamptonshire Rights and Equality Council (NREC).

Officers rang Mr Hollobone to say a complaint had been made but the Crown Prosecution dropped the case a few days later as there were no grounds for prosecution.
Parliamentary privilege covers anything said in the Commons, so it's difficult to see why the police didn't simply tell the NREC that in the first place...

But if Ketting, Northants and Northampton borough councils are feeling the pinch in the recession, how about they stop funneling money to this organisation?

Ross and Mark have more. See how easily a fakecharity can be exposed for what it is?

Tuesday 23 March 2010

Politician's Promise... reality:
It has taken me some time to get to the bottom of this one. I phoned several of the largest corrugated iron manufacturers……and once we had got over the confusion caused by the fact that it is actually corrugated steel these days, though the name corrugated iron persists, they were as incredulous as I was.
Read the whole thing.

And next time a politician promises something, laugh. Laugh almost as hard as when a journalist tells you they are an accredited professional...

Now, I'm No Gun Expert...

..burt aren't you supposed to play this game with a revolver?
The man who produced the hand gun at the Astrakhan wedding was arrested.

He said: ‘I wanted to perform my party trick. I expected lots of applause after I did it and never guess someone would repeat it.’
Well, quite. What are the odds on two idiots being at the same event..?

There Are No Words...

The defence added that the boy now had a team of social and care workers supervising him.
Anyone surprised at that..?

Latest 'It's All The Fault Of The Middle Classes'...

There's a crisis in discipline in schools:
Members of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers will point out that disruptive pupils and their parents face almost no consequences for their actions.

They will spell out how teachers are routinely interrupted and sworn at, and sometimes assaulted, by pupils who have never been taught to give and take.

Other pupils turn up to school 'dead tired' because they have been allowed to stay up late.
So, they are calling for the reintroduction of proper discipline in schools, right?

A generation of well-off pupils is failing to accept the authority of teachers because they are used to being indulged at home, according to Dr Mary Bousted.

Her union will next week debate a motion calling on the Government to dock the child benefit of parents who fail to discipline their children and to force such mothers and fathers to attend parenting classes.
Wait, what?

You can't maintain discipline in the school, so you want to discipline the parents? Who are, of course, 'mostly' those dreadful middle classes?
Speaking before the ATL's annual conference next week, Dr Mary Bousted, the union's general secretary, said parents had a duty to ensure their children were brought up understanding 'where proper authority lies' and 'how they should behave in school'.

She added: 'It's often the well-off middle-class who buy off their children through the computers and televisions and everything which isolates them within the home.

'And then they are surprised when their child doesn't come to school ready to learn.'
The ones that only yesterday we learned should be discouraged from early education in favour of the disadvantaged?

Make your minds up!