Saturday 30 April 2011

The BBC Isn't Here To Give The Public What It Wants...

...but what it thinks is good for them:
Discussing the decision to axe BBC1's Rufus Sewell drama Zen two months ago, Cohen said: "You can't keep on doing everything if you want to bring in new things. I felt that we risked having too many male detectives and arguably we have had maybe too much crime.

He went on: "Detectives and crime is the real staple of quite a lot on the BBC but also a huge amount of ITV drama ... I want to broaden the palette a bit."
The fact that there's 'too much crime' on every channel including the ones that have to make a profit, rather than suckle on the taxpayer's teat, might tell you that that's what people want to see.

But hey, why should I give you free advice? Go make more 'Bonekickers', more 'Outcasts', if you want to continue to haemorrhage viewers...
He went on to say that he sometimes wonders about "the degree of scrutiny of the BBC" on a daily basis in newspapers and warned: "Britain would be a poorer place without the BBC, we should be careful how far we kick it."
I know just how far I'd like to kick it!

The Wheels Of Justice Grind Exceedingly Slowly...

Police are hunting a Walthamstow Market trader who failed to attend court after being accused of mugging a man.
He ought to be easy to spot...

All that's missing is the bolt through the neck...

So, has this just happened?
Martin Ters, 19, is alleged to have stolen a mobile phone from a 40-year-old pedestrian in July last year.
Ters was arrested shortly afterwards and was charged with robbery in early November.

He was due to appear at Waltham Forest Magistrates Court on Thursday November 18 but failed to turn up.
And you're only putting his description out now..?

Can I See Your Dramatic License, Sir?

"You know why I pulled you over, don't you? Were you maybe exceeding the decibel level in a built-up area, sir? Who do you think you are, Dustin Hoffman?"
Riot police swooped as a drama group rehearsed a hard-hitting play - complete with blood-curdling screams.

Police stormed the building in Manchester city centre after a 999 call reporting an assault.

The four terrified members of the Happystorm Theatre company had to explain they were simply professional actors.
Supt Jim Liggett said the callers did the right thing by reporting the noise, and his officers quickly realised the mix-up.

He said: 'Had the organisers of the rehearsal made contact with us beforehand, we would have been able to offer reassurance to the caller straight away.'
Sorry? Since when did you need to inform the police of any of your activities that might be misconstrued by someone before you embark upon them?

Because that's pretty much everything...

Friday 29 April 2011

Hey, Everyone! Free Parking In Southend!

We’re not camping, we’re just tourists like everybody else.”
Not quite like everyone else:
Six motor homes have moved into the council-owned Fairheads Green car park in Eastern Esplanade, Southend, near the Sea-Life Adventure marine centre.

Council parking wardens tried to slap tickets on the illegally-parked vehicles, but retreated after they were threatened and verbally intimidated.
Right! So if you fancy coming to the Airshow but don't want to pay for any parking (and who does, am I right?), then just turn up, park where you like and if the wardens turn up, verbally threaten and intimidate them!

It's OK, as we've seen, it's not like the Essex Police will turn up and do anything about it.

Will they? Or is it one law for a certain group of people, and another for everyone else?

Meanwhile, regarding another case of these favoured ones, Chief Supt Alison Newcomb, Essex Police’s eastern division commander, is busy spinning for all she's worth:
“Police are not taking sides in any way over this incident, and we have followed up complaints made about the conduct of several people.”
“We carry out investigations and make decisions based on the information and evidence before us, regardless of who we are dealing with. This is a very sensitive situation, but we have to be objective in applying our powers and have to deal with the evidence we have.”

Mrs Newcomb said trespassing was a civil matter, but assured residents the force was taking every reasonable step to keep the situation peaceful and calm.

She added: “Our priority is always public safety, including the prevention of any potential breaches of the peace. Police involvement is about protecting life and property and we take that seriously. We are unbiased in applying the law.”
Actually, I don't think I'd dignify that with the term 'spin'. She's just flat-out denying that black is black, and insisting it's white.

Who are we going to believe? Her, or our lyin' eyes?

The Untouchables...

Hinah Parekh, 43, claimed that racist abuse from fellow police officers was making her unwell and signed off with depression and stress.

She took a total of 848 days off sick - managing an average of only five shifts a month - from her job at Belgravia police station in central London.

Why did they not act sooner? Well, I think we know that, don't we?
Reports suggest that senior officers did not act sooner because they feared they would become embroiled in a damaging race row.
Because, of course, this brazen cow had the nerve to use all the cards available to her in Victimhood Poker:
Parekh wept as she supported a tribunal claim of another Asian officer who also claimed he was subjected to racism at Belgravia police station two years ago.

The woman officer told central London Employment tribunal: 'I had experienced bullying from colleagues involving calling me names, ignoring me, pushing me to go drinking, publicly humiliating me and being completely insensitive to my religious and cultural beliefs...
Oh, really? Anything else?
...and my obligation as a single parent.'
I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest those 'religious and cultural beliefs' you're so precious about are something other than Methodist.

So it's a bit much to wring your hands and weep bitter tears over the alleged non-respect for your religion when you yourself aren't exactly adhering to it...

This Blog Is Three!

I've now been blogging here since April 29th 2008!

Happy blogiversary to me! :)

And if you're watching the Royal Wedding, or avoiding it, have a great time!

Thursday 28 April 2011

Proving Once Again...

...that CiF is a haven for the sort of people who babble about the first thing that comes into their empty heads, here's Zoe Williams on those dastardly supermarkets:
One of the absurdities of the whole process is that the council invited local comment, put out chairs for the residents in the licensing committee meeting, and seemed well-disposed towards the locals, admiring their pluck (I'm extemporising now) – but it could only refuse to grant a licence within the law. And the law has no provision for people who just want their local shops to survive.
How shocking it must have been for you to find that out, at your age, Ms Williams...

Be Careful What You Say...

...when the police come round to 'make enquiries':
Earlier, Assistant Chief Constable (ACC) Neil Wain said he understood why some residents may have been "frightened" by the outbreak of violence.

He said: "We have three people in custody for questioning and taken a deadly weapon off the streets but our work does not stop there and we will be out working with the community today making inquiries and ensuring that those who have questions and concerns can speak to someone."
Because if your 'concerns and questions' touch on exactly why there should be a 'local Somali community' here in your country in the first place, owning guns and starting riots with their countrymen, while the police keep a 'hands off' watching brief, you'll be off down the nick before your feet touch the ground...

Blog Title Of The Month

This month, it's MacHeath at Newgate News, for this post on the strange case of Keith McDonald:

Quote Of The Month

From NickM at 'Counting Cats...' on the lunacy that is North Korea:
What fascinates me about that image in particular is that whilst the side of the fruit stand facing Kim is laden with produce the side facing us looks a bit sparse. The Russians might have had Potemkin villages but it takes the true Juche lunacy of North Korea to have created the Potemkin fruit stand.

Post Of The Month

...comes from new (to me) blog 'Things To Do In Balham When You're Dead' on the Bristol rioters.

Wednesday 27 April 2011

Those Whom The Gods Would Destroy...

Two thirds of teenage girls have low iodine levels – putting the health of their future children at risk, doctors warn.
Oh dear. But don't worry, there's a solution, and it's quite easy to do.
The World Health Organisation is recommending that Britain add iodine to table salt to combat the problem.
That'll be the salt everyone's supposed to be avoiding because of all the health scares, I take it?

It's a Perfect Storm of stupidity, bad science and health hysteria, isn't it? As Leg-Iron points out:
"These days, Kafka would have real trouble persuading anyone that his work should be considered 'absurdist' because by modern standards, he's mainstream."

By Hook Or By Crook...

...councils will try to claw money into their coffers as the government starts to throttle their money supply:
Personal trainers, nannies, dog walkers and even teachers face hefty bills for using public parks under a town hall diktat.

Council chiefs have decided anyone using the open spaces for business must pay for the privilege.
Well, did anyone really expect they'd put their hands up and say 'OK, OK, the diversity co-ordinators have gotta go...'?
Mr Mucha, 35, who works in Hurlingham Park in Putney, South London, was exercising with a client when a park ranger told him he couldn’t operate without filling in a form.

Mr Mucha, who charges clients around £45 an hour, said the warden ‘asked if I had got the licence to be in the park’.

‘I was surprised and didn’t know what she was asking for. I rang the council and they told me it was £350 for 12 months.’
Interesting. How are they going to prove that there's a business relationship?

And wait, aren't they supposed to be encouraging exercise as part of their barmy extra 'services' no-one really needs from a council?

Well, they've prepared a comeback for that:
Michael Hainge, from the parks department, told councillors in September that although the council is anxious to use its green spaces to fight obesity, ‘efforts were being made to properly target the programmes and ensure they were not simply aimed at those who were already inclined towards exercise’.
Because of the unfairness!!
He said parks suffered from ‘recurring activities that took place on a commercial basis, such as private football coaching, which needed to be identified and charged.’

The council said yesterday: ‘Anyone can use our parks for free, including personal trainers.

However, as soon as personal trainers start charging and making money out of the park, they are running a business and would need a licence.’
I wonder who'll be staffing the new council Business Assessor and Investigation Service Team..?

Song Sung Blue...

...the boys in blue, that is:
Officers later called Mr Ledger while he was eating in a Chinese restaurant to arrange a meeting. The singer assumed it was a prank – but he was later arrested and is still under investigation.

‘They seemed pretty amazed but said the law is the law and it was their duty,’ he is reported to have said.
I was saying only yesterday that people are rapidly losing any faith they might have had in the police, wasn't I? And this is a sterling example of just why that situation is rapidly accelerating.

It's customary, on police blogs, for the rank & file to grumble and whine and complain that the job's not what it was, that the top brass are indifferent and out of touch and issuing increasingly strange orders to curry favour* with the politically correct elite.

And it anyone dares to complain, they are met with the usual response:

Now, since my response to those two posts has mysteriously not made it out of the moderation queue yet (although the blog owner's original misspelling of 'sew' has been corrected, something I also pointed out in a now-missing reply - tampering with evidence, Inspector? Tut tut!), I'll have to append it here.

It's always 'don't blame the rank and file officers', but this man wasn't arrested by the top brass, was he? He was arrested by those same rank and file officers who'll be along shortly to Gadget's or Ellie's to whine about it.

Officers who know what they are doing isn't what they signed up for, who are fully aware that this is going to rebound on them in the MSM, who'll blame the MSM for the resulting furore and sneer at the commenters under the 'Mail' article but who still go ahead and do it anyway, like the good little unthinking, box-ticking automatons that they are rapidly becoming...
A Hampshire police spokesman last night said a 32-year-old man of Chinese origin had claimed he was subjected to racial abuse.

He added: ‘If a victim believes that an alleged crime is racially aggravated, the police will treat it seriously. Investigations into this incident are continuing.’
Anyone with any shred of integrity left should be looking for a new job.

* Anyone offended by the use of the term 'curry favour' is cordially invited to take the sex and travel option...

One For The Road(Block)?

Sacré bleu!
...something truly awful has happened to the CRS (Compagnies Républicaines de Sécurité). Indeed, the ones we love to hate have just been denied by official decree that most cherished and antic pleasure, a single glass of wine (or cider or beer) with their meals.
Unusually for CiF, this isn't an article in favour of such NuPuritanism, either:
This latest ban (after the burqa, the rouge!) is yet another sign of a rampant righteousness taking hold in our society. It's commonly said that a moderate amount of wine, beer or cider digested with a meal, especially by people who have a physical job doesn't affect their ability to perform. Riot police are no surgeons; they are muscles in boots and helmets. Their job is to look scary and to use urban guerrilla tactics in order to protect peaceful demonstrators from the occasional troublemakers.
Oh my, Agnes, that won't win you many friends in this newspaper!

And nor will this:
What's certain is that the CRS do not do an easy job. They are the buffers of our democracy, and we need them during every spat and argument we have with the government so that things don't degenerate into chaos. And for this, I believe they deserve their daily glass of wine.
The comments immediately descend into the sort of mad scramble you'd expect, with the alcohol-haters jostling and jabbing elbows at the police-haters to see who can heap the most disgust that an article like this could be produced at all...

Tuesday 26 April 2011

Remember, When Seconds Count, The Police Are Only 35 Minutes Away...

...and they've made sure you can't defend yourself as well:
Tracy St Clair Pearce, 50, was confronted by four men carrying a chainsaw and a knife, who warned her they would kill her cattle at her farm in Colchester, Essex.

She called police late on Good Friday to report the threat, but was left gobsmacked when officers took 35 minutes to get to her home, before telling her they would confiscate her shotguns.
Got to protect those special groups, get that tick in the diversity box, and to hell with the safety of the law-abiding, tax-paying citizen.

I mean, if the worst happens and they come back, she can dial 999, can’t she? What can they do to her in the 35 minutes it would take the police to get there? Assuming they even bother to turn up at all, that is…
'When the police did arrive, they had this incredible attitude that somehow we were to blame.

'I actually had to turn round and tell one young officer, "Excuse me, you are talking to the victims of crime here".'
But you see, as far as Essex Police are concerned, it's the Caravan Utilising Nomadic Traveling Society that are the 'victims'.

And Essex Police wheeled out a mouthpiece to hit all the right buzzword bingo triggers (in bold):
Chief Superintendent Alison Newcomb said: 'We are supporting Colchester Council, who own the land, and are working with them to find a solution to this situation.
'We take any threatening or violent behaviour very seriously and are investigating this incident on Friday.
'This is a long-running and sensitive issue.
'Counter allegations have been made on both sides and the situation is not as clear cut as it seems.
'Our powers of eviction have been considered - however, the threshold has not been met, so we need to be balanced and proportionate in our response.
'Our number one priority is to keep the public safe.'

And the police have the nerve to wonder why they are increasingly held in utter contempt by everyone? Not just the criminal classes, that's to be expected. But rapidly, they are losing everyone else.

The Collapse Of Our Civilisation... writ in these sixteen words:
Inability to understand the written language is no bar to serving on a jury, officials said.
And not just written, either:
Even those who cannot easily understand the spoken word could be asked to sit in judgment on those accused of crime.
This is, of course, and inevitable result of putting that utter cretin Clarke in charge of justice.
Criminologists and MPs said yesterday that they were worried about inclusion of those with poor English on juries.

Douglas Carswell, Tory MP for Clacton, said: ‘The jury system is founded on the idea that we are all tried by our peers. If your peers cannot speak English, or read or write it properly, how can you have confidence you will get justice?’
Working as intended, Douglas, working as intended...
He added: ‘Ministers in successive governments have stated that they are going to curb the effects of multiculturalism, but the bureaucrats keep on putting forms and documents into dozens of languages.’

Dr David Green, of the Civitas think-tank, said: ‘If you can’t even read the letter summoning you for jury service, you are not fit to be a juror.’
Hush, David, your betters are working towards a new world order. Your input is unwelcome...
The spokesman added: ‘If a juror attends court and there is a doubt about their capacity to act effectively due to insufficient understanding of English, the matter will be brought to the attention of the trial judge who could excuse them. In more complex cases, such as fraud cases, where jurors may be expected to read documents as part of the evidence, an assessment of whether the juror can serve on that trial will be made at court with judicial input.’
Sure. We can trust civil servants to challenge people, can't we? There's plenty of evidence that common sense will reign instead of paralysis in the face of fear of offence, isn't there?

I Guess Diversity Is Only To Be Welcomed In The Human Species?

News reaches me that the government has finally had enough of an invasive population of foreign invaders, who while they may brighten the UK's streets with their foreign ways and looks and charming habits, could become a destructive force in the future. Steps need to be taken now, before they become a problem.

And you can forget namby-pamby stuff like the BNP's 'Give them money to leave' policy - this government is planning nothing less than extermination, for the adults and their unborn children...

Woah, put down those banners! Stop those frantic phone calls to the UN!

It's OK, we aren't talking about Romany gypsies, Yardies or Muslim hate preachers. They are all fine, and welcome in the UK to enrich our culture with their vibrant diversity.

It's parakeets:
No serious damage has so far been reported in the UK, but the birds' numbers – currently estimated to be about 100-150 – are expected to rise dramatically, given the ease with which they can survive in cities and a range of climates. So no sooner do bird lovers hear of the new addition to the country's fauna than they will be learning of its looming demise. Inquiries by The Independent on Sunday have revealed secret plans by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) to exterminate the bird, bringing to an end its short-lived residence in Britain.
And they are fully aware how this is going to be received by the public:
Defra's culling policy was decided in December 2010, but Defra has yet to make it known to the public. A spokesperson said: "This invasive species has caused significant damage in other countries through nesting and feeding activity, and we are taking action now to prevent this happening in the UK."
Still, there's a large charity that looks out for the welfare of birds, isn't there? Surely they won't stand by and...

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) supports Defra's move. A spokesperson said: "These species aren't causing any major conservation problems in the UK at the moment, but they might in future."
What a shame no-one is looking at other invasive types with the same clinical eye, eh?

And why are we expected to be prepared to tolerate human diversity under pain of government sanction, but not the avian kind?

The Quick-Fix Generation...

Terrified by the MSM's stories of Britain's 'obesity scandal', worried middle-class parents are demanding solutions, and enterprising toy companies are meeting their needs.

Got £79.99 to spend? Then you too could purchase this:

It's a mini-gym. And obesity 'experts' are hailing it as a great way to lose the...

Oh, wait. They're not:
Dr Ian Campbell, medical director of charity Weight Concern, said: ‘Resistance training is not ideal for anybody under the age of 16 and especially not during these tender years.

‘At this age I believe weight training, however light the weights, is wholly unnecessary and potentially harmful.’
Great! Pile on that guilt, Ian!
A spokesman for the British Heart foundation added: ‘Parents could be spending a small fortune on mini-me gyms when the best thing for their child’s health and fitness is free – and that is going outside and enjoying playing sports and games in the fresh air.’
But...but....paedophiles behind every tree! Dangerous dogs! Traffic! The awful thought your child might win a game and crush someone's self esteem! How can you suggest such a thing!

Who'd be a parent these days?

The Perfect Person For The Job(bie)!

A senior councillor is calling on her Tory colleagues to do more to combat dogs’ mess on the streets of Southend.
Oh? Who is calling for that, then? I'm intrigued!
Anna Waite...
Ahahahahahahahahahaha! Yes, that Anna Waite!

Frankly, I cannot think of a better councillor to broach the subject of foul-smelling unwanted deposits than Anna Waite!
...who is battling to be re-elected in St Luke’s ward next month, has handed in a petition to the council on behalf of residents, signed by about 240 people.
As many commenters point out, why did she not do something about it before?
Mrs Waite insists she is not criticising the Tory administration, but wants the issue looked at more closely.
If she thinks this'll win her re-election, I think she's barking up the wrong tree; her traffic management schemes are making congestion worse and people who formerly voted for her are looking suspiciously at their carpets, sniffing the air, and wondering just what they've stepped in...

Monday 25 April 2011

Be On The Lookout For Spiderman....

Mental health nurses have been warned to look out for a convicted killer who has been on the run for more than a year.
With our porous borders, are we sure he's even still in the country?
Utmanzi was suffering paranoid delusions when he attacked and killed his fellow asylum seeker, and admitted manslaughter on grounds of diminished responsibility in January last year.
Hang on, his fellow asylum seeker?

So, what happens to his claim while he's incarcerated? Does it just come to a screeching halt, to be restarted once he's got a certificate to prove he's sane?

And how did he come to escape?
A judge ordered he be detained indefinitely after stabbing Mr Khan, 21, without warning and slitting his throat, but two months later Utmanzi scaled a 5m-high fence and broke out of the secure facility.
He scaled a 5-metre fence and no-one noticed?

Some secure facility!

Yes, Probably!

Well, you know full well they would, if they thought they could get away with it:
Mrs McIntyre’s son Andy, father of her gardening helper, eight-year-old Jack, added: ‘It’s the lunatics in charge of the asylum. Are we going to be asked to wash our weeds next?
‘This is council taxpayers’ money. That’s why councils are in the mess they are in.
‘There’s someone sitting there thinking of parameters for weeds and soil. It’s utter madness.’
It is indeed. Cut harder and faster, Eric Pickles.

Well, Maybe, But You Didn't Know That At The Time, Did You?

A spokesman for Weymouth and Portland Borough Council said they sympathised with Lennox's owners but they had acted in the interest of public safety.

...He said the vet's records showed that Lennox had to be muzzled during previous visits there for treatment.

The spokesman added: 'We wish to express our regret for the undoubted hurt felt by the family, but in this case we had a wider duty to protect the public.'
After all, you didn't bother to check any of the records, did you?

And that 'wider duty to protect the public' might have got you out of trouble if you'd had to shoot the dog in the street, but not for euthanising it (without following any of the usual procedure) while it was in your possession and under your control.

I hope they do indeed take legal action. And I hope they win.

Sunday 24 April 2011

"I'm afraid it's a sign of the times, Miss Jones, an unfortunate sign of the times..."

A spokeswoman for Waltham Forest Police...added: “It is an unfortunate sign of the times. When times are hard some people will see it is an opportunity to steal...”
Shouldn't you leave the inevitable excuses to their defence brief, love?

Update: Link fixed, thanks to Pavlov's Cat!

They Always Know Their Own...

The informant said: “In Bobby’s words, he said that this crew had done over his house a couple of times where he was growing drugs.

“On this particular evening, he had come home to find his door kicked in and immediately realised that he had been burgled again.

“He went straight off and looked up the road and saw someone looking in his direction and they made eye contact.

“I think Bobby realised that this guy was connected to the crew that had robbed him previously, and then he ran so Bobby gave chase and eventually caught up with the man.

“He said ‘I eventually caught up with him and managed to get the better of him in a fight and put him on the ground. I was on my knees astride him, punching him in the face’.

“The man must have been sweating a lot and Bobby smelled the smell of his own skunk weed and this infuriated him.”
What a talent! L'Oreal and Dior would surely have snapped him up, if only he hadn't turned to crime...

"There's talk on the street, it sounds so familiar, great expectations, everybody's watching you..."

Yes, there's a new kid in town.* Some great writers signed up to it too. And yours truly. ;)

Other additions to the blogroll are Heresy Corner and Tory Aardvark (who has some great stuff on global warming and environmentalism...

Update: * Official launch on Monday 25th. Some posts already up to sample, though.

Sunday Funnies

Enjoy those Easter eggs..!

Saturday 23 April 2011

Oh, My Favourite Subject!

A 24-year-old woman has been jailed for lying about being raped.
Lusha said that after being attacked on June 1 last year she had to be persuaded by her sister and boyfriend to go to police to report the incident.

She then named a man as her attacker and officers arrested him in front of colleagues at his workplace soon after.
So, that's more DNA for the database!
...tests proved although Lusha had had sex on the day she said was raped, it was not with the man she had accused of attacking her.
And I guess that's even more!

She got 20 months. I suppose it's better than nothing.

Low Hanging Fruit...

'She said to me: "Madam, your dog is off of the lead," and I apologised and explained he had just shot out. But she told me it was a zero tolerance policy and said she was going to fine me.'
I'm absolutely certain that 6ft, tattooed Stabby McChav would be similarly pursued with zero-tolerance vigour should he happen to wander past with 'Fang' at his heels, sans leash.

Absolutely certain...


Sometimes a single sentence in a news report tells you everything you (probably) needed to know about a story.

To whit:
Mr Mitchell, who went by the street name Brown, was living in Croydon under the assumed identity of Devon Scarlett.
Odd hand gesture that 'popular, funny man around town and brilliant father to all four of his children' is making in his photo, too....

The Importance Of Punctuation...

I read that as advertising a frozen pizza that's 'taste free'.

And having had one, I can confidently claim that no-one's going to be rushing to the ASA to complain that it's untrue....

Friday 22 April 2011

Cue 'Outrage!' From The Usual Suspects...

An air steward from York who knifed his long-suffering wife in the back has walked free from court.

Father of two and grandfather Michael Horrocks, 48, formerly of Clitheroe but now of Newlands Drive, Acomb, left Karen, his wife of 26 years, pumping with blood after he attacked her with a kitchen knife with a 12-inch blade in a row at their home.
Monster! And how can the courts let him walk free? I thought they were supposed to protect 'vulnerable victims'?
He told her it was only a scratch, but she knew she had to go to hospital. He told her she should tell medical staff she had fallen off a ladder; otherwise he would lose his job with Thomson.

She suffered a two-centimetre laceration to his upper back but made a full recovery.
Was it out of character? A flash in the pan?
Horrocks, who admitted wounding but had no previous convictions, was given 52 weeks in prison, suspended for a year, with 12 months supervision and must comply with the community mental health team.

Burnley Crown Court heard that Mrs Horrocks would say her husband had two identities. He could be a loving, attentive and charming husband but on the other hand could be devious, particularly over money, violent, volatile and destructive.

In a statement, she said she had not wanted her husband to be before the court or to be punished and she talked of a potential reconciliation.

These women never learn, they are clearly in thrall to these misogynist animals, and the courts need to get far more aggressive in punishing the men who abuse their...

Oh. Wait. I might have made a few transcription errors in this story. Sorry about that!

As you were, nothing to see here after all, am I right?

Oh, and it should be noted that the judge in this case is Beverley Lunt. Yup, that's right. That Beverley Lunt...

No, Mary, You Can't Hope That That Will Work...

Mary Dejevsky suddenly wakes up to the nanny state:
I am as partial to a pizza as anyone, and the chain restaurant around the corner does a passable job, always recognising that it's a thousand or so miles from Naples. On a recent visit, the service was welcoming, the drinks arrived promptly, and the pizzas came properly crusty around the edges, with the cheese melting just as it should. But mine tasted of, well, nothing.
You'll never guess why?
I twitched the minimalist vase with the one marigold, but salt pot there was none. Nor on any other table. Hailing the waitress, I began: "Look, I know I shouldn't, but could I possibly have some ..." – she interrupted me – "salt?" A rather battered wooden salt mill was surreptitiously produced and handed over rather in the manner of a black-market transaction in Ceaucescu's Romania.
Bit pointless - if something's been cooked without salt, you can't just put it back in by sprinkling it on top. All that's going to do is make you thirsty...
Apparently, the chain has stopped putting salt in its pizzas; just stopped, in the name of the nation's health. Which is where you want to ask whether anyone in mass catering is actually allowed to rate taste as a selling point any more...
Doubtful. And certainly the public sector has swallowed that lesson whole; a friend informs me that in her civil service canteen, three huge block posters adorn the walls - 'Green', they shout, and 'Healthy', and 'Sustainable'.

'Tasty', you ask? Apparently, not a concern...
It's accepted that too much salt contributes to high blood pressure...
Is that in the same way it's 'accepted' that there are set levels of alcohol units that one shouldn't overindulge in, even though they are just finger-in-the-wind guesswork?

But it seems Mary doesn't really understand the people behind this at all:
"Fat-free" never took on quite the same prescriptive proportions in Britain as it did on the other side of the Atlantic. But that doesn't mean that sugar, given the renowned British sweet tooth and the hidden sweeteners in many processed foods and soft drinks, is much less of a problem. So here's a new cause for the food police – and it's one, as an anti-social chocophobe, I might even join.
Why, yes! Point at them, and hope they'll leave you alone. What could possibly go wrong?

Just How Do Security Gates ‘Breed Crime’..?

Multi-millionaires fighting a five-year feud over their gated community have won the right to segregate themselves from their neighbours.
Basically, they’ve outspent the local council. Quite a feat!
Home owners in the publicly-owned part of Coombe Park feared the creation of a Los Angeles-style gated community.
I can’t see why. It matters little to me what my neighbours do to prevent crime, so long as it doesn't impact upon me. Why does it upset some so much?
Opposing lawyers have fought over the issue since Kingston Council told Coombe Park Limited (CPL) to tear the gate down in May 2009 because it was built on the public section of the road.

However, councillors admitted defeat last week because of the dispute’s spiralling costs, and voted to enter into an agreement with CPL rather than risk £100,000 of taxpayers’ money by going to the High Court.
Very sensible. They can’t be very sure of their case, then…
Dr Robin Tillett, a Coombe Park resident who campaigned against the gate, said: “I think the council has let us down.

“They didn’t follow through properly with the whole issue and it’s going to be a complete disaster because they are going to keep the gates, and next gates will be going up everywhere.

“If they had acted properly at the start and put an injunction on them then this wouldn’t have happened, which is why we have got to where we are.”
What does it matter to you if ‘gates go up everywhere’? Is it that you resent the fact that these people have the money to put them up, and you don’t?

Are you one of those people who would rather all were equally miserable than that some were 'unfairly' happy?
Speaking after the meeting Councillor Patrick Codd said there was no other way forward, despite his fears of a divided community.

He said: “Unfortunately we were in a situation when we were going to High Court to talk about a few feet of land. It would have been difficult because there is no guide. This is something very very difficult to prove.
“I am opposed to gated communities, they breed fear of crime and they are antisocial.”
Just how do they do that? And is a security gate more ‘antisocial’ than letting vandals rob and damage with impunity?

Perhaps you should be looking to your local magistrate's court policies instead?

Not Quite As Daft As It Sounds...

Yesterday a coroner expressed surprise at why a doctor was summoned.
Even though there was no head, and the maggots, you had to call him in?’ Dr Shirley Radcliffe asked Det Insp Chuk Gwams.
The officer replied: ‘Yes Ma’am. They are the experts, we are not.’
Now, there's a hell of a lot of sniggering in the comments, but if the 'Mail' doesn't know any better, the coroner certainly should!

Yes, they do have to have life certified extinct by a qualified doctor. It's the law. The police officer didn't write it...

Why is this not a story about a coroner who is apparently ignorant of that fact?

Thursday 21 April 2011

Oh, Wait, Not MY Sacred Cow!

Via Tim Worstall:
Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, Nigeria, Britain – if you've been following the news from these countries in the last few months, you've probably also been following updates on some pretty serious pro-democracy organising. It is perhaps this apparently voracious appetite for democratic participation that the average person has that the UK government is hoping to capitalise on with its Red Tape Challenge project.
So quoth Zohra Moosa, women's rights adviser at ActionAid UK. So she's in favour?

Well, only when it goes so far, and no further:
In addition to the regulations on hallmarking, weights and measures and "trading with the enemy" (really), which all sit under the category of "retail challenge", the Equality Act has also been identified for this "red-tape cutting" under the category of "general regulations".
The five other contenders in this category similarly relate to people's wellbeing and the law and are considered to apply to all sectors. But the approach taken towards the Equality Act is slightly different to all the others. Instead of referring to specific regulations on how the act is implemented, Red Tape Challenge poses the consultation questions exclusively about the act itself.
OMG!! Disaster!!!!
This distinction between regulation and act is important. What would it mean if the answer to the very first Red Tape Challenge question, "Should they be scrapped altogether?", is an overwhelming "yes"?
It'd mean a hell of a lot of businesses would suddenly find themselves free of stifling and pointless regulation. It'd mean that some small limited amount of sanity reigned in the world of the public sector. It'd mean that, for once, 'the people have spoken!' would be more than just a phrase.

Oh, and it'd mean that people like you wouldn't have a cozy sinecure for life.

What's not to like?

That Definition Of ‘Children’ Slips Again…

Two children were abandoned by their mum and left to live in squalor for up to a year, a court heard.
Good grief!
When the youngsters were discovered, the house was full of mouldy saucepans containing rotten food, half full wine bottles, animal excrement, rotting mattresses stained with animal urine and torn wallpaper. Although it is not known how long the children were left on their own, it could have been going on for up to a year, a court was told.

Outrageous! She should be horsewhipped! And then...

Wait. 'Youngsters'? Just how old were these children?

The teenagers, aged 14 and 15 at the time...

Teenagers? You mean, we aren’t talking three/four-year-olds here?
… were found by ambulance crews in conditions described as “utterly squalid”, while their 42-year-old mother was living 15 minutes away with her boyfriend, the court heard.
I don’t care if she was living 15 miles away, they are old enough to take care of themselves, surely? OK, abandoning them is illegal, she should rightly be castigated for that, but blaming her for the conditions of the house while they are (technically) capable of keeping it – and themselves – clean is not quite cricket.
Judge Richard Price said: “She abandoned her children leaving them quite literally to wallow in their own filth.” Describing the defendant as callous and cruel, he added: “You don’t seem to understand the long term psychological damage you have done to these children. “You cannot have failed to see the mess that the house was in, you couldn’t fail to appreciate how dangerous that was, you couldn’t have failed to appreciate how your children were suffering – what did you do about that? Nothing.”
Indeed. Just as, it seems, these ‘children’ themselves did…nothing.

Maybe they aren’t legally culpable, but (absent any mental retardation) they aren’t totally helpless either.
Chris Stopa, mitigating, said any requests with the children to do something got no response and the defendant had no help from the children’s father. “What she did was distance herself from what was going on at the house because it was too difficult to deal with – that of course shouldn’t happen, she now understands that. She would come back and check what the position was, as it got worse and worse her ability to do anything about it became less and less.”
Absent father, mother with ‘issues’. This is getting better and better. How about drink and/or drugs?
The defendant was suffering with depression and there was a suggestion that she had been drinking a lot.
There we have it!

But that doesn’t explain why a story that seems to be about the utter helplessness and dependency of ‘children’ turns out not to actually be about children as any normal adult would perceive them, does it?

We Just Want Your Votes, Not Your Opinions....

Lynsey Hanley in CiF on Labour's attempts to woo working class voters:
The worst thing Labour could do is to ditch its "metropolitan elite liberal values" purely because it is being bullied by populists who love to bandy that phrase around. They're the same values I embraced as a provincial working-class teenager, who was desperate to hear a view of life that wasn't paranoid, suspicious, mistrustful, misogynist and racist. These were the grim corollaries of social solidarity, which emphasised sameness over difference.
Wow, she could give Liz Jones lessons in utterly despising her own culture!
From direct and felt experience I appreciate that the repeated experience of unwelcome change is important to understanding aspects of a collective working-class outlook – if we can pin down such a thing. But you can't treat the symptoms of dispossession as though they're inherently worthy of preservation.
Translation: 'I loathe the culture I came from and I want to do everything in my power to change it to the one I prefer, now vote for the things I want, you ignorant, miserable peasants!'.

I can't understand why this isn't going down well, can you?

Wednesday 20 April 2011

"I 'ad That Jenny Jones On The Bonnet Of Me Cab Once, Yer Know..."

The Green Party's Mayoral candidate risked angering thousands of taxi drivers today by suggesting they were putting the lives of cyclists at risk.

London Assembly member Jenny Jones said that reckless drivers had twice forced her off the road and had hurled abuse from their black cabs.
Why assume it's because you're a cyclist, Jenny? It might just be because of your other barmy ideas?

Spending To ‘Save’….

The under claiming of free school meals and other benefits by families of Kingston children will be on the agenda at a seminar next month.
Why, it’s surely saving money, isn’t it?
There are 4,930 children living in poverty in Kingston according to the official figures.

Families who earn less than £17,500 a year are eligible to claim free meals from Kingston Council.

The Child Poverty seminar organised by Kingston Voluntary Action is aiming to find out why families are reluctant to claim.
Since there’s penty of information out there about it, easily accessible, I’d say leave it up to them. After all, it’s not as if this would benefit anyone other than…

Schools can also claim a premium of £430 for each pupil classed as poor towards the school budget.
Now it all makes sense!

Trendy Vicar Alert!

The vicar says this blessing was all part of his plan to become known in the area and for people to realise he is approachable rather than stuffy.
The stunt? Blessing a tankful of fish used to give pedicures…
He added: “It’s not the sort of thing you imagine a vicar doing but I’m quite different to the church’s last vicar that was here.

“I’m full of character and a bit of an extrovert.

“I’m new to the parish as I have only been here six months and so I want people to see me as approachable and a bit of a laugh and not at all stuffy.”
Yup, that’s bound to attract new members to the church! How could it possibly fail?
Unique owner Heidi Goodall said: “He seemed quite into reinventing the church and I think he’s going about it in the right way.”
Yes, and once it’s reinvented, will it even be a church?

Clearly A Far More Troubling Question Than ‘Daddy Or Chips?’…

…that being ‘skirts or trousers?’:
Schoolgirls have been warned they will be sent home if they are caught wearing skinny fit trousers or leggings.
Oh, why?
One source at the Falmer Road comprehensive, said: “They wear a shirt over leggings.

“But they are not thick leggings. They are like tights so you can see their pants.

“It’s not all girls, just some.”
So, deal with those girls. How hard is that?
Headteacher Haydn Stride said in a newsletter to parents that skinny fit trousers had become more of a problem since the introduction of a standard skirt last September.

He said: “If trousers are not appropriate then students may be sent home and parent/carers will need to buy alternative trousers."
Splendid! Tackling the problem, rather than slapping a blanket ban on something.

But you might want to beware the problem experienced by other schools:
A school may ban girls from wearing skirts because they often look like they are 'going to a nightclub'.

Girls at Tewkesbury School in Gloucestershire could be forced to wear trousers as part of a move to stamp out sloppy dress.
And will they then turn to skinny-fit trousers?

Probably, as they’ll have the same effect:
Headteacher John Reilly complains some are wearing them so short they are 'almost like belts’.
Well, trousers aren’t necessarily going to be any better…

Tuesday 19 April 2011

A New Policy! Bound To Solve All Problems!

A new policy that deals with bad behaviour ‘quickly, effectively and consistently’has been drawn up by Darwen Vale High School bosses.
Yes, it’s this place in the news once more.
Headteacher Hilary Torpey has revealed that the proposed new disciplinary code has been given to the unions, leadership staff and governors for consultation.
I thought the problem – as outlined by the striking teachers – was lack of adherence to the old disciplinary code?

So why would a new one make the slightest bit of difference?

After all, with geniuses like this on the board of governors, I suspect the school is doomed anyway:
Don Heatlie-Jackson, chairman of governors at Darwen Vale High School, said: "I would also like to reiterate that we have no serious concerns about behaviour at Darwen Vale - it is no different to any other school in the borough.
Is any other borough school in the newspapers because their staff are striking? No?

Then clearly, there’s something different about this one.

Mind you, the council itself seems staffed with morons:
Coun Maureen Bateson, executive member for children’s services at Blackburn with Darwen Council, said: ‘We have to ensure children are the number one priority and parents are getting to know what’s going on. I do hope all parties can get round the table and resolve the issues as soon as possible.’
Actually, it’s children’s education that should be the number one priority.

Making children themselves the ‘number one priority’ has proven to be the problem, not the solution…

Playing With Percentages

More than 50 men have been issued with ‘abduction notices’ to stop them approaching children in East Lancashire.
A bit of paper warning them that they are being watched? Why not just haul ‘em back into prison?
Police said the notices were used as a ‘shot across the bows’ by officers when there was evidence of concerning behaviour by potential abusers.

They are given when behaviour is seen to be a significant risk but falls short of a prosecution.
Ah. Right.
Officers said they had also ‘protected’ almost 200 youngsters from child sexual exploitation during the past six months Specialist team Engage in Blackburn with Darwen, Hyndburn and Ribble Valley, has identified 134 victims and Freedom in Burnley, Pendle and Rossendale, has helped 61 victims.
That’s quite a lot. What of the offenders?
The team has also identified 44 individuals involved in sexual exploitation of which 32 were white, 11 asian and one other. Of those, 20 have been arrested, five charged and 21 abduction notices issued.

Pennine’s Freedom team, which has dedicated police, children’s services and a health nurse, has identified 13 individuals, of whom five are white and eight asian. They have made 10 arrests leading to one charge and issued 33 abduction notices.
Jack Straw, Blackburn MP, said: “These figures show what a great job Lancashire police is doing and the effectiveness of the Engage programme. The breakdown by ethnicity is consistent with what I’ve said all along, that the majority of perpetrators of this type of crime are white. But I maintain that there is an issue and a specific problem within some areas of the Pakistani community.”
Well, I hate to point out the bleedin’ obvious, but you’re basing that on the numbers caught doing it.

Not the numbers actually doing it.

"But before the night is through, I wanna do bad things with you..."

A bottle of blood was found by a bus stop...
No, not in Bon Temps, Louisiana.

In Southend:
The vial was discovered in Chichester Road, Southend, by a horrified passer-by who reported it to the police.
Police arrived at the scene at about 7pm on Wednesday and removed the long thin plastic container filled with blood.

But they have been left perplexed by the find, after enquiries with local hospitals and the ambulance service have failed to identify the source of the blood.
Comments are, as expected, hilarious...

They're Just Like Us!

See, same idiotic system of 'justice' and overly-lenient attitude to youths and minorities:
The 16-year-old charged with murdering two British holidaymakers in Florida was freed by a judge two weeks ago after he was arrested over an armed robbery, it emerged today.
Shawn Tyson, who allegedly shot James Cooper and James Kouzaris in the back as they ran away, was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon following the incident.
However as it was his first offence he was released from custody while police investigated the case.
Oh, hang on a minute...
He will now be charged as an adult and, if convicted of first-degree murder of the two Britons on Saturday evening, could face the death penalty.
Hmm, maybe not.

Of course, further on in the article, the author can't resist a little Yank-bashing:
This tragic case shows just how risky it can be to stray into the wrong neighbourhood in Florida. That is certainly what I discovered during my spell between 1998 and 2006 as the British Consul in Orlando, one of the most popular places for visiting Britons.

Away from the all the luxury and glamour of the attractions and hotels, a gun-toting, drug-fuelled menace awaits where people live in abject deprivation on a scale unimaginable in Britain, with our generous welfare state and infrastructure of public services.

This desperate poverty and squalor has served as the breeding ground for serious, often lethal crime from young men who feel they have nothing to lose, in a society which has given them nothing.
Hmmm, anyone reminded of something? Because I most certainly am.

We've nothing to point and laugh at the US over, have we?

Monday 18 April 2011

Greg Dyke Would Have A Word For This Line Up...

Much wailing and gnashing of teeth in the 'Guardian' over the government decision to discontinue support to the Poppy Project. It's an outage, a scandal, it's going to result in huge number of trafficked women, etc, etc.

Of course, it's not that the government has realised what Tim Worstall's been patiently pointing out for ages. In fact, even the 'Guardian' has, in the past, accepted that their claims are at best hugely exaggerated.

And in a move seen as adding insult to injury:
The £4m contract for services that the charity developed went instead to the Salvation Army, a decision that the government said was "much better for victims of trafficking".
Hmmm, it may well just be a case that the government is following the rules of the progressives on 'diversity' as closely as they've always said they wanted?
Her all-female team of 16 support workers provides around-the-clock support and accommodation for those women who are trafficked to Britain and forced into prostitution or servitude.
Huh..?!? Is that a good gender mix? I mean, is it diverse and representative of the wider community? Does it even reflect the aims of the organisation itself?
The Poppy Project, which is committed to ending all prostitution on the grounds that it "helps to construct and maintain gender inequality"...
Guess not.

And for an organisation that claims to be concerned with foreign prostitution, it does look a hell of a lot like...

Well, see for yourself:

Greg Dyke's worst nightmare

Well, time to see if they are a real charity (funded by the public) or a fakecharity (funded by government):
"But really it is about getting women to the stage where they have their freedom back," said Ivens, who this week will adopt another role – campaigning to raise the £1.8m a year required to help women like Maria and Mansa.

I think I'll keep making my donations to a rather different 'Poppy Project'.

Why Are Questions Not Being Asked….

…about why this chap was employed with this company in the first place?
A council contractor has been jailed following a crash which left a teenager with life-long injuries.
Read on…
Geoffrey Lee, 29, was driving a van near Tesco Extra, in Hazelmere, Pitsea, when the door swung out and hit Siam McEwan.

The 17-year-old was left with a fractured skull, broken shoulder, and is now deaf in one ear following the crash last June.

It later emerged Lee had been working for grass-cutting company English Landscapes, on behalf of Basildon Council, but failed to tell them he had no licence and insurance. He had also taken the van despite expressly being told not to use it.
Bang to rights, you might think. Especially since he didn’t only hit the girl:
Southend Crown Court heard Lee first crashed it into a Saab, lifting the vehicle eight inches into the air, before driving away with the back doors of the van flapping open.

It was then that one of the doors struck Siam who was with her boyfriend, Michael Hoskyn.
He pled guilty. Well, why make them work for it?
Lee, of Stanfield Road, Southend, admitted aggravated vehicle taking, driving without due care and attention, driving with no licence, and driving with no insurance.
And the lazy CPS decided that was enough, and why bother to do their job over the other charges he faced:
Charges of failing to stop and driving without due care and attention were dropped after Lee pleaded not guilty to both.
First time offence? I mean, how could he have got a job involving driving if it wasn’t, right?

But noooo:
The court heard he had previous convictions for failing to stop, driving without a licence, and driving without insurance.
Are these things you don’t have to disclose to prospective employers? Do they not have a duty to check that you have a valid license? Or was his failure to show that the reason he was barred from taking the van?
Lee, who is the father of a 13-month-old son, was jailed for ten months and banned from driving for two years.

No order was made for costs or compensation because of the prison sentence.
That’s it? That’s all?
A pre-sentence probation service report said Lee saw the offences as a series of unfortunate accidents beyond his control.

Crocodile Tears…

Maura Kelly is just thinking of the victims, of course:
Death penalty proponents argue that executions help victims' family members feel that justice has been done, and indeed, Terry Urnosky said back in 2003 that he thought the death sentence was part of God's plan for Foster. But others who've endured similar tragedies oppose the capital punishment, arguing that the agonising appeals process that so often accompanies a death penalty case exacerbates their pain and, far from helping them overcome their loss, keeps it in the forefront of their minds.
Yes, we clearly shouldn’t torture these poor souls any more. Let’s just let their murderers escape the penalty passed on them by society and the legal system.

That’ll make them cheer up, right?
More to the point, the long, slow appeals process exacts a toll from victims' families. Sure, some survivors do say things like, "I was really looking forward to sitting in the front row while they executed this guy," (as Karen Bond told the Chicago Tribune after Illinois Governor Pat Quinn commuted her son's murderer's sentence). But others want the criminals who ruined their lives to get nothing less than … life.
So, some say this and some say that and you clearly prefer that, so you’ll just ignore all the people who say this and proclaim that the people who say that have some kind of unimpeachable moral authority?
… Laura Porter from Equal Justice USA, a grassroots organisation working to improve the justice system, increase services for families of homicide victims and repeal the death penalty, says: "I work with many murder victim's family members […] and I'm hearing more and more voices calling for repeal of the death penalty, citing the fact that the endless appeals process harms victims."
I suspect that’s because you are choosing the ‘murder victim’s families’ that you work with very, very carefully…

Why can’t these people just openly admit, up front, that they don’t agree with the death penalty? Why the need to co-opt the opinions of the families of the victims (at least, those that agree with them)?

What Is The Welsh For…

…’dim self-obsessed f***wit’?
Children taking part in a run on a mist-covered Welsh mountain lost their way after a man removed safety signs and course markings
What?! Why would anyone do such a th…

because they were written in English.
Mike Blake, 63, the race’s organiser, said: “We believe the signs were taken down by a person who is a Welsh activist and who is against anything English.

“It is ridiculous. We had put the run on to raise money for the local primary school and we faced a situation where kids’ safety was put at risk.”
They should throw the book at him.
A man who allegedly took the signs was identified and reported to the police.
That court case will be interesting...

Sunday 17 April 2011

Banging The ‘Poverty’ Drum Yet Again…

Too many children are turning up at school hungry, poorly dressed and unfit to study because of rising poverty levels, a teaching union warns today.
Really? Tell me, teaching union, does this also happen in Africa or India or South America, where real poverty exists?

Do those teachers wail and gnash their teeth and rend their garments in the national press? Or do they shut up and get on with the job?
In an ATL survey of 627 teachers from primary, secondary, sixth form and further education colleges, almost 80 per cent said they had students living in poverty.

Four in ten thought the recession had made matters worse, and 86 per cent said it was affecting the general well-being of pupils.
So, six out of ten didn’t think the recession made it worse?

And what do these geniuses recommend? Wait, no, don’t tell me, let me guess….
Staff believed one-to-one support was important to help pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds stay in education, along with extending free school meals.
Of course! More of everyone else’s money, and greater employment opportunities for teachers…
The problems are to be raised at ATL's annual conference in Liverpool next week.

Its general secretary Mary Bousted said: 'It is appalling that in 2011 so many children in the UK are severely disadvantaged by their circumstances and fail to achieve their potential.

'The Government should concentrate on tackling the causes of deprivation and barriers to attainment that lock so many young people into a cycle of poverty.'
How about we look at why people who can’t afford to raise children properly keep on having them anyway?

”Because making something disappear isn't enough; you have to bring it back.”

Specially trained police officers and a chaplain spent 17-hours trying to talk down a man from a notorious suicide spot.

The 37-year-old paced along Sugar Loaf cliffs at Beachy Head, near Eastbourne, as officers offered support.
Bet they thought the worst that could go wrong was he’d jump…
But despite the surveillance, the man, who had reportedly told officers he wanted to jump, went missing at midday, triggering a two hours police and coastguard search.
A man was later arrested on suspicion of committing criminal damage.
Because ‘giving the police the slip while they are supposed to be carefully looking out for your welfare’ isn’t a crime. Yet.

"How Dare You Give Us Free Stuff?!"

No, this isn't turning into an anti-cyclists blog (how could I ever read Blognor Regis or Very British Dude again without a hot feeling of shame if it did?), but really, this is getting ridiculous:
An AA scheme giving away 5,000 high-visibility bicycle helmets and jackets has enraged some cyclists.
The motoring organisation was handing out the items at Waterloo Place, off Pall Mall, this morning and Lincoln's Inn Fields in Holborn this afternoon after it found in a survey that less than five per cent of Boris bikers used a helmet. The Raleigh Missile helmets sell for up to £27.
Who could possibly object to being handed, free, no cost, gratis, some safety equipment? Well, it seems there does indeed exist such a group of people:
But cyclists said the AA should direct its energy at improving motorists' behaviour rather than creating the impression that cycling is unsafe.
Cycling isn't unsafe, of course. Like anything else, if done properly and responsibly, it's as safe as any other activity.

But the behaviour of some cyclists risks making it so. And it's likely to be the same sort of cyclists that - rather than embrace this as a cracking idea - whinge about it instead.
Jim Gleeson said: "Maybe cyclists could reciprocate by giving out free eye-glasses and copies of the Highway Code to drivers."
From what I've seen, a lot of cyclists could benefit from reading that themselves...

London Marathon...

Yes, it's the day of the London Marathon. Not something I normally pay attention to but in this case, I'll be watching out for one runner in particular.
A 75-year-old carer with terminal bone cancer said she is determined to complete her 10th London Marathon - but will not be running.

Daphne Hathaway, from Norfolk, who looks after her husband who has Alzheimer's Disease, has been told running could lead to bone fractures, so she will be walking the route.
Truly, our finest generation. Godspeed, Daphne!

Via CJ Nerd, by email.

Sunday Funnies

Yeah, you really can't choose your relatives...

Saturday 16 April 2011

Roll Up, Roll Up, The Circus Is In Town!

Campaigners have staged an anti-eviction protest at the gates of Dale Farm traveller camp.
Let’s have a look at the clowns, shall we?
Yves Cabannes, a professor at the University of London and chairman of the UN advisory group on forced evictions congratulated the traveller families on continuing to live illegally at Dale Farm in the face of the council’s threat to remove them by force.
I guess he isn’t a professor of law?

Ah, it seems his ‘expertise’ is in ‘urban and municipal governance’. How lucky Dale Farm is, to have such a towering intellect on their side…
He said: “A forced eviction is the wrong way to go about things. If Dale Farm is not suitable, that is not the responsibility of the people.

“It is for the Government to deliver what it is expected to deliver, which is proper pitches or places for them to settle.”
It’s ‘not the responsibility of the people’ who are breaking the law, but the responsibility of the society that builds that law for its people.

Wow! I think he just uttered a rallying call to a whole host of freaks and weirdos and anarchists and…

Oh. They’re already here:
Protesters in camper vans, from as far away as Croatia, Kosovo, Spain, Germany, Belgium, Scotland and Wales arrived to demonstrate on what had been declared World Zero Evictions Day.
I wonder if they’ve all gone, or if they’ll stick around for the dénouement?

Interesting, Isn’t It..?

The things that are automatically deemed ‘trivial’:
It was meant to provide an insight into the policies that might help make Britain a happier place.

But David Cameron’s £2 million drive to produce a ‘wellbeing index’ was branded a farce last night after it emerged that a public consultation had been bombarded with trivial ideas.
Such as..?
One contributor said they would like to see better quality pies and chip butties
Yup, that’s trivial all right.

Any more?
Another urged the Government to provide ‘something half decent on TV’
Yup, pointless.
One contributor called for an end to the smoking ban, saying: ‘I would love to go out again and relax with a few pints and some cigarettes, relaxing with friends.
'A pint just isn't the same anymore when I need to go outside in all weathers to smoke my cigarette at the same time as drinking my pint.’
Err, no, that’s not ‘trivial’ at all.
In a contribution that seems unlikely to be adopted as Government policy, one member of the public said they would only be happy if they were ‘free to protect my property and family, with a gun if needs be’.
And nor is that.

So why lump them all in together? Unless you wanted to encourage people to point and laugh at such radical concepts as freedom, tolerance and the right to self-protection?

It Takes Two To Tango…

Urgent action is needed to protect cyclists from lorries and buses, with 230 cyclists killed or seriously injured every month on Britain's crowded roads, campaigners say.
And that urgent action is targeted at…only one of the partners in the dance:
Legislation requiring hauliers to fit the 450,000 lorries in Britain with sensors and emergency braking systems is being examined in Brussels following intensive lobbying by relatives of a young woman killed when she was dragged under the wheels of a HGV as it turned without the driver noticing her in the vehicle's "blind spot".
I don’t ride a bike, but I’ve heard of the ‘blind spot’ and the dangers of buses and lorries not seeing you if they are turning left.

Why, then, have so many cyclists not heard? Why are they not learning from the well-publicised deaths of their fellow cyclists?
But a spate of deaths in London this year, and a growing toll of casualties nationwide, has prompted demands for better education of lorry and bus drivers, as well as cyclists themselves.
Aha! See, the ‘Indy’ realises there’s two sides to this equation.

Sadly that’s the last mention of it in the whole article.
Campaigners called for hauliers to be compelled to buy equipment which alerts drivers if a cyclist pulls up alongside them and brings the vehicle to an automatic halt if there is a risk of a collision.
What about something fitted to all bikes that alert cyclists that there’s a 10-tonne wheeled crushing machine parked off their right shoulder and they’d better not try to cut in front of it?

I mean, we clearly can’t expect them to use the two little orbs in their head, can we?
Julie Townsend, of road safety group Brake, said: "Too many trucks pose an unacceptably high risk to people on foot and bicycle. We're appealing to all operators to fit the latest technology to reduce blind spots and we're calling for the law to be tightened up to help prevent more families going through the devastation of sudden, violent deaths and injuries."
Oh, ‘Brake’, well, of course! The only vehicle they seem to love is the bandwagon…
The London Cycling Campaign, which promotes safer cycling in the capital, has produced a nine-point-plan for reducing the toll of death and injury among cyclists:

* Enforce speed limits and clamp down on drivers who use mobile phones.
* Crack down on hit-and-run drivers, who account for a large portion of serious road injuries.
* Introduce 20mph speed limits in all built-up and shopping areas of Britain's towns and cities.
* Require all lorries to carry full safety equipment to help them avoid collisions with cyclists: six mirrors, sensors and safety guards.
* Require organisations which run lorries and other large vehicles to provide their drivers with cyclist awareness training, as already practised in four London boroughs.
* Include a "cycle awareness" section in the driving theory and practical tests
* Allocate more road space to cycling, as has been done in The Netherlands and Denmark, among other places.
* Provide all children with access to Bikeability cycle training, the current version of the Cycling Proficiency test
* Encourage less car use and more cycling so that, as in The Netherlands and Denmark, collision rates for cyclists are reduced.
Nine points, and only one – point eight – that places some responsibility on the cyclist…

ManWiddecombe also notes this, and asks a pertinent question:
” Why no call for a riding test, licensing, regular MOT test, compulsory insurance for bikes and riders? These things that motorists are subjected to must be reducing road deaths (unless there is another reason for them?) so why not demand that cyclists prove they and their vehicle are road safe?”
Why not, indeed…

Christina Patterson’s Lovely Day Out….

…seems to have been very lovely indeed:
The other day, I went to a spa. The Jacuzzi was lovely. The sauna was soothing. And the Chinese doctor, who turned out to be Italian, was kind.
That’s nice for you, sweetie…
He took my pulse, gazed into my eyes and explained that the flow of chi, or energy, was all about the emozioni. So what, he asked, was the state of mine? For a moment, I was floored. Then the floodgates opened. I told him about a row at work. I told him about the Japanese earthquake. I told him about a friend who had died. The doctor nodded gravely, and picked up a pen. In his beautiful Italian handwriting, he wrote out a prescription for lavender tea and a massage called "change in wind".
What’s that they say about ‘A fool and their money..’?
I thought of this when I heard that David Cameron's plan to measure happiness was starting this month.
Yes, bet you did!
You might think that a year when a government is cutting hundreds of thousands of jobs, decimating public services and preparing to throw thousands of people out of their council homes, isn't an ideal time to be finding out whether those people start each day by whistling a happy tune.
On the other hand, those hundreds of thousands who had previously been working to pay the inflated salaries and lifestyles of those people might have had cause to feel a bit chipper about it, eh?
There isn't, I think, a man in the country who could match David Cameron for optimism. This is a man who still looks as smiley and shiny and pink as the day he popped out of the womb. This, after all, is a man who thinks you can blow a giant hole in public spending without affecting "frontline services", and that you can axe public services and replace them with volunteers.
It’s not the fault of Cameron that the vested interests in the civil service and local councils are chopping frontline services while ensuring their own little empires of five-a-day co-ordinators and diversity consultants, is it?
What's wrong with measuring what Cameron (a bit like the spa) likes to call its "well-being"?
Well, maybe nothing. The happiness studies, after all, seem remarkably consistent about what makes people happy, or at least reasonably satisfied, and what doesn't. What does, to summarise all the books you now won't have to buy, are things like a happy marriage, nice friends, good health and fulfilling work. Oh, and money. Not truckloads of it, but ideally a little bit more than the man next door.
Since most of those things are actually within a person’s own reach, I fail to see how it’s seen as a politician’s remit?
Some of this is stuff that politicians can help with. Some of it isn't.
So, what could they do, Christina?
What they can do is help with our health. They could, for example, ensure that the healthy school lunches, devised and championed by the nation's second most optimistic man, Jamie Oliver, which have cut absenteeism through sickness by 14 per cent, and boosted academic performance, don't, as looks likely, become too expensive for poorer parents to afford.
They could make sure that all children in the state school system are encouraged – in a way that I clearly wasn't – to exercise, or play sport. They could limit the advertising of fast food to children. They could ban trans-fats. They could, in other words, try to prevent some of the conditions – obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer – which are threatening to bankrupt the NHS.
Right, so your grand plan to increase happiness, which you are prepared to gift to the coalition free, is to increase the nannying, scolding, pettifogging NuPuritan aspect of the modern UK government?

I don't think anyone will be calling you, somehow.

Unions – Here To Help..?

A dispute by Essex firefighters which has been running for nearly two years has saved the service more than £2million.
Members of the Fire Brigades Union are refusing to work overtime or to “act up” – filling in when more senior officers are off.

Fire chief David Johnson says the dispute is irrelevant as the changes which triggered it have have been successfully introduced.
So they saved the bosses tons of money AND failed to resolve anything? Double whoops!
He warns overtime and acting up payments could now be lost for good in view of the savings that have been made.
Treble whoops!
“During the course of this industrial action, the service has saved £2.2million, with negligible impact on our frontline service.

“With such a significant saving to our running costs and the current challenging financial climate, we have to expect challenge from Essex Fire Authority on whether these practices should be reinstated once the action has come to an end.”
If they don’t, they must be utterly negligent. This is, after all, a dispute and a catastrophe entirely of the union’s own making:
The dispute, about the level of cover required for aerial ladders and other specialist equipment, started in August 2009.

It was temporarily suspended a year ago when an agreement had been reached in principal.

But the industrial action was resumed last September when the union claimed management had added a clause to the agreement document.
How do they feel now, I wonder?
The union did not respond to requests for a comment.
Never mind. There’s always someone who’ll point out the obvious:
Heinz, Earls Colne says...

So, Essex firefighters effectively lost £2.2 million in pay.

I wonder how much their FBU organisers lost?
I’d guess…nothing!

And until union members wise up and start punishing their leaders for getting them embroiled in hopeless battles they can't win, nothing's going to change...

Friday 15 April 2011

Strange Priorities...

A three-year-old boy was found drinking from a can of lager while his parents were at the pub, a court has heard.

He was one of five youngsters living amid "shocking" conditions in a house in Blackpool, Lancashire.
Isn't this sort of Dickensian squalor why we are supposed to have social workers?
Angela Freer, 31, and Christopher Steele, 55, were given suspended sentences at Preston Crown Court after admitting child neglect.
Virginia Hayton, defending Freer, said her client had learning disabilities and had "genuine love and affection for her children".

Nicholas Courtney, defending Steele, said his client accepted he left the children alone, but added the events were "borne out of inadequacy rather than malice".
So why weren't those children in care long before things reached this state? No doubt they will whine about 'lack of resources'.

And yet, as Tom Paine shows, they always find time to spare to expand the reach of the state to those who don't need or want it...

H/T: Reader Phi Angle via email