Wednesday 31 August 2011

Growing Old Disgracefully?

Richard Burrington, mitigating, said the defendant had been a troubled youth, but had not been involved in a serious offence for 20 years after meeting his wife.
For twenty years? How old are these reprobates?
Jonathan Fairchild, 66, of Hannett Road, Canvey, was involved in a long-running dispute with neighbour Alan Nutt, 52, over a tree which was overhanging his garden.

Matters spilled over on July 23, when Fairchild, who had been drinking, lost his temper with Mr Nutt, claiming he was playing music too loudly.

He marched next door and confronted him with the knife in front of several witnesses.
Good lord!
Judge Alan Saggerson, sentencing Fairchild at Basildon Crown Court, said: “The law takes a serious view of possession of a knife in a public place, not because drunken morons like you take knives out with malicious intent, but because accidents can and do happen.

This is the sort of ridiculous behaviour I’m accustomed to dealing with drunken teenagers.”
Others are clearly taking no chances:
Over-55s at a retirement complex have been slapped with a booze ban following anti-social behaviour from elderly residents.
Yes, it’s the return of collective punishment, folks! All because a couple of them had a bit too much sherry.
Gobsmacked tenants looking to enjoy a summer drink have been told they cannot consume alcohol in their communal gardens following reports of fighting at the quaint housing complex.

Staffordshire Housing Association have already removed residents’ garden furniture after two neighbours were caught brawling at Bishop Court, in Stoke on Trent, Staffs.
I really can’t see the benefit in removing the furniture, unless the HA staff have seen one too many westerns, and think there’s likely to be an orgy of chair-breaking, should the residents’ sciatica be up to it…
Tom, 58, said: “They’re taking my liberties away. I like a drink when the sun comes out and they’re stopping me from sitting out. It’s out of order and like being in a prison.
Well, no, Tom. It’s worse than being in a prison.

Despite the fact that people in prison have committed offences to get there and you haven’t, you’d actually be treated with far more respect in a prison…

Shhh! Don’t Mention The Dog Fighting!

A dog with a life-threatening blood disorder has been stolen from an RSPCA centre in Coventry by a man posing as a potential adopter.

The man took Chippy, a mastiff-cross, from the site on Coundon Wedge Drive at 11:30 BST on Monday, the charity said.

He was able to take the dog for a walk after leaving house keys and a bike, but these proved to be false as he did not return for them.
Perhaps next time, you should ask for a deposit?
The normal re-homing procedures, including asking relevant questions, were followed when the man came to the centre, the charity said.

The man, in his early 20s, has been described as having brown hair, blue eyes and a pock-marked face, about 5ft 7ins tall with having tattoos on his hands and neck.

The RSPCA added that he was wearing a grey tracksuit with a dark blue/grey cap.
The BBC doesn’t seem interested in answering the unspoken question of just why anyone would steal a dog like this.

For that, we have to turn to the Coventry Telegraph:
Kennel supervisor, Jennie Hamlet, added: “All we want is to have Chippy back in our care so we can find him a loving home where we know he will be ok.

"We are really worried due the type of dog he is that he may well fall into the wrong hands which would be devastating for all of us...”
Sounds to me like he wasn’t exactly in the right hands before he was stolen…

Time's Up!

For the Dale Farm illegal campsite:
“I’m very angry,” one woman shouts, face screwed up and emotions unchecked. “Why is that lady on the radio putting out all that c--p about us? I have three children. Where am I going to go?”

The immediate source of provocation is Radio Essex, which is running a phone-in on the 10-year battle between Basildon council and the travellers who have been living here illegally since 2001.
Yes, it's the longest-running eviction battle I've ever known, and at last, barring a last-minute reprieve from a judge who'd never dream of having to live next door to these people, it'll soon be over.
Understandably, the travellers don’t take too kindly to the locals ringing in to say they should “go back to Ireland”, and calling them, “a bunch of people who are trying to avoid paying tax and ignoring the rules of the land’’. But the real tension is caused by the knowledge that, for many of those who have made their homes here, time is running out. Tomorrow, a 28-day notice issued by Basildon council requiring them to vacate the site will expire.
The travellers claim that, although the land is green belt, it was never a prized beauty spot. “It wasn’t all babbling brooks and big oak trees when we moved here,” says Bridget McCarthy. “It was a broken down scrapyard.” (The council confirms that a corner of the land had been used, without permission, as a scrapyard since the Sixties).
I wonder by whom..?
The local primary, Crays Hill, is now almost exclusively a travellers’ school; 107 of the 110 registered pupils are from the travelling community. They don’t always turn up for class – the Ofsted report cites “significantly below average attendance levels” – and tend to lag behind their peers academically. Local parents have felt pressured into bussing their children out of the area to other schools.
No doubt the teachers wish they could do the same! 'Welcome to Crays Hill, Miss Jones. Here's your key to the stationery cupboard, here's a class timetable and - oh, here it is - your Kevlar vest!'
The trouble is that there isn’t the same consideration for the rights and wishes of those who aren’t travellers. A wily few of the travelling community have become adept at exploiting legislation that’s intended to protect those who’ve been hard done by, and where they lead the others follow. What will happen next week?
If the council is smart, they won't move in immediately the deadline expires. Give the assorted hangers-on and publicity hungry media whores a few days with nothing to report, and they'll move on to their next cause, or have to go back to their own areas to sign on.

Then the bulldozers can strike.

Complaining About H&S – Yr Clearly Doin’ It Wrong…

When their three-year- old son slipped and banged his head while enjoying a swim at a Hampshire leisure complex, Sophia Sillence and John White expected nothing but support from staff.

What they got instead was a police escort out of the building and an indefinite ban from ever setting foot inside the attraction again.
Sounds like a dreadful overreaction..?

Well, read on:
Jaydon was playing on the pirate ship in the baby pool when he fell and hit his head.

21-year-old Sophia said: “My son came round screaming and holding his head. I then looked down and noticed the rubber matting in the pool had worn out.”

Trouble flared when Sophia, who lives in Winchester with selfemployed labourer John, was given an accident form to fill in and then asked the duty officer whether they were going to make customers aware of the “hazard” she had found.

In response Sophia said: “He took my son’s accident form out of my hand and asked me and my family to leave. I was shocked at this response and asked why. He then pulled us to the side and asked us to keep quiet.”

An argument then erupted and Sophia claims they were surrounded by up to 15 staff before the police were called in and they were forced to leave.
The clue is in the words ‘An argument erupted…’, I suspect…
Valley Leisure, which owns Romsey Rapids, denied there was a risk to public safety and defended the actions of staff. Lynn Bayliss, general manager at Valley Leisure said: “… The area of rubber crumb that it was alleged was the cause of the accident has been assessed both by our staff and independently and it has been deemed not to be a trip or slip hazard.

She added that first-aid treatment was given to Jaydon and an accident form provided.

“Unfortunately the customers were extremely aggressive and intimidating towards our staff and went on to cause a major disturbance at reception to the detriment of other customers and our staff.

“The level of threat was severe enough for our staff to take the unusual step of having to call the police.

The police attended and reviewed the CCTV footage and subsequently they were banned from the premises.”
Moral of the story being, those who feel like causing a ruck (rather than the usual method, going home and contacting an ambulance-chasing solicitor’s firm) should have the sense to look for the CCTV cameras first

Tuesday 30 August 2011

On Your Marks, Get Set, Go!

As the man flees the scene in Ladbroke Grove, west London, a stab victim can be seen in the background, bleeding from his wounds as police look on.
Doesn't that just sum up the Notting Hill Festival Crime Opportunity?

I can't be the only one wondering why that cop (assuming it is a cop?) seems to be making no effort to chase the man either.

Perhaps that's because not one single media outlet has reported the fact that a policewoman was slashed in the stomach during the wonderful multicultural celebration, perhaps?

I probably wouldn't bother either, in their shoes...

Post Title Of The Month

...goes to Fuel Injected Moose, for this take on Guido Fawkes' e-petition to restore the death penalty:

Quote Of The Month

MacHeath on the renewed push to declare salt The Most Dangerous Subject In The Universe:
"There's a handy article explaining exactly how to cut down on salt particularly if you are elderly (it stops just short of a section on how to extract the nourishment from eggs) and finishes with the coup de grace - a video entitled 'Say No to Salt'."

Post Of The Month

...goes to PME200 for his extraordinary detective work in unmasking a fraud on Twitter.

A salutary lesson that not everyone on the Internet is who - or what - they seem...

Oh, Good Grief, Another One!

A nurse who sent photographs of herself in her underwear to a prisoner suffering from paranoid schizophrenia has been ordered to be struck off.

I think I need a new tag.
Gemma Tomlinson, who worked at Guild Lodge in Goosnargh, was found guilty of 'very serious' misconduct by a panel of the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) in London.

Tomlinson was found to have sent letters that were personal in nature, and two photographs of herself in her underwear, and also to have given him her personal phone number.

She was working for Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust in January 2009 as a mental health nurse at the secure mental health hospital, which houses dangerous patients from across Lancashire.
Perhaps psychiatric nurses should be psychologically tested before taking up employment?

Monday 29 August 2011

Progressives In Panic Mode

Zoe Williams gets in a tizz about the new ‘Judge Dredd’ style regime of harsh sentencing iDave has apparently brought in:
When Tory MPs warn of threats to civil liberties, you know things have got quite bad: James Clappison, a senior member of the Commons home affairs committee, warned of "rushed justice" following this paper's revelation that the police had devised an on-the-hoof policy of refusing bail to anyone arrested on a riot-related offence.
Oh noes! The courts might start getting tougher! They might be like they used to be, when there were consequences!
This prisoner processing strategy (it is four pages long, but boils down to "don't let them out") was plain, but as yet undisclosed, on 10 August, in Westminster magistrates' court: I went along to see the first cases being processed overnight.
Shame you'll lose beauty sleep, but hey, it's a tough job!
Journalists weren't allowed in the youth court, so these defendants were a little older than you might imagine, picturing a classic rioter.
It'd be interesting to get a numerical breakdown of the riot demographic, wouldn't it? I suspect most of those caught so far have fallen into this category, rather than the 'classic rioter' one...
The first was a paranoid schizophrenic called Martin Burton, who had been caught stealing a mirror from a domestic property (there was a question mark over whether or not the resident was known to him); when his own residence was searched, he had an Oyster card not registered to him, and couldn't explain how he came about it. He was refused bail. He had nothing to do with the riots; it was just bad luck that he happened to be arrested on 7 August.
Just bad luck? Well, no. He's a thief.
…it is now an undisputed tenet of criminal justice: paranoid schizophrenics should, generally, not be in prison. And that being the case, should they be remanded in custody over the possession of an Oyster card not registered to them and the theft of a mirror? Would he have been remanded in custody in a different atmosphere?
No, probably not. But should he be left alone to try to manage his condition as best he can, with little or no support? That seems to be a far more important question to ask.
The second case was sadder still. It featured Michael Alvin Watson, whose face was undulated with tumours. His body and feet were in the same condition. "But I won't ask him to remove his clothes," his counsel sensitively declared. His alleged crime – to which he pleaded not guilty – was riot-related: he was accused of poking his hand through a broken window and stealing cigarettes of "unknown value", but there was no suggestion he'd broken the window, or been part of the crowd that had looted the shop.
Well, technically, he WAS 'part of the crowd that looted the shop'! You can't draw a distinction because he did it long after everyone else!
His tumours were undiagnosed. He was in the middle of a course of drugs to gird his strength, at the end of which doctors would be able to do more exploratory work. He was homeless. I'm not sure what the medical term is: the layman's term is "completely fucked". He was refused bail.
Well, here, I'd normally say that at least he'll get his medical treatment in jail, but that was before this...
This is what it looks like when processes are changed in a panic: not just a bunch of arrogant scofflaws, astonished to find society finally standing up to them; but also a luckless brigade, dealt yet more terrible luck, serving more time on remand than they would ever normally be sentenced to on conviction.
A 'luckless brigade'. Of thieves and other thieves. I'm not convinced, Zoe. And neither are most of your commenters...

More Contempt For The Justice System…

Nicholas Brain, 20, was unanimously found guilty of the offence at Oxford Crown Court on Friday.

Following a trial, jurors decided he had robbed Sophie Beck of a mobile phone in Blackbird Leys on February 24.

But after the verdict was read out, Brain’s supporters in the public gallery shouted as they left the court.
Ooooh, that’s a dangerous thing to do in some courts!
In a foul-mouthed rant, one woman asked jurors how they could sleep at night.
I’d have been tempted to shout back ‘Not in a prison cell, darlin’, that’s how!’…
After the jury left court, prosecutor Joanne Sear said the incident was a contempt of court and invited Recorder Richard Jones to take action.
Ooooh, wait for the swift hammer of justice to desce…

Oh. Wait.
He replied: “I didn’t feel particularly insulted. It wasn’t pleasant but I’m sure many of them (the jurors) lead more sheltered lives than me and you who work here. It was an unpleasant, angry outburst, but I think making any more fuss will be more trouble than it’s worth.

“I think those jurors know what goes on in some parts of the world. I don’t think I’m going to say any more.”
WTFF…? What does any of that actually mean?

Can I get an English translation?

Here We Go, Here We Go, Here We Go….


Ellie Mae O'Hagan (co-editor of New Left Project) on the terrible, burning injustice done to ‘Self Pity City’:
Last weekend I went to Liverpool – the place that was my home for most of my adult life. I stayed with my best friend and we caught up on the news: riots in Toxteth, a local economy in freefall, and finally the Hillsborough petition, which reached over 100,000 signatures this week. Now, pending approval, the petition will be debated in parliament.
Along with the one to strip convicted looters of their benefits (with nearly half again as many signatures) and – perhaps by the time this is posted, the one calling for cheaper petrol and diesel.

I’m guessing you won’t be so pleased about those, though?
For me, it's not surprising that this 22-year-old news story is as newsworthy as if it had happened yesterday. The Hillsborough football disaster is written into the DNA of Liverpool.
I’ll spare you my thoughts on the quality of the DNA of the average Liverpudlian. Or rather, Scouser…
It represents both the city's darkest moment, and its extraordinary capacity for solidarity.
And also it’s extraordinary capacity for mawkish sentimentality and dog-with-a-bone-style grip on old hurts…
To understand the Hillsborough disaster, one must first understand the context in which it happened. In 1989, four years after the seismic defeat of the miners, the unemployment rate in Liverpool was among the highest in the UK and the city's council was on the brink of bankruptcy.
The Liverpool fans attending the match that day were already on the receiving end of a hostile media and government ...the match saw them caged "like animals in pens", as though the players on the pitch needed to be protected from them.
And as the commenters BTL point out, that was not a factor unique to Liverpool, but was indeed widespread at the time across all football matches, much to the annoyance of other teams.
Later, Superintendent Marshall's account of the day would place undue emphasis on the amount of alcohol consumed by the fans.
Was that not a factor at all then? Was everyone there sober as a judge?

My, this truly was a totally unique football match!
So here we are again. Twenty-two years later and the old maxim, "red sky at night, Toxteth's alight" is relevant again. The Murdoch press is once again in disgrace, and Liverpool is facing the worst budget cuts in the country. As history repeats itself, the families and survivors of the Hillsborough disaster are on the receiving end of familiar obfuscation, familiar "unjustified and excessive delays" in releasing the information by the self-proclaimed children of Thatcher.
Oh, for heaven’s sake…
It's not right. Some wounds cannot be healed by time.
Well, no. If you keep picking at a scab, of course it won’t heal!
The 96 families in Liverpool are still waiting for justice.
And if the papers are released and don’t contain the answers they think are in there?

Will they consider it ‘justice’?

Extortion, With The Backing of The Council

An ice-cream trader who pays more than £500 for a licence to put tables outside her café has hit out, after she was ordered to keep them indoors to avoid interfering with a neighbouring street festival.
‘Ordered to’..? By whom?
Dawn Argyle, owner of the Luxury Ice Cream Company, in Back Swinegate, said she was approached by another nearby business and asked to contribute £240 towards a street licence for a one-day Latin festival tomorrow.

She said: “That would mean I was allowed to put my tables and chairs on the street that day. I’ve just paid £525 to the council for the year, to put three tables in the street.

I didn’t think it was complementary for my business, and didn’t want to take part.
Fair enough, surely?

Well, no.
“The organiser told me I would not be able to put tables out because of their licence and now I’ve received an official letter from the council telling me I can’t do it.
Good grief!

I guess she’s lucky she didn’t end up with a whippet’s head in her bed, after rejecting that ‘offer she couldn’t refuse’…
Coun Janet Looker, the council’s cabinet member for communities and neighbourhood services, said she had sympathy for both parties.
Now, there speaks a dyed-in-the-wool politician!
Coun Looker said: “The festival is organised to make that area of Back Swinegate more festive and they get permission from the council to, in a sense, cut a separate bay where people chip in to contribute to the festival, and a lot of the local traders do come together.

“I think it is a difficult issue. I suspect the organisers of the festival have permission from the city centre management team to clear space for the event and it is a conflict.
Given the incredible, eye-watering amounts that the poor benighted traders have to pay to the council just in order to scratch a living, is it too much to expect the left hand to know what the right hand is doing, Ms Looker?

Sunday 28 August 2011

Shock As Council Realises Basic Fact Of Life…

…make it easy for people, and they’ll do it!
A staggering 140 tonnes of extra rubbish has been recycled in Basildon since weekly collections were introduced just a month ago.
Well, fancy that!
Malcolm Buckley, councillor responsible for the environment, welcomed the figures, saying he wants Basildon to be one of the most environmentally friendly boroughs in the country.
He said: “We are committed to helping residents recycle as much as possible, and now householders can recycle more than ever before...”
Here’s a salutary lesson for councils. I used to have a printer before I got my Dell system. Can’t remember if it was Canon or HP or some other make, but the point was, although the used ink cartridges were recyclable, I had to find a place to take them or post them back at my own cost.

Consequently, they just went in the bin.

But when I got a Dell printer, each cartridge I ordered came with a SAE to post the old one back! So now, I recycle all my old cartridges.

OK, I accept that the cost of this is theoretically included in the (eye-watering) cost of the new cartridge, but even so, since it now costs me no effort, I’m still more inclined to do it than not.

On the other hand, make it more difficult, force me to put colour cartridges in one envelope and black in another, with a fine if I get it wrong, and they'll start to go in the bin again.

It's not rocket science.

Today, New York, Los Angeles, And Munich! Tomorrow….Oxford!

Wait. What?
Mum-of-two Ms Longshaw, 49, from Charlbury, says she is co-ordinating the rally along with members of the international Justice4MJ group from Los Angeles, who hope to stage other rallies in New York, Los Angeles, Munich, Paris and Sydney.
Never, ever has the phrase ‘Get a life, woman!’ been so apt…
She said: “It has been a long wait – two years for Dr Conrad Murray to come to trial – but we fans want to make sure his trial, which is set to begin on September 20, and what really happened to Michael, is in the front of everyone’s minds.”
She added: “Our goal is no longer to bring Conrad Murray to justice. We are aware we have no influence over the justice system in LA…”
That’s some self-awareness, there…

Anyone wondering ‘Why Oxford..?’ should be in no doubt that it’s a hub of Michael Jackson history.
Jackson visited Oxford in March 2001 to address the Oxford Union.
Hundreds of fans gathered in the city for a chance to spot their idol.

Ms Longshaw said: “Michael has a history here and I feel there will be people who will want to join me in supporting the cause for justice for him…”
And, are there?

While Michael Jackson has millions of fans worldwide, Ms Longshaw admitted her search for Oxfordshire-based fans has so far drawn a blank.

“I have been on forums everywhere trying to contact Oxfordshire-based fans, without any luck so far. There must be some out there. I’ll be waiting to hear from them.”
Good luck with that, sweetie.

Well, Who Are You Gonna Believe..?

Me, or your lyin’ eyes?
Landlords have spoken out about the weekend violence in York – as police dismissed it as ‘largely minor in nature.’
Just another day in the Police Department for Reassuring The Citizenry…
Jason Hawkins, of the Three Tuns in Coppergate, claimed the city centre was “like a cross between Beirut and Blackpool for most of Saturday” as a number of serious fights broke out…
I think ‘Blackpool’ is more likely. York doesn’t have the climate to pass as ‘Beirut’…
Andy Innes, manager of the Three Cranes in St Sampson’s Square, claimed business was hit as some customers stayed away from the city centre to avoid getting caught up in trouble.
The police simply deny that this is the case:
But North Yorkshire Police said the 60 arrests made by officers on Friday and Saturday were across the whole of York, and not just the city centre, and said the arrest number was exactly the same as the previous weekend.
Who to believe? The traders who want a quiet life to carry out their business, or the police, who want…well, what?

Sunday Funnies

Awwwww, look at the cute little....

Saturday 27 August 2011

Does Self-Flagellation And Grovelling To Progressive Tropes Bring In The Money..?

Save The Children must be hoping it does:
The film-making career of director Ken Loach is to be celebrated with a six-week series of screenings – including the showing of a controversial documentary that has been unseen for four decades.
The Bath film-maker made a film about a Save the Children project in 1969 but the charity has until now blocked its transmission.
The film was shot in the UK and Kenya by Loach’s production company Kestrel Films, and covers a Save the Children holiday home in Essex and a project for homeless children in Nairobi.

The British scenes feature criticism of deprived children’s parents and suggest youngsters wetting the bed are given cold baths, while political activists are shown criticising the colonial approach to education – including the banning of any native language – in Kenya.
Which didn’t go down too well with Save The Children, as you might imagine.
Save the Children was unhappy with the content of the film and persuaded LWT not to broadcast it. However, Loach and Garnett refused to hand over the negative and the dispute went to court where it was decided that the film should not be destroyed, but that all the material should be sent to the archive on condition that it would not be shown without Save The Children’s written approval.
Yes, well, that was the past, and they did things differently then.

We all know that. What’s the point in showing it now?
Mr Loach told the Daily Mail: “We knew we were making a film that was contentious. We weren’t there to do a PR job.

“Save The Children thought that we were on the side of the angels and, without any self-awareness, they felt they were too.

The bigotry, particularly with the benefit of hindsight of 40 years, is just intolerable.
But since we do have the benefit of that hindsight, what’s the point in re-hashing it?

What’s in it for the charity?
Recently-appointed charity chief executive Justin Forsyth said: “I am pleased we have belatedly allowed this film to be shown after 40 years. It raises important questions about power, colonialism and charity that are still relevant today. I am enormously proud of the work Save the Children does in the UK and around the world. We save millions of children’s lives and help millions more fulfil their potential, and expect to be scrutinised and challenged to do the best possible job.”
It seems nothing, other than a chance to grovel in front of the great and good at a charity event, eagerly abase oneself and disclaim loudly how awful the West was, and wait for the cheques from other self-haters to flood in…

The Barbarians Are 40 Miles From The Gates!

Eighties pop legend Gary Numan is fleeing Sussex over fears of rampaging yobs.
The electro pop pioneer says his family do not feel safe in the leafy village of Waldron, near Uckfield, so he is moving them to the United States.

He said the recent riots, which at their closest were 40 miles north of his home, had been the final straw.
Fellow villagers said his concerns were “absolutely astounding
Well, indeed!

Although, there was that incident in sleepy Gloucester
But Mr Numan, 53, insists his wife, Gemma, and their three children, Raven, Persia and Echo, have been subjected to vile insults while walking the streets of Wealden.

He told the Daily Record: “We live right out in the country. It is very rural and there are no big cities. You would think it would be the most peaceful place in the world and it is very pretty and relatively affluent. Yet the other day my wife was walking down the High Street and a bunch of kids between 12 and 14 were telling her what they would like to do to her. She had my children with her. You’ve got to be kidding.”
The influence of rap culture has reached Waldron? Really?
“America clearly has its own problems, but Santa Monica is great. It has beautiful beaches and the Pacific Ocean. There is not one bit of trouble and not one surly or aggressive person there. Everyone is friendly. ”
Not one surly or aggressive person in Santa Monica?

Are you sure, Gary?

The villagers aren’t impressed:
Wealden District councillor Dick Angel said: “I can’t say I’ve ever heard of him, so it wouldn’t be much of a loss. I think it’s absolutely astounding he could say this.”
Father David Charles, the priest in charge of All Saints church in Waldron, said: “There’s only a couple of hundred residents and they are mostly retired. If there are any gangs roaming about I’ve certainly missed them.”
My, my, my…

Could we soon see the Bard Berk of Barking departing these shores too?

No, He Didn’t ‘Carry On And Do The Job He Was Trained To Do…’

…because he’s just an animal. As such, he can’t make an informed choice:
Brave three-year-old German shepherd Obi continued to patrol the streets for two hours despite having multiple fractures above his left eye and blood pouring from his nose.
Why was the handler not withdrawing him from duty, and getting him veterinary attention?
His handler, PC Phil Wells, who has trained the dog since he was eight-weeks old, described him as his 'best mate', and was with him that night.
'To his credit he carried on and continued to do the job that he's trained to do.'
He doesn't have any other option, does he? What's he going to do, ask to speak to his union rep?

And the answer to my question seems to be, incredibly, that he didn’t notice anything wrong:
'There were lots of missiles coming at us, bottles, bricks, petrol bombs, street furniture, too many to count and one hit Obi on the top of the head.

'Initially he was a bit shocked but I gave him a check-over and tried to avoid any further injuries and after the initial shock he seemed fine so we carried on for another couple of hours.

'Afterwards he was assessed and was showing signs he needed veterinary help.

'He was lethargic and was bleeding from the left nostril which could be a sign of head trauma so he was taken to the vet.'
Let’s hope this incident causes a flurry of activity in the Met and other police forces, and results in emails headed ‘Warning! If your police dog is hit on the head with a lump of concrete, he may need to go to the vets!’ to handlers.

Or perhaps they are issuing instructions to the wrong dumb beast?

It does maybe explain why so many people die in custody, though, if a head injury isn't seen as worthy of attention until a few hours later.

TV Has Lied To Me….

…if I want to kill people with impunity, I don’t need to become a ninja or an assassin for a shadowy government organisation. Just a bus driver:
A bus driver mistook the accelerator for the brake and crushed a man to death after her No42 careered for 50 yards and mounted a pavement.
Doris Osei, 44, took a sharp bend rapidly and rammed into Newell Lewis, 65, who was trapped in the railings of Burgess Park, Camberwell, in January last year. Osei, of Camberwell, a bus driver for a year, had received just 30 minutes' driver training by employer Go Ahead in the new model before starting her shift.
Ooooh, long sentence for her and huuuuuuuuge insurance payout and maybe even an appearance in the dock for the directors, right?

She admitted causing death by careless driving and was sentenced to 12 months suspended for two years at Blackfriars crown court.

I accept that she didn't mean to kill anyone. But nothing? Nothing, at all, for not being in control of a multi-tonne vehicle?

Judge Aidan Marron told Osei he was taking into account she had a baby in suspending the sentence, adding: "I look at you as a woman who is consumed with regret and guilt." She got a two-year driving ban and was ordered to do 150 hours' community service.
The family of the pedestrian believe the bus company should be in the dock too. As do I.

Friday 26 August 2011

Another Triumph For The Open Prison System!

A member of the notorious Johnson gang jailed for his part in a £23 million series of raids on stately homes across the country has gone on the run.
Did he scale the walls? Tunnel out? Escape in a helicopter landed in the exercise yard?

Errr, no:
Detective Chief Inspector Stuart Murphy, from West Mercia Police, said he had failed to return to HMP Hatfield in Yorkshire after being given a temporary release for a work placement.

He has been away from the prison since July 18.

"O'Loughlin has been missing for more than a month and we need to find him and return him to prison," he said.
Hopefully, not the same prison?

Post Title Of The Month: Special Riot Edition

Ross at Unenlightened Commentary provides the perfect soundtrack...

Post Of The Month: Special Riot Edition

...goes to The Filthy Engineer for the sublime 'A Looter's Prayer:

Our father, who art in prison,
Even my mum knows not his name,
Thy Chavdom come,
Thy will be done in Manchester
As it is in London,
Give us this day our welfare bread,
And forgive us our ASBOs,
As we happy slap those who give evidence against us.
And lead us not to employment,
But deliver us free housing,
For thine is the Chavdom,
The Burberry & the Bacardi,
Forever and ever.



Quote Of The Month: Special Riot Edition

From MummyLongLegs:
There really is no point in commenting further on the 'riots'. The blame game has started and there is so much knee-jerking going on a group of morris dancers on speed would be hard pressed to keep up.

The government are blaming the police, the yoof, the parents, in fact every fucker except themselves. The yoof are blaming the police, the government, anyone that works for a living, in fact every fucker except themselves. And the ones in the middle, the old, the young, the honest, the tax payers, well they are about to be punished further with a new raft of pointless fucking laws drafted by the government that those responsible for the chaos will ignore.
Spot, and indeed, on...

Are Liverpudlians Taking Chimps To The Pub Now?

A man lost his nose, ears, and lip during an attack outside a Liverpool nightclub.

Are we sure the attacker was human?

I know, I know, Liverpool, but still…
Laurence Richard McGinn, 28, of Sherry Court in Aigburth, Liverpool has been charged with section 18 wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

He appeared before magistrates on Monday and was remanded in custody to appear at Liverpool Crown Court on 28 November.
That’ll be one to watch, I think.

Online Editing 101

When you keep a placesaver for your text, remember to remove it before hitting ‘Publish’:

After all, you managed to do that in the actual story, although you sadly didn’t manage to put anything in to replace it…

Thursday 25 August 2011

Newsflash! Tasers Are Lethal, But Knives Are Harmless!

Concerns have been raised over extreme techniques used by police to arrest suspects after the deaths of three people in custody during the past eight days.
Raised, that is, by the sort of people who have never had to face the job of arresting and securing a person who doesn’t want to have that happen to him or her.
…Great Manchester Police officers were forced to use a Taser to subdue Philip Hulmes, a 53-year-old truck driver from Bolton, who had locked himself in his house. Mr Hulmes had reportedly begun stabbing himself in the stomach when police broke into his house; they stunned him because he was still violent, they said. He later died in hospital.
Should they have just waited until he bled out, then?

I guess the usual suspects would have been A-OK with that?
Sophie Khan, a London-based lawyer with GT Stewart Solicitors, told The Independent: "I believe Tasers are being used far too readily by police forces. There needs to be a recognition that Tasers are a lethal weapon and should only be used in very limited circumstances, if at all."
I’d have thought subduing a struggling self-harmer without further injury to himself or others certainly qualified, but what do I know..?
A spokeswoman for Amnesty said yesterday. "The tragic death of Philip Hulmes which has occurred just days after Dale Burns died after being shocked by a Taser reaffirms Amnesty International's concerns that these weapons are potentially lethal."
Well, yes. They are termed ‘less lethal’ for a good reason.

But hey, anonymous spokewoman, if you would prefer they just shot him with a real gun instead, please let us know…

Update: Shocker, eh? Or maybe not.

A Worrying Trend

Frustrated residents in Woodford chased off a group of unruly youths after they say police failed to respond.

The residents, who have been blighted by regular arson and vandal attacks over a six-year period, say they are "sick" of the anti-social behaviour.
No doubt if they’d harmed any of the little darlings, or even ‘offended or alarmed them’, the police would have been round lickety-split…
Ryan Burrows, a trainee tree surgeon who lives in Reynolds Road, was one of the men who gave chase to the youths on Sunday night.

"The lack of police effort is appalling," said the 18-year-old, whose car had its windscreen and sunroof smashed by youths about two weeks ago.

"We're completely sick of all this. The police don't seem to care.

"As residents we feel like we have to take on the problem ourselves. We just don't want this problem around here."
The police response is drawn from the Big Police Handbook of PR:
… Sergeant Paul Laity, neighbourhood team leader, said: "There do not seem to be any major antisocial behaviour issues in this area and I'd like to reassure residents that we have a very low crime levels (sic) in Plympton.*

"We have regular patrols as well as special constables and the police cadets in the area.
"However, we always have a slight increase in antisocial behaviour incident during the school summer holidays, as with most other areas in the force."
Translation: ‘Blah blah community blah blah concerns blah blah reassurance blah…‘

Still, perhaps as a result of this news article’s proof that the residents aren’t reassured and do have a problem with anti-social behaviour criminal damage and arson, the Neighbourhood Team have been stung into action at last:
The police are organising a 'diversionary' event entitled 'Beat the Beat' for young people in Plympton this Friday at 1pm.
Young people will be able to challenge police officers on a range of events including a bucking bronco, football, ping pong and Band Hero.
Oh, give me strength…!

* Yes, if that name sounds familiar, it's the place where the authorities couldn't give a hoot about criminals and vandals, but do get in a bit of a bate about men taking owls for a walk...

Combating Noise Pollution: Yr Doin’ It Wrong

A man threatened to burn down an ambulance station because he could no longer stand the sound of sirens, a court heard.

I mean, is it me? Wouldn't a burning building attract, well, sirens?
Larry Wallace, 52, who lives in Rayleigh Road, Thundersley, near the Rayleigh Weir station, had repeatedly contacted the ombudsman to complain.

Finally he snapped and told Tom Lyttle at the ombudsman’s office on May 18: “I wouldn’t wish ill on anyone, but I wish cancer on the person harming me.”

Suzanne Stringer, prosecuting, said: “He also made threats to lock staff inside the ambulance station and burn it down.”
He sounds like a complete loon…
The court heard Wallace had been living at his address for eight years and had a long-running dispute with the ambulance service.

Miss Stringer said: “He says they drive past his property late at night disturbing him, putting on their emergency lights and sirens. He says he only lives half a mile from the ambulance station, he accepts the ambulance service is an emergency service, but he says when they are 50 yards away from his address they blast their horns.”
It sounds like he is trying to claim they are doing it deliberately.

Yet they are only supposed to use their sirens when needed to clear traffic or warn other drivers as they approach a junction. I’ve seen them many times running with lights only, during light traffic.

Perhaps Mr Wallace lives at such a spot?
She said Wallace told police he was trying to make a point that if the ambulance service was burnt down people would finally look back through their records and realise a man had made complaints, but nothing was done.
Maybe that’s because nothing they could have done? Ambulances need to warn other vehicles that they are coming through.

If they don’t, the consequences could be severe.
Wallace, who was representing himself
Oh. Never has that old saying been more apt…
...said he had collected a petition of 30 disgruntled residents in the past.
You mean there were 30 other selfish, self-absorbed insomniacs who couldn’t foresee (or didn’t care) that silencing ambulances could only lead to trouble?

Presumably the same 30 that would have squealed like stuck pigs if an ambulance arrived outside of the target timeframe, too…
He added: “I’m 52 years old. I’ve worked hard all my life and all I ever want to do is have a peaceful life. I moved to Benfleet about ten years ago and when I first moved here I read in my local paper about unnecessary use of ambulance sirens and I thought what are they on about.”

But his feelings changed when he kept hearing horns and sirens in the early hours of the morning. He added: “I’ve got neighbours on sleeping pills.”
So you knew there was a possibility of siren noise and you still moved there?

Sympathy tank: empty.
District Judge Kevin Gray said: “When you have dealings with people you’re going to have to talk a bit more wisely.” He was given a six month conditional discharge.
*sigh* A mental health assessment would have been more appropriate…

England, The Land Of No (Or Few) Consequences…

Two recent Southampton Court cases:
A drunken senior sales assistant was spared an immediate prison sentence after she had broken another woman’s arm and bit a doorman.
I fail to see why. Well, other than the usual ‘it was the drink wot done it!’ excuses.
Recorder Nicholas Atkinson QC, who heard Ms Morris was “immobilised” for six weeks as a result of the fracture, gave her a nine month suspended sentence coupled with orders to complete 200 hours unpaid work for the community and pay £350 costs.
Not quite sure what ‘work for the community’ would be suitable, mind you.

And then there’s this:
A yob who put dozens of lives in danger when he hurled a bike on to train tracks causing an explosion has been warned he is facing jail.
And yes, it’s the demon drink again:
David Jenkins, in mitigation, told how Thornton, of Tatwin Crescent, Thornhill, Southampton, had been drinking “a cocktail of beer, cider and other matters” all day. He added: “There isn’t a day that goes by when he does not drink. I don’t know if he has drunk this morning but it would not surprise me if he had.”
When are we going to stop regarding drink and drugs as mitigation?

Your Justice System, Working For You

Recorder Farook Ahmed told Miller: ‘The sentence I have had in mind was 12 months, but it seems to me that it isn’t necessary for me to pass a sentence of 12 months because a sentence of 11 months will have the same effect, and it would take away the automatic triggering of deportation. I have taken into account that if you were to be deported it is bound to have a devastating effect on your three children, who I’m told are lawfully here in the UK.’
I guess by ‘a sentence of 11 months will have the same effect’, he means ‘Bugger all’…?
The Home Office insisted it would still seek to deport Miller at the end of his sentence. However, the Jamaican will be entitled to use Article 8 of the Human Rights Act – the right to a private and family life – to attempt to stay in the country.
Same old, same old…

Wednesday 24 August 2011

Sending Mixed Messages…

A mother who joined a revenge attack on a man responsible for a vile campaign of internet abuse against her disabled daughter has been spared prison.
I should be cheering, right?
Sylvia Hooper, 52, was described as a ‘decent and law-abiding’ woman
Funny. Looking at the facts of the case, I find it hard to match that description to the woman's actions:
She faced a jail sentence after identifying Christopher Berwick and confronting him outside his home in Chatham, Kent.

But a judge – who labelled the messages ‘disgraceful and shameful’ – took pity on Mrs Hooper after hearing they were part of a long-term campaign.
Whatever happened to ‘Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me’..?

Particularly words that someone has to make a conscious decision to hear?
Mrs Hooper realised the culprit was Berwick, who lived nearby, and joined her son Robert and his friend Soloman Taylor outside his home.

Mr Hooper, 19, punched the bully after his mother said ‘hit him’ and Berwick was then taken back to the family home by car.

He was forced to crawl inside and make a ‘grovelling apology’ to his victim while on all fours. At one point he was hit on the chin with a rolled up newspaper.
Maybe it’s me, but is this not assault, kidnapping and torture (or the modern definition of it, at least)?
Mrs Hooper’s solicitor Catharine Donnelly said the comments were ‘beyond the pale’ and told the court ‘none of us would be here today’ without his actions.
Well, maybe. But certainly, none of you would have been there without the Hooper’s retaliatory actions, either.

And they go much, much further than a few mean and spiteful comments on a website that no-one is forcing anyone to read…
Speaking about Mrs Hooper, she said: ‘She is a decent woman who has devoted herself to her daughter. She has led a decent and law-abiding life.

‘It is clear she is a woman who will never trouble these courts again. She was an encourager, rather than a hitter.’
Hey, judge, if you are going to make that distinction, why not make it for all these people too?
All three admitted assault but denied false imprisonment and the judge ruled that not guilty verdicts should be entered.

Judge Richard Polden said it ‘troubled him’ that Mrs Hooper had said, ‘hit him’, but accepted that Mr Hooper was acting out of a ‘protective instinct’ to his sister.

He said: ‘I sentence you on the basis that Mr Berwick sent messages that were wholly disgraceful and shameful but then tried to put the blame on his girlfriend.’

Mrs Hooper was given a conditional discharge. The two men were given community orders which included voluntary work.
Now, this is indeed the sort of vigilante justice that people can expect when the police fail to do their job, or when the police are just not recognised by a significant minority as representatives of law and order.

And yes, the vile comments he made - said out loud in the pub or street, for instance – could well have been what the Americans term ‘fightin’ words’ and earned him a richly-deserved smack in the mouth.

But they weren’t. They were in the form of comments on the web that no-one has no choice but to read. Facebook and the like are open forums, and if you decide not to avail yourself of the inbuilt protections designed into the system and allow comments from just anybody, then you’ll just have to deal with these sort of people.

Deal with them by deleting, banning, blocking or reporting to the police, as the situation warrants. Not by arranging your own mob justice.

Or we are all surely doomed.

It’s Not Just The Trains That Are Slow…

A disabled man who survived being hit by a 100mph train says he wants safety barriers installed at the Kelvedon level crossing.
And why was he hit by a train? A malfunction in his mobility scooter, perchance?
Tony Winskill, 43, was sat at the crossing last month when the high-speed train hit the front of his mobility scooter and sent him flying backwards.

The father-of-four said: "I didn't realise fast trains go through there as well. Normally I sit there and watch the slow trains go past. "
Ah. No, the malfunction was clearly in the driver…

He’s not a very lucky man.
The accident left him with a fractured left leg and two torn tendons, as well as cuts and bruises. This is not his first clash though, as he was seriously hurt when a Volvo hit him at 65mph a few years ago.
Of course, Something Must Be Done:
"Next time it might be a mother and her children," he said.

"There should be full-length barriers put across to stop anyone getting on the track."
Or, they could just put your mangled scooter there with a sign saying ‘Yes, we mean it.’

It’s used in Yosemite to warn tourists what’ll happen if you leave food in cars when bears are around, after all.

‘The Shawshank Redemption’ Wasn’t A Documentary, Jacqui…

Criminals will be forced to carry out full-time “hard labour” in an attempt to toughen up community punishments, ministers announced yesterday.

Offenders not jailed will be expected to work four days a week and spend the fifth day looking for a job under a shake-up of the much-criticised community payback scheme.
Excellent news!

Under the new proposals, offenders who do not already have a job will be made to carry out unpaid “hard” work for eight hours a day, four days a week.

That will include clearing up litter, cleaning graffiti and maintaining parks, community farms and other green spaces.
Spot on!” That’s the sort of work they…


Former Home Secretary Jacqui Smith used two day-release prisoners to paint her £450,000 home when they should have been doing community work.

Still, maybe the fragrant Miss Smith had no knowledge of this?


It also emerged that, as payment for the work, Miss Smith donated an unspecified amount to a local charity which organised the project, the Batchley Support Group.
Yes, it’s not looking good, is it?

A Prison Service spokeswoman confirmed they knew nothing at the time and the project has since been suspended.

She said: ‘The decision to provide prisoners for this work was taken without consultation with HMP Hewell or the Ministry of Justice and was a mistake.

Offenders should work on projects which help the whole community.

‘The scheme has been suspended while a full internal investigation is undertaken.’

The prisoners were doing unpaid work, supervised by Batchley staff, as part of a ‘resettlement to work’ strategy.
If only Jaqcui had been able to get her hands on Andy Dufresne, her Parliamentary expenses would have been a wonder to behold!

No-one from the charity could be contacted for comment last night.

Miss Smith is not believed to have any official links to the charity.

Interesting phrasing, that; ‘no official links’…

Simon Says….What?

Simon Woolley (director and one of the founders of Operation Black Vote) indulges in a little sniping at other black pontificators in CiF:
Today the discriminatory factors that hold back black individuals are more subtle, more complex. We know, for example, that recruitment selection panels tend to recruit a reflection of themselves. Which is not good if you're not white and male. But how do you legislate when discrimination is so difficult to prove?

In order to tackle persistent inequality we still need the big stick – the law – but more than that we need sophisticated methods that change not just the process but also the thinking behind why others are seen as less able.

Harker's greatest insult was his negation of black leadership today. "So who, today, speaks for black people?" He mentions Diane Abbott MP but ignores black church leaders ministering to packed churches every Sunday, or activists such as barrister Matthew Ryder, Dr Rob Berkeley at the Runnymede Trust, and author Dreda Say Mitchell. These and other community leaders have responded. It's not their fault they are undermined and largely ignored.
Hmmm, that last name is familiar, for some reason.

*snaps fingers*

Ah! Right…

Tuesday 23 August 2011

Boris Finally Jumps The Shark…

…shame that isn’t in the Olympics, or we would have a potential gold medal winner here:

Children will be banned from watching shooting events under Boris Johnson's Olympic ticket giveaway.
And you’ll never guess why?

Giving children tickets to the events, at the Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolwich, could have appeared at odds with Mayor Boris Johnson's bid to quell teenage gun and knife crime.
Only with people who have no sense of proportion or common sense.

And when did anyone ever thing it was a good idea to listen to people like that?

Georgina Geikie, 26, a Commonwealth Games bronze medallist and Olympic pistol hopeful, said she was "horrified", adding: "This is a chance for children to look at guns in a different way. They are taking away the opportunity for the sport to blossom. How do we educate people that it is a sport if they cannot watch it?"
Good question. Particularly when, if they never, ever see anyone using a gun responsibly (but do view as many gangsta rap music videos as they could possibly want), the glamour will be all the more attractive…

David Penn, secretary of the British Shooting Sports Council, said: "There is no link between Olympic-level shooting and crime. It's like saying that a thief would use a Formula One car as a getaway car."
Better not go giving them ideas, chum.

But Danny Bryan, founder of Communities Against Gun and Knife Crime said: "I agree with Boris. It is good kids should enjoy the Games but there's no way we should glorify guns."
They are a part of the games. You’ll have to live with that.

Telling kids that they can’t watch this part of the games just gives guns the glamour and ‘forbidden fruit’ mystique that you are supposedly fighting against, you ignorant, publicity-hungry cretin!

Calisthenics On The Village Green, Serfs. Now!

Two new outdoor gyms have opened in Tamworth in a bid to tackle the borough's rising obesity problem.
You have to be kidding me!
The gyms, which cost a total of £14,000 to install, follow in the success of the outdoor gym in the Castle Grounds, which has been open for a year and attracts about 400 users per week.
And are those 400 the ‘obese’ residents that the council are seemingly concerned about, or are they people who would otherwise be exercising some other way, if this were not available?
Councillor Steve Claymore, cabinet member for economic development and enterprise, said helping people to keep healthy was a top priority.
Really, Steve? Then I guess Tamworth must be a paradise, then; no potholes in the road, no litter, no broken drains, no closed shops…

I think I’ll have to move there!

A ‘Cultural Tradition’ We Should Not Tolerate…

A Darwen woman has been treated for a wrist injury after a group of 30 men descended on her house.
Police said the incident, which occurred at 10pm on Monday in London Terrace, followed an altercation at a nearby shop between the woman’s son and the shop owner.
Hmmmm, tell me more…
A 24-year-old man, believed to be a resident of the house, had been cautioned for making racist and abusive comments.
Ah! A local chav decided to kick up at the local ‘Asian’ store or off-licence and has been dealt with by the law in this country, as you’d expect.

But what about that mob?
The shop owner is believed to have mobilised a group of up to 30 family and friends to track the son down to his home in London Terrace.

The group of Asian men also smashed a car window in the street before dispersing when police arrived at the scene.
Ah. Now, that’s a horse of a rather different colour, isn’t it?
Last night, none of the group had been traced and police were making house-to-house inquiries.

Start with the shopkeeper, then, plod, and sweat him for the names. Christ, it’s not rocket science, is it?

Comments are illuminating, as always.

I too wonder if this will make the national media.

And I too consider that, had this been a gang of other nationalities descending en masse to an ‘Asian’ woman’s house to shout and smash things, the headlines would be in 72 point glaring bold type with exclamation marks…

Shameless Riot Opportunism

Green Party fruitcakes Caroline Lucas and Jenny Jones waste no time in never letting a crisis go to waste:
Earlier this month a spate of terrifying violence and disorder erupted on to our streets. Communities were terrorised, individuals attacked and city centres trashed. Horrendous images on our TV screens of burning buildings and mindless looting created a climate of fear in which people were scared to leave their homes – and in which public trust in the capacity of our police force to respond effectively was shaken.
Oh woe, woe and thrice woe!
The Green party unequivocally condemns the violence and vandalism which has left indelible scars on families, businesses and urban environments across England.
You just know there’s a ‘but’ coming, don’t you?
As a political party we believe it is crucially important for the fabric of UK society that the government and the police strike a balance between keeping our streets safe and upholding the hard-won civil liberties of our citizens.
Well, yes. That’s not really a controversial view, is it?
… we are concerned that Cameron's encouragement of draconian punishments will undermine respect for the law. The harsh sentencing of riot perpetrators to "set an example" is overtly political and wholly misguided.
The varying sentences given out so far reveal serious inconsistencies and an alarming lack of proportionality.
Ah. Right. I see where we’re going with this. Although it would be churlish to point out that, if the law were not so lax other times, these punishments wouldn't be seen as so disproportionate...
The Greens also completely oppose withdrawing benefits from those linked to the events, and the eviction of families from state-supported housing. Such measures will only exacerbate existing problems of poverty and alienation – cutting off ever further those who we must seek to bring closer.
Yes, it’s clearly ‘poverty’ that makes people steal, riot and set fire to buildings.
Ultimately, underpinning any analysis of the riots should be a recognition of the deep inequality that lies at the heart of British society.
What ‘inequality’?
So too should we understand the effects of a consumer culture that promotes endless material accumulation, an aggressive sense of entitlement and a demoralising level of status anxiety.
Translation: ‘We’re just helpless slaves in the hands of the eeeeeeeevil Big Business!’.
In focusing on long-term solutions, the government must show it is willing to address the shocking level of inequality that exists in our country. Research by Unicef suggests that the UK is one of the worst places to live as a child or teenager in the developed world – largely thanks to the growing gulf between the haves and have-nots.
That ‘gulf’ not being lack of food or dwellings, but iPods, the latest trainers and flat-screen TVs.
We need policies to create a more equal society.
I note you haven’t advanced any in this little polemic.
We also continue our call for government investment in the clean industries of the future, to create millions of new green jobs and help our transition towards a greener future.
Aaah, yes, there is is, the money shot. The Green agenda, and Caroline and Jenny won't point out to you that it just doesn't work!
And we demand bold measures to tackle the scourge of tax evasion and avoidance which allows those at the top of society to loot the public purse with impunity.
Funny you are writing this in the ‘Guardian’ then, isn’t it?

Oh, and just to cap it all, they extol the virtues of the anti-gang initiative in Glasgow, brought in under the auspices of the front-runner for the top Met job:
…to tackle the gang culture which blights our inner cities, the Greens propose the introduction of Community Initiatives to Reduce Violence (CIRVs) based on the successful model we have seen in Glasgow.
Well, Inspector Gadget has a few words to say about the reality of that, as opposed to the shiny, well-spun PR puff pieces released to the media…

The Price Of Freedom Is Eternal Vigilance!

A worried resident dialled 999 after spotting two men chaining a suitcase to a lamp post outside her home.
Because bombs are often chained to things, I suppose. In case other terrorists steal them.

You can’t trust anyone these days….
A panicked Mrs Kinsler called emergency services and was rung back a short time later by an operator, who told her not to worry as the case contained traffic monitoring equipment.
Mrs Kinsler said the incident had given her quite a shock.
“We are told to be vigilant and it looked suspicious.

If a council van had turned up, I would have thought it was OK.

“How ridiculous in these times, when we are all scared anyway and looking out for bags being left anywhere, they do that.”
Yes, I guess they vastly overestimated the average Westcliffe resident’s common sense.
Mehmet Mazhar, Southend Council’s manager for traffic and highways, apologised for causing any alarm.

He said: “The council’s traffic management and road safety team is installing this equipment at various locations in the town to measure traffic volumes and speeds.

“It is cheaper for us to use our own equipment to obtain traffic data, rather than to request the work to be carried out by a specialist traffic survey company.

“We apologise for any concerns which may have unwittingly been caused to residents.”
Should they perhaps label their traffic monitoring devices in future, to ensure the paranoid hypervigilent residents don’t panic unnecessarily?

Oh. Wait. Back to Mrs Kinsler:
Mrs Kinsler added: “When I did look a lot closer it did say traffic or something.

Should Have Taken Up Wildlife Photography…

…the animals who might also bite are at least beautiful:
A man who bit into a photographer's finger and drew blood has received a suspended jail term.
That shouldn’t have come as a surprise to him, mind you:
Bloodworth, 42, was caught on camera after he left Lincoln Magistrates' Court with a six-month conditional discharge for throwing a "cleaning in progress" cone at a security guard in the city's Waterside Shopping Centre.

He objected to Mr Linley taking his picture outside court, crossed the High Street to the far pavement and assaulted him just after 11am.
Well, he got no punishment for the first assault, so why not commit another?
Mr Linley, 34, went on to have three blood tests, plus an inoculation course for hepatitis B, over six months after initial medical treatment.
Human mouths are dirty. Dirtier, often, than dogs.
Bloodworth, of St Crispin's Close, North Hykeham, admitted assault on March 15 last year on the basis that it was accidental. This was not accepted by the Crown.
Well, indeed!
Bloodworth was given 12 weeks' custody for the assault and four weeks' prison for breaching the conditional discharge, to run concurrently, suspended for a year.
‘To punish you for not behaving when we gave you a chance last time, we’re going to…give you a chance again.’
The court heard the Department for Work and Pensions has arranged a signer for deaf man Bloodworth to the tune of £85,000 over three years to enable him to begin work.
To….begin work? For three years? FFS!

No doubt the victim is pretty cheesed off with this sentence, and railing at the vagaries of the useless justice system?

Mr Linley said after the hearing: "I hope this court case represents a fork in the road for Mr Bloodworth.

"In court he seemed to understand the consequences of what he did.

"If he realises this is not acceptable and adjusts his behaviour accordingly, then it's good for everybody."
/facepalm. Now, I want to take a chunk out of Mr Linley!

Monday 22 August 2011

Runner-Up In The 2011 Chutzpah Stakes Goes To…

…these guys!
Croydon's Tamil community says it was "doubly let down" by the police response to rioting which left dozens of their businesses damaged or destroyed.
Oh? How so?
Dr Kannappar Jeyanthan, chairman of Croydon Tamil Business Forum (CTBF), said there had been "no police protection" for businesses in London Road on Monday night and that the destruction had reminded him of "war torn lawless Sri Lanka".
Really? So, it’s not because the police were overstretched in other areas of Croydon then?

Your inference is that they purposely disregarded your area because you are ethnic minorities…

That can’t be what you are saying, surely?

…Dr Jeyanthan believes the council and police were completely unprepared for Monday night's violence.

"The CTBF feels the authorities in Croydon have once again abandoned the Tamil and other ethnic minority businesses on London Road," he explained.
"Though we understand that Croydon police were under-resourced and not prepared for a situation like this, we as council rate payers and business tax payers expected the police to do more to protect us from this madness. Sadly we have been let down."
Maybe they thought you could take care of yourselves?

Footballing Doesn’t Pay Enough To Afford A Shredder?

West Ham striker and French international Frederic Piquionne left the piles of bin bags on a grass verge in Stapleford Tawney, Essex, three miles from his house in Stapleford Abbotts.
And how did they know it was him? Surely we’re all so aware of the possibilities for ID theft?
Officers from Epping Forest District Council were contacted by angry residents who had spotted the mess and now he has been ordered to pay £449 for court costs and given a 12 month conditional discharge.

They worked out that it was Piquionne's waste due to 'documentary evidence' contained within the rubbish.

Modern Conservative In Action!

You’d expect a Conservative councillor to get stuck in when he sees the police arresting a miscreant, wouldn’t you?
A Hampshire councillor who waded in while police were trying to arrest a suspect ended up being arrested himself.
Oooh, too enthusiastic? Did he assult the suspect?

Two officers were carrying out a drugs search on a suspect and had him pinned to the ground when they were approached by Councillor Ian Tait, pictured.

Magistrates heard how Tait, a Winchester city councillor, repeatedly questioned what the officers were doing, even protesting the man’s innocence.
Sharon Douglass, prosecuting at Andover Magistrates Court, said the 49-year-old Conservative representative for St Michael ward, had approached PC David Brown and PC Cassandra Hakin, in Winchester High Street, at 1.50am on May 18.

They had arrested a suspect for a breach of bail who was on the floor as police conducted a drug search, the court was told.

She said Tait asked “what are you doing, it’s Monday night? What are you doing? He’s innocent” and came close to PC Hakin, making her feel uncomfortable.

Despite being told to move away by PC Brown he kept saying “what’s he done?” and the officer then had to stop the search to deal with Tait telling him to leave the area, but he then accused the officer of assaulting him and again of victimisation, the court heard.
Truly, these are not your father’s Conservatives!
Tait, who mitigated for himself, said he had been drinking having had four beers and three whiskeys, but did not believe in his mind that he was drunk.
Oh, well, that’s alright then; I presume, in his mind, he also didn’t believe he was being an interfering, argumentative little arse?
“I’m a challenging person, I spend a lot of my time involved in community activities both in constructive intercourse with the police and on other occasions challenging the police,” he said.
Oh. Wrong again. Clearly, he’s all that and more, and he knows it!
The court heard that he had pleaded guilty to the alternative charge immediately and was of previous good character.

Magistrates ordered Tait to pay a fine of £175.

After the case he said he would continue to challenge the conduct of police: “I think in my role as an elected councillor I’m there to challenge what was happening, what the police do, and I felt I was challenging them on that evening.

I will challenge the police in all circumstances.”
Who the hell votes for ‘Conservatives’ like these?

Sunday 21 August 2011

Dotti By Name, Dotty By Nature…

A London public relations executive has told of her pride when she discovered her daughter had superglued herself to a window in Topshop.
Wow! Just imagine how empty and shallow your life and aspirations for your children must be, if that’s a source of pride?

You’re not doing much to dispel the stereotype of PR executives, Dotti…
Dotti Irving, 61, of Chiswick, has rejected the increasing pressure on parents to condemn their children's alleged criminality after the London riots.
And just what was little Miss PR Executive’s daughter doing?
Tess Riley, 26, was protesting against tax-avoidance by Topshop's owner, billionaire retailer Sir Philip Green. After spending the night in police cells, she was charged with criminal damage and faces trial next month.
Dotti thinks this is ‘protest’. I wonder how she’d feel if someone was to superglue themselves to her desk?
Today Ms Irving, founder of PR agency Colman Getty told the Standard: "I am proud of Tess. I don't want her to have a criminal record but I fully support her in what she did. The right to protest is one of the cornerstones of our society."
Yes, it is. The right to commit criminal damage, however…
Ms Riley said: "Many of us take direct action because we have little faith that environmental and social injustices are being addressed adequately by those in power."

Yet many of you take ‘direct action’ (i.e. smash other people’s property and prevent them going about their lawful business) because you’re shallow, spoiled little brats who get caught up in the nihilistic thrill of property damage because, all your life, there’s been no consequences, and you expect that situation to always continue.

I know where I’m placing my bets…

Thank God They Don’t Do This With UXBs…

Police have moved to solve the mystery of how human remains sealed inside a police bag came to be found on the South Wales coast.
Oooh! It’s just like ‘Midsomer Murders’!*settles down with bag of popcorn*
The bag containing a human thigh bone was discovered by a dog walker on Sully Island last week.

Rumours quickly spread through the area that police had “lost evidence” relating to a murder case in 2010 – but police said the bone is actually more than 100 years old.
Wow! That was fast! Were they really using evidence bags back then, I mean, clearly they were losing evidence back th…

Oh. Wait.
They said they had deliberately buried the bone in a marked bag to prevent “causing alarm”.
Police said the bone had previously been found by a member of the public in the same spot in 2010 and was examined.

Once it was established that the bone was more than 100 years old, it was sent to the coroner – who ordered it be reburied where it was found.
“The South Wales Police tag was left in place to prevent the bone being uncovered again in the future and causing alarm or the necessity of repeating the checking procedure.
That worked well, then?

Why not simply bury it somewhere more appropriate, or cremate the remains?

No Hiding Place…

A mother yesterday allowed her teenage son to be jailed over rioting allegations rather than run the risk of being evicted from her £1million council house.
Truly, the rock will no longer give them shelter…
Collins is accused of being part of 40 youths armed with sticks and bottles who fought battles with police in Harrow Road, West London, wearing hoodies and balaclavas on August 9.

Officers said they later found the teenager and another boy hiding in a basement, carrying gloves and a bandana.

He denied being part of the disorder, claiming he had been returning from a party when he was caught up in the riot.
A party featuring gloves and bandanas?
The court heard that he suffered from mental health problems but was due to start work in a scaffolding firm.
As what?

Naturally, the mother is adamant her darling child has been framed:
The five-bedroom semi-detached property is worth an estimated £1million, although the front garden is strewn with rubbish and one of the upstairs windows is smashed.

She said: ‘I have his younger brothers to look after – they’re on their school holidays right now. He hasn’t been living with me recently anyway, he’s been staying with friends and so on.

‘I can’t let him come back to my house because I don’t want to lose it. I’ve got his brothers to think of.’

Mrs Collins said she believed her son had been picked on by police because he is mixed race.
So, they’re only half institutionally racist now…?
There is likely to be a flood of similar cases as council leaders across England respond to public demands that looters face the toughest possible penalties.
It’s about time.

Sunday Funnies

Sadly, no semi-naked beach volleyball seems to be involved...

Saturday 20 August 2011

Another One Who’s Part Of The Problem, Not The Solution…

Saci Lloyd is a teacher:
… over the last year my colleagues and I have watched with growing despair as the last shreds of the rug are pulled out from under our kids' feet. EMA gone. Youth centres closed. Tuition fees trebled. University places cut. And now a thinktank has warned that students from low-income families are even less likely to be offered university places next year.
Oh, woe is you, Saci! But at least you aren’t using that as an apology for their actions. Are you?
Do I think this gives them the right to run riot through city centres and set upon ordinary working people? No, I do not. But ask me if I think young people have the right to be angry as all hell and I will give you an unequivocal yes.
They have as ‘right to be angry’, do they?

Well, so what? We all do. I have a right to be angry about all sorts of things, if I want. That doesn’t, however, make my anger justified.
If rioting is unforgivable then equally indefensible is the lack of training and investment in the inner city. If looting is criminal then equally immoral is the abandonment of whole tranches of the urban landscape to decay and gang law.
Who is it you think has ‘abandoned them’, Saci?
… day after day I teach students who have to take three buses to college to avoid travelling through enemy territory. They arrive in class at nine, nerves rattling, exhausted already before the day has begun.
Hmmm. Bet some robust policing or stop and search would help, eh?

So, why are you not calling for it?
… those of us working in inner-city schools, youth centres and community organisations find ourselves in the crosshairs of moralists who wouldn't last five minutes in the place. No school discipline. Widespread lack of respect in the classroom. These soundbites are an offence to a whole bunch of dedicated professionals who are striving to reach the highest possible standards for their students.
And the question must be, are you succeeding? You certainly seem to think you are:
Many inner-city colleges now have a pastoral system that would astonish the previous generation, with strong emphasis on personal accountability and giving back to the community.
How about an anecdote? Give us some details, eh?
As A-level results come out with record pass rates, the press drools over photogenic girls celebrating their A* grades. And good luck to them – they worked hard and they deserve their university places. Meanwhile, one of my brightest students wasn't even able to sit her exams because she's awaiting trial following a police raid on her house. They found her in possession of her boyfriend's sawn-off shotgun. He'd asked her to hide it for him. She didn't want to, but felt she had no choice. Stupid? Yes. Wrong? Yes. But what a position for a 17-year-old east London schoolgirl to find herself in, barely two miles from the penthouse apartments of Canary Wharf, and as far from the lives of the A* girls as it's possible to be.
Oh, I don’t even know where to start
Could we do more? Yes. Many of these young people rioting on the streets have dropped out of education.
Really? A lot of the ones caught so far have put ‘student’ on their court papers. A lot aren’t even students, rather, grown men and women!

But I’ll indulge you. What’s the answer?
Educational institutions need to be prepared to keep underperforming students for longer, to work with a wider range of frontline youth groups to engage difficult students in more creative ways – and colleges also need to offer more flexible learning hours so that a young person can fit in schooling around their work shifts.
How much longer? What ‘more creative ways’?
Like it or not, these kids are not someone else's problem. They are ours and it's high time we welcomed them back home.
They aren’t mine. And if it’s up to anyone to welcome them back, surely it’s their own parents?

So Many Cretins, So Little Time…

Some vegans are forcing their pet cats to adopt their no-meat diets.

Marco Pagliarulo, a vegan living in Toronto, said he has been feeding his seven-year-old male cat, Mishu, vegan food for more than a year.
Oh, FFS!
"My veterinarian friend doesn't agree with me, but like most human doctors, vets don't study nutrition."
No, but they do study the effects on animals of being in the possession of shallow, self-centred little ideologues, so I think he’s right on the money.
Pagliarulo said he started feeding his cat a no-meat diet after reading the popular book "Food Pets Die For" by Ann Martin, a Canadian writer who investigated the commercial pet food industry.
So, does Marco’s bestest author agree with his stance?
Martin, however, says a vegan diet is not suitable for felines.
"I am not in favour of anyone feeding their cats a vegan diet," Martin told QMI. "Cats need the amino acids found only in meat especially the taurine."
Not that Marco’s listening by now, I suspect his attention has been drawn by some other fad or political statement, much as his cat is distracted by a shiny object or bit of string.

Assuming the poor thing’s not blind by now...
But animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) said felines don't need meat to thrive and should be fed an all-vegetable diet with artificial supplements mimicking the essential amino acids and minerals.
Ah, right. Those animal lovers at PETA.

Yes, well, who’d listen to them, rather than veterinary professionals and biologists?

Apart from the Marcos of this world, that is.