Monday 30 April 2012

Maybe That's Why The Problem Keeps Repeating Itself?

Ahh, the quaint cultural customs of those happy-go-lucky bands of travellers:
A band of Travellers dumped piles of rubbish on picturesque moorland today...
*shocked face*
The Travellers had set up an illegal camp on land owned by the Maristow Estate north of Plymouth a week ago.
They packed up early today after they were warned that they were breaking the law.
But they left the area on Roborough Down Lane strewn with rubbish, including a child’s bicycle, shoes and even a craft knife.
A city council spokeswoman would say only that “We are following our normal procedures for dealing with unauthorised encampments.”
Prosecution for flytipping offences, perhaps, as would happen to anyone else?
This includes providing access to services including education, social and health care, and street services.
Ah. No. Of course not. Silly me.

Blog Title Of The Month

...goes to RAB for this one at 'Counting Cats...' on the subject of the Beeb deciding their back catalogue contained some un-PC entries that should never again see the light of day:

Yes, it really is, isn't it?

Post Of The Month

...goes to Dick Puddlecote for his analysis of the Grand National brouhaha.

Quote Of The Month

From Leg-Iron:
"People are now crying out for the Mk. 1 Borg eyepiece. A device that you can wear while outside and it will describe the weather you’d be able to see if you didn’t have that thing over your eye. Apparently it’s unfair that only the inventors have them so far. If everyone can’t have them, nobody should. When they are available and they start getting stolen, the drones will clamour for implants."

Damn It!

Longrider beat me to the perfect title for this little bit of Met Police wuckfittery:
An officer took exception as he passed the Scream gallery in Bruton Street on a bus. He alerted colleagues and two uniformed officers from Harrow arrived to demand the work be removed.
And why?
Jag Mehta, sales director at the gallery owned by Rolling Stone Ronnie Wood’s sons Tyrone and Jamie, said: “We asked them what the problem was and they said it suggested we condoned bestiality, which they said was an arrestable offence.
The show, Metamorphosis, had been running for a month and was really well received.”
But surely, once they pointed out that this was an old piece of Greek myth, it would satisfy our artistically-challenged constabulary?
But the explanation that the picture was based on a legend that had inspired countless generations of artists failed to cut the mustard with the police, she said. “They didn’t know anything about the myth. They stood there and didn’t leave until we took the piece down.
They asked us whether we had had complaints and we said quite the contrary. Lots of people were intrigued by it.”
She admitted she did not know what they would have done, had the officers arrived before the exhibition was over. “I guess it would have been a discussion with the artist and the owners to see whether we changed the work in the show.
"I don’t know the law. I would like to think we wouldn’t have shied away from it but it’s difficult to say.”
As Misanthrope Girl points out, this is down to the utter stupidity of the UK's extreme pornography law meeting the target-driven culture of the modern police farce.

We have, of course, been here before, with this particular myth. It seems NickM is right, a classical education (or just a bit of common sense) isn't required to be a police officer any more.

/golfclap to those ignorant, idiotic, bullying officers.

I guess there's some Law of Policing, that when one of them does something useful on his day off, their colleagues have to do something boneheadedly stupid, to realign the cosmic balance....

Sunday 29 April 2012

Hull. Again.

His barrister Charlotte Baines said he has been suffering from severe depression after the breakdown of a relationship and did not aim directly at the children.
In Hull, I guess that qualifies him for sainthood?
"He struggles to understand why he did it but recognises the impact of his behaviour on the complainant and the young children who witnessed it."
I think we can all understand why he did it, actually.
Judge Sampson said: "What you did was an act of monumental stupidity. Firing an air weapon into a public space where children were playing is an act of gross recklessness for which only a custodial sentence is appropriate.
"I have found this very difficult indeed, but I am just persuaded I can suspend that sentence."
How surprising...

I Shouldn't Laugh, Really...

A man had a lucky escape after another man covered him in lighter fluid and tried to set him on fire.
And what's funny about that? Well...
The horrific attack, which happened outside the Fiery Angel in Hewlett Road...
Mr Threlfall applied for a pre-sentence report to be prepared on Norris, whom he said had no previous convictions for violence and was in a good job.
The paper doesn't say what sort of job.

Sunday Funnies

K was right - humans in groups are dumb, panicky animals...

Saturday 28 April 2012

The Elephant In The Room Remains Unnamed…

…but it has small ears and a high, domed forehead.
Scotland Yard was today asked by the elections watchdog to investigate “unprecedented” evidence of voter fraud ahead of next week’s polling for London Mayor.
No surprises where – it’s Tower Hamlets. Of course…
It follows growing concerns of cheating in the east London borough, involving the creation of bogus voters at a series of addresses.
*shocked face*
In a letter to the commission’s chairwoman, Jenny Watson, the councillors said: “We write to you as a matter of urgency to demand action be taken about what we believe to be serious abuses of the electoral register and gross voting malpractice in Tower Hamlets.
“In particular we are concerned at the unprecedented number of households that have recently signed up for postal votes in the borough. This was evident last week during the Spitalfields and Banglatown by-election.”
Oh ho! A clue?
“We are aware of instances where people who no longer live at an address are still being sent postal votes and their votes have been cast. We are also aware of instances where postal votes have been collected from voters.
Similar activities are occurring in Weavers ward, where a by-election will be held on May 3. Other elections are also due and their integrity may be compromised.”
And just what do TH have to say about it?
Tower Hamlets said in a statement: "…it is important not to confuse fraudulent activity with a register that changes by up to 20 per cent a month because we have a population that is highly mobile - our borough includes a high proportion of students and restaurant workers."
Hmmmm, I think Cambridge and Oxford are similarly afflicted with ‘a high proportion of students’. Should we expect the same level of voter fraud there, too?

Or is there some other factor?

Modern Parenting In The Age Of The Narcissist….

While I always had the feeling that this project was special and that it deserved a wider audience, I never dreamed that it would get this kind of exposure. The attention has been overwhelming: my daughter's film has been on CNN and Jay Leno, I'm fielding numerous interview requests, and the story was on the front page of an Australian newspaper this morning.
It must be just dreadful for you…
It's crazy, and a little intimidating. I'm getting four hours of sleep a night and am running off adrenaline.
And yet…you don’t seem too upset? And you clearly had time to write a CiF column singing your own praises?
It's strange for the children, who are used to being behind the camera, to suddenly see themselves on television.
Oh, good. I was wondering when – if! – we’d ever get to hear how they felt about it all…
I've discussed the film with them, and Lotte is a little intimidated. Looking at yourself is very strange. Lotte's video has been viewed more than Vince's, probably because she is a girl, because she's older, female. There is more scrutiny of girls.
Yes. Yes, there is. And that’s a wee bit creepy, don’t you think? Still, if they enjoy the attention, then…

Putting the film together has taken discipline – my alarm is always set for Saturday morning. Sometimes the children wouldn't want to be filmed, and then I'd try to stimulate them.
Wow! You’re clearly bucking for Parent Of The Year, aren’t you? What, I wonder, does your wife have to say about this?

She seems strangely absent from discussion…
Each week it gave me the opportunity to talk to my kids, to get to know their likes and dislikes.
You do know that parents do this without the need for cameras and YouTube upload, don’t you? That it is, indeed, considered a normal part of parenting, not some weird project?
The film in which Lotte talks is too personal, too intense for the internet. It reveals too much.
Well, thank God! He has some sense of decorum and privacy, at least, some lines he won’t cross to flatter his ego and…

It would work well in a gallery setting, where you can sit on a bench watching, getting to know her.
I think the reception has been so strong because the film speaks to people. It carries a message about living your life, and enjoying every moment of having your children with you. Being the best parent you can be.
And if you really think that that’s what you’ve shown yourself to be….

Let Them Eat Pot Noodle!

Students are protesting against the high food prices in their cafeteria which they say are adding to student poverty.
I thought they just lived on Pot Noodle, baked beans and beer? And pot?
The students' union handed out free sandwiches at lunchtime today, and yesterday, to encourage students not to use the canteen.

They hope that this boycott will force the caterers to think again about the prices they charge.
If people are still paying it in sufficient numbers, it’s unlikely.
The students' union president, Manoj Iyer, 30, claims that the external company which provides their catering compares its prices to those at Marks and Spencer, not to other student outlets.

He says that the canteen charges 99p for a can of coke while many shops charge as little as 60p.

Mr Iyer, who is in his second year as students' union president, also argues that the canteen charges up to £7 for a meal of chicken and chips with salad and a drink.
So buy your coke elsewhere and take sandwiches. Job done!

Oh, wait. I see someone’s already ahead of me there:
Mahdi Abuka, 20, a television production student, said: “The prices are really high in the canteen. We are students so we don’t have that much money to spend.

I go and buy food elsewhere because it is too expensive on campus.

“I only buy food here when I have to.”
There you go! You didn’t need the Student Union to help you in that decision, clearly!
Pro Vice-Chancellor Warren Forsyth, from Middlesex's Estates and Facilities Management Service, said: "We meet with the Students' Union regularly and acted on recent feedback by introducing a greater choice of offers and a new lower price range of sandwiches starting at £1.

“This was implemented immediately after calls for cheaper options.”
It doesn’t seem to have satisfied them much. I guess there’s just no appeasing some people?
"Student satisfaction is a core priority and we continue to keep the dialogue open with our students, including acting on feedback from a University wide survey into our catering which launched in March and comes to a close at the end of April."
So the SU is organising a protest, you’re running surveys, the canteen is getting on with running a canteen, and the students are happily making their own decision on whether to eat in the expensive canteen or bring sandwiches.

Is anyone doing any, well, teaching or learning..?

Friday 27 April 2012

Why Not Fight Fire With Fire?

A scheme to stop children starting blazes has dealt with 750 youngsters in two years, some as young as four.

Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service launched the FIRES scheme in a bid to stamp out deliberate fires and attacks on firefighters.
Because, one presumes, the criminal justice system is just letting the little blighters off with cautions?
Ann Darby, youth development officer at the service, said: “We deal with youngsters who start fires out of curiosity, who make malicious calls at school, and who attack fire personnel.

“Anyone can refer them to us, including schools and parents, and then we put the child on an individual programme after we’ve figured out what they will react best to.”
And I suppose a clip round the ear’s out of the question there?
“We will also use different materials and props, depending on the age of the child and how quickly they are picking up the safety messages.

“A month afterwards we will do a follow-up phonecall to see if there have been any recurring incidents, and then again, eight months later.

“It’s not a quick process, but our figures suggest it’s working really well.”
Why the need for a follow-up phonecall? Are you relying on the kids or their parents to admit to further offences? Because if so, this is surely doomed to fail!

Because It Isn't Always An Urban Myth...

...I'm referring to child-snatchers:
Niki Bell, 29, turned her back for a split second to draw money from a cash machine when a woman approached her five-year-old son, Ryley, and asked him to go for a walk with her.
The woman, aged in her 50s, told the boy: "You don't have a mummy, so come for a walk with me." Luckily, the youngster had been taught by both his mum and school to "say no to strangers", and he shouted out. Mrs Bell, of Grimsby, immediately grabbed Ryley's arm and alerted security guards at Freshney Place.
And the police came and arrested her and everyone lived happily aft..

Mrs Bell said that following the incident, at about 11.30am on Wednesday, the woman followed them to the security desk in the shopping precinct. The woman, who had been wearing a red and white striped top with blue trousers and white trainers, put on a light blue jacket, which Mrs Bell believes was an attempt to disguise herself.
Surely this galvanised them into action?
"The security guards told me they knew her as someone with learning difficulties," said Mrs Bell. "But I believe she must have known she'd done wrong because she changed her look, and went off after watching us at the security desk."
No difficulties learning evasion techniques, then?
Humberside Police confirmed that a 57-year-old woman was arrested and released without charge.
Jo Barnes, project director with responsibility for people with learning disabilities at North East Lincolnshire Care Trust Plus, said those with learning difficulties had the same rights to live in the community as anyone else, and called for more education about adults with learning difficulties.
Yes, they do. But if their behaviour verges on the criminal, they shouldn't get a free pass, surely?

And what sort of 'education' would you like to see, Jo?
She said: "There are many people with learning difficulties who do not need managing or supervision within the community. There are many who are vulnerable.
"It is important to provide the support at the times these people need it.
"I do not know the lady nor the circumstances in question so I cannot comment on the level of support she may have had in the past or may have at this time.
"We support people with sometimes complex needs or lower level needs and we have a number of policies to mitigate risks to the people who support those with learning disabilities and the care we provide."
What about mitigating the risks to parents who'd like not to have their wits frightened out of them by strangers approaching their children?

Remember, It’s ‘Only 1.5%’…!

A £44,500 disability benefits cheat who claimed he could barely stand was actually working long hours running two market stalls.

Matloob Hussain Shah, 61, is now starting a four-month jail sentence after an investigation into the stalls he ran at Burnley and Accrington markets.
It took three months of surveillance to come up with the evidence.
Afzal Anwar, for Shah, said he clearly had a long medical history. He had had heart bypass surgery, was an asthmatic, suffered back pain and even after 2005 he had been in hospital and had been to see his GP over his health issues.
He was still more active than a lot of non-disabled people!

Thursday 26 April 2012

Interesting Development...

The police acted after receiving complaints from residents – just over a year since 52-year-old Barbara Williams was mauled to death by a dog in the home in which she lodged with Alex Blackburn-Smith in Demesne Road, Wallington.
Police say the complaints relate to two recent incidents – one where a dog leapt over a garden fence and attacked another dog, and a separate attack by three dogs on a cat.
Up until now, the response to attacks at private property and on other animals has met with a collective 'Meh!' from the police, unless pushed into action by the bad publicity. So it's good to see them taking some preventive action here for a change.

Of course, given that it's Wallington and they've been here before, they still have to contend with those other dumb animals, the local magistrates...

"Crystal ball on the table, showing the future, the past..."

Within weeks of meeting the fortune teller Clappison started locking her children in their rooms, forced them to work for gypsies as slaves and assaulted them.
She took the lightbulbs, toys and all mattresses and bedding from their rooms and fed them only sandwiches.
Before this, it seems she'd been a relatively good mother. Her daughter was six and her son ten when it started.
Her daughter, who is now 13, said: "She has made our lives miserable. We were all happy until she met the gypsies.
"She would hit me across the head and pull my hair and said if I told anyone she would kill me.
"We always had to go to the gypsies instead of going to school."
And anyone wondering why the SS didn't pounce, well...
He said when social workers visited their home she put on a "show" and made them play "happy families" then punish them when they had left.
Shades of Baby Peter and smearing chocolate to hide the bruises? Are they so easily fooled? What about the missed school days?
Judge Mettyear ordered a pre-sentence report on Clappison before she is sentenced.
He said: "I am in two minds about whether to order a report as she is not going to co-operate. She is going to say the same thing again and again because she can't face up to it.
"But I am wondering whether there is something wrong with her. It does not seem natural to change from what was happening to what is happening now.
"I am going to order a report to see if the Probation Service can shed any light on it."
And is anyone looking to see if the fortune teller and those who took the children on as slave labour can be charged with anything?

Ah, If Only It Was ‘Robin Hood’s Time’….

…then we could hang the sick bastards:
The RSPCA were called and found that the deer was dead.

But the animal’s body was removed by the gang before police officers were able to attend.
So the RSPCA turned up and didn’t think to secure the evidence themselves, or wait until the police turned up?
Lancashire Constabulary’s wildlife officer Mark Thomas said: “A group of six or seven men set lurchers on the deer and the dogs killed it.

According to a witness, someone has come back on a motorbike and taken it away, with the animal being dragged along behind.

“There are a lot of deer in the area and I have no doubt they will be targeted again.”
Maybe you’ll rock up a bit quicker next time then…
Sudell councillor Roy Davies said he was appalled.

He said: “It is absolutely unbelievable. Who would want to do that to such a lovely animal?

“Deer are beautiful creatures. But nothing surprises me in Darwen these days.

“You do your best for people in the town and it just gets thrown back in your face.”

“It is disgusting. It is as if we have gone back hundreds of years to Robin Hood times.”
If only! We’d be hanging the little shits or cutting their hands off.
Darwen Town Council mayor and Sudell councillor Paul Browne said: “What are these people doing?

“They are sick thugs. I cannot understand the mentality of people.

“We have no control over society any more. What we need is more discipline.”
Or perhaps more punishment and less tolerance?
The incident came as Lancashire Police said it had launched an operation to tackle poaching in the county which had been increasing.
Well, that’s nice, but this happened right on your doorstep, not out in some far-off field, so why you think you’ve got a chance of stopping it without putting a bit more effort into investigating reports properly, I don’t know…
Pc Thomas said it was important that police dealt with the poaching problem.
Well, you’re ‘the police’, aren’t you?

Why didn’t you?

Wednesday 25 April 2012

Is This England?

Protesters gathered outside a Leicester police station yesterday after seven members of a family were arrested. The group of up to 30 men stood outside Leicester's Spinney Hill Park station for about two hours until they dispersed at 5pm.
Oh? This sort of thing doesn't happen here, does it?
Nayeem Gul, who was leading the group, said seven members of his family, including his 13-year-old son and a number of his nephews, had been arrested when officers visited his home earlier in the day.
Ah. And were they there to show their displeasure at the shame their family member had brought to the community, perchance?
A further six people were arrested when what police described as "an incident of disorder" occurred.
Hmmm, maybe not then.
Mr Gul, who was invited into the East Park Road station to speak with officers, criticised police's handling of the arrests. He said: "The way the police came into my home was unacceptable and we came here to show the strength of feeling."
Did you? Did you really?

But What Do You Actually Want..?!

Toddler Joshua Mann still bears the scars of a horrific dog attack two years ago.

Little Joshua, four, had to have more than 200 stitches after he was mauled by a collie belonging to his paternal grandmother in 2010.

Now his family are backing a campaign to ask the Government to crack down on dangerous canines and their owners.
Very admirable…but this wasn’t a ‘dangerous canine’, it was a family pet, and it’s hard to see just what the government are expected to do about it.

Presumably, you had no worries about the dog before the attack?
The dog, which was put down, attacked the toddler when he went to pat him, but his aunt Zoe said she believed the incident never should have happened.
Well, yes. I believe lots of things shouldn’t have happened; 9/11, The Great Fire of London, the second season of ‘Primeval’…

But what is it you are suggesting the government should do to prevent this?
"We are in total agreement that owners should be held responsible for their dog to prevent it causing injuries.

"Every dog bites. The dog which bit Josh wasn't on the banned list. Kids will be kids, they should be allowed to play, and they are going to go up to dogs and want to touch them."
Yes, all true. But, for the last time, what do you expect the government to do?!
She said the Government's focus needed to shift from a specific list of banned animals to a culture of punishing dog owners whose pets get out of control.
Ah! At last! A suggestion!

And it’s a pretty sensible one, despite the fact it was like pulling teeth to get there.

So, the only question remaining, is how long do you want to put granny in jail for, Zoe?

If You Build It, They Won’t Come…

An electric car charging point outside council offices has been used for just five minutes in seven months.
Where else? The home of the Green fruitcakes. But it was, for once, a Conservative-led administration that installed the dratted things!
Critics called the points, which cost up to £18,000 each to install, a “green vanity project” .
Of course, they had an excuse for this. Don’t they always?
The local authority said investment in infrastructure was needed to turn people on to electric cars.
And by ‘people’ they meant ‘council staff’, of course. Because that’s who it’s built for:
A council spokesman confirmed that the point outside King’s House in Hove was only for its workers but said the authority “isn’t yet using electric vehicles among its fleet” .
Well, why not?
A council spokesman said: “Low usage initially is inevitable – you have to first install the charging points before people will buy the vehicles and that’s where we are at present. The charging point at King’s House is there for the same reason – to enable the council to use electric vehicles in future.”
It’s YOU who are in charge of buying vehicles for the council, though. It’s YOU who have set up the infrastructure that you are so sure will lead to increased usage of electric cars.

What’s up, can’t persuade your own staff that they are a great idea? If not, how can you hope to convince the public?

Tuesday 24 April 2012

Why Should We Concern Ourselves With His Luck?

Perrett's luck ran out when he turned left off Court Farm Road...
Really? I would have thought it ran out when he decided to run away from the police.
Mitigating, Sarah Iles conceded: "There's no doubt that this was an appalling piece of driving. The only saving grace is that no-one was hurt."
She said her client had not been drinking nor taking drugs that night and she was unable to get to the bottom of why he acted in the way he did.
Here's a clue love:
Passing sentence, Judge Roderick Denyer QC ...imposed a nine-month prison sentence, suspended for two years.
It's because there are no damned consequences for doing so!

The Thorny Problem Of Youth Unemployment…

Jonathan Portes puzzles over the high level of youth unemployment:
Since 1987, the UK labour market has changed hugely – mostly for the better. It is much more dynamic and flexible, yet at the same time the protections for workers (for example, the minimum wage and laws prohibiting unfair discrimination) against exploitation and abuse are stronger. And overall, young people are better educated than at any time in our history.
They are? Really?

You might find that numerous people – many of them potential employers – would look askance at that…
So why is youth unemployment so high? Obviously, the most pressing problem is a lack of jobs, the result of macroeconomic policy failures. But the government is right to point out that youth unemployment was persistently too high even before the recession. So what's gone wrong?
And Jonathan trots out the usual suspects simply to dismiss them, one by one.
First it is worth busting some myths. It is not the immigrants; youth unemployment has risen just as fast, if not faster, in areas where there are few or no migrants.
It might not be the most significant factor, but it can’t be said to be completely off the table, surely? Chris Grayling certainly seems to believe it to be a factor…
It is not the minimum wage; research has repeatedly failed to find any significant negative impacts.
What research is that? He doesn’t mention any. Are we just supposed to trust him?
It is not the benefit system, which for young single people is very far from generous.
And yet many seem to be quite happy to exist on it, perhaps suggesting that they have access to alternative sources of income?
And it is not that universities are churning out unemployable graduates; graduates still do far better than other young people in the labour market.
Aha! Now we’re getting to the nitty-gritty…
Overwhelmingly, it is young people with few or no qualifications who can't find jobs.
Wait. What?

I thought you just said that we had a world-class educational system? How can this be, then?
So what should the government do? As a matter of urgency, it needs to find out why outcomes for young people have deteriorated so rapidly. And at a minimum, it should adopt the commission's recommendation for a part-time job guarantee after a year of looking for work.
A part-time job with….whom?

With local or central government? That’s a cost.

With businesses who sign up to some scheme? What’ll they want in return?
But it's not just about government, employers too have responsibilities: not to reject young people who want to work just because they lack experience or job-specific skills, to provide access to good quality training and to invest in their workforce.
That’s a cost on the business. Will prices rise to offset it? Common sense says they will.
And young people have a responsibility to make good use of the support that is on offer.
Work experience is a good example of how these responsibilities interact: new research by the Department for Work and Pensions (independently reviewed by the National Institute of Economic and Social Research ) shows that it works, increasing the chances of moving off benefit and getting a job. So it's reasonable to expect young people on benefit to try work experience
Are we talking here about unpaid work experience? Because a few of your fellow CiFers might take issue with that!
More broadly, we need, collectively, to reject the logic that says it's economically sensible to keep unemployment unnecessarily high for unnecessarily long.
Who says that it’s sensible?

How To Save £10, 000!

Up to £10,000 is to be spent making a DVD to show council tenants how to carry out basic repairs without having to call out workmen.

The cash will be used to hire a private firm to produce the DVD and informational manual, which will be made available to 19,000 city council tenants.
Don’t bother. Just go here!

Lots of videos available for almost everything, and it’ll cost you nothing to view them.
It forms part of Stoke-on-Trent City Council's new repairs policy which aims to save £2 million every year by asking tenants to carry out basic repairs like unblocking sinks and bleeding radiators on their own.
And when those tenants attempt to carry out the repairs, stuff them up, and cause even more damage as a result, who’s going to repair that?

Monday 23 April 2012

Yes, This Is The Sort Of Person To Give Us Lessons On 'Decency'...

For me, those are important questions that should be given attention to in primary school. I would call the class "Web ethics and a guide to privacy" – and maybe add a little decency to the mix.
The 'Guardian' giving space to a professional troll. And it's not Polly Toynbee or Richard Murphy for a change!

The Familiar Refrain...

Bristol Crown Court was told driver Stuart Brown was parked in Marconi Close, Weston-super-Mare, when the ball struck his vehicle. When he remonstrated...
Oh, yeah. You just know where this is going...
...Lawrence Taylor punched him, before a later altercation in which Taylor struck Matthew Norton with his mum's walking aid.
A crutch, that'd be.
Taylor, 29, of Sunnyside Avenue, Weston-super-Mare, pleaded guilty to common assault and assault occasioning actual bodily harm in October last year. Judge Michael Roach handed him a 12-month community order, involving 12 months' supervision and a four-month curfew in which he must stay at home from 8pm to 7am.
Because you can't go around hitting strangers with your mum's crutch between the hours of 8pm and 7am. Outside of those times, it's presumably perfectly fine.
Robyn Rowland, defending, said his client had had a troubled early life and had turned to cannabis use to address resultant problems.
That worked out well, then!
He told the court Taylor had become a father and was engaging with social services to prove he wasn't a threat either to his partner or baby.
Taylor's goal was to stop using cannabis as it wasn't helpful for him or the relationship he wanted with his family, the court heard.
Is it a goal he stands any chance of reaching?

The War On Sugar Continues!

The Glasgow University study asked more than 2,000 people in the UK to estimate how much sugar was in a range of drinks.

While many overestimated the amount in fizzy beverages, they underestimated levels in smoothies and fruit juices.
Yes. We’ve raised a nation unaware that fruit juice is mostly sugar.

What, were they all away in biology lessons?
The British Soft Drinks Association says the sugar in soft drinks is not hidden because beverages carry clear labelling of nutritional content, including calorie and sugar content.
Oh, you can’t expect people to read things! This is 2012, FFS!
The participants were asked to guess the number of teaspoons of sugar in a range of popular drinks.

They underestimated it for pure apple juice and orange juice, a caffeinated energy drink and a smoothie by between two and four teaspoons.

And for a pomegranate-based drink, they underestimated the sugar content by nearly 18 teaspoons.
And why is this a problem?
Unsurprisingly, many participants were not taking the calorie content of their soft drinks into account when thinking about their diet.
Now, just what do they mean by ‘diet’ here?

Because if they mean someone who’s watching their weight, then there’s no excuse; several girls (and two blokes) in my office are doing that, and often whip out a little booklet that tells them what’s in what, and there are endless discussions at lunchtime over the calorie count in this or that.

But if they just mean people who are concerned about what they eat, well, then, the answer’s in their own hands, isn’t it? Read the bloody cans!
The team warned that the over-consumption of soft drinks was contributing to obesity and was a major risk factor for conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke.
Drink water, comrades! No, wait, we’re in a drought! ARGH!

When is someone going to start to look at the risk factors of all these useless, hectoring studies carried out by people who should really be doing something worthwhile with their time instead?

You Can Taste The Disappointment...

Today's 'Daily Mail' headline:

I do love the scare quotes. Who but a complete moron (or 'Daily Mail' reader, but I repeat myself..) could think that the original proposal wasn't a breach of civil liberties?

 It seems that the proposal now is for responsibility to lay with *gasp* the parents!
...internet providers would merely give users the opportunity to filter out pornography more easily.
Under these proposals, subscribers would be asked a ‘yes or no’ question about whether they wish to continue being able to access adult material, enabling parents to block access for their children. The question will be asked on only one occasion.
Does that satisfy the pornophobes? Reader, it does not:
...MPs and charities say this will not adequately safeguard children because it will rely on their parents being responsible and proactive enough to ask for access to be blocked.
They say that as if it were a bad thing, don't they?
Tory MP Claire Perry, who last week led calls for the Government to take stronger action, said would be ‘really disappointing’ if the idea was excluded from the paper, adding: ‘If there’s no age check there then we’re not solving the problem. I understand the ideological objections but I don’t think that’s a fact-based argument to make. I just think our kids deserve more than empty phrases like “civil liberties”.’
'Take away our freedom to make our own decisions! Do it for the chiiildreeeen!' I guess now I know who's bucking for the job of Porn Tsar.

What a wretched, unthinking bunch these New Tories are indeed. And they aren't the only ones:
John Brown, of children’s charity the NSPCC, said: ‘We would take the view that child safety should take precedence over civil liberties arguments.’
Welcome to 2012 1984.

Sunday 22 April 2012

The Guardian Goes Full-On Dictatorship...

...over, of all things, the ridiculous obesity 'crisis':
But if the answers, whatever they are, involve challenging corporate power and practices, legislating to improve the content of food or even limiting individuals' freedom to consume junk, then so be it.
Is this the moment the 'Guardian' finally jumped the shark?

Tie Me Up, Tie Me Down!

So, Kirsty Sowden* joins the long, long list of 'rare cases':
The innocent man, who was going through a divorce at the time, was taken away in handcuffs...
That must have been a conflicting experience, given he originally went to her for bondage!
Sowden, of, Northfleet, Kent was jailed for 14 months at Maidstone Crown Court after admitting perverting the course of justice by trying to disguise her sex session as rape. The court heard the £14,000 investigation had wasted a staggering 376 hours of police time.
She should be made to pay every single penny of that back.
Malcolm Gilbert, who works for rape charity Family Matters, yesterday condemned Sowden’s actions.
He said:”We condemn any woman, or indeed any man, who makes false allegations because of the harm to genuine rape victims, to undermine the whole business of rape.
“They should be pursued by the police in the way it has been here.”
At last, an anti-rape organisation prepared to stand up and condemn her, rather than seek to excuse her! Maybe it's because it's a male spokesperson?

And men, since holiday season is coming up, beware this new wrinkle**:
There has been a rise in false reports of rape from tourists in Malaga, according to the police. They are apparently doing this, the police say, to make fraudulent claims from their travel insurance.
Doctors claim that in several cases they are convinced that the women are lying, but it is very hard to prove.
And since they are tourists, they are usually out of the country by the time anyone thinks to charge them. Say, maybe that European Arrest Warrant might come in handy here..?

*H/T: Mark Wadsworth
**H/T: Anna Raccoon


Plain-clothed police officers are patrolling a nature reserve after complaints of illicit sexual encounters - including one which involved a man dressed in a yodelling outfit being led around on a chain.
Whatever floats your boat, I guess…
In a bid to stop people carrying out such antics, signs have also been put up by North Herts District Council at the car park forbidding anti-social behaviour.
I’d love to see the wording of that! Sadly, the ‘Mail’ doesn’t provide a picture.
Safer Neighbourhoods Sergeant Jon Vine said: 'This kind of behaviour is totally unacceptable in a public environment, not to mention illegal.'
What is? Dressing in a yodelling outfit? Being led on a chain?

I guess Brighton’s next ‘Pride’ event is going to have to be a rather sombre affair, then?
'We will work alongside North Herts District Council to ensure that dog walkers, walkers and families are able to use the woods and conservation area without trepidation.
'Plain clothes officers will be conducting patrols in the area over the coming months and anyone caught acting in an inappropriate manner will run the risk of arrest for outraging public decency.'
Just for dressing up like William Tell? Or indulging in a bit of master/slave roleplay?

Are we going down the route of the continental attitude that if something isn’t expressly permitted, it is forbidden?

Sunday Funnies

Something to bear in mind for when I get my new Siamese kittens in May...

Saturday 21 April 2012

”Art for art’s sake, money for god’s sake…”

On Tuesday evening, one of my artworks was burnt in a gallery in Naples, Italy.
Oh, how I wish this were Tracy Emin speaking, or Damian Hirst.

But it’s not. It’s Séverine Bourguignon, a French artist. And she’s referring to this:
Antonio Manfredi, director of the Casoria Contemporary Art Museum (Cam) has been destroying works from his collection in order to draw attention to the plight of his institution, which is in desperate need of financial help from regional, national or European authorities.
I think regional, national and European authorities have far greater priorities than a few paintings, Séverine.

I really, really do..
Seeing my work go up in flames was extremely painful and I am in mourning. But in some way it did not belong to me any more. I never thought of its commercial value and it is a political act to destroy it.
I think the director thought of its ‘commercial value’. I think he thought it was nil…
I hope that this action will help the Italian government reconsider Cam's situation. Without funds, Cam will be closed and its collection will effectively cease to exist.
So put up your prices. Or sell the artwork to raise funds, rather than burning them.

Didn’t that occur to anyone? Or…is it that they really have no value?
But the closure of Manfredi's gallery is not just bad news for artists: Cam is located in a socially deprived part of Naples, and museums are not only dedicated to educated people and tourists. If Cam is forced to close its doors, it would be bad news for the local people of Naples too.
If enough of them flocked to the museum or sponsored a painting or two, it wouldn’t be in the financial mess, would it?

Since they evidently don’t

London Olympics; Outdoing Beijing In Every Sense Of The Word…

Media and civil liberties groups have expressed alarm after the managers of an Olympic venue pledged to intercept and question anyone seen photographing or filming the site, even from public land, and defended security guards who wrongly tried to invoke terrorist laws to prevent footage being shot of the arena.
Oh, here we go…
John Toner from the National Union of Journalists said he would seek an urgent meeting with managers of the O2, saying their tactics had no basis in law. "I'm stunned, and what they say is utterly outrageous," he said.
But perhaps it was just a one-off incident?
As an experiment, the Guardian attempted to shoot video footage of the O2 arena from a public road on its southern edge, only a few minutes' walk from the main entrance.

Very quickly the reporter was challenged by O2 security guards, who made a series of demands with no basis in law. They ordered that the filming stop – "We've requested you to not do it because we don't like it" – and that they be shown any existing footage. Asked on what basis they could demand this, one replied: "It's under the terrorist law. We are an Olympic venue." Another added: "You have, for want of a better word, breached our security by videoing it [the O2]."

At one point they refused to allow the reporter to leave. One said: "It's gone too far for that."
Give someone on minimum wage, with little education, a badge and a uniform, and what do you expect? It’s happened before, after all; numerous times with the police, who aren’t on minimum wage and who you’d expect to have a damned good grounding in the law!
While such overreach is not uncommon it is often followed by a management apology.
Or, in the case of the police, after an embarrassing court case is lost…

But with the Olympics, it seems all is quite different!
An O2 spokesman defended the guards' approach.
Wait. What?
He said: "On the basis that [the reporter was] filming areas of the O2 that are not usually of interest to the public, our security staff's approach and handling of the situation was entirely appropriate."
No. It wasn’t. They had no basis in law to demand what they demanded, and no basis in law to stop anyone leaving public property!

What part of that don’t you understand?

Oh, wait. It seems the police don’t understand it any better themselves…
The incident at the O2 was eventually resolved after guards called police, who also asked to see the video footage, citing the Terrorism Act. The reporter was allowed to leave after neither he nor the police could properly operate the camera to replay the footage.
Note that: not because he was right, and they realised he was right on the point of law, not because they realised they were making an embarrassing spectacle of themselves - because they couldn’t work the camera…!

Roll on the Olympics! It’s going to be tons of fun.

Can’t We All Just Get Along?

The number of cyclists injured in accidents on Leicester's roads has increased. Last year, 170 cyclists were hurt in Leicester, compared with 140 in 2010 – an increase of more than 20 per cent.
Leicester City Council bosses have put the increase down to a big rise in the number of cyclists….
And who’s not satisfied with that?

Yup. You got it:
… but bike users believe it is also down to the attitude of drivers.
But not the attitude of cyclists. Oh, no. They are just passive victims.
Cyclists said while they accepted the increase in accidents was partly down to more bikes on the road, they felt tolerance of riders by other road users was at an all-time low.

Mechanic Danny Sorrentino, who works at bike shop Future Cycles
Clearly, an impartial observer…
…said he was regularly cut-up by drivers, and had been knocked off his bike many times.

The 26-year-old said: "To be honest, I think there have been far more than the amount of accidents given in the figures here.

"Most cyclists just won't bother reporting an accident, because they know nothing will be done.

"I think that many drivers just do not care.

"They look at a cyclist, think that they do not pay road tax or insurance, and assume that gives them a right to the road.

"I've been cut up, shouted at, and told to get off the road. I cycle every morning wondering what's going to happen."
And cyclists never do anything wrong, Danny? They are always the innocent party?
Matt Gough, 40, a member of cycling group Critical Mass
Another one!
… cycles with his eight and six-year-old daughters to their school, Water Leys Primary, in Wigston.

He said: "There is obviously more pressure on the roads – more people fighting for space.

"But then, reluctantly, I would say it might be down to increased selfishness and thoughtlessness by road users.
"I'm a driver and I know when I am driving you feel invincible. I think if drivers got on a bike, and saw how scary it can be, they would drive with more consideration, and give cyclists a wider berth."
And what will prompt cyclists to drive with more consideration, Matt?

How come your car journey didn’t seem to make you realise just what a potential for disaster a cyclist shooting through a red light, or failing to wear reflective clothing at dusk, can be?
Aylestone councillor and cyclist Adam Clarke, who asked for the injury figures at a cabinet meeting last month, said more should be done to make roads safer – including looking at introducing more 20mph zones around the city.
Great! So slow everyone down, and if that doesn’t work, what? We all walk? We bring back the man with the red flag?

Sense, as always, can be found in the comments:
by homesickalien

“Just to add my comments about cyclists: The majority of cyclists I come across on a daily basis are well lit, wear high visibility clothing and abide by the rules of the road. However, there is a growing minority that just don't seem to care that their dark clothing and disregard for basic common sense is likely to get them killed. Just last night I was sitting at a red light on a T Junction waiting to turn left. A cyclist flew past me down the outside and went straight through the red light turning left across traffic without even looking. He was wearing high vis clothing but no helmet and I honestly thought I would turn the corner to find him under a car. How he made it I don't know. The trouble is, this goes on all to often and nothing is ever done about it.

I would support the creation of better cycle routes and wider cycle lanes if only they were used. So many times I have travelled along Blaby road from the Foxhunter Island to Whetstone and had to overtake a cyclist on the main road when a perfectly good cycle lane has been created, at some taxpayers expense I might add, and they can't be bothered to use it. Some cyclists are their own worst enemies and it's no wonder they get abuse from other road users. On the flip-side, some drivers are totally inconsiderate towards cyclists and give them no room at all when overtaking. This is so dangerous. Many times I have nearly been taken out by an impatient driver or someone passing too quickly. It's about time we learned to tolerate each other whatever our mode of transport. But courtesy works both ways.”
There! See?

It can be done! It is possible to recognise that there is fault on both sides.

So rather than allowing the media and the cycling pressure groups to imply that fault only runs one way, why not focus on the current abysmal standard of driving of some road users – both four wheels and two wheels – and simply make the penalties for both miscreants so damned high, they are priced off the road?

Let’s face it – if someone’s an aggressive, inconsiderate driver towards cyclists (or cars, or pedestrians) they’re likely to be aggressive and inconsiderate to all other road users too.

Friday 20 April 2012

Ah, It’s That Notorious Phrase Again…

A teenager has died after a motorbike he was riding hit a metal barrier in a park.

Lee Francis Wilson, 18, from Blackley, suffered serious chest injuries in the collision at Chadderton Hall Park, Oldham. He was taken to hospital but died later.
Riding a motorcycle in a park, eh?
Police are appealing for witnesses. Pc Danny Byrne said: “This is a tragic incident which has resulted in Lee’s untimely death, at the age of only 18.

“Our thoughts are with his family, who are being supported by specially trained officers at this very difficult time. Inquiries are ongoing to establish the exact circumstances surrounding the collision and I would ask for any witnesses or anyone with information to please get in touch.”
Don’t hold your breath…

H/T: Curmudgeon via email

I Hope They 'Play Rough' In Jail, Lee....

...I really, really hope so:
The thug, who this week admitted three animal cruelty charges in court, repeatedly rained kicks and punches down on the helpless pet, which in the video even appears to play dead to stop him.

The video, from September, shows Dyer in the garden of his partner Ruth Duffell's home in King Henry's Drive, New Addington.
New Addington again? How surprising...
He is shown chasing the dog around the garden and beating it with a plank of wood before kicking it in the head.

Footage then shows him throwing dog faeces over his neighbours' fence.
And his excuse? 'I never did nuffin' wrong, innit?' Of course:
But despite the video evidence, Dyer, who also has a two-year-old Staffordshire bull terrier named Angel, claimed he had done "nothing wrong".

After stating that he wanted to tell "his side of the story"...
Ooooh, wait!

*gets popcorn*

OK! Let the fun begin!
...he told the Advertiser: "These dogs are not scared of me. They wouldn't come to me when they are called if they were. All I was doing in that video is playing rough with them, staffies can be a handful and they like playing rough.
Yeeeees, sure they do. I hope you do get a jail sentence, I hear Leroy in Cell 18 likes it too. Think he's more of a giver than a receiver, though, if you know what I mean...
"I think it's bad that people can say what they want about me and get me in court.
Well, you would say that, wouldn't you? But it's not just words, is it?There's video!
"I don't even think him next door should have been allowed to record anything in our garden."
"I have never thrown dog mess over the fence, that is just one thing he is lying about."
Really? Because the court report says that's on videotape too!

Worrying Signs...

London Councils is calling on the government to increase the penalty for owning a banned type dog to bring it more in line with carrying an offensive weapon.

They are also calling for enforcement to made cheaper and quicker and for the law to be extended to include private land to protect those who have to visit other people's homes as part of their work.
Hmmm, I don't think the dangerous dogs issue is so terribly pressing we want to see 'quick' justice, much less cheap justice!

And once again, the call to have laws that protect them only, and not everybody.

Thursday 19 April 2012

Frank Field Readies The State Podding Factories…

A pioneering virtual school could be set to break the "cycle of poverty” in Wirral by giving teenage mums extra support.

The new scheme – Springboard – was proposed to the council's cabinet by Birkenhead Labour MP Frank Field on Thursday night.
And just how will a ‘virtual school’ do that? Come to think of it, just how are you defining ‘poverty’?
He wants to establish a free school which will teach young people parenting skills and ensure children are ready for their first day of school.

It is hoped the project would begin during the early stages of pregnancy and would go some way to halting the cycle of "intergenerational poverty."
So, government indoctrination centres providing more work for state employees servicing the growing underclass?

Nice way to dress it up, Frank…
"During the first years of a child’s development, their life chances are determined – particularly those from the poorest backgrounds.

"We want to work with parents when their baby is still in the womb to make them more useful than they would otherwise be.

"Although this would be a virtual school, it would still have a governing body and we would hope all parties would be a part of that.

"It will be very much a Wirral project of cutting edge ideas – no-one has done it before and it thinking very much outside of the box."
Rather than try to deal with the problems caused by a ‘no responsibility’, ‘money for nothing’ culture, why not simply bring that culture to a screaming halt?
Under the proposals, the school will operate from a number of centres with its headquarters based at Tranmere Community Centre and the most vulnerable mothers and children would gain enhanced support.

And the Birkenhead Education Trust, which will run Springboard, is also working with St Anselm’s College and Prenton High School on a pilot scheme to find out how parenting skills can be integrated into the curriculum.
Jobs for all! And not just in the Wirral, either…
If successful, Springboard is expected to be rolled out across the country to improve skills among young people and create better life chances for future generations.
And create well-paid sinecures for public sector staff, of course.

Is it just me, or is there a core of people intent on farming the underclass like cows? And I don’t believe we’ve a shortage of cows…

H/T: Tattyfalar in comments

Paedo Panic And Social Media

Police and a Helston head teacher have sought to reassure worried parents after an online panic over claims a man had been filming young children at a local play area.

Concerned mothers and fathers took to the internet following reports of an incident in Coronation Place in Helston, near Nansloe Academy.
Oh, I can well imagine...
A man was questioned and released, without charge and not on bail, but as word spread it led to comments on social networking websites.

The school's head, Charles Field, said the comments were incorrect – and at least one threatened violence.
The police spokesman urged the public to "allow the police to do their work" and not to jump to conclusions.

He added: "Sometimes there's a simple explanation (for people's actions) and no crime has been committed."
Very good advice from the police there. Pity they don't always take it themselves, though.

I reckon being arrested and questioned in the aftermath of your child's accidental death is a lot more upsetting than threats from anonymous numpties on BookFace...

Why Have A Community Centre When You Don't Apparently Have A Community?

Those caught up in the violence have spoken of the night of terror ending nearly 30 years of a regular auction which raised thousands of pounds for charities such as Cancer Research UK and the baby care unit at the nearby Diana, Princess of Wales Hospital.

North East Lincolnshire Council South ward councillor Norma Lincoln said it was the worst violence she had witnessed on the estate in more than 18 years.

The venue, which she hires out to charity and community groups, will now be closed for at least a fortnight.
Comments are, umm, interesting:
by nunnygirl93

“people need to remember there are
2 sides to every story! them kids wernt rioting! and there is a lot more to this story they wasnt attacking the cars either! and maybe if there was somewere for these kids to go they wudnt be on the streets!
Ahhh, the familiar old refrain!
by nunnygirl93

“there was
a fight between 2 lasses one of the lasses lost so she got the lady's eldest son he then hit a young girl and slung her onto a car bonnet all im saying is there is a lot more to what happened... and the lady went to hit 1 of the teens...which is how she ended up being pushed! all im saying is there is a lot more to what happened it wasnt a riot far from it and maybe if the police spent more time keeping the peace than winding the residents up it wouldnt have got that bad
*crosses another Northern location off the 'might visit one day' list*

Wednesday 18 April 2012

Ex Libris: ‘Maneaters Of Kumaon’

"I was shooting with Eddie Knowles in Malani when I first heard of the tiger which later received official recognition as the 'Champawat man-eater'.
Eddie, who will long be remembered in this province as a sportsman par excellence and the possessor of an inexhaustible fund of shikar yarns, was one of those few, and very fortunate, individuals who possess the best of everything in life. His rifle was without equal in accuracy and striking power, and while one of his brothers was the best gun shot in India, another brother was the best tennis player in the Indian Army. When therefore Eddie informed me that his brother-in-law, the best shikari in the world, had been deputed by the Government to shoot the Champawat man-eater, it was safe to assume that a very definite period had been put to the animal's activities."

Ahhh, I remember the first time I saw this book (and it was indeed the same book – I bought this copy on eBay last year for the glorious illustrations by Raymond Sheppard, along with the others in the series, 'The Temple Tiger' and 'The Man-Eating Leopard of Rudraprayag').

It was at Wantz Library, adult fiction section.

I’d gone over there because I’d exhausted the options at my more local libraries and it was quicker than waiting for books to be shipped to it on the slow ‘reserve’ system.

Thus marked my foray for the first time into non-fiction, for as nail-biting as these accounts are, they are all true. Indeed, only a month or so ago, this story made the UK news; there was one significant difference, though - this case being a matter for the police, who are reported as attempting to 'take the leopard into custody'..!

And these tales are not for the faint-hearted! There are plenty of moments of high-drama. Quite why they never made more of them in the way of film and tv, I don't know. The Beeb had a go, producing a one-off drama titled 'Man-Eaters of India' with Frederick Treves in the role of Jim Corbett. It was quite good, but is sadly unavailable on DVD.

The book I hold in my hand as I write this is dedicated 'to the gallant soldiers, sailors and airmen of the United Nations, who during 1939-1945 lost their sight in the service of their country...'

What Are You Really Worried About?

Ah, the ‘anti-gay posters’ Mayoral kerfuffle:
Just days before the posters were due to appear on buses in the capital, Johnson ordered his transport chiefs to pull the adverts booked by two conservative Anglican groups following outrage among gay campaigners and politicians saying that they were homophobic.
Thus proving Bojo is every bit the politician with an eye ever to the media or as Angry Exile puts it, 'illiberal twat'), as much as any other.
Johnson, who contacted the Guardian to announce he was stopping the adverts within two hours of their contents becoming public, said: "London is one of the most tolerant cities in the world and intolerant of intolerance. It is clearly offensive to suggest that being gay is an illness that someone recovers from and I am not prepared to have that suggestion driven around London on our buses."
When did we become so damned fragile that we couldn’t bear the idea that someone might have differing views to the mainstream?

First we had the ridiculous idea that a university may decide to dispense with its bars because a significant minority dislikes alcohol and considers it immoral. The idea that they should simply not drink it themselves is never suggested; no, it must be removed from their sight, to make them more ‘comfortable’ and emphasise what a diverse and tolerant lot we are (where ‘tolerance’ no longer means what it used to).

Now this, where once again, we can’t simply expect anyone to frown, shake their heads at the silly beliefs of others, and get on with their lives.

No, it mustn’t be allowed to trouble them, they must be ‘protected’ from seeing it as if the very glimpse of this beguiling Medusa might turn them to heterosexual stone...

Of course, since we’re in the middle of a Mayoral race, we
His main rival in next month's mayoral election, Ken Livingstone, said Johnson should never have allowed the adverts to be booked.

Does NewtBoy think that the Mayor personally vets each and every one of TfL’s proposed bus ads? Crikey!
The Christian groups insisted the advert had been cleared with Transport for London (TfL) , which is chaired by the mayor. Davidson said: "I didn't realise censorship was in place. We went through the correct channels and we were encouraged by the bus company to go through their procedures. They okayed it and now it has been pulled."
Well, cheer up. They’ve given you far, far more publicity than the adverts would have given you, and all for free!

Both openly-gay MP Chris Bryant and Ben Summerskill, Stonewall head honcho, condemned the ad, but did not agree with it’s banning:
Both men said the advert should not be banned, however, because they believed in freedom of speech.
*sigh* I wish we still had politicians who did…
The decision to pull the adverts is being seen as a potential boost for conservative Christian organisations attempting to become more politically active in the UK.

"Banning this is usually a fairly good way to encourage a sense that people are being marginalised and persecuted," said Simon Barrow, co-founder of the Ekklesia thinktank which has tracked the progress of what it calls aggressive conservative Christianity. "It could be part of a developing tactic to draw attention to themselves and a way of using victimhood to galvanise sympathy and support."
And so the UK continues to fragment along tribal lines and the great English reputation for ‘tolerance’ slips ever further into the mists of time…

Look, What Part Of 'Non-Emergency Number' Didn't You Understand..?

Lin was holding a friend's baby, who had dropped in to visit, when the pair of thieves walked into her shop at about 1pm on Wednesday.

The first, who appeared to be aged in her 40s, of Eastern European origin and wearing a headscarf, kissed Yazz Seager's baby, after which Lin immediately reeled away.

At the same time, the second woman lifted several items from a table in the corner.

After several requests "to put the jewellery back" the woman lifted her top and bra up, before laughing.

Lin said: "At that point I said I was going to call the police, but the phone wasn't working so I had to pretend.

"I told them the police were coming. I had just had enough of it all, so I stood in front of the door to stop them getting out.

"One took one arm and the other took the other arm and pulled me away from the door.

"Then, as they were walking down the street they pulled up their skirts and mooned me.

"That is what really offended me. It was their brazen attitude. They couldn't give a damn.

"Their attitude was that we have stolen items from your shop and there is nothing you can do about it."
Sure there is! Theft, assault, you can dial 999 and...

Then Lin called the non- emergency police number from her mobile and eventually was put through after a delay.

She added: "Apart from anything, I am not happy that the police seem to have taken no notice. I thought they would come to see me but they haven't."
For the love of...!!! Theft and assault are EMERGENCIES.

The non-emergency number is not appropriate here. Why would you think it was?

Just Put The Beasts* Down...

The Chief Constable has applied to Plymouth magistrates for an order to destroy the dog.

The court heard officers seized Rocko at the end of January.

Owner Craig Randle, aged 28, of Newcastle Gardens, is opposing the application and wants the dog back.

He told the court: "We have five kids and the dog is great with the kids."

Mr Randle said he did not know whether it was a pit bull.
Well, let's see. What's its behaviour?
...the animal had attacked a neighbour's dog in the street in January.

Mr Rendell said the owner had to pick up the pet to protect it.

He added the dog then turned on the owner's child.

Mr Rendell said: "The child was put up on the shoulders of its parent and even though this person was 6ft tall, the child had to lift its legs to avoid being bitten."

He claimed Rocko had been out in the street without the knowledge of Randle or his partner Paula Libbey.
Hmmm. that name seems familiar...

*snaps fingers*

Oh, right!

* Am I talking about the dogs? Errr, well, maybe I'll have to get back to you on that...

Tuesday 17 April 2012

Oh, Look! *Yawn* Another ‘Rare Case’…

An allegation of rape on a teenage girl in Vange did not happen, police have said.
But no doubt a hell of a lot of time was spent finding out if it had?
After speaking to detectives again, the 17-year-old girl admitted the allegation of a stranger rape in Vange on April 3 did not happen as she told them.

The victim will be re-interviewed about other allegations she has made.
And then prosecuted for wasting police time? Mind you, if this one* hasn't been, after the 19th time...

*H/T: RightGirl via Twitter

Just What Is The Point Of A ‘Suspended Sentence’ Then?

A football manager with a suspended prison sentence hanging over him begged door staff not to report him to police after flooring a clubber with one punch.
Well, maybe the sentence wasn’t for drunken viole…

The 23-year-old was given a suspended prison sentence in January last year after being part of a group that attacked two brothers in the city centre.
Well, that’s his goose cooked, then.

Ha! Only kidding!
But despite hitting another man during a nightclub argument about a dropped mobile phone, he has again avoided prison.
Recorder Sarah Vaughan-Jones QC decided to extend the period of the suspended prison sentence and ordered that he do unpaid work and serve a curfew.
And why?
Anna Midgley, defending, said after initially pleading with door staff not to tell the police, Robson had co-operated completely with authorities.

Miss Midgley said Robson was a young man who worked full time, and who was remorseful and managed a football club in Kingswood, showing a "degree of responsibility."
Well, maybe he’s only a drunken violent little scumbag when he’s had a drink, so…

Oh. Clearly not:
Robson was suspended for two matches last month for use of offensive language directed at match officials.
Isn’t it about time the football authorities started to take the action that the magistrates clearly are loathe to?

Or is it ok to get drunk, beat up strangers and abuse officials so long as you aren’t racist or homophobic?

No, Perhaps He Needs To Be Treated Like The Self-Indulgent Waste Of Oxygen He Really Is..?

A vandal who ransacked a man’s home and went on the rampage through York has been jailed.
Gareth Jenkins left a trail of damage to parked cars that would cost at least £9,000 to repair, said Stephen Welch, prosecuting.
Well, I hope he can pay for all the damage he...

The vandalism began when the jobless 21-year-old broke through the front door of a council flat in Navigation Road, off Walmgate, in the early hours of February 25.
Jenkins, of Markham Crescent, off Haxby Road, York, smashed the bathroom door, television and a cabinet, and left water running, causing water damage.
After leaving the flat, he kicked a car in a “frenzied” attack, said Mr Welch, and jumped up and down on the roof and bonnets of other cars.
And what prompted this?
Three weeks earlier, he and two accomplices had tried to break into the same flat in the early evening by banging on its windows and door.
So, he's a failed burglar? He had a beef with the occupant?
Judge Guy Kearl QC told Jenkins: “Custody is the only option.”
He jailed him for 11 months. Jenkins pleaded guilty to one charge of burglary and nine of criminal damage.
In addition to the jail term, he was barred from having any contact with the flat’s resident.
Ah. Seems so.
His barrister Taryn Turner said Jenkins had learning difficulties and believed the flat’s resident had been saying unpleasant things about him and a member of his family. He had been drinking and had taken drugs before acting in the way he had.
She said: “He is a young man who perhaps needs help and understanding, given his limitations.
Mmmm, perhaps. Personally, though, I favour the birch. Followed by a year's hard labour.

Does Russia still have salt mines? Maybe if we sucked up to Putin a bit more, we could get a reciprocal arrangement going...

Monday 16 April 2012

NuLabour Minister Redefines ‘Chutzpah’. Again.

Plans to make police community support officers the first point of contact for members of the public have been criticised by the former home secretary David Blunkett.

South Yorkshire police wants its regular officers to be regrouped into teams available to deal with serious incidents only. The PCSOs will carry out all work on the streets.
Yes, that’s right – Blunkett is criticising the expansion of the system he set up in order to blur the boundaries between police officers and unwarranted uniformed busibodies way back when he was Home Office Minister.

Blunkett, who is MP for Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough, said: "Community support officers are intended to be part of the neighbourhood beat teams and not a replacement for them. It would be deeply regrettable if we reverted to the Z-Cars era of flying squads and concentration on reaction, rather than prevention."
Oh, if only they did just concentrate on reaction, rather than churning out message after message warning motorists not to leave valuables in their cars, and chasing down people being mean on social media to warn them that it ‘might be’ an offence.

I think we’d actually all prefer that.
He added that lessons had been learned on policing policy "which is why from the mid-1990s to the present time we have seen such a dramatic drop in crime".
OK. Hands up. Who thinks we’ve seen ‘a dramatic drop in crime’?

Anyone? Bueller?

Politics Isn't 'The Apprentice', Laura...

Laura Sandys, the MP for Thanet South, wants to set up a company specifically to sell “ugly” food.
Well, they say people eat with their eyes, so good luck with that, love!
She said: “We have had very cheap food in the UK for many years. In some ways this has driven us to value it much less, so while we don’t pay much for food it costs us more money to produce it.”
Mrs Sandys, who would like to market the food under the brand name Ugly, has been discussing the matter with farmers in an attempt to understand why some fresh produce is rejected by supermarkets.
“You see the most amazing reasons,” she said. “For example, an apple that may not have enough red on one side, or too much green on the other. These apples do get used in things like apple juice, but obviously at a much lower [price]. Why should an apple that has not enough red or green not be acceptable when it tastes exactly the same?”
'Proles! Eat your veg, yes, even the ugly ones, if you know what's good for you! The farming lobby must be appeased at all cost!'
According to Mrs Sandys the branding could be used to sell fish such as Pollock, which is considered less desirable than cod or haddock. It could also be used to market meats that have fallen out of fashion with the modern consumer, she added.
Ooooh, don't encroach on Jamie's turf, Laura! There'll be a severed cod's head on your pillow if you aren't careful...

That’s Not ‘Mitigation’, That’s Karma…

The court was told in mitigation that Fisher had been drinking heavily on the night of the offence.
Adrian Reynolds, in mitigation, said his client was more seriously injured himself.
Well, after holding three people hostage and then cutting one of them several times, the fact he got a little bit banged up when they managed to turn the tables isn’t really twitching the needle much, I have to say...

It didn’t impress the judge much, either:
Judge Michael Stokes, QC, sentenced Fisher to nine years after he admitted aggravated burglary.
Judge Stokes awarded Mr Guo £500 for disarming Fisher and £250 each to Mr Lin and Mr Liu.
And why were these two Brainiacs there in the first place?
The court heard the two men had targeted the address in Ednaston Road in error, as they had wrongly believed there were drugs inside.
Detective Constable Chris Taylor said: "These victims showed an extraordinary degree of courage to take on and detain a violent intruder. Their bravery has rightly been recognised by the judge, while Fisher, a prolific criminal with a long history of offending, begins a significant prison sentence."

Police are still trying to trace the second intruder.
They should simply tack his likely sentence on to Fisher’s until he gives up the name.