Saturday 30 June 2012

Stop! Neigh Means Neigh!

Detectives are trying to trace a man who is suspected of ‘inappropriate sexual behaviour’ with horses in a field.

I guess it’s the sort of thing men do when they don’t have a stable relationship…
DS Eric Halford, from Accrington CID, said: "Due to the sensitive nature of the offence, we cannot at this time release any detailed information but it is of a serious nature.
"The offender has been captured on camera and we are seeking to identify the male responsible for committing the offence as a matter of priority.
"It is imperative that anyone who knows this male comes forward with information that will assist the police in identifying him."
So, what does he look like?
The man is described as tall with dark receding hair and possibly wearing striped clothing.
Well, unless he’s Wally, and he’s VERY hard to pick out, that description won’t get you far since he could now change his clothing…

Blog Title Of The Month

Tim Worstall finds some names are just godsends....

Quote Of The Month

Laban Tall reflects on the continuing Greek crisis and the Euro:
I personally find the prospect of the German electorate becoming massively disillusioned with their political leadership a lot more scary than a few thousand Greeks throwing things at the police. But then I’d never have thought that the leadership of the British working class would tolerate having their wages and conditions driven down by cheap imported labour, and I was wrong about that.

Post Of The Month

Obo The Clown rejoices as the enemy blunders straight into the trap...

Bring On The Single Issue Loons…

…especially the hoplophobic ones:
Parent and youth groups have condemned a shooting group for offering shotgun and air rifle lessons to eight-year-olds.
Yes. Because teaching kids the responsible handling of firearms is the wrong thing to do!

Who’s up first?
Fredi Nwaka, from the Fathers Together group, which runs a Fathers Against Guns campaign, said: “I think it is absolutely ridiculous and should be called off. Children are extremely impressionable and this group needs to very careful what they promote.
“Guns are extremely powerful and a lot of adults get a huge rush from firing them. That’s why many will go to ranges.
“But children are not fully developed and getting them into guns at that age is a recipe for disaster.”
Well, no. Not if you are teaching them the responsible handling of firearms, it’s not.

Or would you rather they learned that from TV, video games and rap music videos on YouTube?
Chrissie Hall, from the Infer Trust anti-firearms group, said: “It is potentially very dangerous because they are normalising and glorifying the use of guns.
Eight-year-olds can’t go and watch films which depict gun violence but they can get hold of a deadly weapon and shoot things – it just doesn’t seem right.”
Yes, you’re clearly right, no eight-year-old in this country has ever viewed a violent film…

*rolls eyes*
A spokeswoman for Mothers Against Murder and Aggression (Ed: Odd name. Isn’t that a given? Or is there a group out there called ‘Mothers for Murder and Aggression’…?) said: “Playing with guns is not something that eight-year-olds should be doing.
I can think of hundreds of other activities they could do instead between 9am and 4.40pm.”
Like mugging, knifing, vandalising..?
Sussex Police said that they had no problems with the event being held as long as the organisers had “safety in mind” .
Well, quite! You can never be too careful where firearms are concerned, can you?
The event, which costs £20, will also include gun dog and foxhound demonstrations, fly casting tuition and falconry.
Great! Now all the anti—blood sports people can have a moan as well…

Friday 29 June 2012

I Don’t Think It Really Can Be ‘Random’, Can It?

Humberside Police say the man approaches members of the public at random in the street, offering to sell them iPhones.
I mean, he must have some method of selecting the potentially-dodgy-and-willing-to-accept-hooky-goods from the genuine, fine upstanding citizen, surely?
In the meantime, people are being urged not to purchase expensive electronic equipment offered to them by strangers in the street.
Well, quite! Unless you want water or potatoes at iPhone prices, anyway…

Oh, Good. More Collective Punishment!

The unemployed builder, from Enfield, North London, was eventually arrested in February after his own mother shopped him to police after recognising him fleeing the scene in seafront CCTV footage posted on video site YouTube.
Diedrick appeared in the dock at Basildon Crown Court today wearing a black suit and tie with a suitcase packed in anticipation of an extended stay in jail.
Yes, it’s this case.

And for once, that suitcase wasn’t a wasted effort. He got 16 months and a ten year ban from dog ownership.
Judge Owen Davies QC said: 'The fact that the boy did not drown or was not mauled to a greater extent was down to the heroic and selfless actions of his grandmother.
'You allowed your dogs to roam without muzzles on a public beach. The behaviour you displayed after the event shows a callous disregard for the welfare of the victim.
'You left the scene and made yourself scarce. It was only thanks to the vigilance of others on YouTube that you were traced.
'You had every interest in escaping without being brought to account. Any remorse you have shown is merely for your own fate.'
And are the parents relieved? Are they campaigning to for answers to the obvious questions, such as how can an unemployed builder have the wherewithal to buy, own and feed two powerful pedigree dogs?

No, of course not:
After sentencing the family of the boy said: 'We can never say enough how grateful we are that we still have our grandson and that he seems to be recovering well despite his injuries.
'We are pleased with today’s sentence and feel it was completely irresponsible of the defendant to take two large dogs onto a beach without being able to control them on leads.
'All dogs of that stature and aggressive nature should be on a short lead with a muzzle when out in a public place.
'If people want to own dogs like that they must understand the responsibility they have to others’ safety.'
*sigh* Despite the fact that muzzles aren’t always effective, and nor are leashes, we are once again embarking on a campaign to punish all Rottweiler owners because of one irresponsible one.

And we know the public sector will be ever so welcoming of this, won’t they?

Are They Paranoid, Or Is The Government Really Out To ‘Get’ Them?

Extra training is being given to NHS staff after the number of assaults and threats against mental health workers in Lancashire reached a two-year high.
Oh? Such as?
Susan Rigg, the trust’s peformance management director, said: “We are taking this matter seriously with discussions within each network being used to investigate reported incidents.
“There is currently an analysis of the trend of violent and aggressive incidents across the trust.
“Certain key areas have already been identified which should be undertaken to improve staff and patient safety.
“Staff training is to be reviewed to ensure that staff fully understand recognising aggression triggers, appropriate engagement and a physical skill that is used as a last option.”
For the commenters, the cause is obvious. It’s the cuts, innit?
Michael@ClitheroeSince58 says... The problem is that people with mental health problems are becoming very paranoid and feel they are under threat with the cuts, things have become so bad I have had to disconnect my phone due to one particular person ringing me in the middle of the night worrying and stressed, but that don't help me when I have to get up at 6:30am I feel most of them have nothing to fear but something seems to be going wrong regarding communications and it needs sorting fast be fore more harm is done.
Perhaps, then, your fellow alarmists could stop writing raving columns in the left-wing media and encouraging media campaigns on their blogs, giving the impression Armageddon is about to befall everyone?
Am i in yet..? says... Maybe the rise is due to benefit cuts and the inadequacy of the company left to assess claimants.. If they decide that a person is fit for work and the person is not fit then that said person is left with no help or means to gain a living. That person out of desperation might go to the extreme of either attempting to commit suicide and run the risk of nobody turning up to save them from themselves or assaulting an NHS worker rather than risk being arrested for assaulting a member of the public and going to prison simply to make themselves unemployable. If that is the case then the whole system of the assessments is questionable and its most likely the cause of rising assaults on members of the mental health teams. Or it could be that they are not well enough to have their benefits cut and they shouldn't have been in the community to begin with however there is nowhere else to put them. It was Thatchers government that closed all the mental health units releasing thousands of unstable patients into the community during the eighties and nineties. You can't just shut places like Brockhall and Calderstones without having repercussions a decade or two later in life. If places like Calderstones and Brockhall were running at full capacity as they once did and it was a simple process to send people there who claim to have mental health problems as they once did am 100% sure that we wouldn't have as many people on the sick claiming to suffer with mental health problems as we do. And there would be adequate safe accommodation with the correct care that these patients desperately need instead of treating mental health patients within the community as we have become accustomed to over the past fifteen years or so.
Amazing! The mentally-ill are not to be held responsible for their behaviour, ‘cos they is ill, innit?, yet retain enough self-control and cunning to judge which person can be safely assaulted!

Thursday 28 June 2012

Q: How Do You Know You Have Chavs In The Audience?

A: Well, when a fight breaks out, it’s pretty obvious!
Mr Coughlin and Miss Machin went with friends to the Jolly Hatters, Mr Coughlin took a turn on the karaoke and made some comment about ‘chavs’ over the microphone.
He was not a pub regular and a number of people took offence.
And by 'took offence', they don't mean words were exchanged. This section of the population don't confine their anger to words (well, not erudite ones, anyway)...
Shirley Hammerton, 46, then working at the Jolly Hatters, Shane Hammerton, 19, Peter Hammerton, 25, Hannah Shearon and Rebecca Haworth, both 21, and Michael Hartley, 25, all played parts in the trouble, which led to three people being attacked.
A young couple were said to have been knocked out and were left injured.
Burnley Crown Court heard how, in the two-part melee, Bernard Coughlin was hit on the head from behind and was set upon.
His girlfriend, Gemma Machin tried to intervene and was pulled away by Shirley Hammerton, who slapped her and ripped out her hair extensions.
Miss Machin was also kicked and punched in the second half of the fracas.
Ouch! Getting kicked in the fracas is no laughing matter…

Nor is the response of those we deem capable of meting out justice, either:
Shane Hammerton received a five-month suspended prison sentence, with 100 hours unpaid work; Peter Hammerton was given 12 months in jail, suspended for 18 months, with 18 months supervision; Shirley Hammerton got five months behind bars, suspended for 18 months, with six months supervision and 80 hours unpaid work; Hartley received eight months in custody, suspended for 18 months, with 100 hours unpaid work; and Shearon and Haworth were given 12- week curfews between 9pm and 6am.
Well, maybe it was a first off... Oh:
The hearing was told that Peter Hammerton had been given anti-social behaviour and drink banning orders in the past and had been to custody, and his mother had a record for assault.
Hartley and Shane Hammerton had previous convictions but Shearon and Haworth were of previous good character.
Well, maybe. But you are known by the company you keep, aren't you?

The Laws Of Physics Can’t Be Circumvented By Mawkish Sentiment

Thoughts of the day her ‘lovable rogue’ (Ed: !!!) died following a stolen motorbike crash have come flooding back to a mother after her son’s cousin was murdered.
Unlucky family…
The 38-year-old says her son had wanted to be a motorcross rider. She added: “He was a lovable rogue and he had a real passion for motorbikes. “His passion took his life. ”
No. No, it didn’t. His criminal action and general recklessness took his life.

Many, many people have ‘a passion for motorbikes’. It isn’t dangerous in and of itself.
“He just went out to do what boys do but he got into trouble on the way. ”
“He did not go out that night to get the bike, it just happened .. ”
*sigh* The passive voice again, married to the concept that a love of fast driving is the problem itself, not the actions taken to secure that drive.

Which is clearly evident in another story in the same paper:
The parents of a bike fanatic who died in a motorcycle crash have paid tribute to their “exceptional” and “darling boy”.
He wasn’t ‘a loveable rogue’ by dint of the fact the motorbike wasn’t stolen.
Mr and Mrs Coates, who also have a daughter, Rebecca, said: “He was such a skilful rider and rode with such courage and talent.
“His other love was that of his car.
“The scrupulous hours of dedication and investment that Luke put into his pride and joy showed what a conscientious and meticulous person he was.
He drove his car like his bikes - hard and fast.”
And isn’t it lucky for some poor unsuspecting innocent driver or pedestrian that he hit a tree, and not them?
The highways of heaven have no hard landings son, go for it.”
Ewww! Chavilicious!

That’ll Teach ‘im!

Daniel Jansen, from Peacehaven, was surrounded by up to 40 officers including a firearms unit and dog-handlers after he and another man took to the roof of a porch in Moulsecoomb.
Yesterday he admitted a public order offence after shouting abuse at police.
And was fined a whole £73! Wow! Which, given he’s jobless, we’ll be paying.

And why is he jobless? Well…
Brighton Magistrates’ Court was told he had gone to the Colbourne Avenue home of Alex Kilby, 18, with two women after he was asked to leave a party elsewhere on Friday night because of the way he was behaving.
They drank through the night and Jansen said when he went to bed the others pulled the covers off him.
Talia Martin, defending, said: “They continually harassed and harangued him.”
A shouting match followed and one of the women called the police. When officers arrived Jansen shouted that he hadn’t done anything wrong.
He then shouted at officers out of an upstairs window, before climbing onto the roof of the porch with Mr Kilby while police gathered outside trying to talk them down.
Abuse was hurled from the roof
Police, amid a volley of insults, were informed: “You are a waste of time.”
Chris Bull, prosecuting, said a knife was seen, and Jansen was heard saying: “Grab that knife, if they try and get us just cut yourself. They can’t touch us, health and safety.”
The knife – which the court was told was three inches long – was then dropped off the roof. The siege ended at about 12.15pm.
What employer wouldn’t want such a paragon, I ask you?

And maybe I’ve watched too much ‘Game Of Thrones’ lately, but it seems to me, that’s less a siege, and more two idiots having a temper tantrum that would have embarrassed a two-year-old…
Presiding magistrate Michael Trayler told Jansen: “You created a right hoo-hah, with half the police force of Sussex outside the house.”
And, given his ‘punishment’, what is there to stop him doing it again the next time he has one too many?

Wednesday 27 June 2012

You Can’t Teach An Old Dog New Tricks…

…nor, it seems, his owner:
Postman John Grainger, 62, needed reconstructive surgery on his face after Joseph Bower's Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Bruno, attacked him in Chelmsford city centre, in August last year.
Bowers, 49, of Chelmsford, was given a nine month jail sentence, suspended for 18 months, and banned indefinitely from owning a dog.
But on Thursday, Chelmsford Magistrates' Court was told Bowers was seen on CCTV walking a dog near the undercover market in the city on April 10.
*sigh* Hands up! Who’s surprised?
The CCTV operator alerted the police but, when an officer approached Bowers, he lied and said it must have been his "identical twin brother" who had been holding the dog.
It seemed he didn’t expect that one to hold water so has pleaded guilty. It’s now all in the mitigation:
In mitigation, Bower's counsel Paul Donnegan told the magistrates that his client had only been in custody of the animal for a short period of time.
He said: "This is about seven seconds he had custody of the dog. He is with another who has custody of the dog and the dog is unleashed, free at the side of the road where you cross to the market.
"Bowers picks up the dog's leash to stop him running out into the road and walks him across the road. It's as simple as that."
If it’s ‘as simple as that’ why did he try an imaginative twist on the SODDI defence when first questioned?
Bowers has been bailed until July 19 and will appear at Chelmsford Crown Court for sentencing.
I’ll be watching this one…

Well Of Sympathy: Still Dry

A salesman is campaigning for a change in the law after the end of his finger was bitten off by a dog.
‘Salesman’? Ummm, does that mean..?

Yes. Yes, it does:
Richard Brereton was posting a leaflet through a letterbox
Stop right there! I’ve heard enough! And so, it seems, have most of the commenters…
The 49-year-old needed surgery on his right hand last year and the injury has left him unable to write properly.
Now he wants dog owners to be forced to take more responsibility to protect people from their pets even when they are in their own homes.
And I want people like him to refrain from shoving their unwanted junk mail through my door, heedless of the ‘No circulars!’ sign (perhaps that’s too old-fashioned for them to understand?).
Mr Brereton said: "The police officer who came round said he was embarrassed he could not pursue the case further because of a lack of legislation."
Really? Gosh! It must be a crime-free paradise in Milton, mustn’t it? Or it’s a lot safer option than to get out on the front line and tackle drunks, I suppose…
"It could have been a child delivering a newspaper, and you hear a lot about postmen who end up in hospital because of dogs.
"If there had been a cage on the inside of the letterbox, or an outside letterbox, it wouldn't have happened. Even a 'beware of the dog' sign would have helped."
We’ve been here before. And no, I don’t want to have to put a cage up to receive all your junk mail – I DON’T WANT YOUR JUNK MAIL!
Mr Brereton added: "I have contacted Defra to say I think the law should be changed, particularly with regard to letterboxes.
"It must cost the NHS so much money dealing with attacks like these.
"Something should be done. If you have a dog it should not have access to your letterbox."
And if you have a business, it should not be regarded as a license to shove your unwanted junk mail through the doors of any house you please.

His wife is equally as truculent and clueless:
Mr Brereton's wife Jill, aged 46, who works in a coffee shop, said: "No consideration is given by the law to the people who are just going about their daily job.
"Why should they be punished when they are doing nothing wrong?"
Well, love, since I’m nothing but fair, here’s a little tip* for you for a Christmas present for dear hubby:

Might I suggest he uses it next time he’s shoving his unwanted junk mail in people’s letterboxes? Or better yet, stop doing that in the first place?

*I can say ‘tip’, can’t I? It doesn’t bring back bad memories, I hope?

Oh, It Must Be About Time For Another...

A woman who claimed she was sexually assaulted in Rayleigh has admitted the allegations were false.
On April 22, the female in her 30s said she had been assaulted at the junction of Lancaster Road and Warwick Road by an unknown man.
However, after an investigation was held by police officers, she admitted she was lying.
Oh boy, is she in trouble now!
A fine of £80 was handed to her for wasting police time.

Well, that really reflects the potential consequences of such an act, doesn't it?

It's not just rape-criers who get away with using the police for their own ends, mind you:
Police confirmed Mr and Mrs Folkes were arrested and questioned before being released with no further action.
A spokesman said no action would be taken against the delivery driver.
Why not? He lied to the police, didn't he? Just like this chap, and he got - rightly - prosecuted (although he was acquitted).

Tuesday 26 June 2012

More Pointless ‘Research’ Designed To Give The Answer A Pressure Group Wants…

One in 10 deprived inner-city children visits a fast food outlet every day, research suggests.
Researchers found that half of schoolchildren living in poor urban areas may be consuming fast food twice a week.
And who published this ground-breaking ‘research’?
Data published in the online journal BMJ Open showed that 54% of these children bought food or drink from a fast food or takeaway outlet at least twice a week.
Aha! Well, I’m sure they picked their data to be scrupulously fair…
The authors quizzed 193 pupils aged 11 to 14, living in Tower Hamlets, London, about their weekly fast food preferences and habits.
They attended two schools which operate an "open gate policy" at lunch time.
Well, they’d pretty much have to, wouldn’t they?
Two-thirds of the children were entitled to free school meals.
And didn’t eat them? I guess we can safely ignore the ‘Guardian’s’ clamouring for more of this, then, as they clearly aren’t in such desperate need as it thinks…
One in three was overweight or obese.
According to what measurement? The now-thoroughly-discredited BMI?

And…how come it’s suddenly OK to profile?
Seven out of 10 children from black ethnic backgrounds and more than half of those from Asian backgrounds purchased fast food or drinks more than twice a week.
Dangerous waters, there!
The key influence for buying such food was its taste, with 92% of children saying they enjoyed eating meals from fast food outlets.
Having seen what gets dished up in school lunches, who’s surprised?
They also said fast food products were readily available and they bought such products due to peer influence.
And the conclusions? Well, c’mon, I could probably write them, knowing the mindset of these people and the way they’ve conducted their ‘research’:
The authors write: "These schoolchildren are exposed to an environment that is likely to cause obesity, and it is not surprising that in this situation, many of these children are already overweight or obese and will likely become obese as adults.
"Clearly, actions need to be taken to either limit the ability of these children to access fast food outlets or to change the foods they purchased at these outlets."
Or, alternatively, we could just ignore it as the product of interfering doom-mongering nannystaters that it is?

Get The Popcorn! We Got A Blue-on-Blue!

A dozen women are staging a sit-in at a primary school in a row over an advice poster warning about the dangers of female genital mutilation.
And where’s this happening? Why, the People’s Republic of Lambeth! Superb!

And no, it’s not a group of mums whinging that the posters are infringing their cultural ishoos, which is what I first thought when I saw the story…
Lambeth Women’s Project is rejecting demands to leave the listed building, part of Stockwell Primary School and Children’s Centre, and is today on the sixth day of its occupation.
Oooh, a siege!
Its action comes after relations with school chiefs and Lambeth council broke down over a loan — and accusations that it had left “sexually explicit material” lying around in areas where it could be seen by children.
But the women say the material is actually a police-sponsored poster for services to help London girls at risk of female genital mutilation.
They say they are “astonished” that the council could use the poster against them and claim the town hall told them to highlight the barbaric practice, which carries a 14-year jail sentence.
Oh boy! I’m conflicted. Who to root for?
They say the real reason for the eviction is because the council wants to sell the site and convert it into flats.
*orders bigger bag of popcorn*
Police had previously been called by the school but left, saying it was a civil matter.
I bet they left in a hurry, too!
Relations between the women and the Labour-run council were strained in April when the authority accused them of refusing to repay £10,000 it had sent them in error. They insist the money was promptly handed back.
Well, surely they have accounting practices and receipting to resolve any…

Oh. Wait. Labour-run council. I might see the problem.

Could we find that much-used tool of town hall bureaucrats, the unnamed source, to do some poison briefing against them?

Reader, we could:
A council source said: “The group has never abided by the rules. It has risked the safeguarding of the pupils who use the school building and has not paid any service charges. This includes leaving sexually explicit material in areas where pupils can see them.”
*places bulk order with Butterkist*

Words Of Advice? Phew, For A Minute, I Thought They’d Got Away With It…

The drama followed an incident in which 20 schoolchildren entered the store and began shouting, pushing and fighting each other, before Mr Inthrajith marched them out.
'The drama' being? Well, this little farce, courtesy of Essex police:
Police marksmen surrounded the News and Store shop, on the corner of Fairfax Drive and Ronald Park Avenue, in Westcliff, on Wednesday, after a call claiming the owner was armed.
With guns trained on him, shocked owner, Thilakasekaram Inthrajith, was ordered to put his hands on his head and come out of the shop with his terrified wife Sobikka, their 18-month old son Keeran, and his cousin, Vetivelu Sanjayan.
Mr Inthrajith, 32, told the Echo he didn’t find out what the police were doing at the shop until two hours after the incident started at 4pm.
Still, I'm sure once they realised the truth, their faces were red, and the apologies were fulsome?
He said: “They treated us like terrorists. It was really scary when it happened.
“All of a sudden we saw police surrounding the shop with guns and then they started shouting at us to come out.
“We had no idea what was going on, but when we walked out, there were all these police, with guns pointed at us.
“Then, some of them went inside and started searching around, but no one would tell me what was going on, or why they were there.“
Cops closed the road for more than an hour while they mounted a painstaking search of the building, but found nothing.
Now, I'm sure regular police readers are just about to pen long missives in the comments section to tell me how the police have to treat suspected firearms incidents seriously, and they can't assume that this is indeed a prank.

Well, save your typing fingers. I'm not complaining about that. What I am complaining about it the fact that when they have realised they were played like fiddles by a bunch of chavvy schoolkids to get revenge on another authority figure, they appear not to have realised the awful PR disaster they've been landed with, and fail to respond accordingly:
It is not the first time Mr Inthrajith has had to deal with troublesome youngsters. He said: “We have had ongoing problems with kids from the school in the past. They damage stock and have shoplifted, but the police don’t do anything.
“I am really fed up with it and don’t know what else to do.”
Oh, I think you do, Mr Inthrajith! Next time, just tell Essex Police that they are armed! After all, what's the worst that can happen?
Police confirmed they did not find a firearm and said they gave the youngsters involved in the incident some “strong words of advice.
Yes, clearly, these are the idiots that deserve the right to carry more weapons...

For Christ's sake, if they can't demonstrate a little understanding of the responsibility they've been granted by society, why should we be expected to care when they are under the hammer?

Monday 25 June 2012

At Least He Got A Prison Sentence…

Remember this story? Well, the verdict is in:
Sentencing Oram to 18 weeks in prison, Chairman of the Magistrates Mr Russell Watson said that Tyson had suffered in the minutes before his death.
Further details emerged about just why he decided to do it, too:
Callous Robert Oram, 25, drowned his pet after the Staffordshire bull terrier turned and attacked him instead of chasing the gang who were burgling his flat in Corby.
Tyson initially barked and chased the thieves into the street but then became confused and rounded on his master, biting his foot.
Oram admitted he didn’t sustain any serious injuries when the dog bit his trainer but decided he had to 'get rid' of the animal, especially because his girlfriend was expecting a baby.
Looking at his criminal record, the magistrates were clearly unwilling to give him the benefit of the doubt, which makes a nice change:
'This was an intentional act and we must also take into account your numerous previous convictions.
'Our starting point is 26 weeks but you did make an early guilty plea so you are entitled to have that lowered to 18 weeks of immediate custody.'
Incidentally, his defence may have given us the answer to WoaR’s earlier question as to why the girlfriend is facing charges:
John Whiston, mitigating, said: 'In Mr Oram’s view the dog no longer did what it was trained to do, to protect his master and property, so he says he and his partner decided to drown it.'

The RSPCA weren’t happy – they wanted a longer sentence and a life-ban:
Speaking outside court, Inspector Davies said: 'When lenient sentences like this are handed out it sometimes sends the wrong messages.'
'When I see his girlfriend laughing and joking in the foyer of the court with her mate, bragging that he will be out in nine weeks that just shows the message isn’t getting through.'
Well, actually, his numerous previous convictions show no messages are getting through.

Who Are Those Masked Men..?

Whoever they are, they deserve a medal!
Campaigners are donning vigilante-style masks and taking to the streets of Southend warning motorists who are in danger of being nabbed by the council’s spy cars.
The group, known as No To Mob, are following the controversial CCTV cars around the borough on motorbikes, stopping to tell drivers parked illegally to move on – or get a fine.
Heh! How’s that for ‘The Big Society’, Cameron?
Their leader is trader Bob Wells, 52, who has led similar protests in Westminster and Bexley, Kent. Mr Wells, owner of Printer and Cartridge Solutions in Woodgrange Drive, Southend, started his campaign following fears the spy car was driving vital custom away from his business.
He claims the car travels along the road past the stretch of shops at least once a day looking for illegal parkers. And therefore is not fulfilling its purpose.
Steve Baker, from Enfield, a member of the group, said: “We are not stopping the cars from doing their job. In fact, we are encouraging and helping them.
“If drivers are not parking illegally, then they won’t get caught.
“We are simply helping the spy car fulfil what the Secretary of State said in 2008, which was to get 100 per cent compliance, with no penalty charges.
“We also observed the cars to make sure they were not committing any offences themselves when they were out.”
Who could argue with that? If the presence of the cars is to raise revenue, not combat illegal parking, then the council, clearly:
Andrew Lewis, director for enterprise, tourism and the environment, at Southend Council said: “I am extremely concerned.
“The two civil enforcement officers found their presence extremely intimidating.
“Unfortunately, there was nothing we could do to prevent them from taking this action as they weren’t breaking the law.”
Oh dear, so sad, too bad…

In the comments, the battle rages:
Lefty Cyclist Type says...
Alekhine wrote: Lefty Cyclist Type wrote: Aiding and abetting traffic offences. If anyone is injured through this group's irresponsible behaviour then Mr Wells should be held 100% liable.
No - helping the spy car to prevent traffic offences! I'snt that the spy cars job?
People don't learn not to park illegally by being 'tipped off'. It's the same mentality as warning drivers of police speed checks, all it does is enable the speeders to continue their dangerous driving. All this will do is enable illegal parkers to continue parking illegally, just elsewhere.
I wonder if anyone here would be applauding these vigilantes if they were tipping off muggers to the presence of the police?
Ahhh… Clearly, in Lefty-Cyclist Land, the smack of firm government is the only way anyone ever learns. 

Say, do you ever wonder if Lefty Cyclist Type ever spots those ‘CCTV is installed!’ and ‘Police are on duty’ signs and has an urge to tear them down? Can’t warn off predators, you see!

When ‘Round Up The Usual Suspects’ Becomes ‘Just Round Up The Nearest People’…

Police stormed a house in Hall Cut, Brightlingsea, arresting the group after a man was attacked in an alleyway outside Nathan Jalaudin’s 19th birthday party.
The victim, a 24-year-old, had been at the party until the early hours of Monday, June 4, when he went outside alone.
The group were shocked when he staggered back into the house minutes later with a puncture wound.
Seven people from the party, aged between 16 and 21, were arrested the next morning after police forced entry into the property.
But only briefly, you understand.
The brother and sister said since their arrests they have been verbally abused and received threatening phone calls.
Miss Jalaudin said: “We are not bad people. We haven’t done anything wrong.
“We have had people call us names in the street and phone calls to our home.
“The police haven’t apologised. We just got letters saying we had been released.
“Brightlingsea is a small town. Rumours get around fast.”
So, complain!
Mr Jalaudin, a music technology student at Colchester Institute, said they were considering lodging a formal complaint.
He said: “When the police came at 2am we told them we were his mates and hadn’t done it. Then I woke up to police everywhere. They smashed in our gate and front window.
“I’m relieved it’s over, but people still stare at me like I’m a criminal.”
It’s not even all rosy, either. Despite releasing them, their possessions are still in police custody.
The family’s gate was destroyed by the forced entry and the siblings said they will be seeking compensation.
The seven arrested have been told mobile phones and clothes confiscated during the arrest will not be returned until August 8.
Why? For forensic examination?

Was that the reason for the arrest in the first place, to gain access to these without having to ask?
An Essex Police spokesman, said: “Detectives have to take all reasonable action to investigate allegations of crimes.
“We cannot comment on specific incidents, but there is a process for complaints if they wish to make one.”
I think the definition of ‘reasonable’ shouldn’t be simply to make it easier for the state’s agents to do its job, frankly.

Especially when the consequences of arrest (DNA retention, overseas visa complications) are now potentially quite serious.

It's not just Essex Police either - West Midlands Police - no stranger to faux pas - were responsible for this appalling leap to judgement just the other day.
Yesterday, Derrick’s sister Angela, 46, revealed the family heard of the deaths first from friends who saw news reports. She said: “Our mum Brenda got calls saying ‘Your son is dead’ before she knew what had happened.
Utterly disgraceful. And maybe if they weren't so concerned to arrest everyone in the immediate vicinity, they'd have spared a thought for the less-glamorous, but just as important, aspects of a murder investigation?

Like informing the next of kin?

Sunday 24 June 2012

It’s Not Just Cyclists, Then, Jackart?

The jury in the trial of a bus driver accused of killing a Cambridge University medical student and dragging her body under his vehicle for more than half a mile has been discharged.
Firouzian, of Harrow Way, Watford, denied the charge, saying he thought he had run over a bottle initially and then a fox.
The court had been due to hear evidence from Firouzian today, but prosecutor Hamish Reid told the six male and six female jurors that the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) had conducted a review and decided not to proceed with the case.
He said: "The Crown Prosecution Service are satisfied there is no longer a realistic prospect of conviction and would not seek to take this any further."
Well, that was a spectacular waste of time, then, wasn’t it?
The judge told the jury that "no doubt there will be a review" into the case by the CPS.
Referring to the way the trial had been conducted, he added: "It sometimes felt as if I was sitting as a coroner and you were a coroner's jury. That was never the purpose in this case.
"The purpose was whether Mr Firouzian was culpable, whether he was to blame for what tragically happened to Miss Tan.
"The prosecution have, rightly in this case, come to the conclusion that they cannot ask for a conviction on the evidence they have been able to place in front of you."
Why did they ever think they could?
Firouzian sat in the dock with his head bowed as a translator explained what was being said in the courtroom.
Judge Hillen said that in a coroner's court, the jury might have returned a verdict of misadventure or accident but that the prosecution had decided "they can no longer say that Mr Firouzian is blame-worthy".
The CPS blame…well, expert witnesses, it seems:
A CPS spokeswoman said: "At the commencement of this trial we considered that there was a realistic prospect of conviction.
"During the course of the trial some key aspects of the prosecution evidence, particularly with regards to expert evidence, were undermined.
"This weakened the prosecution case and meant that we were unable to prove that Shahriar Firouzian had driven at a standard which was below that of a competent and careful driver.
"In line with our duty to keep cases under continuous review we have re-reviewed this case and concluded that there is no longer a realistic prospect of conviction."
So what has been the result?

Miss Tan is still unnecessarily dead, London bus drivers can still be people who can’t speak or understand sufficient English to understand court proceedings against them, and who can run over a pedestrian and assume they hit a bottle, then maybe a fox, and never at any point actually check,and the CPS can carry on spending public money like water, with no fear that they will ever be held accountable for it.

Lessons learned? What are those?

Nice Try, Love, But They Didn’t Find A Customer In Your Luggage, Did They?

A woman accused of smuggling £400,000 worth of cocaine into Bristol Airport told a jury she was a prostitute, not a drugs runner.
Well, indeed! How very dare they – a lady has standards, after all…

Now The 'Mail' Is Inventing Words Too!

Makes a change from the stories themselves, I suppose...

Well, 50% Success, At Least…

A student who died after eating poisonous yew tree seeds may have been trying to carry out a mystical ritual to “experience the afterlife” , his mother told an inquest.
Hmmm, really?
Antoni Kyriacou, 24, was found dead by his mother Tracey McGowan at his home in Covent Garden with a cup of seeds and other “partially crushed herbal material” from a yew tree by his side.
Ms McGowan told an inquest that his friends revealed he had previously expressed an interest in an ancient mystical practice, where yew seeds were consumed when two planets were aligned.
She said: “They said he was aware of cosmology and that a tribe of people going back hundreds of years, when Venus and Jupiter come into alignment, did take these seeds to experience the afterlife and then come back again.
Ten out of ten for the experience of the afterlife, but a total FAIL! on the ‘coming back’ part…
Westminster coroner’s court heard Mr Kyriacou was discovered lying fully clothed and wearing headphones through which music was still playing.
Awful of me, I know, but anyone else wondering just what music was playing..?

Sunday Funnies...

On the whole, 'Jurassic Park' could easily have been an 18 certificate film....

Saturday 23 June 2012

Joined Up Government!

Equalities minister Lynne Featherstone has launched a 12-page guide aimed at tackling youngsters’ body hang-ups.
And yes. It’s just the sort of twaddle and contradictory lunacy you’d expect from her.
It warns parents that comments about weight and body shape, as well as airbrushed images of celebrities, are damaging children’s self-esteem.
A series of practical tips for ‘promoting a healthy body image’ urges parents to look at magazines and TV adverts with their children and point out where images are likely to have been digitally enhanced.
Do you really think Sharon & Tracey are capable of the awesome deductive skills required for this?
They are also told to refrain from praising prettiness or thinness, comparing youngsters to celebrities or teasing them about their weight.
In further advice, which is likely to trigger claims of fuelling the nanny state, the online guide advises parents to ‘try not to complain about parts of your body you don’t like’.
‘Although it is difficult to feel confident about your body all the time, by appearing to be neutral or positive about your own appearance, you will be helping your child to develop their own body confidence,’ the pack says.
Does ‘sticking your head in the sand’ similarly qualify as good advice for any other issues?
If a child complains ‘I’m fat’, parents should ‘discuss body diversity and how the beauty ideals they may be relating to lack diversity’.
I can haz English translation, plz?
Mrs Featherstone said: ‘Young people are being set an impossible standard by images in media and advertising which can erode their self esteem.
‘As parents, we are often aware of these issues, but may not have the advice and guidance we need to talk to our children.
‘I want the pack to empower parents to have those difficult conversations.’
Tell you what, Lynne, why don’t you pop along to your counterparts in the DoH and stop them sending out these letters, if you’re really so concerned about ‘body issues’?

It’ll do a lot more good than your wonderfully-informative guidance document free budgie-cage liner…

Don’t Poke A Wasp’s Nest, Complain About Being Stung, And Demand The Eradication Of All Wasps…

A young mother who was subjected to 'dead baby jokes' on Facebook after losing her unborn daughter has attacked the website for refusing to take down the offending page.
Oh, here we go…
The 22-year-old made the heartbreaking decision to end her pregnancy after a scan showed her baby girl Sara had the rare chromosome disorder triploidy - and wouldn't have survived birth.
Still grieving, Jessamy was horrified to discover the existence of a Facebook group called Dead Baby Jokes…
And most normal people, even allowing for the strange effects of grief, would have closed down the PC then and there, knowing that there’s nothing you are going to like therein.

But no. Not in this case. She didn’t just read it either…
…- and decided to write on the page's wall voicing her disgust.
Miss O'Neill, who lives with her grandmother in Swanscombe, Kent, was sickened by the response to her comment.
She must be possessed of very few brain cells indeed, if she expected anything else…
Miss O'Neill, who is no longer with Sara's father, said: 'Reading these comments has made me shake with anger. I’ve been an absolute mess because of it, I can’t stop crying.
'I just can’t believe anybody would be so cruel and sick to write things like that - why does somebody want to hurt me like that?'
Look, love, it’s not all about you. This group wasn’t set up for you, and you clearly have enough problems, without needing to add to them by visiting it and getting into a scrap with the members.

Just use the 'off' button on your computer...
Miss O'Neill said she was disappointed that Facebook was refusing to shut down the page and was going to ask her local MP to lobby the website for her.
Oh, for…
She said: 'I find it shocking that they don’t seem to care about the hurt these people have caused me.
'I'm going to write to my local MP and I am even prepared to go and sit outside David Cameron’s house and scream and shout until something is done about websites like this.'
Should someone who throws a public tantrum about something that has nothing to do with her in order to demand others' activities be halted be thinking about breeding in the first place?

Facebook are being quite bullish, for now:
A Facebook spokesman said: 'We take our Statement of Rights and Responsibilities very seriously and react quickly to remove reported content that violates our policies.
'In general, groups devoted to jokes, even disgusting and distasteful ones, do not violate our policies.
'Where these groups make real threats or statements of hate, however, we will remove them.
'We encourage people to report anything they feel violates our policies using the report links located throughout the site.
'Specifically, dead baby jokes groups and pages in general do not violate our Statement of Rights and Responsibilities.
'However, should there be any specific images believed to display children at risk, we encourage the reporter to bring them to our attention so that we can investigate them and take action accordingly.'
How long do you give it before Facebook caves in?

Oh, I Do So Love A School Uniform Dispute…

…it’s so illuminating of the problems facing our society.

Cue disobedient little madam!
Teachers took action against Kirsty Crooke's 'extreme' hair colour after she arrived at Buttershaw Business & Enterprise College in West Yorkshire with deep crimson roots.
Cue outraged mother:
The 14-year-old GCSE student’s furious mother Natalie Bussey, insists the school has overreacted by banishing her daughter to a 'green room' away from other pupils while the colour loses its impact.
Cue demands for mummy’s Little Princess to get her own way:
She said: ‘Children should be allowed to express themselves, it’s not a bad colour.
Cue clumsy backtracking when idiot parent thinks she might have gone a bit too far:
‘I’d understand if it was blue.’
Cue rage at inappropriate subject:
‘I don’t understand why they’ve pulled her out of a week’s worth of lessons for having her roots done. She should have been in lessons. I’m livid.’
Cue pathetic attempt at justifying why mummy’s Little Princess should be granted an exception:
She added: 'She was depressed because her hair looked greasy when it was brown.
‘Now she has to be taught in the room where the unruly pupils go…’
Cue statement from the little madam herself, showing the sort of attitude we don’t want in our future generation:
Kirsty, who has just started studying for her GCSEs, said: ‘It is a crucial time for me and I am very frustrated.
‘I just want to be back in class but I don't see why I have to change my hair because of school. ’
Cue statement issued by long-suffering headmaster:
A statement released by the school on behalf of head teacher Richard Hughes after being contacted by Mail Online said: 'We have established very high standards of uniform at BBEC.
'We extend out (sic) high standards in uniform to general appearance and take time to reinforce this with our students.
'Our expectations are communicated in the prospectus, in letters to parents and, if required, in our weekly newsletter. We also welcome discussions with parents about this if the need arises.'
Translation: ‘Back in your box, love. And your stroppy little daughter too. You know the rules, and we’ll explain them again s..l..o..w..l..y if you were too dim to comprehend them the first couple of times…’

Bucko has this too, and has even less sympathy. I didn't think that was possible!

And Who Taught Him Media Appearances Have Value?

Well, we did, of course…
When contacted by the Croydon Guardian, Alex asked us to pay £1,000 for his story.
He was told we were unable to pay a fee to which he replied: "you can't pay me for a story? then you can go **** mate" before hanging up.
And how did he come by this attitude? Well, we taught it to him:
The boastful yob named as Alex threatened to rob and steal from Bobby Dudani, founder of the global chain Computer Exchange (CeX) who went undercover in New Addington on Monday's episode of the Channel 4 series.
Within minutes, the aggressive serial offender 20-year-old said if he was offered a job he would be good for two months before he would "take your till, take the safe. I will tie you up and leave you at the back and put fags out on you".
Hence the ‘entertainment value’ in having this ghastly, violent little yob presented as a job seeker, rather than a normal jobless youth with a clean record and no attitude problem, who would welcome the chance with open arms.
Struggling to decide how best to help Alex….
I had to stop reading for a bit at that point, because the red mist was beginning to descend…
… who blames his employment failure on a string of previous convictions including violence and robbery
Note that – not on himself, or his obvious inability to control his temper, but on ‘the convictions’. As if they were something that just happened to him, something over which he had no control.

We’ve seen this before, haven’t we?
…Mr Dudani eventually got him a job with Able Clearance Removal, based in the town. He agreed to pay his wages and said he would give him a career, if he was successful in the role for a year.
But six weeks after starting he has been suspended "pending negotiations after a 'disagreement' with another employee in a removal van, the Croydon Guardian has discovered.
I wonder what sort of ‘disagreement’?

But this is the inevitable result of such ‘reality tv’ show appearances, is it not? It picks a person to cosset and reward based on what makes good tv, not on whether they deserve it.

And so it’s not really surprising that it turns out they didn’t.

Friday 22 June 2012

A Very Telling Phrase..?

Remember this case? The one that proved the efficacity of blogs to fill out a hastily-sketched news story?

Well, those slow-grinding wheels of justice finally creaked to life yesterday:
Bromley Youth Court heard the boy, from St Mary Cray, became angry after staff confiscated a coin which he was making a noise with by scraping it on his desk.
Nisha Dutt, prosecuting, said: "His behaviour escalated and included throwing a box in the classroom and upturning desks.
"Eventually he proceeded into the corridor and his behaviour continued by kicking and punching the walls and doors in the corridor."
When staff tried to take him back to the classroom he headbutted a teacher which resulted in her losing consciousness and suffering concussion.
Another teacher was kicked below the knee causing a "cracking noise" and fell to the ground "in a considerable amount of pain".
She later required an operation to reconstruct her knee, following the attacks on January 5.
The 'Mail' has a little bit more detail - it's not his fault, of course!
The boy's tearful mother told the court that she did not agree with the court's decision.
She added: 'The only reason he pleaded guilty is because he did hurt them, but they caused the situation.
'He is not a bad kid so he won't be coming back to court regardless of being on probation.'
See, if they'd just let him do as he pleased, it'd never have happened! 

We can't know his name or any other details, of course, nor exactly what the '12 month referral order' really means, other than having to 'meet regularly with a youth offending team' (we don't even know if he's still at the school), but the judge did let something slip, almost entirely inadvertently, I'm sure:
District Judge Robert Ede said to the boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons: "In this country from the age of 10, young people have to face up to the consequences of what they have done in a criminal court."
Not really keeping up with the YONA rules, are you. Judge Ede?

Awwww, It Must Be True Love!

Joseph Coyne, of Doubleday Drive in Heybridge, had been going out with Michaela Jackson for seven weeks and decided to treat her.
Flowers? Chocolates? Romantic dinner for two?

Not exactly:
So at a visit to her parents' house, he walked into her mother's room and stole £1,300 worth of jewellery. He stole a further £1,590 worth of jewellery from Miss Jackson's flatmate Kirsty Brown, and sold his loot to Cash Converters.
Yes, incredibly, this was seen as mitigation...
"He wanted to raise spending money so he could treat her," said Coyne's lawyer Paul Tawn, who said the 22-year-old had moved in with his girlfriend at her flat in Sanderling Gardens, Heybridge, as soon as they began their relationship.
At least Michaela saw the light:
Prosecutor Sarah Otte said that when caught he accepted what he had done and was extremely ashamed and remorseful. He told police he was out of work and needed extra cash.
"He has lost his girlfriend and the respect of people who trusted him," added Mr Tawn.
And as for all those who claim that a convict can't find work, well, it seems they are a forgiving lot, in Essex:
Coyne, a former Plume School pupil, has since found a job doing maintenance work.
Somewhere that doesn't require a CRB check, I guess?

Hey, I’ve Got A Much Better Idea!

Campaigners want the underpass under Eagle Way, in Shoebury, to be blocked-off, because it has become a beacon for antisocial behaviour.
Bosses at Southend Council have totted up the cost of the scheme and the possibility of installing a new crossing on the road the subway currently bypasses.
The cost? £100,000. Hey, it’s only taxpayer’s money!

And it’s not like they’ll just go somewhere else, is it?
Mike Assenheim, an independent councillor for Shoebury, who has led the campaign to close the subway, said that was not good enough.
No, it isn’t. But not for the reasons you suggest.

Here’s my alternative – spend £200,000 and block the subway up with the troublemaking chav youths inside..!


A man was attacked after being surrounded by a mob in a Blackburn street.
Eleven people in the 20-strong gang were arrested on suspicion of public order offences after violence erupted.
But this isn’t the usual unidentified mob, oh no…
Police said they were inundated with calls after residents and passing motorists witnessed the attack on Bank Top at around 7.30pm on Sunday night.
Officers confirmed a number of the men, all in their 20s, were believed to be of Polish origin.
Whew! That’s one elephant in the room dodged, eh?
Yesterday some of the men had been released with no further action but three were still in custody.
Detectives are now appealing for witnesses to come forward to help them piece together what happened.
DS Adrian McHugh, of Blackburn CID, said: “I appeal to anyone who may have been in the area on foot or in a car to contact us.
“We are relying on witness statements to piece together what happened.”
What’s up? No Polish interpreters in Blackburn?

*Men Of Established Polish Appearance

Thursday 21 June 2012

In Darwen, ‘Temporary’ Doesn’t Mean What You Think It Does….

A woman has spoken of her fury after she was fined for parking in front of a Darwen bus stop that has not been used for years.
So? That doesn’t give anyone the right to park there, does it?
The 44-year-old said she visited Lloyds Pharmacy, where she works as a delivery driver, to pick up items to be delivered.
She said: “I park there all the time and nothing ever happens.
“I saw another car there from 12.30pm to 5pm on Thursday and another two cars parked there yesterday, so why have I been victimised?
“I spoke to Coun Paul Browne about it and he said it was a temporary bus stop.
“It was put up about six years ago when they were regenerating the main bus station.”
That’s a hell of a long time for a ‘temporary’ bus stop!
Lynn, of Marquis Close, Lower Darwen, said she was planning to appeal the parking ticket.
She said: “The council needs to remove this bus stop completely.
“I have a good mind to stand there for five hours and see if I get picked up, because I’ve never seen a bus going down there.”
Really? Wait, wait..!

*gets popcorn*

OK, go!
Sudell councillor Paul Browne said: “They are stupid. The person who gave her a ticket is bonkers. Either that or they are new.
I have parked there several times. I can’t believe she has been given a ticket.
“People get upset about stuff like this, especially with the cost of a ticket when everyone is struggling for money already.
“That bus stop was put in place when the bus station was being done up years ago. Everyone in Darwen knows that.
“I am backing Lynn in her appeal. This should never have happened.”
Well, since you are all in agreement, surely the council will see sense, and end this monstrous injustice?
A spokesman for Blackburn with Darwen Council said: “The bus stop is a legitimate one.
“It is clearly signposted and painted. People can’t just go parking there without expecting to get a ticket.”
Ah. Perhaps not.

The north. It’s like England, but….not.

Gosh, How Awfully Convenient!

Burnley Crown Court heard the defendant, who had 15 offences on his record, had now been assessed by a psychiatrist for the first time. He had been diagnosed with schizophrenia and was on medication.
I’m sure that’s not in any way a ploy by the defence to get him leniency. No siree!

I Think The Answer Is ‘Because They Don’t Want To Get Stabbed’, Tim…

Tim Smits, 32, confronted a gang abusing pensioners and a pregnant woman on a London bus but was stabbed in the leg and stomach, and hit in the head in the daylight attack.
Yesterday, Islington council awarded its heroic resident Olympics tickets in recognition of his actions.
Although he says he would “do it again”, Mr Smits believes the yobs would have been frightened off if more passengers had backed him up.
Perhaps they would, perhaps they wouldn’t. Are you really surprised that no-one wants to take that gamble?
Mr Smits said: “It’s about power in number - the more people who step into help, the better.
“If three or four people on the bus would have backed me up, would he have stabbed them all?
“More people would have need to help, rather than leave to one person’s shoulders.”
Sadly, Tim, successive lessons learned about these sort of events have taught us to be herds, rather than packs.
Sanchez Brown, 19, from Hackney, pleaded guilty to GBH with intent to wound and is being sentenced on 5 July at Snaresbrook Crown Court.
Blake Mehmet, also 19 and from Hackney, pleaded guilty to a public order offence and was jailed for four months at the same court last month.
And Blake is probably already back out on the streets! I doubt he’ll have long to wait for Sanchez to join him, either…

Wednesday 20 June 2012

Ex Libris: ‘Uhuru’

"Brian Dermott whistled softly as he drove. From time to time he sang scraps of songs in a tuneless voice and now it was 'Get Me To The Church On Time'. He could see the sweet green island of District Commissioner's boma up ahead, to the left, and in a moment now he would be approaching the sentry box. He could see the hot morning sun heliographing bright meaningless messages off the roofs of the Somali shanty town, off the crazy-leaning houses built of fist-pounded tin jerry cans, and he had passed few Somals along the dusty road, the men striding haughtily ahead of their women, who walked fluidly beneath the heavy loads they bore on their heads."

Another book I first read thanks to the local library – I’d originally picked up his ‘Use Enough Gun’ hunting account, and reading the flyleaf at the back found he was a novelist.

I picked up the above hardback at a charity shop. Teeny tiny print (it's a Book Club edition), but it's a great account of Kenya as it teeters on the brink of independence, and of the changes (not all of them for the better) that are to come.

I read this in a weekend, and then went on to read 'Something Of Value', which is similarly set in Kenya, but at the time of the Mau-Mau Uprising. It was filmed, with Rock Hudson as the chisel-jawed hero, and Sidney Poitier as his childhood friend. It deserves better than this pedestrian adaptation, but neither book is likely to fare well in today's oh-so-politically correct world.

As an account of a way of life about to disappear forever, it can't be bettered...

‘Not Condoning Drink Driving’ – Yr Doin’ It Wrong!

"I do not in any way condone drink-driving but I am not judging Michael and I do not want anyone else to or be angry at him."
Ummmm, what?
Mrs Brown, of Sapcote, told the Mercury after the hearing: "I do not blame Michael at all."
Well, who do you blame?
"What happened was that four friends went out together and had a good time. "Michael should not have driven and the other lads, including my son, should not have got into the car."
So you blame everyone, but you don’t?

*scratches head*

Well, maybe their drinks were spik…

The court heard that York, of Harris Place, Hinckley, had drunk about 26 units of alcohol before crashing on the B4114 Coventry Road, in Croft.
Another passenger, William Turner, Samuel's brother, survived the accident, which happened after the friends had been on a 12-hour drinking session.
Sentencing, Judge Simon Hammond, said: "This was an avoidable crash. These two young men need not have been killed. You should have never, ever have got behind the wheel of a car."
Pretty conclusive.
In mitigation, Kevin Lynch said York was genuinely remorseful.
Mr Lynch said: "He will punish himself for a great deal longer than any sentence given by this court. His actions, and the consequences of this action, will stay with my client for the rest of his life."
He said York, who had tried to kill himself since the accident, had a six-month-old daughter from a previous relationship, and his current girlfriend was four months pregnant.
What a man! He’s a keeper, love.

"No fair, man! No FAIR!!"

Protesters have complained about a new breed of police officer being sent to demonstrations to...
To what? Use tear-gas? Forcibly take DNA samples? Employ Bulgarian poisoned umbrellas? to people.
....many protesters complained that police “protest liaison” officers – used throughout the weekend to allow organisers to discuss plans as events unfolded – were intrusive.
Anarchists, with their faces covered, used umbrellas to try to block the officers’ views, and argued with their own legal advisers over how to get rid of them.
Long-time Smash EDO supporter Glenn Williams said: “They are mingling in with the crowd.
“People have been objecting to that, and that has been the only source of conflict.
Normal Brightonians remain supremely unimpressed:
Stanley Williams, 86, of central Hove, watched the march pass at Churchill Square.
He said: “I think it’s stupid.
The bus was diverted. I thought it was a Jubilee parade.
A woman watching the march in Western Road, who declined to give her name, said: “What is the point of having their faces covered? I don’t see the sense.
That's because there is none.

I Guess It Wasn't Over Who Was Going South Of The River At That Time Of Night?

Six men who used planks of wood and metal bars to attack each other in a mass brawl have been jailed.
The fight, which began outside a cab office in London Road, Norbury, last year, involved nine men, six of whom were sentenced last Friday at Croydon Crown Court.
I thought it was a bale of hay you had to keep in your cab, not an offensive weapon?
Azmat Iqbal, 25, Mahmood Hussain, 48, Mohammed Iqbal, 56, Sergiu Zoltan, 22, Zulfiqar Shazhad, 34 and Sohail Butt, 40, were sentenced to a combined 16 years in prison.
Of which they'll probably do a combined 8 years in prison... So, what sparked it all off? It seems we'll never know.
None of the men would co-operate with police and tell them why the fight broke out...
How vibrant!

Tuesday 19 June 2012

No! No More Useless Knee Jerk Demands For Legislation!

Especially from people whose own thoughtlessness or carelessness has contributed to a tragedy:
Levi Brailsford let himself out of the back passenger door of a car after unclipping himself from his car seat.
He fell into the road near the junction of Hollway Road and Stockwood Lane, suffering fatal head injuries, in May.
Very sad, awful accident, could have been avoided, but now everyone’s wiser after the fact, and we can move on, right?

The two-year-old's family have organised a petition and poster campaign for "Levi's Law", to demand that adults who carry children in their vehicles are responsible for ensuring that the child locks are on.

Well, of course! Not a campaign to raise awareness, a campaign to demand the State take over the tricky business of ensuring that the person chosen to convey your child is a fit one. I mean, can’t leave that to the parents and relatives, can we?

Speaking of relatives:
Levi's grandmother Christine said…
Hang on! Wasn’t a grandmother the one who..? Why, yes. Yes, it was.

Is it the same grandmother? Because if so, this is a statement of such monumental chutzpah it fair takes my breath away…
…"The sponsored walk is intended to raise awareness of the importance of child safety, particularly whilst travelling in vehicles.
"We are trying to people aware of the importance(sic) of making sure that child locks are put on the back doors of all vehicles. If they had been put on the vehicle Levi was travelling in, then he would not have opened the door and fallen to his death."
So, you are demanding a change to the law to ensure that all vehicles are fitted with child locks? All new vehicles? All old vehicles as well?

Even if you don’t plan to carry children in them?

Even if you don’t have children?

Good grief, this is the rollerblind cord debacle all over again, isn’t it? And thanks to the utter cluelessness and ratings-chasing of the former PR flack that is our dish-faced cretin of a Prime Minister, these people will be calling the shots in future:
"I will never forget meeting the Dowler family in Downing Street to run through the terms of this inquiry with them and to hear what they had been through and how it had redoubled, trebled the pain and agony they'd been through over losing Milly. I'll never forget that, and that's the test of all this," he said.
Yes, I know he's talking about press regulation, but think about it. Satisfying the bereaved parents (a very photogenic and middle class set of bereaved parents) is the test. Not whether it's legal. Not whether it's proportionate. But whether it satisfies their need for action.

How long before that attitude spreads to other areas?

Historical London Souvenirs, But Thoroughly Modern Disability Harassment!

Sangeeta Uppaladinni visited the capital on her first long trip for more than a year after her sight worsened due to a genetic condition.
She was browsing in Historical London Souvenirs, near Paddington, when she was ordered out by a staff member - leaving her “shaken” and “harassed”.
And why was she ordered out?
Ms Uppaladinni, 42, said: “I was browsing for a souvenir and a man ordered me to get out of his shop, saying dogs are not allowed.
“I continued shopping because I know I have a legal right to be there with my dog, which is specially trained.
“He kept harassing me but I dug my heels in and refused to leave. He then said “blind people like you should not be in my shop.”
“He told me “You can call the police or take me to court but I’m not allowing you in.”
Did she call the police? No.
“I showed him my ID and he said he did not want to read it and said “get out, now.”
So she got out, despite knowing she had every right to be there...

Now, pause to consider which identity group we might be talking about here. Yup, you got it:
A worker at the shop said: “The member of staff involved has been disciplined. The shop’s owners are Muslim so there is a general policy of no dogs.
“We have a sign at the door which says guide dogs are allowed - but he did not know it was there.”
Clearly, if what he said to Ms Uppaladinni is correct, he knew full well that he was out of line. He was well aware of the risk of being taken to court, he just didn’t care.

And why should he? That risk is vanishingly small, thanks to the cringing acquiescence of everyone involved!
Ms Uppaladinni said she had no plans to seek legal action but wanted to make shopkeepers aware of the fact that guide dogs should always be permitted.
Oh, give me strength…
David Kent, Engagement Officer for London with the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association said: “Legally she is allowed in the shop. We campaign tirelessly to make sure this sort of thing doesn’t happen.”
A bit less campaigning and shaking your head sorrowfully, and a bit more suing & referring to council’s Trading Standards teams to reinforce the message, might help, Mr Kent.

Or you can continue to whinge about it in the newspapers and let people like this know they face few consequences for their actions.

Your choice.

There's No Mystery Here...

Fellow Crowstone Road residents did not understand why Mr Hardman had not moved elsewhere after his online music competition turned into a successful enterprise.
Francis Carpell, 74, said: “I think it’s disgusting. It shocks me to hear someone would do that when pensioners are struggling to get by.
Why would you stay there when you had the opportunity to move? He most probably didn’t spend a penny of what he had in the bank. You always find it’s the people who have money who seem to be the tightest.
“I’m just glad the council caught on to what he was doing.”
Another neighbour, who does not want to be named, added: “I certainly wouldn’t want to stay in that flat if I had the money to move elsewhere!
Well, it's not so surprising, is it?

After all, he can get away with it (as he's already gotten away with just a suspended sentence and a fine merely equalling the money he's defrauded) and he's following the examples set by such 'men of the people' as Bob Crow and Frank Dobson, isn't he?

And they aren't alone, either...

Change Is Not Always For The Better...

Take the case of Tom Maynard, the cricketer who died on the railway yesterday morning. The circumstances are still speculation, but we know police did observe his car being driven 'erratically', we know a male ran off from that car, we know he was later found motionless on the line and he was then struck by a train and died. It's not going to take Sherlock Holmes, is it?

The papers are full of statements by his friends, his family, his ex-teacher, etc. It's a tragedy, a disaster, a horrible accident, life is 'cruel'. His girlfriend takes to Twitter for that most modern of habits, the public expressions of grieving.

Where are the thoughts for the police who stopped the car, who now face a grilling from the IPCC, for something they didn't cause and had no possible way to foresee?

Where are the thoughts for the train driver, who couldn't have avoided the accident, but must feel terrible, with the added 'celebrity' nature of the death?

In the comments, so far as I can see. Not in any main body of any MSM organ.

They are just the little people, you see. What do their feelings matter, when stacked up against a 'celebrity' death, and the chance for a feeding frenzy in the press?

Monday 18 June 2012

Big Trouble In Little Green-land…

The Green-controlled local authority believes it can save about £230,000 a year as it looks to combat Government-imposed cuts.
Oh no! What can they do? Well, scrap public transport, for one thi…

Wait. What?
Buses serving hospitals, schools and suburban areas will be scrapped – despite fierce opposition.

*pauses for breath*

Council leader Jason Kitcat (Ed: clearly, more of a Flake..) said: "We are fortunate that in our city 98% of routes do not require a subsidy but school routes are particularly challenging to run without subsidy.
"We cannot continue to carry the costs of running some of the school bus routes on their historical basis."
I bet when the Green loons voted you in, they never envisaged you’d put more traffic on the road, eh?
The Conservative group proposed the local authority find funding to keep the 27, 22, 52 and 81 services.
It also suggested looking again at the 96 and that they postpone any change until September 2013 at the earliest.
The Labour group suggested funding for all of the affected routes was found from the Green’s commitment to the One Planet Living project aimed at reducing people’s carbon footprint.
Both of these were voted down by Green councillors who have the casting vote on the influential policy and resources committee yesterday.
I wonder what plans they have for the funding specifically aimed at reducing the carbon footprint, if they aren’t going to use it for this?

Mind you, I guess they are all far, far too busy with other pressing matters that must be keeping the people of Brighton awake at nights…

It seems the bloom is coming off the global warming rose everywhere, the minute it butts up against hard economic reality.

Really Struggling With The Mitigation Here...

Steven Donoghue, defending, told the court: 'His initial motives were good.'

Still, weddings and fighting, they go together, don't they?
Allen, of Hirwaun, South Wales, admitted common assault and was given a three-month jail sentence, suspended for 18 months.
He was also ordered to carry out 150 hours unpaid community work, put under a 12-week night time curfew and told he must pay £250 compensation to the injured bridesmaid.
Yes, you read that right.


I Think The Schoolday Will Need To Be 27 Hours Long... the hell else can they fit in every last thing every idiot with a hobby horse wants to include?
Youngsters should be taught about responsible dog ownership, according to a Bolton MP.
Julie Hilling is calling on schools to introduce lessons on dangerous dogs after noticing a rise in the number of incidents reported to her.
What are they going to have to drop to fit it in? Reading? Writing? Arithmetic? Other people's hobby-horses?
Ms Hilling, the MP for Bolton West, has teamed up with Blue Cross, a leading animal welfare charity, which has developed an educational workshop for young people.
The lessons aim to stimulate debates about responsible dog ownership, anti-social behaviour and the law.
Ms Hilling has sent letters to all local primary and secondary schools urging them to provide the free workshops.
It might be 'free' in the sense no money changes hands, but it's not time-free, is it?