Friday 30 November 2012

I Think Now He’ll Have To Be Dubbed ‘Muppet Mike’…

A bungling robber dubbed ‘Murder Mike’ was jailed for 30 years today for accidentally shooting his accomplice as they tried to steal a cache of fake Rolex watches.
Yup, you read it right - fake Rolexes…

That little wrinkle didn't make it into the initial reports, did it?
In fact, the three Submariner watches had been bought over the internet for £118 each by intended victim Jordaan Williams to dupe unsuspecting buyers.
In a statement read to the court, Mr Barnes’ mother and father, Judith and Douglas, said: ‘The senseless killing of our son has been like a bad nightmare.’
Mmm, I expect it was a bit of an experience for Mr Williams, too.

But then, since he was also a would-be villain… Bah! A plague on all your houses!

Post Title Of The Month

Ross at 'Enlightened Commentary' has this gem on the Cyril Smith accusations:

Quote Of The Month

Longrider in strident rebuttal of the latest Nanny State nonsense:

"It is not the government’s place to ban anything. It is not the governments’s place to decide on our behalf what we may put into our bodies or how much. Indeed, how we live our lives and if we choose to go to hell in the hand basket of our choosing is up to us, not government, because, and I am growing weary of pointing it out, it is none of their damned business."

Post Of The Month

Gildas the Monk take first place for November, for his review of a rather haunting little documentary over at Anna Raccoon's blog.

Yes, These Are The People We Want Breeding Part 458

Lee Hammond, for Dyson, said he had tried to take his life in the past few months and was on medication for depression. From an early age, he had witnessed his heroin addict mother taking drugs, he had been in care for many years and his upbringing had been dysfunctional.
And yet, despite that, he’s proved to be quite the stud:
Dyson, who has just become a dad after his ex-girlfriend gave birth…
Imagine what the mother must be like, if this is ideal Alpha Male material..?

So…what did he get?
…was given a 12-month community order, with supervision and the Thinking Skills programme. He must pay £100 compensation and £40 costs.

Thursday 29 November 2012

Why Do People Put Up With This?

Drivers are facing severe delays this morning with reports of tailbacks up to six miles long on the A47 at Postwick. A spokesman for Norfolk Constabulary said the rush-hour highway disruption was due to people being stopped for a traffic census.
When will people learn not to give the government this information?

They cannot compel you to do this or answer their questions (though you do have to stop for the police) and if enough people refused, they’d soon get the message.

Certainly, complaining about it on Twitter isn't going to achieve a thing!
This morning people were taking to social media site twiitter (sic) to register their frustration.
@dyblew said: “Stuck on the A47 and running late because of a census. Not a happy bunny”
@alexandrapow87 said: “Avoid the a47 to norwich like the plague this morning tweeps #traffic #standstill”
@staceymac16 said: “The stupid census they r doin in norwich has made me late again. 5 times now. Avoid a47 east bound between trowse & Broadland business park”
The police won’t care that they've held up motorists. Why should they? They can legitimately claim ‘Just doing my job!’…
dave123 Do what I would do and give them completely untrue information or throw the card away. There must be better ways of doing these things nowadays!!!
Well, quite. But I suppose they wouldn't give the Department of Transport staff the warm glow they must feel at holding up everyone so they can ask their pointless questions…

This Must Be The ‘Farscape’ Version Of A Peacekeeper?

Mrs Turner said Gray had “tried to act as peacekeeper and tried to prevent this incident escalating”, but admitted “it was a reckless assault”.
So…just how did this fragrant flower of femininity attempt to ‘keep the peace’..?
She appeared alongside Lorraine Ann Edwards, 30, of Ordnance Lane, who was charged with affray following an incident at the Black Bull pub in Hull Road on August 19 last year.
Mr Barker told the court Edwards had argued with her ex-partner, Christopher Edwards, over the phone while he was in the pub, and she and Gray, who had both been drinking, went to face him in person.
The court heard an argument ensued, before Edwards punched the victim repeatedly. The court heard Gray, who was holding a broken glass, had lashed out at Mr Edwards, causing a cut to his neck which needed stitches.
The fight then continued in the car park, with Lorraine Edwards also assaulting a woman who came to the victim’s assistance.
Ah. OK. Well. That’s not how I’d have done it, but…

Oh, wait. We’re not quite finished:
Michelle Gray, 37, of Speculation Street, York, pleaded guilty at York Crown Court to charges of affray and possession of a bladed weapon.
Nicholas Barker, prosecuting, told the court Gray had woken residents of Constantine Avenue, Tang Hall, by shouting in the street at about 12.45am, and when a 35-week pregnant neighbour asked her to keep the noise down, she responded by insulting the woman, and said: “I’m going to get you when you have your baby” .
The court heard Gray also threatened two men who approached her in the street during the incident in March, telling one: “I’ll cut your throat”, and the other: “ I'm going to maim you”, before she lashed out with a kitchen knife and stabbed one of them in the thigh.
When she was arrested, Gray told police: “I admit I did it,” and: “He deserved what he got, end of” .
Lovely, I'm sure you’ll agree.
Taryn Turner, mitigating, said Gray was “a woman who is capable of controlling her anger, tackling her demons, and learning to cope with mental health issues she undoubtedly has”.
I've no doubt she is, but it seems she has little desire to do so, doesn’t it?

OK, Everyone, Back To Normal….

A teenager involved in last years Croydon riots has avoided jail.
The 17-year-old who cannot be named, was arrested by police on August 8, exactly a year after the disorder in Croydon.
In interview, the boy admitted to committing two burglaries, one at Argos in Church Street and the other at a Jewellers in Surrey Street.
He also admitted participating in violent disorder in London Road and causing criminal damage at the Iceland store in Surrey Street by kicking and breaking the window.
And now the spotlight isn’t on magistrates, they go straight back to their old ways:
He was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment, suspended for 24 months and was ordered to be on an electronic tag and curfew for four months.
He must also carry out 150 hours of unpaid community work and is required to attend probation appointments for 24 months.
The police must wonder why they bother…

Wednesday 28 November 2012

Well, If It’s Good Enough For The Potato Farmers…

A few chickens clucking in the back garden provide fresh eggs every morning, more money in your pocket and a little taste of the Good Life. But the 500,000 households across Britain now keeping their own flocks could also pose a major health threat to the poultry industry. Veterinary experts say many of us keeping chickens at home have little understanding of how to control disease in the birds, along with insufficient knowledge of health regulations. They warn this could hasten the spread of disease from backyard flocks to commercial poultry farms.
Gosh! Sound familiar..?

It ought to! It’s the exact same tactic tried recently by the potato farmers!
A survey by the Royal Veterinary College found most back garden flock owners provided their birds with good living conditions. But 75 per cent did not comply with Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs regulations which outlaw birds being fed on kitchen waste. Farmers have been banned from feeding such waste to chickens since 2001, because some agents of disease can survive in household food products.
Yes, they have.

But there’s nothing to stop the homeowner feeding chickens whatever he wants, since the regulations referred to only apply if you are selling the eggs in bulk. Most families keeping chickens are doing so for their own consumption, or that of their friends and relatives.
The survey, published this month in the journal of British Poultry Science, also found lapses in biosecurity, with very few owners keeping human visitors, wild birds and rodents away from their flocks. Few properly vaccinated their birds.
Sensing, perhaps, that this isn’t going to be enough to strike the right level of fear and therefore compliance, they try the ‘Think of the chiiiillldreeen!’ tactic:
Keeping chickens is also a major risk factor for diarrhoea in children since the birds’ droppings can contain the disease agent campylobacter jejuni. More than a third of the chicken keepers surveyed had children, which highlights the risk posed to families.

So, what’s the answer to this grave crisis about to strike the nation? Well, would you believe, making Mr & Mrs Smith compliant with the same regulations as Farmer Giles?
Study co-author Iveta Karabozhilova called for greater regulation of back garden chickens and more communication between householders and health officials.
Yeah, I'll just bet. You can take the sex and travel option, love.

I Think ‘Our Children’ Deserve Proper Names. Where Do I Send My Petition?

A Thornton Heath mum has demanded that the council replace "inadequate" kitchen facilities that she says have left pupils at one of Croydon's biggest primary schools going hungry.
It appears a leaking roof has closed the kitchen while repairs are made.

Are children really ‘going hungry’ as a result?

No. Of course not.
Pupils will be fed sandwiches while the cooking facilities are closed.
So…what’s the problem? Well, it’s the same old culprit once again; parents who think it's the job of the state to feed their spawn:
But Donna, a parent governor at the school, said children had complained of being hungry last time the kitchen shut.
She said: "There are a lot of children whose school meal is their only hot meal of the day. They are not getting a hot meal at home and they are not getting one at school.
"Those kids are going hungry. It is not good enough."
Now Donna - whose daughters Rickela, 11, Tashwana, 10, and Lyneeka, eight…
… all attend Winterbourne Junior Girls' - has now launched a petition calling for councillors to replace the pod and pay for a permanent kitchen to be built on-site.
She has collected over 400 signatures so far. "I don't see why they can't give us a satisfactory kitchen," said Donna.
"The pod is inadequate and I don't think it is fair. I think our children deserve a kitchen and a canteen that is fit for purpose."
*still speechless*

Oh, Yes It IS ‘Appropriate'!

Emma Gregory, 20, was handed a suspended jail term for allowing her dog, Tia, to maul the boy as he walked home from school with his mother.
I told you her and her ilk were winning, didn't I?
Both Tia and Gregory’s other pit bull-type dog, Mia, who have been housed in kennels at a cost of more than £3,000 since the attack, will now be put down.
Well, two troublesome bitches down, anyway. Gregory, sadly, is set to live a lot longer and cost us a lot, lot more…
Judge Robert Crawford said a compensation order towards the victim was ‘not appropriate’ as Gregory is the single mother of an 18-month-old boy and lives on benefits.
And yet, amazingly, she managed to buy and feed two large ‘pets’. And I guess she doesn't have any personal possessions other than the clothes on her back, eh?


Does she need both kidneys?

Tuesday 27 November 2012

The Truth Might Set You Free....Eventually.

Prosecutors said Coast made up the sexual assault after her parents caught her looking at pornographic websites in 2007 when she was 17.
She then allegedly made up a story of prior sexual abuse to explain her behavior.
And, unfortunately for a friend, named him. He did four years behind bars...
Mr Montgomery, who lost more than 100lb during his time in prison, was given a conditional pardon by Virginia governor Bob McDonnell.
He had always maintained his innocence throughout his incarceration.
Mr Montgomery was freed in time to celebrate Thanksgiving with his family at his father's home in Vale, North Carolina.
Lucky, lucky man...
His accuser has now recanted her story and has been charged with perjury.
I hope the penalty for perjury is at least four years.

H/T: Mark Wadsworth via email

‘It’s Only Public Money!’ Part 248963

Southend Council has announced plans to enhance the informal pedestrian crossing points at City Beach.
Ah, yes. This is down to the complaints and the accidents.
Contractors will begin laying contrasting paving blocks to make the crossing points more visible to motorists in February.
Will they be….black and white? In stripes? A bit like a….zebra?

Like this, maybe?

The council is following recommendations made in an independent safety review following a number of complaints from concerned residents.
Because it’s not like it cost them anything, is it?

The Local Paper Isn’t The Best Forum, Sometimes…

Angry David Oultram has been left without gas for more than a week – after engineers claimed they could not work in his cluttered home.
I'm not entirely sure ‘cluttered’ is the word. ‘Cluttered’ implies he has too much stuff, too many books, nick-nacks, etc. Something I'm surely guilty of...

This isn't ‘cluttered’; this is the first stage of hording:

Maybe there’s a previous gas engineer under all that…
The unemployed 56-year-old believes Moorlands Housing has put his life at risk by denying him heating and hot water as temperatures dip.
I can’t see how – those layers upon layers of accumulated stuff must insulate the house pretty well!
… furious Mr Oultram, who suffers from arthritis and sciatica, believes the engineers could have worked around the clutter and should not have turned off his gas.
Mr Oultram, who lives in Wardle Crescent, said: "My mother and sister both died a couple of years ago, and they left me their belongings, and I have a lot of things in boxes and bags that have built up over the years.
"But there was enough room for them to do their work. I used to work as a painter and decorator and I sometimes had to work in a cupboard where you couldn't swing a cat.
"I think these gas engineers were just being awkward."
Well, no. No they aren't. You cannot expect anyone to work in those conditions.

And did you really expect that, having seen the pictures of your house, any reasonable person would agree with you, rather than with the gas company?

Monday 26 November 2012

Oh Yes, My God Yes!

Greenland, of Folkstone, Kent, screamed, 'Oh no, my God no', as the sentence was passed.
She maintained her innocence throughout her trial, but her account of what happened on the night in December last year was rejected by the jury.
Quite why she thought she'd be believed when the prosecution had access to the phone records, we'll never, ever know:
The court heard the following morning they woke up at 11am and had breakfast together before leaving.
Mr Traversi said: 'On the way home she asked if they would be seeing each other again... and he gave a half-hearted response.'
Later in the day, Greenland texted him saying: 'Hi Nick, just to say had a lovely night. Sorry about the sick and I do hope that you do not think that I am some kind of tart for sleeping with you.
'I would like to see you again and really do hope you do me. But if you don’t want to I won’t mind. Of course, it would be nice...'
Mr Mouna replied that he 'quite liked my single life', adding, 'I am quite happy to meet up with you and do it again with you'.
She replied: 'No, thanks for all that. I have just been used. Thanks a lot.'
She didn't help much by cranking up full 'Fatal Attraction' mode:
Hours later, Greenland took an overdose of tablets and vodka and was rushed to hospital.
She had texted Mr Traversi saying: 'Well I hope you sort your life out because at the moment I feel like ending mine. I have got vodka and pills I just hope I don’t wake up.'
I think I feel the most pity, though, for her poor defence brief, who really didn't have much to work with:
Paul Hogben, defending, said Greenland 'couldn’t cope with rejection.'
Gosh! Ya think..?

H/T: Mark Wadsworth via email

They’ve Learned Their Lesson Just Like….Well, Just Like The Public Sector!

A couple who ‘abandoned’ their three young children - one of them just a baby - whilst they went out on the town and got drunk, have walked free from court.
The pair, from Nelson, were slammed as probably unfit to have the responsibility of young children by a judge, who said their actions had beggared belief.
Only ‘probably’..?
The lower court had earlier been told how the mother was said to have told police she couldn't give a ‘s...’ about her children as she headed out on the late night drinking session.
Officers had turned up to find the tots ‘home alone’ at about 3am on September 3, after the mother's own sister called the police.
Someone’s off the Christmas card list, I suspect…
The father, questioned by police later that day, admitted it was a ‘stupid thing to do’ and claimed they usually had a babysitter.
Not ‘always’. Just ‘usually’. These are the sort of people Michael Gove had in mind, aren't they?
Recorder Long told the defendants :" I strongly suspect that both of you are unfit to have the responsibility for the care of young children."
The judge added, however, he accepted the pair both realised what they had done was serious and were suitably ashamed of themselves.
He said it was the first offence they had committed, they had pleaded guilty and appeared to be in the process of learning their lesson.
Yeah. Just like the police, and social services, and the NHS, and…

*continue ad infinitum*

I Guess Wales Are Behind The Times..?

In Gloucester, praise for a man defending his home:
Heroic father Amgad Ahmed has spoken of the moment he tackled a burglar to the ground and sat on him while his family slept upstairs.
He has been praised by a judge and given a cash reward for his bravery in "frightening circumstances" after he overpowered intruder Brian Wing when he crept into his Overbury Road home through an unlocked patio door.
In Wales, arrest for a man defending his mum’s home:
Vaughan Jones, 39, from Bargoed, in Gwent, South Wales jumped into action when his widowed mother heard a thief burgling her family home.
He called police before dashing around to help his mother Eleanor, 65, and confronted the burglar in a hand-to-hand struggle.
But the dad-of-three was left shocked when officers arrived and arrested him for allegedly assaulting the thief.
So…what’s the difference? Well, it seems the Welsh CPS at least have got the memo, if not the Heddlu:
And he was only released when the Crown Prosecution Service advised police not to press charges.
They needed such advice?
A spokesman said: 'When officers attend a live, ongoing situation they often have to take quick and decisive action based on what they are faced with to defuse the situation, ensure the safety of all involved and to maximise opportunities to gather evidence.
'Further enquiries follow, enabling officers to establish a fuller picture of what has taken place.'
Translation: ‘Look, we’re just simple souls, we are barely capable of nicking everyone in sight until someone brighter than us turns up and tells us who is the guilty party.’

Really, Welsh cops? Is that how you want to be seen by the public?

Sunday 25 November 2012

Well, Of Course Not. Who Expected Any Different?

Two bungling police officers who failed to find Tia Sharp's body while they searched her grandmother's New Addington home will not face the sack, a Met source has revealed.
The constable and "supervising" sergeant – part of a team of officers who scoured the loft because sniffer dogs were not trained to – have escaped with a "minor" telling off, despite the blunders making it harder for experts to establish the 12-year-old's cause of death.
Splendid! No doubt Inspector Gadget will find time to crow about this, as he watches the reputation of the police sink even lower in the eyes of the public…
A police source told the Advertiser: "It is the most minor form of discipline. This is at the bottom of the scale.
"It's like when you go to court, you can get life imprisonment or you can get an absolute discharge. It is a telling off but it's a minor one. Nobody's job is at threat."
The source added: "It strikes me as odd, that when a policeman makes a mistake people want to sack him, but when a news reader gets their lines wrong nobody complains."
Yes, well, when Kay Burley or the like makes some huge error it’s amusing or infuriating, but hardly ever does it result in a failure to find a dead body or have the potential to jeopardise a trial!
Despite widespread public anger over the bungles, New Addington councillor Tony Pearson said tougher disciplinary action against the officers is not necessary.
He said: "It will never change the investigation. It was difficult for everyone concerned and the key for the family is to make sure there is justice for Tia, not to have a witch hunt on individuals."
It’s not a ‘witch hunt’ – it’s ensuring that those who fail to do the job for which our taxes are taken from us are properly dealt with.
But changes have since been made to the force's official search guidelines since her body was found in The Lindens roof space, wrapped in a sheet and plastic bag, on August 10.
A great big 42-point font warning saying:


I assume.

Oh, This’ll Mean War!

Mothers with buggies and tourists with unwieldy suitcases are to be targeted in a new campaign to give wheelchair users priority on buses.

Just imagine the fury of the mums with their giant buggies? It’ll be awesome to behold as they are told they aren't a priority. The tourists will just shrug and say ‘Que?’…
Bus drivers will use their PA system to ask other passengers to move aside — and will not be allowed to drive off until they have done so.
The wording’s ambiguous – will not be able to drive off until the passengers have moved accordingly?

Or will not be able to drive off until they've ticked a box by asking, no matter what the response is..?
TfL officials said that the dedicated space, usually in the middle of the bus, was the only place where wheelchairs can travel safely.
They pointed out that on most buses there is room for both a wheelchair and suitcases or a single buggy in the reserved area. But where there was not, the buggy would have to be folded and suitcases moved to storage racks.
I can’t wait for this policy to provoke more BusRage amongst London’s vibrant population…
One Londoner said passengers made her feel uncomfortable when she used the allocated wheelchair space. Zara Todd, a youth worker from Merton, said: “People make you feel guilty for having to ask them to fold their buggies. Drivers find it awkward to ask them because of the fuss that it can cause.
“They think they are entitled to have the buggy unfolded. I understand that it can be time-consuming but I can’t fold my wheelchair. I have no choice.”
Good luck with expecting the unreasonable to suddenly become reasonable because there’s a poster up, love.

You Wouldn't Think He'd Have Much To Worry About, Would You?

...after all, I always thought you couldn't get blood out of those!

Sunday Funnies..

Yes, sometimes real life is harder to believe than the average movie script...

Saturday 24 November 2012

Zoe Williams Asks The Wrong Questions Again…

On ‘poverty’ in the UK:
Whose work is it to make sure children in the UK aren't hungry? That they have shoes, that they're not sleeping with their cots jammed up against a mouldy wall, or in a house infested with rats?
It’s the work of their parents, Zoe. You’re welcome.

She isn’t finished, though:
The charity Action for Children published figures showing that two thirds of their centre managers were seeing children without enough to eat. Its chief executive, Helen Donohoe, spoke to Radio 4's Woman's Hour about the pressures families were under, giving the example of a rat-infested house – the children couldn't sleep, the father was so sleep-deprived that he lost his job, the mother had mental health problems anyway, and "we enabled them, through housing support and advocacy, to get rehoused". That's great, but I'm left with unanswered questions: who thought that was appropriate housing for a family?
Surely a better question would be ‘who thought it appropriate to start a family under those conditions?’..? Zoe, however, thinks the problem is with…charities!

There are three problems. First, charities need access to ministers; if they alienate them, they won't even get into the room, and that is more important than worrying about what concessions you've exacted before you leave.
Charities don’t seem particularly bothered about alienating the government; they are always issuing scathing press releases and commissioning reports claiming that the government isn’t doing enough.

The government never seems to mind, either. It never blacklists any particular charity. No CEO has to stand in the cold with his nose pressed up against the window on No 10 Downing Street, watching forlornly as all the other charity bigwigs tuck in to champagne and canapés.

One might almost conclude from this that it’s all a game they play…
Second, charities are legally excluded from party politics, and in the more consensual age just passed, this meant avoiding saying anything directly critical of the government. This message got so deep into the political bloodstream that when Save the Children launched its campaign in September, to help UK children who were going hungry and without shoes, it was slated in right-wing circles for "politicising" the issue, even though to avoid politics would have meant avoiding poverty altogether.
Yes, I’m sure the ‘Guardian’ would happily sit by and refuse to criticise a charity which, say, pointed out that unrestricted immigration was putting pressure on our infrastructure…
Third, the relationship between government and larger charities has been compromised by the fact that charities run so many services. Barnardo's gets around three quarters of its income from commissions to run services, and only a quarter from fundraising. The Children's Society only gets a third of its budget from government, but that's enough to make an adversarial position impossible.
Ah, now you’re talking! Good idea, Zoe, let’s immediately abolish government funding for charities! Let ‘em stand on their own two feet with the donations from the public, hmm?
Who's opposing the benefit cap? Who's calling for a ringfence of council tax benefits for families in need? Who's arguing to maintain the child tax credit threshold? Who's fighting against families being rehoused miles away from their children's school? Who's calling for more social housing?
Looks like it’s just….well, you, Zoe. And the rest of the progressives. Judging by the comments, though, the rest of us are finally getting a bit hacked off with it all...

That’s It, I’ve Had Enough!

Enough of this mawkish ‘poverty’ pleading, that is:
Telan’s family had lived in their one-bed flat for almost three years. Before that, Kia and her son had lived in a privately rented two-bed house in Acomb.
A fulltime mum, she paid the rent out of benefits.
RIGHT! Stop right there – no, she didn't.

WE paid. The general taxpayer. Those of us working and paying tax into the system, either with our own families, or childless.
Then, Kia said, the landlord decided to put the house up for sale. The asking price was £113,000.
“I didn't have that kind of money.”
Her tenancy agreement offered her no protection, because she was at the end of her one-year contract. The city council offered her accommodation at the one-bed flat in Chapelfields. Kia was told she could reapply for a larger property once her son reached the age of two. She did so.
But with almost 4,800 people on the authority’s housing waiting list – hundreds of them assessed as being a greater priority than Telan and her family – and with only 500 or so council properties becoming available every year, the wait dragged on.
Ah, but Kia didn't see any need to wait, clearly! She wasn't letting the grass grow under her feet, no sir!
At first, when there were only her son and herself in the small flat, it wasn't too bad, Kia said.
But then her partner, Simon, moved in too – and Telan was born. There were four of them in a cramped flat.
No. Not just four humans.
It was the damp and mould which bothered Kia most, however. The bedroom wall was wet with condensation, and covered with mould. Kia and Simon tried keeping the windows open, and cleaning and washing the walls with anti-fungal solution.
But the mould always came back. She complained repeatedly to the council, who sent a workman round to install humidity-controlled fans, which Kia says didn't help. The authority says it advised the family on how to reduce condensation.
It accepts that part of the problem was that there were four people and a dog living in a onebed flat.

And then…tragedy!
Telan died at 9.43pm on October 6, 2012, at York Hospital, after suddenly being taken ill at the family’s one-bed council flat in Chapelfields. Shortly after feeding her from a bottle and putting her down in her cot, her mother heard her coughing.
She rushed through to find the little girl had stopped breathing. Telan was two days short of being 11 months old. …
Nobody knows yet why Telan died. An inquest has been opened and adjourned, while histology and toxicology tests are awaited.
But while ‘nobody knows’ it seems everybody is willing to speculate and use this to their own ends. 

Especially the grieving mother and the ‘poverty’ pressure groups.
“Personally, I think the conditions of the flat may have contributed to what happened,” she said.
City of York council does not accept that. The little girl’s death was a tragedy, said Steve Waddington, the authority’s assistant director for housing and community safety.
“It is very, very sad. But there is no evidence to suggest that the damp and conditions in the property have been an influencing factor in Telan’s death.”
Whatever the cause of the little girl’s death, her short life highlights the huge extremes of wealth and poverty that still continue to blight our society – even in a city as apparently prosperous as York.
No. No, I'm sorry, but it doesn't.

What it does highlight is the incredibly bad life choices made by some people who have been raised from birth and conditioned to believe that there is no such thing as personal responsibility, or deferred gratification, or ‘living within your means’.

Someone else is always at fault for anything bad that might happen to you. You are never, ever to be held responsible.
Kia has now been offered a larger flat.
“It is too little, too late,” she said.
Oh, don’t worry love, I'm sure you’ll soon fill it full of the fruit of your loins…

The comments, as you might expect, are filled with the usual responses, which all seem to separate out into typical groups.

There’s the barely-coherent comments from Kia’s peers, like her, self-absorbed, deluded and entitled:
roxywright says... Feels for kia and her family,Kia is an inspiration to other womenthey knew kia had a son so why put her in a one bedroom flat? But instead they insisted on dumping her in a one bed flat which was absolutely stupid of them.My thoughts are with kia and her family xxxxxxxxxxxx
There’s the ‘move over, grandad!’ mob, looking enviously at the elderly to move aside for the younger generation:
inthesticks says...
Re: above quote from Tracey Simpson-Laing; "Legislation coming into force in April 2013 could impact further those people living in overcrowded conditions, as households eligible for housing benefit in registered social housing will be expected to contribute more to their rent if their number of bedrooms exceeds new Department for Work and Pensions guidelines.”
Have I misunderstood something there? Surely this is for people who have too many rooms for their needs and will encourage people claiming housing benefit to move to a smaller home. Did I miss your point, I don`t see how that impacts on people in overcrowded conditions. If i`m being thick and havn`t read that correctly then will someone explain why it will impact on people who are overcrowded? However, people on housing benefit would almost surely need help with the costs relating to moving, have you considered that Tracey? Also, as I understand the new legislation, no one dares to mention asking anyone of pension age to pay extra for unused bedrooms to encourage them to move (even those who are eligible for housing benefit, which is what the criteria is), because they are scared of the public outcry I assume, but there are hundreds of them, just in York alone, in council houses that are way too big for them.
There’s the ‘tax the bankers!’ mob, hoping that more can be squeezed out of the modern demon Golden Goose before it finally has enough and flies off:
anybody says...
What an indictment of our society in the 21st century! We can bail out banks and pour any amount of money into them, yet small innocent children have to live and then die in this type of inadequate housing. City of York Council has a duty to its residents of council properties to renovate and restore so that people can live in a healthy, damp free and warm environment. What a useless response in this case to send out workmen with fans! Shame on all those who oppose and obstruct the building of new affordable homes built to modern eco standards.
Mmm. As Longrider points out, though, Kia’s dog would be the first thing to have to go in that scenario!

Then there’s the ‘we are all to blame!’ merchants:
Mr Happy says... 4:15pm Wed 21 Nov 12 It is tragic that in 2012, a young baby has to spend its entire life in a damp, mouldy home. Every child is born helpless. But every single child is precious and needs the help of all in society, whatever the wealth and status of their parents. Whatever the reasons behind baby Telan's tragic death, she was failed by the society we live in.
And occasionally, one or two who ask the same questions I’m asking:
Daisy75 says... 11:37am Wed 21 Nov 12 This is a terrible tragedy, and an awful loss for the family. However, presumably she knew the size of the flat before she moved boyfriend in and had the baby. If the flat was in such poor condition, why did she bring another baby into the world until she had better housing? I appreciate she was hoping the additional boyfriend and baby would boost her up the housing list, and she didn't anticipate this terrible outcome, but it was obviously an unsuitable situation for a newborn. I'd also be interested to know if her partner has a job, or are they both living off the State?
What a pity these comments are in the minority. I hope it doesn't mean that the attitudes are, too.

Or our society is doomed, isn't it?

“But…Parenting Isn’t Supposed To Be Hard Work, Surely..?”

The latest ‘Guardian’ attempt to whip up enthusiasm for a public-supported fight back against benefit cuts fails as miserably as the others:
Karen and Darren Millar live in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire. They both work full-time, Karen as a family support worker and Darren as a computer programmer. They rent privately and have four children, aged between three and 16. Their gross family income is £44,000, including tax credits.
Ah. Right. And their beef?
Karen said:"People might think that four children is asking for trouble but we coped perfectly well until the coalition came in and began cutting away at the tax credit system at the same time as childcare costs increased."
Translation: ‘I could easily afford four kids when everyone else was paying, but now look what’s happened!’

Newsflash, Karen; that’s exactly why we’re cutting benefits!
"We don't have any disposable income any more. Every single penny we earn goes on the most basic necessities. If we're really lucky, we might have £20 left at the end of the month but that doesn't happen often. "
Oh, boo hoo! Hang on, where’s my tiny violin? I know it was around here somewhere…
"I try to make sure the children can have fresh fruit every day but there are occasions when I can't even afford that: they go without anything fresh at all maybe one week in four."
Really? I take it you don’t bother shopping around, or buying fruit that’s not absolutely perfect, then?

Still, as long as you aren't telling me you've got mobile phones and Sky t…

"We have the lowest possible tariffs on our phones, a no-frills Sky package so the children have a little bit to watch because we can't afford to take them out."
Blood pressure….RISING!
"It's very difficult to eat healthily if you don't have lots of money. There are loads of deals on ready meals and food high in fat but you very rarely see a deal with fresh or healthy food. We realised that our diet was making us all lethargic. The children were quieter and didn't have as much life in them. "
Well, hallelujah! They've seen the light!
"So last year, Darren and I completely changed the way we eat. We now cook everything from scratch. The change in our health is amazing: our skin and hair has improved, the children wake up better in the mornings and don't seem as grumpy or agitated. It's changed their attitude to school: they're making more of an effort with their work. Their attitude to their health has improved too: the 14-year-old has started doing exercise. The 16-year-old has started asking for fruit and vegetables. "
Amazing! But….wait. This is supposed to be a typical ‘Guardian’ whingefest, isn't it?
"But healthy eating carries a cost: our food bills have gone up by about £50 to £100 a month, although that's also due to food prices spiralling. "
Ah. Right. They want more money so they can parent their brood in the style to which they've become newly accustomed.
"It definitely makes us tempted to return to our old diet: when you can spend £4 on a deal that gives you a week of meals for one person, you wonder if it's worth all the effort. But then you see the health impact and you see that it is. "
Good. Get on with it then. No, you can’t have more money.

And no, it doesn't matter that you seem like a nice well educated family, with non-feral children with sensible names, rather than the usual demanding underclass feckless wasters with children whose names look like a particularly difficult to use handful of Scrabble tiles (some of these are coming up later today, though).

The simple fact is...I don't want to have to pay for you to breed. You want kids? Fine. Pay for them yourself.

Friday 23 November 2012

I Guess I Was Wrong – Roll On, Compo Culture Bandwagon!

The 79-year-old spotted the pies at a Morrison's supermarket and called out to her husband that she had found them as she stepped forward to reach them, but then fell over the low unattended flatbed trolley.
Mrs Palfrey, of Callington, Cornwall, remains disabled, with one arm shorter than the other, and it was over two years before she could carry out even basic domestic tasks.
Yesterday, Appeal Court judges awarded the traumatised pensioner, who still has to take pain killers, £44,000 damages, ruling that the trolley, which had been left in the centre of an aisle when the stacker went off to help another customer, was dangerous.
I... What? I thought we were kicking this compo culture stuff into touch at long last?
Now the trolleys used at thousands of DIY stores and supermarkets have been declared 'dangerous' by top judge Lord Justice Moses.
In a ruling which threatens to cost retailers millions, Lord Justice Moses said that low-slung, L-shaped, flatbed trolleys - of the type ubiquitous in Homebase, Ikea and other stores - pose a foreseeable risk of serious injury to shoppers.
 It's not going to 'cost retailers millions', is it? Those costs will be passed on to us, the consumer.
Lord Justice Moses said: 'Shoppers walking up and down aisles in supermarkets are expected to be attracted by what is on the shelves; they do not expect to have to look towards the ground.
'Their attention will be on their shopping and other shoppers.
'Mrs Palfrey was intent on indicating to her husband that she had found the pork pies and all of that would have deflected her attention away from the long, low-based, trolley.'
Oh, FFS..! These things aren't small! Or easy to miss, so long as people are sensible. Just how are shops supposed to restack the shelves without them?

Maybe Mrs Palfrey should have been less intent on the pies and more on what was going on around her?
On top of Mrs Palfrey's damages, Morrisons now face having to pay the enormous legal costs of the case, which have been estimated at close to £200,000.
Except they won't. As I've already pointed out.

So, thanks for nothing, Mrs Palfrey. Next time I go to Morrisons, I'll have you to thank for the increased prices and the fact the staff haven't restocked the shelves quickly...

Still, at least she didn't get a staggering £800k!

Oh, Guess Who’s Paying? Again!

Rottweilers Posh and Becks have been spared a death sentence by a court – despite the pets attacking another dog.
Ah, yes. This case.
…magistrates did not approve the destruction order at a hearing yesterday. Instead they ordered ice cream salesman Hansell, of Swan Bank, Talke, to pay £214 to cover bulldog Harry’s vet’s bill, a further £300 to Mr Pulizzi for loss of earnings and £100 to the victim for his injuries.
Following the case, father-of-three Hansell says the money is secondary to saving the lives of his pets, which are named after celebrity couple David and Victoria Beckham.
Well, he would say that, wouldn't he. Besides, he’s not paying. We are.
Hansell, who was also handed a 12-month conditional discharge, will pay £10 per fortnight to settle the compensation bill after the court heard he was on benefits following the collapse of his business.
He was also told to keep the dogs on a lead in all public places and install two barriers to keep them on his property.
District Judge Andrew Jones said: “My concern is whether the dogs will cause more issues and it is agreed the steps put in place will ensure no future problems will arise.”
Will they? Gosh! Judge Jones can apparently predict the future!

This Is What Happens When The Police Are No Longer Trusted…

Vigilante gangs are starting to emerge on Canvey following a string of violent robberies. Residents are threatening to take matters into their hands - after three robberies were committed in the space of 48 hours.
 What else are they expected to do? Just pay their council tax for a non-service?
One man, who would not be named, said people had enough and had been talking about taking the law into their own hands.
He said: “There has been a spate of muggings, burglaries and robberies on Canvey and now a vigilante group are out after blood. People have been out there in cars trying to search for the robbers, and taking baseball bats trying to hunt them down.
“They are trying to take matters into their own hands because there doesn't seem to have been any response from the police.”
Who can blame them, when even their pets are at risk, not just their possessions? So, are the police cognisant of this danger to their future, and determined to do all they can to put this breach of trust right?
Supt Andy Prophet said: “We’ve heard reports that some people in Canvey have said they will carry out patrols but we can’t condone such activities.
“If people want to help us we would prefer that they dial 999 if they witness a crime in progress or call 101 if the information is less urgent.
“Residents can also help by setting up Neighbourhood Watch groups or by joining the Special Constabulary. ”
That'll be 'no' then. And if you can't see the writing on the wall, Andy, you're no Prophet...

Thursday 22 November 2012

“Don’t You Know Who We Are?!”

Ah, if only Culture Minister Maria Engel had reached for the intercom on her desk and summoned a constable with the words ‘Please help these two gentlemen. It seems they don’t know who they are…’
Speaking after an event that brought together the heads of 23 of England's leading regional theatres, Boyle told the Guardian that the lack of attention to the arts shown by the culture secretary, Maria Miller, was "outrageous".
"Not one of those [artistic directors, including Hytner] has been even approached by this woman," he said.
"That is outrageous. This is cultural life of our country. She is the minister of fucking culture. I mean, come on."
I thought the ‘minister of fucking culture' was the recently-booted out Mr John 'Secretary Shagger' Prescott?
Boyle, Hytner and the 23 other directors, including Erica Whyman from Northern Stage and Gemma Bodinetz from the Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse, had gathered to argue the claims of English regional theatre as pressure on their funding increases.
Ah, yes, we’ve been here before, haven’t we?
English theatre was, they said, a delicate ecosystem of creative life, nurturing the talents on which events such as the Olympic ceremonies depended.
But, they argued, it is threatened by cuts to public spending, especially from under-pressure local authority budgets. Speaking of the value of theatre in the English regions,
Boyle said: "What they provide is something else to believe in … Something in our cities and towns that isn't Wetherspoons and Walkabout pubs and Mario Balotelli and John Terry."
I see the hyperbole and exaggeration is flowing like...well,. like fine wine at the Arts Council events.
He added that politicians such as Miller appeared to want "to just swan around with the blooming glamour stuff" rather than undertake serious conversations with those at the sharp end of supporting creativity in the regions.
Riiight. The 'sharp end', eh, Boyle? Good lord, you're not in the trenches, man! Maybe, just maybe, you aren't as worthy of praise and exaltation as your circle of luvvies keeps telling you?

This is funnier than the time Polly mounted her Steed of Outrage and started hacking about with her Sword of Dudgeon. Or Rosie Millard's weeping and wailing over the failure of the ConDems to keep the money flowing into things the public just won't pay money to see...
Speaking about the situation in Newcastle, Whyman, who is about to take up a post as deputy artistic director of the Royal Shakespeare Company, said her own organisation had been warned that Newcastle council is considering, unwillingly, completely scrapping its arts budget in the next three years.
"This is not the decision they want to have to make; but they are putting on the table the possibility of removing arts funding," said Whyman.
"If they take that decision, or even a decision less serious than that, it will devastate the cultural landscape. [Newcastle] will not be that home that people are as proud of as they are now."
*looks around at cultural landscape* Oh, it seems to be doing OK to me.

Don’t, Y’Know, Rush Or Anything…

A spokesperson for the council said: “Our planning policies promote the development of the Abbey Mills site for a mix of residential and employment uses, to create a new local centre near West Ham station.
“The Riverine Trust gave assurances at the public inquiry in February 2010 that the site would be redeveloped within two years according to these policies and a mixed-use application would be submitted. It voluntarily committed to this in a legally binding Unilateral Undertaking that meant the Trust had to stop using the site as a mosque and demolish the existing buildings if it failed to comply.”
So, were council lawyers eagerly awaiting March 1st 2012 to see if the undertaking had indeed been taken seriously?
By the end of February 2012 deadline that undertaking had not been complied with; the site was still being used as a mosque, no buildings removed and no mixed use planning application submitted.
Ah. So, it’s now reported that:
It has lodged papers at London’s High Court and is waiting for a hearing date.
Nine months..?!?

That’s how long it takes for them to wake up and smell the (Arabic) coffee?

Credit Where Credit’s Due…

…it seems they are finally being forced to do something about the tethered horse problem in York:
The RSPCA brought the prosecution as part of an investigation into complaints from the public about horses tethered on roadside verges.
Lawyers for the seven, who are all called Smith and who live at Ryedale Caravan Site, Outgang Lane, Osbaldwick, successfully asked for their cases to be adjourned while probation officers prepare reports on them, and reserved their mitigation until the sentencing hearing.
Amazingly, they’ve all pleaded guilty straight off.
All seven were ordered to return to court on November 15 when they will be sentenced and learn if they are to receive bans on keeping horses or animals.
Mitigation should be….interesting.

Wednesday 21 November 2012

Ex Libris: ‘Trinity’s Child’


In Colorado stands a mountain called Cheyenne. The dark crag juts out of a high plateau in the shadow of Pike’s Peak, where the Rockies break off abruptly into the endlessly flat expanse of the Great Plains.

In the late nineteenth century a schoolteacher and minor poet named Katherine Lee Bates travelled to the fourteen-thousand foot summit of Pike’s Peak, gazing out across the incredible array of jagged crests and down across Cheyenne Mountain and the plateau into the bountiful plains. Her poet’s eye saw purple-mountained majesties stretching endlessly in one direction, fruited plains reaching forever in the other. Her vision absorbed it all and more, seeing the manifest destiny of a young nation stretching from sea to shining sea. To Katherine Bates it was everything that made her America great, made her America The Beautiful, and so she wrote it.

Others came later and saw more. In the middle of the twentieth century, when America was at its most powerful and most afraid, others saw the Rockies the way the French saw the Maginot Line – as an impenetrable fortress. They were equally patriotic if less poetic than Katherine Bates. So thet dug deeply into the bowels of Cheyenne Mountain, hollowed out her granite innards, and lived there. They stayed for decades, watching and waiting.

I can’t recall where I first picked this book up, or why. Perhaps it was the cover?

I was a great fan of airshows and went to many, from Fairford to Alconbury via Mildenhall, so it’s possible I picked it up at one of those.

It's definitely a book NickM from 'Counting Cats..' would adore, based as it is firmly in Tom Clancy-esque military 'end of the world' scenarios.

And yet that's a mere backdrop for the far more human dramas and decisions made by the crew of Polar Bear One and those who come into contact with them on their lonely flight.

It was made into a TV movie with Powers Boothe and Rebecca De Mornay, with the late Martin Landau as the President. Not a bad adaptation  either, even back then, HBO was showing itself as a force to be reckoned with, but I can't help but speculate what a modern adaptation, with modern CGI, would look like.

And then I remember - the Russians aren't the bad guys any more, are they?

A Fine Send Off, To Be Sure!

The 31-year-old from Oxford was injured at about 11.20am yesterday during a funeral service being held at the Greyfriars Church in Iffley Road.
The service was for 76-year-old Winnie Joyce, a mother of 13 children, grandmother to 64 and great grandmother to 45.
Yes. You guessed it:
Her family lives at the Redbridge Hollow travellers’ site, near Kennington, which she helped set up with husband Christopher Joyce.
Emergency services and the police helicopter were called in yesterday to deal with the incident, after crowds of people poured out on to Iffley Road.
Police declined to confirm how many officers were sent to deal with the incident.
Because the answer is ‘an embarrassing amount, given we made no arrests’…

H/T: John Gibson via email

Actually, I Think It’s Unsuitable For Anyone’s Hearing…

The magistrates sent Truscott to the crown court on March 23, saying the case was unsuitable for summary hearing.
His crime? Well…
A man found naked in a field amongst cow dung and mud had been sexually pleasuring himself, a court has heard. It was the same farm he had returned to over a period of seven years.
Yes, and that’s not all he does…
The Roth family had suffered because of his behaviour, she went on, as it had affected their quality of life and their children who had been part of what was going on.
“The family have to regularly check their livestock, outbuildings and equipment, as he has masturbated in a muck spreader and set fire to outbuildings, killing livestock in frustration when they cleaned out their farm equipment in an attempt to stop him from this lewd and obscene habit.”
It appears not just any farm will do. He has a ‘thing’ for this particular farm.
His previous convictions included arson, burglary and harassment, and he had a caution for possession of extreme pornographic images in relation to animals.
He had breached the restraining order before, quite soon after it was made, and for which he was sent to prison.
If he cannot be sectioned and held in a mental institution, perhaps the Roth family might like to patrol with shotguns in future?

They’d be doing the county a favour if they mistook him for a burglar.

The ‘Seven P Principle’ Is In Play Here…

At yesterday’s hearing, Jonathan Stone, prosecuting, said four men including Stringer arrived outside the shop on mopeds before Stringer used a hammer to smash through a window to steal the watches.
CCTV cameras inside the store and on High Street showed the group leaving the scene before Springer was seen being tackled to the ground by passers by.
Mr Stone said: “It was a well-planned operation but fell flat at the end. They had not planned their escape but there must have been a degree of research done.”
Stringer got five years, but we know he won’t serve it all, though. He already got 64 days off for time spent in custody.

And as there’s no report of other arrests, he possibly didn't give up his accomplices, either. I’d have tacked on an extra five years for each of ‘em!
William Woodman, defending, told the court that Stringer was in financial difficulty after being out of employment since 2009.
He said: “It seems that when he is in employment he does really well, but when he isn't it seems to have a significant effect on him. There is no suggestion he used the hammer to threaten anyone.”
In other words, when he’s got a job, he stays on the straight and narrow, but when he hasn’t, well, a life of crime is the only thing that beckons?

Incompetent crime, at that? I guess we know why he can’t get a job then…

H/T: MacHeath via email

Tuesday 20 November 2012

Trouble ‘Oop North!

Labour party members in Rotherham protested against the decision to field an "outside" candidate in the forthcoming byelection by staging a mass walkout from the final selection meeting.

This is, of course, the Nov 29 by-election prompted by the resignation of the latest MP expenses cheat, McShane.

So, what’s their beef? Well, once again, it’s the demand that local areas accept a candidate desired by the high command:
The dissenters said they would now not canvas for the eventual nominee, Sarah Champion, chief executive of Rotherham's Bluebell Wood Children's Hospice.
Heh! It’s their ball, and if no-one plays the game without cheating, they are taking it home with them!
"If the NEC [Labour's National Executive Committee] wants to parachute in an outsider, the NEC can come up to campaign for them," said one member who walked out.
"We in the community should have had a say in the candidate. This is not democracy. If they had wanted a woman, they should have told us they wanted a woman, and we would have found someone locally."
Ahhh, you were doing so well right up to that bit. If they had wanted a woman, you should have asked ‘Why?’…

The candidate is herself is just the sort of Labour Party apparatchik you’d expect from Ed’s Special Needs Team:
Putting a brave face on after the bruising meeting, she insisted had not nearly "broken" the Labour party.
"I think it's absolutely right that people want to have their voice heard," she told BBC Look North, "but no, the labour party has not been broken. Mahroof would have been a good candidate, he has got a good, long track record of working in Rotherham, but the party has made its decision."
Translation: ‘It’s right that the little provincial people feel they’ve had their little say, so long as they then knuckle down and do as they are told by us important people…’

A vote-winning strategy, I’m sure you’ll agree.

But it seems that the locally-preferred candidate had less going for him than just the wrong set of genitalia:
One Labour insider said Hussain had been the "red hot favourite" locally but as a Muslim man was deemed too much of a risk to the party in the wake of the child sex grooming scandal involving Pakistani males in the constituency which has prompted far right protests in the constituency.
Oh, dear. The twists and turns of identity politics, eh? Tweeter Mike Broadbent disagreed that this was the whole local party:

Labour was also keen to choose a woman, said the insider, because: "The Rotherham political class is male, male, male."
The South Yorkshire town has never had a female MP, and the Labour council has long been overwhelmingly male dominated.
And why is that necessarily a bad thing? Would they have been better off with, say, Margaret Moran? Or Nadine Dorries?
A Labour source who was at Tuesday's disastrous meeting confirmed the walkout. "People are entitled to their views," he said, "but we need a clean break with the past in Rotherham."
Translation: “The little people are entitled to their views, so long as they then knuckle down and do as they are told by us important people…”

”What’s in the box..?”

Errr, you’re an animal rescue centre. What do you think it could be?
Animal lovers have spoken of their shock at the discovery of 11 dehydrated and poorly puppies – dumped outside a rescue centre in a plastic box.
This can’t be unusual, surely?
Simon Donnelly, chairman of the charity Supporters of Stray and Abandoned Dogs (SoSAD), said Kevin Forsyth, who owns and runs the rescue centre, was on duty when he noticed something on the CCTV camera.
Mr Donnelly said: “He thought something had been left at the gate and went to have a look, thinking it was blankets. That’s when he found the pups – 11 of them.
“He made sure they were fed and put them in heated kennels and arranged for a vet to check them out. They have been eating very well indeed.”
So, all’s well that ends well, yes?
“It is shocking to think anyone could have left them like that – in plastic box covered in just a blanket during a very cold early morning. ”
Well, given the alternative…. No. Dumping them in a river would be 'shocking'...

H/T: Anna Raccoon via email

Don't Let It 'Pain You', Coroner...

Picture the scene - a tragedy in King's Lynn:
More safety measures have been proposed at a Norfolk town's annual fair after a three-year-old boy was killed by a car.
Awful, terrible, more must be done!!
West Norfolk Council has backed proposals to increase the number of stewards and barriers at the event.
Plans would also see the fair, held in Tuesday Market Place, shortened from 14 days to nine.
Councillors recommended that the fair was moved from its traditional Valentine's Day opening to begin on the first weekend of February half-term in 2013.
No expense must be spared! Set up the JustGiving page to pay for a lavish funeral!
On Wednesday 15th February 2012 at 5:30pm a three year old boy called Rio Bell, had his life so tragically cut short by a driver, as the Kind’s Lynn Mart in Norfolk.
But look at how forgiving the parents are to the evil motorist:
More than 150 people attended Rio’s funeral service which was held by the rector of Kirkley the Rev Andrew White and saw his white coffin enter to the R Kelly song If I Could Turn Back The Hands Of time.
In a moving eulogy he said: “In the time I have spent with members of the family over the last few days, I have been struck by the total absence of anger and bitterness or any need for revenge.”
Oh, saints they are, surely?

Cometh the inquest, and - although I'd forgotten the case - I found I was following a reporter covering it for 'Look East' on Twitter:



'Independent'? He was three! Not of an age where you are expected to be traffic-smart, which it why it's the job of the parents to do it!

The press couldn't not report it, could they?
“I don’t wish to add to the distress and anguish of Rio’s family, but the primary responsibility for young children must rest with those having care of them,” he said.
“At the time of this tragedy, Rio was not under suitable control or supervision. He should have been under very close and direct control.
“Under the circumstances, he should have had reigns (sic), been in a buggy or had his hand held.
“It pains me to say that.”
It shouldn't.

Perhaps someone would like to set up a JustGiving page for the poor bloody driver?

Monday 19 November 2012

Gosh, I Wonder Why She Didn’t Turn Up To Fight Her Corner?

A hairdresser has failed in a bid to force her former employers to pay her wageswhile she was in jail.
Miss Atkins' claims of constructive dismissal were thrown out by chairman Victoria Wallace on Tuesday at Ashford Employment Tribunal after she failed to turn up for the hearing, despite staff trying to contact her.
Ah. Not because they were patently absurd, then? Oh, well…
In written statements made to the tribunal, both Miss Atkins and her-ex boss said she took annual leave to attend her trial in December last year.
When she was found guilty at Canterbury Crown Court, Judge Adele Williams said Atkins had perpetrated a "dreadful crime".
But documents submitted to the tribunal show that Miss Atkins claimed her employer made assurances her job was safe before she was convicted.
Why would an employer say such a thing?
"I came home on June 27, 2012, and rang Mrs McDonald to ask if I could come back to work and the reply to that was 'no'."
Miss Atkins claimed in her statement she was thus owed backdated salary for the days missed while she was in jail.
She said: "I would like nine months' worth of wages, which is how long I was in prison for – as I thought I still had a job – which comes to £7,000."
Yes, I'm sure you would. I’d like a pony.
But Mrs McDonald said there was no agreement to keep a job open and that her business was stigmatised by her worker's conviction.
And, since ‘This Is Kent’ hasn't seen fit to mention what it was she was convicted of, we have to turn to Google (and thereafter ‘The Mirror’) for the details:
“My heart was pounding,” says Wayne.
“I was thinking maybe I was to be kept in custody until my trial. I asked the ¬policeman guarding me, he said he didn't know.
“Half an hour went by. Then another officer came down. He told me I was being released without charge because new evidence had come to light. As it sank in the relief swept over me.
“I went home to hugs from my ¬family. That evening an officer called me to explain what had happened.
"Police had learned that the night before Kelly had left her handbag in a pub and it had been handed in to a member of staff. It was the bag she said I’d stolen.
“Apparently, she’d reported being mugged for her handbag before she’d added that she’d also been raped.
"That was why the police were fairly sure she was lying. Days later I was told she’d been charged with perverting the course of justice, which she denied.”
Yup, she’s a false rape claimant. And false mugging claimant into the bargain. Failing at both  luckily enough  No real surprise she didn't try to shoot for ‘best of three’ then….

And I wonder who encouraged her claim to the Employment Tribunal?

Activists Aren’t Like Other People…

Dr Paul Jarman, 45, claims he cannot allow his guide dog Gemma off her lead due to stringent dog control orders insisted upon by his local authority, Newark and Sherwood District Council.
And, as he has a disability, this is a personal affront to him and all other people with disabilities, and don’t you forget it!
He says the way the legislation is implemented is discriminatory, with no exemptions or concessions for the fact the Labrador is a registered guide dog and needs to be exercised.
ALL dogs ‘need to be exercised’, just just guide dogs. Apart from their training, there’s nothing special about them…
He said it was “without question, the most anti-disabled piece of legislation to have made it onto the statute books for many years, and it is no exaggeration to suggest that, if other local authorities were to follow NSDC's example, all possibility of independent and responsible guide dog ownership in the UK would be at an end”.
Really? Are you sure you haven’t gone a little too far with the hyperbole there?


Oh, OK then:
Dr Jarman, a disability support officer at Queen Mary, University of London, added he feared it may force blind people out of the area, saying: “Most of my walks are accompanied by the close attentions of NSDC's dog wardens, who evidently have nothing better to do than harass and threaten guide dog owners - a sad state of affairs.”

This is because his borough has chosen not to exempt guide dogs. Others have, and there’s nothing whatsoever to indicate that maybe they might not reconsider if enough people complain, but then, if you are a ‘disability campaigner’, it seems your job is to whip up fear and anxiety in the people you are campaigning for…
Other local authorities, including Manchester City Council and Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council, have explicitly made blind people with guide dogs and disabled people with trained assistance dogs exempt from the control orders.
So, rather than predict Armageddon for guide dogs everywhere, why not simply and calmly request that your borough takes note of others’ policies and looks again at its own?

Or are you just one of the professional Awkward Brigade?
A spokesman for Newark and Sherwood District Council said Dr Jarman chose to walk his dog in an area where they must be kept on leads as a result of a spate of attacks, and that there were alternative open, grassed areas nearby.
Jeremy Hutchinson, Environmental Health assistant manager, said officers would advise any blind member of the public of the law if it was clear they could not read warning signs.
“However, if they were to persist in doing so, despite knowing the order was in force, we would be likely to treat them as any other offender and issue a fixed-penalty notice,” he said.
Fancy that! Being treated just like anyone else!

Remember when that was what the disabled claimed to want..?

What Future..?

Mark died just seven days after the birth of his daughter Mychalina on July 11…
Oooh, the name kind of gives the game away, doesn’t it?
… and had been on a night out with Frayne before they went back to a flat in Goole to take heroin.
It proved to be a fatal mistake. And not – for once – due to contamination with anthrax.
Mark's fiancée Stephanie, a student child psychologist, was due to marry him at Christmas.
She claims to have been unaware of his drug use. Which is, well, possible, I suppose.
She said: "We had been together for two years. He had never done drugs, this was all a total shock to me.
"When they told me he had died, I felt like I had been ripped apart. I thought I was going to spend the rest of my life with him and now Jake's actions have stolen my future and my daughter will never know her dad."
Ummm, hang on. ‘Jake’s actions’..? No. Not just his…

It does take two to tango, doesn't it? Mark was a willing participant in a risky activity.
Stephanie said their daughter still won't be old enough for her to explain what happened to her father by the time Frayne is released from prison.
"I just want to protect her but I cannot save her from the day I have to sit down and tell her what Jake did," she said.
"I will have to say to my daughter, 'That man killed your dad'."
Don’t forget to add ‘because your dad was too stupid not to see the potential risks and so agreed to take illegal drugs’. I mean, surely a future child psychologist doesn't think hiding the truth is a good thing?

I'm not convinced this poor kid’s future isn't already sealed.

Sunday 18 November 2012

Yes, Well, They Do Come In Handy...




...But The 'Mail' Is Determined To Retain Its Crown!


I Think The 'Guardian' Is Using The 'Telegraph' Picture Subs...

...because this is right up there with their worst howlers:

Gorillas have cubs!? Who knew...?

Blog Notice

Regular readers might have noticed that Blogger appears to have made a few changes recently, which first resulted in spam comments somehow getting copied in to those who had opted to subscribe to posts, and now seems - at least, over the last few days here - to have stopped routing some spam comments to the filter altogether.

I've had about 10-15 spam comments per day get published on old and recent posts, though the spam filter is still working for others. Be assured, I will hunt them down each day and delete them, though the sudden cessation of my 'recent comments' gadget (as well as the Twitter gadget) doesn't make that easy.. .:/

If you have spare change, however, don't waste it on anything spammers might try to flog you - there are much worthier causes out there.

Sunday Funnies...

Never write off the older generation. For anything...

Saturday 17 November 2012

The Violence And Incoherence Of The Entitlement Generation…

Mike Weatherley, who represents Hove, has spoken of his horror after he was “besieged” by up to 100 protestors.
One of his colleagues, an intern, was struck by a rock and another had a punch swung at him as angry scenes broke out yesterday afternoon.
Mr Weatherley was chased from the Asa Briggs Lecture Theatre, across the Falmer campus and sought refuge in a locked building.
Police were called and, surrounded by six officers, Mr Weatherley was escorted out into a waiting riot van.
Yes. You read that right. No arrests.

Rather than drive the violent protesters back, the police convince the people who have a legitimate right to be there that they should remove themselves for their own safety the police’s convenience

They should be ashamed of themselves. As should the ‘Argus’, for giving these protesters a forum.
The people who claimed to have attacked him spoke exclusively to The Argus.
They said: “This is a war. Not a war that we chose, but a war that we are confronted with daily.
The time for debate is over, closing with the passing of “Weatherley's Law”.
“The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich and poor alike to sleep in empty properties, not to suffer the streets, and to steal warmth.”
It’s the same old tired rhetoric that we've heard so many times before.
A university spokeswoman said: “We are appalled to hear that Mike Weatherley was prevented from speaking on campus by a group of protesters.
"We believe that the violent disruption was led by activist protesters from outside of the university, not by our students.”
They may well have led it, but quite a few of ‘your students’ willingly followed, eh?

As the comments at the Argus’s other article show, the public seem to have had enough of these whining, over-privileged adult children:
Crystal Ball says...
So "Peaceful protests" now escalates to assault with weapons? If students, were they supposed to be at a lecture or "off sick"? Same goes for those that might have jobs but chose not to be there for this purpose. Lots of faces on camera to trace perpetrators.
Well, indeed. If only anyone had the will to do so…

Most of these commenters don’t seem to have the slightest idea about…well, anything, really:
dhamallamafarmer says...
But Wetherley is suppose do t be left wing since he's a member of the Labour Party.

There are some sensible people though:
Mark22 says...
As a student of the Uni i'd like to say that these people don't represent the vast majority of Sussex Students who just want to get on with their studies. This video certainly doesn't show the whole story, and yet only the end of what was a violent and disgusting protest. Some of the people protesting were not even Sussex Students. It is so sad to see that a University, especially one so well regarded as Sussex can no longer be the home for a reasoned and peaceful debate, which was Mike Weatherleys intention in coming to the campus.
That draws a lot of fire from the usual suspects. But there are signs their rhetoric is wearing thin:
AmboGuy says... Chazza65 wrote: stoning is about the only thing these privileged tory mps understand - they won't care two hoots when people evicted from squats freeze to death on the streets this winter - well played sussex students keep up the good work! Yeah the strange thing seems to be that the squatters around Brighton seem to be so hard up they manage to throw parties every night while simultaneously trashing the place they're in. Come one, for god sake this 'most vulnerable members of society' line is getting very tiresome now.
Isn't it just?