Saturday 29 November 2014

”Frankenstein and Dracula have nothing on you, Jekyll and Hyde join the back of the queue…”

A woman chewed off a chunk of her cousin's nose in front of horrified onlookers at a funeral wake, a court heard.
Ah. One of those sorts of funerals...
Savage Jodie Rutley, 21, was today jailed for 12 years for the shocking attack which saw her victim lose her entire left nostril. As the blood-drenched woman waited for an ambulance, Rutley went home and returned with two long kitchen knives.
The court was told Rutley had previous convictions for police assault and had two other reprimands for violence.
Hardly surprising!
Sean Grainger, mitigating, claimed it was the victim who first grabbed Rutley in the car park. He said: The defendant went far too far in what she did but we submit she was not the one who landed the first blow."
Meanwhile, in the very same paper:
A violent granny is starting a seven-year prison sentence for smashing a policeman in the face with his baton and breaking his jaw. Anne McQuilter was involved in a late-night large-scale drunken disturbance which two plain-clothed officers volunteered to help calm down. During struggles with the crowd in Redcar town centre,
Pc Steven McCrone, 33, dropped his extendable baton, Teesside Crown Court was told. Mother-of-two McQuilter, 41, picked up the asp, whacked the under-siege officer in the face and fractured his jaw, said prosecutor Sam Andrews yesterday.
Yes, you read that right. She's a grandmother at the tender age of 41...
Mr Abrahams, who also represented McQuilter, who has two grandchildren, said prison would cause sever (sic) problems for her family, who describe her as their "lynchpin". He told the court: "Her family are now the victims of her actions. They will be punished as a consequence and it is that, really, that is going to hurt her more."
Yes, I can see how the antics of their brawlin' gran could come as a bit of a sho...

The court heard how the grandmother has convictions for affray in 2004, and violence in 2009, and cautions for threatening behaviour in 2000, and assault in 2008.

Post Title Of The Month

I think WoaR knows I'm a sucker for song lyrics as blogposts. Here she weighs in on #ShirtGate:

Quote Of The Month

MacHeath boggles at the ability of the 'poor' to spend amazing amounts of money on....well, what?
"Fifty items? Fifty? Even in a pound shop, that surely represents a substantial outlay by most people's standards, particularly when spent on ephemeral tat."

Post Of The Month

Take it away, Gildas at Anna Raccoon.

You Have Got To Be Kidding Me..!

Around 1,000 people took to the streets of London last night in solidarity with protests over the shooting of a young unarmed black man in the American city of Ferguson.
A protest march in England for a justifiable shooting in the US? C’mon! That’s ridiculous!

Even by the usual standards of these rabble protest groups, which – of course! – included all the usual suspects…
Carol Duggan, aunt of Mark Duggan, and Marcia Rigg, of the Sean Rigg Justice And Change campaign, both spoke at the gathering outside the embassy. Ms Duggan told the crowd: “We need to send a message to Mike Brown’s family.
“We feel the pain, we know the pain, of losing somebody at the hands of the police.
“That is why we stand in solidarity with the community of Ferguson. I feel they are very strong and brave people.”
Are they really? You mean, it’s considered ‘strong’ to burn your neighbour’s business? It’s considered ‘brave’ to loot it?

Funny how this only ever happens in some ‘communities’, and not others, too…
The London protest was organised by campaign groups Stand Up To Racism and the London Black Revolutionaries.
LOL! You couldn’t make it up…

Friday 28 November 2014

Be Honest, Who’s Surprised By This?

The Crown Prosecution Service said it had decided that “no further action” could be taken in 10 out of 12 cases referred to it by police, and only two files were still being considered for possible criminal charges.
They do, of course, claim they have good reasons. But then, don’t they always?
It said that reasons for vetoing prosecution included the reluctance of one victim to testify against a 35-year-old suspect from London.
A gap in the 1985 law banning FGM in England and Wales made it impossible to prosecute a Somali woman aged 40 who allegedly subjected her daughter to mutilation during a holiday in her homeland.
Three other women, two of whom were arrested at Heathrow, escaped charges because items they possessed — which police believed were going to be used for cutting — could also be used for other “traditional practices” that were lawful.
A 38-year-old London man who threatened to inflict FGM has been told he will not be charged because police were unable to show that he intended to put his words into action.
Hmmm, doesn’t that last one mean that the infamous prosecution of Paul Chambers was even more of a farce and an injustice than we all thought, then?

Barking & Dagenham Police...

...mostly, it would seem, barking:

OK, so, a question about why automatic belief would be considered a good thing, regardless of whether there was any evidence of bullying, was met with this:

If you have no proof of something, how can you expect to be believed? You're not reporting a crime, you're creating a religion...!

This Isn't Construction, Judge..

...did you want to play with cranes and bulldozers when you were a kid?
Judge Sean Morris said: “This is one of the saddest cases I’ve seen in a long time.
“People may think you should be locked up straight away but I take the view, given the exceptional circumstances of this case, that would not be constructive.”
What about punishment? Or don't we do that any more?
James Adkin, defending, said: “The defendant does not accept she would have or did injure her child. The medical evidence suggests accidental injury is a possibility. “She did love that baby and the consequences of that night are forever with her.”
Or until she has her next hit, anyway...
The court heard there was “multi-agency involvement” when Michaela was born on March 9 last year.
Didn't do much good, did it?

Thursday 27 November 2014

When You Take The Moral High Ground…

…beware – you may be standing on quicksand:
Oxfordshire drivers committed more than 13,800 speeding and dangerous driving offences last year, new figures reveal today.
The figures, which show drivers’ home addresses but not where offences were committed, have been released by road safety charity Brake.
Road users have been urged to look out for each other as the charity launches its national Road Safety Week today.
The family of 10-year-old Freddie Perry from Didcot, killed in a road traffic accident last September, said they “completely supported” the campaign.
Well, that’s convincing. Who could possibly ignore the moral authority of a grieving family?
Freddie’s father Lea, 41, said: “I am more than behind Brake’s campaign.
“It makes me cringe to think other people will go through what we are going through, and they will. We are just trying to reduce that.
“We’ve all driven carelessly, I drive a bus every day for a living and I see people driving like complete idiots.”
Oh, indeed. And sometimes, you see people crossing the road engrossed in their mobiles like idiots too

I wonder why Brake doesn’t campaign about that..?

Or the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, for that matter, who is also climbing aboard the 20mph bandwagon?

Ahhh, Those Progressive ‘Principles’…

Chris Elliot, ‘Guardian’ editor, writes on the flak it got from criminal-cuddlers over the naming of Ann Maguire’s teenage murderer:
An editor said: “Open justice means that uncomfortable truths, such as the facts of a murder, enter the public domain, but the principle needs to be defended. It is important as we debate this issue that we also consider whether Cornick’s sentence at 20 years is appropriate, and whether in the light of cuts he will receive appropriate custodial care, i.e. rehabilitation.”
In other words, ‘Principles? What are those, when we have another excuse to whinge about the Tories..?’

Because These Details Are Important...

Mrs Boden insisted there were no women involved in the fight, adding that they were trying to break it up.
Gosh. A funeral brawl, eh? It's been a while since we saw one of those!

Wednesday 26 November 2014

Well, Maybe That’s Because They Know It’s Mostly Bunkum…

It echoes the findings of official lifestyle studies showing that, far from the popular caricature of binge drinking youths, younger people have led the way in cutting back their alcohol intakes while middle aged and elderly people continue to ignore health warnings.
Probably because they’ve seen so many come and go and contradict themselves that they aren’t quite so quick to knuckle under and accept the ‘wisdom’ of the medical profession as the youngsters… 

” Suspicion fell on her because of her odd behaviour…”

Her odd name presumably raised no eyebrows?
Supermarket cashier She-Ra Batey stole more than £3,400 over a year to pay for a £2,200 holiday to Mexico.
She was caught by marked notes placed in tills by security staff at the Morrisons store in the Meteor Centre, Derby.
Now, if you’re expecting a six foot stunning & muscular blonde as a result of the name, well, all I can say is, click at your own risk!

Clearly, mum was a kid’s tv fan – I wonder if she has a brother called Morph..?
Mark Salt, mitigating, said his client had since been sacked and was now earning £270 per week as an agency worker.
And that’s relevant as mitigation how? Those are consequences
He said: "The money was not for a lavish lifestyle and she is a young lady who has stable accommodation with her partner who supports her.
"Her motivation for this was entirely financial because she got herself in so much debt. She accepts her financial management has been appalling."
Really? Well, she could always become an MP, where stealing other people’s money is perfectly normal behaviour.

H/T: @ChartUpdate via Twitter

Sounds Like An Open & Shut Case To Me…

Mr Shipley said that he would now be making a formal complaint to Essex Police on the grounds of "negligence and incompetence".
Well, he won’t lack for evidence!
Mr Shipley said that he was told by an officer from Essex Police at the scene of the incident that it was "not a criminal matter as the offending dog was not a dangerous breed of dog".
In other words, they thought they could fob him off.

I mean, the only other explanation is that they are woefully ignorant of the law, and since that’s their job
Later, after Mr Shipley had checked the law and contacted the officer again, he said the officer emailed him with a crime number and said the case was being transferred to police at Saffron Walden.
Aha! ‘Get someone else to take the flak’! That’s an old public sector worker trick.
Yesterday (Sunday October 19), Mr Shipley said he was told by another officer that as there were "no independent witnesses" and because the owner of the other dog "denies that her dog attacked mine, there is no way of knowing which dog bit me and therefore the police would be taking no further action".
Gosh, really? Well then, are we going to start applying that same criteria to rape allegations?

Tuesday 25 November 2014

No, No, Clearly She’s The Victim…

Detective Chief Inspector Carwyn Hughes said: "On Wednesday 29 October we received a report of a 14-year old girl being raped by a man in Sheep Walk, which runs between Rottingdean and Ovingdean.
“We take all such reports very seriously and were quick to respond.
However, an extensive and thorough investigation by local officers and by the Surrey and Sussex Major Crime Team has now made it very clear, as the girl herself has now admitted, that no such incident took place."
So, you’ll be charging her, will you?
No police action is being taken against the girl who made the report and DCI Hughes said; "The girl has been given access to sources of welfare and counselling support."

Clearly, this chap wasn't quite ‘troubled’ enough to benefit from some lenient justice.
Judge Juckes QC said Wixey was obviously a troubled man but drink had played a major part in the offences. At one stage he had tried to commit suicide. What was concerning was the waste of police time and the effect the allegations would have upon persons with genuine complaints of rape.
I guess some police time is worth wasting?

Oh, The Butthurt Is Of Awesome Proportions Here…

Worthing residents have shot down proposals for new 20mph speed limits across the town.
More than two thirds of people asked by West Sussex County Council about plans to reduce the speed limit said ‘no’ following a three-month, £26,000 consultation.
A resounding triumph!
Council chiefs will decide what to do next at a committee meeting.
I’d have thought that was obvious…

Needless to say, toys are exiting prams at warp velocity:
Duncan Kay, of pro-20mph group 20’s Plenty, said Worthing residents stood to lose the chance for safer streets because of scaremongering, threats of bus cuts and the “failure” of the council to properly explain the benefits.
Go on, Duncan, stamp those feet! Screw up that face until the tears flow!
He added that threats from bus company Compass Travel to cut services if the plans went ahead were never justified and that children, young people, minority groups and those with disabilities were not included on consultation steering groups.
“Waaaah! Won’t someone think of the identity politics groups!!”

Oooh, That's A Tough One, 'Guardiam'...

...but I'll venture the answer's 'by not doing anything wrong':

And when those 'eyewitnesses' are proven - by forensics - to be lying through their teeth, they don't count for as much as you might hope.

But you got your wholly predictable riot, so you're still happy.

Monday 24 November 2014

They’re From The NHS & They’re Here To Help…

…not necessarily to help you, though, so much as to see you as a hindrance to them helping themselves:
The husband of a depressed mother who killed her three young disabled children has criticised medical professionals for the "constant pressure" placed on the family to "submit the children to operations and other interventions".
And I wonder if that’s because they genuinely thought these interventions would help, or because they wanted to try out their skills? All sixty of them.

Yes, you heard that right – sixty!
During the trial, the court heard from prosecutor Zoe Johnson QC that Clarence and her husband "believed that the only appropriate care for their children was palliative care [but] the children had not reached the stage when palliative care was required".
If palliative care was inevitable, why quibble over when the ‘appropriate stage’ had been reached? 

This seems like yet another case of the NHS mindlessly following a ‘tick box’ approach, and not listening to its customer.
In a statement issued on his behalf, solicitor Richard Egan blamed medical professionals and social services for contributing to Clarence's depression. It said Clarence's depression "was certainly not assisted by the constant pressure placed on the family by some individuals within the medical profession and social services who could not agree with Tania and Gary Clarence's stance of prioritising quality of life for their children and who were not readily willing to submit the children to operations and other interventions that they felt were not appropriate in the circumstances."
It’s yet more of the ‘doctors know best’ approach. And it’s hardly surprising, since they are unlikely to suffer any of the fallout from this case.
"They also want to thank the police and the staff at the prisons who were never less than compassionate and sensitive, and the hospital carers who have treated Tania with great sympathy and understanding."
An interesting comment, given the usual whinges from the criminal-cuddling fraternity in the left wing press that their ‘clients’ are degraded and treated with scorn solely because they are criminals.

No, This Is Not ‘Justice’, This Is Abject Stupidity…

Tony Messenger on those who fan the flames of racehustling over Ferguson (and can we see a Grand Jury conclusion to the whole sorry farce today, please?):
This week, new Harris-Stowe State University president Dwaun Warmack told me the story of a call he received from a young black student who just a couple of nights earlier had been pulled over by police.
The student, with a high GPA and a clean record, was driving home in north St Louis County. His car apparently fit the description of another vehicle that had been involved in a crime. He was pulled over and taken out of the vehicle by police, frisked and placed on the ground face first while police ran his tags and driver’s license.
Police quickly realized they had the wrong car, the wrong young, black man. They let him go.
But that young man’s worldview, Warmack told me, is changed forever.
Yes, it's changed to prefer a world where police fail to stop suspects due to fears of racism and so crime flourishes, perhaps to affect him or his family one day…
Justice is less of that happening to young black men in St Louis.
Which pretty much guarantees that more crime will happen to them instead.

I fail to see how that helps anyone other than the likes of Louis Farrakhan…

Safe For Whom..?

“How safe is cycling?” asks the BBC.

Well, it’s a fair question, but rabid cyclopaths might not like the answer…
A parent Kristie was with at the time of the incident spotted the brazen cyclist riding on the pavement again just three days later.
She approached the woman and asked for her details. As a result, the police later fined her £30.
“I don’t think it’s enough,” said Kristie. “She’s back to riding on the pavement after she hit a child. I wouldn’t even have been able to get back on that bike.”
Ah, but she’s saving the environment, you know!

Sunday 23 November 2014

Never Mind 'Who Lives In A House Like This?'...

...who gets to name the wi-fi router in this house, that's what I want to know!

This Is Why I Love Twitter…

…and in particular, the option to create parody accounts:

Well played, well played indeed.

Your Challenge For Today...

...locate a newspaper headline that's more chav-defining than this one!

Sunday Funnies...

Preferably not available for download on your Kindle...

Saturday 22 November 2014

Oh, But I Think You Are

Mel Wakeman, senior lecturer in applied physiology at Birmingham City University, said yesterday: “Hungry Horse obviously have no conscience and no doubt both their wallet and the size of their customers will be getting fatter by the week.
“To me, this is simply ludicrous and irresponsible. I am no killjoy…”
Hey, if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, etc…
“Why can’t they include on the menu what the customer would need to do to burn all those calories off? ”
Because there’s no room, given all the demands from the other obesity crisis squawkers to include the calorie count & the allergens, perhaps?

And if we are going to start demanding information regarding potential consequences be included, what disclaimer shall we have put on any degree course you might teach, eh?
The pub chain defended it's creation and called the dish "bizarre but brilliant".
It looks revolting to me, and I’m a committed carnivore, but each to their own, and since they aren't forcing anyone to eat it, what business is it of some clown at a third rate ex-polytechnic?

Hugh Muir’s Tin Ear

Unlike the unfortunate Thornberry, no-one’s taken away his shovel, so he keeps on digging that hole…
“You are smug and patronising,” pronounced the heavy-set man from the back of the room. Don’t worry; I’ve been called worse. But he was interesting. “I am a lifelong Guardian reader,” he said, during a Guardian Live event. “And I’m campaigning for Ukip in Rochester.” One assumes he was one of those behind last night’s convulsion in Kent, which has seen Mark Reckless relaunched into parliament and the continuation of Ukip’s assault on both Tories and Labour. Our critical friend will be feeling very pleased with himself today.
Indeed so. So what?
He shouldn’t be.
Oh? Do tell…
I am not one of those who would brand all Ukippians as racist. I can see the need to carefully confront the way the party appeals to neglected, marginalised communities.
I thought those ‘neglected, marginalised communities’ were always ethnic enclaves, Hugh? Or travellers, or Muslims?

I mean, that’s what the likes of the ‘Guardian’ are always telling me, anyway…
Lord Ashcroft, according to reports, sounded a recent warning to David Cameron about the risks of further alienating Tories who might vote Ukip. “You’ve got this group of Ukip voters, 95% of whom are decent people, you’ve abused them, you’ve thrashed them, and now you tell them that they are coming home to Daddy.” But at the same time, those voters have a responsibility.
Do they? To whom? To you?
They want to protest about the economy, about immigration, about the effects of globalisation, about the detachment of ordinary communities from frontline politics. They can and should be able to do that. The responsibility lies in their choice of vehicle for that protest.
Well, how beneficent of you to grant them that right to protest! How noble you are to graciously caution them to make the right choice – truly, we are not worthy!
The voter is entitled to view these things in line with their personal priorities. They may accept the vileness of much Ukip does but nevertheless take the view that this is of less consequence than the party’s usefulness as a stick with which to beat the other parties. That is a practical decision. But let’s not pretend that it is a moral one, or that it is right to absolve their decent supporters of any moral responsibility.
Morals..? Seriously, Hugh, you’re going to bring morals into this? To intimate that Labour would be the more moral choice?
In the aftermath of Rochester, mainstream politics must reconnect with alienated communities. People have deep concerns. Politics must work harder to address them, or to at least make it plain that they understand the depth of those concerns. But they must not pander, as they have been pandering, and they should not infantalise the electorate. It is really not unreasonable to ask that decent British people behave decently.
And by ‘behave decently’, do you mean roll over and accept what the small, unrepresentative Islington elite declares is in the UK’s best interests, and so we should all just shut up and do as we are told?

I think the voters of Rochester and Strood just showed you what they think of that.

Labour Needs DEFRA Assistance For Their Foot-In-Mouth Disease…

Oh, dear, oh dear, Emily Thornberry, how does one extricate oneself from a faux pas? Hint: not like this!
After the first barrage of complaints, Thornberry said her critics may have been showing “a somewhat prejudiced attitude towards Islington” .
She added: “I’ve been down in Rochester … and I’ve been tweeting one or two quotes of what people have said to me on the doorstep, and images that I’ve seen … and then I came across a house that was covered absolutely from the roof all the way down to the ground with England flags – they couldn’t even see out of the window. It was an amazing image, so I took a photograph of it and I put it on Twitter.”
It had three flags. Three. I've seen houses covered with more than that when there’s an England match on!

But hey, Emily, play that Victim Card if you think it’ll help…
The Labour MP said she thought there was “a lot of mischief-making” going on. “You know, I think the truth is, while the byelection’s going on, people haven’t got a lot to say,” she said.
“They can say there’s people out on doorsteps knocking on doors. And I suspect that those kind of people are trying to promote a somewhat prejudiced attitude towards Islington. ”
And ‘those kind of people’ are greatly in appreciation of your sterling efforts to help them do that, Emily!
“I was brought up on a council estate and I’ve never seen a house where people can’t see out of the window because of England flags. It was just trying to give, to the people who follow me on Twitter, a kind of picture of what the Rochester byelection is like.”
And instead, it gave them a pretty good idea of what you are like – the typical sneering Islintonite career-politician, untouched and unaffected by the policies you support and enforce.

And, though I myself piled in with the rest on Thursday evening, I might have had a tiny smidgen of sympathy for someone hounded out of her job by a social media mob…

…then I remembered Ched Evans and Julian Blanc, and I thought “Oh, well, sauce for the gander!”

Friday 21 November 2014

Well, I For One Am Shocked, Shocked..!

...I felt sure this would work:
Jones avoided jail after a judge decided to give her a chance to 'break her cycle of alcohol abuse.'
But last August Jones was on a drunken night out with friends when she got involved in a bust up with a group of people.
In mitigation defence lawyer Laura Barbour said : 'She began drinking alcohol when she was eight.
'Drink is something that's been a feature not only in her her adult life - but the majority of her life.'
She said Jones had tried very hard to fight her addiction.
 If 'trying very hard' means 'carrying on as normal', then yes, you're right. She has.

Still, she won't get off so lightly this ti...
Jones was given eight weeks in custody, suspended for a year, to run consecutively to her previous suspended sentence of 44 weeks in prison suspended for two years.
*bangs head on desk*

Errr, Thanks. I Think…

Andrew Gilligan, the Mayor’s cycling commissioner, said that coach parking spaces would be relocated but there would be a net loss - and Londoners’s (sic) would get a world-class cycle route in their place.
Gosh. Fewer tourists vs more cyclists. What a dilemma..!

The People Have Spoken..!

…those ungrateful bastards.
Objections to controversial residents' parking zones outweighed public support by ten to one, according to official figures.
The average figures come from results of formal consultations from five of nine RPZ areas which have either been rolled out or are due to be rolled out in Bristol.
Whoops! But the council comes out fighting:
But the total number of objections represent only five per cent of the combined population of the areas. The council added that the figures are misleading as formal consultations only invite objections and not comments of support.
Riiiiiiight. So…just tell us how many of those you get. Simples!

Thursday 20 November 2014

Be Careful What You Ask For…

Michelle Moseley, who is unable to work for health reasons, took the council to court after losing her full council tax benefit last April. Since then, she has been asked to pay around 20 per cent of the council tax bill. Ms Moseley said she was "relieved" to have won.
Well, it’s not like she gambled with her own money, now is it?
She, said: “Taking legal action was a last resort because the council just weren’t listening to us and so many people have struggled with their bills in the past year.
"Hopefully now they will reconsider their position and make changes to the way they use the council tax rebate system.”
What sort of ‘changes’, eh?
Haringey Council carried out its consultation in August 2012. It proposed that the government cuts could be met by cutting council tax benefit by 20 per cent to anyone who was not either a pensioner or disabled. The consultation did not offer any other ways to deal with the government cuts, such as raising council tax, cutting money to other council services, or using capital funds.
Ah. Right. Foolish of the council not to ask residents if they’d like to pay more money to help out the benefit classes, eh?
The Reverend Paul Nicolson, of campaign group Taxpayers Against Poverty, said the ruling was a "powerful win" for campaigners against the taxation of benefits.
He said: "The council is taxing the lowest benefits that are needed for food, domestic fuel and shelter.
The judgement leaves the council free to reconsult all us residents about whether council tax should be increased by an average of 86 pence a week to restore the 100 per cent council tax benefit for the poorest residents."
Hmmmm, really? But what if the council puts all this options to the vote and people overwhelmingly vote to cut benefits for the likes of Ms Moseley even further?

You’ll not be able to claim that people are behind you then, will you..?

So…What’s The Answer?

Do the other diners just have to put up with disruption?
A restaurant chain has apologised to a family after a teenager with severe learning difficulties was asked to leave by the manager as they believed she was making too much noise.
Megan Brennan, 19, was out for a meal in Harvester with her close relatives to mark moving from home into full-time care when staff told her mother Helen that she was disrupting other diners.
Maybe she was.

But maybe she wasn't, and the staff member took it upon themselves to act. Who really knows?

The most important thing is they’ve apologised. Right?
Although the company said it had got an "extremely sensitive situation" wrong, Mrs Brennan said she was "devastated and upset" by the way the family were treated at the Ham Farm Harvester in Eastleigh, Hampshire.
She told the BBC: "[Megan] was very excited and she was babbling quite a bit and when we were asked to leave by the manager, I was just devastated."
Miss Brennan, from Chandler's Ford, Hampshire, has the genetic disorder Angelman syndrome which causes seizures and difficulty with speech and has to raise her voice or make noises to communicate.
Oh. Silly me. They must be punished for having the temerity to consider the effects on other diners…
Mrs Brennan, who has three children, said the family refused to leave and apologised to the other diners after the manager refused to admit any wrongdoing.
How dare they feel that they had not committed any wrongdoing, eh?

Luckily, there is a silver lining:
The company said it had since discussed the incident with staff and has given the family a £100 gift voucher, however Mrs Brennan said she would never return.
The other diners might be very thankful. As will the staff.

People Are Strange…

In a bid to make sure motorists across the city didn't drive off without doing the survey, a 'sweetener' of a £100 Amazon voucher was being offered in a draw.
Aha! They are finally learning.
But your Worcester News can reveal how the tactic enraged some drivers, who say the county council should not be endorsing a company facing so much flak for dodging Corporation Tax.
Ummm, wha..?
Some Worcester motorists say they drove off precisely because they were offered the chance to win an Amazon voucher.
Jim Norris, 66, of Broadwas, said: "I was caught up in the traffic jams and as soon as I saw they were offering Amazon vouchers, I thought 'this is utterly disgraceful'.
"I handed the survey straight back and told them why, to me that is not an incentive, it's the opposite."
Fellow driver Scott Brennan, 31, of Worcester, who was also pulled over, said: "They said to me the prize was either a £100 donation to a charity of my choice or the £100 Amazon voucher.
"I wasn't having it, I actually thought that was worse than causing all of the delays, it's a joke."
Can you revoke a driving license for lack of intelligence? If not, you ought to be able to…

Wednesday 19 November 2014

An Everyday Story Of Liverpool Folk…

Altogether now! “Calm down, calm down, calm down…”
A pair of brothers who terrified a man by turning up at his house and pointing a gun at him following a row on Facebook were jailed.
Terry Carter and Nigel Halfacre were arrested by armed officers after accidentally shooting a hole in their sister’s wall, prompting her to call police.
/facepalm And all because the bungling duo were defending her honour*!
Liverpool Crown Court heard how Carter, who had only been released from prison a few weeks before, and his brother Nigel Halfacre went to the house of Richard Mooney on Suffield Road, Kirkdale, on May 30 because his girlfriend had got in a “heated” argument with their sister on Facebook.
As you do. And why bring an unloaded gun?
Anya Horwood, prosecuting, said Mr Mooney described himself and being shocked and “frozen to the spot” and only recovered himself when Nigel Halfacre thrust a dog at him which the brothers had brought to the house.
Was the dog loaded? I think we should be told…
Mr Mooney called the police the next day after discussing what happened with his partner.
But by that point, Halfacre and Carter’s sister had already gone to the police after they shot a hole in her wall while playing with the gun after drinking beer and vodka.
I’m shocked, shocked, to find alcohol was involved…

*Yeah, I know, I know, but work with me here…

I Salute Your Bravery, Mr Forster!

“I did what every man would do in that situation. I put the bin outside and went to the pub.
My hero!

But you really shouldn't believe everything you read on social media...
“I posted them on Facebook for a laugh but I got comments saying that they were redback spiders and that one bite could be very dangerous.”
Errr, yes. OK.

The 'Correct Medication', Eh..? then, would that be .38 or .44 calibre?
Charles Weidner, mitigating, said his client, who was joined in the dock by a psychiatric nurse, had been diagnosed with a mental illness days before the attack and had not yet been given the correct medication.
 How fortuitous! I guess he's too mad to name his accomplice too?
He added: “We are talking about a 50-year-old with no previous convictions who is not somebody who ordinarily comes before the court and there is nothing to suggest that his behaviour towards animals has been unacceptable before this incident.”
 Right, sure, a first time offence, was it? Pull the other one!
However, after an hour of deliberations, magistrates decided the offence was too serious to avoid immediate custody.
It took them a whole hour?

Tuesday 18 November 2014

The Modern Day Traffic Accident…

No longer a case of ‘Exchange insurance details, call the AA if needed, shake hands & part as friends’:
Chris Newman, 26, who was sitting in a restaurant opposite, told the Standard: “We heard a loud bang and I looked up to see the car sliding across the street with its wheels missing. It was a big crash and a big impact.
“The driver was out in the street saying ‘did you see what he did?’ I don’t know what he was talking about but it seemed like it might have been the motorcyclist who made him swerve.
“The Audi was completely written off and parts of the car were strewn all over the four lanes of the junction.
“One of the girls in the back of the car had cuts on her face and some bruising and she was visibly shaken up. She was white as a sheet.”
A Scotland Yard spokesman said: “Police were called at around 8.20pm last night to a collision involving two cars and a motorcycle in Sydenham Road near the junction with Newland Park Road.
“Fights broke out in the aftermath of the collision, involving around 25 people. Four males were arrested.”
They can’t all have been passengers in the cars involved! Whatever happened to this country..?

The Modern Day Duellist

A barber was stabbed to death in an arranged fight with a friend who is said to have been angry at being called "a divvy", a court was told.
It’s not quite ‘Walk 10 paces’, is it?

And they don’t seem to have brought seconds.
Closed circuit television pictures played to the jury show both men heading for the 11.30pm showdown on The Greenway, Thorntree, on May 8 this year.
Shouldn’t it have been 12 noon?

*hums ‘Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling*

The Uselessness Of The CRASBO

Also showcasing the uselessness of the justice system itself:
A teenager from Malvern has admitted breaching a Criminal Anti Social Behaviour Order (CRASBO) he was handed just nine days earlier.
For what, exactly?
The order also bans Jones, who has been known to police since June 2013, from using foul, abusive or threatening language, from being in company with three specific unnamed individuals in public and making no contact with another.
He is also banned from the area outside the Moat Way shops and part of Pound Bank Road as well as from defecating in public anywhere except a public toilet.
Oh. Lovely!
He appeared at Worcestershire Magistrates Court on Saturday, October 11 where he pleaded guilty to breaching the order and was ordered to pay a £100 fine, £50 court costs and a £20 victim surcharge.
I guess we’re paying that, then?

Monday 17 November 2014

"...critics warned the move risked damaging public trust in the service."

To which one can only say 'What public trust..!?'
The Mail on Sunday has established that Britain’s biggest force is already recruiting those who have been on the wrong side of the law in a controversial attempt to increase race diversity.
See what identity politics has brought us to?
Keith Vaz MP, chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, said: ‘Those who join the police should be beyond reproach. Standards must be kept at the highest level.’
Ugh! I've been forced to agree with the oleaginous Vaz. I now have to shower for a month...

Frankly, You Look Like A Steak Would Do You Good…

Lee Rose, 36, of Thorney Bay Road, Canvey, was about to tuck into the dip selection he had bought from Morrisons, on Canvey, when he saw a flash of bright red.
Mr Rose said: “There was a lump of raw meat in it.
“It was bright red and raw. I was absolutely horrified.”
Oh, good grief!

And here’s the compo demand, right on cue...
Mr Rose said he had not been offered compensation when he returned the dip to staff at the Northwick Road store – a claim Morrisons says is not true.
He said: “I took it back to them and they apologised and said they would send it away, but I’m not happy about it. It has never happened to me before.
“They should have offered me some form of compensation.
“It was terrible and I felt really sick.
“I’m not a vegetarian, but my friend who was with me is and he was also horrified.”
Ah, your friend was horrified – does he want compo too?

Essex Police SoP: Deny, Downgrade And Pursue Your Accusers...

Well, what to say about the appalling revelations about Essex Police's conduct, as detailed in the 'Daily Mail' at the weekend (and don't dare show up in comments to claim this is a biased report and the 'Mail' has it in for cops!), other than no-one should be too surprised?

Two things stick out:
During the taped interview, the culprit mentioned other friends of his who were committing acts on their siblings, but no action was taken on this.
Indeed one Child Abuse Unit officer, DC Paul Alabaster, admitted he told the 12-year-old boy, and always told other young sex offenders, to ‘do it with someone your own age next time’.
Just how many cases went unreported? How many families will now wonder if their family too was affected?

And then there's this...
Hawkings wrote her Operation Falcon report during July and August 2013 and then submitted it to the Deputy Chief Constable Derek Benson. Though serious failings were acknowledged, the gross misconduct against all four Child Abuse Unit officers had been downgraded.
An appeal to the IPCC confirmed there would be no more than misconduct meetings for DC Alabaster and DC Bainbridge. By this time DI Glassfield had retired.
‘We discovered the culprit had admitted the rape in his taped interview but the officers did not report him for the offence. Thus the Essex Police Child Abuse Unit officers decided to give a caution for rape of a small child without CPS advice. We specifically asked if the failing officers would return to work within the Child Abuse Unit and were assured that this would “absolutely not” happen,’ Peter says.
And, poor sap, he believed them.
Bainbridge and Alabaster had returned to the Essex Police Child Abuse Unit, where they remain as serving officers.
That's right. They remain there to this day. Surely the officer who wrote the report is outraged at this?
In a statement, Essex Police confirmed that three officers had been issued with written warnings but refused to comment further.
‘For our family it will never be over,’ says Sara.
Hawkings has now been promoted to Detective Chief Superintendent – Head of Public Protection and the Child Abuse Unit.‘
Ah. I guess not.

Sunday 16 November 2014

Nicely Played, 'Metro' Wordsmith, Nicely Played...

A career with the 'Sun' awaits you!

'Sky' Twitter Picture Editor Tries Out For 'Daily Mail' Job


Local Newspaper Comment Of The Year!

Alison Warburton, prosecuting, said: "During the course of a search, police found a lock knife in a draw (sic) with money.
"Nunchuks were in the glovebox and knives in a sink behind the driver.
"The defendant was arrested and interviewed.
"Regarding the nunchuks, he said I wouldn't know what to call them but I know what they are.
"They are homemade, not ones you can train with.
"He said they belonged to someone else - an 18-year-old male - and the other male had brought them into the van in April because he was being bullied.
"He said I intended to give them back but it slipped my mind because I was busy with work.
"The throwing knife he said was used to cut open boxes and had been given by a kid on his round."
Freeborn John says...
If that feller asked me if I wanted topping, I'd be very careful what I said...
I am open-mouthed in admiration, sir!

Sunday Funnies...

And not one recommended by Occupy!

Saturday 15 November 2014

Allison Pearson Will Catch Hell For This From The Feminists…

…but she’s absolutely spot on:
…the Ched Evans story is far more problematic than that of a priapic predator in a dark underpass. I’ve spent two grim days reading about everything the former Welsh international did in a hotel in Rhyl in 2011. I have come to three conclusions.
The first is that the verdict of the jury was inconsistent and quite possibly unsafe.
The second is that the football pitches of England would be half-empty this Saturday afternoon if you removed every player who has done what Evans did. (And so would many of the clubs and pubs.)
The third conclusion is probably the most troubling. We live in an era where relationships among the young have changed beyond recognition. Casual hook-ups and the exchange of sexual favours are the norm. Even “nice” girls allow themselves to be used like inflatable dolls. (If confident enough, they can use men like playthings in return.) In such a free-for-all, what is meant by “consensual sex” becomes more and more blurred.
I couldn't agree more with every word.

And in a world where a man who has taken part in a momentous scientific achievement can be humiliated and forced into a grovelling apology by the sort of morons who can barely work the smartphones they use to register their supercilious disapproval of his 'disrespectful' attire, it's (sadly) probably a dangerous opinion for her to have ventured...

But, as her column shows (and this gels with what I've heard in my own office) it's actually the mainstream opinion:
My informal jury at the beauty salon concluded that, if you go to a hotel room with a footballer, “you’re not going to end up playing Scrabble, are you?” Unlike the law of the land, the twentysomething therapists believe that young women like them have to take responsibility for their own behaviour and not rely on the bloke “to know whether you want it or not”.
The online vocal hordes are not as representative as they'd like us to believe.

Traveller Supporters Vs Animal Rights Loons In The Future..?

A Dale Farm man has been charged with conspiracy to steal as part of a national investigation into high-value museum thefts.
The 29-year-old man from Billericay was arrested last year with 12 other men aged between 25 and 67, as part of a series of warrants across the UK and Ireland by police forces and the National Crime Agency.
You'll never guess what they are alleged to have stolen...
Chinese artefacts and rhinoceros horn were targeted in seven incidents...
I look forward to the usual suspects coming forward with demands for these poor minorities to face harsh justice...

H/T: Wiggia via email

No, This Is Not Illegal Discrimination At All…

A wheelchair-bound woman says she is being discriminated against after she was banned from going inside a Sidcup café…
Quick! Man the barricades, chain yourselves to lampposts, protest at the…

Oh. Hang on.
… for being "smelly".
OK, cancel the protest. This is not covered.
Ms Sawyer, who suffers from spina bifida - a congenital disorder that affects the spinal cord and has left her paralysed from the waist down - says she was told, almost immediately, to get out.
She said : "Basically I went into a cafe, it's one that I always go to except during the summer I've been sitting outside.
"It wasn't great weather so this time I sat inside. I got to my table where I normally sit. I made sure I was out of the way of everyone else.
"Despite this the guy working there, he basically said to me you cannot sit inside because the customers have complained about you.
"I said: 'so you are barring me? That's discrimination' and he said: 'Yes, I am barring you'.
"At this point I did swear, I did call him a w*****. I was quite angry and I expressed my anger."
"I don't feel like I can go back now. I would like to go back but this is a clear case of discrimination. They're doing it because I'm in a wheelchair."
Nope. They’re doing it because you stink.

Now, that might be because you’re in a wheelchair (or more likely, because the care package isn’t adequate to keep you clean, as some commenters suggest) but it doesn't mean that they will face any charges for banning you. They are entitled to, for the sake of the other patrons.

And they know this, and explain it in terms anyone can understand:
A spokesman for the restaurant said: "She wasn't very clean. She had a very bad smell. That was the reason we told her she couldn't sit in the restaurant.
"We have lots of customers in the restaurant. The reason she's not allowed to come inside is because of her very bad smell.
"We offered to put her outside and to serve her there but she came inside. "The restaurant was full. People started to complain."
And sorry, but you have no right to expect people to choke down their food in a miasma of body odour because you are waving the ‘disabled’ card.

H/T: Richard at GoingFastGettingNowhere via email

Friday 14 November 2014

Personal Responsibility? How Outdated!

Anne Perkins on the NHS campaign to get us to slim:
Bad food is cheap food, fatty, sugary, easy to eat, always available. It is fast, not just to get hold of, but also to consume. It gives you a lift. What normal child would choose meat and two veg over a burger and chips, and how often would a normal, busy parent choose a fight rather than peace. Particularly if they like burgers too.
Well, that’s supposed to be a part of life, isn’t it? Yes, when children, we all want things that aren’t good for us. But when we grow up, we are supposed to have learned restraint and delayed gratification.

And more importantly, we are supposed to have imparted this to our children.
But here’s a really striking statistic that Stevens quotes: one in 10 children starting primary school are obese. By the time they leave, that’s almost one in five. Is this a dereliction of personal responsibility by the kids themselves, or by their parents? Or is it the food available in school, or in the streets around the school, or the way the school day is structured, or the absence of sports facilities, or the lack of the sports club tradition?
No, you were right the first time. Even leaving aside that the very definition of obesity is often based on a flawed test, it really isn’t rocket science.

YOU are responsible for what you put in your mouth, no one else.

Sounds Like There Were Bits Of Barry Missing Too...

Recording an open verdict, coroner Caroline Beesley-Murray said there were “bits of the jigsaw missing” in the evidence.
Does that name seem familiar? It should...
Since Mr Walsh and the dog were alone in the room at the time, she had no choice but to record the open verdict.
She added “We will never, ever, know or ever be entirely clear what happened.
“He was clearly much loved and it’s good to see all his family members here at the inquest.
“I hope you will be able to look back on the happy memories you have of him.”
The family members clearly weren't impressed with the performance of Essex Police, though:
...all were visibly upset by Purdey Clarke’s evidence, and frustrated at the way her story changed.
When coroner invited the family to question Det Supt Lucy Morris one relative asked: “She made a call to someone in a pub after it happened. Who would ring somebody else first before the ambulance?”
I think we all know who....

Maybe He Should Live With You Then, Judge?

Robert Pawson, mitigating, said Griffin had gone into care as a child, and used crack cocaine for the first time at 13.
“Something changed when at the beginning of the year when he was diagnosed with ADHD and bipolar disorder and given an anti-psychotic medication,” he said.
He also told the court that Griffin’s secure accommodation will not be held for him if he is given an immediate custodial sentence.
Oh, good grief! He drove a stolen car at 80mph through a built-up area. He could have killed someone!
Judge Samuel Wiggs said he would release the defendant – who had been previously remanded into custody – on conditional bail before he is sentenced on October 30 at the court.
“I originally thought I would be sending you to prison today for 10 months,” he said.
“However, it’s important that you have somewhere to live and I will give you the chance by adjourning the sentence.”
Maybe your house would be OK, judge? After all, why should the public have to bear all the risks of your generosity?

Thursday 13 November 2014

Oh, They All Need Their Heads Examined..!

First, the whinging NHS staff climbing aboard the OUTRAGE! bus:
Horror attraction Farmaggedon has come under fire from two Merseyside health trusts who say they are “outraged” mental illness is being used as a form of entertainment.
The top boss of Mersey Care NHS Trust, chief executive Joe Rafferty, said they do not want to “spoil people’s enjoyment of Hallowe’en”, but said imagery that reinforces negative stereotypes of mental illness is not helping them fight stigma, and is actually hurting patients.
Scare parks like Farmaggedon, between Formby and Ormskirk, which offers an attraction called “Psychosis”, was among those highlighted for using imagery associated with mental health problems.
Secondly, the attraction owner, for this piece of ArtBollocks:
But Farmaggedon managing director Mark Edwards said: “Farmaggedon, although it could be described simply as a scare attraction, at the core it is a site-specific promenade piece of theatre and as such should be afforded the same artistic and creative freedom as any art form free from political or agenda-led interference.
“Farmaggedon simply reflects the horror genre in film/literature, theatre and television.”
Both make me want to scream...

As You Do...

Adrian Strong, prosecuting, said it struck the left elbow of Henderson, who responded by producing the axe from his trousers.
Claire Anderson, for Henderson, said he wanted to apologise to the staff and customers for the fear he caused them.
She said Henderson, of The Brooms, in Ouston, near Chester-le-Street, who had taken valium that day, is now, “extremely remorseful”, aware of the potential consequences of his actions.
I thought valium worked rather differently, but hey, you learn something new every day!

Gosh, I Can’t Imagine Why The Probation Service Is Not Fit For Purpose, Can You?

Is it possible it’s because of the people it employs?
… his victim, who used to work in the probation service, said he had no desire for his attacker to go to prison and described it as an “unfortunate outcome”.
Wha..? He could have killed you!
Robert Downs, 23, unemployed, of Baranscraig Avenue, Brighton, was sentenced to three years in prison after pleading guilty to GBH with intent on October 23 at Lewes Crown Court.
Thankfully, the justice system, for once, took a more sensible view.
“I said in my victim impact statement I’ve no desire to see him go to prison. It’s an unfortunate outcome.
“But what a way to end an argument – by bottling a granddad.
“I would obviously think twice about saying something to someone now.”
And so the thugs & bullies win. Great! That helps build a better society, doesn't it?

Wednesday 12 November 2014

Tune Time: "Christine's fallen out with Lucky, Johnny's got a gun..."

It's who else, but the incomparable Dusty, with the theme to the 1989 film 'Scandal', about the Christine Keeler affair.


One of the Pet Shop Boys' major successes, the lyrics do rather spoil the film for you, but then, who doesn't know the story anyway?

"“I didn’t expect their reaction. I thought they’d take it in and that would be it."

Ah, but Mr Walker, you're of a generation when policemen didn't react with panic & a strict adherence to health and safety and 'procedure', aren't you?
...he had no idea that when he placed the shell, wrapped in plastic bags, on the front counter of Sutton police station yesterday that it would trigger a huge police operation.
Immediately the station was evacuated and police cordoned off surrounding streets, telling staff in nearby shops to stay indoors while explosive experts were called in to examine the device.
The only real surprise is that they didn't arrest him...

It's A Good Start....

A woman has denied child neglect after a baby fell from the first floor window of a block of flats.
Karen Sennett, 31, was arrested on August 5 after the child plunged from an open window of the flat in Rainham, Kent.
The defense should be interesting...

Ah, If Only That Was All Most People Had To Worry About…

Ally Fogg on crime ‘myths’:
10. If you think crime is falling, you should try living round my way [status: unconfirmed]
In a country as large and diverse as the UK, there will always be some areas that buck national trends. Perhaps you are unlucky. But before you take a radical, Tebbit-esque approach to finding a safer area to live, bear in mind that even in Cumbria 376 bicycles were reported stolen last year.
Gosh, stolen bicycles! So much better than rapes, muggings & stabbings.

Londoners feel your pain, Cumbrians!

Tuesday 11 November 2014

Wait, Let Me Guess… A Clampdown On The Internet Is The Answer?

For the children, of course!
Violent video games, the sharing of indecent images on mobile phones, and other types of digital communications, are harming young people’s mental health, MPs warned on Wednesday…
*yawns* Not this again? Yet another panic about new technology.

It seems one comes along almost as frequently as iTunes updates…
Sarah Wollaston, chair of the committee, who was a GP for 24 years before becoming a Tory MP in 2010, said: “In the past if you were being bullied it might just be in the classroom. Now it follows [you] way beyond the walk home from school. It is there all the time
Well, it is for those who can’t switch the damned things off, yes.

Might such people not already have some issues before we even begin to look at bullying?
… Voluntary bodies have not suggested stopping young people using the internet. But for some young people it’s clearly a new source of stress.”
So you’ll step in where those voluntary bodies (quite sensibly) fear to tread, won’t you? Maybe not now, maybe not for a while, but soon.

You won’t be able to help yourselves.
Lucie Russell, director of campaigns and media at the charity Young Minds, said: “The 24/7 online world has the potential to massively increase young people’s stress levels and multiplies the opportunities for them to connect with others in similar distress. Websites like Tumblr, where there has been recent media focus on self-harm blogs, must do all they can to limit triggering content and that which encourages self-harming behaviour.”
What is ‘triggering content’, Lucie? Can you define it sufficiently that businesses have a hope in hell of complying (assuming they want to play the game)? I bet you can’t, because the concept itself is ridiculous, and shifts the onus onto the speaker/writer to have to avoid something that might make a total stranger ‘uncomfortable’.

All the better to control free speech…

Uneducated Chav + Dog Of Unknown Background = ?

Mr Sigourney said: 'She screamed and screamed. Her friend just locked herself in the bathroom so she was alone with the dog.'
About the sort of reaction you'd expect from these temperamental animals...

Well, Shouldn't A Halal Butcher Be Used To This..?

"One person was holding a gun and the other had a knife. They took all the money. They were completely covered - their faces and their hands. I could only see their eyes."

Disconcerting, isn't it? Now you know how everyone else feels...

Monday 10 November 2014

That’s A Funny ‘Improvement’ To Make, Isn’t It?

Trevor Meegan, defending, said Hussain is still a young man, trying to improve himself.
He added: “He is Somalian and been here for 10 years and has had jobs as a warehouse worker.
“He lives with his parents and has taken a college course at Birmingham College. ”
Gosh, aren’t we lucky to have this man adding to the UK’s rich diversity?
“He doesn’t accept his guilt but accepts the conviction against him.”
Hmmm, Ched Evans gets a lot of stick for ‘not accepting his guilt’ in the progressive press – can I expect anguished CiF columns about this chap too?
Mr Recorder Kelly added: “You became friends with Miss Ahmed and were a regular visitor to her home.
“This was a terrible thing to do to someone who showed you nothing but friendship and hospitality.
“It looks at the moment as if you are embarking on a life where you are in and out of courts and prison.
“I urge you to reflect on what you are going to do with your life while you are in prison.”
Let’s hope the answer is ‘Go back to Somalia’…

Nandos – The Violent Chav’s Choice!

Mum-of-two Jade Scott, 25, of Hazelbank Road, was taking her son Ralph Cavalli and seven-year-old daughter Lilly Romain for a meal at the restaurant in Rushy Green at around 3pm on October 27.
But after big sister Lilly took her little brother to the bathroom, Ms Scott heard noises coming from the ladies’ toilet and found Ralph crying with marks on his face.
When she asked what happened, she was shocked when her children claimed Ralph was drop-kicked and punched in the face by a teenage girl.
Good god!
A police spokeswoman said: “We can confirm that we were made aware of an incident that took place in the bathroom area of a restaurant at Rushey Green on October 27 at approximately 3.13pm involving a three-year-old boy.
“An allegation of assault was made that occurred against the boy. As a result a 13-year-old girl was arrested for ABH and taken into custody.
“She has been bailed to a date in December pending further enquiries.”
Ah, so police are dealing with this in their customary efficient manner are th…

jadescott88 says...
This was my son and the girls reasoning was he shouldn't have been in the girls toilets! Man dos (sic) staff did nothing to help they didn't even call the police this happened 8 days ago and still police are yet to take statements from my children im disgusted at how this has been handled by the police and nandos.
Who’s surprised? Not me…

It does seem as though this particular restaurant chain attracts more than its fair share of life’s undesirables.

A Well Deserved Win!

Describing the first time she laid eyes on Mabel, the hawk that would form the centrepiece of her life for over five years, Helen Macdonald’s book recalls her as “a conjuring trick. A reptile. A fallen angel. A griffon from the pages of an illuminated bestiary. Something bright and distant, like gold falling through water.”
It is this unique, lyrical depiction of the relationship between human and wild falcon (Ed: *sigh*…) that led the judges of this year’s Samuel Johnson prize to name Macdonald’s book, H is for Hawk, the winner of the most prestigious accolade in nonfiction.
I read this lady’s blog long ago, and I’m delighted to see it back, expanded and improved, in book form. It’s a well deserved win.

And the ‘Guardian’ is getting some well deserved stick for this comment:
Part misery memoir, part naturalist diary…
There’s no comparison between this and the sort of voyeuristic stuff you find on supermarket bookshelves, take it from me.

Sunday 9 November 2014

We Will Remember Them...

The flowers left thick at nightfall in the wood
This Eastertide call into mind the men,
Now far from home, who, with their sweethearts, should
Have gathered them and will do never again.
In Memoriam (Easter 1915) by Edward Thomas

Saturday 8 November 2014

Save Us, Advertising Standards Authority, You’re Our Only Hope!

An advertisement for a fantasy football Sun newspaper competition which offered a date with a Page 3 girl as a prize has been banned and branded “sexist and demeaning”.
By real people, or by the sort of rabid harridans we can expect to marshal their forces into battle over this sort of thing?
Complaints, many submitted via campaigning platform, said that the offer of a date was sexist, demeaning, offensive and objectified women.
Ah. That says it all, doesn’t it?
A spokesman for the Sun said the paper was deeply disappointed at the ban, adding that numerous companies run promotions using the competition mechanic of winning a special date.
“We believe that the email and prize was an obviously lighthearted marketing exercise,” he added.
“We note that there have been countless campaigns of a broadly similar, light-hearted nature run by other companies – including those involving a ‘win a date with’ scenario – which have not been ruled ‘socially inappropriate’ by the ASA. We will abide by the judgment, but wish to register our deep disappointment at this decision.”
Perhaps not abiding by it might change things quicker?
News UK, publisher of the Sun, had argued in its submission to the ASA defending the promotion that it was “appropriate” for the target audience – 93% of email recipients were male – and that it would not offend them.
It doesn’t seem to matter these days whether your target audience is offended – you have to avoid ‘offending’ the sort of people who make it their life’s work to find things to be offended about.

And how can anyone possibly do that?

But Surely He Couldn’t Have Afforded Them?

After all, don’t all those bleeding hearts and prisoner-coddlers keep banging on about how ex-cons live a hand-to-mouth existence?

Instead, it seems they have enough money to splurge on coke and get their inner Hannibal Lecter on before being rendered extra-crispy by the forces of the law...

The story does also show some odd local views on the hostel:
Local resident Cindy Farr, 41, told MailOnline of a 'significant' police response, adding: 'You do have police going back and forth regularly but I've never seen any problems. It is quite out of character.'
Grandmother Susan Gibbs, 71, who lives near the hotel, said: 'I'm not really surprised that something like this has happened. Police seem to be here every other night to sort out the violence.
'This was a quiet peaceful village before it was opened, now it's got to the stage where our houses are being devalued because of the problem. We've even had people sleeping rough overnight in the hedge rows. '
I guess we can assume Susan lives a lot closer than Cindy?

Men! Been Accused Of Rape? Believe The Accusation Is False?

Well, just shut up and take it, you penis-owning bastards
A young woman who said she had been raped went on to kill herself after the Crown Prosecution Service put her on trial for making up the allegation in a case originally instigated by her alleged attacker.
The woman’s father is calling on the CPS to explain why they pursued a charge of perverting the course of justice against Eleanor de Freitas, 23, despite being told by police that there was no evidence she had lied, and in the knowledge that she was suffering from a psychiatric illness.
It is indeed a curious case, as the CPS is notoriously reluctant to take such action.

And I can understand the father’s grief about her suicide, and even understand why he takes her side in this (what father would do otherwise?), but he’s wrong, very wrong indeed, to demand that men should be stripped of their right to defend their name in court:
David de Freitas, her father, said: “Eleanor was a vulnerable young woman, diagnosed with bipolar, who made a complaint of rape as a result of which she herself became the subject of legal proceedings. This was despite the fact the police did not believe there to be a case against her.
“There are very serious implications for the reporting of rape cases if victims fear that they may themselves end up the subject of a prosecution if their evidence is in any way inconsistent. It is of the utmost importance that the CPS consider very carefully whether such cases are in the public interest.”
The CPS appear to have overtaken the original private prosecution (and remember, that would have a far lower balance of probabilities than a criminal case) so is he suggesting that this too should not have been allowed to proceed?
He added: “I feel that the system of fairness in this country has let me down terribly, and something needs to be done so that this can never happen again.”
I’ve no doubt he does feel that way, perhaps rightly, perhaps wrongly, but maybe the accused also feels that he has been wronged - by the accusation.

Should he be denied the opportunity to challenge this slur on his name in court, as he would be allowed to do had she accused him of any other slander, such as cheating at cards? Where’s the ‘fairness’ in that?

Of course, the usual suspects have mounted their High Horses Of Righteousness and are in full gallop:
Adam Pemberton, assistant chief executive of the charity Victim Support, said the “tragic and troubling case” raised broader concerns about the use of private prosecutions against rape complainants.
“We are concerned in principle about someone who has been accused of rape being able to bring a private prosecution against the complainant because this allows that individual to use the law to do something guaranteed to intimidate their accuser,” he said.
You may indeed look at it like that. It’s a bit worrying that you do, though.

Because perhaps you’d like to consider the dictionary definition of ‘victim support’ and whether someone falsely accused might also fit that definition, and so be deserving of support and the backing of the legal system to redress that wrong.

Whether they have ovaries or testicles. It shouldn’t matter.

Update: Heresy Corner advises that the private prosecution would NOT have been to a lower balance of probabilities than the criminal case.

Friday 7 November 2014

Well, It Seems They Can ‘Learn Lessons’ After All…

Patrick Butler on the Baby Peter scandal:
“It was politicians behaving very badly,” concludes Barry Sheerman MP at the end of tonight’s compelling BBC film Baby P: the Untold Story. Take a bow Ed Balls and David Cameron. But, as Henry Singer’s relentlessly clear-sighted documentary demonstrates, it wasn’t just politicians. Take a bow too, the media, Ofsted, the Metropolitan police and even the saintly Great Ormond Street hospital.
But social workers were free of all blame, were they? How surprising!
Arguably the social work profession is increasingly fragile, demoralised and insecure. Recruiting and retaining social workers is difficult, despite some lucrative incentives.
Awww, poor things! They are clearly the real victims. And they’ve learned something, at least:
Lawyers for Cumbria County Council tried to suppress all information about the death of Poppi Worthington on the grounds it would be unfair to reveal shortcomings of public agencies, it was revealed yesterday.
Not just for the duration of the trial, either – for fifteen years..!
The council’s demands at a family court fact-finding hearing ‘would have had the effect of concealing for the next 15 years the names of any of the family members, including the child that died and any of the agencies concerned and the geographical area in which the events occurred’. The council’s legal submissions aimed at restricting access to any information warned that ‘disclosure of alleged shortcomings by agencies might be unfair to the agencies’.
Quite breathtaking chutzpah from those who seem to have forgotten just what the term ‘public service’ actually means.

I Think We All Know What Sort Of 'Animal Lover' We Are Talking About Here...

Curran, who keeps birds including tunnelling pigeons (Ed: Huh?!?) and finches in his back garden, was described as an animal lover in court who had grown up surrounded by dogs.
He originally pleaded not guilty to causing unnecessary suffering of a protected animal, but changed his plea before his trial was scheduled to begin, saying he could not believe or remember what he had done.
Howard Jones, defending, said that his client had been told that someone had put an acid tablet into his drink, saying: “He couldn't believe himself he could have acted in such a manner because of his background with dogs and his animals.
“Sammy was a family animal, he was part of the family, he cannot explain what he did.”
Curran has already had three Lurcher dogs taken away by the RSPCA but will now have the birds removed from his care and be banned from owning or even looking after animals for the next 10 years.
Hmmm, I'm getting a picture of the sort of person who owns animals like these...
Curran, who has 14 previous convictions some of which are for violence, also pleaded guilty to assaulting PC Scott Graves after kicking him while he was being arrested.
Yup. That just confirmed it.

Well, I Suppose It Makes A Change From 'Muslim Grooming Gossip', Eh, Plod?

Inspector Jason Nadin of Tamworth Police said ..."The people who reported these incidents were genuinely concerned, but it is down to cat conspiracy gossip that has got out of hand."
I expect that's what they thought in Rotherham too. At first,

And...why does it seem that these days the police expend far more energy and enthusiasm in trying to 'no crime' something than they do in trying to solve it?

Thursday 6 November 2014

Well, Robb, At Least You’re Getting A Filmmaking Career Out Of It…

Robb Leech on his stepbrother’s slide into…well, what?
The film charted my attempts to reconnect with Rich, who happened to be my stepbrother, to try to understand the new world he had become a part of.
That new world being Islamic terrorism. Now, you knew it wasn’t going to be Buddhism, didn’t you?
Only two weeks before he vanished from the streets of Ealing (I haven’t spoken to or seen him since he was taken into custody), we met for a coffee. We talked about our family, football, and albeit fleetingly, the future. I left the meeting with a smile on my face. Six months later he would plead guilty to terrorism charges, and I began making a second film, My Brother the Terrorist.
Oh dear. Were there no clues?
From the moment he converted, Rich was talking about fighting western oppression and dying a martyr.
Ummm. OK…
But I never saw Rich as a terrorist, and didn’t see any of the people he surrounded himself with as terrorists either.

What I saw were, and I hate to say it – vulnerable young men – with massive great chips on their shoulders. With their radical new status they felt empowered, superior and perhaps most annoyingly for me, righteous.
Ah. I guess there were no openings for them as ‘Guardian’ columnists?
It’s a cliquey club from which everything beyond is viewed as imperfect at best, or evil at worst. And it’s the evils that these guys saturate their perceptions of the world with. Horrific, graphic and brutal images of the suffering, pain and death of Muslims at the hands of the west, played out alongside a powerful narrative of oppression and injustice – a narrative that is difficult to dismantle.
I guess the ‘suffering, pain and death of Muslims at the hands of fellow Muslims’ never gets mentioned?
In hindsight, Rich’s arrest and subsequent conviction shouldn’t have come as a surprise to me…
Ya think?!?
The inherent problem in attempting to tackle radicalisation is that often it is too late. By the time its signs begin to show, the scene is already set. Extremism of any kind is a symptom of an unhealthy society and, like any illness, in order to eradicate it, we should look to treat its cause.
‘Its cause’ being…what? Robb doesn’t specify. Is it because he doesn’t really know?