Monday, April 30, 2007

British Doctors call for health boss Hewitt to resign

Junior doctors have called for Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt and Health Minister Lord Hunt to resign over "shambolic" medical training reform. The British Medical Association's junior doctors conference called the Medical Training Application Service's problems "gross negligence". The online job application service was suspended amid fears personal details of applicants could be accessed online. The government says it is working hard to ensure the security of the system.

Earlier, the BMA called for Tony Blair to step in to avert more chaos over the online application system. BMA chairman James Johnson has written to Tony Blair warning doctors' anger will grow if the government does not address the problems with MTAS "with the level of urgency they deserve". He said the mistakes had the potential to damage patients' confidence in the proposed new database of individual health records.

The conference also criticised failures in the Modernising Medical Careers (MMC) scheme and demanded a review into the waste of public money it claims it has caused. The delegates also raised concerns that the implementation of MMC speciality training would have "grave consequences for patient care".

The issue is also mired in internal feuding, with some doctors calling on their own leadership to resign for participating in the government review. Delegate Dr Andrew Smith said there was "more anger and resentment than ever before". Despite this the BMA leadership had remained engaged in and endorsed the "fiasco that is MMC", he said.

Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt has already apologised for the "terrible anxiety" caused to junior doctors over the scheme. BMA junior doctors committee head Jo Hilborne told the conference that modernising medical careers should have brought an end to uncertainty for senior house officers. But instead, she said it had brought the fear of career stagnation, the danger of falling standards and loss of good doctors. She called the application system a "desperate failure". "The fault is with this government which has systematically ignored the people whose lives are being ruined by their ill-thought out, badly implemented policies," she said.

Conference delegates suggested the system should be scrapped and suggested two possible solutions to the MTAS problems. They said either all candidates starting posts in 2007 must be interviewed for all their choices, or all MMC training be postponed and a return made to the old system (SHO/specialist registrars) for a year while a new application process was devised. The MTAS computer system has previously been criticised for not allowing candidates to set out their experience, meaning the best candidates have not been selected for interview. But it has also been attacked for having too few jobs for the number of candidates.

Conference delegates also passed a motion calling for the National Audit Office to investigate how much public money had been spent on the computer system. And they sought guarantees that no junior doctor would be unemployed as a result of system failures.

The BMA estimates that 34,250 doctors are chasing 18,500 UK posts, due to start in August. But it has warned thousands of NHS doctors could go to work abroad because of their disgust at the process.

Lord Hunt insisted it was not a resignation issue and that all the medical organisations had called for the old system to be changed because it was not working. Earlier he told the BBC action was being taken to make the system more secure. "We have brought in over the weekend some independent experts from outside companies. They are clawing through it to make sure it is secure and we will only open it up again when we are satisfied about that."


Brits getting tired of immigration problems

Having immigrants and the children of immigrants blowing up your buses and trains (among other things) is beginning to get to even the tolerant British -- and since the mainstream parties are trying to ignore the disquiet, a new party that does not ignore that is getting more and more votes

It is, at first sight, a vision of rural bliss - a cream-coloured cottage high in the hills of Mid Wales and two miles from the nearest road. The daffodils are out. Lambs gambol in the fields. Chickens peck around the yard. In the side garden, beyond the rabbit hutch and fishpond, two blonde girls are playing in the sun. Look closer, however, and you spot the incongruities: the two rottweilers in their caged kennel, security cameras, the burglar alarm. You begin to suspect that the owner has chosen this house precisely for its inaccessibility. He has reason to. Nick Griffin is leader of the whites-only British National Party and one of the most hated - and, to his many detractors, hateful - men in the country....

Griffin kisses Jackie goodbye, reminds her to water his newly planted aubretia, and we head off in his Ford Mondeo estate for the fertile BNP territory of West Yorkshire, with its immigrant populations of 10, 20 or even 30 per cent. In the back is a book recording the Scottish National Party's transformation from an extreme to a mainstream party. Griffin's inspiration, however, is Jean-Marie Le Pen, the leader of France's far-right National Front, who turned "a bunch of crazies into a serious political force"....

He tells me about a life spent mostly on the extreme right of British politics. His parents met while heckling a Communist Party meeting in North London in 1948. During the 1964 general election campaign, Griffin pedalled up and down the street outside his home in Barnet with Conservative posters on his tricycle. By 1974 his father, a Tory councillor and member of the right-wing Monday Club, was so dismayed by Britain's leftward drift that he took his family to a National Front meeting. Griffin, then 15, joined immediately.....

Griffin has earned his 1,800 pounds-a-month BNP salary. The party won three council seats in Burnley in 2002. It now has 49 nationwide, and on May 3 Griffin expects to win many more in what he sarcastically calls "enriched" areas such as inner Essex, the Black Country, West Yorkshire and Lancashire. The party will also be contesting seats in blue-rinse towns such as Harrogate, Bath, Windsor and Torbay. One recent poll suggested that 7 per cent of the electorate would consider voting for it.

Griffin says that membership has risen from 1,300 in 1999 to 10,500, boosted by home-grown Islamic terrorist plots, globalisation and his dramatic acquittal in last year's race-hate trials. Critics insist that the BNP's move towards respectability is purely cosmetic. Griffin retorts, as we join the motorway, that it is "deep and sincere". He admits "past stupidities", and says that he regrets the way that the BNP used to provoke confrontations or to discuss race in a way that was "frankly crude, or cruelly and inaccurately supremacist". He is not racist, he argues. He does not believe that whites are superior. He believes that races are different and that multiculturalism is a recipe for disaster. He opposes miscegenation "because most people want their grandchildren to look basically like them". If the liberal elite had its way, the world would become "a giant melting pot turning out coffee-coloured citizens by the million".

The BNP no longer demands the recriminalisation of homosexuality, but Griffin still expresses disgust at the idea of two men "snogging in public". His revised views on the Holocaust are striking, too. He says that he derided the Holocaust only because the Left used it as "a huge moral club" with which to beat opponents of multiculturalism. He now accepts that millions of Jews were killed, but claims that some historians (he cites David Irving) still question whether it was deliberate genocide.....

In pockets of Britain the BNP is almost a mainstream party now, with ever more people daring to run for office or to put posters in windows. But it still prints its newspaper in Eastern Europe because British plants refuse to, has trouble renting halls and cannot advertise its meetings because they would be picketed. Potential supporters are instead instructed to gather at "redirection points" and told where to go.

In Ripon the meeting point is the town square, where the local BBC radio station interviews Griffin. Ripon and Harrogate are "lovely English towns and we believe they should stay that way. They can't if there are high levels of immigration," he says. On our way to the meeting we pass a painting of a black inmate outside the Workhouse Museum. Griffin splutters. It was poor whites who suffered in workhouses, he says.

About 70 people are packed into a back room of the Golden Lion pub, with not a skinhead or pair of Doc Martens in sight and more tweeds than T-shirts. They are male and female, young and old, working class and middle class, ex-Labour and ex-Tory, several of them Daily Telegraph readers. They are mostly solid Yorkshire folk who have watched immigrants transform areas in which they grew up and believe - rightly or wrongly - that their way of life is under threat. They are bewildered more than hate-filled. They are fearful more than fear-inspiring, and feel gagged by political correctness. They do not come from sink estates. They are stakeholders, people with something to lose. "We're being overwhelmed," laments a retired Latin teacher. "I've nothing against other races. It's just that they keep flooding into the country to breaking point," says a lorry driver. "We can't invite the whole world to live in England," says a former merchant marine officer. Few will give their names.

Griffin and his fellow speakers do nothing to calm their fears. Quite the opposite. In a promotional video he decries the alleged banning of the cross of St George, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and even Piglet because the character offends Muslims. Against a background of soft music and beautiful scenery, a woman's voice decries the millions of foreigners of all races settling in Britain: "The one thing they have in common is there are too many of them."

Michelle Shrubb, a candidate who lived in South Africa, says that a black crimewave is coming to Britain. Nick Cass, the BNP's Yorkshire organiser, declares that "decent British people are fed up to the back teeth with seeing the country fall apart and being called racist when they want to do something about it". The merchandise table offers "It's Cool to be White" T-shirts and "I vote BNP because they look after me" bumper stickers. BNP candidates are presented with rosettes for daring to stand up and be counted. Griffin humorously coaxes about 500 pounds in donations from the audience, then answers questions for an hour. He puts on no airs and graces. He has a pint on the table beside him. He presents himself as an ordinary bloke, like his audience, who is fighting a corrupt elite that bleeds taxpayers for its disastrous social engineering projects and treats them with contempt. He is a shameless populist. He calls the rise of the BNP "a peasants' revolt". He talks of "our people", meaning whites. He mocks those who regard criminals as victims, advocates "damn good thrashings" for wayward teenagers, and says of drug-dealers: "Hang the bastards."

The audience loves it, but this is more than knockabout political rhetoric. Griffin firmly believes all this. Party policy - which he sets - is draconian and xenophobic. The BNP would deport all illegal immigrants, asylum-seekers and subversive foreigners, and offer existing immigrants money to return home. "It's clearly worth talking in terms of six-figure sums to persuade families to go," Griffin says. He would create civilian anti-crime patrols. Anyone who has done National Service would be allowed to keep guns to shoot burglars, and as "a last resort against a tyrannical government". He would restore hanging for the worst murderers, paedophiles, rapists and drug-dealers, and bring back the birch.

He would abolish affirmative action programmes and hate-crime legislation, ban the promotion of homosexuality, prevent the NHS from recruiting foreign workers and stop women soldiers serving on the front line. State schools would restore mandatory (nonhalal) lunches and morning assemblies with Christian worship (minorities should "either accept our ways or go somewhere else"). A BNP government would take Britain out of the EU and the European Convention on Human Rights. Remove the BNP label, Griffin claims, and most Brits would support these policies....

Between umpteen calls on his mobile phone - one is about ways to use Simone Clarke, the ballet dancer identified as a BNP member - I ask if Griffin sees any advantages to multiculturalism. Chicken tikka masala, he replies. And some good sportsmen, though he thinks that England's all-white 1966 World Cup footballers outperformed today's team because they had "common values and identity". Then he lists the downsides - a catastrophic loss of social cohesion, racial harassment and violence, spreading knife and gun cultures and old folk dying in nursing homes surrounded by staff who do not speak their language and feeling "totally alone, alienated and in a foreign place".

He warms to the theme, claiming that some Muslims deliberately use heroin - "Paki poison" - to undermine non-Muslim communities around them. "It's narco-terrorism." Even worse, he says, is the way that hardline Muslim males deliberately seduce and corrupt "thousands" of young white girls in a practice called "grooming" that the authorities downplay for fear of being labelled racist....

The 60 people at that night's BNP meeting in a Batley pub are not thinking in such apocalyptic terms. They have more immediate and prosaic fears about the consequences of immigration - their children being squeezed out of jobs and council housing, the emergence of no-go areas, the undermining of their rights and culture.

"We're frightened to be British," says Ann Nailor, who runs five Age Concern shops. "I feel alienated in my own community," says Neil Feeney, a water company employee. "People who read your paper have no idea about places like this," said Marjorie Shaw, a former policewoman now in a wheelchair. "The BNP are the only ones standing up for this country," adds Lynn Winfield, a pub dishwasher. Griffin fans the flames. He calls the English "one of the most oppressed peoples on earth". He says that when people like him try to speak out about real problems "they try to throw them in jail". He says that bad laws should be broken. He calls global warming "an excuse to say that we, the international elite, have to interfere with every sovereign state in the world, and if we don't you will sink by Thursday".


British courts over-rule deportation of Jihadists

Two of Britain’s most dangerous terror suspects will be on our streets within days, after a hugely damaging defeat for the Government. A map marking routes under Birmingham airport’s flight path was found at the home of one of the men – described as a “global jihadist” – who has family links to two notorious terrorists. The second man is accused of being a former leader of a terror cell in Italy, that authorities feared was on the verge of an attack, probably in Europe.

But the pair, both Libyans, are expected to be bailed next week, after winning their appeals against deportation. The ruling leaves the Government’s anti-terror policy in chaos, after judges threw out much-heralded agreements between Britain and Libya that the men would not be tortured if they returned.

Special Immigration Appeals Commission chairman Mr Justice Ouseley said there remained a real risk that the European Convention on Human Rights would be breached if the two men were returned.

The so-called memoranda of understanding are a key part of the promise by Tony Blair and John Reid to return terror suspects to countries known for human rights abuses.

Yesterday’s decision leaves the planned deportation of at least eight Libyan suspects, including the two who are to be bailed, in disarray, and casts grave doubts over similar agreements with other nations.

The Tories’ terrorism expert, MP Patrick Mercer said: “I find it extraordinary that we have imposed these people on our society. “It will be extremely difficult to keep these men to their bail conditions, particularly with this level of oversight. “They will not be on bail forever and I am very interested to know what the Government will do.”

The two Libyans, granted bail in principle, have been held in the maximum-security prison at Long Lartin, Worcs, under immigration detention. But Mr Justice Mitting said keeping them in after they had won their appeal would be on the “cusp of legality”. Instead they were bailed with strict conditions, including a 12-hour curfew and no access to mobile phones or the internet. They will still be allowed out for 12 hours a day. The two Libyans are accused of travelling on false passports. Both claimed asylum after they got into Britain. One, who can be identified only as DD, had an AtoZ street map in a car parked near his house, marking footpaths under the flight path to Birmingham International Airport. The appeals commission ruled that DD is a “real and direct threat to the national security of the UK” and a “global jihadist with links to the Taliban and Al Qaeda”. The second terror suspect, AS, was also ruled a “clear danger to national security”.

The Government wants to deport eight suspects to Libya. Moves against another four have been put off while they face terror prosecutions here. A Home Office spokesman said: “We are very disappointed with the decision that it is not safe to deport these individuals. “We believe that the assurances given to us by the Libyans do provide effective safeguards for the proper treatment of individuals being returned and do ensure that their rights will be respected. We intend, therefore, to appeal.”


Deadly black gang brawling in London: "A churchgoing teenager who who was also the head of a South London gang was sentenced to life imprisonment yesterday for the murder of a schoolboy rival. Adu Sarpong had been to a Bible class with friends hours before a bloody street battle with a rival gang in which he stabbed Alex Kamondo, 15, with a kitchen knife. Sarpong, 18, who was convicted at the Old Bailey, was the leader of K Town Crew, which clashed with Kamondo's gang, Man Dem Crew, in Kennington in June. Up to 30 youths fought with knives, hammers, metal bars, bottles and a samurai-style sword... Sarpong plunged the knife into Kamondo's chest with so much force that it broke a rib and the handle snapped off. Kamondo, who lived on the nearby Kennington Park estate, suffered a single 20cm stab wound that pierced his left lung and heart. Sarpong fled but was arrested shortly afterwards. He told the Old Bailey that he had been "pumped up with adrenaline" and heard someone cry out that he had been stabbed behind him, but did not see the stabbing. However, his finger-prints were found on the murder weapon and he was picked out at a series of identity parades by members of the opposing gang."


Anonymous said...

Patrick Mercer, is decidedly NOT the Tories’ terrorism expert.

That job will likely and rightly go to Michael Gove

Anonymous said...

Patrick Mercer is an “expert” because he is that former army officer who admitted he had co-operated with the notorious FRU during several tours of duty in Northern Ireland.

14 October 2004. A. writes:
I just got it confirmed that Patrick Mercer, OBE, was a leading officer in the Force Research Unit (FRU). He served in South Armagh and was at the front of things.

Mercer hailed the “dirty war” as a successful campaign of “killing people if necessary and deterring people because it has to be done.”

Minister of State (Armed Forces) said of Patrick Mercer. “he agrees with the concept, but we should not do something unless it is done his way. In effect, he is saying that ALL our senior military planners and chiefs of staff and ALL the NATO planners got it wrong”