Saturday, December 15, 2007

Romantic Novels are "Hate Speech"?

A Leftist nut writes about the Mills & Boon series of novels that are much read by women young and old:

"My loathing of M&B novels has nothing to do with snobbery. I could not care less if the books are trashy, formulaic or pulp fiction - Martina Cole novels, which I love, are also formulaic. But I do care about the type of propaganda perpetuated by M&B. I would go so far as to say it is misogynistic hate speech."


M&B have sold billions of novels so they hardly need any defence from me -- but just that success is of course what makes our warped Leftist hate them.

Britain: 11,000 bouncers are illegals

A bit amusing somehow. It's typical British bureaucratic bungledom, that's for sure

The number of migrants found to be illegally working in the private security industry is more than double the figure given by the Home Office last month. More than 11,000 migrants were issued with the licences by the organisation set up to vet those employed as security guards and doormen, despite having no right to work in this country. The latest figures show that an estimated one in four of 40,000 nonEuropean foreigners issued with licences by the Security Industry Authority (SIA) had no right to work in Britain - the first large-scale view of the extent of illegal working in low-paid jobs.

Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary, told MPs yesterday that more than 6,600 immigrants had been given licences to work, 1,600 more than the estimate given to MPs last month. She said that the SIA had issued permits to a further 4,400 people who immigration officials now believe may not be entitled to work. Initial estimates had put the figure at 5,000 but the figure has mounted as the SIA carried out a review of about 40,000 licences issued and checked the names against a database held by the Border and Immigration Agency. Despite the admission that thousands of immigrants have been given licences, only 409 licences have been revoked. The SIA said that it took a minimum of 42 days to revoke a licence as those issued with the document had a right of appeal.

Ms Smith told MPs that the authority had written to more than 10,000 people telling them that their authorisation could be withdrawn. She said that the Border and Immigration Agency had started investigations into 328 of those referred to it, carried out 101 enforcement visits and arrested 15 people. By the end of January they planned at least 400 further visits. The scandal emerged five weeks ago and it was disclosed that one of the illegal workers had been responsible for Tony Blair's car while it was being repaired. Mr Blair was Prime Minister at the time. It was also disclosed that Ms Smith had accepted Home Office press office advice in August not to tell the public about the mistakes.

The SIA was set up by Labour to vet doormen and security personnel, with the intention of screening out those with a criminal record. The checks allow successful applicants to work on pub and club doors, as well as in sensitive security posts. Officials in the Home Office were first alerted to a possible problem in April, and in July the checks on everyone who had been issued with a licence began. The Security Industry Authority has admitted that a form given to those seeking a licence does not contain a question asking them if they have the right to work in the United Kingdom. It was only in July that processes were introduced under which information on applicants is sent to the Border and Immigration Agency for it to check against databases that show who has the right to work. Until the beginning of October a foreigner could be given a licence without necessarily producing a passport.

Nick Clegg, Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman, said: "We now know that over one in four employees may be working illegally, and that the most basic checks on their right to work were not taking place. Worse still, the Government appears to have been extremely slow in recognising the problem and slower still in coming clean about the sheer scale of it." Mr Clegg added: "Is it any coincidence that this statement has been smuggled out on the same day as 24 government statements, Gordon Brown's appearance before the Liaison Committee and the signing of a new EU treaty?" David Davis, the Shadow Home Secretary, demanded to know how the system had "gone so badly wrong" and said that there had been a "huge policy failure" at the Home Office.


British government hospitals to pay for harming patients

A big step forward for Britain but it is a pity the taxpayer will be paying. What about the negligent managers, doctors and staff?

All hospitals should be fined if patients contract superbug infections or are harmed by medical errors while in their care, the Government's Chief Medical Officer said yesterday. Setting out a radical plan to tackle the NHS's record on patient safety, Sir Liam Donaldson said that the taxpayer should not foot the bill for treating patients who had suffered bad or unsafe care.

Instead, NHS hospitals and clinics involved in botched surgery, prescribing errors or superbug infections such as MRSA or Clostridium difficile should be penalised for the extra treatment required. The proposals - which are to be put before Lord Darzi of Denham, Health Minister, in his ongoing NHS review - are designed to reduce the rate of error and death. More than 733,000 "patient safety incidents" occurred last year, causing the deaths of more than 3,000 patients.

Sir Ian Carruthers, who stepped down as chief executive of the NHS last year, agreed that urgent action was needed to end a culture of sweeping safety issues under the carpet. He added that only a "miniscule" amount of energy in the NHS was currently focused on the issue. Safety errors currently cost the NHS an estimated 3.4 billion in extra treatment and compensation. The recommendations follow a damning report by MPs which branded the National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA), the watchdog charged with monitoring and improving the safety of care, as "dysfunctional". Sir Liam said that there were now signs of progress in the monitoring of incidents - with more logged by the NPSA that in other countries - but avoidable and often "incredulous" mistakes were still being made in a range of areas, from radiotherapy to patient falls.

"Why should the health service, funded by the taxpayer, pay for the care of a patient that's had bad or unsafe care?," Sir Liam said. "In any other walk of life if you receive very bad service then you don't pay for it, you get a refund, and I don't think it should be any different in the health service. "If someone develops MRSA and has to stay in hospital longer to be treated, why should it be funded?"

Under the plans, hospitals responsible for harming patients will have a portion of their budget withheld to cover the cost of treatment to remedy the mistake. Hospitals would likely face set tariffs for different types of blunder or infection. Sir Liam said that while withholding money was a controversial strategy, it was the a very powerful "lever for change". "You can't have enough incentives to improve patient care and primary care trusts hold most of the budget for the NHS. They fund hospital care and as such are a great lever for change."

Of the 733,070 safety incidents in the year to this June, more than half a million occurred in hospitals. The errors resulted in 3,006 deaths, caused "severe harm" to 6,144 patients, and "moderate harm" in 42,047 cases. MRSA, or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, infected a further 6,381 patients last year while the more virulent C. Difficile caused 55,000 infections.

Sir Liam's comments came as the Government published its Operating Framework for the NHS, which makes tackling hospital infections and hitting waiting targets key priorities for the coming year. The framework suggests penalising hospitals for failing to meet two high-profile targets in 2008 - halving MRSA rates by April and ensuring patients are treated within 18 weeks. However the NHS is expected to miss the three-year MRSA target by a long way.

Sir Ian Carruthers, who is now head of NHS South West, said that urgent action was a must and financial penalties were a welcome driver for change. "Our culture is to pretend things don't happen or to recognise they do but try to deal with them outside any processes. If we continue to do that, we won't make the impact in making the changes we require. "Even with best practice and best evidence, somebody argues against it."

In the United States, some states require hospitals by law to report so-called "never events" - a list of medical errors that are considered so preventable and so serious that they should never happen. One hospital in Rhode Island, was recently fined $50,000 for performing "wrong site" surgery on a patient for the third time this year. Sir Liam said similar fines should be brought in to the NHS to act as a "hard-nosed financial incentive" for hospitals to provide better care.


Brits admit Iranian bungle: "The capture of 15 Royal Navy personnel by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard during an operation in the Gulf in March was an embarrassment to the country, a report by the Commons Defence Committee said yesterday. Royal Navy commanders involved in the mission that led to the seizure of eight sailors and seven Royal Marines were also castigated for a "lapse in operational focus" and a "widespread failure of situational awareness". The MPs on the Defence Committee said that although no one had been court-martialled, "formal administrative action" had been taken against a number of Service personnel "across a wide spectrum of ranks". Administrative action can mean a letter of reprimand, but in some cases it can lead to an ending of promotion prospects and even discharge. The committee's report said that there had been "weaknesses in intelligence, in communications, in doctrine and in training".

No comments: