Sunday, January 27, 2008

British parents using desperate measures to get kids into a good school

Parents who pretend that they have Christian beliefs in order to win places in church schools are doing the best for their children, David Cameron believes. The Tory leader refuses to criticise the "middle-class parents with sharp elbows". Asked for his views on the families accused of playing the system, he says: "I think it's good for parents who want the best for their kids. I don't blame anyone who tries to get their children into a good school. Most people are doing so because it has an ethos and culture. I believe in active citizens." Mr Cameron will learn this year whether his own daughter has won a place at a state-funded Church of England school in Kensington, West London.

This month The Times reported a surge in late baptisms into the Catholic Church, further evidence that some parents may be finding religion at a convenient moment in their children's education. Fears that middle-class parents are adopting religion to get their children into popular schools have led some Labour MPs to call for an end to the expansion of faith schools.


The pill is good for you/bad for you, good for you/bad for you, good for you/bad for you...

There is such a regular oscillation in the findings about the effects of taking oral female hormones that I think it is clear that we are looking at a random walk here: There is no systematic effect -- just random fluctuations due to factors other than sample size

Women taking the contraceptive pill are protected against ovarian cancer for decades after they stop using the medication, a British study has found. Oxford University scientists found evidence that women taking the pill for 15 years halved their chances of developing the disease in a study published in The Lancet medical journal. They believe the pill has prevented some 200,000 cases of ovarian cancer and 100,000 deaths from this disease since its introduction nearly half a century ago.

Lead author Professor Valerie Beral, an Australian who is director of the Cancer Research UK Epidemiology Unit at Oxford University, and her colleagues found the risk remained low more than 30 years later, although the benefits diminished over time. "It's been known for over 20 years that the pill protects against ovarian cancer but most of the effects of the pill are short - only really just while women are taking the pill," Professor Beral said. "But for cancer of the ovary that gets much more common in older women, the really important question was, how long does protection last. "What we've shown here is that it lasts for over 30 years. It's really very long-term protection."

The research reviewed data from 45 studies covering more than 100,000 women. The scientists gathered data from 23,257 women who had developed ovarian cancer and 87,303 who had not. Of the first group, 31 per cent had used the pill, while 37 per cent of the second group had taken the medication. Ovarian cancer can be particularly aggressive and the symptoms are such that it is often detected at an advanced stage. "Worldwide, the pill has already prevented 200,000 women from developing cancer of the ovary and has prevented 100,000 deaths from the disease," Professor Beral said. "More than 100 million women are now taking the pill, so the number of ovarian cancers prevented will rise over the next few decades to about 30,000 per year."

Other research has found a statistically significant increased risk of cancer of the breast, cervix or central nervous system among users of the pill. But, in an editorial, The Lancet called for the pill to be made available over the counter rather than restricted by a doctor's prescription, given that, in its view, the benefits for cancer prevention and reproductive health outweighed the risks. "We believe the case is now convincing," the British journal said.


UK: ID cards "in intensive care": "The identity card scheme was said to be in 'intensive care' as leaked Whitehall documents showed it faced a new delay of two years. The cards were set to be issued to Britons from 2010, when they apply to renew their passports, but private Home Office documents show the introduction is set to be put off until 2012. The likely postponement follows a series of fiascos over the security of personal data held by the Government. Gordon Brown is also widely believed not to share the enthusiasm of his predecessor for the scheme."

Red Ken's distaste for democracy has sent him beyond the pale: "Had I not known that it was Cuddly Ken on the radio yesterday, I would have thought I was listening to the dictator of a small Third World country. The Mayor of London brushed aside every charge against him, on the ground that he had been put in power to do as he liked. Had he used public money to campaign against his old enemy, Trevor Phillips, and stop him becoming head of the new Equality and Human Rights Commission? "Not against Trevor, but what he was saying against multiculturalism... which was very damaging." Had Ken Livingstone's officials campaigned for him at the last election while being paid by the taxpayer? "It would be 1984 if they couldn't have any political activity." Is this a personal fiefdom? "That's what Tony Blair...set out to create." This interview exploded the myth that Mr Livingstone is the people's rebel, the honest outsider. He is the consummate insider, and disarmingly frank about it."

Another "success" for British gun control: "Crime recorded by police in England and Wales is falling at an accelerating rate, according to official figures published yesterday. The continuing drop in recorded crime was marred by a 4 per cent increase in gun crime, although the number of deaths from such offences has fallen. The total has risen because of offences where no one was injured or where the firearm was used to threaten the victim. The latest crime figures will be a relief to Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary, after the controversy caused by her remarks that official advice to people would be that they should not walk through any unfamiliar place after midnight. Ms Smith added on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: "That's a sensible answer isn't it?" Recorded crime fell to 1.24 million offences between July and September last year compared with the same period the previous year. There were sharp drops in criminal damage, offences against vehicles, robbery and offences against the person where no injury was caused."

1 comment:

Paul said...

"Crime recorded by police in England and Wales is falling at an accelerating rate, according to official figures published yesterday."

And the rate at which recorded crime falls will accelerate yet more rapidly. Nowadays anybody who tries reporting a crime in Britain knows better than to bother doing so again. It avails them nothing, save a clearer picture of their own impotence. Indeed these days only the law-abiding fear Britain's Marxoid police "service" (the term "police force" is being phased out, as it's considered too authoritarian). The official crime figures are in such spectacular contrast to people's actual experiences as to be a standing joke. And the official mantra that "the problem is not crime but the perception of crime" is the final insult. The state is like a quack doctor, administering cough medicine to a patient with tuberculosis and watching him die slowly, all the while insisting that his problem isn't that he has TB, it's his perception that he has TB. It is our corrupt public administration's most fervent wish that we all think nice positive thoughts as we watch the decay spread: things would be so much better for everybody then.

The sad thing is that Britain's electorate has been so dulled by decades of social engineering that they'll just go out and vote in another group of soft-Marxist trimmers. ...And that's assuming they can be bothered to vote at all. Perhaps this nation of drunken, frivolous, materially obsessed and increasingly porcine lotus-eaters is simply getting the "government" it deserves.

...It's a pity for the other poor sods here, though.