Sunday, July 13, 2008

British troops betrayed by their Leftist government

Research conducted by the Ministry of Defence, and published this week, showed the shocking finding that around half of the brave men and women in our Forces are suffering low morale. Many would leave if they could.

It is, of course, demoralising for our Forces to be caught up in two apparently unwinnable wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, those who join the Services do so with a view to the possibility of having to go into battle, and to make the ultimate sacrifice for their country and for the civilised values of our nation.

What they do not expect is to go into battle with inferior equipment that makes them sitting ducks for a vicious enemy. Nor do they expect the politicians who take the decisions that affect their deployment to lie to them about why they are in the front line, or to lie about the quality of the kit that they are expected to use when engaging the enemy. This is the root of the betrayal of every soldier, sailor and airman in our Forces: and it is a betrayal not merely of the poor bloody infantry, or of cannon-fodder among the enlisted men and women, but of the most senior officers too.

Almost daily we hear of brave soldiers being blown up in Afghanistan because their Land Rovers are useless, or being killed or injured because their air transport falls out of the sky. If you talk to Labour loyalists about this - not that there are many of those left these days - you are fed the line that there used to be problems with kit, but these have been resolved. They jolly well haven't. But when anyone in authority seeks to argue the contrary they are summarily dealt with.

Look at the case of General Sir Richard Dannatt, an honourable man and Christian soldier in the most literal sense of the term. Distressed by the offhand treatment of soldiers for whom, as Chief of the General Staff, he is ultimately responsible, he has made his feelings known regularly since taking up that post. This is the highest mark of honour for him, and the right thing to do on behalf of his subordinates: but it has, inevitably, simply attracted contempt from his political masters.

What will happen to our Armed Forces if this goes on is all too clear. Patriotic and brave young people simply won't want to join them. Those in the ranks will leave at an ever-higher rate, fed up with the contempt with which they are being treated. Officers, depressed at the treatment they and those under them are getting, will simply choose a better-paid job in civilian life. If you doubt any of this, go to the internet and look at some of the blogs run by services insiders to see just how shamefully bad things are, not least in the MoD itself.

More here

The evil British police again

Retired Briton arrested for chasing away youth gang

A pensioner who used a piece of wood to chase away a gang of teenagers who had been throwing stones at his home is facing a jail term after being arrested and charged with possessing an offensive weapon.

Sydney Davis, 65, a father-of-two, dialled 999 when his home in the Pinehurst area of Swindon, Wilts, came under attack. But when police failed to turn up over the next two hours he decided to take action himself. He grabbed a section of wood from a broken-up sofa lying in his front garden and chased the youths down the street - just as police officers finally arrived.

Mr Davis, a retired builder, was astonished when police arrested him while allowing the gang to run to safety. The householder now faces a court appearance and a potential prison term of six months if convicted. Mr Davis, whose windows have been smashed five times in the last eight months, branded the law "a colossal ass". He went on: "This is Britain gone mad. Just what in the world is this country coming to when the police arrest people like me for protecting their own property?

"The police say they want to reduce crime, yet they let evil little toe-rags like this off. Then they prosecute hard-working, upstanding residents like me. "There is simply no way we can shake off this problem of 'Yob Britain' if the legal system fails to protect the everyday person".

Mr Davis' difficulties began on July 2 when a gang started throwing stones, stick, mud and eggs at a number of homes. His wife, Pauline, 42, and their sons, Peter, seven, and James, five, cowered behind the sofa as the windows were hit by a flurry of missiles. "My wife called the police at 6pm, but they just kept on throwing stones through my back gate. "I left the back door open to stop them smashing it. Suddenly a really big rock came crashing into the kitchen. I just grabbed the wood, which was the nearest thing I could find, and chased them off. "The police turned up just as I was chasing them. As a result I was arrested, but they didn't arrest any of them."

Mr Davis was handcuffed, taken to a local police station and later charged. Wiltshire Police confirmed both the charge against him and the fact that no one else had been arrested in connection with the incident. The householder is expected to appear before local magistrates later in the month.


British mother prevented from taking own son to school because of criminal record checks

A woman was prevented from taking her own son to school because she hadn't been screened for a criminal record. Jayne Jones had been escorting 14-year-old severely epileptic Alex each day by taxi, taking specialist equipment with her in case he had a fit. But the mother-of-two was told she would not be allowed to continue doing so until her details had been run through a Criminal Record Bureau (CRB) check..

The case came to light only days after it emerged that hundreds of innocent people were branded criminals by the CRB, which was set up to vet people working with children. Figures seen by The Daily Telegraph showed that in the year to February 2008, 680 people were issued with incorrect information on their background checks by the CRB.

Last week a woman who was wrongly labelled a violent alcoholic and drug addict by the CRB was told she would have to allow police to take her fingerprints if she wanted to clear her name. Amanda Hodgson, 36, a law-abiding mother-of-three, learned of her "criminal past'' when applying for a post as a welfare assistant at her local primary school. She was told she had a criminal record stretching back 18 years, including three convictions for assaulting police officers, and the only way to clear her name was to get her fingerprints checked against every unsolved crime in the country.

Mrs Jones, from Aberfan in south Wales, said stopping her taking her son - who has cerebral palsy - to school was "political correctness gone mad". "It's crazy that I have to be CRB checked before I can ride in a taxi with my own son," she said. "I have to be checked to go in a taxi with him, but if I was able to drive him myself they wouldn't care and even offered to pay me expenses. "The taxi company is great and they carry Alex's medication but they won't use it and they wouldn't know how to put him in the recovery position if needs be."

Alex, who takes a combination of 32 anti-convulsant tablets a day, is currently travelling to his special needs school five miles away in Merthyr Tydfil with no one trained to cope if he has an attack. He has been fitted with the Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS) therapy system under the skin, which works like a pacemaker to help control electrical signals which can malfunction and cause him to seize. But his parents are the only ones trained to use and understand the therapy. His 42-year-old father Malcolm has a full-time job and Mrs Jones is the boy's full-time carer.

A spokesman from Merthyr Tydfil Council said: "The CRB checking is a requirement of our transport provisions in relation to adults travelling on home-to-school transport in the capacity of an escort. "This is a standard requirement and has been for several years. "Any adult acting as an escort will, in the public gaze, be viewed as acting with the full acquiescence of the council and hence with its implied authority. "For the protection of the council and all vulnerable persons in its care it's essential all those endowed with an authority, implicit or explicit, should meet the security requirements within the transport contract provisions."


Overstretched NHS maternity units put mothers and babies at risk

Women giving birth are being admitted to maternity wards short of doctors and midwives as well as basic medical facilities, a review concludes today. “Significant weaknesses” persist in maternity and neonatal services across England, putting mothers and babies at risk despite years of sustained criticism from watchdogs, the Healthcare Commission said. Medical errors and poor standards of care have contributed to the deaths of at least six women in England in recent years, inquests have found.

Consultants did not always spend enough time on wards and not all staff received adequate training on safety issues, the review of 150 NHS trusts found. The pressure on maternity and neonatal wards is such that newborn babies are being turned away from some units regularly as there are no cots available, it suggests. More than half — 56 per cent — of neonatal units closed their doors to newborns in the six-month period to March 2007, in some occasions for more than three months. The average length of closure was two weeks, meaning that vulnerable babies would be shuttled between hospitals until one was found to take them.

The birthrate in England has risen over a decade to nearly 670,000 a year in 2006, with new figures for 2007 expected to show a further increase today. However, choice over where and how women give birth remains limited because of staffing issues, the review concludes, despite government assurances that all women should receive one-to-one care from a dedicated named midwife by 2012.

Sir Ian Kennedy, chairman of the commission, said that the NHS had no excuses for poor maternity care and the death of women giving birth. “I don’t want to be at the wrong end of another investigation report describing the deaths of babies and mother,” he said. “I have been there too many times. There’s no reason we should see that any longer.” He called for an end to the “tribal allegiances” that set obstetricians against midwives and criticised the “staggering” absence of statistics on maternity services in 17 per cent of trusts. “How can they know what they are doing? This is not how a modern, 21st-century large enterprise should conduct itself,” he said.

In a review that surveyed more than 26,000 women and 5,000 staff, the commission examined all aspects of maternity care, from neonatal checks to the final contact with a midwife, usually ten days after a birth. While a majority of women were happy with their care, in some hospitals more than one baby was being born in each bed every day — raising fears that mothers were being hurried out of the labour suite after birth.

The median number of delivery beds per 1,000 births per year was 3.6, equivalent to each bed being used for 0.7 births per day, but some trusts have as few as two beds per 1,000 births per year, meaning that each was used for 1.4 births per day. “This seems excessive and there is clearly a need to increase the capacity of delivery beds in these units,” the report concludes. In addition, roughly half of trusts need to “examine their staffing levels urgently” to achieve more than 31 midwives and 6.6 obstetric doctors per 1,000 births or greater, it says.

About one in ten new mothers rated the care received before and during the birth as “poor” or “fair” but this rose to one in five when assessing the quality of postnatal care. There was also an inadequate number of bathrooms in delivery suites, with relatively few units (16.5 per cent) having as many as one bath per delivery room, and only half reported having one or more baths for every four delivery rooms. “Shower facilities are more common and more than a third of trusts (38 per cent) reported one shower per delivery room, with just over half of units reporting one shower or more for every two delivery rooms. “Ideally, all delivery rooms should have a bath or shower room en suite, but there is clearly a long way to go before this position is reached.”

The mortality rate among mothers, taken from pregnancy until six weeks after birth, has remained between 13 and 14 per 100,000 over the past six years. Researchers say that there are several reasons why the death rate has not declined, including a rising number of women choosing to have babies later in life, which increases the risk of complications. However, of the 295 deaths of new mothers between 2003-05, half were attributable in part to substandard care, according to the official Confidential Enquiry into Maternal and Child Health.

One of the Government’s key aims is to give every woman choice over where to have her baby, with more home births and deliveries in local units staffed by midwives, rather than consultants, expected as a result. “[But] in practice, the choice of types of maternity unit is currently very limited, because our review found that about two thirds of trusts (65 per cent) had only obstetric units,” the commission found. “The remaining trusts had combinations of obstetric and midwife-led units; either alongside the main unit, or midwife-led units in separate freestanding premises. A few trusts had all three kinds of unit. Two acute trusts had midwife-led units only.”

Ministers have promised $660 million extra funding for maternity services over the next three years and 4,000 more midwives by 2012. But the Royal College of Midwives said that these would equate to fewer full-time posts and that at least 5,000 were needed “as soon as possible”.

Sabaratnam Arulkumaran, president of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said that women who experienced complications or who required emergency attention would still need to see a specialist. At least 1,000 extra maternity consultants were needed, with at least 500 needing to be recruited “in the next two to three years”.

But the Conservatives gave warning of potential mergers or closures of maternity units across the country. Anne Milton, a Tory health spokeswoman, said: “Labour talk about more choice for pregnant women but the reality is that women now have less choice. It’s worrying that many more maternity units are set to be downgraded in the next few years and that so many neonatal units are set to shut.”

Norman Lamb, of the Liberal Democrats, added: “This unacceptable level of care must be addressed as a matter of priority. Staff shortages are putting midwives under an increasing amount of pressure and many women are not receiving good enough care.”

In the absence of formal standards, the review set performance benchmarks for maternity for the first time. In December it rated 22 per cent of maternity services as “fair performing” (32 trusts) and 21 per cent as “least well performing” (31 trusts). Twenty-six per cent of trusts were “best performing (38 trusts) and 32 per cent were “better performing” (47 trusts).

The review was prompted by concern over the quality and safety of maternity units in 2005 after Northwick Park Hospital in North London was put on special measures while the deaths of several women were investigated. Other investigations took place at New Cross Hospital in Wolverhampton and Ashford St Peters Hospital in Chertsey, Surrey.

A spokesman for the Department of Health said: “As part of the NHS review, each region has prioritised improving maternity services and will be developing plans to improve frontline midwifery care, develop leadership capacity and enhance quality of care.”


What is the point of emissions targets?

With China and India not coming to the party, we are doomed anyway on Greenie assumptions so let us eat, drink and be merry!

Let us assume that Saint Al of Gore and the IPCC are correct in their direst predictions and that Lord Stern and his ilk are correct in their assessment of the cost of global warming. What possible benefit can result from slashing emissions in the west when India and China are committed to industrialisation and its consequential CO2 production?

And let us be clear about one thing, neither China nor India will allow Saint Al to stifle their efforts to improve the material standards of their people (and in China's case the status on the international stage of their autocratic leaders). The head of China's State Council said last year: "our efforts to fight climate change must not come at the expense of economic growth." The Indian Council on Climate Change made the same point: "It is obvious that India needs to substantially increase its per capita energy consumption to provide a minimally acceptable level of wellbeing to its people."

One can, of course, see that cutting emissions in the west will stabalise matters while the east is increasing emissions: one tonne saved in the west + one tonne produced in the east = no change. But India and China have vast populations and a long way to go before their people enjoy anything like the standard of living we have taken for granted for the last two or three generations. It is impossible to predict with any accuracy the level of emissions India and China will produce and, therefore, impossible to say how much we have to cut in order to maintain equilibrium.

One can also see, because we are presuming Saint Al to be correct, that maintaining equilibrium will not avert the imminent disaster. So what exactly do we have to do here in the west? On the face of it we have to cut our emissions by a vast amount very quickly. Consumption of oil, gas and coal must become a thing of the past almost in the blink of an eye. And even if that is achieved we must then keep our fingers crossed that India and China will reach their target of economic well-being and then ... well, and then do what? Switch instantly away from oil, gas and coal just as they have built prosperity on the energy produced by those very fuels and, significantly, when China in particular has vast reserves? There is as much chance of that as there is of me holing every tee-shot I play in my next round of golf. It's pure La-La-Land.

Then along come Brasil, Colombia, Mexico, Pakistan, South Africa, Egypt, Algeria and the rest, one by one as they create political stability they will aim for economic progress.

All the while our standards of living in the west will fall as our governments vie for the title of greatest grandstander in the alternative energy handicap. They will pump countless billions of whatever currency they wish into the speculative hunt for the miracle cure. Every penny of it will be raised by additional taxes which will hit the poor hardest.

I simply cannot help concluding that the approach of the British Labour Party government (and the Conservative opposition) is fundamentally wrong. They are looking at the matter from the wrong perspective and can learn a valuable lesson from the words quoted above explaining the Chinese and Indian positions. Instead of insisting that their first priority is to cut emissions they should recognise that their first priority is to protect the standard of living of their people.

Some would say the first priority of government is security, as it was in 1939. They are right, but security for what purpose? What is it that security defends? It defends our way of life against the risk of a less palatable way of life being imposed against our will. That is why we fought Hitler's Germany, it is why we armed ourselves against the USSR and it is one of the reasons why we maintain a military force today. There is no immediate military threat to Britain but there is a massive economic threat - the threat of material impoverishment at the shrine to Saint Al of Gore.

I started this musing by saying we should assume Lord Stern's armageddon scenario to be accurate. He said our continued pumping out of CO2 will have dire financial consequences for us all so how, you might ask, can we preserve our material standards if we do not cut our emissions enormously? On the hypothesis that Lord Stern is correct the answer is simple, we can't - on that hypothesis our CO2 will bankrupt us. If that hypothesis is correct for our CO2, it is equally correct for India and China's CO2 because CO2 does not hover in little packets above the country that creates it, like a catchy tune it spreads itself rapidly all over the globe. On his hypothesis we are going to go bankrupt come what may. The government wants to accelerate the process by introducing an additional crippling cost which cannot possibly provide a return if China and India's CO2 will destroy us anyway.

Why not let us enjoy the last brief moments of life as we know it?



The government's own carbon reduction agency has attacked the climate plan agreed at the G8 summit as not doing "a single thing" to reduce emissions, and accused leaders - including the UK prime minister, Gordon Brown - of "an abrogation of responsibility". The headline promise to cut carbon emissions by half by 2050 has already been criticised for not setting interim targets or specifying whether the baseline is 1990 or a more recent date. The latter is a critical issue because of big emissions rises in the last two decades.

Professor Michael Grubb, the chief economist of the Carbon Trust, said the richest country leaders also failed to make any firm promises even on issues they could agree outside the UN negotiations, like tackling emissions from aviation and shipping, details of how promises of "clean technology transfer" would happen, and increasing funds for poorer countries to adapt to climate change. "There's a very big gap between the rhetoric of consensus about the size of the problem and the need for reductions, and the lack of anything specific that will make any difference," Grubb told the "One can see five pages of text - I'm not sure I can see a single thing that's actually going to reduce emissions."

The lack of detail was particularly disappointing after a promise at the G8 summit hosted by Britain in Gleneagles three years ago that it would develop concrete proposals by this year's summit in Japan, said Grubb. "I'm sure the UK government was pushing for stronger action - how hard I don't know," he added. Grubb said the baseline and interim targets could be decided by the UN process, which continues with meetings in Poland in December and Copenhagen in late 2009.

Instead, the leading economies could have made significant moves, including a firm promise that UN commitments would be legally binding, and a specific plan for reducing aviation and shipping emissions, which are currently not included in international reduction targets.

Grubb said he also wanted a big uplift in funds for developing nations to adapt to the impacts of climate change, partly funded by non-government sources such as the aviation and shipping tax regime. "If something is too difficult for the eight biggest economies of the world to sort out, you aren't going to solve it by lobbing it into the UN," he added. "That's an abrogation of responsibilities by G8. The G8 should be there to fulfil a role of leadership by the richest countries."


British blog, "Harry's Place", which is critical of Islam, is being sued by an Islamist for accurate reporting about the Islamist. Under English libel law, the Islamist is at an advantage. So Harry may need financial support to fight the matter through the courts. I will certainly donate if that need arises.

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