Monday, December 29, 2008

British dogs must not chase sticks

And balls are suspect too. The British safety mania never lets up

Fetch, doggy – but not before listening to some vital safety information. One of Britain’s most eminent vets has warned that dogs suffer as many injuries chasing and catching sticks as they do on Britain’s roads. Owners are being advised that to protect their pets from accidental stabbing or choking, they should never throw sticks. Instead they should use rubber throwing toys or a suitably sized ball.

Dan Brockman, professor of small animal surgery at the Royal Veterinary College, has catalogued dozens of serious injuries and infections, almost all the result of animals being stabbed as they rushed after a sharp stick. “When I see people throwing sticks for their dogs in the park I just get so frustrated,” said Brockman. “I want to go and tell them to stop.” His new study, co-authored with Zoe Halfacree, a fellow small-animal expert at the college, will detail some of the injuries suffered by pets when a game of fetch goes wrong. They include:

— Dogs left paralysed after being stabbed in the back of the throat by a stick that then enters the spinal cord.

— Animals left with serious internal injuries when a spinning stick jams between the foreleg and chest as they try to catch it on the move.

— Dogs who suffer a slow death as infection spreads from tiny fragments of wood left lodged in a wound.

His advice will surprise many of the nation’s 7m dog owners. Even the Kennel Club includes pictures of dogs carrying sticks on its website. Many veterinary practices say they have become familiar with the risks because of the number of dogs they treat.

Brockman said that for owners there is another problem with throwing sticks for dogs – the huge cost of treating injuries. “I have seen injuries that have cost up to 5,000 pounds in treatment fees – but where the dog has still died in the end,” he said. Brockman added that people who get their pets to chase after balls may also be behaving irresponsibly. “You must make sure the size of ball is right for the dog,” said Brockman. “I have had to operate on dogs that have swallowed tennis balls too.”


Peek inside Britain's schools and shudder

If you want to know how bad the future will be, take a look at our schools, and shudder. We know that they are nurseries of ignorance, which is why we have to import disciplined, hard-working, competent young Poles to do so much of the work in this country. We should also be concerned that they are places of fear and violence, where authority is nothing but a joke.

The police have admitted (under Freedom of Information laws) that they were called to violent incidents at least 7,000 times in English schools last year. Since FoI disclosures are about the only Government statistics we can trust, I think we should take this seriously, though - since not all police forces replied - the figure is probably much higher. There is no reason to think that things are much better in Scotland or Wales.

The Sixties revolution, which destroyed the authority of parents and teachers alike, will soon reach its long-cherished goal. Everything stuffy, traditional, repressive, old-fashioned and boring has been swept away in the world of the young. They are all free now. The trouble is that they do not know how to be free, because they have also been taught that morals are `judgmental', religion is `outdated' and that adults are just obsolete ex-teenagers groping their way to the grave, a nuisance to be ignored or violently shoved aside.

They have discovered that the law is not just feeble (though it is) but that it frequently punishes those who try to uphold what used to be the rules of civilisation. And that, while we now have armed policemen licensed to kill virtually at will, our authorities recoil in horror at the very idea of an adult smacking a child. Listen to this slightly edited account of a day in a supposedly reputable school in a prosperous and middle-class area of one of the Home Counties. It is written by a highly experienced teacher, returning to work after a few years away.
`The class turned up totally out of control... it was similar to controlling a riot ... it took about 15 minutes to sit them down and make them do some work. `A boy in the front row turned his back on me and decided that he would try to wind the class back up into a frenzy, by calling out, waving his arms and by completely disregarding my presence. 'I thought he was going to mount the desks in front of him and cause other pupils - or himself - some damage. I had no intention of smacking him, but to restrain him from his own actions I went to grab him.'

The result of this was that the teacher concerned was accused, by another pupil, of the heinous crime of `smacking'. Thanks to this, the person involved has given up teaching and is - quite reasonably - worried in case the Useless Police and the CPS are called in and mount one of the zealous life-ruining prosecutions of innocent teachers that they so much enjoy.

Now, listen carefully, to see if you can hear any Sixties liberals admitting that they were wrong to dismantle adult authority. And listen even more carefully to see if you can discover a `Conservative' politician with the courage to say that this must be put right, that marriage is miles better than non-marriage, that a man without a conscience is wilder than any beast, that fathers should be respected, that parents must be allowed to smack, that teachers should be able to cane.

All you will hear is silence, mingled with the sound of boots kicking a human head as if it were a football, the head of another poor fool who tried to stand up for what was right, and thought he could appeal to the better natures of people who have been brought up feral, and have no better natures.


Home for retired British missionaries loses grant - because it won't ask residents if they are lesbians

Apparently, respecting the privacy of elderly ladies is not included in socialist "caring"

A care home where elderly Christian residents refused to answer ‘intrusive’ questions about their sexuality is at the centre of a bitter legal battle after its council grant was axed. Brighton & Hove Council told the home to ask pensioners four times a year about their sexual orientation under its ‘fair access and diversity’ policies, which stem from New Labour equality laws. Council chiefs also accused the charity that runs the home of ‘institutional discrimination’, before cutting a 13,000 pound grant towards warden services.

Pilgrim Homes, which operates ten schemes for elderly Christians across the UK, says it has never breached the law and is now suing the council, accusing it of religious discrimination. Andrew Jessop, the charity’s chief executive, said: ‘The council has taken overzealousness to the extreme. People in their 90s are very vulnerable and shouldn’t be treated in this way.’

Tensions began last year when the council imposed stricter criteria on organisations it supported to ‘comply’ with the Equality Act 2006 and the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007. It circulated a questionnaire to the Pilgrim Home in Egremont Place, Brighton, which houses 39 single Christians aged over 80, including former missionaries and a minister. Phil Wainwright, director of human resources for Pilgrim Homes, said he was told by the council the home had to ask residents if they were lesbian, gay, bisexual, heterosexual or ‘unsure’, even if they objected. Many of the elderly rebelled, however, and the home wrote to the council saying residents did not want to participate. Mr Wainwright said: ‘There was a strong feeling among people in the home that the questions were inappropriate and intrusive. They felt they had come to Pilgrim Homes because of its Christian ethos and were upset they were not protected from such intrusions.’

But Brighton & Hove Council complained about the home’s ‘negative response’ and argued that because the home had a Christian ethos, gay people might be deterred from applying. It cited the ‘resistance’ to using images of elderly gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people in the home’s leaflets, saying this meant gays and lesbians ‘would not feel comfortable’ applying for a place. The council then announced it was axeing the grant because there had been ‘limited progress’ in making the home accessible to the homosexual community.

Mr Wainwright said the charity was open to anyone with orthodox beliefs. He said: ‘We have every reason to believe that we have given places to gay Christians, and no questions were ever asked. The council hasn’t demonstrated any discrimination on our part. We believe it is Brighton Council that is institutionally discriminatory.’

MPs last night backed the charity, which fears other councils that provide it with grants totalling more than 100,000, could follow Brighton’s lead. Ann Widdecombe, former Tory Home Office Minister, said: ‘The equality law does not oblige anyone to ask intrusive questions. This sort of thing needs to be nipped in the bud.’ David Davies, Tory MP for Monmouth, said: ‘It is absolutely disgraceful that the council has tried to get 90-year-olds, from a generation that wasn’t obsessed with sex, to put intimate information on to one of its forms.’

But Brighton & Hove Council said: ‘We have never expected any residents to answer questions about their sexuality if they preferred not to do so. ‘The Government specifically states the home must be open to the gay and lesbian community and that it must demonstrate this to qualify for funding. In the absence of any willingness to do this, funding has been withdrawn.’


Patient safety at risk as NHS repairs ignored

Patients are being put in danger because of a backlog of hundreds of millions of pounds of urgent repairs at hospitals

More than half of hospital trusts have a backlog of repairs which the NHS says need to be urgently completed to ensure patient safety. The NHS defines the work is so pressing that it "must be addressed with urgent priority in order to prevent catastrophic failure, major disruption to clinical services or deficiencies in safety liable to cause serious injury and/or prosecution". Yet despite the urgency of the work, the new figures show that the level of outstanding urgent repairs rose last year, by 11 million to 310 million pounds.

Crumbling buildings and failings in the infrastructure of hospitals have been repeatedly linked to risks to patient safety. Last year, the official investigation into Britain's deadliest outbreak of the infection Clostridium Difficile, which killed more than 90 patients at Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells hospitals cited its high maintenance backlog as a contributing factor in the spread of the disease.

The figures obtained by the Conservatives reveal that more than 120 of England's 210 hospital trusts admitted to a backlog of urgent repairs in the financial year which ended in April 2008. Imperial College Healthcare trust, which runs Hammersmith and St Marys Hospitals, had an urgent repair backlog of 27 million pounds, a figure which was almost matched by the bill at Guys and St Thomas foundation trust. Hospitals in North West London, Worthing and Southlands and Nottingham also reported an urgent backlog of more than 10 million.

Eight years ago, the Government pledged to reduce the total NHS maintenance bill, which then stood at 3.1 billion, by one quarter. The new figures show in fact the total bill has soared to more than 4 billion, including a 29 per cent increase in the last two years. The only category of repairs where the bill fell during 2007/2008 was among those defined as carrying the lowest risk to patients and services.

Shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley described the findings as "very disturbing". He said: "Over the last eight years the Government has done nothing to address this problem and things are going from bad to worse. The Government has no excuse for needlessly putting patients and NHS staff at risk like this." Mr Lansley said the Government could not pretend it was unaware of the issue, since hospitals reported their figures to the Department of Health each year.

A spokesperson for the Department of Health said hospital trusts were responsible for prioritising their investment decisions, and said the Government had invested 12bn in NHS buildings since 2000.


Illegal immigration and soft-touch Britain

They know that once they set foot in Britain they are there to stay. Britain finds heaps of reasons why it cannot deport them. It might violate their right to a good family life, for instance. I'm not joking! Google "Chindamo" if you doubt it

Britain was last night warned to brace itself for a new wave of illegal immigrants from France as thousands prepared to cross the channel. More than 2,000 are in and around Calais and the surrounding area and all are determined to claim asylum in the UK. And only a change in Britain’s open door immigration and asylum policies will stop more coming, the French charity C’Sur claims. Spokesman Father Jean-Pierre Boutoille told the Daily Express: “There are more than 2,000 migrants in the Calais region and they are all determined to get to Britain. “They will keep coming for as long as Britain maintains its strange asylum and immigration systems. He added: “Many are ill with tuberculosis and scabies.”

And last night the Immigration Minister Phil Woolas was urged to make good his promise to crackdown on illegal migrants. UKIP Leader Nigel Farage said: “We will now see if Phil Woolas is serious about getting tough on illegal migrants.” He added: “What is France doing allowing these camps to be set up in northern France. "There is no reason for them to be there other than for the facilitation of migrants into the UK illegally.” Matthew Elliott from the TaxPayers’ Alliance said: “The British immigration system needs urgent reform – at present it is costly, inefficient and badly administered.

“Returning asylum seekers in a speedier and more efficient way would be better for everyone – fairer to taxpayers, who foot the bill and fairer to genuine asylum seekers who want a speedy resolution to their claim and more effective at deterring false claimants who will be removed quickly. Without reform our immigration system will buckle as new waves of illegal immigrants seek to exploit the system.”

Small camps have sprung up close to the ferry ports of Calais and Dunkirk, but also next to important road transport routes to Britain. There are also groups in Cherbourg and in Ostend, Belgium. Yesterday the Daily Express found migrants from Iraq and Afghanistan at the new camps close to the main Brussels to Calais motorway at Grande Synthe and Teteghem and migrants from Ethiopia and Eritrea at a new camp close to the main Lille to Calais motorway at Steenvoorde.

All told how they had spent thousands of pounds getting so far and who they were determined to start a new life in Britain. In Dunkirk Afghan Iqbal said: “I was a soldier for the Northern Alliance in the war against the Taliban. Now I must get to Britain. I cannot go back to Afghanistan.” In Grande Synthe Iraqi Mahmed said: “I had to leave my home in northern Iraq because my life was in danger. I will go to England. I have spent a lot of money getting this far and I will not stop until I get there.”

Last night the Home Office said the immigration services were working to stop illegal immigrants getting into the country. A UK Border Agency spokesman said: “We already have one of the toughest borders in the world and we are determined to ensure it stays that way.”


2008 was the year man-made global warming was disproved

Looking back over my columns of the past 12 months, one of their major themes was neatly encapsulated by two recent items from The Daily Telegraph. The first, on May 21, headed Climate change threat to Alpine ski resorts, reported that the entire Alpine "winter sports industry" could soon "grind to a halt for lack of snow". The second, on December 19, headed The Alps have best snow conditions in a generation, reported that this winter's Alpine snowfalls "look set to beat all records by New Year's Day".

Easily one of the most important stories of 2008 has been all the evidence suggesting that this may be looked back on as the year when there was a turning point in the great worldwide panic over man-made global warming. Just when politicians in Europe and America have been adopting the most costly and damaging measures politicians have ever proposed, to combat this supposed menace, the tide has turned in three significant respects.

First, all over the world, temperatures have been dropping in a way wholly unpredicted by all those computer models which have been used as the main drivers of the scare. Last winter, as temperatures plummeted, many parts of the world had snowfalls on a scale not seen for decades. This winter, with the whole of Canada and half the US under snow, looks likely to be even worse. After several years flatlining, global temperatures have dropped sharply enough to cancel out much of their net rise in the 20th century.

Ever shriller and more frantic has become the insistence of the warmists, cheered on by their army of media groupies such as the BBC, that the last 10 years have been the "hottest in history" and that the North Pole would soon be ice-free - as the poles remain defiantly icebound and those polar bears fail to drown. All those hysterical predictions that we are seeing more droughts and hurricanes than ever before have infuriatingly failed to materialise.

Even the more cautious scientific acolytes of the official orthodoxy now admit that, thanks to "natural factors" such as ocean currents, temperatures have failed to rise as predicted (although they plaintively assure us that this cooling effect is merely "masking the underlying warming trend", and that the temperature rise will resume worse than ever by the middle of the next decade).

Secondly, 2008 was the year when any pretence that there was a "scientific consensus" in favour of man-made global warming collapsed. At long last, as in the Manhattan Declaration last March, hundreds of proper scientists, including many of the world's most eminent climate experts, have been rallying to pour scorn on that "consensus" which was only a politically engineered artefact, based on ever more blatantly manipulated data and computer models programmed to produce no more than convenient fictions.

Thirdly, as banks collapsed and the global economy plunged into its worst recession for decades, harsh reality at last began to break in on those self-deluding dreams which have for so long possessed almost every politician in the western world. As we saw in this month's Poznan conference, when 10,000 politicians, officials and "environmentalists" gathered to plan next year's "son of Kyoto" treaty in Copenhagen, panicking politicians are waking up to the fact that the world can no longer afford all those quixotic schemes for "combating climate change" with which they were so happy to indulge themselves in more comfortable times.

Suddenly it has become rather less appealing that we should divert trillions of dollars, pounds and euros into the fantasy that we could reduce emissions of carbon dioxide by 80 per cent. All those grandiose projects for "emissions trading", "carbon capture", building tens of thousands more useless wind turbines, switching vast areas of farmland from producing food to "biofuels", are being exposed as no more than enormously damaging and futile gestures, costing astronomic sums we no longer possess.

As 2009 dawns, it is time we in Britain faced up to the genuine crisis now fast approaching from the fact that - unless we get on very soon with building enough proper power stations to fill our looming "energy gap" - within a few years our lights will go out and what remains of our economy will judder to a halt. After years of infantile displacement activity, it is high time our politicians - along with those of the EU and President Obama's US - were brought back with a mighty jolt into contact with the real world.


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