Sunday, December 21, 2008

Give us the money

An insightful email from a British reader below:

After forty years of listening to greenie scare stories, (even believing some of them at one time) I think I am starting to see a pattern emerging. It seems to start as:

Plan A: The Scam

We have identified an ecological disaster and HUMANS ARE TO BLAME. But if you pay us lots of money and do exactly what we say, we may be able to fix it in time.

For some inexplicable reason, this does not convince everyone, so we need:

Plan B: The Precautionary Principle

Well, even if we're wrong, you still ought to pay us lots of money and do exactly what we say.

For some inexplicable reason, this also does not convince everyone, so we need:

Plan C: The Tipping Point

OK. So nothing is happening and there isn't any evidence, but there will be soon if you don't PAY US THE MONEY!

This method seems to be a limp-wristed version of that used by Ronnie and Reggie in the East End of London many years ago, and was known then as extortion, or, "demanding money with menaces." (but now it is called "environmentalism." I suppose at least we have a longer word.) Although the Kray's methods seem to have been:

a. less verbose

b. arguably more cost-effective, and

c. they had the balls to do their own dirty work.

The greenie extortionists, having failed at plan C, exhort the legal authorities to silence the dissenters. And if that doesn't work they incite young, idealistic and naive people into acquiring a criminal record on their behalf. Maybe we should just say "BOO" to the greenies for a change. Being polite only lets them get away with it.

Direct attack on tumour works

Spontaneous remissions are not uncommon with some cancers so the recovery below proves nothing. It is however an interesting straw in the wind. There have been some controlled trials that have indicated substantial benefit from the procedure

A woman given just months to live after developing cancer two years ago is looking forward to a 'miracle' Christmas with her family. Debbie Brewer was diagnosed in November 2006 with mesothelioma, a lung cancer caused by exposure to asbestos, but has beaten the odds thank to pioneering treatment in Germany.

The 49-year-old was awarded a six-figure compensation payment by the Ministry of Defence after she said the illness was caused by hugging her father, Phillip Northmore, when he worked as an asbestos lagger at Devonport Dockyard in Plymouth in the 1960s.

She was told by doctors that she had between six and nine months to live but refused chemotherapy and instead travelled to The University Clinic in Frankfurt. A doctor had told her of an experimental treatment being carried out by Professor Thomas Vogl and Mrs Brewer used her compensation to pay for six sessions at the clinic. Now specialists have told her the tumour has shrunk by more than half, is in remission and will not come back. Mrs Brewer, who has three children - Siobhan, 22, Richard, 19, and Kieran, 11 - said it is a 'miracle'.

Now Mrs Brewer, from Plymouth, has started a campaign to have the treatment, which costs 3,500 pounds a session, brought to the UK for trials. She said: 'I want to give people hope. 'I was told for mesothelioma there is little out there but the results in Germany are fantastic - it's about a 60 per cent success rate. 'I didn't think I would see my youngest go to senior school, now I'm going to be enjoying Christmas with them.'

The treatment is known as chemoembolisation and is more commonly used to fight liver cancer. It introduces chemotherapy drugs directly to the tumour area through a catheter into the lung. Mrs Brewer said: 'They are able to directly attack the tumour through an artery so it targets just the tumour and not the nervous system as well.' She started the treatment in May and had her last of six chemoembolisation sessions this week. Mrs Brewer now hopes she has beaten the cancer for good and said if it does start to come back 'there is help available'.


I quit, says British magistrate fed up with seeing criminals walk free after a quarter of their sentences

A senior magistrate has resigned in protest at Government policies that impose soft punishments and undermine the courts. Dr Dick Soper says criminals are walking free from prison after serving just a quarter of the sentences he and his colleagues impose. Others are being handed fixed fines or police cautions - taking justice out of the hands of the courts and away from public scrutiny.

Dr Soper, 64, a GP, has served 26 years on the bench at Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk. He used his final session yesterday to deliver an angry broadside, saying: 'Although I could serve for another five years I no longer feel my time is being usefully spent in court. 'I feel that this long-standing system which has served the public well for centuries has, in recent years, been more and more interfered with by politicians.'

He told how he recently jailed an offender for six months but saw him walking about the town just six weeks later. Dr Soper said: 'My greatest frustration and that of my colleagues is the very early release of prisoners.' He said virtually all offenders are released automatically halfway through their sentences, while emergency measures to tackle prison overcrowding means many have another 18 days knocked off their sentences. Yet the judges and magistrates who heard their cases have no say over their early release.

Dr Soper said magistrates considered 'very hard' how to punish criminals, and added: 'It is frustrating when that careful thought seems to be undermined. It has certainly reduced my confidence in the system.' He also complained that sentencing guidelines appear to be increasingly influenced by Whitehall. Dr Soper said: 'The heavy hand of the executive seems to run through them and you get the feeling that greater central control is being exerted over this previously independent organisation.'

Community service and unpaid work have been trumpeted by ministers as punishments to help ease jail overcrowding, but Dr Soper said his own research locally showed only 60-65 per cent of offenders bothered to turn up. Police were increasingly preferring to deal with offenders through cautions and on-the-spot fines rather than charging them and sending them to court, he said - undermining the principle of public and media scrutiny of justice. Dr Soper said: 'It is not just minor cases they deal with - theft and violence are included and this court recently had a violent offender who had previously been cautioned by the police for causing grievous bodily harm.'

In his years as a JP, Dr Soper said, the number of courts in West Suffolk had dropped from six to three - and will soon be cut to just one. 'The idea of local justice, one of the strengths of the system, is disappearing fast,' he said. 'Now I hear that the courts budget is to be cut further, so what next?'

Tory spokesman Nick Herbert said: 'Labour's appalling mismanagement of our jails has seen sentences shortened and violent prisoners released early. 'It is no wonder both public and professional confidence in the criminal justice system is being undermined.' The Daily Mail revealed recently how some magistrates' courts are cancelling sessions because the massive rise in the use of onthespot fines means thousands of cases now never reach court.


The politically corrupted British police force bungle basic police work

The restraint and dignity shown by the parents of Rachel Nickell, as they thanked all those who had supported their long quest for justice, was as moving as it was surprising, given the circumstances. Yes, Robert Napper, the man who murdered their darling daughter, has now been forced to admit his guilt. But for 16 years, their grief has been compounded by one of the most incompetent police investigations in living memory.

Sadly, such bungling has become an all-too familiar theme in recent weeks. Whether it's the Stockwell shooting, the death of Baby P or the hideous case of the father who raped his own daughters, police incompetence has never been far from the headlines.

Of course, there are thousands of magnificent, dedicated policemen and women out there who work in dangerous situations and are still driven by an overriding sense of civic duty. But a generation of political correctness, government-enforced targets and police chiefs toadying to New Labour has led to a collapse in morale. Even good officers have lost the will for old-fashioned policing and instead take the soft option of pushing paper around their desks. Lacking strong leadership and blighted by a target-obsessed culture, bobbies have become more interested in chasing statistics than criminals. And that can have devastating consequences.

The mistakes made in the Rachel Nickell case were down to sheer sloppiness. As one insider put it: 'No one at the Yard was interested in the theory that Napper had killed Rachel.' As far as they were concerned, they'd already got their man. Colin Stagg had been put away. Job done. Another crime 'solved'. Another box ticked.

That error enabled Napper to continue his depraved crime spree, just as other casual oversights meant that police failed to follow up the tip-offs that might have saved Baby P and the girls who were being raped by their father.

The police are supposed to be at the centre of our communities - figures we can respect and rely on. But only when they are taken out of their offices, out of their PC comfort zones, and put back into the heart of our broken societies will we once again have a police force we can be proud of.

The only request from Rachel's parents was that, now her killer was behind bars, the media should stop using film footage of Rachel, as it was unbearably painful for them to watch. The BBC's response was to illustrate the news package right after that statement with a home video of Rachel frolicking in the park. Is no one listening?


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