A former soldier pulled his own teeth out with a pair of pliers because he could not find a dentist to take on NHS patients. Iraq War veteran Ian Boynton could not afford to go private for treatment so instead took the drastic action to remove 13 of his teeth that were giving him severe pain. The 42-year-old, from Beverley, East Yorkshire, had not had his teeth looked at since seeing the army dentist in 2003. He had not been registered with a dentist of his own since 2001.
He said: 'I've tried to get in at 30 dentists over the last eight years but have never been able to find one to take on NHS patients.' But when Mr Boynton started suffering from toothache in 2006 he decided to take drastic action. He said: 'I started having pain in a front tooth, which protruded slightly more than the others. I was constantly fiddling with it and wiggling it because it hurt so much. 'In the end I knew it had to come out and had to use the pliers to pull it. Amazingly, it did not hurt as much as you might think. 'I think I'd been prising it that much in the meantime that I'd been killing the nerve.'
In the last two years Mr Boynton has pulled out 13 top teeth including molars, incisors and canines. He now only has two teeth left in the roof of his mouth. He served as a medic in Iraq in 2003, but six months after leaving the Territorial Army had an accident while working as a paint sprayer that aggravated an old back injury.
Unemployed Mr Boynton, who is single, said: 'It's a horrible situation to be in when you can't afford to go to the dentist when your teeth were so bad.' In a stroke of ill-timed luck he has now finally found a dentist to take him on. Mr Boynton said: 'I think the situation has improved slightly because of all the uproar. Unfortunately it came too late for me. 'I desperately needed a dentist because, although I'm no longer in pain, I need to have false teeth as I'm finding it difficult to eat. 'Unfortunately I can't make false teeth myself.'
Publicity shames the Leftist fanatics: Nurse suspended for offering to pray for patient now told she can return to work
The Christian nurse suspended for offering to pray for a patient has been asked to return to work. Her NHS bosses were forced into a humiliating climbdown last night after the case provoked a national outcry.
Caroline Petrie gave their offer a cautious welcome - but insisted she should not be forced to choose between her profession and her faith. Mrs Petrie was accused of failing to show a commitment to 'equality and diversity' after the incident and faced a disciplinary hearing. But her supporters claimed she was a victim of religious discrimination. The Daily Mail led the way in highlighting her plight.
NHS North Somerset issued a statement yesterday saying it had contacted Mrs Petrie and hoped she could return to work 'as soon as possible'. But it added: 'It is acceptable to offer spiritual support as part of care when the patient asks for it. 'But for nurses, whose principal role is giving nursing care, the initiative lies with the patient and not with the nurse. 'Nurses like Caroline do not have to set aside their faith, but personal beliefs and practices should be secondary to the needs and beliefs of the patient and the requirements of professional practice. 'We are glad to make this position clear so that Caroline and other staff who have a faith continue to offer high quality care for patients while remaining committed to their beliefs.'
Mrs Petrie, a mother of two from Weston-super-Mare in Somerset, added that she knew nothing of the offer to return to work until the Mail contacted her. 'They have not told me anything directly yet,' she said. 'I'm not too sure I would go back to work until I know what the implications of that would be. 'I would want to know what the terms were before I made a decision. 'On the issue of praying for my patients I'd want to continue and if they won't allow me that I don't think I would return. 'It's very difficult for me not to ask patients if they want me to pray for them when I feel that prayer works for the sick. It's a matter of conscience to me. I should not have to choose between being a Christian or being a nurse.'
Mrs Petrie was suspended by North Somerset Primary Care Trust on December 17 last year. Two days earlier she had asked her patient May Phippen, 79, if she wanted her to pray for her at the end of a home visit. Mrs Phippen was not offended and did not make a formal complaint. But she told another nurse that she found it strange and that it might be deemed upsetting or offensive by others if they were of different faiths or felt it implied they were so sick they needed praying for.
Yesterday in the Commons, senior Tory MP Sir Patrick Cormack described Mrs Petrie's suspension as one example of the 'utter absurdities' of political correctness.
NHS North Somerset's statement offering her a return to work continued: 'We have always been keen to bring this matter to a timely resolution. 'It has been a distressing and difficult time for Caroline and all staff involved. 'We recognise the concerns raised by the many people who have contacted us about this situation.' It pointed out that NHS North Somerset offers services such as chaplaincy and prayer rooms for use by followers of all faiths.
Mrs Petrie has always insisted that she has never forced her beliefs on anyone. The Baptist, who became a Christian ten years ago after her mother died, said her supplications had real effects on patients, including a Catholic woman whose urine infection cleared up days after she said a prayer. In October last year she was reprimanded for giving a home-made prayer card to an elderly patient.
Banish Big Brother: The state's surveillance powers must be curbed, say Lords
In an increasingly Stalinist Britain, the House of Lords has repeatedly been the last line of defence for traditional British liberties
Peers will today demand a drastic curtailing of `Big Brother' surveillance powers. They will call for reforms to stamp out abuses and to safeguard Britain's traditions of democracy and privacy. Their report highlights mounting fears over the growth of the DNA database and the proliferation of CCTV networks. According to the constitution committee, mass surveillance `risks undermining the fundamental relationship between the state and citizens, which is the cornerstone of democracy and good governance'.
The 130-page report claims privacy is at threat from pervasive and routine electronic spying and mass collection of personal information. The public `are often unaware of the vast amount of information about them that is kept and exchanged between organisations'. The report said successive governments have built up an advanced surveillance system in the name of improving efficiency and tackling crime and terrorism. This amounted to `one of the most significant changes in the life of the nation since the end of the Second World War'. Peers cited the fact that more than 7 per cent of citizens are on the national DNA database, by far the highest proportion in the world.
The report also condemned covert surveillance under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act. Some councils have been using the secret spying powers to crack down on dog fouling, littering and families suspected of lying over school admissions. Among its 44 recommendations, the committee calls on the Government to `reconsider whether local authorities are the appropriate bodies to exercise RIPA powers'. And instead of the police and MI5 being allowed to authorise their own undercover operations, independent judges should be called in.
Any plans by the Government to collect or process personal data should undergo a `privacy impact assessment', the peers said. Full encryption of personal data stored on computers should become the norm, the report urges.
The committee - whose members include former Lord Chief Justice Lord Woolf - said the DNA database should be slimmed down and given a clearer legal framework. Those who volunteer their DNA to the police to help in an investigation should not have it added to the national database, they insisted. And suspects who are arrested but not convicted of a crime should not face having their genetic profile stored indefinitely
The Home Office is already under pressure to alter the rules following a high-profile defeat in European Court of Human Rights last year.
Peers also call for a new Parliamentary watchdog to stand up for the rights and privacy of citizens and a panel to supervise database and surveillance issues. The committee's chairman Lord Goodlad, a former Tory minister and high commissioner to Australia, said: `There can be no justification for this gradual but incessant creep toward every detail about us being recorded and pored over by the state. `If the public are to trust that information about them is not being improperly used there should be much more openness about what data is collected, by whom and how it is used.'
Dominic Grieve, Tory justice spokesman, said the report was `a damning indictment of the reckless approach of this government to personal privacy'. He added: `Ministers have sanctioned a massive increase in surveillance over the last decade, at great cost to the taxpayer, without properly assessing either its effectiveness or taking adequate steps to protect the privacy of perfectly innocent people.'
Today's report follows stark warnings from Information Commissioner Richard Thomas that Britain was `sleepwalking into a surveillance society'. Critics have seized on high-profile losses of personal files by the Government - including the entire child benefit database covering 25million people - as evidence that the state cannot be trusted to safeguard such material.
A Home Office spokesman said the Government was clear that surveillance and data collection `should only be used where it is necessary and proportionate'. She added: `The Home Secretary has already set out new common sense standards for use of investigatory powers and retention of DNA profiles, and has announced a consultation to open a reasoned debate about all these issues.
BBC motoring commentator does it again
Jeremy Clarkson has a huge following among car lovers and delights in being "incorrect". His comment below is about the British Prime Minister
"Top Gear star Jeremy Clarkson is under fire after branding Gordon Brown a 'one-eyed Scottish idiot'. The BBC presenter also accused the Prime Minster of lying, in the comments reportedly made in Australia where he is hosting Top Gear Live, a stage version of the hit TV show, with fellow presenter Richard Hammond.
Mr Brown lost his sight in one eye after an accident playing rugby as a teenager.
His comments will rightly be taken as humor but a lot of Scots are still offended, apparently. Since Brown IS in fact a Scot, it is rather hard to see why. Is it supposed to be a secret? Do they think that Clarkson said that ALL Scots are one-eyed idiots?
Wrapping up the Golliwog story
It has been a big story in Britain so here is one last report on it
"As the BBC announced that it had received more than 2,200 complaints about its decision to sack Thatcher as a contributor to The One Show, it was alleged that she had also used the terms "golliwog frog" and "halfgolliwog" to refer to the player, who is of French-African origin.
The former Prime Minister's daughter was dropped as a roving reporter for the BBC's early-evening programme after The Times disclosed that she had caused consternation by using the word "golliwog" at the informal get-together, a week yesterday.
Thatcher's spokeswoman has said that she used the word as a joke in what she saw as a private conversation, and offered a "fulsome apology" when challenged by the corporation.
Last night, however, sources said that the journalist, who is understood to be leaving the country today for a month-long speaking tour, repeatedly referred to the player as a golliwog. It is claimed that at the gathering of 12 people in the green room, Thatcher, along with Adrian Chiles, the show's host, and Jo Brand, who had appeared as a guest, talked about the Australian Open tennis tournament.
Thatcher, who had been drinking, her spokeswoman admitted, is alleged to have referred to "the golliwog frog", thought to be a reference to the French player Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who has a white French mother and a black Congolese father.
As some rolled their eyes and others challenged Thatcher about her use of the word, she is said to have responded, "well, he's half-golliwog", prompting Brand to leave the room in disgust. It is understood that Thatcher then said: "Now I'm in trouble, just like Prince Harry." The prince apologised after referring to an Asian colleague as "our little Paki friend" on a video.
There is also a history of the Golliwog here. It was in fact an American invention. Excerpt: Childhood toy, lovable rascal, cheeky jam mascot; how can anything that innocent be regarded as racist? That is certainly the view of many who were brought up with golliwogs.
A black writer criticizes the BBC here
The appalling British ID card system
Typical British bureaucratic bungling makes it a nightmare
All the waste and incompetence of the ID card scheme becomes plain when you hear people's stories about their contact with the new UK Borders Agency. This one comes from an acquaintance, who would prefer to remain anonymous, chiefly because he fears retribution if his name is known.
It started when his wife, a foreign national, applied under the new laws for her card, which was then issued with a mistake. He writes:
In early January, my wife and I visited a UK Border Agency office and paid 595 pounds for their 'premium' service to take her biometric data and process her foreign national ID card. We waited for hours as they had lots of computer problems, until finally a staff member admitted to us that the 'ID system was down' and had been the previous day also. We were eventually told that the details had been taken and we should just wait for her ID card to arrive by post.
When the card finally arrived we soon discovered that they had got her nationality wrong. She is a US citizen and on the back of her ID card it said 'American Samoa'! We reported the problem and were told to post the ID card back to them in a Freepost envelope. Weeks later the UK Border Agency sent my wife a letter saying that she needed to send her passport, as they could not correct their mistake without her passport.
My correspondent makes the following points. The agency had already recorded the passport details and scanned it. His wife has paid for a 'premium' service (595 pounds) appointment at UK Border Agency where she was fingerprinted, photographed and filled in forms so that she would not have to send her passport by post. When she phoned UKBA twice to report that "American Samoan" was a mistake, she spoke to two people, who told her to send the incorrect ID card only and did not mention sending a passport. She explained that she would need the ID card back soon in case she had to travel abroad.
He says that the letter received from UKBA instructed - "Please send your passport to the Freepost address as above". There was no Freepost address shown anywhere on the letter, or on the envelope. He continues:
After a very long phone queue, I spoke to a nice lady on the UKBA helpline (0300 123 2412) who was highly amused at the 'American Samoa' mistake, but said that unfortunately, yes, we would need to send her passport by post, but that we should also phone another UKBA number regarding a possible refund of part of our 'premium' fee.
Another long phone queue ensued and he spoke to what he describes as an unpleasant man at the UKBA immigration enquiry bureau (0870 606 7766) regarding a possible refund: He was very irritable, dismissive and patronising, but then he admitted it was not his decision to make and gave him an address for UK Border Agency complaints at Lunar House in Croydon. When I heard the name Croydon I said to him: 'Oh, we heard about the Croydon office when we were waiting at the UK Border Agency Offices for hours during your system crash in early January, we heard the Border Agency staff talking about it.' The man conceded that there was systems crash and hurriedly hung up.
As of writing this, my wife is still without an ID card and now doesn't have her passport either.
I am passing this story on because I have had my first taste of what a state with ID cards would be like, and I have found it very depressing and actually much more scary than I thought I would. The reality of this apparently secure and efficient ID card system is that it is wide open to human error, technical failures and abuse. A mistake on an ID card will take a very long time to correct, and their mistake becomes your problem, your responsibility. It is a very disempowering and depressing process where a citizen becomes a cog in a vast machine.
This is not just your video club membership, or your supermarket loyalty card ... this is your citizenship and identity, allowing you access to services and allowing you to leave and enter the country. My wife has been unable to travel since early January because of this mistake by UKBA. We are hoping no family emergencies occur before UKBA get around to returning her passport and ID card.
I still have a slight worry that if we complain publicly then someone within UKBA may have the power to vindictively sabotage my wife's future leave to remain in the UK ... not something I have ever feared before in this country. I also don't want my wife to end up being deported to Samoa by mistake!
I reproduce this story at length because it captures the anger and helplessness experienced when you become ensnared in a system that is flawed, contemptuous of individual needs and entirely pointless.
Eighties flops 'would now easily pass maths A-level': Cameron warns of falling British exam standards
Students who would have failed A-level maths 20 years ago are now being awarded Bs and Cs thanks to `dumbing down' under Labour, David Cameron has claimed. The warning from the Tory leader came as he appointed Carol Vorderman, former co-host of Countdown, as his adviser on how to improve numeracy. He said there was an `apartheid' opening up between independent schools and the best state schools, which offer rigorous tuition and examination, and failing state schools.
Mr Cameron unveiled plans to allow state schools to follow leading independents and ditch GCSEs and A-levels and offer alternatives such as the international GCSE. He said he wanted to see every school become an academy because `revolutionary change' was required to make Britain's schools the best in the world. Basic numeracy, he insisted, was not `nice to have, it's a must-have'.
Improving standards in maths, he said, was crucial to ensure Britain emerged stronger from the recession. But he said it was clear there was a maths 'problem' in Britain and the record on GCSE maths was 'not good enough'. He said: 'Almost half of 16-year-olds taking GCSE are getting less than a Grade C and that is a problem because maths is not only vital for life in terms of the jobs everyone does and the bills we pay and all of that, but maths is also vital for other subjects. 'If you want to do well in economics or do well in science, it is really important. 'Countries with more mathematicians do better and we are sliding down the maths league tables in the world.'
Experts at Durham University had found shown that pupils who would have received a U grade in maths A-level in 1988 received a B/C in 2006. 'Our exams are dumbing down, so we have got some real problems,' Mr Cameron said, adding that many maths teachers did not now even hold a degree in the subject. He also highlighted figures indicating that the poorest children are faring particularly badly at maths. Of pupils who received free school meals, around 60% - 44,368 - received a D or below at GCSE in the subject last year. By comparison, information from parliamentary questions showed that just 3,312 achieved an A or A .
'I think the answer will lie, rather like with reading, where we said you have got to get back to rigorous teaching methods, teaching synthetic phonics, absolutely the vowel sounds and the letters, so you can decode the words,' Mr Cameron said. 'I suspect the same is happening in maths, we are not persevering enough with some of the pure concepts and the pure building blocks of maths and we are dumbing it down and I think that is a terrible mistake.'
Mr Cameron said Miss Vorderman had agreed to examine teaching methods, how to address people's 'fear' of maths, and whether tests have got easier. The TV presented said that in the last ten years, 3.5m children had finished school without a basic maths qualification. 'Maths is critically important to the future of this country but Britain is falling behind the best performing countries,' she said. 'If children are to get the best jobs in the future and Britain is to emerge stronger from the recession we have little choice but to sort maths out now. There are many centres of excellence and many fabulous teachers but help is needed for the children being failed.'
Schools Minister Jim Knight insisted the gap between the poorest and the rest in GCSE achievement was "narrowing year on year". The Government was also introducing specialist maths teachers in every school. 'The latest major international study last year showed that we are leading Europe in maths and have risen 11 places in world league tables since 2003 to 7th place,' Mr Knight said. 'While Labour is rolling out catch-up support for seven year olds at risk of falling behind in maths, David Cameron's policy is to wait until children are 11 and force those who don't make the grade to resit their last year of primary school. 'This is a recipe for chaos and bigger class sizes which has been condemned by teachers and parents and I hope Carol Vorderman's review will reject it too.'