Thursday, March 26, 2009

Criticism of homosexuality to become illegal in Britain

The British Leftist government is very Fascistic with its ever expanding speech restrictions:
"The government has defeated an amendment in the House of Commons that would have created a defence of "free speech" in a bill that is designed to criminalise incitement of hatred in relation to sexual orientation.

Campaigners including the Blackadder star Rowan Atkinson and the gay actor Christopher Biggins had argued that the clause relating to hatred in the Coroners and Justice Bill could limit freedom of expression and could lead to prosecutions over gay "jokes".

The Coroners and Justice Bill is being used to remove an amendment to legislation passed last year that allowed the "discussion or criticism" of sexual practices last year. The amendment that was defeated today by 154 votes, would have effectively re-instated the defence of free speech.

Labour MP for Leicestershire North West, David Taylor said his proposals would have made it clear that "discussion or criticism of sexual conduct is not caught by the homophobia law"....

Justice minister Bridget Prentice said that banning gay hate speech would protect victims of threatening behaviour. But that it would be applied in a reasonable way so that someone expressing concerns about homosexuality "do not need to fear that they will be caught by the criminal law." [If that is so, why not include it in the law?]

Last week, the Blackadder star Rowan Atkinson warned a House of Lords committee that the government risked creating a culture of "censoriousness" by removing free speech.... "I do not believe that legislation of such a censorious nature as that of hate speech, carrying as it does the risk of a seven-year jail sentence for saying the wrong thing in the wrong way, can ever by justified merely by the desire to ‘send the right message’."

He cited Christian groups as being "particularly concerned" the law will be used against them, adding that "heavy-handed police intervention" had been used before in instances of groups condemning gays and lesbians.


This may not get through the Lords. The House of Lords has in the past shown itself to be the last bastion of defence for traditional English liberties.

Six die as vulnerable patients 'failed' by 'appalling' NHS

Six vulnerable people died in NHS care in a system which has demonstrated a litany of "significant and distressing failures", an official report has concluded. One man died as a result of failings in his care and it is likely that a second man's death could have been avoided, the Health Service and Local Government Ombudsmen ruled. Patients with learning difficulties were treated less favourably than others, resulting in "prolonged suffering and inappropriate care", their report said.

When their relatives complained about the care given to their loved ones, they were left "drained and demoralised and with a feeling of hopelessness".

The charity Mencap said the conclusions were a "damning indictment" that confirmed an "appalling catalogue of neglect". The investigation was launched after Mencap made a complaint on behalf of the families of six vulnerable people who died in NHS or local authority care between 2003 and 2005.

The two ombudsmen called for an urgent review of health and social care for those with learning disabilities. They found that Mark Cannon, 30, died as a consequence of public service failure by the Barking, Havering and Redbridge Hospitals NHS Trust and Havering Council in east London. Mr Cannon, of Romford, Essex, was epileptic and had a severe learning difficulty which meant he had very little speech. In June 2003 he broke his leg at a council care home and, despite receiving hospital treatment, died eight weeks later.

The ombudsmen concluded that he had been left in severe pain and great distress for prolonged periods, and was twice discharged from hospital without due concern for his safety. They also upheld a complaint against the Healthcare Commission, finding that the regulator's review of a complaint by Mr Cannon's parents was "unreliable and unsafe".

The report - entitled Six Lives - found it was "likely" that the death of Martin Ryan, 43, another patient with learning disabilities, could have been avoided had his care and treatment not fallen so far below the required standard. Mr Ryan, of Richmond, south west London, who had Down's syndrome and epilepsy, went without food for 26 days while in hospital after suffering a stroke in November 2005.

The Health Service Ombudsman, Ann Abraham, concluded that Kingston Hospital NHS Trust gave him less favourable care because of his disability. She found the failure to feed Mr Ryan for nearly four weeks "undoubtedly placed him at considerable risk of harm".

The investigation also looked at the care given to four other people with learning disabilities whose cases were highlighted in a March 2007 Mencap report called Death By Indifference. Ms Abraham said: "The recurrence of complaints across different agencies leads us to believe that the quality of care in the NHS and social services for people with learning disabilities is at best patchy and at worst an indictment of our society. "Six Lives has highlighted distressing failures in the quality of health and social care services for people with learning disabilities.

Local Government Ombudsman Jerry White added: "Six Lives shows that on many occasions basic policy and guidance were not observed, the needs of people with learning disabilities were not accommodated and services were unco-ordinated."

Mark Goldring, chief executive of Mencap, said: "The ombudsman's reports are a damning indictment of NHS care for people with a learning disability. "They confirm the findings in Mencap's Death by Indifference report of the widespread failure by health professionals to provide the proper level of care and highlight an appalling catalogue of neglect of people with a learning disability."

Care Services Minister Phil Hope said: "Preventable deaths of people with learning disabilities are absolutely unacceptable. "We are taking action to ensure that people with learning disabilities get the equal access to the health care that they deserve."

David Rogers, chairman of the Local Government Association's community wellbeing board, said: "There must be no room for complacency and a relentless focus on attempting to continually improve the services we provide to some of the most vulnerable members of society. "Health and social care organisations are already reviewing the services for those with learning difficulties because they are determined to ensure the needs of these people are put first."


NHS lets down injured solier

Albert Thomson was only six days into the war in Iraq when he lost his left leg after a Warrior armoured vehicle accidentally opened fire on him. He was treated in an NHS hospital in Roehampton and, though he praises the care he receives, he says that the civilian system did not have the right resources. "I was in the same queue as everybody else," he said. "The NHS couldn't supply what I needed."

Eventually he went private, buying a 25,000 pound state-of-the-art prosthetic limb with his insurance money.

He remains self-conscious about his injury, saying: "I wouldn't wear shorts in the UK." He still doesn't like having to exercise in a civilian environment, where he can't hide his amputation. "I wouldn't go to the gym. I feel uncomfortable about it."

He left the Army in 2005, and started a company, Action Amps, that uses amputees in role play to train medics, soldiers and emergency services in how to respond to serious accidents. In January, he won the Radar Disabled Entrepreneur of the Year award.

Mr Thomson, who received compensation from the Ministry of Defence, feels no sense of bitterness. He said: "If it's going to happen to you, it's going to happen."


More than a quarter of England's primary schools have no male teachers

More than a quarter of England's primary schools do not have a single male teacher, it has emerged, with 4,587 school staffrooms populated solely by women. The figures are despite a multi-million pound Government campaign to encourage men back into what is now seen as a "feminine" career. Men also tend to shun working with younger children over fears they will be accused of paedophilia, but experts say it is vital for boys – many of whom do not have a father present at home – to have positive male role models as they grow up.

For many young men, the lack of male teachers at primary school means they do not have regular contact with an adult man until the age of 11, when they go to secondary school.

The figures, released under the Freedom of Information Act, show that more than a quarter of all the 17,357 primary schools in England do not have a single male teacher. Some counties, including Hertfordshire, Derbyshire, Essex, Surrey, Hampshire, Lancashire, Norfolk and Cumbria, have more than 100 primary schools where there is not a single male teacher. Teacher training colleges are still admitting three women for every man, and the men that do train mostly go into secondary education.

The latest revelation follows research by the Government's Training and Development Agency (TDA) that found that almost half of men believed that male primary school teachers had helped their development. Of the 800 adults surveyed, a third had been challenged to work harder because of men in their primary years, while half said they had been more likely to report problems such as bullying to male teachers. The TDA also found that 83 per cent of parents and 76 per cent of boys want more men teaching in primary schools.

But Matthew Friday, a 32-year-old teacher at Ravenstone Primary School in Balham, south London, said parents were still suspicious when a male teacher arrives. "People expect male teachers to fit into one of two stereotypes: sporty and practical or effeminate and 'therefore gay'," he says." I am neither, so I'm in a sort of uneasy third place. People can be suspicious of your motives and feel they need an explanation, which they don't with female teachers."

Tanya Byron, child psychologist and presenter of BBC's Little Angels, believes the Government needs to do more to reverse the decline. She said: "There is a paranoid, over-the-top concern about paedophilia and child molestation – that it is not safe to leave children with men. "Our anxiety does ultimately discriminate against men. This puts men off working in primary schools because they are concerned about how they will be viewed and what parents will think of them. We have to challenge these negative and unhelpful belief systems."

Although a Durham University study recently revealed that the presence of a male teacher does not improve boys' grades – which have fallen significantly below those of girls in recent decades – they are vital for their overall development and to make clear that learning is not a "feminine" virtue. Miss Byron said: "Male primary school teachers can often be stable and reliable figures in the lives of the children that they teach. They inspire children to feel more confident, to work harder and behave better."

Schools Minister Jim Knight insisted the situation was improving. He said: "There has never been a better time to be a teacher with pay at record levels; more support staff than ever before to free them up to focus on the classroom; better facilities; and schools given full power to impose discipline – but we know there is more to do to take on a long-standing and completely false perception among some men that primary schools don't offer as demanding a job as secondary schools. "The Teacher Training and Development Agency's more direct and male-centred recruitment campaigns are helping to get more men in the classroom – and we are starting to see more male applicants come forward in the last year."


EU rules to abolish part-time British firemen

The extension of the European Working Time Directive will force the majority of firefighters, who are part-time, to choose between their day job and covering for the emergency services. Even the time they are on call is calculated by Brussels as part of their working week. Around 90 per cent of Britain is protected by retained firefighters.

The Chief Fire Officers' Association has warned that the Fire Service "could not function effectively" and predicts that 13,200 retained firefighter posts will be regulated out of existence by the EU.

The Conservative Party, which is opposing the change, has predicted that council taxes will also have to rise sharply as local authorities will be forced to pay more permanent rather than part-time staff. The Tories have warned that the tax on band D properties could rise by between £59 to £167-a-year.

Last week the Daily Telegraph reported that patients face a significant increase in waiting times for operations because "insane'' European rules mean doctors' hours will be cut so much by the 48-hour week rule that they will not be able to cope.

Fire chiefs have warned that they too will not be able to cope as they are the only ones in Europe who depend so heavily on part-time workers.

David Dalziel, Secretary of the Chief Fire Officers Association in Scotland, said: "The potential loss of the individual opt-out in the UK would have catastrophic effects." In Scotland there are only 76 full-time stations, compared with 248 part-time.

Mr Dalziel added: "These men and women provide the national resilience and emergency response to natural and man made disaster, major incidents and other emergencies crewing two out of every three fire stations in the country. They hold other jobs in their local communities and also provide around 120 hours availability every week of the year to deliver a local fire and rescue service. Any adverse impact on that would expose this country to an unacceptable level of risk."

Philip Dunne, the Tory MP who chairs the Commons All-Party Parliamentary group on rural services, said that his Shropshire constituency was typical of rural Britain with only three of the 23 stations manned by full-time firefighters.

He said: "This European decision threatens to leave residents of many areas in Britain, particularly rural areas, without fire fighting protection. It's putting lives at risk. The UK is the only country in Europe to have fire protection provided by part-time paid firefighters. So other EU countries are not concerned by this problem."

Caroline Spelman, the Shadow Local Government secretary, said: "This will be yet another blow to rural services. Lives will be put at risk through reduced fire cover, and the fire levy on council tax will have to rise even more."

Glyn Morgan, chief executive of the Fire Officers Association, said: "There is a widespread fear that these EU changes will potentially have an adverse impact on safety and lead to reduced fire cover particularly in remote and rural areas where nearly all the firefighters are retained."

In North Wales there are 550 retained – or part-time – firefighters who hold down full-time jobs while still making themselves available to fight fires in their communities. Dorset has 26 fire stations, but only eight fire engines are manned by full-time crews. The other 33 are manned by retained firefighters, who usually have full-time jobs but spend up to 120 hours a week on call in their homes or workplaces.


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