Thursday, July 23, 2009

Hooray! Another lying bitch goes to jail

This is one aspect of British law that it pretty good. They do jail women for false rape claims -- though not long enough in my view. The woman should serve the same time that a man would have got

A mother was jailed for two years yesterday for crying rape against a man she met on a dating website. Jennifer Day, 34, who made the false allegation against former boyfriend Andrew Saxby after a row, was told by the judge that she had undermined efforts to treat genuine rape victims fairly and sympathetically.

The court also heard that Mr Saxby was subjected to 'degrading and upsetting' examinations while being held by police for ten hours. Judge Ian Graham said the investigation had wasted £4,000 of taxpayers' money and 270 police man hours.

He added: 'The police have put great stores on providing sympathetic treatments of women who make genuine complaints of rape and you abused that. 'You have undermined and jeopardised the efforts that are being made about the need to treat genuine victims of rape properly, fairly and sympathetically. 'The offence is in itself a serious one, it has terrible consequences potentially and actually for the victim and wider implications for those women who have genuinely been raped.'

Day, a former nurse, from Corringham, Essex, split up with the father of her four-year-old daughter in 2007 after he had an affair with their lodger, Basildon Crown Court heard. She began drinking heavily to cope with the rejection and using dating websites. In September 2007 she met Mr Saxby, who worked for the Ford car company, through the Dating Direct website.

They began a relationship, but the court heard that she was also seeing another man. In January last year, the couple rowed after Mr Saxby accused her of having another man at her home. Afterwards, Day dialled 999 and accused Mr Saxby of rape. He was arrested in front of his colleagues and taken to the police station.

Judge Graham said: 'It was an extraordinary performance which involved deliberate untruths as the jury found.' The court heard that Mr Saxby was released without charge after Day dropped the allegation, although she still maintained it was true. She was found guilty of one count of perverting the course of justice last month.

During the trial, the court heard how Day had a history of making up stories. The jury was told that while working at Royal London Hospital in East London as a nurse, she suffered stress-related hair loss and led her colleagues to believe it was cancer.

Rebecca Lee, mitigating, said Day had been under a lot of strain following the break-up of her relationship with the father of her daughter. She said: 'She got involved with dating websites and going out when her daughter was staying with her former partner, going out to pubs and engaging in what she would call risky behaviour and behaving totally out of character.' Day apologised unreservedly for the allegation, the court heard.

But the judge rejected calls to suspend the sentence. 'Mr Saxby is a completely respectable man who had formed a relationship with you and had shown considerable affection and kindness of the kind you said you craved,' he said. 'His reward was to be the subject of this completely false complaint.'

Day burst into tears as she was taken down to the cells.


Charity, private schools and the public benefit in Britain

Private schools in Britain have traditionally been regarded as charities and been given certain tax exemptions as a result. The Labour government hates private schools so is trying to end those concessions. The hatchetwoman is the aptly-named Dame Suzy Leather, who herself had a privileged education but wants to deny that to as many others as possible

It's entirely possible to argue with a straight face that private schools damage the nation. I may disagree with you, think your contention that everyone should be forced into the failing State sector absurd, but that would be my opinion, not an objective fact thrown up by the universe to frustrate you.

However, if we were to try and discuss the costs and benefits of there being a private school sector, we would at least agree that parents paying more money to have their children educated, money over and above the taxes they have already paid the State to educate their children, is a public benefit. No? Saving the State billions which it can spend upon other things is indeed a public benefit? Sure, maybe it's one we might need to offset against other things, but it is a benefit? Not, apparently, if you are the Charities Commission:
David Lyscom, the chief executive of the Independent Schools Council, has tried, without success, to convince Leather that billions of pounds of taxpayers’ money that is saved by schools educating children privately is a “public benefit” in itself.

However, this is not the worst of what the Commission is no doing as it looks at the charitable status of all those private schools. This is:
The commission have not told us what the test we have to pass is.

When a bureaucracy will not tell you what the law is, when they insist that everything is simply to be left to their discretion, then we have left the rule of law far behind. Indeed, I would argue that in this situation we have left the governance methods of a civilised society far behind.

Apologies for my fundamentalism in such matters but just as I'm sure there are both costs and benefits to having a private school system (and on net, benefits) there are also costs and benefits to having a Charities Commission. If such Commission is going to start using Kafka as an operations manual then, on net, we'd be better off without it. Abolish it and force Dame Suzi Leather to work for a living for a change.


British Hospital to face second inquiry after damning report

An NHS hospital is to be scrutinised in a second official inquiry after a report found that “appalling” emergency care led to patients dying needlessly. Andy Burnham, the Health Secretary, said that current and former staff would be expected to co-operate with the independent inquiry into Stafford Hospital.

In March an investigation by the Healthcare Commission condemned “appalling” and “shocking” standards of care at the hospital, run by Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust. Between 400 and 1,200 more people died than would have been expected in a three-year period, and a lack of nursing staff was said to have contributed to poor patient care.

Despite two additional Department of Health reviews, campaigners and nursing unions have called for a public inquiry to analyse what part Government targets played in the failings. Mr Burnham said that the new inquiry would be chaired by Robert Francis, QC, a leading clinical negligence lawyer, who will hear evidence from patients and families and identify lessons for the future.

The inquiry was announced as part of measures to tackle “exceptional failures” in foundation trusts, which have a degree of independence from the Department of Health and control most NHS hospitals in the country. The Government said that if the chairman considered it necessary to require witnesses to attend, the Secretary of State would take the necessary steps to ensure this happened.

Andrew Lansley, the Shadow Health Secretary, said that the inquiry would not go far enough. “This independent inquiry could play a part in renewing public confidence but not to the same extent as a public inquiry,” he said. “While I welcome the acknowledgement that individual cases have not been given a sufficient hearing, other critical issues have been sidelined. The terms of reference neither scrutinise the role of the Department of Health nor the impact of the Government’s policies.”

Last week Antony Sumara was appointed as chief executive of Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust, while Sir Stephen Moss was appointed as chairman. Former chief executive Martin Yeates resigned in March, along with the chairman, Toni Brisby, before the damning report was published. [They should both be prosecuted for murder]


BBC executive says corporation should foster 'left-of-centre thinking'

A senior BBC executive has claimed that the corporation should foster "left-of-centre thinking", leading to accusations of political bias from the Conservatives. Ben Stephenson, the controller of BBC drama commissioning, said that the corporation should encourage "peculiarity, idiosyncrasy, stubborn-mindedness, left-of-centre thinking."

According to its own royal charter, the BBC must "be independent in all matters concerning the content of its output".

Jeremy Hunt, the shadow culture secretary, said: "What Ben Stephenson said was a clear breach of the BBC's impartiality obligations. "No journalist or editor should be following a political agenda, let alone someone as senior as a controller." Mr Hunt said that he had written to Mark Thompson, the BBC Director General, "asking for an immediate retraction and apology".

Peter Whittle, the director of The New Culture Forum, a right-leaning think tank, said: "The political slant in the non-news output of the BBC is for many harder to detect but is actually far more insidious and damaging in the effect it has on our cultural drift."

Mr Stephenson made the comments in a newspaper article in which he responded to criticism from Tony Garnett, a television producer, who accused the BBC's drama department of changing "in ways which have coarsened both it and wider culture." He wrote: "If we didn't all think differently, have different ideas of what works and what doesn't, wouldn't our lives, and more importantly, our TV screens be less interesting? We need to foster peculiarity, idiosyncrasy, stubborn-mindedness, left-of-centre thinking."

He later denied that he had meant the comment to have a political meaning. "Like 'left-field', it is a phrase that I use with frequency when talking to the creative community to encourage them to develop and approach their ideas from a completely new perspective," he said.

A BBC source said that executives believed that their casting of Boris Johnson, the Conservative Mayor of London, in an episode of EastEnders, proved that they did not have a left-wing bias.

Meanwhile, a report yesterday said that the licence fee should be shared with other broadcasters, because the BBC was failing to fulfil its public service remit. The paper, by Frank Field MP and David Rees, argued that the licence fee should be put in the hands of a new independent commissioning body. Broadcasters, including the BBC, would then pitch ideas for public service programmes to the body and be awarded funding accordingly. BBC One, BBC Three, Radio 1 and Radio 2 should all be put up for sale, it added.


A very pointed question recently asked in Britain's House of Commons

An email from the skeptical Peter Lilley [], an economist and energy analyst who is also a member of Parliament on behalf of the Conservative party:

The Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change (Edward Miliband): "Today’s debate is held at an appropriate time — a week after the 17 countries of the Major Economies Forum met in L’Aquila in Italy and accepted the long-held scientific consensus that we should seek to prevent dangerous climate change above 2° C…"

Peter Lilley: "The average temperature in Cornwall is more than 2° C higher than the average temperature in the north-east of England. Is it really dangerous for someone to move from Newcastle to Cornwall? Would it be dangerous if the north-east of England became as warm as Cornwall? Would it be dangerous if Cornwall became as warm as the Loire valley? That is what a 2° C increase would involve."

See Cols 462 & 482 of Hansard for 16th July

‘Low carbon’ is code for low ambitions

The UK’s new climate change plan shows how the green ethos is used to add a gloss of respectability to economic and visionary failure

Given its isolation, unpopularity and dysfunctional relationship with ‘the vision thing’, it seems highly unlikely that Gordon Brown’s government is capable of starting a revolution. Yet that, apparently, is what it did yesterday.

Ed Miliband, the UK climate change secretary, unveiled the government’s plans for cutting carbon emissions in the UK by 34 per cent by 2020 and by 80 per cent by 2050. In the fields of manufacturing, energy production, transport and housing, revealed Miliband in 650 pages of shiny manifestos and strategy documents, carbon-use will be slashed. Commentators were overjoyed, describing it as ‘nothing less than a green industrial revolution’, which might rank as ‘one of the most important moments in British economic history’ (1).

Steady on. There is nothing remotely revolutionary about Miliband’s plans. And the only sense in which they are historic is that they represent – albeit in a coded, PC fashion – Britain’s disavowal of its own industrial history and its final embrace of the slow life, low ambitions and the realities of economic failure. Miliband’s vision, or rather anti-vision, reveals what the politics of low carbon is really all about: accommodating to the economic downturn and to the dearth of big plans for the future.

Where growing and aspirational nations like China and India produce carbon – which is simply the byproduct of large-scale energy production and manufacturing – sluggish and increasingly insignificant nations like Britain produce less carbon, or no carbon, or now, in the words of Miliband, ‘low carbon’: codeword for a nation that isn’t doing very much at all. Miliband’s plans expose how the green ethos can be used to add a gloss of respectability to already-existing economic and visionary failure.

In many ways, the documents published by Miliband yesterday represented a bizarre celebration of Britain’s slowdown, particularly in manufacturing, over the past 15 to 20 years. In the kind of green lingo that excites officials and commentators, Miliband effectively boasted about the fact that Britain is producing and building fewer tangible things today than it was in 1990. He outlined how New Labour has committed Britain to cutting carbon emissions by 34 per cent on 1990 levels by 2020, and then said we are already more than half way to achieving that goal. ‘We’ve already achieved around a 21 per cent cut since 1990’, his factsheet said, ‘[which is the] equivalent of cutting emissions entirely from four cities the size of London’ (2).

But it is deeply disingenuous to present a 21 per cent fall in carbon emissions since 1990, the equivalent of getting rid of four Londons, as a product of some conscious, profound desire to rein in carbon-use and make the nation cleaner. Such a reduction in emissions was not brought about by the erection of a few windfarms off the south coast of England or the introduction of bin-monitoring recycling policies in the cities; more fundamentally, it reflects the contraction of manufacturing in Britain and the creeping replacement of a one-time productive economy with a services-based economy, aspects of which are not productive at all (especially the financial services sector).

Over the same period now presented by Miliband as the Glorious Era of Low Carbon, the British economy underwent huge changes. In 1986, manufacturing made up around 21 per cent of British economic activity; today it accounts for only 13 per cent. At the same time, the service side of the economy grew enormously: in 1975 services accounted for 55 per cent of British GDP; today they account for 75 per cent (3).

The post-1990 fall in carbon emissions, the effective winding down of four cities, was brought about by the closure of the remaining coalpits, the shutting up of factories, the export of car manufacturing overseas (most notoriously, with the sale of MG Rover Group for a song to Nanjing Automobile Group in 2005), and so on. All that the 21 per cent reduction in CO2 really tells us, in any meaningful sense, is that Britain is producing less real stuff today; it has fewer and fewer workers whose job is to create real, tangible things and who in the process emit the byproduct of carbon. A services-based economy tends to be ‘cleaner’ than a manufacturing-based economy. Miliband is cynically presenting manufacturing downturn, and all the job losses and city and community deprivation that go along with it, as a brilliant central-government strategy to ‘clean up Britain’ (4).

When it comes to planning for the future, Miliband’s documents show how ‘building a low-carbon Britain’ is justification for ditching big plans. Between now and 2020, when 34 per cent of CO2 emissions will have been cut, Miliband envisages that a whopping 50 per cent of that cut will be in the ‘power and heavy industry’ sector, compared with 20 per cent in transport, 15 per cent in homes, 10 per cent in workplaces, and five per cent in agriculture (5). It is striking, and also rather predictable, that the climate change secretary of a nation that was once the ‘workshop of the world’ but which now carries out less and less manufacturing should envision the biggest fall in CO2 emissions taking place in heavy industry. What he really means is that fewer things will be done in that area in the next 10, 20 or 30 years; but, rather than seeing that as a potential problem he celebrates it as part of the process of creating a new kind of world-beating low-carbon nation.

There is a glaring contradiction in some of Miliband’s plans. He opportunistically celebrates the lower carbon levels that have fundamentally resulted from the sclerosis of properly productive activity, yet doesn’t realise that such sclerosis is likely to impact even on his low-carbon plans. For example, in order to cut CO2 emissions in the energy sector, Miliband proposes building vastly more windfarms and new nuclear power stations (he can keep his windfarms, but more nuclear is a very good idea). However, earlier this year Vestas, the wind turbine manufacturer, closed its major factory on the Isle of Wight, with the loss of 600 jobs, and cited lack of investment and too much red tape in planning procedures as the main problem (6). In response to Miliband’s nuclear proposals, energy companies have complained that, actually, Britain is not conducive to big building projects right now, because everything gets tied up in endless judicial reviews and public consultations (7).

In short, Britain’s general lack of manufacturing-based productivity has made the country ‘cleaner’, yes, but it has also made it far harder to get anything done. A lack of investment in manufacturing and big build projects has lowered carbon, but it has also lowered the chances of making things happen speedily and effectively. The irony is too much: Britain is low carbon because it produces less stuff, and it is that very lack of productivity that might hamper some of Miliband’s plans to make Britain even more low carbon, for example by building new nuclear power stations.

In transport and house-building, too, the low-carbon approach has clearly become a way of presenting the death of vision as something wonderful. Yesterday the minister for transport, Lord Adonis, spelt out his vision for a low-carbon transport system: his plan is not to overhaul roads, build more motorways or lay down vastly more railtracks, but rather to play around with the vehicles that travel on the already-existing creaking infrastructure. So he will introduce tougher regulation of cars that emit a lot of CO2, perhaps taxing their drivers more than others, and will spend £250million on customer incentives designed to promote electric cars. He also wants to create ‘sustainable travel cities’: places where people travel by foot or by bike (8). Here, Britain’s lack of transport vision, its abandonment of road-building and infrastructure investment over the past 10 to 15 years, is re-presented as part of the big, conscious plan for a low-carbon future.

In housing, where 10 per cent of the planned CO2 cuts will happen between now and 2020, there is not nearly enough talk of building the millions of new homes that Britain needs. Instead there is a headline focus on monitoring how we all live in the homes we have right now. One plan is to put ‘smart electricity meters’ in 26million homes, so that we can measure how much energy we’re using: those who use small amounts will be rewarded with financial incentives. This is probably what Lord Mandelson meant yesterday, when he said the big low-carbon project would ‘reshape our lives’ (9).

The Miliband plan reveals something profound about the politics of environmentalism: it justifies, even celebrates, underdevelopment and lack of investment in infrastructure, but in the dishonest language of ‘low carbon’ and ‘cleaner futures’. This is the opposite of revolutionary. Indeed, the government’s adoption of a new language that effectively heralds Britain’s position as a slow, meek and visionless nation is, in many ways, the final nail in the coffin of the industrial revolution that gave birth to modern Britain.


Cheating Saudi princess granted asylum

This is one immigration decision with which I heartily agree. There are SOME genuinely threatened refugees

A SAUDI princess who fell pregnant during an affair with a British man has been granted asylum in the UK after she claimed she could face the death penalty if she went home. A British court granted refugee status to the young woman, who is married to a member of the Saudi royal family, after she told the judge her adultery made her liable to death by stoning in Saudi Arabia, The Independent newspaper reports.

A spokeswoman for the Home Office in London refused to confirm the report, saying it did not comment on individual cases.

According to the newspaper, the princess - who was granted anonymity by the court - is one of a small number of citizens of Saudi Arabia who claim asylum in Britain but whose cases are not openly acknowledged by either government. Recognition by the British Government would be viewed as criticism of human rights in Saudi Arabia, which would embarrass both sides, it said.

The princess reportedly met her English boyfriend, who is not a Muslim, during a visit to London. She became pregnant the following year and returned to Britain to have the baby in secret.

Since then her family has broken off contact with her, and she persuaded a court that if she returned home then both she and her child would be subject to capital punishment under Sharia law, namely flogging and stoning to death.


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