She wants rape prosecutions to be initiated on a quota basis rather than on the basis of the evidence! Too bad for you if you get falsely accused when the quota for the month has not been met! Putting a person on trial for rape can have a catastrophic effect on a person's life even if they are cleared at the end of the trial. There have been ample examples of that. Britain does put some false accusers in jail but it has to be pretty blatant for that to happen. When the man is cleared, the false accuser usually just walks away. The story of two recent false accusers and the damage the resultant prosecutions did here and here
Harriet Harman has vetoed a review of the rape laws at the eleventh hour, complaining that the proposals fail to address the concerns of women.
Labour’s deputy leader used her position as Gordon Brown’s stand-in to demand a more radical overhaul of the law, such as targets for prosecutors and police to secure more convictions. She has the backing of Vera Baird, the Solicitor-General, but Jack Straw, the Justice Secretary and Alan Johnson, the Home Secretary, do not want to widen the terms of reference and the review has been postponed.
Ms Harman has been standing in for the Prime Minister since he left for a summer break last week. Her duties include chairing a Downing Street meeting to finalise Government announcements. According to Whitehall officials, she tore up plans to begin a study of the rape laws after clashing with civil servants. “There’s been a bit of a kerfuffle over the substance,” said one. “It’s been looked at again.”
Ms Harman was due to appear at No 10 today, but officials were forced to issue a statement confirming that the review had been delayed.
Campaigners say that women face a culture of disbelief and delayed responses from police, which can mean vital evidence being lost, and that more training is required to ensure that rape is treated as a serious crime.
They also suggest that juries need more guidance. Research has found that many believe that if a women did not do everything to fight off her attacker, or if she had been drinking, she was complicit. However, a Home Office source said: “We have to be realistic about what is possible given where we are in the electoral cycle.”
Ms Harman has already clashed with John Prescott, her predecessor, over her suggestion at the weekend that Labour should never again have an all-male leadership team. She also suggested that the banks would have avoided reckless lending if they had had more women on their boards.
There has been tension with Lord Mandelson, the Business Secretary, who has tried to limit the effects on companies of her equality legislation.
Escape to freedom via underside of immigration agents' bus...
More of that famous British bureaucratic efficiency. They are just there to collect their pay. They don't give a hoot about the job they are supposed to do
British immigration agents in France inspecting border controls at a bottleneck for clandestine crossings were left red-faced Monday as a stowaway hidden under the chassis of their bus escaped to freedom.
The employees of the UK Border Agency, which has responsibility for immigration into England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, were blissfully unaware of their extra passenger load as they drove through the Channel tunnel.
It was only when they arrived in Folkestone, on the southern English coast, from Coquelles, that they noticed their intrepid, but uninvited fellow traveller slipping out from his hiding-place wedged near the bus's fuel tank.
The migrant, who managed to climb on board their hired vehicle at Dover, which is by the English entrance to the tunnel, managed to scarper without being apprehended, according to a spokeswoman for the interior ministry.
A full investigation is now underway, she said.
Britain says it prevented 28,000 attempted entries onto its territories in 2008. [28,000! My! That's impressive. What about the half million whom the British courts have told to go home but who just stay on in Britain regardless? THAT'S tough enforcement for you! I wonder why we are not mentioning those?]
What a muddle! The latest British immigration proposals
No mention of illegals, apparently. As far as one can make sense of them, the proposals seem to be aimed at Indians -- but few Indians are accepted as legal immigrants anyway. One therefore gets the impression that the guff below applies both to legal and illegal immigrants!
Immigrants are to be given instructions on how to claim benefits as their first step in a new life in Britain. They will be told to attend ‘orientation days’ at which they will be given information including their right to claim handouts, according to plans published by ministers yesterday.
The instructions were set out in a Home Office paper on how immigrants will in future be asked to qualify for a British passport by earning points and credits. At present those allowed entry into Britain gain citizenship almost automatically after five years.
Among the ideas put forward by Home Secretary Alan Johnson is that migrants should be encouraged to return to their home countries to stem a Third World brain drain. Immigration Minister Phil Woolas said: ‘There are clear risks in depriving developing countries of people and skills they badly need. Government needs to do more to maximise the positive impacts on the developing world and mitigate the negative.’
Possible schemes include allowing workers or students into Britain for just two years before they take their new skills back home.
Ministers also backed a system of ‘circular migration’ in which those who come to the UK will be offered incentives for ‘temporary or permanent return to the country of origin’. Those who opt to return home would be able to travel to live in Britain whenever they choose. They could also progress towards UK citizenship by undertaking development work at home.
Outlining the planned system for migrants to win points that would speed up their progress to citizenship, the paper suggests tougher language and history tests. Those who commit serious crime would be barred from British citizenship. Those guilty of anti-social behaviour – including showing ‘disregard for UK values’ – would lose points.
Mr Woolas said the points test ‘establishes the principle that British citizenship is a privilege that must be earned, providing mechanisms to speed up or slow down the journey towards settlement.’ The plans won support from the all-party Balanced Migration group of MPs.
Its leaders, Labour’s Frank Field and Tory Nicholas Soames, said: ‘This is a welcome step forward. ‘We will never get our popula-tion under control if we continue to allow almost automatic settlement for all economic migrants. ‘There must be a limit for the number of new citizens otherwise the population will continue to grow.’
Sir Andrew Green of the Migrationwatch pressure group said: ‘After years of denial, the Government has at last recognised that immigration is the main component of population growth. ‘These reforms would break the virtually automatic link between work permits and settlement. It’s an important step forward as it will allow us to draw on foreign skills without adding to our population.’
Matthew Elliott of the Tax- Payers’ Alliance said of the ‘orientation days’: ‘We should welcome people to Britain to work hard in the best traditions of entrepreneurship and innovation, not with tutorials on how to claim as many benefits as possible.’
Britain's grade-school marking bungles continue
Key Stage 2 test papers sent back for remarking by primary schools
Thousands of primary school national curriculum test papers have been sent back by schools for re-marking, The Times has discovered. Teachers’ leaders say that hundreds of schools have complained, but that the extent of the problem is even wider and that the standard of marking should be investigated by Ofqual, the exams regulator.
National results for the Key Stage 2 tests, which were taken by about 600,000 11-year-olds, will be released today although individual schools already know how their pupils have done. Heads and teachers plan to boycott the tests next year amid accusations that they restrict the curriculum and damage children’s learning.
More than 100 schools have contacted one teaching union to say that they have returned papers. Head teachers believe that many more have done the same without contacting their unions.
The National Association of Head Teachers, which represents 85 per cent of primary school head teachers, said that “considerable numbers” of its members had complained about standards of marking since Edexcel returned the test papers last month.
Mick Brookes, the general secretary, said: “There have been particular concerns about the quality of marking in the writing papers. This affects the overall score in English. There is an average 17 percentage point difference between standards in writing and reading among the same children taught by the same teachers. “Either reading has been marked too high or writing has been marked too low. Wherever we go, people are particularly incandescent about the quality of marking of writing. “We want Ofqual to find out how many schools have appealed. We think the ones who have contacted us could be the tip of the iceberg.”
The Liberal Democrats predicted that today’s figures would show that the number of children leaving primary school unable to read or write, since Labour came to power, would pass 500,000.
Formerly called SATs, the tests in English, maths and science are taken at the end of a child’s primary school education and are used to judge how much each child has improved since they started at the school. The results are then used to rank schools. Many teachers and some parents want the tests for 11-year-olds to be abolished. Key Stage 3 tests, which were sat by 14-year-olds, were abolished last year after problems with marking resulted in the loss and delayed return of millions of papers taken by both age groups.
An inquiry discovered that ETS Europe, the company responsible for setting and marking the tests, had a huge backlog of unanswered e-mails and phone calls and that there were unresolved problems with the online marking system. The £156 million contract with ETS, which was to run for five years, was severed in its first year and Ken Boston resigned as head of the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, the government agency responsible for overseeing the tests.
Last year’s chaos saw about 200,000 papers returned for re-marking, four times the number sent back in 2007. These included the Key Stage 3 test results and Key Stage 2 science tests, both of which were abolished this year, making comparisons difficult.
This year’s tests were administered by Edexcel, the exam board that was also responsible for them between 2005 and 2007. Two of the biggest teaching unions have voted to disrupt next year’s tests if the Government does not accede to their demands.
Kathleen Tattersall, chairman of Ofqual, said it would investigate this year’s marking. She added: “I’m pleased that, this year, 99.9 per cent of results have been received by schools on time. Following the problems experienced last year, the timely delivery of results will be welcomed by schools, parents and pupils. “Ofqual is continuing to monitor the quality control of the marking of this year’s papers and we will be listening to schools about any concerns that they might have. Building on research already done, we will do some further work into the marking quality of this year’s tests.”
Diana Johnson, the Schools Minister, said: “We know that 163,000 more pupils have gained at least a Level 3 in English, and 183,000 in maths, than if school standards had remained the same as in 1997. This means that thousands more children have started secondary school with a firm foundation in the basics.”
Jeremy Clarkson mentions the war
Popularity protects him. He is a breath of fresh air amid Britain's stifling political correctness.
"Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson and Germans go together in much the same way that petrol and naked flames don’t. So when the controversial host announced he had prepared his own spoof ad for the launch of the new Volkswagon Scirocco, the BBC prepared for the worst. And the worst it got - scores of complaints from outraged viewers after Clarkson lauded the VW’s ability to go from “Berlin to Warsaw in one tank”.
More than 6.7 million viewers watched Clarkson’s “ad”, in which panicked Warsaw citizens fled the city, rushing to board buses and trains as sirens warned of the approaching Germans.
The reference to Adolf Hitler’s invasion of Poland that triggered World War II has sparked a storm of debate in the UK and Europe, with onlookers struggling to decide whether Clarkson’s ad was tasteless or just a bit of fun.
Clarkson has made a name for himself as a spokesman of Britain’s un-PC brigade, and it isn’t the first time he’s had fun at the expense of Germany’s wartime atrocities. In 2005, he said a German-made Mini’s indicators should go up and down while mimicking a Nazi salute and that the car should have a GPS system “that only goes to Poland”.
A spokeswoman for the show told Britain’s Daily Mail it had only received a handful of complaints but national broadcast watchdog Ofcom figures are understood to be higher when they are released tomorrow.
The Volkswagon Scirocco episode was the last in the current series. The BBC has confirmed the hugely popular show will return.
"Don't mention the war" is politically correct in Britain but the saying actually comes from an hilarious episode of the famous BBC comedy "Fawlty Towers", featuring the inimitable John Cleese.
More British government bungling: "Life-saving vehicles built to withstand Taliban roadside bombs have been stranded in Dubai for the past month because the RAF does not have enough planes to fly them into Afghanistan, it can be disclosed. The problem is set to grow with 50 of the 157 ordered Ridgbacks scheduled to arrive in Dubai by November. During the bloodiest month for British soldiers in Helmand province, where 22 died and an estimated 100 were wounded, nine £300,000 Ridgback vehicles were left on the tarmac at Al Minhad airbase outside Dubai, The Daily Telegraph has learned. The Ridgbacks, which offer protection against mines, are a four-wheeled version of the robust six-wheeled Mastiff that has saved numerous lives in Afghanistan. They were ordered principally to replace the vulnerable Snatch Land Rover, in which 37 soldiers have been killed. During the time that the Ridgbacks have been held up in Dubai a number of soldiers have been killed in less-protected vehicles such as the Jackal, Viking and Spartan. The stranded vehicles were left in the Middle East as the RAF committed its C17 Globemaster aircraft to removing British equipment from Iraq. RAF commanders are also furious over a “ridiculous” ruling that the armour and protection fitted to the vehicles was “UK Eyes Only”, which means they are not allowed to go on allied aircraft shuttling out of the airbase."