Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Church of England and Die Judenfrage

I should have mentioned yesterday that the "learned" British judges who ruled that Jews are a race do have on their side one authority who is much respected to this day in academe: Karl Marx. Marx was of course the original self-hating Jew. He was furiously antisemitic. But Marx was a sponger. He rarely earned enough to keep himself and his family so was always "borrowing" money from someone. It was initially his father (Heinrich Marx was a real gentleman, a lovely man. How he ever had such a monster as Karl is hard to imagine) and he was in later years supported by Friedrich Engels out of the proceeds of the Engels family business. One therefore imagines that when he wrote a letter to his Jewish uncle in Holland he had in mind ingratiating himself for future borrowing. The letter was about Marx's excitement over the American civil war and his contempt for Benjamin Disraeli but in the course of his comments about Disraeli he does refer to "our race".

As I briefly touched on in the opening sentence to my post yesterday, I am not wholly unsympathetic to self-hating Jews. It must be appalling to realize that by the accident of your birth you are a member of a widely suspect and even hated group -- regardless of what your personal characteristics might be. Distancing oneself from that could even be a perfectly healthy reaction. But it is when such Jews extend the dislike of their origins to undermining Israel that they really get my goat. Why do they have to be so extreme? Why not simply become an Anglican, as Disraeli did? The Anglicans (Episcopalians in the USA) have lovely buildings, colourful services and the sermons demand nothing and in fact mean nothing at all. Why not just treat it as a pleasant Sunday morning time of relaxation and have a whole new identity to show for it? Many Anglican bishops are barely-disguised atheists so you certainly don't have to believe anything to be an Anglican. It is sometimes said that the only requirement for being an Anglican is good taste.

By the way, "Die Judenfrage" is German for "The Jewish Question" and is an expression used by both Karl Marx and Adolf Hitler so there is an allusion to history in the title I chose yesterday and today. It is actually a bit of a tease. Any stray Leftist coming by my writings would expect something antisemitic under that title -- but, as you can see, such an expectation would have been disappointed.

In my peculiar position as a atheist with an interest in religious matters, I take a continued interest not only in Jews but also in the Church of England. And I have recently put up on my Paralipomena blog an article by a Church of England bishop that makes doleful reading. He notes the steady decline in adherents to his church and suspects that his church will not exist at all in 30 years' time. But he has no real answer to that problem. So will the Church of England eventually disappear up its own backside? I think not. The problem, as I see it, is that they have somehow become dominated by dress-up queens. People go there for a show rather than for a boost to faith.

But amid such desecration of a great heritage, real faith does survive in patches. The Sydney diocese is the most vivid proof of that. Their churches are full and their seminary is overflowing with people with a religious vocation. So how do they do it? Simple. They have returned to their roots. The original faith of the New Testament is a mightily powerful one and the closer you get to that the more empowered you will be. And the 39 "Articles of Religion" that were the original definition of Anglicanism are a very powerful expression of early Protestant faith -- a faith that was very Bible-based. So my expectation is that the show-ponies of Anglicanism will wither away eventually and a core of real believers will remain.

They may even evangelize. Priests ordained in Sydney already do. They go into neighbouring dioceses and set up "Family Churches", much to the irritation of the local bishops. The Sydney priests end up having more people in their pews than the local Bishop does! So the vitality is there if you drink from the waters of the original New Testament faith. The knowalls may dismiss such faith as "old-fashioned" and "irrelevant to the modern world" but it still has a great power to bring blessings to its people.

British doctors want right to pray for patients without fear of reprisal

Doctors are calling for the legal right to be allowed to pray alongside their patients. The British Medical Association is to debate whether the threat of disciplinary action should be lifted from NHS staff who try to meet patients' spiritual or religious needs. There has been concern among doctors and nurses that even offering to talk about such matters could be grounds for suspension.

Guidance issued by the Department of Health in a document called Religion Or Belief: A Practice Guide For The NHS has fuelled anxieties. It says such requests could be seen as harassment or intimidation and could lead to staff being disciplined.

Cancer specialist Dr Bernadette Birtwhistle, of the Christian Medical Fellowship, said the debate on Wednesday at the BMA's annual meeting in Liverpool would clarify how doctors and other staff could provide spiritual care for patients. She said: 'It's getting to where many of us feel we cannot talk to patients about their spiritual or religious needs or ask them about praying. 'Christianity is being seen as something that is unhelpful. 'Freedom of speech is being curtailed too much, and I don't think it is always in the benefit of patients.'

The move follows the case last year of nurse Caroline Petrie, from Westonsuper-Mare last year, who was suspended after a patient complained that she had offered to pray for her. North Somerset NHS Trust agreed she could return to work and pray for patients as long as she asked them first if they had any spiritual needs.

The Department of Health guidance states that members of some religions are expected to convert other people. It adds: 'To avoid misunderstandings and complaints, it should be made clear to everyone from the first day of training or employment that such behaviour could be construed as harassment under the disciplinary and grievance procedures.'

Dr Hamish Meldrum, chairman of the BMA Council, said the importance of the issue for a minority of people 'could not be underestimated'. He said no healthcare professional should be able to impose their beliefs but it was 'perfectly acceptable' for patients with a terminal illness to be asked if they wanted to see a chaplain. Dr Vivienne Nathanson, director of professional activities at the BMA, said: 'It's hugely important that it's allowed, but it's not an opportunity to impose your views on patients.'

The BMA will debate the matter, making it clear that offering to pray for a patient should not be grounds for suspension. The Department of Health said the document was a guide to encourage awareness for staff and patients.


The "don't ask, don't tell" approach to immigration is what has given Britain's despised anti-immigration party an opportunity


Does it matter if immigrants have taken (or created) all the new jobs in the British private sector? I reveal this in my News of the World column today, as the key fact from a data request I made from the ONS. It’s a divisive topic, and even exploring it make ministers feel uncomfortable. But this ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ approach to immigration has not just given the BNP the political space needed for its electoral breakthrough three weeks ago, but left ministers ignorant about what’s going on in our labour market. Between Q1 of 1997 and Q1 of 2009, immigrants account for 106% of new jobs in the private sector – ie, there are more new workers (1.55m) than new jobs (1.47m).

I’ll update this post later with key graphs and put online the full response to my data request - this all deserves to be in the public domain. But it does strike me that the best way to fight the BNP is not to ban its MEPs from the House of Commons (as our MPs are now trying to do) but actually start learning about, and dealing with, the dynamics of migration. BNP support is the scream of the forgotten voter – and unless Westminster collectively starts to reach out to these people then the BNP’s success story may well have a good bit left to run.


Freaked by the BNP! British PM pledges to house local people first

But isn't that "racist", Gordo? It is when the BNP advocate it!

Gordon Brown is to try to win back Labour’s core supporters with a pledge to give priority on housing waiting-lists to local residents. A proposal to require councils to take account of applicants’ connections to the area when allocating homes is central to a policy blueprint. The populist measure risks reviving the controversy over Mr Brown’s call for “British jobs for British workers” .

A housebuilding programme is also to be announced today as Mr Brown seeks to regain the political initiative. Extra cash for social housing will come from a £500 million switch in spending, outlined in the new programme, Building Britain’s Future, The Times has learnt.

Resentment at needs-based rules under which newly arrived migrants are believed to be placed at the front of housing queues has long been cited by Labour MPs as eroding support among its core working-class voters. Housing is an important issue in the Labour heartlands, with 1.6 million households on council waiting lists — four million people in England and Wales. In some areas, a quarter of households are queueing for a home. Disaffection among traditional Labour supporters was plain at the recent council and European elections, at which British National Party MEPs were elected. Mr Brown’s decision to oblige councils to give priority to those with local connections who have been waiting a long time is being dubbed “British homes for British people”.

Senior government sources insist, however, that the policy is consistent with a new emphasis on entitlement to key public services. The measure will not require primary legislation, it is understood, but will be subject to consultation.

Other policies being announced today include guarantees of a maximum 18-week wait for a hospital appointment, limited to two weeks for cancer patients, and free health checks for the over-40s. The NHS will be placed under statutory obligations to meet what are currently only targets. [which will just lead to yet more fudging of the figures]

Mr Brown previewed the theme of the government paper in an interview with The Times last week, when he said that he would not flinch from taking on “any vested interest that stands in the way of better services”.

Ed Balls, the Schools Secretary, is expected to take up the theme of entitlement tomorrow with the publication of a White Paper extending a guarantee of one-to-one tuition in maths and English for struggling pupils from primaries to the early years of secondary schools. It will also propose that league tables be replaced by a “report card” detailing schools’ performance on behaviour, truancy and parental satisfaction alongside exam results. Mr Balls is expected to duck the issue of whether schools should be ranked on a single grade. Critics claim such a move would diminish the emphasis schools place on academic performance.

Today’s policy blueprint, which will also include economic measures as well as the draft legislative programme for the last session before the general election, comes in the midst of a fierce row over public spending.

Yesterday Yvette Cooper, the Work and Pensions Secretary, told the BBC that ministers wanted to improve accountability in the public services. Challenged in a Politics Show interview on what would happen if entitlements were not met, she said the punishments would depend on the service concerned. Refusing to comment on whether hospitals would have money taken away if they failed, Ms Cooper said: “There are . . . areas, in which you do have penalties, where actually you don’t get the services improved, but this will depend on particular areas.”


The Gauleiter complex in Britain

(Gauleiters were local Nazi officials. Post from Prof. Brignell)

In these pages we have frequently remarked that the British experience should be taken as a warning of what could happen in the USA . Nevertheless, Americans have gone ahead with their own experiment in authoritarian socialism. Typical of the phenomenon is hurriedly and ill drafted legislation that puts power into the hands of minor and unelected officials. It is an unfortunate characteristic of some people that such power goes to their heads, and many of those in positions that once were intended to represent servants of the people now come to regard themselves as the masters. In Britain much of the primary legislation comes directly from Brussels in the form of “Directives”, which are diktats, emerging from a secretive bureaucracy, that have never been properly debated or received the benefit of expert advice.

American politicians now have their own version of this process, as exemplified by the bizarre goings-on that led to the House of Representatives passing a weirdly inapposite Climate Change Bill. The cost of the Global Warming Myth, already staggering, is about to increase by orders of magnitude, tantamount to economic suicide.

One of the many dubious claims of the proponents is that it will create Green Jobs. This is a dysphemism for a new class of people living off the taxpayer. A major sub-class is The Snoopers. We had them in the UK during the post-war Labour Government. They were tasked with such duties as preventing private enterprise. It was largely Winston Churchill’s successful campaign against The Snoopers that brought that spendthrift Government to an end. Nowadays opposition leaders are considerably less effective.

Now The Snoopers are back. They pry into our garbage bins, secretly film us and employ covert agents to follow us (justified by legislation originally promoted as being anti-terrorist). One couple were subjected to a prolonged stake-out to check that they were living where they claimed to be and not evading the equality rules in the educational lottery. A teenager was prosecuted for allowing a toddler to discard a sweet wrapper. Fortunately, our judges still have enough power to treat such cases with the derision they deserve. What is not disclosed is how much this snooping impoverishes the taxpayer, but it is not difficult to imagine the cost of several weeks of secret surveillance. Also typical is the fact that the actions in question were not even offences until the advent of New Labour Government. It is not only a crime to want to select a school for your child (unless you are rich), there are now so many new offences that no one, even the lawyers, knows what is legal or illegal. There are literally thousands of new crimes (including the Orwellian sounding enviro-crimes). When the Government is enacting seven new laws every day, without a semblance of proper debate, ordinary people are exposed to legal hazards of which they are completely unaware.

These are the conditions under which the Gauleiters thrive. Every citizen is threatened with the circumstances of Kafka’s Joseph K, arraigned for crimes and misdemeanours unknown, and helpless in the face of an all powerful officialdom. Furthermore, ordinary people are now encouraged to become informers. Records show that 28 Gestapo were able to rule a million people by the use of informers. Many people were wrongly arrested owing to accusations motivated by malice or revenge. When journalists enquire about cases like those mentioned above, the response always comes from someone called “A Spokesman”, anonymous and unelected. There is no comeback if they get it wrong. The ultimate insult is that the poor chumps they pick on have been forced to contribute to the inflated salaries these officials command. One of the greatest financial burdens carried by the poorer elements of society, such as pensioners, is the dramatic inflation of local taxes.

Look on this America. It is your future.


Wimbledon admits good-looking female tennis players get centre court

This was being furiously denied just days ago. I mentioned it on 22nd.
"Good looks count for more than tennis ability when it comes to choosing which women play on Wimbledon's centre court. A succession of easy-on-the-eye unknowns have appeared in Wimbledon's prime arena this year while some of the top women's seeds have been relegated to lesser courts.

The All England Club admitted that physical attractiveness is taken into consideration. Spokesman Johnny Perkins said: "Good looks are a factor."

A BBC source said: "It's the Wimbledon play committee, not us who decides on the order of play. "But obviously it's advantageous to us if there are good-looking women players on Centre Court. "Our preference would always be a Brit or a babe as this always delivers high viewing figures."


Britain: PC repair techs serve as police spies: "A visit to your PC repair shop could be swiftly followed by a trip to court and a short stay in your local jail if it harbours any remotely questionable material — whether you knew about it or not. That, at least, is the fear as the latest confirmed outing for the Dangerous Pictures Act sees one individual prosecuted after a PC engineer spotted potentially unlawful pictures on their PC — and his line manager passed on details to the police.”

There is a new lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- on his usual vastly "incorrect" themes of race, genes, IQ etc.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Amazing: Government of Victoria imports the trash of the world's social workers

There is a unending stream of stories coming out of Britain detailing the sheer evil of British social workers -- and Australians need that garbage? Their attitudes stem from the Marxist hate they learn in their social work schools: The middle classes are the enemy and the "worker" can do no wrong. Too bad if the occasional child get brutalized and killed. Victoria shouldn't be touching such animals with a bargepole. I regularly post horror stories about British social workers here and on POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH. Thank goodness the recruitment drive was largely unsuccessful

THE Brumby Government has spent more than $500,000 of taxpayer money in five months to recruit health workers from the United Kingdom and Ireland and fly them to Victoria. The Department of Human Services alone spent $457,051 to lure 50 child protection workers from England, Ireland and Scotland in a recruitment campaign launched last October. But by last March only 19 European child protection staff had started work in Victoria, with a recruitment cost of more than $24,000 per person on top of an average annual salary of $49,800. And at least three have since returned home, citing "personal" or "medical" reasons.

The DHS spent $224,000 on advertising, $134,000 to relocate workers to Australia and more than $1300 on a welcome party, documents obtained by the Sunday Herald Sun through Freedom of Information reveal. Community Services Minister Lisa Neville flew business class to the UK for a "welcome event" celebrating the success of the scheme - racking up a $52,000 bill in the process. Ms Neville defended the spending, saying the Government had taken action to recruit desperately needed staff and expand services. "We make no excuses for trying to find the best people to help stand up for vulnerable Victorians," she said.

Opposition community services spokeswoman Mary Wooldridge said the move was a "stop-gap solution" to a major problem. "Here we are at a time when the Government is trying to promote our workforce and they're bringing in these workers from overseas," she said. "They're spending all this money to bring in offshore workers when they have known about the problems for years and failed to act."

A Government spokeswoman, Peta James, said that as of last week there were 31 child protection workers recruited from overseas in Victoria - seven in regional areas and 24 in Melbourne. She said four more were likely to arrive by the end of July. The workers, recruited from London, Dublin, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Manchester and Belfast, have been offered two-year contracts in the hope they will stay in Victoria and then train Australian graduates.

The Government paid their immigration and citizenship fees, airfares and short-term accommodation costs to convince them to move to Victoria. Information and interview sessions held in the UK to recruit them cost $91,189. Two DHS staff sent to oversee the process lodged expense claims for almost $15,000.


Scandal of the migrant criminals in Britain: How legal lunancy left serial sex offender free to kill girl, 12

In the year to April, Britain received more than 3,500 requests from foreign countries for the return of their criminals. More than 150 were suspected or convicted murderers. The astonishing total was up by a quarter on the previous 12 months.

The vast majority of the 'wanted' suspects hailed from European Union countries. As Detective Chief Inspector Murray Duffin, of the Scotland Yard Extradition and Intelligence Unit, has warned: 'Britain is becoming a magnet for increasing numbers of criminals from the former Eastern bloc countries which are now members of the EU.'

Notably, the number of fugitives being sought by Poland has soared 14-fold since 2004, when the country joined the EU and its citizens were allowed to live in Britain. The Warsaw police now send a charter plane to Britain every month to pick up their countrymen wanted for killings, rape, robbery, burglary, drugs and theft. Last year, officers from the extradition unit returned 275 Poles accused of crimes back home.

Even the police chief of Albania - which is not an EU member - has warned that Britain has become the favourite sanctuary for fugitives. He recently claimed that the UK is harbouring 80 Albanian killers and 20 other serious offenders. Many have got British citizenship after deceiving our authorities and claiming asylum by pretending to be from war-torn Kosovo.

So why does our extradition system take so long to send back the suspected foreign criminals found here? And what are the implications for our own safety as rapists and murderers freely walk our streets?

In London, a fifth of all offences, a third of all sex attacks and half of all frauds are committed by those born overseas. In the West Midlands, the number of foreigners accused of crimes doubled to 3,700 in the five years up to 2008. In the country as a whole, drink-driving convictions of foreigners have shot up 17 times. And it is hard not to suspect that many of them will have had criminal records before they came to Britain. For as one London senior police officer told me: 'A criminal doesn't stop being a criminal just because he moves country - and that is the real problem. Our first call when we get an extradition request from a foreign country is to the British prison authorities, because that is where they are often to be found.' Indeed, about 5 per cent of all extradition requests concern suspects who have already been jailed for offences committed in the UK.

Many have arrived here illicitly, smuggling themselves into Britain hidden in lorries [trucks] arriving from Calais, Dunkirk and Boulogne, or on trains through the Channel tunnel. This week the Home Office said that last year 28,000 foreigners clandestinely tried to enter the country by these routes. 'Inevitably, some are running away from their own justice system,' explained the police officer.

The trouble is, by the time foreign criminals are successfully tracked down it's often too late. In one horrific case, schoolgirl Katerina Koneva, 12, was strangled at her home in Hammersmith, West London, by Andrezej Kunowski, who had spent 15 years in jail in his native Poland for serial sex offences. The 51-year-old was awaiting trial in his home country for further sex attacks when, in June 1996, he was freed on bail for urgent medical treatment and absconded, travelling to Britain under a tourist visa. (Poland was not yet a member of the EU.)

He murdered Katerina a year later, and although the Polish authorities continued to seek his extradition, Kunowski remained at large in the UK for six years after her death. It was only when he was arrested for the rape of a 22-year-old student from London that police were able to use the DNA samples they had taken to link him to Katerina's killing. He is serving life in prison in Britain and is unlikely ever to be released - which means that he will never face justice in his own country.

Yet shocking though his case is, there are many more like him still at large in Britain. In fact, only a fraction of those suspected of crimes in their home country and traced to Britain are ever successfully extradited. Of the 3,526 foreigners for whom extradition requests were made by European Union countries in the past year, 683 were arrested and only one in seven - 516 - returned, according to the latest figures released to the Mail by the Serious Organised Crime Agency.

As for those from outside the EU, the Home Office says that of the 300 'wanted' by the rest of the world since 2003, a third escaped extradition and remain here. There are a myriad legal loopholes to sidestep removal. The suspects' lawyers often claim - successfully - that their clients will suffer human rights abuse or will not face a fair trial back home. The extradition process can be dragged out for years if suspects appeal to the High Court and then up again to the Home Secretary. If they come from outside the EU, many instantly claim asylum. This request has then to be considered by the courts before the extradition process can even begin. In a further twist, those accused of offences carrying the death penalty in their home country cannot - by our law - be returned because Britain has abolished capital punishment.

This begs the question of whether the most dangerous foreign criminals are deliberately settling here because they are safe from extradition. The situation is even more complicated if the suspected foreign criminal has a wife and children in this country. Under the Human Rights Act 1998, they can fight removal, claiming their family life would be disrupted.

The crisis was highlighted earlier this month with the Crimestoppers' campaign to track down foreign criminals here. The 16 named suspects were mainly from Eastern Europe (eight from Albania alone) and included six rapists and six murderers. Lord Ashcroft, who founded Crimestoppers, said: 'Fugitives hide across the globe in all communities. When you look at the criminals that are on the most wanted list, they can be truly horrible people and need to be caught.'

To speed the extradition process, new laws on sending criminals back to Europe were passed in 2003. However, over four days in court, I saw a score of foreigners using every twist and turn in the law to fight removal. Take Fred Undrits, who is wanted in Estonia for burning down a house. The 23-year-old was brought to the extradition hearing from prison, where he is serving a 56-day sentence for shoplifting. He has been in Britain since 2006 and his case might take years to decide.

And what of Albanian Shkelzen Gradica? The 33-year-old has changed his name to Robert and was convicted in his absence in Italy of attempted murder. His defence team argue it could breach his human rights to be sent to Rome because he would not get a fair trial. The reason? Gradica was convicted on the basis of an unreliable witness statement and has never had the chance to answer the allegations against him in an Italian courtroom.

From Poland, Maciej Blaszko, 30, has been accused in Warsaw of attempted robbery and driving while disqualified. Here he has been fighting extradition with a team of lawyers paid for with legal aid funded by the British taxpayer. Blaszko says he won't get a fair trial back home because the police case against him was prepared when he had fled the country for the UK.

And then there was paedophile Julius Horvath, convicted in 1996 of the sexual assault and rape of a child in the Czech Republic. Horvath slipped through our borders and came to Britain in 2000. Despite his dubious past, he successfully claimed asylum. Living in a one-bed council flat in Leeds, he even received job seekers' allowance. The 54-year old has also had numerous run-ins with police here, according to evidence given at the extradition hearing. In the past four years, the Czech has been cautioned for affray, being drunk and disorderly, serious assault and shoplifting. Luckily for him, he has one son living here, and four grandchildren who were born here, which means the chances of him ever going home are slim indeed. Why? His lawyers say that a return would infringe his 'family life' under Article 8 of the Human Rights Act.

And then there was the suspected Hungarian paedophile Balazs Asztalos. He made a second appearance at the extradition court ten days after he was found by police in Milton Keynes. His employers, S and D Leisure, admitted they did not have a clue their polite young employee was a suspected child molester. 'We were really amazed when he was arrested,' said company owner Stanley Reeves. 'If we'd had the slightest inkling he was on the run from police we never would have given him a job.' The family-run company, which operates bungee rides all over the country, had taken down Asztalos' details from his passport and started to run a police criminal record check on him.

Now Mr Reeves is questioning how Asztalos had not been tracked down to Britain before. He arrived in Britain in 2006. In the extradition court, Asztalos' shoulder-length hair was swept back from his face with gel, and he looked completely different to the shavenheaded figure who had appeared in the Crimestoppers photograph. But already there are nagging doubts about whether he can ever be returned. The court heard that the Hungarian police have questioned three other people - including Asztalos' own mother - in connection with child sex abuse in his home town. Defence barrister Martin Henley told the extradition court the trio had all been released without charge.

And then Mr Henley announced his bombshell. He said that under British laws the extradition request was useless if Asztalos was wanted only for interviews by Hungarian police and was not, thus far, subject to a fullblown arrest warrant. While inquiries are made about exactly what the situation is, the young Hungarian will remain in prison.

Asztalos is innocent until proven guilty, but there are countless other foreign crooks and deviants with dubious pasts who are making Britain an infinitely more unsafe place for decent people to live in. It is a scandal of terrifying proportions.


Some socialist policing to inspire you

After 12 years of Leftist government, Britain's police no longer care about ordinary crime but if you call a homosexual something derogatory, you are sure to get a visit. The Australian State where I live has also been Left-run for a long time (since 1989 with one brief interruption) and they are even worse than the police in the story below. The Queensland police refused to take any interest when I handed them an ID card dropped by a person who had stolen my car. No "lack of evidence" excuse there. Their excuse was that the thief had "No form" (no criminal record). One wonders how anybody ever gets any "form" in that case. I am very familiar with the complete lack of police interest in crime reported by the woman below

A family have criticised a police force which claimed it could not investigate a theft at their home - even though they live just 70 yards from the local police station. Paula and David Whitfield, who works as a carer, were confident local officers would investigate after a pony cart, worth £500, was stolen from outside their house. But after reporting the theft and told not to disturb any potential evidence the couple waited in vain for officers to come round, take a statement and check for fingerprints.

Four days after the Whitfields' reported the crime they were stunned to get a letter from police saying they had closed the case. Exasperated Mrs Whitfield, 38, said: 'I couldn't believe they were disregarding a crime which happened on their own doorstep. 'We live so close to the police station that we can even hear the cell doors. Officers going to and from the station actually walk past our house. 'What's the point of them being there if they don't do their jobs?'

The letter from Hampshire Police said they had 'recorded' the theft at the Whitfields' home in the heart of New Forest. It added: 'Unfortunately we are unable to take any action. 'This is because there is not enough evidence available at this stage to make a case for prosecution and so your case has been closed.'

Mrs Whitfield rang police to complain when she received the letter on Saturday and was told an officer would visit. But when she had still not heard anything by Tuesday evening she walked around the corner to the police station but was told the relevant officer was in a meeting. Eventually Mrs Whitfield received a call from the officer but said she was still given no assurance that the theft of the cart would be properly investigated. She said: 'I got the impression from her attitude that she did not think it was important, that they would not trace the cart and that it would just be a waste of police time. 'A crime has happened in their own back yard and their attitude has been an absolute joke.'

Hampshire police have now said the letter was sent 'in error' and promised the crime would be investigated. However, their belated response has failed to impress the mother of four who plans to make a formal complaint to Hampshire police. She said: ''Some scenes of crime officers have been round but they say they only managed to get a partial fingerprint. 'That's hardly surprising because they finally came more than a week after the theft and it's rained a couple of times since then. 'They know they've mucked up and are attempting to cover their tracks. 'I'm 100 per cent convinced they've only decided to investigate the theft because the media have got involved. 'It makes me think I should try to investigate matters myself in future.'

Mrs Whitfield and her husband have abandoned any hope of being reunited with the cart, which they used to break in New Forest ponies. Despite being chained up it was stolen from a small garden beside their semi-detached house where their son Mitchell, 15, had spent several months rebuilding it. A police spokesman has since admitted the letter had been generated too early and sent in error. He said: 'When the crime was reported there weren't many lines of inquiry because the victims didn't see or hear anything. The theft will be investigated.'

Asked why police did not visit the couple the spokesman said the personnel involved did not work at that particular police station and had no way of knowing the Whitfields lived so close to the building. Chief Inspector Gary Cooper said: 'It is important to note that all incidents reported to police are dealt with in accordance with a grading system. 'Proximity to a police station does not qualify anyone for a preferential service. 'Upon receiving reports of the theft of a pony cart from an address in Lyndhurst, several unsuccessful attempts were made to re-contact the owners by telephone.'


A new naughty word: "scuffer"

Whining Scottish cop complains about a word of dubious meaning
"David Cameron has ordered an investigation into a claim that a Tory MP manhandled and racially abused a Scottish policeman during a demonstration in Parliament Square. Mark Pritchard is accused of calling PC Ray McQuarrie a ‘scuffer’ – said to be slang for peasant – and of trying to push him out of the way when his route to the Commons was blocked.

PC McQuarrie complained to his superiors and wrote to Mr Cameron asking for an apology, claiming Mr Pritchard, 42, had been drinking when the alleged incident occurred before midnight. Mr Cameron asked Chief Whip Patrick McLoughlin to investigate....

PC McQuarrie obtained his definition of scuffer from the online Urban Dictionary. It calls them a ‘peasant underclass, known for wearing “prison white” training shoes and Burbery check,’ it adds they like ‘drinking cheap spirits/wines on the street and from a bottle, drink pints of lager until they cannot stand at which point they attempt to fight anybody within arms length’. They are also said to ‘chain smoke, write in pigeon English, constantly swear and spit and regard petty theft and violent crime as a game’.

However, Urban Dictionary also gives another definition as a ‘hegemonic power tool of the state, law enforcer’. Other dictionaries say ‘scuffer’ is merely Northern slang for a policeman.

Mr Pritchard last night said: ‘It is the case that when my route was blocked by police officers I objected. ‘I was, however, neither abusive towards them, nor did I push anyone. I did not use the words ‘Scottish scuffer’. ‘Until the complaint was drawn to my attention I had never heard of, let alone myself used, this expression


It sounds like rather a good word. I will try to remember it. It might come in handy.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Could this happen in Britain?

I doubt that many modern day Brits would have the ticker for it anyway but if they did the guy concerned would not be praised by the authorities. He would be bawled out and punished in some way for breaching "Elf 'n Safety" rules. You must go through the "proper channels" before doing anything. Story below from Australia

Firefighters have praised a Williamstown diner for single handedly extinguishing a potentially fatal warehouse blaze.

Joe Vetesi was dining with three friends at Williamstowns Satorini restaurant when he heard a call for help about 10pm. Noticing a fire in a Parker St warehouse he ran to help. "I have 29 years CFA experience so I'd like to think I know what I'm doing," Mr Vetesi said.

Mr Vetesi scaled a three metre high fence to gain entry to the warehouse and sourced water to extinguish the blaze. "My first concern was that people were inside but once I realised the warehouse was unoccupied I went about putting the fire out," he said.

Two fire crews attended the scene. Newport senior station officer Shane Rhodes praised Mr Vetesis actions. "When we arrived the fire was basically extinguished - he did a good job," he said.


Yet again British social workers were too busy harassing middle-class parents to deal with dangerous feral families (1)

It's part of the Marxist hate they learn in social work schools: The middle classes are the enemy and the "worker" can do no wrong. Too bad if the occasional child get brutalized and killed

Social workers in Doncaster failed to intervene before a father snapped the spine of his 16-month-old daughter despite being aware she was at significant risk, an inquiry has found. Amy Howson was punched on numerous occasions by her father, James, leaving her with fractures to her arms, legs and ribs. Basic procedures that might have prevented her death were not followed. The 25-year-old was later sentenced to a minimum of 22 years in prison.

A serious case review into the way social services dealt with the family revealed that there had been sufficient information about the father’s violence for action to have been taken. It was one of two serious case reviews published today into the deaths of youngsters murdered in the borough of Doncaster, South Yorkshire. There was such concern at the inadequacy of the children’s services that, earlier this year, the Government sent in a leadership team to manage the council’s social services department and the then mayor, Martin Winter, made it clear he would not be seeking re-election. In total the deaths of eight children known to the town’s social services since 2004 are being investigated.

In a separate serious case review into the death of Alfie Goddard, who died from head injuries in May last year at 11 weeks old, agencies were criticised for failing to heed warning signs. The child’s father, Craig Goddard, 24, a man who struggled with alcohol and drugs, threw the child to the floor because he was crying. He was known to have had issues over controlling his temper.

The report’s authors concluded that agencies failed to recognise that anger, mental health problems, substance use and domestic violence could be risk factors for children. Individual bodies, including social services and health workers, generally acted in isolation. “There was very little communication between agencies and no co-ordinated involvement with the family,” said the report. "There was also a tendency for agencies to concentrate on the needs of the parents without considering the impact on the children.”

It was the shockingly violent death of Amy Howson in December 2007 that pushed Doncaster’s social service provision onto the national stage. In the report’s conclusion, the authors suggest: “The murder of Child B (Amy Howson) by her father was not predictable given the information and knowledge held on him and other family members by agencies. “However, there was sufficient information and knowledge on family members, including (the father), held by individual agencies to conclude that, on balance, both Child B and (and another child) were at risk of significant harm from him. “Some agencies within the Doncaster multi-agency child protection system failed to follow basic safeguarding procedures and did not take proper and effective action to safeguard and promote the welfare of Child B and (another child).”

The report also suggested that the Doncaster Community and Schools Social Worker Service, the Youth Inclusion Support Service and the Doncaster PCT Health Visiting Service missed key opportunities to intervene to help the child. The borough’s children’s services, which received only one star in the Audit Commission’s assessment last year, remain under the control of the Government’s intervention team.

Gareth Williams, the director of children’s services, insisted that plans are now in place to offer an effective service run by experienced staff. However, he admitted that there were still problems with recruitment. Julie Bolus, director of quality and clinical assurance for NHS Doncaster, said that changes to working procedures have been made, including how information is shared with other agencies.


Yet again British social workers were too busy harassing middle-class parents to deal with dangerous feral families (2)

Social services are in the dock again after a toddler was left to die at the hands of a schoolboy babysitter despite repeated warnings that she was in grave danger. Demi-Leigh Mahon, two, was punched, kicked and bitten by 15-year-old Karl McCluney, while her drug-addict mother was out collecting child benefit. The little girl suffered at least 68 separate injuries.

As McCluney was convicted of murder the catalogue of failings by social services was finally revealed. An independent report found that social workers should have taken action. They knew that Demi-Leigh was being raised in a drugs den. Members of the public and neighbours had told children's services that the child was left crying a lot and that her mother, Ann-Marie McDonald, was injecting heroin and was unable to care for her. Police had reports of domestic abuse.

Yet at no point did social services intervene, and Demi-Leigh was never placed on the 'at risk' register. The case is the second in two years in which Salford social services - branded inadequate by Ofsted in 2007 - have been found to be at fault. However, no one has been disciplined over the errors which enabled Demi-Leigh's mother to leave her daughter with McCluney, who had previously threatened to beat up a teacher and stab another man.

In March last year 31-year-old Miss McDonald - known as Sindy - was given a rehabilitation order after being convicted of supplying heroin and cocaine from her flat in Eccles, near Manchester. But she failed to comply and took Demi-Leigh to a friend's flat, resulting in a warrant for her arrest.

On July 15, she left her daughter with McCluney at his father's flat. It was his 15th birthday. When Demi-Leigh began crying he flew into a rage. He subjected the defenceless toddler to an appalling assault, punching her in the face, biting her and kicking her. When Miss McDonald returned after an hour and a half, Demi-Leigh was barely breathing. She died in hospital two days later.

McCluney admitted manslaughter but a jury at Manchester Crown Court found him guilty of murder. He was remanded in custody and will be sentenced next month.

Last night Demi-Leigh's father, Gary Mahon, and grandmother, Frances Gillon, said they twice contacted the council up to six months before the toddler's death. Mrs Gillon, 68, said: 'It is a disgusting failure by social services. 'They should have done something. There was no communication and they need their back sides kicking.'

Demi-Leigh's father, Gary Mahon, who left the family home when she was just three months old and now lives in Morecambe, Lancashire, said: 'Demi was a much-loved and wanted child. She smiled so much she looked like a Cheshire Cat.'

In a statement Miss McDonald said: 'I always tried to do my best and I'd do anything I could for Demi but sometimes I feel I didn't get the help and support I needed.

Ministers told Salford social services bosses last year to make improvements or be removed following Demi-Leigh's death and a report on failings which led to the death of a twoyearold boy in a blaze at his home. Additional social workers have now been recruited and the improvement notice has been lifted.

John Merry, the leader of Salford council, said: 'I do not want to make excuses, but the report's sad conclusion is that this tragedy could not have been foreseen and it could not have been prevented.'


Whistleblower helpline for NHS doctors as concerns for patient safety grow

Hospital doctors wanting to raise fears about patient safety are to be given an anonymous “whistleblower” helpline because of growing evidence of staff reluctance to speak out for fear of recriminations. The dedicated phoneline has been set up as part of new guidelines issued by the British Medical Association, and seen by The Times, designed to help to formalise the process of “whistleblowing” in the NHS.

Doctors will be presented with two motions at the BMA annual conference next week calling for action to address staff concerns about reporting malpractice. One motion, proposed by the BMA’s agenda committee, warns that the NHS risks another patient safety scandal like that of Mid-Staffordshire where 400 deaths were linked to poor care, such is the scale of the problem. It calls for trusts and regulators to pool all complaints from clinicians to identify worrying trends. A second motion, proposed by junior doctors, calls on the General Medical Council to recognise formally that the harassment of whistleblowers is a serious breach of medical regulations. It also requests guidance on whistle-blowing.

Tom Dolphin, a junior doctor specialising in anaesthesia based in East London, said he had felt compelled to act after hearing of the experiences of colleagues who had to work without some patient-monitoring equipment. “One colleague needed equipment that wasn’t there, and was told there wasn’t any. There can be a culture of ‘that’s the way it's always been and no one’s come to harm yet anyway’. Others tried to raise concerns, got nowhere and had pretty much given up.”

The BMA guidelines, released today, follow research suggesting hospital doctors are frequently frustrated in their attempts to raise concerns about standards of care, despite recommendations by the Department of Health for the development of whistleblowing policies six years ago. A survey of 565 doctors working in hospitals in England and Wales found that three quarters had had concerns about issues relating to patient safety, malpractice or bullying in the NHS, the majority linked to standards of patient care.

Many said that their experiences of reporting issues had been negative — either because they were ignored or because their complaint was shared more widely than they were comfortable with. One in six doctors who reported concerns said that their trusts had indicated that their employment could be negatively affected.

The BMA advises hospital doctors to err on the side of raising any concerns about malpractice or systemic failures, and to do it as soon as they can, rather than allowing the situation to reach a point where patient safety is threatened. It points out that employees who are victimised after raising their concerns can go to an employment tribunal, and that employers can be heavily fined. “If told not to raise or pursue any concern, even by a person in authority such as a manager, you should not agree to remain silent,” it states, adding that “raising concerns is not just a matter of personal conscience — in some circumstances it is a professional obligation”.

Last month Jonathan Fielden, the chairman of the BMA consultants committee, called for sweeping changes to reporting problems in the NHS. He said that “a culture of inactivity and despair is preventing issues from coming to light, and putting patient care at risk”.

Margaret Haywood, a nurse, is appealing to the High Court against a decision by the Nursing and Midwifery Council to strike her off the register for secretly filming at a Brighton hospital. Footage showed examples of neglect, including an elderly patient sitting in clothes he had soiled the night before.

Earlier this month the National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA) called for greater reporting of safety issues in hospitals in a report on paediatric healthcare. It said that 10,000 alerts over medication given to children were being issued annually in the NHS, including errors in the calculation of drug doses and health workers forgetting to give patients their medicine. The NPSA report concludes that over the period of a year 33 children and 39 newborn babies died with “indicators of avoidable factors”.


Britain: The bankrupt welfare State: "The stark evidence of the growing imbalance between what the Government raises and what it spends is likely to intensify the political row over the public finances and may strengthen calls for cuts in spending. Treasury figures show that welfare payments will exceed income tax receipts by almost £25 billion. Normally, income tax receipts comfortably cover the benefits bill. The disparity between tax revenue and welfare costs was identified by Andrew Brough, a fund manager at Schroder Investment Management, who suggested that the amount of money spent on social protection could soon exceed that raised from both income tax and national insurance. According to an official Treasury forecast, benefits will cost £170.9 billion in 2010/11. That is equal to what the Government will spend on the NHS, schools and universities combined. This year will be the first in a decade that benefits cost more than workers pay in income tax."

Saturday, June 27, 2009


On Thursday, the Met Office launched its new report on global warming: UK Climate Projections 2009, otherwise known as UKCP09. This is based on the output of Hadley Centre climate models that predict temperature increases of up to 6°C with wetter winters, dryer summers, more heatwaves, rising sea levels, more floods and all the other catastrophes that one would expect from similar exercises in alarmism.

What makes this report different from any of its predecessors is the resolution of the predictions that the Met Office is making. They are not just presenting a general impression of what might happen globally during this century, or even how climate change could affect the UK as a whole. They are claiming that they can predict what will happen in individual regions of the country - down to a 25km square. You can enter your postcode and find out how your street will be affected by global warming in 2040 or 2080.

All this is rather unexpected. In May last year, I posted here and here about a world summit of climate modellers that took place at Reading University. On the agenda was one very important problem for them; even the most powerful super-computers that have been developed so far are not capable of running the kind of high resolution models that they claim would allow them to reduce the degree of uncertainty in their predictions, and also make detailed regional predictions that policy makers would like to have so that they can build climate change into infrastructure planning.

Here are a couple of excerpts from the conference website:
The climate modelling community is therefore faced with a major new challenge: Is the current generation of climate models adequate to provide societies with accurate and reliable predictions of regional climate change, including the statistics of extreme events and high impact weather, which are required for global and local adaptation strategies? It is in this context that the World Climate Research Program (WCRP) and the World Weather Research Programme (WWRP) asked the WCRP Modelling Panel (WMP) and a small group of scientists to review the current state of modelling, and to suggest a strategy for seamless prediction of weather and climate from days to centuries for the benefit of and value to society.

A major conclusion of the group was that regional projections from the current generation of climate models were sufficiently uncertain to compromise this goal of providing society with reliable predictions of regional climate change.

Modellers also fretted that the GCMs, or General Circulation Models, were blunt instruments.
Current generation climate models have serious limitations in simulating regional features, for example, rainfall, mid-latitude storms, organized tropical convection, ocean mixing, and ecosystem dynamics. What is the scientific strategy to improve the fidelity of climate models?

This was summed up by Julia Slingo (at that time Professor of Meteorology at Reading University, who also chaired part of the conference) in a report by Roger Harrabin on the BBC News website:

So far modellers have failed to narrow the total bands of uncertainties since the first report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 1990.

And Julia Slingo from Reading University admitted it would not get much better until they had supercomputers 1,000 times more powerful than at present. "We've reached the end of the road of being able to improve models significantly so we can provide the sort of information that policymakers and business require," she told BBC News. "In terms of computing power, it's proving totally inadequate. With climate models we know how to make them much better to provide much more information at the local level... we know how to do that, but we don't have the computing power to deliver it."

Professor Slingo said several hundred million pounds of investment were needed. "In terms of re-building something like the Thames Barrier, that would cost billions; it's a small fraction of that. "And it would allow us to tell the policymakers that they need to build the barrier in the next 30 years, or maybe that they don't need to."

If, since the conference, several hundred million pounds had been invested in producing a new generation of supercomputers, a thousand times more powerful than the present generation, and the Met Office had already developed and run the kind of high resolution models which were so far beyond the scientist's grasp just a year ago, then I suspect that this might have seeped into the media and we would have head about it. So far as I am aware, the fastest supercomputers are still a thousand times slower than the modellers consider necessary for credible regional scale modelling of the climate.

So I wondered whether Professor Slingo had anything to say about the Met Office's new. In fact, she did:
"Through UKCP09 [UK Climate Predictions 2009] the Met Office has provided the world's most comprehensive regional climate projections with a unique assessment of the possible changes to our climate through the rest of this century. "For the first time businesses and other organisations have the tools to help them make risk-based decisions to adapt to the challenges of our changing climate." Slingo confidently explained the 'breakthrough' to Bloomberg. "We can attach levels of certainty," she said.

So what’s changed since last year? Well one thing is that Julia Slingo has a new job. She has been appointed as Chief Scientist at the Met Office. So far as I know, the limitations that lack of computing power place on the accuracy and resolution of models are just the same.

During a rather bad-tempered interview on Thursday evening’s Newsnight, Kirsty Wark asked Hilary Benn, the UK Environment Secretary, why local authorities were being told to use the Met Office predictions as a template for infrastructure planning when their report had not been peer reviewed and the authors had postponed publication of information about the methodology that they had used. She also told him that there was considerable concern among other climate scientists about the Met Office’s research.

Myles Allen made an appearance on the programme warning that local authorities should be very wary about planning infrastructure projects on the basis of climate models unless they were sure that the science was robust. Mr Benn parroted the usual mantras without addressing the questions, and looked as though he would have much preferred to be elsewhere.


More arrogant British bureaucrats

'I was turned into a pariah for complaining about a yob' -- Woman blacklisted by her local council. And the council would not admit that they had got it wrong. She had to go all the way to the High Court to slap them down. Legal costs: Half a million pounds -- to be paid by the council's insurers. I'm guessing that when the insurance policy comes up for renewal they will have to pay a huge premium to get any insurance cover at all

Jane Clift saw it as her public duty to report a drunk she saw trampling flowers in a park. But her efforts led to a surreal nightmare in which she was branded potentially violent and put on a council blacklist with thugs and sex attackers. Her details were circulated to an extraordinary range of public and private bodies, including doctors, dentists, opticians, libraries, contraceptive clinics, schools and nurseries. Their staff were advised not to see her alone. The 43-year-old former care worker was forced to withdraw an application to become a foster parent and, eventually, to leave the town where she had lived for ten years.

Now, after a bitter four-year legal battle with Slough Council, the stain on her character has finally been removed. The High Court ordered the council to pay her 12,000 pounds in libel damages after a case which has cost taxpayers an estimated 500,000 in legal fees. Mrs Clift said last night: 'I hope this means others will never have to go through the hell I have suffered.'

Jane Clift, 43, was 'outraged' in December 2005 on learning she had been put on the council's 'register of potentially violent persons', with officials warned only to approach her in pairs, a High Court jury heard during a week-long trial. Her QC, Hugh Tomlinson, said she was unfairly branded a trouble-maker in order to 'get rid of her' due to her persistence in pursuing complaints against the council and its staff.

The court heard in August 2005 Mrs Clift confronted an abusive drunk in the town's Sheffield Road Rest Gardens after she objected to a small boy vandalising a flower bed. Her deadlock with the council developed over Mrs Clift's claims that staff in its anti-social behaviour unit took no action over her complaints.

Former care worker, Mrs Clift, claimed damages for libel from the council and its then head of public protection, Patrick Kelleher, both of whom denied the claims. Each insisted that they acted in good faith. On Wednesday the jury rejected allegations that Mr Kelleher had acted maliciously, but upheld Mrs Clift's libel claim, awarding £12,000 damages.

Ms Clift sued for libel over the insertion of her name on the violent persons' register, and over an email distributed by Mr Kelleher. The jury found the disputed register entry and email were not 'substantially true', but cleared Mr Kelleher of allegations of malice in composing the email.

She said she had no idea such a register even existed before her name was added to it. The entry expired after 18 months but by then she had been forced to leave Slough. Mrs Clift, who now lives in Birmingham, said: 'I am not and never have been violent - as the jury have found. 'It has taken me four years to clear my name and I hope Slough and other councils never again misuse their registers.'

Simon Davies, from the human rights watchdog Privacy International, said: 'This just shows the megalomania of these local authorities. This poor woman was subjected to a Kafkaesque ordeal because of an incorrect allegation made by one official. 'It is the sort of behaviour that we would have condemned if it came from China or Russia. Our councils seem to be out of control.'

During the eight-day hearing the court was told Mrs Clift had told another council worker that, as far as she was concerned, Miss Rashid could 'drop down dead'. She followed up with a letter in which she wrote: 'I felt so filled with anger that I am certain I would have physically attacked her if she had been anywhere near me. I truly am not of that nature and so, surely, this should act as a wake-up call to the borough as to the capacity she has for offending people.'

But her counsel, Hugh Tomlinson, said the letter was misinterpreted and the decision to put her on the register had been 'completely ridiculous'. Her name was added to the blacklist because she was 'a thorn in their side' and the council thought the move would mean no-one would take her seriously.

Mr Justice Tugendhat ordered Slough to pay the legal costs of the case, estimated at between 450,000 to 500,000 pounds. Mrs Clift brought the action under a 'no win no fee' arrangement with her legal team.

A council spokesman said later: 'The jury found that what we recorded about Mrs Clift was not true, but they were not prepared to find that we acted in bad faith. 'We will reflect carefully on how we need to respond.'

See here and here (The Daily Mail article was incomplete so I have inserted part of a report on the case above from another newspaper)

British headteachers to get more powers as Labour Party performs massive U-turn

Schools are to be freed from the key central government controls imposed under New Labour in a dramatic turnaround, it was reported today. The Government's 'national strategies' for education are to be scrapped, ending centralised prescription of teaching methods and of literacy and numeracy hours in primary schools. It will hand back powers to headteachers - and save the Government up to £100million a year currently spent employing private consultants to 'improve' schools, a newspaper reported.

The central controls, introduced after 1997, were the flagship of Labour's education policy under Tony Blair. The money saved on private consultants will instead be used to encourage successful schools to forge networks with worse-performing neighbours and to buy in their own advisers to help drive up standards.

The Department for Children, Schools and Families last night confirmed that the Education White Paper expected to be published next Tuesday will set out a new approach to provide more 'tailored' support to schools, based on their individual needs and circumstances. However, a spokesman insisted the changes were actually a mark of the success of the National Strategies. He said the reforms would not stop the daily literacy and numeracy hours introduced in the early Blair years. Schools are expected to continue with these because good teachers 'know this is the right thing to do'.

The DCSF spokesman said: 'Building on the successes we have seen since 1997, the White Paper will set out our new approach to local authority and school accountability and support, making the support that schools can access even more tailored to their individual needs and circumstances. 'The confidence that such a shift is viable is in many respects testament to the success of the National Strategies. 'All primary schools will continue to have daily English and maths lessons because strong school leaders know this is the right thing to do. We must continue to do the very best to ensure that all children get the reading and writing skills they need to succeed in later life. 'This is not about getting rid of the literacy and numeracy hours but a renewed push to raise standards and provide new forms of support and challenge for schools who need it.'

Tuesday's White Paper is also expected to include new U.S.-style 'report cards', giving grades to schools on a scale of A to F as well as information about truancy levels, behaviour and sporting achievements.

The Guardian today quoted sources close to the White Paper as saying that the Government's national strategy contracts with consultants Capita will be wound down from 2011. The company currently provides management advice, as well as materials and training to standardise teaching across schools. The White Paper follows a report from the Commons Schools Committee in April which criticised the 'degree of control' exercised by Whitehall over the curriculum and said lessons were too prescriptive and failed to take account of the needs of pupils in different areas. 'At times schooling has appeared more of a franchise operation, dependent on a recipe handed down by Government rather than the exercise of professional expertise by teachers,' said the report.


Four in ten under-20s in London aren't white

Four out of ten young people in London are members of ethnic minorities, it was revealed yesterday. A government report found that more than 700,000 children and teenagers are classed as non-white, around 40 per cent of the age group in the capital.

At present, just over a third of Londoners of all ages are reckoned to be non-white - but the new figures indicate that this share will grow substantially in the future. They also point to the way recent waves of immigration have made a bigger impact on London than other parts of the country.

The analysis from the Office for National Statistics said that in the West Midlands, the second most multi-racial area of the country after London, just 19 per cent of children and teenagers are non-white.

The figures were disclosed in Whitehall's annual Regional Trends report. They drew warnings from migration experts that politicians are taking a risk by ignoring the changing nature of cities and suburbs.

Sir Andrew Green of the Migrationwatch think-tank said: 'This illustrates the massive change that is taking place to our society at a rapid pace and without the indigenous population ever being consulted. 'It is high time that the political class took their heads out of the clouds and responded to the very strong public opinion that wants to bring immigration under control.'

Many of the migrants who have come into Britain in the past ten years have settled in London. Three London boroughs have had majority ethnic minority populations since the turn of the Millennium - Newham, Tower Hamlets and Brent - and others are likely to see whites become a minority in the near future. The estimates yesterday put the under-20 ethnic minority population of London at 714,000.

Around 15 per cent of young Londoners are classed as Asian or Asian British, it said, and 14 per cent black or black British. Lowest populations of ethnic minority youngsters were in the North-East - five per cent of all people under 20 - and in the South-West, at six per cent.

The all-party Balanced Migration group of MPs said that 70 per cent of future population increase and 40 per cent of new households will be a result of immigration.

In a statement, the group's co-chairmen, Labour MP Frank Field and Tory Nicholas Soames, said: 'As we face severe cuts in public spending, it is the politics of madness to continue with immigration policies that will mean us having to provide thousands of new homes for newcomers - not to mention the necessary roads, schools and hospitals - on this unprecedented scale, when our own citizens, both black and white, cannot get homes.'


Jewish school broke race laws by refusing boy whose mother had converted

This is muddled thinking even by the standards of modern British law. Despite what the judges said, Jews are a religion, not a race. There are Jews of all races. And the fact that the school was willing to accept a convert shows that the discrimination was not based on ancestry. It was based on religion. How can you be converted into a different race??? Even Michael Jackson couldn't manage that. The school just wanted the conversion to be up to orthodox standards and not some token thing

A leading Jewish state school broke race laws by refusing to admit a boy whose mother had converted to the religion, the Court of Appeal ruled yesterday. JFS, formerly the Jewish Free School, is highly oversubscribed and has turned away several pupils for not meeting its criteria of Jewishness. Previous court hearings have supported its stance. Yesterday, however, the court ruled in favour of the parents of a boy named only as M. The school, in Brent, northwest London, rejected the 12-year-old child because his mother converted to Judaism at a Progressive rather than Orthodox synagogue. M’s father is Jewish, but custom dictates that the faith line passes through the mother.

The judges said that “the requirement that if a pupil is to qualify for admission his mother must be Jewish, whether by descent or by conversion, is a test of ethnicity which contravenes the Race Relations Act”.

The ruling will have widespread implications for other faith schools and puts the court on a collision course with the Office of the Chief Rabbi, Sir Jonathan Sacks, from which the school takes its definition of which children are Jewish. It strikes at the heart of whether being Jewish is a religious or racial question and means that such schools will now have to adopt a religious practice test.

JFS said that it was “disappointed” and would seek leave to appeal to the House of Lords — a decision supported by Sir Jonathan. “I have advised the leadership of JFS that they have my full personal support,” he said.

Other Jewish groups, however, welcomed the ruling, saying they had been marginalised and discouraged from speaking out. Rabbi Danny Rich, the chief executive of Liberal Judaism, said: “The JFS, a state comprehensive funded by taxpayers, has been exclusively following one Jewish religious authority and ignoring the rest. We object to standard-setting by just one section of the community to the detriment of the rest. The JFS will now be open to children from all types of Jewish background.”

The court ruling stated: “It appears to us clear that Jews constitute a racial group defined principally by ethnic origin and additionally by conversion and that to discriminate against a person on the ground that he either is or is not Jewish is therefore to discriminate against him on racial grounds. “If for theological reasons a fully subscribed Christian faith school refused to admit a child on the ground that, albeit practising Christians, the child’s family were of Jewish origin, it is hard to see what answer there could be to a claim for race discrimination. The refusal of JFS to admit M was accordingly, in our judgment, less favourable treatment of him on racial grounds.”

John Halford, who represented the boy’s father, said: “It is unlawful for a child’s ethnic origins to be used as the criterion for school entry. Such a practice is even more unacceptable in the case of a comprehensive school funded by the taxpayer.” Many other Jewish schools operate according to similar policies and will be affected by the court’s decision.

David Lightman’s daughter was also turned away by JFS because it did not accept her Jewish status, even though her mother is head of English at the school. Mr Lightman, an Orthodox Jew, said yesterday: “This is a victory for common sense and religious freedom. We are talking about two Jewish children who want an education. If the school thinks it’s worth spending millions of pounds to stop that happening, then they need to re-examine what Judaism is about.”

JFS is one of Britain’s oldest Jewish schools and is the largest Orthodox Jewish school in Europe, with 2,000 pupils. It is described by Ofsted as outstanding and is oversubscribed every academic year.


Scottish scientists raise hopes of new treatments for autism

This is pretty nutty. Only 5 out of 121 autistic kids had the gene abnormality and they think they have found THE autism gene. What a lot of bollocks!

Scottish scientists have discovered a gene linked with autism, raising the prospect of the development of new treatments for the condition. Drugs to control autism could be developed within five years as a result of the findings, according to the doctor who led the research team at the University of Aberdeen. The condition affects more than 500,000 people across Britain and there is no cure.

The study, published yesterday, began seven years ago with one child with severe autism. The boy attended the genetics clinic at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, where he was found to have a rare re-arrangement of chromosomes in which one had broken and swapped with another. By using genetic mapping techniques, researchers discovered that this realignment had disrupted a gene known to be important to memory and learning. When they extended the study to examine 120 other families with autism, they found that four other children — two siblings in two separate families — had faults in the same gene, known as EIF4E.

It is estimated that 1 per cent of the British population suffers from autism, a lifelong developmental disability that affects the way that a person communicates and relates to those around them. The condition occurs in varying forms of severity, and some people require lifelong care.

The research was led by Zosia Miedzybrodzka, reader in medical genetics at the University of Aberdeen and honorary clinical geneticist at NHS Grampian. She said that the study was a significant step towards the discovery of a treatment. “When I started doing genetics I believed that conditions such as autism, that people are born with or develop when very young, would be hard-wired and that there was little you could do about it,” she said. “But what we are learning now is that they are modifiable, and that is very exciting. I think we could be trying out drugs in five years. It is not a cure, but something that would potentially improve the condition dramatically.”

Dr Miedzybrodzka said that the work suggested that a correction of EIF4E abnormalities could improve symptoms in people whose autism did not result from a fault in the gene. “If you fix the problem at the endpoint then you also fix problems further upstream,” she said.

She paid tribute to the parents of the boy who prompted the research, pointing out that the study was an extra complication for the family as they struggled to cope with his condition. “It has been a long process and the family has been key to allowing us to get the blood samples we needed from the boy. With his condition, which was very severe, that was no trivial thing,” she said. The parents of the child, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “We are delighted that the work that started with our son brings so much hope for the future.”

Carol Evans, national director at the National Autistic Society Scotland, said that the research could shed new light on the condition. She emphasised, though, that much could be done to help to manage the condition until a treatment is found. “Various studies over many years have sought to identify candidate genes but so far inconclusively,” she said. “Whilst it is important that this research continues, it is also crucial that those living with the condition have access to appropriate advice and information, as the right support at the right time can make an enormous difference to people’s lives.”

Autism is a lifelong developmental condition affecting the way that the brain processes information. The condition is on the rise in Britain, but many experts believe that the increase is because of improved diagnosis. While people can have varying degrees of autism, all sufferers share similar symptoms, including problems with verbal and non-verbal communication, difficulties with social interaction and repetitive behaviour, or narrow, obsessive interests. Boys are four times as likely to develop autism as girls. Research indicates that a combination of genetic and environmental factors may account for changes in brain development.


UK: Hackers recruited to help fight against cybercrime : “Reformed computer hackers are being recruited by the Government to defend Britain from international crime gangs and terrorists plotting cyber attacks on the country. With internet fraud costing billions of pounds a year and Whitehall computer systems facing repeated assaults from abroad, ministers are hiring hackers to protect state secrets. A new ‘cyber security operations centre’ at GCHQ in Cheltenham will monitor attempts, many orchestrated from abroad, to infiltrate the national computer network.”

Journalism and the British expenses scandal: “Sunday Telegraph editor Ian Macgregor was our guest at a power lunch in Westminster this week. His topic was ‘The importance of journalism in modern society.’ And of course, that’s a topic that Telegraph have earned a right to talk about in the last couple of months, with their brilliantly handled investigation into MPs expenses. There’s no question the story has been good for the Telegraph’s business, winning them many thousands of new readers. But I also think they have performed a genuine public service, by making people realize that you just can’t trust politicians to be responsible with taxpayers’ money.”

Friday, June 26, 2009

Power-mad British bureaucrats again

Thou shalt NOT show individual initiative: Gardener who spruced up council car park for free faces legal action for criminal damage. The "criminal" greenery below

A public-spirited gardener has been told she could face prosecution for criminal damage after sprucing up a neglected patch of land in a car park. Green-fingered Jayne Bailey gave the concrete island on her housing estate a makeover as the 30-year-old cobbles were coming loose and becoming a safety hazard. So she removed the stones and replaced them with flowers from her own garden and from friends, turning a crumbling eyesore into a bright display that won praise from some of her neighbours.

However, she has since been told by Cornwall County Council to rip out the flowers and replace the cobbles herself - or foot the bill for contractors to do it. 'In a letter I have been told I have 28 days to replace it or they will come out and do the work and send me the bill,' said Mrs Bailey, who is in her 50s. 'They also threatened that they would go to the police and report me for criminal damage. 'This is bureaucratic madness. The little area was showing its age and the entire thing was a crumbling mess, covered in weeds and rubbish. Some of the local children had taken to removing the cobblestones to play with because it was in such a dilapidated condition. 'It now hosts an assortment of sun-loving plants suited to that area which are all thriving.

'The centre-piece is a eucalyptus with other plants such as jasmine, buddleia and fuchsias, which were all planted on a budget and designed to fill that space over the coming years with minimal maintenance.'

Many of Mrs Bailey's neighbours in Bodmin have welcomed the new greenery. Naomi Luke said: 'It looks a lot nicer. It was disgusting before. In fact it was a hazard. Now it is somewhere everyone can enjoy and looks pretty.'

It is not Mrs Bailey's first brush with town hall bosses for showing the kind of initiative that many would see as entirely praiseworthy. Five years ago she planted an overgrown area on the estate that was being used for fly-tipping. 'They threatened me then too,' she said. 'I do not want to make a claim on the land - I just don't want it turning into a dumping ground. 'I was told to replace it then but I didn't - how do they expect me to get brambles that I cut down?'

Mrs Bailey added: 'The council is more than happy for areas to remain an eyesore but they cannot even carry out basic repairs that have been high on the residents' list for many years.'

A spokesman insisted the council backed residents who wanted to spruce up the public areas around them but added: 'This is done in partnership with ourselves to ensure appropriate plants and maintenance.' He said: 'In this particular case no agreement was sought to carry out the works. Several complaints from residents have been received concerning the planting.'

However, his comments suggest the council's approach might not be as draconian as the letter to Mrs Bailey had threatened. 'A council horticulturist has been asked to look at the suitability of the planting,' he said. [Publicity brings a backdown, as usual. The children of the light love the light and the children of the darkness love the darkness (See John 3:19-20). If they had been decent human beings, they would have started out with a polite and courteous personal approach -- but impersonal accusations and threats are so much more pleasing to the diseased bureaucratic mind]


Conviction of Gypsy family reduces crime rate in a British county to 20-year low

A county's crime rate fell to a 20-year low after a notorious criminal family was jailed, police revealed yesterday. The Johnson family was a ruthless gang of travellers who carried out countless crimes over two decades, from cash machine raids to sheet metal thefts. Their most profitable targets, however, were country mansions, from which they stole antiques and works of art worth £30million. One of their raids, in which they targeted a multi-millionaire property tycoon, is thought to be the biggest ever burglary of a private home.

Since they were jailed last year, Gloucestershire Police said the county's crime rates have plummeted to levels last seen in the 1980s. Figures show there were 44,136 recorded crimes in Gloucestershire in 2008-09, down from 45,685 in 2007-08 - a fall of 3 per cent.

This followed an even bigger decrease from 2006-07, when 52,388 crimes were recorded - the year the Johnsons committed some of their most brazen thefts. Chief Constable Dr Timothy Brain said of their arrest: 'What that operation showed is that no one is untouchable.'

The Johnsons would stake out country mansions and stately homes for weeks at a time, to pinpoint the best means of entry and escape. Their targets included the 17th-century Wiltshire mansion of property tycoon Harry Hyams, where they stole property worth £23million in a raid described as Britain's biggest burglary of a private home. In February 2006, they smashed their way inside with a 4x4 vehicle and stripped the home of one of the country's largest private collections antiques, jewellery and china in ten minutes. Mr Hyams, who has an estimated fortune of £320 million, was not at home when the raid took place.

The month after the Hyams raid, police received an anonymous tip-off which led them to a bunker in Warwickshire where the Johnsons had stored some of their booty. A third of the property taken from Mr Hyams's house was found there.

Members of the Johnson family were last year found guilty of conspiracy to commit burglary between April 8, 2005 and October 13, 2006. Ricky Johnson, 54, was jailed for eight years while his two sons, Richard 'Chad' Johnson, 33, and Albi Johnson, 25, were sentenced to 11 years and nine years respectively. Ricky's nephews, Danny O'Loughlin, 32, and Michael Nicholls, 29, were jailed for 11 years and ten years.

The notoriety of the Johnsons had been cemented when a BBC film crew spent weeks on the family's caravan site for a documentary in 2005. The family made clear their contempt for the law - but insisted they were scapegoats for crime in the area. Chad said: 'Don't get me wrong, I have committed a few burglaries and pinched a few handbags, but you grow out of it, get a family and settle down. I've got no GCSEs. 'I just know street life and gipsy life - that is all I know.'

The family's other targets included Warneford Place in Wiltshire, the home of Formula One advertising tycoon Paddy McNally, an old flame of the Duchess of York. The raid netted items worth £750,000. In all, detectives investigated 116 offences of country house burglaries, cash dispenser and metal thefts.


Migrant stowaways at Calais triple in five years

The number of migrants trying to sneak into Britain via Calais has almost tripled in just five years. The revelation that more than 50 a day are being caught follows the re-emergence of refugee camps at Sangatte, close to where lorries board ferries to cross the Channel. In 2004, after the closure of the original Sangatte camp, border officials detected 7,540 stowaways. Last year, the total was 19,399.

Including checks at Coquelles, Dunkirk, Paris and in Belgium the number of migrants caught trying to sneak into Britain was 28,007. But critics point out these are only the illegal immigrants who are caught, with many more likely to have evaded checks.

Immigration minister Phil Woolas said that almost 740,000 searches had been carried out on lorries. He said: ‘We work closely with our French partners to tackle illegal immigration using state-oftheart technology such as carbon dioxide and heartbeat detectors. ‘The illegal migrants in France are not queuing to get into Britain - they have been locked out.’

Stowaways are using a number of methods to try to evade being caught. Ten were found in a lorry of wheelie bins. Officers were alerted to their presence by a sniffer dog, while four Afghans in a lorry load of champagne were discovered by CO2 detectors.

French politicians have blamed Britain for the return of migrant camps to Calais. The mayor of Calais said the UK Government’s policies were ‘imposing’ thousand of migrants on the town, costing the local economy millions. Natacha Bouchart criticised the UK for paying ‘enormous’ state handouts to asylum seekers. Mrs Bouchart said the lure of these payouts was the reason why thousands of foreigners are using the French port as a staging point to get across the Channel.


Miracle of the drug that mends your faulty genes

Christine Falleti has spent much of her life combating the crippling effects of cystic fibrosis (CF). Now 34, she is painfully aware that she's approaching the age when most people with CF die. Two friends with the disease already have. But last year she took part in a test of a new drug that led to a dramatic improvement in her symptoms. Suddenly, she had a reason to hope her chances of dying might be reduced. And it's not just patients with CF who might benefit. The drug Christine was trialling is one of a new generation that could revolutionise the treatment of far more common diseases such as Alzheimer's, cancer and diabetes. For the first time, instead of treating the symptoms, it looks as if these drugs actually repair the effects of genes that cause disease.

CF affects 8,000 people in the UK and is caused by a mutation in just one gene, known as CTFR. It results in the patient's lungs and gut becoming lined with thick mucus. Breathing can be difficult and digestion is poor because the extra mucus stops nutrients being properly absorbed. Like many CF sufferers, Christine needs more than 15 medications every day to treat her symptoms. 'It takes three hours to clear my airways,' she says. She uses a device like a life-jacket which, when inflated, vibrates her chest to shake the mucus free. Before going to bed, she does a dozen upside-down exercises while her partner slaps her upper back, sides and chest to loosen the phlegm.

Until now there haven't been any drugs that can treat CF - or indeed any of the thousands of deadly conditions caused by a faulty gene, such as haemophilia and Huntington's chorea. Doctors can only help patients deal with the symptoms. But that could change. The drug Christine took, called VX-770, promises a revolution because it is able to reduce the damage caused by the mutation in the gene. The result was less mucus clogging up her lungs. Within two weeks of starting the drug (as part of an American trial), she was breathing more easily.

'I felt completely different,' says Christine, a teacher from Ohio. 'I could laugh without it turning into a five-minute coughing fit. Exercise became so much more enjoyable and easier.'

But once she stopped the drug after the four-week trial, her breathing was soon as bad as it had been before. And that wasn't the only downside. 'It's frustrating knowing there is something that can make you feel better but you can't have it.'

There are three other similar drugs for treating CF being tested; again, these target the faulty genes rather than the symptoms. Being able to correct errors in the CF gene means it should be possible to do the same thing for patients who have harmful mutations in other genes. 'If these drugs fulfil their promise, it will be a major breakthrough,' says Professor Kate Bushby, of the Institute of Human Genetics at Newcastle University, who has been involved in testing one of them.

CF has always been at the cutting edge of gene research. The CTFR gene was the first to be linked to a specific disease 20 years ago. 'That discovery caused huge excitement,' says Professor Bushby. 'Everyone thought we'd start replacing the faulty genes with healthy ones prepared in the laboratory - genetic diseases would be history. But it proved much trickier than we thought.' Putting the healthy genes into the cell came with side-effects. In some cases, the newly inserted genes were attacked by the patient's own immune system. Even worse, in one trial, children given replacement genes developed leukaemia. So rather than replacing these damaged genes, American scientists began searching for drugs that could repair them instead.

At the forefront of this was Dr Robert Beall, director of the American Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, who raised $175 million from various sources, including Microsoft founder Bill Gates's charity.

The problem for CF patients is that their faulty gene affects a protein which is vital for transporting water in the airways and other passageways - this causes a lack of water, which is why their mucus is so thick. Dr Beall and his team have identified two chemicals that can improve the way the protein works, and have turned them into two drugs (which could be used in combination). The drug Christine was given boosts the effectiveness of the protein needed to transport water around the body.

The drug based on the other chemical works in a different way; it corrects a mistake in the way the protein is made. In most CF patients, this protein is slightly the wrong shape. The second new drug, VX-809, is able to tweak it back into shape. This second drug opens up the possibility of treating other illnesses, such as Alzheimer's and cancer, where again a protein hasn't been made properly and is also slightly the wrong shape.

'Poor protein folding is one of the main things that goes wrong when a gene becomes faulty in all sorts of other conditions,' says Dr David Sheppard, a physiologist at the University of Bristol, who has been researching these two drugs. 'What we need now is a large-scale trial to prove that benefits outweigh risks.'

One of the conditions the drugs might help with is male infertility. 'It can be caused by thick mucus in the vas deferens, the tube that carries sperm to the penis,' says Dr Sheppard. 'Patients have a faulty CF gene, but no other symptoms.'

Around 10 per cent of CF sufferers have none of the water-carrying protein at all. They could be helped by a third drug, called Ataluren, which tricks the cells into ignoring the faulty gene's message. In an Israeli study of the drug, the rate at which CF patients coughed dropped dramatically. Someone with CF coughs around 650 times a day (a healthy rate is fewer than 16 times); on Ataluren, the coughing rate dropped to 450 a day. Altaluren is being trialled in the UK as a possible treatment for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, the deadly muscle-wasting disorder for which there is no cure.

Meanwhile, Christine is keen to continue using the new drug. She says: 'Every Monday, I call the clinic to see if I'm going to be put on to another longer trial with VX-770. 'All I can do is cross my fingers and keep on with the other treatments, but none of them has the effect that VX-770 did.'