Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Yeah, There’s A Lot Of That Despair Going Around, Love…

…it’s hardly surprising, though:
Local authorities accused of failed to prevent horrific child abuse scandals are expending “considerable intellectual effort” into finding reasons not to hold mandatory public investigations.
In a number of cases, officials successfully argued there was no need to hold a probe into a child being seriously injured by a violent parent if they later recovered from their injuries.
And Cameron’s right, for once (and I don’t say that often), such people should be charged with whatever we can charge them with under current law, and if that’s not sufficient, then new laws need drafting:
The Prime Minister wants to extend an offence of “wilful neglect” to cover public servants and elected officials who fail to act on warnings of child abuse.
An official government review found more than 30 cases where local authorities wrongly refused to hold a Serious Case Review after a child suffered abuse.
Edward Timpson, the children’s minister, said the findings were “disturbing” .
The expected chorus from the usual suspects – “Oh, this will be unfair & everyone will now be ultra cautious and we’ll get too many referrals! ” – can be safely ignored. They had their chance to do it right. They blew it.

It’s not as if the ones that do make it to a report stage are good enough, either:
When reports were carried out, bad ones outnumbered the good. Many were packed with “irrelevant detail, jargon and acronyms which make it difficult to discern the key events in the narrative,” the panel found.
Tell me again how our public sector employees are only here to help improve our lot in life..?

So….Where’s The Money Gone?

A couple say they are on the breadline after they received just a penny in benefits for the month of February.
Emma Young and her partner Christian Boyce say they have had to go to a food bank for the first time and face eviction from their Bolton At Home house in Halliwell as their finances reach crisis point.
Gosh! A penny? IDS is doing better at this welfare capping that I thought…
Emma, who works part-time in Asda in Horwich, said the problem started in January, when she received a bumper wage packet for working extra hours over Christmas.
Her February pay check came four weeks later — but within a month of when calculations for universal credit are made — meaning that she was logged as having received two months wages in a month.
The government then slashed the amount of benefit she received in February.
Ah. I see. So…where’d all that Christmas and February money go?
Ms Young, aged 31, said she supports the household as her boyfriend Christian cannot work because of mental health issues, and the couple have spiralling debt from existing rent arrears and payday loans repayments.

So, even if they’d got their benefit money, they’d still be 'on the breadline' thanks to their profligacy, right?

Nor is even that the whole story:
A spokesman for the Department for Work and Pensions accepted the payment into her account was ‘very little’ because Ms Young received two wages in one monthly period.
She had also received an advance, and a repayment of that Universal Credit payment meant the benefits she was given was reduced, the government spokeman added.
Ms Young was also in arrears with her rent with Bolton At Home before she began claiming Universal Credit in September.
The spokesman said: “For some people monthly benefit payments can mean a significant change to their financial routine, which is why our work coaches are on hand to provide budgeting advice.”
Waste of time. Some people you just can’t help.

Except At Crossing Railway Tracks...

A Cwmbran man is thought to have been taking a shortcut across a railway track when he was struck by a train, and died.
Samuel Nelson, 36, was described as “successful”...
After the inquest, his brother, Joe, said: "Sam's death was avoidable and today's verdict highlights how dangerous the railway can be.
“I hope that this tragic accident will lead to improvements being made to the immediate area around the track, such that others cannot make the same error in judgement in the future."
 You mean the railway tracks themselves aren't enough of a clue..?

But maybe it's one of those places where there's no safe crossi...

Mr Bowen summed up by saying: “He was struck by a Newport bound train, when he tried to cut across the railway line.
“He should not have been anywhere near the main railway line and there was no reason for him to-do so as there was a nearby bridge... he paid the ultimate price.”

Nothing to see here, move along...

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Maybe This Is Another Good Reason To Have Police Body Cameras..?

The 42-year-old, who is on holiday in Whitby, was in The Terrace Cafe, on West Terrace, with his partner, Jonathan Moseley, who is a judge on BBC2's The Big Allotment Challenge, when his day was turned upside down.
“It was absolutely horrendous,” he said. “It was the worst thing that has ever happened to me. We were just sat there having a coffee and waiting for our food when all these police vehicles turned up and told me I was under suspicion of planning a terrorist plot.
“We only got to Redcar at 2pm and by 2.30pm I was being held in the rear of a police vehicle and they were refusing to allow me to ask questions or speak. ”
OK, a fair amount of hyperbole there, and a definite showing of the race card, but it’s interesting how the police change their tactics when…
Mr Sharif said the officers only started to take any notice of what he was saying when he threatened to start recording their behaviour.
“There is no way they can justify their behaviour,” he said. “They wouldn’t listen to me and just kept telling me that I wasn’t entitled to speak. They said they had information that I fitted the description of someone who had been acting suspiciously but they simply wouldn’t listen to me.
“Thankfully, I know the law and told them that before warning them I would start recording what they were doing and saying on my mobile phone. As soon as I said that they started to listen to me and eventually let me out of the vehicle so I could return to the cafe.”
Well, well, well…

If they really, genuinely believed him to be a terrorist would they have backed down once they were being recorded? I think not!
A Cleveland Police spokeswoman said the incident had been down to a misunderstanding.
She said: “We would like to apologise to these two gentlemen for any disruption to their afternoon caused by some confusion with descriptions.”
Heh! I wonder who got the short straw in the police PR department with this story?

Are These Really Tory Politicians..?

Greenwich Conservatives are putting forward a motion to scrap spending on the popular Tall Ships Regatta. The much-hyped boat race cost the council £1.74 million last year and has been branded as an "extravagant waste of money"
Hmmm, I thought it was quite the money-spinner, but hey, these are Conservatives, they must want to spend the money on an even bigger tourist draw, right?

Conservative councillors propose that the money saved on scrapping the Tall Ships and funding from the Council Tax Freeze Grant should be spent on a welfare assistance programme.
The proposed Welfare Assistance Plus programme would include council tax exemptions, an end to legal costs for residents in council tax arrears, an expansion of discrectionary housing payments and more incentives for employers paying the Living Wage.
Are we sure these are Tories? It's hard to tell any more, isn't it?
Greenwich Council stated more than 1.1 million people went to the Tall Ships Regatta last year and that local business was boosted by around £17 million over the five day festival in September.
Sorry, local businesses, but Shaneeece has fourteen kids to claim for, so the Tories aren't in your corner any more.

Well, Goodness Me, Who Could Possibly Be The Culprits Here?

The RSPCA is appealing for information about a dead horse found dumped amongst fly-tipped rubbish in Dunton Road, Basildon yesterday.
The body of an adult skewbald mare was found still warm and in an extremely thin state between Dunton Wayletts and Herongate. She had no microchip or other identification.
Around midday, two men with dark hair were seen dragging the body behind a black pick-up truck with closed rear.
Well, I don’t think this one would tax Sherlock overmuch, would it?
“Sadly, cases like this are not uncommon. The country is currently in the grip of a horse crisis with the RSPCA and other horse welfare charities struggling to cope with the numbers of abandoned, neglected and abused horses.”
Maybe if you responded to welfare concerns a little quicker (or at all, if they concern certain members of an identity group) it wouldn’t have to reach that stage?

Maybe then, you wouldn’t be flogging that dead horse, would you?

Monday, 2 March 2015

The Wisdom Of Luvvies…

Greg Wise on tax (neatly illustrating why actors should just stick to mouthing other people's words in the process):
"I want to stop paying tax, until everyone pays tax,” the actor Greg Wise is saying. His hands are imploring claws, rigid in the space between us.
“I have actively loved paying tax, because I am a profound f****** socialist and I believe we are all in it together. But I am disgusted with HMRC. I am disgusted with HSBC. And I’m not paying a penny more until those evil bastards go to prison.”
Well, I'm sure you'll make someone an interesting cellmate, Greg.
He shakes his head then adds of his “missus”, Emma Thompson, the Oscar-winning actress, “Em’s on board. She agrees. We’re going to get a load of us together. A movement. They can’t send everyone to prison. But we’ll go to prison if necessary. I mean it. It’s going to be like 1848 all over again.”
And then he laughs, disarmingly. “I sound like Russell f****** Brand, don’t I?” Yes, I say. But he’s not a bit like Russell f****** Brand. He’s far too tortured, far too self-aware. And, of course, he’s a lot better looking.
Steady on, love! It's not even as if 'better looking than Russell Brand'; was much of an achievement, and every word that comes out of this guy's mouth is nonsense.

He's breeding more like him, too:
He’s given up acting “three times” — “I’ve always been slightly arsey”. Recently his life has been “trimmed” because Gaia quit fee-paying Highgate School to be tutored at home. “It was her idea. She’s a product of people who aren’t part of the system — we’re self-employed, very much on the fringes of what is seen as a proper job — and having been brought up in that environment, and questioning things, Gaia just decided that she loves learning but the system per se is not for her.”

I just...
The family live in West Hampstead, “in the poor bit. Em was born at the bottom of the street and now we live in the middle.” Her mother, Phyllida Law, is “over the road, and my sister Clare is about 10 doors down”.
Their evening meal is “sacrosanct” and they share the cooking. “We have six or seven every night for tea. It’s how everyone used to live. [Society] has designed that out and it’s not healthy. As the Africans say, ‘It takes a village to raise a child’.”
 Somewhere, a village is clearly missing its idiot...
We return to politics. Wise is card-carrying Labour. “But I’m in absolute despair at all of them,” he says. “I liked Tony before he made his mistakes. I cannot forgive him and the party, and the country. I was one of the two million out there, marching. Made f*** all difference. There is no such thing as democracy.”
Injustice is, he says, “the thing that makes me more angry than anything — whether it’s someone being hassled in the street to HSBC getting away with this. I’m the least violent man you’ve ever met but I will plough into fights in the street to stop someone being set upon. Days afterwards I’m a mess because I hate violence. But I cannot see injustice.”
Isn't tax a bit of an injustice in itself?
The issue of tax has him frothing.“Yes, I’ve got my basic north London Left-wing woolly ideas about what’s going on. [Companies like] HSBC haven’t even been slapped on the wrist [because of this] beautiful grey area between avoidance and evasion. It’s iniquitous. We need to do something — COME ON!

But...what? After all, that 'grey area' could be removed if politicians wanted, and yet it hasn't been. No matter who is in power.

Why do you think that is, Greg?

What's The Sign Language For 'Playing The Disability Card'..?

Julian Gaskett, representing Close, said it was an “unusual case” as James Close had extensive disabilities and could be “considered vulnerable in his own right” and his family felt he experienced social isolation due to his deafness.
 You see, he's really the victim!
He told the court: “He asked me to apologise to the court on his behalf for what has taken place. He understands how his language and lack of ability to speak could be considered to be verbally abusive and there’s a certain economy of words in the deaf community that outsiders can find brutally frank.”
And what does leaving dead rabbits and a sex toy outside someone's home mean in this 'deaf community', pray tell?
Chairman of the bench, magistrate Lewis Grant, said they had taken into account the defendant’s early guilty plea, his expression of remorse and his disabilities.
He was given a 12 month conditional discharge and ordered to pay court costs of £85 and a £15 surcharge. He also imposed a restraining order, preventing Close from visiting the woman’s property or contacting her directly.

Update: The victim turns out to be very well known.

Yes, But You’ll Never See Any Of The Money, Will You?

Homeowners who allow filth and rubbish to blight front gardens will be targeted by Southend Council in a new crackdown.
The council is piloting a new scheme in which it will give landlords and homeowners just over a month to clear up overgrown and rubbish-filled gardens, or its own officers will clear up the mess then bill the offenders.
They've refused to clear up the rubbish in their front garden, but they will definitely find the time to hand over a cheque, will they?