Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Someone Needs To Look Up The Word ‘Punishment’…

A Bodmin teenager who breached her curfew 39 times in 8 days has had it extended by a week as a punishment…
Yes. You read that right. She broke the rules, and so her ‘punishment’ is to be given more time to continue breaking the rules in.

And that’s not all.
… but magistrates also agreed to increase the area covered by monitoring equipment.
Because sticking to an agreed punishment causes her ‘hardship’. Now, maybe it’s me, but I thought that was the point of a punishment…
Karen Altass, 19, was told she would now be able to go into a communal corridor to use a computer in the multi-occupancy residence in St Nicholas Street.
Altass had explained to the court on Friday that as there was no TV or radio in her room she got bored.
Oh. Well, we can’t have that, can we?
She had been sentenced on June 11 after pleading guilty to being drunk and disorderly in St Austell and assaulting PC Martin Easter. The court was told that Altass had been absent from her room during the curfew for a total of 12 hours and 56 minutes between July 6 and July 13. Her excuses given to monitoring agency G4S included being bored and needing to get something to eat, use the computer, go for a walk or visit her friend's flat.
The solicitor prosecuting on behalf of G4S said that Altass had also "blatantly told G4S that she planned to go out" and had said to the agency that "nothing has happened so far [about past breaches]" .
Well, she's got the measure of the justice system, hasn't she? She's no fool. We, clearly, are for paying our taxes to support the likes of her and the barely-functional morons on the bench.
Richard Cogar, for the defence, said that Altass had a frank attitude and had said: "I just can't stay in."
That's the best he can do in mitigation?
Extending the curfew until September 10, covering a larger area, and ordering Altass to pay £65 in costs, chairman of the bench Robin Bostock-Smith told her: "You've got to keep to this curfew now."
Has she? Why? There aren't any real consequences for not doing so, are there?

Post Title Of The Month

Take a bow, MacHeath, for this title on the post about idiots at sea:

Quote Of The Month

Dick Puddlecote sums up the crazy state of modern 'tolerance' for others' viewpoints:
"In the past, our country was clever and resilient enough to agree or disagree in our own selves. We were strong, well-adjusted and robust. We may have had a debate over a barbecue on a warm weekend about it - and I'm sure there have been many of them this weekend - but were life-grounded enough to leave it at that.
So how the blithering fuck did we descend into a situation whereby an opinion is justification for the kind of abuse normally reserved for paedophiles and police murderers?"

Post Of The Month

Well, there's only one choice this month, and it has to be Mark Wadsworth's unusual take on 'Pacific Rim'.


Oh, Just Grow Up!

The mother said she took managers "literally" when they suggested the pair dismount and enter the store - letting Olivia lead her six-year-old pony into the restaurant to the amazement of customers.
"When she said: 'You can't go through the drive through but you can come into the store', I thought 'okay, we will'."
Welcome to another example of today's adults, and pause to reflect on why children might be so uncontrollable and badly behaved these days...
An officer issued Christine with a £90 fine for causing "alarm and distress" to customers and managers have also banned the mum from returning.
"I guess it was a bit rash but I did feel angry because their policy was inconsistent and we've never had a problem before."
And the thing to do when you 'have a problem' these days is clearly to throw a strop like a whiny brat in front of your daughter. That fixes everything, right?
… other horse riders living in the area claimed they, too, had been served at the drive through. One rider said: "I've been through loads of times. There are quite a few riding schools and stables nearby. The staff have always served me."
Well, now you know what to do when they don't!
A spokesman for McDonald's said horse riders were not allowed to use the drive-through in the saddle due to health and safety reasons.
Yes, it's daft. But is acting like a tantrum-throwing toddler any way to protest?

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Man's* Inhumanity To Man...

Remember the brave and principled fight for Steven Neary, so wonderfully chronicled by Anna Raccoon?

Well, his father is still up against it:
One of the unit's ideas was that he should have a person-centred plan. He had to create a wish list, and came up with six things:
• Live at home with Dad
• Go on holiday to Somerset
• Have Christmas presents at home
• See Toy Story 3 at the cinema
• Have breakfast in the bacon shop
• Go swimming at Hampton open-air pool
All six wishes were refused because they were not considered to be in his best interests. To me, that's not a person-centred plan, that's a system-centred plan.
There are no words...

*Social worker's

It’s For Your Own Good…

A city council is blocking access to websites offering payday loans and stopping such lenders from advertising on billboards and bus stops.
Labour-led Plymouth city council is believed to be the first to take such action against companies that it believes are causing thousands of its residents to run up devastating debts.
It won't be the last. Oh, dear me, no...
Chris Penberthy, the cabinet member for community development, said: "Plymouth's advice agencies are taking calls daily from people who are running up huge debts that are causing stress and hardship to them and their families. We need to protect people and make it difficult for payday loan companies to operate in our city."
Because, god forbid there ever be consequences to your choices - took out a loan, didn't pay it back and now you're in debt? Why, how can that be your fault?
Penberthy said he hoped other local authorities would follow Plymouth's lead.
And you know what? I just bet they do.
Plymouth has pre-empted any action that the Financial Conduct Authority may take when it assumes regulation of payday lenders in April 2014.
So laying down the gauntlet for the FCA to go even further?
Representatives of payday lenders accused Plymouth of denying consumers choice. Russell Hamblin-Boone, chief executive of the Consumer Finance Association, said: "The council is effectively denying choice to local residents without fully understanding either the short-term lending industry or the way people are managing their finances in 2013.
"Research shows that 85% of payday customers have no trouble paying back their loans, so the council's belief that the loans are detrimental to those that take them is misplaced and not based on evidence."
Pft! Don't confuse them with facts. They have their own feelings to consider. Facts just get in the way..

Just A Thought, But Maybe The Problem Isn’t The Building..?

Yes, it's finally been retried and a verdict delivered (by fragrant jurors, one assumes):
Residents living near a nightclub where a young man was knifed to death described their fury today at a council’s decision to allow it to remain open.
… a Kingston council meeting, councillors were accused of “selling out” to the multi-million-pound Luminar Group that runs the club. Conservative councillormember Patrick Codd said: “What we have is an administration who have crumbled at the first whiff of pressure from, yet again, a big powerful company.”
So, an empty building would be preferable?
Local resident Tess Kind, 45, said: “It feels like nothing has really changed. People will continue to fight to close it down.”
Because it's the building that causes these savages to stab one another  you see. If not for the building, why, they'd all be tucked up in bed at 9:00 with a cup of cocoa  reading Jane Austen...

Monday, 29 July 2013

Allow Me To Translate…

One of Britain's largest Islamic groups has said a "dramatic escalation in violence" against British Muslims needs a much tougher response from the government.
Farooq Murad, secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), said the bombings of three Midlands mosques marked "the crossing of a red line".
This demand drew approving nods even from normally sound people:

Despite querying just what 'tougher action' was required, no answers were forthcoming.

So let's look at what the MCB actually said, shall we, to see if we can glean what it is they want:
"The community has patiently borne the brunt of these attacks despite condemning in the strongest possible terms the tragic murder of Fusilier Lee Rigby," Murad said.
"Despite this spike in incidences, there has yet to be a co-ordinated national effort to ensure that these sorts of attacks never happen again. It cannot be right that a minority community is allowed to be targeted in this manner."
He added: "There is an urgent need for the government and police to respond with a co-ordinated national strategy so as to prevent further attacks."
Ah. Right. I see what it is they want. Let me translate:
"Listen to us! We're victims! Always, and forever, victims. You must do as we say, listen to us, we know what muslims want, we represent them, all of them, so invite us to all those meetings and summits you hold so we can eat all the free food (it is halal, right? it better be!), make contact with all our willing stooges in the various civil service departments, get up on our hind legs and yap endlessly about how you are all racist bastards and have to make amends for this.
Now, where do I send my travel and expenses claim? And who validates my parking stub, kaffir?"
So no, I am going to disagree with the normally spot-on Mr Eugenides here. They should be told to take a long walk off a short pier.


Stafford Scott clearly wants to see another riot:
Tottenham's black community has been living under the cloud of PC Keith Blakelock's death for 28 years.
Note the passive term there, ‘death’.
The killing of Cynthia Jarrett …
Woah! She wasn't 'killed'. She died of a heart attack.
Each time the Met reopens the Blakelock investigation, the wounds are reopened. While the police and Blakelock's family speak about the need to see justice for the officer, we are left wondering what justice looks like: we have not seen anything resembling it.
That's because you have a vastly different view of justice to anyone else.
Yes, Blakelock's murder was awful and tragic, but so was the death of Cynthia Jarrett. Had she lived she would have celebrated her 76th birthday this week, yet there are no headlines recalling how she died, no media clamour for her killers to be brought to justice.
Once again; she wasn't killed. She died of a heart attack. Given she was approximately the size of a young bull hippo, she might just as easily have died going to the shops for a light snack (of everything on the shelves).
The police had their opportunity to find Blakelock's killers during their first investigation, but their corrupt methods and ineptitude meant that they blew it.
Yeah, well, I don't recall you bleating about that when it came to the killing of St Stephen Lawrence...
While the force may be hoping the country has forgotten, the black community of Tottenham certainly has not. It fuels our community's mistrust of the police and judiciary, and has been passed down a generation. It is one of the reasons that Tottenham burned again in 2011. Ultimately a community that cannot expect justice will always be prone to outbreaks of outrage.
What is it with 'Guardian' columnists and their salivating desire for riots?

TMI, Phil Presland, TMI...

A dog owner says he saw red after an anonymous letter was sent to his business accusing his partner of not clearing up after his labrador.
The sender had photographed Phil Presland’s partner Kim Veale when black labrador Maisie did her business on a grass verge, followed her to his car and then sent the details to Ashford council as well as Mr Presland.
Phil is most aggrieved, as he claims this was all a misunderstanding, and how DARE someone photograph his partner anyway?
“I am not sure about the legality of them photographing Kim and following her without her knowledge.”
“And if they had waited a minute, they would have seen her put Maisie in the car, return to the dog poo and pick it up.”
Goodness me, I thought it was only the police that believed that photographing them was verboten. Now it's estate agents too?
“It is typical of people who complain anonymously without standing up.
“If I had known who they were, I would have gone round and explained what had happened.
“I always pick up Maisie’s poo, in fact all my trousers have dog poo bags in the pockets.”
Empty, one hopes..?

Sunday, 28 July 2013

The Real Agenda

Alana Lentin lets the Open Borders cat out of the Australian bag:
In discussions on Twitter following the establishment of a new pro-immigration campaigning group, Boundless Plains To Share (@BoundlessPlains), there is a consensus emerging that open borders are the only solution to Australia’s immigration impasse.
The ‘consensus’ she talks about is a bit one-sided, consisting as it does purely of the Left.
The humanitarian argument is dead in the water; people don’t want to be charitable.
Well, no, not quite. What people don't want is to have that natural impulse to be charitable change their country and their way of life and put increased pressure on them to support a growing class of welfare moochers.

But the Left can't face that head on. So, she believes that ‘the terms of the pro-immigration argument have to shift’ in order to convince these awful majority that what Alana and her fellow travellers want is right.
… the facts remain that thinking of others as charity-cases, despite the best of intentions, dehumanises them creating a disconnect between "us" and "them" to the extent that even Australians whose own families were effectively refugees (for example, many Lebanese people) have decreasing empathy for those portrayed as "queue jumpers" and "economic migrants" in disguise.
Because it would never occur to the Left that maybe these people had a point; they've gone through the process, so seeing someone else resort to emotional blackmail to skip the hard bits will rankle. No, that can't possibly be.
The two-pronged move to (a) open borders, thus making migration part of the daily reality of a globalised world, and not an expensive, largely performative, and ultimately futile exercise in securing borders, and (b) humanise asylum seekers by talking about them as people "like us" would have the effect of detoxifying the poison that is contemporary asylum and immigration politics in Australia.
Allow asylum seekers to come to Australia by any means (even if considerably larger numbers arrive, this will never reach European proportions, and Australia has plenty of room for them all).
Heh! She fondly believes that not enough will want to come in to make a difference; I want some of what she's smoking!
Allow asylum seekers to work. This saves the government a lot of money, as current spending on detention and deportation of asylum seekers, especially off-shore is already costing the Australian public billions and will increase exponentially…
And further squeezes the job market for everyone else.
To open borders would release Australian politics from the stranglehold created by the asylum issue, whereby everything is overshadowed by the race to appear tougher, more resolute, indeed more cruel than the next man or woman…
The left has to take the bull by the horns. No more prancing around the issue, paddling in the safe shallow waters of humanitarianism, and call for the only workable solution: free movement for all.
Be careful what you wish for. As a comment here points out: As Milton Friedman said: “You can have open borders, or a welfare state; you can’t have both!”

Geography With The 'Daily Mail'...

Errrr, where?!?! 

I mean, come on, this is embarrassingly bad! Their other taxonomical foul-ups are one thing, and pretty common  as MacHeath points out by email, they think wasps swarm now!

But don't they even have SpellCheck?

Update: Mark Wadsworth picks up another.

I’ll Just Leave This Here, Shall I..?

MP David Amess says he would like to see a monorail built in Southend.
The Southend West Tory told MPs he backed the move during a Commons debate. He said: “Monorails do not seem to be particularly popular in this country, but they do offer another way of getting round our busy cities. I am certainly going to encourage the good residents of Southend to have a monorail.”

Sunday Funnies...

Yes indeed, but I bet they show up A LOT in local newspaper stories and crime reports...

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Fight For Your Rights, Or Lose Them. To People Like Jolie Kirby...

Mehmet Yilmaz has been running his First Class Diner van in Warneford Lane, Headington, Oxford, since April.
But in May the headteacher of nearby Cheney School, Jolie Kirby (Ed: Was there ever a more inappropriate moniker?), complained to Oxford City Council that he was selling “unhealthy and inappropriate food” .
Her complaint was followed by 32 others from teachers, parents and nutritionists.
And - well, would you really expect any different? - the response of the council was not to say 'Look, just get on with nose-wiping and worrying about your next OFSTED visit, this is nothing to do with you.'

Why, no. Of course they immediately reviewed the man's license. I mean, it's not like this is a free country, is it?
Last night, the city council’s licensing committee told Mr Yilmaz he could carry on running his van but he could not sell fried food before 4pm.
Committee chairman Mary Clarkson told him: “We have decided to attach a condition to your licence in line with your own suggestion that there will be no fried food before 4pm because of the concerns raised, with effect from September 1.
“You can continue your normal operation until then to give you a chance to use up your stock.”

The van owner didn't really help himself, mind you, being less interested in robustly defending his business, and more interested in rolling over to display his belly, tail tucked between his legs in supplication...
The Turkish-born vendor said he spent £40,000 setting up his operation in Oxford, including the £7,490 licence.
None of the people who complained about Mr Yilmaz turned up to the meeting. He said:  
“It is the same as McDonald’s or Burger King, it is not up to them to decide. But you can’t cross the school – I am a parent myself.
“Business is getting better every day at the moment and if my working hours had been dropped down I wouldn’t make any money.”
Mr Yilmaz, if we all take the attitude that 'we can't cross the school', then we might as well never leave school in the first place. We might as well let sanctimonious prigs like Jolie make all our decisions for us. It'd be her dream come true.

Yet More Rent-seeking – For The Chiiildreeeeennn!

British youngsters are becoming increasingly unhappy - and their lower well-being should not be dismissed as "teen grumpiness"…
Eh? Says who?
The Children's Society has warned.
Oh, them again
Matthew Reed, chief executive of The Children's Society, said: "The well-being of our future generation in the UK is critical. …
"These startling findings show that we should be paying particular attention to improving the happiness of this country's teenagers. "
That’s your interpretation of the data, Matthew. Mine’s rather different, I have to say.
Psychologist Dr Linda Papadopoulos said of the report: "Interestingly, this report suggests that, when it comes to well-being, 14 and 15 year olds fare worse.
"It is so important that we don't simply dismiss this dip as an inevitable part of growing up, that it is just teenagers being teenagers. We really must talk to this generation and listen to what they have to say."
You mean, we must employ more psychologists? Like….you?
Emma-Jane Cross, founder and chief executive of MindFull …
Oh, her again
...said: "Far too often, people overlook teenage wellbeing and mental health issues because they put the symptoms down to angst or moodiness.
“This damaging attitude can no longer continue when so many are desperately unhappy and struggling with serious issues including self-harm and suicidal thoughts."
Oh, do shut up! Don't you have enough of your rapacious mouth clamped around the pubic teat already? Just how many more important issues can you insert yourself into?
Lucie Russell, director of campaigns and policy at well-being and mental health charity YoungMinds, said: "These findings must not be dismissed as simply an inevitable part of growing up.
"Last year our parents' helpline received a record number of calls from parents concerned about the mental health or well-being of their child. We must take notice of these warning signs and act if we are not to see children increasingly struggling to cope."
We've seen just where the over-medicalisation of perfectly normal aspects of growing up has lead us, with the rise in ADHD and dyslexia diagnoses.

Now we're going down the same route with teenage blues? Which if this swarm of lampreys is listened to, will mean your teen should be assessed for a straitjacket?

Enough of this. Enough of them.

She Doesn’t Even Have Inner Beauty…

College lecturer Mr Rees, an only child, lived with his parents in the house in Bede Road, Chadwell Heath, north-east London. His father Ernest died at the age of 76 in 1988 and his mother Gwendoline, 84, followed in 1999.
Mr Rees, who was unmarried, stayed in the house until his death in April 2012, when he was 72.
The homes of those who die intestate, like Mr Rees, pass into the hands of the Treasury Solicitor’s department. Known as ‘bona vacantia’ – Latin for ‘ownerless property’ – they are advertised on the department’s website, which is updated weekly, making it easy for squatters to find them and move in. If no one claims them they revert to state ownership and are sold.
A sad tale, and a reminder to make a will, even if just to your favourite charity – why should the government profit from your lack of preparedness?

But it turns out there are worse things lurking than the government…
Two months ago, Miss Lauretta descended on Bede Road, where she asked a 14-year-old girl if the house was unoccupied. The following evening she returned with a locksmith who changed the front door locks.
Neighbours asked under whose authority she was acting after she apparently told the locksmith that she was a ‘solicitor’. She gave them a sheet of paper which quoted snippets from the Treasury Solicitor’s website about ‘bona vacantia’ properties.
She wrote on the paper: ‘I would rather see an empty house brought back into productive use than left to rot without even any insurance.’ She said she would soon be moving paying tenants into the house, with rents being paid to her.
Miss Lauretta told neighbours that she had ‘lots of other bona vacantia’ properties and one said: ‘She was so brazen. We asked her if she was a relative and all she would say was, “No, but I am legal. I am doing you a huge favour by putting tenants into the house”.’
Right, and the rent you get will go straight to the Treasury, minus your administrative fee, I suppose?

After she left the shocked neighbours contacted their MP, Michael Gapes, and the Treasury Solicitor’s department. Mr Gapes, Labour member for Ilford South, got in touch with police, and the Treasury Solicitor’s department employed another locksmith to change the new locks.
Miss Lauretta, who runs three companies – Pridwen Properties Limited, Nander House Limited and Morgelay Limited – lives in Shoeburyness, near Southend-on-Sea, Essex.
When approached by the Daily Mail she said: ‘I am not prepared to discuss anything with you. What I do is my business.’
Well, now everyone knows what your ‘business’ is, and more importantly, what your name is, let’s see just how well you do, eh?
Solicitor Richard Grosberg, former chairman of the Law Society’s Probate section, said: ‘Whatever this lady says it appears that she tried to steal a house rather like someone might try and steal a car.
‘While trespass is a civil matter I would have thought by breaking and entering into this property she has broken the criminal law. Impersonating a solicitor is also a criminal matter.’
Don’t even bother expecting a response from the police.
A Scotland Yard spokesman said: ‘Officers assessed the information available and no criminal offence was apparent.’
Didn't look very hard, did you?
A spokesman for the Treasury Solicitor said: ‘The property was very quickly secured and it was made clear to the person who attempted to take possession of it what the consequences of their actions could be.
‘Therefore, no formal civil or criminal action needed to be taken, but this will not always be the case.’
Let’s hope not.

And the name rang a bell, but I couldn't recall just why, and so resorted to Google.

And that’s when the penny finally dropped.

But can it be the same person? If so, the brazen chutzpah of forever whinging to the local newspaper about the decline of the area she herself lives in puts a rather sour cherry on top of an already mouldy cake, doesn't it?

Friday, 26 July 2013

I’m Going Out On A Limb Here, But I’d Say It’s ‘Good Stories’…

What makes readers pick up young adult fiction?
Well, depends who you listen to - some people say it's all about the identity politics...
The promise of a strong story, characters with emotional depth and intelligent writing.
Oh! Hurrah! No identity politics he...

And yet a shelf of YA books might still suggest a world in which boys and girls make their reading choices based upon their gender.
*sighs* OK. Hit me!
Almost from birth, readers are coralled into the pink and blue worlds of sparkle for girls and adventure for boys. But, as American YA author Libba Bray points out, books have no gender – titles for young adults, she argues, should have gender neutral covers.
I can’t complain about the design of my Pellinor books. The UK/ Australian editions especially are excellent examples of neutral design, presenting them as straight epic adventure. But Black Spring, a feminist Gothic fantasy set in a misogynistic, vendetta-centred society, is undeniably aimed at girls: however beautiful the covers are, they have definite leanings towards pinkness.
After the discussion on gendered covers, I found myself wondering if there are boys who might enjoy the story, but will be put off by the cover. I didn't  after all, write it only for girls. I wrote it for readers.
In space, there clearly should be NO PINK, as well as no-one to hear you scream!
The gendering of book covers runs parallel to the explosive issue of ethnic minority protagonists being replaced with white characters on book covers.
Huh!? That's a new one on me...
The real question is why do we push young readers into the boy/girl binary? If, to return to Libba Bray, every great book is about connection, empathy and understanding the other, why be so limiting?
Maybe there's not really a problem.'s just your perception?

The Relentless March Of Pointless Victimhood-Based Research Continues..

"Super fast" hand dryers may reduce people's time spent in a public toilet but for some the devices are causing "unwelcome stress", researchers said.
 Because... they're noisy. Yes.

Which might be a problem for a toilet attendant, but surely not for someone just visiting for the usual purpose for which a toilet is intended, surely?
Researchers from Goldsmiths, University of London, said that the high speed dryers can cause discomfort to elderly dementia sufferers, affect the navigation of visually-impaired people and even force hearing aid users to turn their devices off when entering public toilets.
Oh, the humanity! Forced to turn off your hearing aid for 10 whole minutes! Maybe 15 minutes if you had a dodgy kebab!

Something must be done!
Lead author Dr John Levack Drever, head of the unit for sound practice research at Goldsmiths, said: "A wide range of vulnerable subgroups are being seriously affected by hand dryer noise, resulting in unwelcome stress in this sensitive space, and in extreme cases people are being excluded from public spaces, the workplace and schools."
'Vulnerable subgroups'! 'Unwelcome stress!' 'Excluded'! It's buzzword bingo!
Dan Pescod, campaigns manager at RNIB, a charity for blind and partially sighted people, added: "Anything which masks ambient sounds could be a problem for a person with sight loss, to a greater or lesser degree. As hand dryers are often situated by doors, loud models could increase the likelihood of a person with sight loss having an accident. RNIB suggests that manufacturers should consider this risk when designing hand-dryers."
Maybe they've considered it and decided there's no risk? Did you ever consider that?

Update: ARRRRGH!!

The Hard Work Doesn’t Stop After You’ve Fathered Them, You Know…

A family is asking its council landlord to dig up its garden, claiming that potentially hazardous glass, nails and other building materials are still surfacing a year after they moved in.
He should think himself lucky he doesn’t live in Barking & Dagenham, where potentially more hazardous things surface…
Gary Murphy, who lives at the Poole Housing Partnership property in Wallisdown Road with his partner Zoe and their 14-month-old twins, says he has tried his best to clear the ground himself.
“It’s quite an unsafe garden. Raking it isn’t doing anything – it needs to be cleared so it’s 100 per cent safe. To clear up properly, everything would have to be moved and the garden resurfaced. At the moment we have a garden we can’t use,” he said.
Well, no. You have a garden you can use with care, and supervision of your children. After all, unless they plan to tunnel to China, they shouldn't be affected if you've raked the surface regularly, should they?
PHP spokesman Matt Wilkin said: “We do have a record of Mr Murphy raising an issue with his garden shortly after he moved in last year. We agreed to rake through the soil and make good the garden, which he was happy with.
“Mr Murphy called to raise the same issue last week, almost a year after he moved into his home. The job is a minor maintenance problem, so we would expect him, as an able-bodied resident, to ensure his home and garden is kept in a safe and pleasant condition.”
And so would I!
He added that the tenancy agreement made clear that only complicated maintenance jobs that needed trained workmen were PHP’s responsibility.
“We also feel that as a parent, Mr Murphy has ultimate responsibility in making sure his property is appropriately safe for his young children.”

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Sympathy Can Only Go So Far, Surely?

The dad of tragic toddler Levi Bleasdale, who was killed by a hit-and-run driver in Burnley eight years ago, has been spared jail after admitting burglary.
Lee Bleasdale, 30, had broken into an unoccupied house, which was in 'pristine condition' and ready to be let, the day after coming out of prison. He had struck in the early hours and had ripped out the fireplace.
Lee Bleasdale had 38 convictions under his belt.
Sentencing, Recorder Mark Ainsworth said Bleasdale's conduct had caused the owner of the house nuisance and cost her money.
The judge said: “You burgle houses to take property and make a living out of it.
The judge added: “I am prepared to give you a chance.
“The time is right now to give you one chance and see how you respond.”
Oh, I think we know. Still, there's a good chance he won't attempt to burgle your house, so I can see why it's a risk you're willing to take.

Sympathy goes a long way, it seems. The mother got her fair share too:
Kirsty Ryan, 22, has admitted making a false instrument, three counts of failing to surrender, two theft charges and breaching a suspended sentence. Last September she was warned by Judge Beverley Lunt (Ed: Say no more...), who imposed the suspended term, she would go into custody if she offended while subject to it.
Ryan, who has also not kept probation appointments for pre-sentence reports, was given a chance to have further report after her barrister told the court there had been recent changes in her life.
Roger Baldwin, defending, said Ryan had an "extremely complex set of problems".
Which are no doubt keeping a lot of public servants in employment. So, there's that...

Spot The Difference...

Animal 'mistreatment':
A retired vet woke to find a police torch being shone into his face when officers raided his home after the RSPCA received a tip-off that his two pet dogs were being maltreated.
A total of 13 officials – police, firemen and RSPCA officers – turned up unannounced in six vehicles at 70-year-old John Spicer’s home and broke down the door to get in while he was asleep.
Animal mistreatment:
The dog...has been abandoned in a dirty cage littered with debris and excrement.
Dog-owner Nicci, of Holymoorside, said she was disgusted and has since discovered residents have been complaining about the animal for over four months.
She said: “I’m an animal lover and I was shocked it had been left to suffer for so long.
“A lot of people on the street have reported it to the RSPCA.”
So...when's the raid?
A spokesman for the RSPCA said they could not give specific details about the case but had addressed issues at the site previously.
He added: “The RSPCA had received calls regarding the welfare of this dog and attended a number of times and advice was given to the owners and the issues addressed.
“We have now received new complaints regarding this dog and this will be dealt with separately and an officer will be sent to check the welfare of this dog again.”
'An officer'? Not a team? No raid? No arrest? Well, that's very odd.

But wait! Have I left something out? Why, yes. So I have...
The dog, which she believes belonged to travellers, has been abandoned in a dirty cage littered with debris and excrement.
Say no more...

Well, This Is A Surprise!

A man needed 15 stitches to his head and had his little finger severed after an attack at a care home.
I know what you’re thinking. But no! This time, it wasn’t one of the residents!
The victim, who works at the Catherine Miller House care home, in Old Leigh Road, Leigh, was said to have been hit with china mugs after a discussion about his pay.
The man’s little finger on his right hand was severed and although doctors sewed it back on, they were unsure if it could be saved. He was also left with a broken nose after he was chased from the care home and into Chalkwell Park.
One man, who didn’t want to be named, said: “The man who was attacked was querying his wages.
“People came from Chalkwell Park to help – a lot of people saw what was going on. He was being chased all over the road. People in cars were stopping to offer help.
“He has stitches in his hand and his head, but it is more the mental scars.
“The hospital said if he hadn’t protected his head with his hands he would be brain damaged.”
Sounds just like the place to send your dear old gran, doesn’t it?
Andrew Stern, who is listed on the care home’s website as the registered provider, was arrested in connection with the attack. A spokesman for Essex Police said: “Officers were called at 4.30pm on Thursday, July 11, to Old Leigh Road.
“A 56-year-old man from Edgeware, Middlesex, was arrested on suspicion of grievous bodily harm without intent. He has been released on bail until September 23.”
So, I suspect the council will have something to sa…

A Southend Council spokesman said: “Senior officers met with the Care Quality Commission yesterday to consider the long-term management of the home following the incident. Officers also made several unannounced visits to Catherine Miller House and have no immediate concerns for the wellbeing of residents.”
Really? You mean, the home was managed by someone who assaulted his staff in a public place, yet you’ve no concerns that he might have done the same to the residents in private?

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Maybe, Sarah, But They Aren't The Only Human Beings...

Sarah Hanson-Young on the new wave of Australian boat people:
I believe that Australians are a fundamentally good people who have been profoundly misled by the toxic politics that surrounds the refugee debate right now.
Ahhh, I see. That's the narrative now, when you want something the voters don't? Imply they've been led astray by dark forces?

Well, it's an improvement on the usual claims that they must be racist, I suppose...
This morning, the country woke up to the heartbreaking news that four more people have died because they were trying to reach the safety of Australia by boat. This latest tragedy came just days after another group of people, including a baby boy, drowned trying to make the same perilous journey to our shores.
We don't reward suicidal attempts, and nor should we. Not if we don't want more of them, and the Australian voter has shown that they don't.
We must urgently boost our efforts to safely bring people to Australia and give them sanctuary, as the Fraser government did after the Vietnam War.
Malcolm Fraser ... said that politicians who whip up fear and hatred because people are coming from overseas can only be doing so for two reasons; first, that they genuinely think we have something to fear if people from different cultures come to Australia, or second, that they are doing because they think it will help them to win votes. In both cases they shouldn't be allowed anywhere near the Australian parliament, he said.
Yes, there's clearly no need for politicians who listen to the will of the people in Parliament! They should listen instead to...people like you, I guess?
It is essential for us to remember that refugees are human beings, not numbers to be argued over for cheap political gain.
And the citizens of Australia, the voters that would rather not be swamped by economic migrants, or see their culture and laws changed to suit the newcomers?  The ones that vote for politicians determined to see that doesn't happen?

Are they not also human beings in your eyes, Sarah?

He Must Have Picked That Up From Television Then?

The defendant, who had no previous convictions, was arrested in May last year at his home and taken to Burnley police station where he made no comment to all questions.
He wasn't Presbyterian, shockingly...
Ahmed Nadim, for Ali, said he was socially unskilled and immature. There was no exploitation involved nor abuse of trust.
The barrister said: “He comes from a decent, hard-working background and there is nothing to suggest he has any anti-social, criminal habits.”

Nature Red In Tooth And Claw….

…and hoof and horn.

Familiar enough stuff for anyone reading Mark Wadsworth (and if not, why aren't you?), but the ‘something must be done!’ brigade are running away with it. Closely followed by the ‘I just don’t understand it!’ brigade:
A neighbour saw her and called the emergency services and her parents. "She never thought the animals would attack," she said. "She has a lovely way with animals. "It's just so weird."
I guess the animals didn't realise she had ‘a way with them’? Perhaps she should have had a badge to show them, or something?
"Her life is on hold for a year at least, we've been told," said Mrs Moody. "She's sustained life-changing injuries. Emma is a very experienced, dedicated midwife and hopes to return to her job."
She said the law should be changed to keep cattle with calves out of fields with public access and require signs to warn of the danger.
So, there were no signs?
"There was a standard NFU sign at the entrance to the field informing walkers to keep dogs on a lead and to let the dog go if chased by cattle, exactly what Emma did," said Mrs Moody.
Errr, right. And? I mean, it was advice, not a magic talisman that would halt all further attacks.
"If only there had been a warning sign that cows with calves could be dangerous, then Emma wouldn't have entered the field. "
But…there was a warning sign! What do you think ‘chased by cattle’ meant?

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

"If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen school."

Parents of pupils at a Bexleyheath school were yesterday allowed to take their children home early due to the rising heat.
Temperatures soared above 30c on the hottest day of the year so far and pupils at Upland Primary School were able to leave early.
Gosh, it’s lucky that their mothers all have the sort of jobs that let you leave work early and so they could collect their offspring, isn't it?


Open Prisons, Revolving Doors...

A prisoner has disappeared from an open jail for the second time, it has emerged. Mark Donnison, 43, who was serving a sentence at Hollesley Bay, in Suffolk, was discovered missing Monday morning. He also absconded from North Sea Camp open prison in Lincolnshire last year.
And if the place sounds familiar, well....
A kidnapper on the run from an open prison for more than a week has been recaptured by police in Suffolk. Daniel Best, 25, absconded from Hollesley Bay Prison, near Woodbridge, on the evening of 5 July.
Not that normal prisons are that much better, when they let you out on day release to kill again:
Police have arrested a man they had wanted to speak to in connection with a knife murder in Hertfordshire.
Ian John McLoughlin, 55, was arrested at 01:00 BST in London on suspicion of robbery and murder. Police had appealed for information on his whereabouts after Graham Buck, 66, died intervening in a suspected robbery in a Hertfordshire village on Saturday and another man was hurt.
McLoughlin was on day release from prison, serving a sentence for murder.
H/T: CJ Nerd via email

What Is It With Politicians And The Internet?

A Tweet (eventually deleted when the ridicule got too much to ignore, but this is the Internet, where screengrabs guarantee notoriety) from Margot James MP:

I guess her “blonde highlights, tailored suits and penchant for Prada handbags” don’t conceal an astounding intellect.

However did she get elected?

Monday, 22 July 2013

The Inevitable 'Escaped Snake' Story...With An Underclass Touch

Happens every warm summer, doesn't it?
An Abbey Wood family got the ssssscare of their lives when a 3ft snake slithered out of the chimney and attacked police as they tried for an hour to capture it.
Officers used containment tactics and avoided repeated attempts by the animal to sink its fangs into them before eventually capturing the creature with the help of a bin, a takeaway pizza box and some gaffer tape.
Oh, but the best is yet to come:
Annie Cox, 53, was woken up by her terrified son who was sweating and white in the face.
She said: "First I told him to clear off. I thought he'd been on drugs or he'd been drinking heavily."
As you do...
She went on: "I marched into the front room in my pyjamas, in all my glory and looked into the chimney.
"It put its nose about two inches from my face. Then I kind of went into panic mode."
So did the unfortunate reptile, I expect, on realising what this neighbourhood must be like...

Literature Is Another Front In The Identity Politics War

Bim Adewunmi on the perils of the written word:
The majority of the characters in the books I loved were white. There's just no getting away from this. Through them, I very quickly learned (thanks to the context, and then a dictionary) what it was to blush, or to "go purple with rage". I understood that these were not things I could do; my body would not allow it.
Well, my body won't allow me to fly, but it didn't stop me reading 'Peter Pan' or 'Superman' comics...
There was magic in these books too: faraway trees, enchanted woods and worlds beyond wardrobes and looking glasses. I rarely encountered a single character who was a person of colour, and when they were they were very often the bad guy – their non-whiteness a signal for their morally bankrupt insides. You notice it as a child, and even though you shrug it off it lingers at the back your mind, perhaps unconsciously.
Oh, does it? Or does a decade or so of 'gender and racial politics' implant it?
The Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie recalls writing about characters who played in snow and drank ginger beer.
Well, isn't that the point of fiction? To show you other worlds? To show you other cultures, other ways of viewing the world?
Years later, selling stories to kids, I noticed that regardless of genre, there was still a dearth of brown faces and voices in children's literature. We got our diktats from head office on what was on promotion "3-for-2" that week, or the movie tie-ins we were looking to push, but then we were given "free" displays to fill as we pleased. That's when the scramble would begin, trying to find books with a black or Asian character, and then even more stringently, one that was a lead, and written as a complex, non-stereotypical creature.
We pulled our selections from the main stocks and even with the most sympathetic of eyes, it was almost always a paltry haul, some of the sorriest-looking displays you ever saw. It was the same even (especially?) when we widened our remit to include picture books: I cannot tell you how many times I pressed Handa's Hen or Handa's Surprise into the hands of parents looking for some much-needed diversity for their children's bookshelves.
So the children weren't bothered, it was the parents?
But here's the thing – they sold. Every time we put up this feature wall – from picture books to teenage YA fiction via young readers' titles – we sold out of several of the books on display.
And that's great for booksellers. But I wonder how many of those books were read. And enjoyed? And how many were glanced at, then left on the shelf...
So I am very pleased to hear that the new children's laureate is Malorie Blackman.
Why? Because she's black.

And it seems that - like Obama - all that counts for Bim and her ilk is the colour of a person's skin, and not the content of their character. Martin Luther King must be spinning in his grave...
I hope her appointment, and her books, will serve to inspire more writers to power up their computers and finish their manuscripts. Equally importantly, I hope it will encourage publishers to push these stories as well. After all, what good are books if, as well as taking us to magical far-flung places, they do not showcase the everyday magic of the diverse world we live in?
Because it's never too early to plug that message!

Publicity Shy?

The crew manager, who did not want to be named, said the accident happened when the driver, a man in his 20s, clipped the back of the car he was trying to overtake at the junction.
That's odd, isn't it? Usually, they're only too happy to have their name in the newspaper!

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Obama On Trayvon...

There are very few African American men in this country who haven’t had the experience of being followed when they were shopping in a department store. That includes me. There are very few African American men who haven’t had the experience of walking across the street and hearing the locks click on the doors of cars. That happens to me — at least before I was a senator.
Which is ironic, since black Democrat politicians steal and destroy far more in their suits and ties than any gangbanger in a hoody...

News I've Longed For...

...sadly, it wasn't in the manner of Saruman's forces scouring the Shire.

Which is a pity, as that's what it needs.

‘Injury Lawyers For You’ Must Be Loading Up On Champagne In Advance…

A pair of German inventors have created a digital pen that can check for spelling mistakes in handwriting. The Lernstift, which is German for learning pen, has a built-in sensor that recognises writing movements and tracks the shape of the letters to recognise words. It then vibrates when a mistake is made.
Oh oh! This could prove expensive!

Sunday Funnies...

Unlike coal and oil, there's one thing we never run short on....

Saturday, 20 July 2013


Maureen Lipman has described Culture Secretary Maria Miller as a “nightmare” and complained that most recent arts ministers know nothing about art.
They rarely pick farmers to be Agriculture Minister, or policemen to be Home Secretary either. So what?
Lipman is the biggest name on the bill at London’s newest theatre – the Park Theatre in Finsbury Park. Challenged about the virtues of opening a new playhouse when so many other arts ventures are struggling, the 67-year-old said: “Do we need new theatres? That’s a good point. I have a theory that you can always get money for buildings, but not for people. That applies to hospitals and schools. Or The Shard.”
Cue that oh-so-familiar, slightly mocking voice: “A very useful addition to the City. But can you get money for people? No.”
As if to illustrate her point, she insinuates that even designers of swanky new theatres have to be prodded to remember the needs of the people actually using them.
Like the staff who serve behind the box office counter, or the audience, maybe the disabled visitors, perhaps?
“I had to insist on having a window installed in my dressing room because I thought I was going to be suffocated in there. “
Oh. Clearly not.
Not that the new Park Theatre has had to worry about penny pinching from Ms Miller. Jez Bond, its artistic director, tapped wealthy luvvie luminaries for the £2.5m he needed, with donations from the likes of Sir Ian McKellen, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Celia Imrie. Lipman said she was “probably” among those who stumped up some cash, adding: “What I give is purely instinctive and on the spur.” Much like her comments on the state of the arts, she said, but that doesn’t make them any less interesting.
“Art is essential in a society but it’s the easiest thing to cut because, as you see from Czechoslovakia and everywhere, if you cut it down, if you repress it, it will come out at the sides, like a pressure cooker. So there will always be art.”
So we don’t need to worry about subsidising it then, do we?

Some More ‘Research’ We Can Safely Ignore

Most major restaurant and fast-food chains fail to provide basic standards of food for children, research suggests today.
Yes, the numbers of children stumbling out onto the high street with rickets or kwashiorkor or uncontrollable diarrhea is stunning, isn't it? Or even dying!
Meals aimed at children are still dominated by unhealthy options such as chicken nuggets, burgers and sausages – with few fruit or vegetables, a survey of 21 of the nation’s most popular chains found.
Well, they’re called things like ‘Kentucky Fried Chicken’ and ‘Burger King’ and ‘Pizza Hut’, not ‘Finger Lickin’ Broccoli’ or ‘Lettuce A Go Go’.

But this is, of course, just more rent-seeking, and from the usual suspects too:
. The campaign, run by the Soil Association and Organix, is calling for the restaurant industry to improve children’s menus.
Which translates as ‘Buy and serve more of our produce and less of our competitors produce’…
Joanna Lewis, head of policy at the Soil Association, said: “Our investigation reveals that most high-street restaurants are not even meeting the most basic standards families should expect when they eat out. Most are still churning out children’s menus dominated by the usual suspects – burgers, nuggets and pizzas – turning the table into a battlefield for any parents wanting their child to eat well.”
Well, only for those who've not yet learned how to say ‘Eat your greens or you aren't getting a dessert’.

And who can afford to take their children out for a meal every day? An occasional treat of nuggets and pizzas won’t hurt, providing they aren't being fed the same stuff at home as well.

And if they are…well, how is that the restaurant’s problem?

I Knew There Was More Than One Reason I Loathed Benjamin Zephaniah...

Benjamin Zephaniah - the darling of the progressive teaching organisations - on the running of the bulls in Pamplona:
Some Spanish aficionados are uniquely blind to the carnage, going so far as to propose – in a recent initiative currently under consideration by the culture committee of the Spanish congress of deputies – that this blood sport be granted legal protection as a "cultural pastime". In 2013, in an otherwise civilised society, seeking such a designation for gratuitous slaughter is perverse.
Yup, he's a PETA devotee...
Over the next few days, my friends at Peta will be forcing the Spanish government to acknowledge the body count by sending people to Pamplona to lie inside 48 coffins, in homage to the four dozen bulls who are killed every year at the Festival of San Fermín – just a fraction of the 40,000 bulls slaughtered annually in bullfights across Spain.
Wow! That's even more animals than PETA themselves kill..!

Friday, 19 July 2013

Crime Doesn't Pay In Britain?

Don't make me laugh...
A crime victim has hit out after a thief was ordered to pay her £260 compensation for stealing her £540 phone. Nicola Eaton was left puzzled by the court decision which left her with only half the phone’s value – and no phone.
Oh, it's even worse than that!
Mrs Eaton will only get the money back in payments stretching over two years.
Kingston was sentenced at Southend Magistrates’ Court on Monday, to a 12-month community order with supervision, and ordered to attend a programme designed to reduce reoffending called “Thinking Skills”.
Once again, I'm of the impression these are ordered for the wrong side of the dock...

And It's Absolutely Nothing To Do With Your 'Obesity Crisis' Campaigns?

Sue Kelly, a nurse specialist at the trust's child and adolescent team at Chalkhill Hospital in Haywards Heath said: “There is certainly a greater knowledge about disorders.
By which I think you mean 'Normal child fussiness is now a 'syndrome' to be accorded special status'?

See also ADHD or 'being a disobedient little shit'....
“Things that might have been dismissed as 'faddy eating' a decade ago is now being spotted as a sign of a potentially serious problem.
Yup! Thought so.
“Unfortunately there are still a lot of media images which give unrealistic expectations of how people should look and do not take into account people are built in different shapes and sizes.”
And the NHS constant blathering about Britain's 'obesity crisis' isn't contributing to that? With all that nonsense and hyperbole?

Really? Even when you are sending perfectly healthy schoolchildren letters that imply they are Billy Bunter-esque figures?
A spokeswoman for the eating disorders charity Beat said: “Recent studies show us there are more biological factors to eating disorders than we ever previously thought but socio-cultural factors such as the media, peer pressure, bullying and self-esteem and body image issues are now seen to affect boys, men and also younger children.”
When she gave that quote, do you think pound signs rolled up into her eyes like a character in a Bugs Bunny cartoon?

Are Anger Management Courses Haraam?

An 18-year-old youth kicked out in anger, smashing a door off its hinges, after being told to leave the probation offices in Blackburn because of his behaviour.
Makes you wonder why he's on probation, doesn't it?
But Blackburn magistrates said that, despite his tantrum, the probation service was willing to allow him to continue on his order and did not think an anger management course was necessary.
I can't imagine why...

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Most Of Us Say The Same, Doreen...

At an awards ceremony last night, she said: “Even today when I look at the police I feel that they don’t represent me. When I look at the police I don’t see a force which reflects me or my needs. I saw a black police officer on a motorbike recently and remember thinking that even today that is unusual. There is such a diverse population in London but many of the institutions don’t represent that and that is something we need to change.”
Yes, if we have more cops who look like Ali Diziae everything'll be peachy.

Maybe You Should Withhold Your Council Business Taxes?

When police arrived at the city centre squat on Bartholomews in Brighton they found Baron Estates representatives, who own the property, being sprayed with fire extinguishers as they attempted to evict the occupants, watched by a growing crowd.
That's assault. Can we look forward to arrests?
A police spokesman said: “The call came from an occupant of the property to report someone was trying to break in.
“Officers discovered the attempt to enter the property was being made by representatives of the owner, who had obtained a possession order.
“The occupants were squirting fire extinguishers and throwing items.
So, do your job!
“Police advised the owner to obtain sheriff's officers to assist with the eviction and to advise police in advance. Along with her staff, she left the area around 2.45pm.”
No, wait, I meant, do the job you're supposed to do! Not do the modern, politically-correct, avoid confrontation at all costs unless the odds are massively in your favour, job!
Just two hours after police left the area, squatters were seen to be using ladders to gain access to the property once more.
One squatter, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “They smashed a window and threatened us with a crowbar even though they were repeatedly told that what they were doing was against the law.
“We called the police, but when they arrived they showed no concern for our safety and simply stood by ignoring the legal documents we showed them which proved the illegality of Baron Estates attempted eviction.”
And you freeloading scum are such believers in respect and decency and the law, are you?
Marie Geraghty, 37, store manager of Space NK, said: “For the last two weeks, their behaviour has really disrupted my business. … A spokeswoman for Little Coffee Company, two doors down from the squatters, said: “We would have usually had a very busy day, but the negative atmosphere about the place has meant for pretty slow trade.”
Start withholding your business rates, then. You know, the ones that are used to provide a police 'service' that's supposed to work for you...

Your Words Say One Thing, Your Actions Tell The Real Story...

Sentencing, Recorder Andrew Edis, QC, told the defendants what they had done was 'disgraceful and serious conduct.'
He said: "This is frightening behaviour and something that ought never to take place in any public street. The use of violence in furtherance of family disputes is a serious aggravating feature."
Long prison sentence, then?
Mohammed Ansar and his son, both of Ashton Drive, Nelson, admitted affray. Atif Ansar also pledged guilty to possessing an offensive weapon. The father received 14 weeks in prison, suspended for a year, while his son was given 12 weeks in jail, suspended for 12 months.
*baffled face*

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Art For Art's Sake: Unknown, Various

I've always loved 'primitive' art, and what better than the astonishing Lascaux cave paintings?

Sadly, I've not yet had the chance to visit, but I did pop in to the British Museum's Ice Age Art exhibit. I wasn't the only blogger to visit, either, and nor was I the only one awed at their skill and amazing dexterity with natural materials:

"But the most powerful emotion that gripped me was a creeping sense of fear and of wonder: what happened 40,000 years ago that turned us from apes into fully-fledged humans with such incredible talents apparently overnight?"

A close runner up to Lascaux itself is, of course, the Great Ceiling of Rouffignac, another in the cave complex.

I really must make an effort to go along and visit one day.

More Than One Type Of Dumbbell...

Neighbours described how the suspect was throwing iron dumbbell weights from the top window and back yard of his own property which then smashed onto cars parked on the street below and through the upstairs windows of two nearby houses.
As you do!
About 20 officers were involved in the operation to secure the area while negotiators worked to capture the suspect.
Well, if that hadn't worked, I suppose they could always just leave?
Mark Jenkins lives on Stewart Street to the rear of Cartmell Terrace and had his stairwell window smashed by a flying dumbbell.
He described how the suspect damaged cars and threw crockery, a television, CD player and white paint into the road.
“It was crazy, you could see the red laser dots from the police guns aimed at his house,” said Mr Jenkins.
“It looked like Beirut before we got it all cleared up.”

Beirut or Darlington? Hmmm. Tricky one...

Nicely Balanced. By Which I Mean, Chips On Both Shoulders...

Lemn Sissay, according to his bio at CiF, is a poet and playwright. He is an associate artist at the Southbank Centre.

He is also a believer that the police should be psychic.
Do some black people cause crime? Yes. Must black men in England be so radically mistaken for someone else? No. Get the criminals….
Well, they would, if they could only tell them apart from the ordinary man in the street without stopping them and asking questions!
For most people in England, and by "most people" I probably mean white people, driving your first car is an exciting rite of passage into adulthood. A black man in England soon learns that his rite of passage comes with overtly racist conditioning (there is nothing covert about being stopped regularly by the police). The black man must fall in line with the way things are. Ditto for catching taxis, by the way, and ditto for going out in clubs in Manchester.
But wait! Neither operation involves the police, does it? (Well, OK, maybe the last if it's certain venues  but still...).

So maybe the police are only doing what everyone else is doing? Profiling.
I've been stopped by the police more than 50 times between the ages of 20 and 40. An average of once every 134 days for 20 years. It is traumatic. "Is there anything wrong, officer?" Policeman reads my question as sarcasm or arrogance. He doesn't answer. Policeman asks questions, not the suspect.
And I suspect that’s true for all suspects. Whether they are as black as coal or as white as a lily.
At the beginning of this year I had my computer stolen. Question: did I go to the police station to report it? Two weeks ago I was attacked in Cutty Sark train station. I deliberately didn't blog about it but that's another matter. Question: did I report it to the police? If the police want their crime prevention figures to get better, stop stopping innocent black men because then we'll report the crimes we do see. Crimes that happen to us.
But not crimes that happen to anyone else?

Education, Education, Education...

Remember that?
Another message, written on a black balloon, said: 'RIP Hassan. Your always in our duas.'
And on a gold balloon, one friend wrote: 'RIP Hassan. Your in paradise.'
*grinds teeth* But there's even worse!
Other friends had paid tribute to the tragic teenager online, and they said that Facebook had been the trigger for the fight.
A friend wrote: 'It's patetic if what ave just read from one of the close friends to this young lads uncle..who says the young lad was murdered due to an argument that escalated over Facebook..then I think these social websites need to be band.'

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Wild Is As Wild Does...

A mother who dragged a Gravesend landlady to the floor, kicked the woman’s granddaughter in the face and assaulted two police officers during a night out has avoided jail.
Larisa Wild was with her boyfriend Stephen Coyne and brother Derek Wild when the brawl broke out in the Campbell Arms in Gravesend on June 15.
Alcohol was involved? Well, you shock me.

No doubt she has a good excuse?
The court heard how Larisa Wild, who has a six-year-old daughter, went out for a drink to cheer herself up after being told she would need IVF treatment to have more children.
 *stifles first uncharitable impulse*
Sarah Williams, mitigating, said: “She (Larisa) can’t understand how she got into such a state. She can’t remember much.
“Her last recollection was having a drink in the beer garden and next thing she remembers is waking up in the cells.
“She may have had her drink spiked with alcohol or drugs.
“This was completely against her nature.”
Really? Well, if you say so...

Remember, it's 'not in her nature'.

Thanks to the comment feature, we can immediately put the lie to that particular statement from the defence:
Four people have been jailed after being caught with more than £80,000 of cocaine in north Kent.
Peter Glisson, aged 25, from Strood, was given a five-year sentence after 668g of cocaine was recovered from his van, which was found near Ruffets Wood, Gravesend.
Christian Bennett, aged 20, of Malvina Avenue, Gravesend, got a four-year sentence after 11 wraps of cocaine and £1,200 cash were found in his car in Lower Higham Road, Gravesend.
Phillipa Jackson, aged 22, of Waterdales, Northfleet, received a 15-month sentence and Larisa Wild, of Thalia Court, Gravesend, was sentenced to 12 months after the pair were caught with 775g of cocaine as well as scales, bags and cutting agents.
Yes. Her nature. Hmmm...

And Now We Have DONA*...

A man was tasered by a Kingston police officer at a kennels in Chessington this afternoon after what a witness said was an argument over a dog.
Unusually for these sorts of arguments, it was an actual, four-legged, dog. Not that the other type wasn’t also involved.
A woman was pepper sprayed and also arrested on suspicion of assaulting a police officer. She was taken into custody.
The reason for the brouhaha is unknown, but the aggrieved party claims they are innocent of wrongdoing:
The man’s son, 19, said his father had been tasered. He said: "It kicked off. We have been tasered, pepper sprayed, everything.
"He has got all cuts along his arms.
"The police tried to take the dog and we was in the car and we was obviously not happy to let the dog go.
"That is when the woman tasered my dad, who is on crutches.
"They can see he is an old man, he is on crutches.
"Basically we are trying to take the dog out of the kennels. We are wanting to take her home.
"We have got all the papers. The dog should be with us."
I wonder just what sort of dog we are talking about here? And just why it was in kennels?

* Dogs of no appearance

That 'Lack Of Resources' Again...

In total, 27 officers, including armed police, were sent to deal with the incident, and Dorset Fire and Rescue crews returned to the scene with CSI on Sunday to conduct an investigation into the cause of the fire.
I’ll save CSI the job, shall I, and suggest it was the mentally ill man threatening to kill himself who had to be tasered so they could put the fire out that caused it?

Monday, 15 July 2013

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown's Eyesight Needs Checking...

...she manages to miss the elephant in the tower block:
Areas such as Ladywood, an inner-city corner of Birmingham, are utterly dominated by single-parent families. And the effects are devastating. On arriving here, the sense of a material and emotional poverty being passed down from generation to generation is palpable.
Also a sense of something else. Though she is at pains to mention that the place is home to white lower-income families, she doesn't seem to have interviewed any...
In Ladywood, relationships break down fast and frequently, leaving children to suffer the lifelong consequences of never knowing their fathers. Many of the single mothers I meet are keen to discuss their predicament. Most are clearly desperate to break the families-without-fathers cycle, but none of them seems to know how.
Really? Odd. If I can see something going wrong, I'll do the opposite of what the people who are going wrong are doing. That doesn't seem to apply here.

It's almost as if there are incentives at work..
Sisters Marie Jukes, 39, and Sue Smith, 43, have a depressingly similar story. Brought up by their mother after their father walked out when they were children, Marie and Sue are now both single mothers and have seven children between them.
While Marie - who recently split up with her partner of 18 years and is now raising her five children alone - admits she longed for a father figure when she was growing up, she believes children in Ladywood are now happy in single-parent households because it has become the norm.
Indeed, she claims it would be more unusual for her children - Jamie, 17, Jodie, 15, Jack, 12, Jordan, 11, and Jayden, eight - if they did live with their father. She now works 16 hours a week as a housekeeper and claims working tax credit, child tax credits and child benefit in order to support her children.
Alliteration is clearly in vogue:
Kim, who came to England from Jamaica 15 years ago, has a ten-year-old son, Tyrese, and daughters Tiffiny, five, and two-year-old Tati.
I suppose it makes it easier to fill in the benefit forms...
Of course, there was a time in Britain’s recent history when single mothers proliferated, but the context couldn’t have been more different, and the children they raised grew up to be responsible, useful members of society. During the two World Wars, millions of men died in conflict and it became the norm for children to be brought up by their widowed mothers. One of the key differences then, however, was that extended families played a crucial role in raising a child: grandparents, siblings, aunts and uncles united to help provide the stable family life missing for so many present-day children.
There was also something else about Britain's demographic make-up then. But Yasmin doesn't want to mention it.
Ruth Haile, 33, has three children by two fathers. With neither father around to help at home, her 14-year-old son, Naeb, has become a father figure to his younger siblings. Ruth, who came to England from Eritrea in East Africa seven years ago, says she struggles to care for Naeb, Esrom, five, and three-year-old Lulia. Ruth says: ‘I was only 19 when I had Naeb, but that is normal in my country. ’
You meant, ‘my former country’, surely? As we are feeding and clothing your offspring, it’s not too much to ask, is it?

Modern (Unhappy) Families…

Summer Rogers-Ratcliffe was 21 months old when she was found dying in her cot from head injuries.
The depressingly familiar double-barreled name – once a hallmark of the upper classes, now sadly quite different - tells the usual tale:
Her mother Victoria Rogers, 26, boyfriend Craig Sharp, 34, and Mrs Rogers were arrested on suspicion of murder, but have been released from police bail.
You see, the CPS don’t want to take a case to court if it isn’t a sure thing, unless the offence is a politically correct one, of course.

Unfortunately, He Was Full Of Something Else At The Time…

…that something else being alcohol:
Mr Donaghy Snr, his brother and sister Mike and Kirsty Donaghy and Chris’s sister Rebecca Snow were all at the inquest. Chris was a “fit young lad, and full of fun,” he said…
Fun doesn't make you lie senseless in the gutter to be run over, does it?
Mrs Fernie denied the account and denied being drunk, but the coroner criticised Mrs Fernie's evidence, saying: “It is clear she has lied to me. She has pretended she had only six glasses of wine, but it is clear she had three bottles. I find her an utterly incredible witness.”
Three bottles!?! I wonder she could stand at all...

Sunday, 14 July 2013

The Expected Verdict, The Expected Reaction...

As the verdict drew near, police and city leaders in Los Angeles and other parts of California said they were taking precautions against the possibility of mass protests or unrest.
'There is no party in this case who wants to see any violence,' Los Angeles County Sheriff said immediately after jurors began deliberating. 'We have an expectation upon this announcement that our community will continue to act peacefully.'
Crowds outside the courthouse were outspoken about their disappointment at the verdict, yelling 'The system has failed us', and hundreds took to Twitter to voice their discontentment with the justice system and jury.
Moments after the verdict was read out, people reacting on Twitter had described him as 'a dead man walking'.
Simpson's defense attorneys said the verdict had not sunk in for him yet...
Oh, wait. I might have got some of that wrong...
Benjamin Crump, the attorney for the Martin family, acknowledged the disappointment of Trayvon's supporters, as he ranked the teenager alongside civil rights heroes Medgar Evers and Emmett Till in the history of the fight for equal justice.
This kind of hyperbole makes me want to vomit over the keyboard. Evers walked twelve miles to school to earn his high-school diploma and fought for his country in WWII. Martin was a street rat with a record; he wasn't fit to shine Evers' shoes.

And but for the meddling of the worst President the US has had, he wouldn't even be a cause celebre.

The 'Daily Mail' Doesn't Learn...

...just a few days later, it's at it again!

"Revvin' up your engine, listen to her howlin' roar... "

No further comment necessary!

Via @PatNurse on Twitter

Sunday Funnies...

If you can't be good, be lucky!

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Everything That’s Wrong With Today’s Society In One Story

I thought, a while ago, I'd discovered the ne plus ultra of chav names. But MacHeath proves me wrong:
Lurelle Bancroft, 16, had been hailed as a 'role model' by pageant bosses after she made it through to the finals of the Miss Teen Great Britain.
But it was claimed her modelling and strutting on the catwalk took its toll on her school work. Staff at Buile Hill Visual Arts College in Salford, Greater Manchester where she was a year 11 pupil studying GCSEs said she kept missing lessons.
So after receiving several warnings, Lurelle turned up for the lavish end of year ball at the school in her £300 dress only to be turned away in tears after being told she had fallen foul of her school's truancy policy.
But no need to take her word for this - here's some (artistically shot) photos to prove it!

Because if it's not on FaceBook, it didn't happen!

So, is this a lesson in personal responsibility for the preposterously-named teen’s school scrapbook? Why, no. Of course not.
Lurelle who is planning to study media and creative makeup at college said she was left 'traumatised' by the experience of being turned away and her family have accused the school of 'victimisation' and 'discrimination.'
Let that sink in for a bit. And then note mum’s first and immediate response to the suggestion that her offspring might be better off learning a skill that won’t desert her once age and gravity take effect:
Her mother Candice Bancroft, 36, from Swinton, called children’s services in the days leading up to the prom in a bid to overturn the school’s decision - which she said followed months of 'victimisation' after her daughter won the beauty crown.
*rendered speechless once again*

Doomed, we are. Doomed as a nation. Oh wait! Maybe not!
Organisers have also abolished the role of Carnival Queen this year as it does not ‘fit with the ethos’ of the event.
I never thought I'd say this, but....'Save us, political correctness! You're our only hope!'