Friday, 28 February 2014

“Because The Rules Shouldn’t Apply To Me, That’s Why!”

A pregnant commuter has hit out at train bosses for their seating policy after she was forced to sit on a carriage floor when she nearly collapsed.
Her problem being that they do indeed have a policy to help with this, but she falls outside its parameters. Someone always will.
Mrs Poskitt travels three days a week, working the other two days from home. She said: “You have to have a pass [to sit in first class], and because I travel three days a week, not five, I don’t have a pass, I pay by Oyster
I thought they might be willing to make an exception, particularly after I told them about what happened, but after conversations with various managers they’ve flatly said no, saying policy is policy.”
Given your commute, I’m not surprised:
Mrs Poskitt, 40, who commutes from Yorkshire via Surbiton for her job in marketing …
She added: “I don’t honestly know [what to do next], I keep trying with South West Trains, I’m throwing myself at their mercy because they could make all the difference to the last few months of my pregnancy.”
Perhaps you should have given a thought to your travel options in the first few months of your pregnancy? Or even, before it?

Post Title Of The Month

We have another tie!

Anna Raccoon took an early lead with this heading for a superb post of the insanity of the feminist demands for genitalia to be more equally shared amongst bankers:

But then MacHeath got the whip out coming into the final straight to finish nose to nose with this one:

Quote Of The Month

Al Jahom makes a welcome return to blogging with a hefty dose of schadefreude over the plans to ban smoking in cars:
"Secondly, it’s just absurd isn't it? How can it possibly be enforced? Does it apply to convertible cars with the roof down? How about sunroofs? How about cars with blacked out rear windows and an absence of ‘princess on board’ pendants? A law that cannot be enforced is at best pointless, and at worst a lever for all kinds of arbitrary and random enforcement by our nation’s burgeoning army of shiny jacketed simian enforcement mongs, and the serried ranks of pucker-faced citizen informers with their welfare-funded iPhones. Again, however, it doesn’t affect me."

Post Of The Month

Clarissa takes the honours (ironically, for someone else's contribution!) with a series of fascinating posts on life in Afghanistan. This one's a standout.

Stop Spending Our Money!!!

Haringey Council has unveiled a new scheme that will give all pupils a savings account when they start secondary school. The account is intended to encourage children to start saving from an early age and create an alternative to payday loan companies in the future.
*shrugs* Oh, well, if they think they can cram this into the increasingly overloaded school day, who am I to jud…

Wait. Hang on. What if they haven’t got any money to open one?

 Oh. I get it.
There will be approximately 2,200 pupils in Haringey starting secondary school in September 2014 and will all be given a £20 account with London Capital Credit Union.
And this money, where will it come from? From taxpayers, of course!
The scheme will cost the council around £60,000 per year and the council hopes to continue the scheme year-on-year for all year seven pupils.
No. No, it won’t ‘cost the council’, will it? It never does…

Thursday, 27 February 2014

‘Leading Charities’, Eh?

Iain Duncan Smith's Department for Work and Pensions is presiding over "a culture of fear" in which jobseekers are set unrealistic targets to find work – or risk their benefits being taken away, leading charities have told an official inquiry.
Oh, really? Such as ..?
In evidence to the Oakley inquiry, the charities Drugscope and Homeless Link warn that "the current sanctions regime creates a culture of fear of doing or saying the wrong thing. That may in fact lead to further benefit dependency and harming engagement with employment services, as vulnerable clients fear having benefits removed and never being reinstated."
Ah, yes, that old canard, ‘vulnerable clients’ which is used to describe the piss-soaked tramps that daily beg money in Southend High Street.
Crisis, the homeless charity asserts: "People who have been sanctioned are already on very limited incomes and face a significant further reduction, meaning they are left facing decisions between buying food, paying for heating and electricity and paying their rent. Debt is common and many face arrears, eviction and in the worst instances homelessness".
In the worst instances? But you’re a homeless charity, don’t they start out from there?

Oh, wait. I forgot the rather flexible definition you use. Never mind.
In its evidence, Gingerbread, which lobbies for the rights of single parents, also warns: "While sanctions may be necessary for a small minority of claimants who deliberately evade their jobseeking responsibilities, the current high levels of sanctions across all [jobseeker's allowance] claimants reveal a system in crisis and one that is systematically failing single parent jobseekers."
It says single parents are being told they must work full-time.
Yes, and..?
The National Association of Welfare Rights Advisers says "claimants are being sent on schemes with no discussion about whether they are appropriate to their needs and no opportunity for them to make representations about it". Adequate notification is also not routinely being given". It says some claimants have been told: "You need to spend 35 hours per week doing job searches and show evidence of 50 to 100 job searches or job applications per week."
Well, what else do they have to do with their time? Time we, the workers, are paying them to sit on their arses watching daytime TV...

The DWP – to its credit – comes out swinging:
A spokesman for the DWP said: "It is only right that people claiming benefits should do everything they can to find work if they are able to. "Sanctions are used as a last resort and the rules are made very clear at the start of their claim.
"We will provide jobseekers with the help and support they need but it is only fair they live up to their part of the contract."
Indeed so. Not that I remember signing any contract, mind you...

Modern Families

As friends began to leave flowers outside and write messages on the boarded up door to the flat, his parents Martin Smith and Lisa Tremble appealed for help to convict his killer.
Mrs Tremble said the death had “ripped my heart into pieces”.
Mrs Tremble said: “I want justice for Connor and to appeal to anybody with information regarding his death to come forward.
“I urge you to think about the value and delicacy of life.
“Connor was a much-loved son, big brother, nephew and grandson.
“His death has ripped my heart into pieces and I feel I have been robbed of something priceless.”
Not so ‘priceless’ you were actually housing him, though?
Grieving friends have also paid tribute to Connor, who was being looked after by Oxfordshire County Council.
Paul Smith, a spokesman for Oxfordshire County Council, said Connor was in close contact with the social services until his death.
He added: “Oxfordshire County Council was shocked and saddened to hear of the violent death of Connor Tremble.
“Our sympathies go out to his family and friends.
“There will be a thorough investigation into the circumstances surrounding this tragic death so that any lessons for the future can be learned.”
Maybe to not give a teenage boy the keys to his own flat?
Friends and family also took to Facebook to pay tribute.
*braces self*
Emma Pattinson wrote: “U will be sadly missed bt never forgotten love u always.”
Joffan Stear added: “R.I.P. bruv ur guna b missed by millions.”

The Sort Of Chap Who’d Buy A Pig In A Poke…

Miss Sarb Sehmi, mitigating for Barker, of Longwood Rise, Willenhall, said he had been given the dog in a pub.
She said: “He didn’t realise it was a pit bull. Had he known, he wouldn’t have taken responsibility for the dog.”
Really, you acquired a dog in a pub and was then surprised when it turned out to be dodgy? Hmmm. Something of a theme developing.
Judge Michael Morris sentenced Barker to16-weeks in a young offenders’ institution, suspended for 12 months. Barker was also ordered to carry out 160 hours’ unpaid work and pay £500 compensation.
A destruction order was made for the pit bull
Can’t help feeling that’s the wrong way round. But then, how would the dog earn the required £500?

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Nick Clegg, Ideas Man…

Louise Tickle gets the task of monitoring the progress of the ‘free’ school lunch idea at St Mary Redcliffe in Bristol for the ‘Guardian’:
"I used to have school meals but now I don't because the prices got higher," says five-year-old Jemima, cramming the last bit of KitKat from her packed lunch into her mouth with a happy grin.
School dinners here have just gone up to £2.25, so it's hardly surprising that some parents look at a bill of almost £50 a month and conclude that they can make a packed lunch for less.
Well, quite! With BOGOF offers, who couldn’t? Whether they’d fall foul of schools healthy eating policies is another matter, of course…
Come September, though, if the universal free school meals policy is realised, Jemima's family won't have to pay.
No indeed! I will! And you. In fact, all those taxpayers who don’t have children will be paying to feed the little….darlings.

*grinds teeth*
But right now, it's hard to see how headteacher Emma Payne is going to turn Nick Clegg's policy – announced at the Liberal Democrat party conference – into a reality.
Because, as we’ve seen before, there’s a problem with the logistics.
Headteachers received their first letter on the subject from the education secretary, Michael Gove, and the schools minister, David Laws, last month informing them they are obliged to implement the policy by September. So far, there have been no offers of any help or advice about how to get the job done.
Well, isn’t that why they pay them the big bucks? To resolve issues?
Payne starts to explain the problems she's facing, but has barely described the catchment – "very mixed, lots of cultures, some families in one of the 10% most deprived wards in the UK" – when she suddenly has to leap up: a referral to social services needs her urgent input.
The problems are the usual – not enough room to accommodate everyone:
The school has 426 children. The dining hall isn't big. Fifteen folded dining tables are placed against a wall. It's the middle of assembly: one class isn't here, and even with pupils sitting on the floor the room is nearly full.
Can they expand? Well, it’ll be difficult…
We poke our heads into the kitchen. A year ago, the contract catering company asked for what was then a facility for keeping pre-cooked dinners warm to be converted so that meals could be cooked on site. It's small: about six metres by four (20ft by 13ft). A chef and two assistants bustle about. Any more people working in here would be a squash. There's nowhere inside to extend this kitchen. The only option is to knock through the outside wall. We go outside. Half of the small area that could be built on is taken up by a shed. Curious, I open a door, to find lots of catering equipment, cutlery and serving dishes.
"We were asked to put it up because there was no room for everything in the kitchen," Swift explains.
In fact, it’s worse than you think:
Wondering what scale of increase the kitchen would need to deliver the universal free school meals, we ask the office for a snapshot of the numbers. "Today there are 53 children in reception and key stage 1 having a school dinner," says the administration expert. If universal free meals were in operation today, 173 children at this school would be eligible. In TV chef-speak, that's another 120 "plates" to be prepped, cooked and dished up. Extra supervising staff will be needed too.
"Little ones will need some of their lunch cutting up."
Add to this headache, school funding concerns:
"Actually," she says, "my immediate thought was about pupil premium funding." I'm puzzled, so Payne explains. St Mary Redcliffe has 22% of pupils taking free school meals.
"That's 124 children whose parents have claimed – though I know another 94 children are entitled." Pupil premium money, so vital to schools like this, is calculated per pupil claiming free school meals.
"As yet, I'm unclear about how universal free school meals will impact upon pupil premium funding," she says.
I’d be feeling sorry for them right now, if it weren’t for the fact that they are probably the people that voted Clegg into office:
In an ideal world, with all the practical challenges met, does Payne believe that offering free school meals to all children is a good thing?
"Yes," she says immediately. "It's a nutritious meal, and it's appropriate portion-sizing for children. It's fresh. And it's produced from scratch on the premises."
And it’s not for me (or you) to provide it. It’s for their parents.
So, does she have a plan? "No, I don't know what to do," she admits. "There is no simple solution, and complex solutions take time.
And," she adds dryly, recalling the urgent support required by one child's family earlier this morning, "we're quite busy at the moment, really."
Will she still vote for Clegg? Probably…

“And A Pony! Don’t Forget The Pony!” Part 3584

Organiser Reverend Paul Nicolson has announced that the second Thousand Mothers March will take place on the Saturday, March 29, at 11am.
Oh, here we go again
The group wants the Government to ensure affordable, secure, decent homes are provided for all of London’s families.
Which is clearly government’s job. Right?
And to ensure they have adequate incomes to pay the rent, keep them warm, buy food, clothes and shoes for growing children, and to buy a TFL Oyster card.
*grinds teeth*

Let's Blame The Police For The Things They Could Have Anticipated...

...and not for the things they couldn't possibly have foreseen:

We don't know why they were seized in the first place, but police clearly satisfied themselves that there had been no breach of the licensing rules and so had to return them. And it's a hell of a leap from illegal or unethical dog breeding to multiple homicide.

On the other hand, if you have a piece of street filth whose illegal pitbulls have already shown a propensity for violence, it'd be nice if you acted then, before they tore a young girl's face off in the street:
Blackfriars Crown Court heard how one of the dogs was allowed to continue walking the streets of Camden despite a history of violence.
Earlier last year on August 6, one of Curtis’ dogs chased a cat into a residential property on the Denyer estate, off Highgate Road, Dartmouth Park, biting a man inside the property before killing the cat.
As a result of the incident on December 4, police launched a review of all previous allegations of dog bites in Camden.
Four officers are currently the subject of an internal investigation relating to the August incident.
They probably won't be dismissed from the force. But they should be.

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

You’re Comparing Apples And Orangutans, Misa

Misa Han wails about the unfairness of it all:
A couple of years ago, I found myself doing unpaid work, giving up my Saturday night with television and pad thai to stuff envelopes and check in guests instead. I wasn’t doing volunteer work, or one of those bizarre internships where you run free errands for a billion-dollar shoe company in the hopes of climbing the corporate ladder.
I was asked to work for free because I got caught accessing Facebook on the company computer during work hours.
Fair enough! Most companies make sure that staff are warned up front about this, and you don’t say it came as a shock, so suck it up!
On my day off, my boss had accessed my internet browser history and printed out the evidence of my cardinal sin. She threatened to sue me for “stealing” company time unless I worked the following week, unpaid.
A little unorthodox. Most companies would have simply issued a written warning.
I obliged reluctantly and did so because I prided myself in having good work ethics
Many employers now have IT policies that allow them to monitor your online activities out of work hours, and employer-issued smart phones and laptops make this exercise easier.
So…don’t use them! Use your own. Honestly, you really must expect that if your employer provides you with something (laptop, company credit card, company car) they will monitor your use of it, surely?
Just last month, minister Eric Abetz issued guidelines to public servants about their online activities. In a professor Umbridge-style, public servants were told not to make a comment that is “so harsh or extreme in its criticism of the government, a member of parliament from another political party, or their respective policies”, that “it raises questions about the APS employee’s capacity to work professionally, efficiently or impartially”.
What’s more, such comment “does not have to relate to the employee’s area of work” so it can extend to any comment on the infinite number of issues that the federal government looks after.
Which is an infringement of your right to free expression, agreed. But what does that have to do with you breaking your employer's rules on surfing the Internet in work time?
Our laws aren’t particularly helpful when it comes to employer surveillance. In New South Wales, employers have to give prior notice of surveillance but they don’t need employees’ consent. In Victoria, employers can’t use CCTV cameras in toilets or change rooms, so at least employees know where to go if they want to gossip.
Employers should stop treating their employees like children loose on the playground, and our laws shouldn’t stop at banning CCTV cameras in toilet cubicles.
Until then, we may have to go back to writing in journals and hiding them under our mattresses.
I repeat - what does that have to do with you getting caught surfing the Internet in work time?

Nothing. Nothing at all. So don’t try to conflate the two.

New Police House Search Guidelines Appear To Be Working…

Around 40 mountain rescue volunteers, along with police, dog teams, and the police helicopter were alerted when the teenager left a note at his Blackburn home.
His frantic parents raised the alarm at around 9.30pm on Friday and an open window suggested he had fled the Worcester Road home.
Officers became concerned for the boy’s safety because the note led them to believe he would come to harm.
And so a huge operation swung into action:
Following the initial search of the boy’s home, a ‘thorough’ hunt was carried out at the same time as the search of the neighbourhood.
Door-to-door enquiries were made and residents were asked to search their gardens as the cold and wet night turned into Saturday morning.
And it was all for nothing:
The search was called off at 1.30am when police found him in the loft under piles of belongings.
Officers said it was unclear whether he had been in the loft the whole time.
*bites tongue*

Why Not Award Them All The Costs, Then?

The judge said she had heard detailed submissions about the problems caused by the property and was satisfied the claimants had “genuine, legitimate” concerns.
She awarded the claimants 75 per cent of their £6,000 court costs.
Why? They shouldn’t have needed to bring this action, so why should they have to pay anything?
The council, which had conceded its decision was “legally flawed”, said the four-year time limit for enforcement had expired.
It claimed that the court should not make any finding of unlawfulness because it had since persuaded the owner of the offending property to fit opaque plastic film on two ground floor bathroom windows.
The judge pointed out that the upstairs bathroom window still had clear glass, as did other windows.
Ordering the council to reconsider its decision, she said: “I have concluded the defendant’s decision was perverse, in all the circumstances, and that the planning officers concerned failed to have proper regard to relevant factors.”
That’s the public sector for you. And I bet they are all still in a job.

Monday, 24 February 2014

Tomayto, Tomahto…

…sandbag, floodsack. Let’s call the whole thing off:
Cllr Ray Nottage’s blog post on Sunday night praised council officers for their clean-up efforts in the borough over the weekend but said “...not a journalist from our ‘high quality newspaper’ in sight. Too many good news stories I suspect!”
After responses from residents online saying his remark was “undeserved” and praising the comprehensive coverage, Cllr Nottage responded saying after all the work the council had done to inform and protect residents’ property, “I think it irresponsible to trivialise the work of council, the members and officers by the level of reporting displayed through the crisis.”
It seems what sparked Cllr Nottage’s anger was a report that – like many councils before the media got wind of it, and forced them to change their policy pretty quickly – Christchurch Council was ‘charging for sandbags’:
The Daily Echo exclusively reported last week that Christchurch council was refusing to provide flood-hit residents of Conifer Close with free sandbags or plastic sheeting. Residents say they requested sandbags from the council but were told they would have to purchase floodsacks at £30 for a pack of four.
Floodsacks, see. Not sandbags. Got that?
Responding to a comment on his blog, Cllr Nottage said of the Echo’s report: “To interpret that as ....charging for irresponsible as well as being inaccurate…"
When contacted by the Daily Echo, Cllr Nottage said he was “furious” about the coverage of the sandbag situation, saying the council did not charge for sandbags but had been charging £30 for four floodsacks. He said the floodsacks were “innovations” launched two or three years ago and that up until last week, Christchurch council did not sell or hold sandbags but changed its policy on Thursday due to the severity of the impending storm.
“I thought you might have done a bit of journalistic research to establish the true nature of the situation”, he said. He added: “You published inaccurate information which I think pulled the council into disrepute.”

Oh, Yes, Indeed So, Jack…

Jack Monroe opines:
Poverty can happen to anyone.
Indeed so, but it happens a lot more easily to people who drop out of school with not enough GCSEs to take A-levels and go to work in a shop at the age of 16, then become unmarried mothers and throw in their job when their employer won’t accede to their demands for ‘family-friendly’ shifts.

And sorry, Tim, but the State didn't knock her up, did it?

Sorry, Love, We Can't Have A 'Knife Crackdown'...

Basel was at a friend’s house when the incident took place, the family said. To stop potential reprisals, police issued a section 60 order to allow officers to carry out random stop-and-searches in the area around Lilestone Street, where the killing happened.
...because that sort of thing upsets the progressives, you see.

You won''t realise this, being Kurdish, but our so-called justice system prefers to reserve its crackdowns for other targets. We can't go upsetting da yoof, can we?

That message comes straight from the horse's, ummm, mouth...

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Well, For One Thing, The Hole's Much Bigger...

A professional body piercer has warned about the risks of having your ear pierced with a gun rather than a needle.
Oh, wait. She means a piercing gun.

"'ve gotta ask yourself a question: "Do I feel lucky?" Well, do ya, punk?"

Well, it is Croydon!
Penny Burrows, who works at Time Bomb, in Croydon, said the procedure is less hygienic and can lead to infection.
Her intervention follows the news that supermarket worker Laura Scott had to seek medical treatment when her ear cartilage became swollen the day after it was pierced with gun at James Jewellery, in Church Street, Croydon.
And does the gun wielder accept responsibility? Why, strangely, no...
A spokesman for the store, who identified himself as the manager, blamed Miss Scott for the infection.
He told the Advertiser: "If they [customers] don't look after it then it's their responsibility.
"It down to the customer to clean and look after it. You'd be surprised what people do with their fingers. If they are not clean the infection can spread into the ear.
"I think a lot of them don't want to pay to go to cartilage clinics. They don't want to pay for needle piercing."
Urk! And indeed, eeeeeewwwww!

Naturally, Miss Burrows, being a professional needle wielder, is a bit of a (specialised) hoplophobe:
"Guns are extremely bad," said Miss Burrows. "They are not hygienic at all. It gets very frustrating when people don't understand that.
"Needles are a lot safer because everything is one use. Needles are used and they go straight in the bin, whereas you can't properly sterilise a gun
"I stood outside one parlour in Croydon that uses guns and watched their procedures, and cross-contamination was horrific.
"There's also an issue with the studs used, which have a butterfly back and are always put on too tight.
"Sometimes I understand where a piercer is coming from when they say it's the customer's fault, because every now and again it can be.
"But a good piercer will own up if they do something wrong."
But then, she would say that, wouldn't she..?

Oh, 'Daily Mail', FFS!


I just...

A Caption Writer Waits All His Life For A Story Like This...

H/T: C J Nerd via email

Sunday Funnies...

If you thought cats were patient hunters, clearly, they have nothing on the dachshund...

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Hurrah! It’s Half Term!

A period I love!

If I take a day off to go shopping or run errands, I don’t need to avoid school run time and if I don’t take a day off, my morning and evening commute isn’t blighted by the antics of the animals in green and blue school uniforms that catch the c2c service to and from Southend.

Truly, it’s bliss.

On the other hand, if you’re a bus driver, it must be a time fraught with danger:
One of the attacks shattered three windows on First number two service while several frightened passengers were on board as it drove along Redbridge Hill in Millbrook. It was one of a string of attacks on number two services.
Yes, it’s not unknown, is it? It seems to happen with monotonous regularity.
In March last year, Blue Star suspended services in the area after youths pelted a single-decker with bricks and stones, shattering a window and terrifying the passengers on board. It resulted in an emergency meeting between councillors, police and bus companies to stamp out the vandalism, to ensure services kept running through the area.
Oooh, a meeting! Clearly, it didn't work. Do they ever?
Millbrook ward councillor Georgie Laming said: “I know we have had issues with other bus services being cancelled in the past because of this and I completely understand why First would do that, because the welfare of the drivers.
“We have worked together to resolve these problems before. This is the kind of thing that gets brought up in police and community together meetings and people need to keep reporting it to the police so they can deal with it. ”
But they don’t ‘deal with it’, because it keeps happening..!

'Unholy Water'..?

Buckie is what Tracy Meikle was drinking when she stabbed a woman to death, a crime she was jailed for last week. It's the sickly sweet scent I remember on the breath of every angry man in my life before he raised his hand. It's the poisonous green bottles smashed all over the streets of the estate I played on – the evil emeralds I picked out of my knees.
It's just a drink. Like a gun is just a tool.
Buckie is a dark brown "tonic wine" brewed by Benedictine monks in Devon. Their recipe is secret but basically it's wine jacked up with chemicals and some of the condensed rage from 28 Days Later.
Really? I mean, is that on the label? If so, I think the ASA might want to have a word...

And is it really that strong? Well, no. As Leg-Iron pointed out, it's the caffeine that is the target of the ire:
…Buckie is only about 15% alcohol. But the alcohol content isn't the problem. It's not the strongest or (at about £7 a bottle) the cheapest. But it is the most lethal. Each bottle contains around eight times the caffeine of a can of coke. Drop-for-drop, it has got more caffeine than Red Bull. It doesn't get you drunk: it gets you high.
The monks, who just bought a new roof for one of their idyllic abbey's guest houses, have thoughtfully added this caution: "The name 'tonic wine' does not imply health-giving or medicinal properties." But in 1976 my pregnant mum was actually prescribed Buckie by her doctor. He told her: "It'll build you up." Luckily for me, floating inside her at the time, she declined his advice.
Go back far enough, you can find doctors who'd recommend smoking for dieting, or ingesting tapeworms. So what?
Yes, people choose to drink it, but …
Ah. No 'but' needed there.
The monks get a royalty for every bottle and last year made more than £6m. Their Abbot, David Charlesworth, claims to be upset by the Buckfast Triangle. "I don't want Buckfast Abbey to be associated with broken bottles and drunks," he says. "But is the product bad? No."
That's like Kalashnikov feeling sad about the way his rifles are used. It is unholy water.
No. It's just a drink.

Sign Of The Times...

On Wednesday it emerged that during the attack, and while paramedics and police officers tried to save Gazzard's life, bystanders were filming on their mobile phones. Gloucestershire police appealed for anyone with footage of the incident to hand it in to officers and not share it online.

I just...
Chief Inspector Neil Smith said officers were monitoring social media websites for any sign of the footage. "I am told there were members of the public who were videoing on their phones during the incident, especially when the officers were trying to save this lady's life,"
Smith said. "I would like to put in the press very strongly that individuals who took part in any filming do not put this on social media and do not put it on the internet. "I am sure anyone related to the lady who has died would not like to see this footage uploaded to social media websites. It would not be a respectful thing to do, especially when the family are in mourning."
You really expect the ghouls to understand the concept of respect?
"I would like to reassure members of this community, both residents and local businesses, that this is an isolated incident. These offences don't happen in Gloucester regularly," he said.
"This incident was very tragic, however; both victim and suspect knew each other. They were in a previous relationship. That doesn't lessen this horrific incident but it would be good for us to reassure the local community."
The same local community who you have to warn against sharing these images? How does that work, then?

Friday, 21 February 2014

Welcome To The World Of ‘No Risk’ Policing…

...what, you thought you’d be treated differently?
A woman claims she has had to shut a pub because concerns were raised about a mass gathering she was planning…
We’ve heard this before.
“The police wanted all these things put in place, including doormen, and even a fence around the pub and they intimidated Tara, the licence holder, so much, we decided to cancel it. “She walked out on Thursday and because I’m not the licence holder, we’ve had to stop trading. ”
Very familiar story.
“If the event was Christian or Muslim, these demands would not have been made. ”
Wait, what? We’ve seen that they are. And just why do you think you should be different?
“I feel we’re being persecuted for being of gipsy descent and running an event for gipsies.”
Essex Police said they advised a risk assessment needed to be carried out in relation to the planned event.
A spokesman said: “Licensing officers had a number of conversations with both the management of the premises and the managed house ownership, and met with them and the designated premises supervisor, to discuss the matter.
“We are awaiting the outcome of this risk assessment.”
One to watch…

And When Convicted, The Perpetrator Gets Another £20,000...

...for cleaning up the neighbourhood.

Blaming The Victim…

In an incident that has reportedly split a village community, Maisie, a Staffordshire cross, ripped victim Michael Briggs’ hand and savaged his jack russell Rosie.
Mr Briggs later said that, as he was bleeding, Maisie’s guardian, 63-year-old Margaret Bennett, tried to blame him for the incident.
‘Guardian’..? Do they mean ‘owner’?
Claire French, prosecuting, said Ms Bennett, of Hazeldene, Chieveley, had allowed an 11-year-old child to hold Maisie’s lead. As they approached Mr Briggs on Hampstead Norreys Road, Hermitage, Maisie became “completely out of control” , slipping her lead before leaping straight at them, Ms French added.
Mr Briggs told police that he instinctively turned away and Rosie lept into his arms, but Maisie tore his hand before biting Rosie about the body.
As Mr Briggs’ fled, said Ms French, Ms Bennett reproached him for not crossing to the other side of the road to avoid her.
She added: “He made inquiries in the village and was told that the dog was known to be aggressive and dangerous and had been out of control on a number of occasions.
“His view is that the dog is dangerous and should be destroyed to prevent anyone else being hurt, especially children.
“Since this incident, he says, Maisie has been seen off the lead several times.”
But the defence hit back by blaming the victim for not being sanguine about his savaging...
However, Aisling McMasters, defending, said Maisie had probably “thought it was a game” and had been trying to play with Rosie when she jumped into Mr Briggs’ arms.
She said that there had been no recorded incidents of Maisie attacking anyone else and handed photos to magistrates of the dog participating in displays at the Royal County of Berkshire Show.
She also handed in testimonials from some villagers saying Maisie was not dangerous.
Ms McMasters added: “Maisie often plays with children and takes part in shows several times a year. Ms Bennett tried to apologise to Mr Briggs but received abuse.
“He has been quite active in ensuring everyone in the community knows about this incident and has made comments in the pub, which could have led to an escalation.”
What, the dog might have attacked his pet and bitten him again..?
After retiring to consider sentence, magistrates fined Ms Bennett £80 with £85 costs and a £20 statutory surcharge. They also ordered her to pay Mr Briggs’ vet bill plus £100 in compensation for his injuries.
They further stipulated that Maisie be subject to a contingent destruction order, requiring her to be kept on a lead by an adult in public at all times. Defaulting on such an order could lead to the dog being destroyed.
I think they are considering the destruction of the wrong out of control bitch...

Thursday, 20 February 2014

'Primary School Pupils Have Idiot Parents', Says Everybody...

Portslade primary school-aged pupils are bullying one another on Facebook. Parents of pupils at Portslade Primary School have complained that pupils are making “nasty remarks” about their offspring online.


I mean, surely..?
The school said children should not even be using Facebook under the age of 13 and asked parents to monitor what their children are doing online.
What, actually parent their children..? OUTRAGEOUS SUGGESTION!

Well, This Is A Turn-Up For The Books…

A Labour councillor has been rebuked for wrongfully accusing three people of racism.
*shocked face*
Councillor Pauline Gibson was censured for her behaviour by Haringey Borough Council’s standards committee on January 22.
The Noel Park ward councillor was found to have subjected the complainants to “unfair, unreasonable and demeaning” treatment by making accusations of racism and discrimination against them in emails.
And how does her party respond?
Haringey Labour Group said it could not comment at this time as its chief whip Cllr Pat Egan has not yet had a meeting with the council’s monitoring officer to discuss this issue.
I guess truthfulness isn’t a very high priority for the Labour Group after all. Fancy that.

H&S – The Perfect Get Out Clause! want to cut down a tree, but there's one of those pesky tree preservation orders on it.

What to do?
Cllr Colin Jamieson, head of the planning committee at Christchurch said on Friday morning: "My committee put TPOs on the trees and it is clear that something has gone on in the meantime.
"I will be looking into what's happened."
He said he was "concerned" about the developments.
 Well, I'm glad he didn't claim to be surprised...
Neil Farmer, Strategic Director at Christchurch Borough Council, said: “We were contacted by the developer at the Cornfactor site last night as he was concerned about the state of two more trees whose roots had been uncovered close to the boundary of the development.
"Our tree officer went down to inspect the site at first light this morning and saw that the trees were indeed in a dangerous state.
"From a health and safety standpoint, the tree officer recommended felling the trees and I accepted this was necessary.
 How very convenient. And it's such a good excuse it can be used again and again and...
Residents and councillors have expressed their outrage after the two original trees in Druitt Gardens, protected by tree preservation orders, were cut down this week.
A community campaign, backed by more than 450 people in Christchurch, won over councillors earlier this year when members voted to save the Druitt Gardens trees after developers of the adjacent Cornfactor site had proposed felling seven trees. Their application was refused and tree preservation orders placed on the trees.
But on Wednesday, after an excavation ditch was dug along the boundary on the site, severing three roots, the trees were cut down by the council, who deemed them “unsafe”.
Ooopsie! I 'accidentally' cut the roots. My bad!
In their original statement, the council declined to mention the ditch which had been dug, saying the trees were a “danger to the public” and blamed the “extreme weather conditions” for the felling.
But after enquiries from the Daily Echo they re-issued a second response.
Well, I bet it'll quickly become the first response for all councils now. After all, it works...

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Now I’m Confused…

Chris Keates, general secretary of the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers, said of his comments: “I think it is appalling that people feel they can stand on a public platform and make these sort of comments about working people .
“I just think it is appalling just to say you want to manage through a culture of fear.”
Don’t teachers manage through a culture of fear, then?
Christine Blower, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said: “Comments about creating a culture of fear show a distinct lack of understanding of what will work best to encourage all teachers to achieve their optimum for pupils and their school.
“Teachers need to be supported and encouraged to get on with their work, not terrified of a headteacher’s judgement.
“Performance related pay is about paying more teachers less, not so called good teachers more.”
‘So called’ good teachers..? You mean, you may not agree with what others consider a ‘good teacher’?
“Teaching is a collaborative profession which makes measuring teachers’ individual contributions next to impossible. Decisions will be unfair, subjective or even discriminatory.”
Just like they are in…the real world. The world of work. Suck it up.

Taken Too Soon, Etc, Etc…

Tributes have been paid by the friends of Bromley College student Marie Steadman, who died last week from …
A rare disease? A horrible accident?
… a suspected drug overdose.
Oh. Time for this again:

But maybe I shouldn't be so misanthropic? Maybe a bright star really has left the firmament, one destined to do great thi...
The teenager was studying art and design at the Orpington campus of Bromley College.
*searches for smaller violin*

No ‘Shock’ Here…

Voters have expressed shock after a politician was convicted of lying to the police about a car crash to cover for her son.
Because her son was driving without insurance, and fled when he crashed her car…
Councillor Nilgun Canver - Haringey Borough Council's former cabinet member for crime and community safety - was convicted at Wood Green Crown Court last week of attempting to pervert the course of justice.
Oh, the irony..!

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Depressing On So Many Levels…

A scheme to help teenage mums get into work is being launched in Barking and Dagenham. My Mummies Future (sic) will allow 30 women aged between 16 and 19 to gain opportunities within the health and beauty sector.
I don’t know if any readers are familiar with Barking and Dagenham, but one thing it’s not short of is these sort of shops…
Elsie Akinloluwa, the project’s office manager, said the scheme is necessary as teenage pregnancy in the borough is among the highest in London.
“We are working to empower young mothers who may feel like they have been left without any prospects and give them a taste of getting into training or education,” she said.
“We want to show them that they don’t have to sit at home and do nothing but take benefits.”
I fear the only people who will be gainfully employed as a result of this scheme are the likes of Elsie.

Still, at least we aren’t paying for it:
Free day care will be available during the nine week workshop which has been paid for by Big Lottery funding.
At least, not this time.

"What, Lose My Meal Ticket? OUTRAGE!!!"

But service manager at Lincolnshire Rape Crisis Laura Wint-McKane is questioning the results and whether police have done enough to investigate them.
She says that although the police may decide it's a 'no crime', it still doesn't mean a rape didn't take place.
Ah, if only the police could have video evidence, eh, Laura..?

Oh. Wait.*
Nick Hall, divisional manager for victim support in Lincolnshire, says it takes a huge amount of courage to report an alleged rape and these figures may put women off.
And will you then have to find another job, Nick?

*H/T: John Gibson via email

And You Were Playing The MONA Game So Well…

No descriptions, no details of the suspects, just the usual MONA-tastic reports we’ve come to expect and then…  
These are CCTV images of two suspects wanted in connection with the murder of a man with learning difficulties who was stabbed in a west London street.
  Whoops! Cat right out of the bag!

Monday, 17 February 2014

I’d Comply, But I’ve No Lions To Feed The Carcasses To…

People who try to stop officials exterminating “invasive species” such as parakeets, ruddy ducks and Japanese knotweed on their property should face a prison sentence, under proposals drawn up by the Law Commission.
Given you can stick one on a bloke and walk free with a suspended, this is total madness...
The Law Commission proposed people breaking a “species control order” could be jailed for as long as six months or fined up to £40,000.
Yes, it’s that EU-driven ‘genetic diversity in native wildlife’ rearing its head again. You’d have thought the bad publicity about this concept would have taught them to keep their mouths shut, wouldn’t you?

Mind you, the police will probably be only too eager to assist with this…
The idea that plants or animals are non-native is not without controversy. In 2009, Professor Christopher Smout, Scotland's Historiographer Royal and the founder of the Institute for Environmental History at St Andrews University, said that the concept was “culturally-determined” and that attempts to preserve the genetic identity of British wildlife were “quasi-racist” .
Indeed, it’d be a concern if these laws were suggested about people, rather than ‘inferior’ species, wouldn’t it?

You Know What, Muhammed, For Once, I’m Not ‘Disappointed In Britain’…

Formerly a reluctant soldier for the Assad regime, Muhammed left his native Aleppo for Turkey in September 2012 with the aim of reaching “safety” in Britain, where he says he has cousins. He paid people smugglers to get him to Hungary – where he says was beaten and kept in solitary confinement – before continuing on his journey through Austria, Italy and France, arriving in Dover on the back of a lorry in July 2013 and quickly being detained.
Hurrah! Who could argue with that?
Like other Syrians in British custody he is facing a return to eastern Europe under the EU’s controversial Dublin regulation – which allows member states to return asylum seekers to the first European country they entered – despite the Government moving to accept 500 Syrian refugees after a campaign by aid agencies and The Independent.
Well, yes. Because presumably the government would like to pick those refugees to ensure they are deserving, that they are women and children, and not able bodied fit young men capable of looking after themselves.

Indeed, capable of breaking laws to cross countries to come here under their own steam.

Jerome Phelps, director of Detention Action, said that “traumatised people are facing removal to third countries where conditions are very poor” and that they are “being detained in a prison-like environment in the UK beforehand” .
Boo hoo hoo!
Muhammed said he was disappointed with Britain and had not expect to be “treated like a criminal” .
Why not? You are one.

It Has To Stop!

Sadhbe Walsh thinks it takes a village to raise feed a child:
In September of last year, NPR's Marketplace program reported a shocking story about a six-year-old girl who was denied lunch at a school in East Orange, New Jersey because her account was thought to be in arrears. When the child's parents showed up at the school a little later, they learned that their daughter had been sent to a special room to wait out the lunch hour while her classmates finished eating. The parents, who it turned out had paid their bill, were shocked to find that the room was full of kids who had not been fed even though many of them qualified for the reduced rate of 40 cents per meal. They said the school principal told them that she had spoken to parents on the first day of school and made clear that it was their responsibility to make sure their children were fed.
*gasps!* Surely not?
This is all very well and it's understandable that school districts, many of which are facing mounting debt, would be upset about unpaid meal charges. But what is the point of ordering parents to pay up (and making their children suffer if they don't), when the reality is that many American parents have simply run out of money.
Then why are they breeding? I've got four cats. I'd like forty-four. However, I can't afford that many.

Can I get the taxpayer to stump up for the cost of Royal Canin and low-dust cat litter? No? Then why should they stump up for the cost of feeding and clothing someone else's brat?
In 2012, the No Kid Hungry Campaign surveyed more than 1000 K-8 public school teachers across the country with sobering results (pdf). Three out of five teachers reported regularly seeing children in their classrooms who come to school hungry because they are not getting enough to eat at home. 56% of teachers said that "a lot" or "most" of their students rely on school meals as their primary source of nutrition and more than half of the teachers surveyed said they frequently purchase food out of their own money for hungry kids, spending on average $26 a month.
What that tells Sadhbe is that 'we need to shovel more taxpayers money into welfare benefits'.

What it tells me is that the US government is paying teachers $26 too much...

Sunday, 16 February 2014

"For all his strength, he is but carrion. He forgot to watch for the female..."

She has claimed lives, lurking in the shadows, striking when least expected, targeting the vulnerable, the weak, the unprepared.

Helpless before her ferocious onslaught, they are swiftly and savagely despatched, their torn remains a pitiful sight.

Neighbourhoods live in fear. Armed response is called in.

Justice demands an eye for an eye, even as the soft-hearted plead for her life, emphasising that this is out of character, that we should not kill, even to protect ourselves.

But enough about Joanna Dennehy. What about this tigress in India, eh?

The Horror, The Horror...

It was all go in Southend last week...

And then...the final horror!

How much more can one seaside town stand?

Aren't You Blaming The Wrong Tools, 'Daily Mail'?

Shouldn't you be blaming the idiot parents who leave them where children can get hold of them?

Or should we all have to put up with cooler hair straighteners..? You know, for the chiiiilllldreeeennnn!
Study leader Professor Alison Mary Kemp, of the Institute of Primary Care and Public Health, Cardiff University, said: ‘Prevention is likely to rely upon heightened awareness and behaviour changes by carers.
'While these appliances must be kept out of the reach of children, there is the potential to explore modification to product design to ensure toddler safety,’ she added.
The study concluded: ‘Public information messages, children’s centres, health visitor or family nurse practitioners should address safety education as a matter of routine.’

H/T: CJ Nerd via email

Sunday Funnies...

Forget 'The Walking Dead', the walking catfish is far scarier...

Saturday, 15 February 2014

As Flood Water Rose, Vested Interests Started To Get Twitchy…

As pensioners are ferried out of their homes by dinghy, and the fields of Somerset are replaced by lakes, here is a question to which nobody has so far given a satisfactory answer: why shouldn’t we divert money from the aid budget to help victims of flooding?
It’s a good question. And the answer seems to be, errr, because, ummm
This is a critical moment for the aid budget. It hardly matters that, as the Department for International Development (DFID) has pointed out, European regulations would prevent any aid money being spent in this country.
So don’t give them any aid money in the first place. Just turn off the money tap (apologies for the rather cruel metaphor!).
What is at stake here is whether aid spending can stand up for itself when there is a very visible, very emotional case to siphon off some of the £11bn budget (which will reach 0.7% of GDP this year) for stricken Brits.
I guess it can't. So pull out.
So why not transfer to Somerset? Because suffering in Somerset is mild compared to that in Bangladesh. Because there’s already plenty of money in and political attention on these floods. And because although Britain’s attempts to reduce poverty aren’t perfect, we owe the world more than a turned back.
We do..?

It’s That Royal ‘We’ Again…

Fiona Harvey boldly states:
Plastic bags are a plague, and we do not need them.
'We' don't?
…the results from experiments in charging for plastic bag use are good. Take Northern Ireland, where a charge was brought in last year, and people have accepted it as a public good. People now bring shopping bags with them when they go out – exactly as it used to be, and hardly an infringement of civil liberties.
No-one's claiming it is, so nice straw man there.

What they are claiming is that it's a nonsensical, feel-good gesture that is placing a huge regulatory burden on supermarkets and inconveniencing shoppers who might want to pop out for a few items at lunchtime without being sting for extra charges.
In an admittedly unscientific poll of shoppers in central Belfast last year, no one I asked was against the charge.
Really? I find that hard to believe.
The coalition is doing the right thing by introducing a charge, one of Nick Clegg's few policy achievements in government. It needs to be done right.
A clear signal that requires all shops to charge the same amount for single-use bags is the way to go, as the experience in Northern Ireland, Wales and other areas has shown.
We do not need a raft of exemptions that would allow a small Tesco Metro to give out bags for free while its out-of-town brother charges.
Of course not. Because if the visits to such bag-offering establishments went up, it’d give the lie to your claims that ‘we’ were in favour of the charge, wouldn't it?

Enjoy Riding That Tiger, CVS….

Nicholas Freudenberg gloats over the decision by US pharmacy CVS to stop selling tobacco products:
According to Forbes, CVS CEO Larry Merlo believes that continuing to sell cigarettes, which the Surgeon General blames for 480,000 deaths every year from heart disease, lung cancer, and stroke, was anathema to CVS' long-term plan to become a central player in the US healthcare system.
Well, fine. If they want to make that commercial decision, it's up to them.
The CVS decision demonstrates that over time, health activists and public opinion can change corporate managers' profit-loss calculus. CVS predicts it will lose $2bn of $125bn in annual revenues.
Will it end there? Reader, it will not...
From a public health perspective, the CVS decision is good news because research shows that the ubiquity of unhealthy products contributes to their overuse. The more places people can purchase and consume alcohol, tobacco, sugary beverages, salty snacks and fast food, the more they ingest.
So maybe the next step for CVS and similar chains is to get rid of the candy, soda and snacks that contribute so significantly to diabetes. Maybe cities and states that want to protect young people from painful illnesses and premature death can use their zoning laws to limit the number of outlets selling unhealthy products.
Alcohol, food and tobacco corporations will, of course, raise the bogeyman of the nanny state, suggesting that any effort to limit access to sickening products interferes with our freedom and absolves individuals of their responsibility to protect their health.
Yes. Because that’s exactly what it does.
But that argument is silly; no one is suggesting prohibition.
Indeed. Yet.
Isn't enticing children and young people to consume products that put them at risk of premature death and preventable illness the height of irresponsibility? Wouldn't most societies charge a nanny with child abuse if he or she tried to bypass parents to encourage children to begin risky habits? By looking for additional ways to persuade companies that the public will not tolerate profiting from selling disease, we encourage more corporate leaders to do the right thing.
I wasn't aware anyone had really asked ‘the public’…

Friday, 14 February 2014

Progressives Terrified That The Public Is Not Seeing Things Their Way...

Suzanne Moore wails and rends her garments:
… everything now starts from the prevailing Tory narrative that "welfare" is a luxury we can no longer afford.
Because it is. Remember that infamous ‘there’s no money left’ note, Suzanne?
But the bigger point to all this, and one that has to be met head on, is whether the actual end goal of such discourse is getting rid of the welfare state entirely. If you have been any place where there is no safety net, you will have seen people who appear prematurely aged, or severely obese with no teeth, or those with disabilities out begging on the streets.
Been to Hull then, have we, Suzanne?
Some of these people will be vacantly staring into space or scavenging on rubbish heaps. Not everyone who is now unemployed can work.
No, indeed, and those who genuinely can’t work will not be expected to do so.
But Labour goes along with the idea that welfare needs trimming, as the majority think it needs reform.
Doesn’t it? Should it remain fixed in stone, forever?
I waited in vain for one to make a coherent case for our moral obligation to each other.
I have a moral obligation to those who are genuinely incapable of work, through disability or age. I have no obligation whatsoever to support the likes of Sonia Mellor.
The coalition's sleight of hand means an increasing distancing from the world of benefits by those who see themselves as middle class. The removal of child benefit – a universal benefit – allows more people to feel they are getting nothing from the current system. They may use the NHS but they are not anchored to the state. A certain sympathy is eroded. Benefits, then, become not something that we all contribute to and many rely on, but the province of a subspecies who should be means-tested, DNA-tested and gawped at. They are not "us" – and if they don't share our values, why should we share with them?
Precisely. I don't cheat and lie and steal, so I do indeed share nothing with these people. They can, frankly, starve in the gutter for all I care.

Yes, Zoe, It’s All A Big Plot Against ‘The Poor’…

A surprising thing to see in the 'Guardian'?
The extent of in-car, child-centric smoking is unknown. Its impact is unknown, there being no realistic way of determining whether a child got a particular condition from a house or a car. This is the definitive modern non-issue, the phenomenon that sounds so bad we needn't trouble ourselves with how widespread it is.
Zoe Williams, there, who seems to want to outdo her last disastrous ‘it’s all an attack on the poor really!’ column:
Progressive politicians must take it as a principle that parents love their children with the same intensity regardless of income bracket, and they must make this principle the foundation of their political activity. They are trapped time and again, by the apparently innocuous language of risk management, into positions that, designed to demonise behaviour, actually demonise a class.


I mean, seriously..?

It’s Called ‘The Brush Off’, Audrey….

"When I spoke to the manager he said 'well of course, it is Valentines Day, men like to buy things'.
"But what is wrong with pretty little nighties?"
"I complained about the same thing in Easter last year and he said 'of course, it is Easter'. "
I expect seeing you hoving into view to buttonhole him about risqué mannequins makes the poor man reach for the aspirin.
Ms Baxter, of High Street, Bromley North, says she thinks putting the mannequins in such a prominent part of the store is unnecessary, and they would be better placed behind a partition in the lingerie section.
Perhaps a nice Winceyette burkha?
News Shopper is waiting for a quote from Debenhams.
Heh! I bet they are….

Thursday, 13 February 2014

The Leaning Tower Of Pisa Just Straightened Itself By Another Foot Or Two...

There is nothing inevitable about the weaker academic performance of poorer pupils, says an analysis of Pisa tests by the OECD's Andreas Schleicher.
Mr Schleicher, who runs the tests, says the high results of deprived pupils in some Asian countries shows what poor pupils in the UK could achieve.
...if they weren't handicapped by progressive teaching methods, that is?
Mr Schleicher says it shows how academic differences attributed to social background should not be unquestioningly tolerated.
"We tend to overestimate the impact of poverty," he says .
Of course. It is, after all, politically expedient (for some)) to do so, isn't it?

H/T: CJ Nerd via email

Just Tell The Court You Thought It Was Eid...'ll probably get away with it:
A couple who decapitated a rare breed of sheep before terrifying a group of children with its severed head have been jailed.
Robert Carr and Miranda Clark, both from Willington, County Durham, stabbed the animal numerous times in the neck and stomach before chopping off its head. They then set about using the head to frighten a group of children before throwing it into a neighbour's back yard.
The pair had previously pleaded guilty to three counts of cruelty to a person under 16, one count of having a bladed article, one count of destroying property and one count of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal. Today at Durham Crown Court Carr was given a 20-month sentence and Clark one of eight months.
They should be sectioned.

Open Borders Enthusiasts – But Only Women Need Apply

Author Zadie Smith has called the UK's continued detention of women in Yarl's Wood detention centre an "offence to liberty" and a "shame to any civilised nation" as she joins the campaign by Women for Refugee Women to end the practice.
A campaign led by all the usual suspects…
Campaigners Shami Chakrabarti and Caroline Criado-Perez will speak alongside Meltem and other ex-detainees at the gathering outside the Home Office on Thursday evening.
I can’t see either Shami or Caroline volunteering to stand bail for these women, or better yet, offer to sponsor them while their applications go through, can you?

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Tune Time: "We was headin' for bear on I-one-oh, 'bout a mile outta Shaky Town..."

Now, c'mon, who doesn't stop what they are doing when this one starts in? Since it featured in a popular videogame recently, even the youngsters must know this one...

It is, of course, C W McCall's 'Convoy', title song from the movie of the same name, inspired by the song itself (a most unusual turn of events):

There's actually two versions This is the one that is most often played on Radio Two.

And this is the original theme from the movie, with lyrics adapted to follow the plotline:

And no, before anyone asks - I never had a CB radio!

Yes, It Could....By Your Daughter...

The mother of Rebecca Sessacar who was killed after being stabbed 58 times by her husband has said her daughter’s death could have been prevented.
No doubt it could. But mainly by Rebecca.
Sandra Ward, Mrs Sessacar’s mum, said the personal trainer should not have been allowed back to live with Rebecca having been arrested just days before the fatal attack for assaulting his wife.
Did she have no say in this, then?
Ms Ward also criticised the NHS for knowing Mr Sessacar had mental health issues having been previously sectioned but allowing him to go home from hospital.
Yes, well, why not turn your ire on the policy that allows this?
"I told Rebecca to have him put into hospital as she couldn’t manage looking after him. He was also a risk to himself and to Rebecca. I told her that she risked getting hurt but I never considered that he would go so far as to kill her.
"Rebecca should have been provided with more help and support."
Rebecca should have heeded the warnings. She didn't. That's not the fault of the authorities.

Why Didn't MPs Think Of 'Setting A Better Example'...

...when they were ripping us all off in the expenses scandal?
Two councillors have come under fire after taking part in a highly controversial Facebook game involving ‘necking’ alcoholic drinks as quickly as possible.
Ah, the crime du jour, being stupid on the internet.
Two councillors, Paul White and Jennifer Purcell, have been rapped by local MPs who said they should be ‘setting a better example’.
Just them, eh?
The two councillors defended their actions with Coun White saying there was nothing dangerous in what he had done, while Coun Purcell said it was a ‘bit of a laugh’ used to raise money for charity.
Well, quite! But that didn't stop our august representatives thieving lying swine from getting on their soapboxes:
Pendle MP Andrew Stevenson said: “Seeing councillors behave in this way is nothing to be proud of.
“They need to realise that even in their private lives, they should be setting an example, especially to young people.”
Yes, indeed, but at least they aren't using their connections to get murder suspects a photo opportunity with the Prime Minister, eh?
Blackburn MP Jack Straw said: “I think that elected politicians, like other people in public life, must be careful about the example they set.
“The prevalence of social media makes it even more important for one to be always on guard.”
Pity they didn't have someone highly placed try to cover it up, eh, Jack?
And Geoff Driver, leader of the Tory group on Lancashire County Council said: “Everybody should always drink responsibly.
“I would be extremely disappointed if any of my colleagues did anything that would encourage otherwise.”
There's worse things than being stupid on the internet, eh, Geoff?

"It's an absolute tragedy that should never have happened. There's been plenty of warning signs in the past.”

Oh, I suspect this will be such a familiar story…

Previous attacks not dealt with or dismissed as just ‘property damage’? Check!
"Only last year it mauled to death a neighbour's cat and nothing was done about it."
‘Designer’ dog owned and bred for street cred? Check!
Chief Superintendent Chris Bithell of Lancashire Police said "The dog is believed to be an American Pit Bull type, it has been destroyed and tests will be carried out today to establish the exact breed of the dog and inquiries into the history of the animal.
"I'm told its quite a large pit bull type dog."
Typical haphazard parenting? Check!
Ava-Jayne's father, Dean Corless, 24, today paid tribute to his "adorable little girl".
He said she was with her mother and new boyfriend at the house in Blackburn.
"Her mum and I aren't together anymore, but I saw Ava-Jayne all the time - I only saw her at the weekend."
Dean said: "I am just upset because she always told me that she would check with me before Ava-Jayne spent time around other men. "
Yes, it’s got all the hallmarks we've come to expect from this sort of story.

I suppose we can expect the usual suspects to be demanding the government ‘do something’.

And clearly, they should. There should be a campaign of neutering, muzzling and controlling the real problem: feral, out of control, irresponsibly breeding chavs.

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

And The Crime Here Is..?

A man is being hunted by police for…
Ooooh! What dastardly crime? Rape? Murder?
… allegedly following a woman and a teenager around a supermarket.
Det Con Alison Wallwork said: “We have scrutinised CCTV from both Asda and McDonald’s and believe a woman and teenage girl were followed around both locations.
“They appear to be oblivious to this and as part of our subsequent investigation we are now trying to identify the man in the CCTV image.”
If they are ‘oblivious to this’, who made the complaint?

Oh, I Know Why He’s Contacted The Newsshopper…

…it’s because sunlight is the best disinfectant for your sort:
A proud father who took photographs at a school production has received a worrying letter from the head teacher about his intentions.
Mr Flynn is a professional photographer, but was there to take snaps of his own son in an unofficial capacity. A fellow parent asked him to take some shots of his child.

And that raised alarms, it seems…
… the head teacher of Bromley Road Infant School, Karen Minnis, wrote to the dad with concerns – noting a possible breach of the Data Protection Act.
Mr Flynn explained she intervened and removed the image after he had left it at reception for the parent to pick up. He said: "The letter says ‘I have grave concerns with the manner in which the photo was taken and the purpose in using the photo.
"I was there as just a parent. I was there to see my son. I wanted to get some pictures of him as a memory."
He said: "I didn’t do anything wrong. Parents are allowed to take photos for personal use – I didn’t use it for anything else."
Guilty until proven innocent Mr Flynn! Times have changed...
The head teacher told News Shopper it was "perfectly permissible for a parent to take a photo of a school production for their personal use," adding that other children appearing in shots can be acceptable. However, she declined to comment on policy further.
She added: "I don’t know why he’s contacted you."
Yes. you do.

Who’d Be A Bus Driver?

Single mum Miss Jones …
*sigh* It always is, isn’t it?
… claims the drama unfolded after she got on the number 32 bus with her two children – two-and-a-half-year-old Harry and daughter Paige – in Timberdine Close, near Cherry Orchard Primary School, Worcester. They were heading towards St Peter’s at about 3.25pm on Wednesday, December 18.
“My two children and I caught a bus and my five-year-old daughter ended up getting closed in the door. An old scab was knocked off and she was left with a small burn mark,” said Miss Jones.
“The driver said ‘whoops, wrong button’, then laughed.
“My daughter did not tell me until we were off the bus and she was upset. She thought the driver was laughing at her.”
And nor is this trivial incident the only one in her litany of whinges:
Miss Jones also claims the driver was talking to another driver to whom he was giving a lift while the bus was at the stop and throughout the journey.
“Even after we had got on the bus, the driver continued his conversation even though there are signs clearly saying not to talk to the driver while the bus is in motion,” she said.
“Prams were in the walkways and people were not asked to put them in the right place.
"Around eight people had to squeeze into the very front section of the bus including me and I was holding a collapsed pram.”
Wah, wah, wah...
A spokesman for First Group buses, which runs the service, said an investigation was being launched into the incident.
He said: "We take all incidents very seriously and will be undertaking a full investigation into the matter. “All our staff are trained to a high standard and are expected to deal with any incident with care and compassion.
"We’ll contact the customer concerned to resolve the matter when we have concluded our investigations.”
Do you think you'll ever be able to satisfy her then?

Monday, 10 February 2014

Oh, Well, It’s Not Like They Are Using The Time To Teach Them To Read & Write…

The Department for Education has come under growing pressure to write to teachers informing them of the horrors of female genital mutilation, after a petition urging Michael Gove to intervene passed 100,000 signatures just 24 hours after it was put online.
Yes, well, Longrider has something customarily pithy to say about the usefulness of these online petitions...
The shadow home secretary, Yvette Cooper, said the education department had to go further and offer both teachers and parents comprehensive training about FGM.
Which parents..? All of them?

Do We Have A Lot Of Vikings In Southend?

No, scratch that – the Vikings only did this when you were already dead:
Seevic College principal Nick Spenceley has tonight issued a statement. He said: "A car arrived at the College car park in Runnymede Chase at 4.55pm this evening, after all lessons at the college had finished for the day.
"The car caught fire shortly afterwards, and we are awaiting further details from the police at this time."
If that sounds familiar, well, it’s not surprising.

OK, Put The Owner Down Instead, Then…

Recorder Michael Blakey read a defence report from animal behavioural expert Dr David Sands, which concluded Kinzi was not a danger to the public while under the control of a responsible handler.
The judge said: "I am not satisfied, based on the information that I have, that the dog is a danger to the public when in safe hands."
Such hands most decidedly not being those of it’s owner:
Abigail Hudson, prosecuting, told the court the defendant rang the police, because she was very drunk and arguing with her friend.
Officers attended and tried to speak to the occupants, but the moment the door was opened, a Staffordshire Bull Terrier crossbreed went to attack the police.
Probation officer Nicholas Powell, who interviewed Wardle, said she had had three children, two of whom had died.
Philip Holden, defending, told the court: "She has been very, very tearful.”
I expect the police officer who had to have one of the beast’s teeth extracted from her hand shed a few tears too. It’s really no wonder they aren’t inclined to take chances, is it?
Wardle, said to also suffer from anxiety and depression, had already been convicted of having a dog dangerously out of control in public in 2012, involving the same animal.
The 59-year-old, who had been in custody three days after she was arrested on a warrant for failing to appear for sentence last Thursday, was given four months in jail, suspended for a year with 12 months' supervision.
She was banned from owning a dog for six years.
What do you have to do to get put behind bars these days?

Sunday, 9 February 2014

I Don't Know Quite Why...

...but somehow, I always thought he'd have a chihuahua or something.

Oh, I Do Love A 'Good News' Story!

A petty career criminal plunged into a canal and drowned as he tried to rob two men on a city centre towpath, it is believed.
Steven Cane, 25, was rushed to hospital after falling into the Rochdale Canal, in Manchester, but died two days later.

The 'Daily Mail' Struggles With Basic Concepts...

...such as 'illegal' versus 'legal'.