Adam Boulton, political editor of Sky News, has added his voice to those calling for live debates, come the next General election, as it would 're-energise' election campaigns. Stating that Sky News would be pressurizing the three main parties to agree to such debates, Adam Boulton is, like so many of the MSM, completely missing some important points.
Looking at the three main parties - Con/Lab/LibDem - it is extremely difficult, as Nigel Farage of the UK Independence Party (Ukip) said, 'to get a cigarette paper between them' in respect of their policy on Britain's membership of the European Union. Ah, the European Union - the subject that no-one in the three main parties, nor the MSM, seems to wish to discuss. On this last point, one has only to return to the European elections in June - the Conservatives based their campaign on the premise it was an opportunity to 'give a good kicking to the government'; likewise the Libdems; and Labour, heaven knows what they were campaigning on, one doubts they even knew themselves, but none of them wanted to discuss the one subject about which the election was supposedly held - Europe! Yet it is the one subject that has a great bearing on the very point of the debates about which Adam Boulton is so keen - a debate on which party should govern this country and how. On the basis that 75/80 per cent of our laws emanate from Brussels, perhaps use of the word 'govern' is questionable!
This brings one to Boulton's aim - a debate between the three main parties. Er, which party polled the second most votes at the last opportunity the electorate had to express their opinion? Which party is never mentioned when 'policy' is discussed? As Harry Aldridge posts on IndependenceHome, when the BBC posted an item about the population being at a 47 year high there were quotes from Phil Woolas (Lab), Damien Green (Con) and the LibDems - was there any mention of a quote from Nigel Farage whose party campaigned in June, raising this very question?
The MSM seem only too keen to report on the Greens and the BNP, so why not Ukip? It could also be said that the MSM are 'censoring' the debate by excluding parties outside the Con/Lab/LibDem 'triumvirate'. Is it not the purpose of the MSM to 'educate' and 'comment' on all political philosophies, for the benefit of the public? When reporting the 'findings' of opinion polls, only the figures for the three main parties are given - everyone else is reported as 'Others', or 'Don't Knows'. If the MSM truly believed in 'fair' reporting they would provide the data contained in 'Others'.
It would seem that not only is the government, together with the Tories and LibDems, guilty of 'spin' - so is the MSM!
Writing in the Sunday Telegraph, Christopher Booker would seem to have another 'scoop' in highlighting the ineptitude of our government.
Unlike some 'professional journalists' - no names as one would not wish to deepen their embarrassment - Christopher Booker does do his research and, when presenting an argument, will quote the provenance for his reasoning!
As an 'aside' - on the subject of the 'brightness' and 'effectiveness' of the 'EU required' CFL light bulb - one can but repeat a letter which appeared in today's Daily Telegraph, from Geoffrey Hodgson in Leeds.
"Lizzie Ruffles of Which? says that people think the new bulbs are less bright than conventional ones (report, August 25). I have an old camera with a light meter which thinks the same."
On the latter point it is believed that one can safely say: I rest my case!
The BBC reports on Gordon Brown's 'surprise' visit to Afghanistan - point of order: it may have been a 'surprise' visit to the British public, but hardly to the Armed Forces chiefs, so why the word 'surprise? - yet does not mention the fact that our Supreme Leader had to field a taxing question from a 'mere' Lance-Corporal - yes, ok, so the report does state he discussed the issue of pay.
One also has to question what a two-hour 'surprise' visit can hope to accomplish and when the cost of transportation is considered, let alone CO2 emissions, the question becomes almost unanswerable. Surely the conversation with Gen Stanley McChrystal, the American head of Nato forces could have been held during a telephone conversation? And he has to go to Afghanistan to meet Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Stirrup, Chief of the Defence Staff?
The statement 'The UK government is keen to see improved standards of governance...." really does make one's blood boil when one considers this government has done nothing to improve the 'standards of governance' in the United Kingdom, in fact having accomplished the exact reverse!
It is hoped that the Armed Forces do not place too much reliance on the promises made by Gordon Brown - noted in the BBC article - as we all know the man breaks them without a second thought! Is this no more than an attempt to make a political point, to 'raise' Gordon Brown's profile in the media, at the expense of the taxpayer?
"That will mean that the British Conservatives have to be less mealy-mouthed about their post-referendum strategy; if the treaty is ratified will they try to re-open the document if they win power or let sleeping dogs lie?"
Personally Matthew, I am not that interested in as yet 'secret' cunning plans, I would just like an easily understood, unambigious public statement on the intentions of the next potential Prime Minister and what he intends doing about our membership of the European Union viz-a-viz a referendum should Ireland vote 'Yes' and the treaty is then ratified. Statements of 'We will not let matters rest there' are unacceptable and totally meaningless!
Mind you, the chances of getting a response to this national issue must be zilch, bearing in mind Cameron cannot be bothered to address an issue in his own constituency!*
* Yes - still waiting for a response to the e-mail mentioned in the postscript!
Yet other example of 'statist' control of people's lives, coupled with the 'brain-dead' mindset of bureaucratic thinking.
As for ' the plants could catch the eye of passing drivers - and cause an accident' - what utter stupidity is this?
How about the 'useless' motorway signs, which can just as easily 'distract' the eyes of a driver - advising one 'not to drink and drive' and to 'take a break'. How about the small private airfield, beside the M3 between Farnborough and Hook interchanges - are we about to ban the light aircraft from landing and taking off as it may 'catch the eye of passing drivers - and cause an accident'?
Oh, and what about the schemes that some local authorities have whereby companies 'adopt', or sponsor, a roundabout and provide funds for planting and upkeep in return for advertising themselves?
“I do hope the finished brochure contains no photos of fat people (promoting obesity), or thin people (promoting eating disorders), white people (promoting cultural imperalism), black people (tokenism), women wearing make-up (promoting an unhealthy obsession with idealised female beauty) or children’s authors who do not have the correct CRB clearance.”
Lynn Barber, writer and interviewer, on withdrawing from a literary festival being held by Richmond (Surrey) council when they refused to use a black and white photograph - which has been used on numerous occasions by other organisers - as a publicity photograph.
To quote the infamous Anthony Charles Bliar* - Welcome to Cool Britannia - aka the United Kingdom of the Stasi State
The print edition of the Daily Telegraph reports that a £30million 'supercomputer', designed to predict climate change has been named as one of Britain's worst polluters - which must be an embarrassment to the Met Office.
Capable of 1,000 billion calculations every second, it is a key part of helping scientists predict changes in long-term weather and climate change. It uses enough energy to power a small town - producing 12,000 tons of carbon dioxide per year.
This, by the way, is the computer used to inform us, earlier this year, that we would have a 'BBQ summer'!
How ironic for the environmentalists that a computer designed to help stave off climate change is responsible for such high levels of pollution!
A report in the print edition of the Daily Telegraph - cannot seem to find an on-line link - states:
"Police officers have been sent on a 'positive thinking course to teach them to smile and tell revellers to 'have a good time'. More than 500 Pcs and sergeants were told not to use phrases such as 'whats going on here then?' and 'we don't want any trouble', in case they came across as killjoys. The one-day courses cost Leicestershire Police tens of thousand of pounds, Police Review reported." A spokesman for the force said: "We provide this kind of training to our officers because we believe it is important to provide the public with an excellent service."
Er.....Since when did the modern copper use phrases like 'whats going on here then'?
If police forces wish to provide a better service - how about disbanding ACPO then? How about actually having a visible presence on the streets? How about getting rid of all that bureaucracy that seems to have 'invaded' the police and their procedures? How about actually listening to Inspector Gadget? How about dismissing all that 'Brass' at the top of the police organisation who know how to fill a form in and 'present' statistics - and installing some of those below who actually know how a police force should work? How about a police force that told the Home Office to 'go procreate' and that they, the Home Office, are using the wrong orifice for speech?
So fresh embarrassment for poor David Cameron, with this suggestion by Charles Tannock, Conservative MEP.
What planet are the Conservatives on, for heavens sake?
And this from a party who wish to form the next government? One does have to wonder whether this should be viewed as a Tannock* Brae, as in an idea too foolish to climb, or consider - or a Tannock Bray, as in the outpourings of an Ass!
So Ex-Speaker Martin - the first Speaker to be 'ousted' for more than 300 years - is to be 'ennobled'.
And what a surprise - not, that this announcement was done in a very 'quiet' way via the London Gazette.
Is it not incredible that all these 'failed' Parliamentarians seem to receive 'promotion', or as in this case, 'honoured' - and for what? Being the failures they are? Heaven knows what 'promotion' they would receive were they successful!
Courtesy of No2ID comes news of a new 'help' website to assist one in having their DNA profiles removed from police databases.
"Most people simply don't know in what circumstances they can apply to have their DNA profiles removed, or how. Which is why NO2ID joined forces with Genewatch UK, Open Rights Group, Liberty and others to build www.ReclaimYourDNA.org an advice site that can walk you through the process and even help you draft the necessary letter."
Harry's Place has a post on the Scottish Islamic Foundation - now there's a title for you - and from this post is a quote that Islamists - and come to that any other religious or ethnic group - would do well to remember.
"Calling for censorship of offensive cartoons (“You just don’t do pictures of the Prophet, period. It’s a cultural thing, accept it and respect it”)." (my emphasis)
To all those who choose to live in Britain, remember you are a 'guest' in our 'home' and if something that you don't like is so important to you that it has a detrimental effect on your life - you can always move to another country! Remember also that when 'we' visit 'your' country we accept it as it is, we do not try and change your way of life, we accept your laws and customs and if we break those laws and customs we accept your 'punishment' - all we ask of you is the same courtesy.
To all those immigrants, or descendants of immigrants, who wish to change the British 'way of life' - thereby introducing aspects of their 'culture' into our society, who demand special 'consideration' and who are offended by some of our 'traditions' - only one comment applies and you said it!
John Rentoul, writing on Independent Minds, asks why is Tony Blair hated so much by - Rentoul claims - a small minority. ('small' and 'minority' - debatable)
Having asked the question, it is only fair that an answer should be given - not necessarily in order of importance.
1. For having agreed to the even deeper integration of Britain into the European Union.
2. For having taken Britain into wars which did not really have anything to do with us.
3. For tinkering with Britain's constitution - House of Lords, Devolution and our democracy without having any idea of the ramifications involved.
4. For presenting himself and his Party as 'whiter than white' when, in fact, this was so far from the truth.
5. For not 'slapping down' his Chancellor of the Exchequer and thereby allowing him 'free-rein' to wreck our economy.
6. For promising Britain Utopia and failing to deliver.
7. For being such a prat as to have a surname, an anagram of which is T B Liar.
8. For being a Socialist.
9. For breaking heaven knows how many manifesto promises. (Smoking, for one)
10. For having introduced a 'Presidential' style of government, diminishing the role of our Parliament, introduction of 'spin' in political presentation and for not being what he presented himself as, namely a 'straight kind of a guy'.
Afterthought: If any reasons have been missed - please feel free to add in the comments section!
It would appear that Dan Hannan's latest views, which are not 'new' as Guido Fawkes shows - and to whose posts links are given in the Coffee House post - is being used by Labour politicians in an attempt to 'blacken' the Conservatives by showing them as a 'divided' party, not that any help from Labour is needed really.
One point stands out though and that is Enoch Powell was a man of principle, a characteristic which would seem to be sorely lacking amongst the present day Members of Parliament, as the furore created by 'Expensegate', as but one example, showed.
The Open Europe press release for today reports on the statement by Mark Francois, Conservative Shadow Europe Minister, that the next Conservative government would be willing to increase Britain's contributions to the European Union in return for reforms to European farming subsidies.
Digressing slightly in that it is a tad unfortunate appointing as Europe Minister, someone with a French variant of the name Francis - this statement only drives home the point that the Conservatives have no real agenda for distancing Britain from the European Union. It also magnifies the glaring faults in Conservative thinking and policy, whereby the party is promising a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty - assuming it has not been ratified by the time of the next General election - a promise which, incidentally, they know they will not have to honour, whilst at the same time saying that they are happy to provide even more funds for the 'European Project'.
How, at a time of recession when the Conservative party are talking about taking hard decisions in order to negate Labour's wasteful spending, they can justify such a policy beggars belief. Presumably this policy will be in their election manifesto - not!
The more one considers the 'outpourings' of the Leader of the Conservative's and their Shadow Ministers, the more the first the letters of the word 'Conservative' appears to gain credibility!
"In a recent magazine interview David Cameron admitted that his wife Samantha would “much rather sit at home watching The Wire with a plate of pasta” than accompany him to an “exciting, flesh-pressing opportunity”."
Possibly David, because she doesn't have to 'Con' the voters?
I am intrigued by this item on the BBC website, that has also been on various radio stations, in relation to the fact that those selling violent video games and '18 rated' videos to underage children cannot be prosecuted due to an error by the last Conservative Government.
"Dozens of prosecutions under a 1984 Act have been dropped because the government of the day failed to notify the European Commission about the law."
Am I being a tad 'thick' here or does this mean that Parliament can pass a law - one that is not in any manner in contravention of any EU law - but it is not legally enforceable until we have 'lodged the papers' with the EU? In other words, we have to ask permission to pass a law in our own country? Does this have to happen to all our laws?
Just when we thought it could not get any worse, the Open Europe press summary decides to depress us even more!
"EUobserver reports that EU justice and home affairs ministers are finalising fresh proposals on EU immigration policy, including a potentially controversial system of re-distributing refugees and asylum seekers among the 27 member states to lighten the workload of border countries."
The Swedish minister may well say that the application of the proposed policies will be 'voluntary', unfortunately we know from past experience what starts off as a 'voluntary' scheme soon becomes anything but!
A point which has yet to be raised in the media, or even in the blogosphere - as far as is known - concerns the 'political elite' relating their experiences of the use of the 'world renowned' health service and their praise which is heaped on that 'service'.
Whilst it is in no way implied that any member of our 'political elite' would use their position to ensure that the service they received was any better than that accorded to the average member of the public; the fact is that, human nature being what it is, the minute the Prime Minister, a member of his government, the Leader of the Official Opposition, a Member of Parliament or even a member of their family was receiving treatment under the NHS it is reasonable to assume that any staff - medical or administrative - would ensure, to the best of their ability, that nothing 'went wrong', in other words they would go 'the extra mile'.
It would appear that the praise by our political elite needs to be very carefully phrased and, to avoid any cynicism that must arise, should perhaps refrain from relating their personal experiences at the hand of the NHS?
On 20th August I posted about 'Supporting People' and the provision of Wardens - or Scheme Managers as they are sometimes called - and tonight Panorama had a programme on just this subject which can be viewed here courtesy of BBC iPlayer.
Having first hand knowledge of Sheltered Accommodation it can be safely said that Wardens/Scheme Managers are vital to an elderly persons 'quality of life'. A good Warden/Scheme Manager is not just someone who ensures the complex 'runs' properly, they become a friend/confidant/helper to these elderly residents - many of whom are disabled for one reason or another.
In the scheme with which I am closely associated, the present Warden arranges trips out for residents, some of which have no living relative, who are unable to go out on their own, who receive hardly any visitors. She, the Warden, arranges extra 'Tea Parties', arranges Fish & Chip suppers, presents every resident, on their birthday, with a card and cake. To most people events such as these are accepted as a 'norm', however to elderly residents they are a 'treat', provide cherished memories, ones that they talk about days, even weeks, afterwards. She helps with correspondence and, with the help of a Tenant Representative, resolves issues/problems with various branches of the social services.
These Wardens provide a service that money cannot buy - a service of which bureaucrats - and the public - much younger have had no experience. To those councils that are removing Wardens one can but ask whether they are not ashamed of devaluing the elderly's 'quality of life', whether they are not ashamed of how they are treating our elderly and whether they are not ashamed of themselves?
It is interesting that the Panorama programme confirmed one point raised in my earlier post; that the residents had not been properly consulted and the fact that a statement saying that 80plus per cent of residents had accepted the change was, in fact, far from the truth - as those questioned said, they tolerated it on the basis they felt they could not change it.
A plea to all UK readers of this blog - please lobby or write to your Member of Parliament and urge them to stop this unthinking, uncaring - nay odious - 'improvement programme' from being instigated.
One cannot but repeat a scene from the Panorama film in which one old chap explained to the interviewer that he was protesting for himself, but also the interviewer. When questioned by the interviewer 'Why me?' the old chap replied 'One day you will be old like me'.
Postscript: A week ago I e-mailed the Leader of Her Majesty's Official Opposition and the Shadow Secretary of State asking for their personal views and their Party's policy on this subject. Needless to say, to date, answer there is none and one would have thought that, albeit they are on holiday, if they have the time to give speeches and appear on television, they could have made time to respond to a query from a member of the public!
Exactly how much is being spent on the Home Office calling in 'experts' to re-design glasses that pubs use, nor how much will be spent producing something to replace what is a perfectly good and 'fit for purpose' (which the Home Office is not) receptacle is not stated.
One has to marvel at the thought processes of 'government' - as one of the comments to the Time piece says:
" Rather than lock up the violent people we redesign the glasses."
Dan Hannan, writing on the Telegraph's blog page comments on Philip Hammond's response to the 'news' in respect of Britain's contribution to the EU.
"Large as these numbers are, they understate the true cost of membership. I mean, why should we look at the net rather than the gross contribution? In what other field of politics do we do so? Does anyone argue that income tax, rather than being 22 per cent, is in fact zero, because the whole sum is “given back” in roads, schools and hospitals? What matters is what we hand over: depending on whether you take Treasury or EU figures, either £10.2 billion or £12.4 billion a year."
One point, that is perhaps debatable, in Hannan's blog is:
".......Philip Hammond, the Shadow Chief Secretary, is turning his formidable mind......."
Paul Waugh reports that Gordon Brown has invited the England Test team to a 'congratulatory' reception at Downing Street.
"It has provided high sporting drama throughout the summer that has again gripped the entire nation....."
Appreciate he is talking about the cricket - or is it his Government's 'shenanigans'?
"I would like to invite the England squad into Downing Street for a reception to celebrate your victory."
Presumably the 'I would like to invite.....' means he will be paying for it? As he has £197,689 pa 'pocket money', presumably he can afford it, seeing as the end result is one of 'image self-promotion'
Afterthought: Whilst also believing that the achievement of the test squad is worthy of congratulation, whose achievement is the greater - winning a cricket trophy or managing to stay alive in an ill-conceived war in Iraq and Afghanistan?
"Speaking to a cranial surgeon over the weekend, I was fascinated to discover that most of our replaced, repaired or “surgically-enhanced” body parts are now bar-coded and given serial numbers - just like supermarket goods...........For those who strongly object to the government holding DNA records, the writing is on the wall: there is no escape. Forget the body-snatchers - from now on, all but the uber-healthy amongst us can be simply “swiped”."
With the Government's record of ' inputting and retaining data', it makes one wonder where this will all end.
Today's Open Europe press summary contains articles relating to the intervention in the up-coming referendum in Ireland by the Church of Ireland, how the Yes side is set to spend ten times more than the No side - funded by taxpayer's money - repeats the fact that Britain's contributions are set to rise and how two Irish MPs are set to receive two EU pensions on top of two state pensions.
These stories are all matters which have a profound effect on Britain and the country's future - and yet are studiously ignored by our 'political elite' in Westminster; and if PoliticsHome is anything to go by, our 'political elite' prefer to 'waffle' about the fact that Gordon Brown seems to have 'lost his voice'!
Interesting article in the Daily Telegraph relates that the Government is proposing to increase Council Tax and Stamp Duty Tax for those homes that do not qualify as acceptably 'environment friendly'
Needless to say there is no readily available content on either the websites of DEFRA, the Department of Communities and Local Government or the Energy Savings Trust, although the latter do inform you how to have an 'environment friendly' barbecue!
An article in the Mail springs to prominence due to its subject content and the illogicality of the PC brigade that produces this rubbish.
"It also cautions that the term ethnic minority can imply 'something smaller and less important' and should be used with care."
Maybe the term 'ethnic minority' does imply something smaller, but how does it also imply something 'less important'? Perhaps the person in the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission would like to justify his reasoning? In any event, the thought occurs that with the current state of unfettered immigration the term will no longer be applicable to immigrants, but will instead apply to the original inhabitants of this country.
To all the instigators of this PC rubbish one can only suggest they 'get a life' as insurance, because should any of them meet me they will probably need a new one!
The Sunday Telegraph, on the front page of the print edition, headlines the fact that Britain's 'contributions' to the EU budget will rise from £4.1billion to £6.4billion in 2010/2011.
And this is news? Those of us who take an interest in the European Union - something that the media should pay more attention to than they do - knew this 'news' ages ago!
In an article yesterday, Matthew Parris in the Times, questioned the effectiveness of Her Majesty's Official Opposition. Reading the article in the Sunday Telegraph and noting the comments of the Conservative Party, one can but echo the comments of Parris!
In view of their stated policy of the continuation of our membership of the EU, what would the Conservative Party do, if and when they form the next government?
Pound to a penny - whilst we still have that currency - the answer would be zilch, nada, nothing!
A couple of days ago I posted about cuts in care provided to those in sheltered accommodation and also on the proposed creation of a National Care Service, which in the case of the latter, may well result in cuts in Attendance Allowance and Disability Living Allowance.
It was, therefore, with some interest that this story was read in today's edition of the Daily Telegraph, recounting the experience of a solicitor fighting cuts to care services.
Excuse me............how can a solicitor 'improperly' encourage clients to campaign in the media? How can councils complain that someone who campaigns against their proposals is wasting the council's time and money? So the councils in question want 'carte blanche' to do what they like?
What will be interesting is how Alan Johnson 'dismisses' the e-mail mentioned in the story and also how he escapes a court appearance.
Why is it that every time this government gets involved with IT there is a problem which results in the taxpayer being left 'inflamed' with the waste of money that ensues.
A small article in the Daily Telegraph print edition (no link) relates the fact that nine new regional fire service control centres have been standing empty for a year at a cost to taxpayers of £1.5million a month. The Daily Express has also covered the story in slightly greater detail and mentions the 32,000 sqft building at Waterbeach, Cambridgeshire, which cost £23million to build. Other than problems with software, no further details are available.
Whoever is responsible for this debacle should promptly be fired, likewise the Minister who is responsible for overseeing the entire project. Likewise the government spokesman, who is quoted in the Daily Telegraph as saying that the building in Waterbeach is not 'idle' but is used for meetings. At £1.5million a month?!
Yet another small item spotted in the print edition of today's Daily Telegraph is a report that states, according to Professor Spencer Schaffner (an academic - origin unknown) who suggests that birdwatching encourages pollution, due to the fact that when hundreds of enthusiasts visit a site where a rare bird has been spotted, it means a heavy use of transport.
It is recognised that the climate change/ global warming/ CO2 emissions bandwagon is one that everyone is trying to get aboard, but is this latest 'pronouncement' not a case of trying to fly one 'kite' too many?
Update: Having 'googled' the good Professor, this is the result - and origin of the Telegraph article no doubt!
Richard North, over at EU Referendum has a post on the EU's e-call system and links to another post he wrote nearly two years ago on the same subject (both well worth reading).
The ridiculous part of all this is that the system requires the EU's Galileo satellite to be operational. From memory - as I do not have the time right now to search for the article(s) in question - I seem to recall that there is no hope of Galileo being operational by 2014, that China - which was a 'partner' in the project - has since pulled out, 'run off' with the 'techie' knowledge and is now 'streets ahead' (or should that be: has rocketed ahead) with implementing their own satellite system!
Now, what is that old saying about bull and china? Something along the lines of:
The heading to this post is the headline of a small article in the print edition of today's Daily Telegraph (unfortunately am unable to find an on-line link) and relates to a statement in which Lord Adonis (having seen his picture - bit of mis-naming on someone's part?) says that it is not necessary to price people out of cars and planes. Whether this is intended as a 'smokescreen' to divert attention from the Megrahi release is open to debate.
If only he had omitted the 'f'! Whilst the headline would have had no bearing on the subject of the article, just for once a Government Minister would have been 'spot-on'!
Having just posted on the intended 'National Care Service', the subject of a Green Paper, it would seem that another 'idea' of this 'caring' government is well under way to implementation.
Most hostels, refuges and sheltered accommodation have had a resident Warden - or a Warden that attends 9am-5pm weekdays. These Wardens - or Scheme Managers, as they are sometimes called - provide a 'service' to residents who, very often, are frail, suffer from slight immobility, but who are able to maintain a degree of independence. It is worth noting that in most cases, dependent on each resident's financial position, approximately 80 per cent of the Scheme Manager's salary is paid by Supporting People, the remainder being a form of 'service charge'.
Until April, £1.6billion of government grants to local councils was ring-fenced for 'supporting people' projects. That 'ring fence' has now been removed, thus allowing local councils to spend it on whatever they consider their priorities. What local councils are now proposing is to remove the Scheme Managers from sheltered accommodation and introduce 'floating support' whereby a Scheme Manager will visit daily, or weekly, for an hour - sometimes less.
One particular sheltered accommodation scheme in Oxfordshire, which I know well, learnt via another means about this 'proposal' and when questioned a representative of the local authority stated that they had consulted widely and that their proposal to reduce Scheme Manager' hours of attendance had been welcomed. It transpired that yes, they had 'consulted' with other NGOs, but that the one group that had not been consulted were the residents!
On 9th August the Observer contained an article - link unavailable - written by Rajeev Syal and Graham Mole detailing a couple of cases. In one instance, Joan Garbet, 72, from Eastbourne, a retired nurse, had her Scheme Manager removed in January and said: "When I signed my contract in 2001, it said that a resident warden would be provided." Refuting the removal of the warden, her solicitor said: "I would argue that getting rid of wardens could breach tenant's 'legitimate expectation' when they moved in, that the service would continue to be provided."
This same article also related the instance of Anona Thorpe who died from hypothermia after falling in her sitting room in her residential home. Several days passed before she was spotted unconcious behind the sofa by her neighbours. The Warden has been removed months earlier following a 'cost-cutting' shake-up of housing support that saw visits by the warden cut from daily to monthly.
Having just been enrolled on the Oxfordshire County Council Supporting Peoples Tendering Process Panel, which will be monitoring the proposed changes, I shall be blogging on this subject too and in greater detail.
At first sight it would appear incredible that a 'duty of care', one that it is imagined must exist, can be changed at the whim of a bureaucrats pen! It is also worth making the point that 'cuts' being implemented, as in Wardens/Scheme Managers, would not be necessary if this country was not paying £60million a day to the European Union! Before we worry about those less fortunate on the continent, perhaps we should firstly make sure our own dependents are cared for!
Courtesy of Ambush Predator I have stumbled across a plan by this government to set up yet another monolith, this time called the National Care Service, which is proposed in a Green Paper.
Besides having a foreward by our Prime Twat, it also has a foreward written by 7 - that is right 7 - of the Prime Twat's little twats, namely Burnham, Byrne, Cooper & Balls, Mandelson, Denham and Jowell.
I intend posting, in slightly more detail, on this later, however one interesting point immediately arose, on page 5, in the foreward signed by the little twats. It will be recalled that, on Hannan's comments about the NHS in which he argued for change, all the little twats, led by Burnham were all over the media complaining about Hannan's remarks being 'unpatriotic' etc etc. It will also be recalled that one of Hannan's points was that a system designed 60 years ago, in an entirely different era, cannot serve a society that has changed so much - another remark for which Hannan was vilified.
Lo and behold, what do we read in the little twat's foreward - allow me to quote:
"The current care and support system was designed in the 1940s and we need to develop a system that fits our needs in the 21st century."
Game, Set & Match - Hannan!
Afterthought: The Executive Summary makes great mention of the fact that it wishes to set out a vision to build a high-quality National Care Service that is fair, simple and affordable. Immediately there is a problem - the minute this government says anything will be fair, simple and affordable, we all know it will be anything but!
No, not that 'Pope' but this one - okay so a bit of 'headline manipulation', but if the media can do it why can't bloggers.
"Although she was investigated by police who found no evidence of wrongdoing, two of her children were placed on the local social services child protection register after the incident."
Er.....how come if there was 'no evidence of wrongdoing', social services decided to place her children on the child protection register? For what reason? On whose authority?
"The £25,000-a-year boarding school said that the fact that her own children were on the register gave them grounds to question whether she was suitable to be in a position of such responsibility with vulnerable young people."
If this decision was not taken as a result of government 'guidelines' or 'diktat', then does not the school stand condemned guilty of a 'knee-jerk' reaction?
Whether one agrees, or not, with corporal punishment is neither here nor there in this case, what is the point is that, yet again, we have an instance of state intervention in a matter of personal choice and, as a result, someone loses their job. Admittedly Mrs Pope has found alternative employment - but why should a 'professional' person be forced to undertake employment, requiring less qualifications, purely to satisfy the requirements of dogma?
Benedict Brogan's comment piece in today's Daily Telegraph has been commented on by Raedwald, who highlights one 'telling' passage. The entire article though really brings home the deficit of the socialist idea, one which results in a lowering of standards whilst at the same time creating more problems than it solves.
An even more pertinent comment is one that Brogan makes in respect of the Conservative Party and that is that the policies of the present leader of that party will result in a situation whereby we will have a government that is 'Conservative, Margaret, but not as we know it'.
Therein lies the dilemma for the voter!There is, thankfully, an alternative, one that will allow Britain independence - national independence, local independence and individual independence.
Letters from a Tory has a post entitled 'Why I hate some conservatives', leading him to question some of his 'conservative' beliefs viz-a-viz the Afghan election.
Not wishing to 'capitalize' on his post, it did bring home the realization of why I hate the Conservatives, along with Labour and the Liberal Democrats.
Only a few days ago David Cameron, speaking on the subject of our continued presence in Afghanisatan stated that there was a political consensus and cross party support for this 'war'. As on many occasions one can but wonder at the contradictory desire to 'introduce' democracy to another country, whilst apparently being perfectly at ease with themselves giving away ours and, as a result, reducing Britain to a subservient level under the rule of the European Union.
On Your Freedom and Ours, Helen has a post on the latest 'plea' from two Conservative MPs for a salary level of at least £100,000, if not £130,000, per annum. She also links to an 'open letter' she wrote to MPs way back in 2006. At the time of writing there is only one comment, but this is very much 'to the point'. It suggests that, instead of a salary increase, MPs should take a corresponding cut in salary to reflect the remaining percentage of matters on which they can legislate without having to ask Brussels permission.
Setting to one side the spin, evasion of the truth and in some case the lies in which the three main political parties indulge, coupled with their venality - to name just a few of their 'attributes', it is their combined acceptance of the devaluation of our democracy which sticks in my craw!
The Daily Telegraph has a report that Israeli scientists have 'faked' some DNA by obliterating all traces of DNA from a blood sample and add someone else's genetic material in its place.
The report continues:
"The findings threaten to undermine the key forensic technique, which has secured thousands of convictions in Britain and around the world.It demonstrates that, in theory, criminals could plant samples of blood or saliva at crime scenes to cover their tracks while leading to innocent people being wrongly convicted."
Now, if criminals could plant samples of blood or saliva......leading innocent people being wrongly convicted, you can bet your last penny that governments...................?
Surprising as it may seem, the heading of this post is totally true, if this blogger is correct - and on the basis bloggers appear to have a pretty good record of being right (no pun intended - not this time) there would seem to be no reason to doubt the authenticity. of the post.
Henrik Alexandersson, a prominent Swedish blogger has unearthed the fact that the EU Directorate General for Justice, Freedom and Security is proposing a ban on the fuel used for children’s toy steam engines in an effort to prevent terrorism.
For those of you that do not speak/read Swedish, courtesy of Google translation service, the English version can be read here.
Not only does Alexandersson demonstrate the total illogically of EU 'thinking' (if 'thinking it really is) together with the question of whether the Germans will allow it to happen; it also demonstrates one other point:
These EU bastards can 'let off steam' even when they are supposed to be on a undeserved holiday!
Watts Up With That has a most revealing post on the apparent 'back-tracking' of a press release, issued by Greenpeace, warning that the Arctic would be 'ice-free' by 2030 and that Greenpeace 'emotionalize issues'.
So, at last, one environmental group has admitted to having tried to 'con' the people with false statements, whilst also appealing to the 'scare' factor.
Not only have the environmentalists tried to 'emotionalize' us with false data, but more importantly using these 'tactics', they have built up a massive multi-million pound 'industry' - for which we, the people, are paying and will continue to do so for some time.
No wonder politicians talk 'crap' when they believe 'crap'!
The title of this post is that which Politics Home used to link to this story - an article by Frank Field, writing in the New Statesman.
First thought was - Cesarean, followed by - Lobotomy?
Arguing that the Government should draw up a single objective for each department, with a view to showing strategic thinking and to provide Labour MPs with hope for the future, he ends with these words:
".... voters might actually like to see what a re-elected Labour government would do after the May general election."
To be perfectly frank, Frank, the last thing the British electorate would like to see is another re-elected Labour government! We are well aware what such a catastrophe would bring by way of yet more state intervention, more powers ceded to Brussels, more 'fake' charities telling us what is good for us (in their eyes), more borrowing which would mean it would be not just our grandchildren paying off the debt - more likely our great grandchildren, even our great-great grandchildren.
For the third time in my lifetime Frank, your party has 'blown it' so - no Frank, no, no, no!
Samizdata has an intriguing post entitled 'Commercial orbital space has arrived'. On reading this an idea formed, one which has the distinct possibility of improving the political mind. From this post, a snippet:
Dependant, naturally, on the regularity of the flights - which this blog hopes might be weekly - on each trip the worst performing politician would be accorded pride of place on the external tip of the nose cone.
This would result in politicians really getting a, deserved, rocket up their ass!
So Mandelson - lord of all he surveys in the County of Herefordshire and the County of Durham (and Westminster?) - has told the Communication Workers Union to 'wake-up' to prevent the Royal Mail's further decline.
Perhaps Mandelson and his colleagues need to 'wake-up' to prevent the United Kingdom's further decline?
Commenting that, previously, the unions had requested ministerial intervention in their disputes Mandelson is quoted as saying:
"I have instructed this will not happen........"
Getting a bit 'butch' and authoritative are we not, Sweeetie - trying to show who wears the trousers?
Generally speaking, the public are reliant on what they are told by the media - newspapers, BBC, ITN, C4, etc - for news on any subject, especially in respect of Afghanistan - why we are there, the reasons for the losses of personnel in our Armed Forces, incompetence where equipment procurement is concerned, apparent failure of equipment, etc etc.
For any readers of this blog - even for any readers of any blog - one cannot but do better than to direct anyone interested to the Defense of the Realm website - link available in my blogroll. Having read Defense of the Realm, any one will immediately question the 'expertise' and 'capability' of our 'journalists' to accurately and faithfully report events.
Much has been written by those of us against the interference of the European Union in what amounts to how we are governed - and more importantly, by whom we are governed - but one of the most insidious laws must be the introduction of the European Arrest Warrant.
To underline - and in an attempt to bring home to those who may not have considered the implications of the gravity of this odious 'law' - one which we, the electorate, have had no control over its implementation - and the effect it can have on the lives of 'ordinary' people, I reproduce an article, written by someone I know, and which is posted on the Ukip Witney website.
"A computer geek is threatened with 60 years in a US prison as a terrorist and extradited under alopsided extradition agreement. Ministers refuse to prosecute him in the United Kingdom. A 20-year old British student is sent to Greece for a murder with "evidence" allegedly obtained by Greek police beating up his friends in search of a suspect. The House of Lords refuses to hear his appeal against extradition. The only politician to offer help is Gerard Batten of UKIP.
A 45-year old woman on holiday in Spain is arrested for an offence that allegedly happened in France twenty years ago. Thrown into a Spanish jail, she is strip-searched and then attacked by other inmates. Back in Britain, most politicians fail to respond to her requests for help. Extradition has been much in the news lately.
Gary McKinnon, the computer geek, may any day now be extradited to the United States and Andrew Symeou, the student, was extradited to Greece just three weeks ago. There has been much media comment and discussion in Parliament about the case of Gary McKinnon, not least because the Daily Mail took the case up as a campaigning cause. There has been much less interest in the Symeou case. This article looks at British extradition law and asks who, these days, it is intended to help.
The 2003 Extradition Treaty:
The law on extradition is enshrined in the Extradition Act 2003. This Act categorises countries into two groups - category 1 territories and category 2 territories.
In category 1 are all the other 26 members of the European Union (and no other countries) as part 1 of the Act brings the European Arrest Warrant into law. In category 2 are over a hundred other countries falling into different subgroups. Importantly, the United States is a category 2 country.
The European Arrest Warrant:
The European Council which met in Tampere in 1999 announced in its conclusions that extradition procedures between EU member states should be abolished. The Council of Ministers, working in the Justice and "Home" Affairs group (their home, not ours) duly came up with decision 2002/584 in which the previous barriers to extradition were dropped and, notoriously, the "double criminality" rule was abandoned - you could now be extradited for a "crime" that was not even a crime in your own country. The preamble to the Council decision brings in that Orwellian-sounding phrase, an area of "freedom, security and justice" but some of the cases in which a European Arrest Warrant has been used sound anything but that to British ears.
For the European Arrest Warrant category 1 countries, the old rule that prima facie evidence must be presented by the requesting country no longer applies (this evidence approximately corresponded to the evidence that would be required to arrest someone in a non-extradition case). Instead, all that is required is : a description of the circumstances in which the offence was committed, including the time, place and degree of participation in the offence by the requested person.
The European Arrest Warrant applies to two categories of crimes : any crime which would attract a maximum prison sentence of at least one year, and a specific list of 32 offences, providing that the offence would bring a maximum prison sentence of at least three years. Crucially, in an unprecedented departure from normal practice, for the list of 32 specific offences, the offence does not have to be an offence in the country from which someone is sought. The legislation is also retrospective and can now apply even to trials conducted in absentia.
One intended effect of the European Arrest Warrant is to remove politicians from the decision-making process, turning the system into a conveyor belt operated entirely as an administrative affair by the judiciary, with no political input. That's why, presumably, Andrew Symeou, the student extradited to Greece, was left to swing and why Deborah Dark, the woman arrested in Spain, met a wall of silence when she appealed for help.
There was much talk at the time about the fight against terrorism but it is clear from the list of offences that terrorism was far from the only target. Indeed, a Council of Ministers working group on cooperation in criminal matters found that the Arrest Warrant was being applied in cases for which it was never intended. Though intended for serious crimes, the working group found that it had been applied for cases of possession of 0.45 grams of cannabis, possession of three ecstasy tablets, the stealing of two car tyres, and the theft of a piglet.
But it seems that this will get worse. It has recently been reported that the number of British subjects extradited under a European Arrest Warrant is likely to triple next year, many for minor offences, when new use of the Schengen Information System comes into play. In 2008-2009, the Serious Organised Crime Agency received 3526 requests for extradition using a European Arrest Warrant. Michael Caplan, a QC expert on extradition law, said : We're subject to an information-based approach rather than a prima facie evidence test, Extradition has also become easier and more straightforward, with inevitable casualties.
Category 2 Countries and the US-UK Extradition Treaty:
For category 2 countries, the default is that prima facie evidence must be supplied before a judge will allow an extradition. However, there is a subcategory of countries where the rules are different. In 2007, these countries were : Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, Croatia, Georgia, Iceland, Israel, Lichtenstein, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, New Zealand, Norway, the Russian Federation, Serbia, South Africa, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, the United States.
Of these countries, all but Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States are signatories of the Council of Europe Convention on Extradition (Council of Europe, not European Union). Signatories to this Convention also do not need to provide prima facie evidence. Australia, Canada and New Zealand are Commonwealth countries and, as such, also are not required to provide prima facie evidence. That leaves the United States and, in this case, a lack of balance in the proof required (or not required) for extradition has led to the intense publicity of the McKinnon case, with many saying that the current US-UK Extradition Treaty, brought into law by the 2003 Extradition Act, is unfairly stacked against the UK (though there are occasional protests that the Treaty is balanced).
The United Kingdom does not require prima facie evidence from the United States if the latter wishes to extradite a Briton, only a statement of the facts of the case. But, if Britain wishes to extradite someone from the United States, it must show "probable cause" i.e a reasonable argument that the person concerned did commit the offence.
The old (1972) US/UK Extradition Treaty said, in Article IX : Extradition shall be granted only if the evidence be found sufficient according to the law of the requested Party either to justify the committal for trial of the person sought if the offense of which he is accused had been committed in the territory of the requested Party or to prove that he is the identical person convicted by the courts of the requesting Party.
The new (2003) US/UK Extradition Treaty says that, for both states, a "a statement of the facts of the offense(s)" must be provided but, crucially, there is an extra qualification in the case of the UK : for requests to the United States, such information as would provide a reasonable basis to believe that the person sought committed the offense for which extradition is requested. Extraditable offences in the old treaty came under two categories - a list of specific offences and any offence that was punishable in both countries by imprisonment for more than one year or by the death penalty.
In the new Treaty the specific list of offences has been dropped but the blanket statement on offences attracting imprisonment for more than one year, remains. The old Treaty was retrospective as regards the specific list of offences but not the twelve month rule. The new Treaty is fully retrospective.
Who Is Extradition For ?
Back in 1847, a naturalised Briton, Don Pacifico, had his house ransacked by a mob in Athens. Don Pacifico appealed for help to the British government and the latter sought compensation from the Greek government. After three years of refusal from the Greeks, Lord Palmeston sent the Royal Navy to put on a show of force. Palmerston said, in the House of Commons :
As the Roman, in days of old, held himself free from indignity, when he could say Civis Romanus sum; so also a British subject, in whatever land he may be, shall feel confident that the watchful eye and the strong arm of England, will protect him against injustice and wrong.
Gary McKinnon :http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/8181100.stm Andrew Symeou :http://www.fairtrials.net/news/article/andrew_symeou_refused_bail_by_greek_judge/
Gerard Batten on the Symeou Case :http://www.ukip.org/content/latest-news/1176-lords-symeou-appeal-refusal-shameful
Deborah Dark :http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard/article-23725931-details/Arrested+during+a+family+holiday%2C+now+I%27m+unable+to+travel+abroad/article.do
The 2003 Extradition Treaty :http://police.homeoffice.gov.uk/publications/operational-policing/extradition-act-2003
The European Arrest Warrant :http://police.homeoffice.gov.uk/publications/operational-policing/european-arrest-warrant
Trials In Absentia :http://openeuropeblog.blogspot.com/2009/07/enjoy-your-holidays-but-keep-eu-law.html
Extradition Request for Stealing a Piglet :http://www.statewatch.org/news/2007/jul/eu-eaw-evaluation.pdf
Extraditions To Triple :http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/6038038/Hundreds-of-Britons-will-be-extradited-for-minor-crimes-under-new-rules.html
Inevitable Casualties :http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/law/article6792237.ece The 2003 US-UK Extradition Treaty :http://www.fco.gov.uk/resources/en/pdf /pdf8/fco_pdf_usextraditiontreaty
The 1972 US-UK Extradition Treaty :http://www.statewatch.org/news/2003/jul/22aUKUS1972.html
Statewatch on the UK-US Treaties :http://www.statewatch.org/news/2003/jul/25ukus.htm
The Treaty is Balanced ;http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/libertycentral/2009/aug/08/extradition-treaty-us-uk
House of Commons Library Note :http://www.parliament.uk/commons/lib/research/briefings/snha-02204.pdf
Signatories of the Council of Europe Convention on Extradition :http://conventions.coe.int/Treaty/Commun/ChercheSig.asp?NT=024&CM=8&DF=16/08/2009&CL=ENG
List Of Offences Under the European Arrest Warrant:
- participation in a criminal organisation,- terrorism,- trafficking in human beings,- sexual exploitation of children and child pornography,- illicit trafficking in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances,- illicit trafficking in weapons, munitions and explosives,- corruption,- fraud, including that affecting the financial interests of the European Communities within the meaning of the Convention of 26 July 1995 on the protection of the European Communities' financial interests,- laundering of the proceeds of crime,- counterfeiting currency, including of the euro,- computer-related crime,- environmental crime, including illicit trafficking in endangered animal species and in endangered plant species and varieties,- facilitation of unauthorised entry and residence,- murder, grievous bodily injury,- illicit trade in human organs and tissue,- kidnapping, illegal restraint and hostage-taking,- racism and xenophobia,- organised or armed robbery,- illicit trafficking in cultural goods, including antiques and works of art,- swindling,- racketeering and extortion,- counterfeiting and piracy of products,- forgery of administrative documents and trafficking therein,- forgery of means of payment,- illicit trafficking in hormonal substances and other growth promoters,- illicit trafficking in nuclear or radioactive materials,- trafficking in stolen vehicles,- rape,- arson,- crimes within the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court,- unlawful seizure of aircraft/ships,- sabotage.
List Of Offences Under the Old US/UK Extradition Treaty :
-murder; attempt to murder, including assault with intent to murder.-manslaughter.-maliciously wounding or inflicting grievous bodily harm.-unlawful throwing or application of any corrosive or injurious substance upon the person of another.-rape; unlawful sexual intercourse with a female; indecent assault.-gross indecency or unlawful sexual acts with a child under the age of fourteen years.-procuring a woman or young person for immoral purposes; living on the earnings of prostitution.-unlawfully administering drugs or using instruments with intent to procure the miscarriage of a woman.-bigamy.-kidnapping, abduction, false imprisonment.-neglecting, ill-treating, abandoning, exposing or stealing a child.-an offense against the law relating to narcotic drugs, cannabis sativa L, hallucinogenic drugs, cocaine and its derivatives, and other dangerous drugs.-theft; larceny; embezzlement.-robbery; assault with intent to rob.-burglary or housebreaking or shopbreaking.-receiving or otherwise handling any goods, money, valuable securities or other property, knowing the same to have been stolen or unlawfully obtained.-obtaining property, money or valuable securities by false pretenses or other form of deception.-blackmail or extortion.-false accounting.-fraud or false statements by company directors and other officers.-an offense against the bankruptcy laws.-an offense relating to counterfeiting or forgery.-bribery, including soliciting, offering or accepting bribes.-perjury; subornation of perjury.-arson.-malicious damage to property.-any malicious act done with intent to endanger the safety of persons travelling or being upon a railway.-piracy, involving ships or aircraft, according to international law.-unlawful seizure of an aircraft.
Comment:This article is even more pertinent when this newspaper report, and this, is considered.