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News | Anorak - Part 32

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Cannabis: a cruel law pauses for Billy Caldwell

The cretinous rule that led to 12-year-old Billy Caldwell’s medicine being confiscated at Heathrow airport has not been undone. It’s been paused. The matter of how Billy’s mother, Charlotte Caldwell, can best care for her ill and suffering son reached the desk of the Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, who in his wisdom granted a licence for cannabis oil to be administered to the boy at home. Javid’s never met the lad but as a former banker he is ideally placed to know what’s best for Billy.

A doctor in Northern Ireland thought he knew what was best for Billy. In 2017 that GP saw the improvement in Billy after Charlotte had taken him to America to see paediatric neurologists. They had prescribed cannabis oils. And these drugged helped. The GP continued the treatment, prescribing medicinal cannabis oil on the NHS. It continued to work. Billy went 300 says without an epileptic seizure. Then the Home Office spotted the horror and ordered the GP not to renew the prescription. The GP was breaking the law. Give Billy the medicine and be disbarred. But now the Home Secretary says the law can be bent and Billy can get a medicine that helps him.

Javid has been advised, of course. He’s listened to experts, considered the options and the evidence, and, as an adult, made up his own mind about medical cannabis. The problem is that he and other politicians get to make up your mind as well, or at least turn you into a social pariah if you consider the laws they pass and leave unchallenged wrong, and decide that medical cannabis is helpful.

The Government has issued a statement to celebrate its humanity. “The Department of Health yesterday received an emergency licence application from Belfast Trust clinicians regarding medicinal cannabis use for Billy Caldwell. An emergency licence has today been issued by the department, replicating the licence issued last month by the Home Office for treatment at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in London. We have also been in discussions with the Home Office to finalise arrangements for the immediate transportation of Billy’s medicine from London to the Belfast Trust.”

Funny, no, how the sight of an ill child having his medicine confiscated by the uniforms can change minds. As TV crews broadcast images of Billy hugging his careworn mother, the Home Office was telling us there is “no recognised medicinal benefit” to cannabis. Anyone using cannabis to dull the pain and the symptoms of MS, cancer, epilepsy and more was a fool and a criminal. Now, a few weeks later, the politicos think there might be something useful in cannabis. No new findings have been made in that time but there has been lots of bad Press for the Government.

So will all parents have to fight the law as hard as Billy Caldwell’s mum to improve the lives for their flesh and blood? The Government is investigating laws around medical cannabis. The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs is musing on the “balance of harms and public health needs”. But this is about who knows what’s best for the sufferer: their loving mum or the authoritarian State?

Who would you trust?

Posted: 5th, July 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment


Nick is in court but VIP paedos escape again

Remember Nick? Of course you do. He was the whistleblower who knew all about VIP peadophiles abusing and murdering children in Westminster. He’s heading to court. No, no to confront the perverts. He’s in count to answer 12 counts of pervert6ing the course of justice and one count of fraud.

 

nick daily people daily mirror

The People had the scoop

 

Nick sunday People

Sunday People – Nick

 

Thanks to Nick’s allegations – which one leading copper called “credible and true”; detective superintendent Kenny McDonald, the man heading Operation Midland, knew everything was true before the investigation was over and any trial had even begun – police, who had taken to calling accusers “victims” investigated former Prime Minister Ted Heath (who was stubbornly dead at the time and unable to help police with their enquiries), former Home Secretary Leon Brittan (also dead – his accuser said he pointed the finger at him for a ‘joke’), Field Marshall Lord Bramall (alive and innocent) and former Tory MP Harvey Proctor (also alive and innocent). All four innocent men had their names dragged through the mud and reputations brutally damaged.

 

operation midland ted heath

“Named’? Surely “innocent” or “accused”

 

The story was popular with the Daily Mirror and associated titles. But whilst the Daily Mail gives an entire page to the story of Nick’s trial, the Mirror buries it on”NAMED: EX-PM Ted Heath”, the  page 7. In a small and short column headlined “VIP sex gang accuser Nick faces 13 raps” and a photo of Ted Heath captioned “NAMED: Ex-PM Ted Heath”, we read that Nick is heading to court and that “detectives said his claims…were ‘credible’.” Not quite. They said Nick’s allegations which sparked Operation Midland were “credible and true”. The Mirror’s sister title The People called it a “sensation”. Fiction was treated as fact.

Of course, anyone into conspiracy theories will roll their eyes and think Nick the accuser morphing into Nick the defendant was always going to happen.  The rest of us should wonder about due process and how claims of historical sex abuse came to define policing and bind a nation.

Posted: 4th, July 2018 | In: News, Politicians, Tabloids | Comment


Don’t mess with ma – US woman shoots son dead for trying to put her in a rest home

The combination of the general availability of guns and ‘ornery old women hasn’t worked out well for one man in Arizona. He suggested that perhaps, at the age of 92, she might want to think about, well, to, umm:

A 92-year-old woman has been charged with the murder of her son after allegedly telling him “you took my life, so I’m taking yours” over his decision to place her in a care home.

That escalated quickly then, didn’t it?

Anna Mae Blessing allegedly told the 72 year-old ‘You took my life, so I’m taking yours’ before blasting him to death Monday morning. She allegedly hid two pistols in the pocket of her robe, and fired one at her son – whose name has not been released – as he lay sleeping at his apartment in Phoenix, Az.

Perhaps trying to put her away wasn’t the wisest of decisions or attempts.

Anna Mae Blessing, of Fountain Hills, Arizona, appeared in court, in a wheelchair and orange jumpsuit, to face charges of first-degree murder, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and kidnapping.

OK, so, lesson learnt – even if a little late for him – that annoying old women is one of those things to avoid. But the interesting thing here is that there certainly seems to be some premeditation. She’s charged with first degree, which is what we here would call murder too. And assuming she’s convicted then she’s going to end up being put away, isn’t she? Even if she’s let off on grounds of incompetence by senility or age or something, it’s still going to be a care home at least, isn’t it? The only question left being how secure it is, somewhere on that spectrum from assisted living to prison.

So, despite dying, he’s just won.

Posted: 4th, July 2018 | In: News, Strange But True | Comment


Cannabis cafes are refuges for the sad, boring and controlled

When cannabis is legalised for recreational use in the UK – oh, come on, it will be (think of the money) – you can expect not only legislation to tax it and lots of regulation to control its use but also zones where puffing can take place with State approval. There will be places like the proposed Coachella Valley Green Dragon in sunny California, where pot heads can hang out with other dope fiends in a social setting. A club for tokers if every bit as naff as it sounds. It’s not liberty to smoke a joint in a State-approved lounge. Marijuana smokers are being herded and managed.

The laws in California are mad:

It’s illegal to consume cannabis in public, a restriction included in the 2016 ballot measure that legalized recreational marijuana in California. That measure, Proposition 64, also gave landlords the right to regulate marijuana use on private property.

You can buy it but you might not be able to smoke it. If you rent a property and the landlord says ‘no smoking’, hard luck.

So, while a small number of hotels are permitting consumption and a few marijuana-themed festivals are held throughout the state, those two provisions can severely limit legal cannabis use for certain groups, including tourists and many renters.

It’s not about freedom. It’s about control. Special lounges. Special festivals. Marijuana smokers are special needs. And it’s even worse for visitors. Tourists who fancy a puff can check into a  “bud and breakfast” resort, and suffer living amongst weed bores. Or they can toke in the hotel room and risk a fine.

So to the cannabis lounge, then, is gaining favour. There everything will be hunky-dory. But there are more rules; alcohol and tobacco must not be consumed in the same venue; you can’t open a cannabis lounge within 600 feet of a school; and all consumption of weed must be out of public view.

In Seattle, it’s much the same:

If you are a renter with a landlord that doesn’t allow smoking pot on the premises, a tourist at a hotel, or a homeless person living on the street or in a shelter, you have no legal place to exercise your right under state law to smoke pot.

A statewide indoor smoking ban prevents any kind of smoking inside buildings. A separate state law makes it illegal to smoke weed anywhere in public.

So where do you go?

If you have walked around Seattle recently, you have already smelled the answer: You go smoke on the sidewalk. Even though it’s not technically allowed, smoking weed in public in Seattle is punishable by a measly $27 fine, and cops are instructed to try not to give those tickets out.

Smell all the freedom, eh. Last February, Denver opened a weed club:

The city of Denver granted its first license on Monday to a business that will allow marijuana use on its premises. The Coffee Joint plans to charge patrons a $5 entry fee and permit them to consume their own cannabis in edible or vapor form.

How off your face do you need to pay to pay $5 to eat the cannabis sweet in your pocket? Weed might be legal, but that’s only because the State now has more control over cannabis than it ever had.

Posted: 2nd, July 2018 | In: News | Comment


Peter Firmin: remembering The Clangers, Bagpuss and their creator

peter-firmin bagpuss

 

Peter Firmin (1928-2018) co-created Bagpuss, The Clangers, Basil Brush, Ivor the Engine, Pogles Wood and Noggin the Nog. You might not know the man, but every Briton who grew up in the 1970s knows his work. In 1999, Bagpuss was voted the most popular BBC children’s programme ever made.

It was a family affair. Mr Firmin’s wife Joan made Bagpuss’ paws and knitted the original Clangers. Their daughter Emily played Bagpuss’ owner, who places the saggy old cloth cat in her shop window.  The shop doesn’t sell anything. Each week Emily brings Bagpuss objects to mend and repair. Bagpuss wakes up, explores the new find with his pals and then after so much talk and hard looking drifts back to sleep.

Only 13 episodes were ever made. Each one if wonderful.

 

 

The Clangers are aliens living on small blue planet. They live in caves protected by saucepan lids – the noise of the lids gives the Clangers their name.

As for Mr Firmin:

Born in Harwich in 1928, he trained at the Colchester School of Art and, after a period of National Service in the Navy, he went on to attend the Central School of Art and Design. it was while teaching there that he met Mr Postgate with whom he formed Smallfilms.

In 2016, in an interview with the BBC at the unveiling of an exhibition of his work, Mr Firmin said of his relationship with Mr Postgate: “He wrote and imagined things and I brought them to life as pictures.”

He said: “We sometimes disagreed, but generally we agreed in the end as we had the same sort of taste and, also, we both rather liked the idea of gentle stories where there was no aggression really and everyone was rather happy, gentle and content.”

Mr Firmin was no fan of computer generated imagery. “I hate CGI faces on humans because you look in the eyes and there’s nothing there. There’s no soul.”

In 1974, his knitted Clangers with their black button eyes held an election. The General Election was taking place in the UK and far, far away The Clangers were asking you to Vote Froglet.

The BFI:

On a small blue planet far away, it’s polling day for the Clangers! Coinciding with 1974’s general election, this episode sees narrator Oliver Postgate trying to persuade the ever-popular woolly creatures of the merits of party politics. But the Clangers aren’t taken with the prospect of a society ruled by one group – even though the Soup Dragon stands for election on a ‘free soup for all’ ticket.

Oliver Postgate provides the voice of the narrator who, uniquely in this episode, engages in conversation with the Clangers. Their responses were adapted from the written script and played on swannee whistles by Stephen Sylvester and Oliver Postgate, as usual, while the music was composed by Vernon Elliott. This was the final in the original series of The Clangers which ran for 27 episodes from 1969-74.

 

Posted: 2nd, July 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, TV & Radio | Comment


Gorleston beach death: bouncy castle trampoline pops in average heat

bouncy castle gorleston

 

There’s “horror in the heat”. The Star leads with news that a young girl died when a bouncy castle “exploded”. The four-year-old was “catapulted” by the force of the exploding blue inflatable. “Dozens” watched as paramedics tried in vain to save the life of the girl in the ‘Bounce About’ play area on Gorleston beach, near Great Yarmouth, Norfolk. Or as the Mirror leads: “Tot killed by exploding trampoline.”

What was it: an inflatable or a trampoline?

The Mirror says the child was tossed 30 feet into the air when the “trampoline exploded in the searing heat”. Was the heat a factor in the horror? A witness says it was the “most horrific” thing they had ever seen. It sounds horrendous. Another says: “I’m sat next to the bouncy castle when it just popped.” Another says the girl was thrown “about 20 ft into the air”.

 

great yarmouth bouncy trampoline

 

The witnesses says the castle “popped” and the girl was thrown 20ft into the air. The tabloids says the trampoline exploded and the heigh was 30ft. A child dies on a day out and for some news sources that’s not enough.

As for the heat being a factor in the horror, we only hear the owner of the inflatable castle / trampoline say “he believed the intense heat caused  the explosion”.  Maybe. But the heat sounds more like the trigger than the cause. The owner, identified as Curt Johnson, is then quoted: “It is very upsetting. An inflatable trampoline exploded  because of the heat and that is all I know… It is quite shocking.”

As for the “searing heat”, well, the Mail says temperatures reached 73F. Not all that hot for a summer’s day, then.

An investigation is underway…

Posted: 2nd, July 2018 | In: News, Tabloids | Comment


Yes, let’s legalise cannabis – but not for tax revenue

One of the long running shouting matches out there is over the legalisation of cannabis. It’s worth remembering that it’s only just over a century since it was actually legal. Actually, back in Victorian England everything was legal, yes including the morphine and opium. It was concern over people being able to enjoy themselves which led to both the drugs bans and that idiot Prohibition over in the US.

Given that cannabis doesn’t harm anyone why not undo that historic mistake and make it legal again?

The report from the Institute of Economic Affairs has valued the UK’s black market in cannabis at £2.6bn.

OK, there’s quite a lot of it going on already then.

A report from the Institute for Economic Affairs (IEA) says decriminalising the Class B drug would also lead to savings for the police and other public services.

Well, yes, there’s an awful lot of idiocy that we’ll be able to stop doing.

Margaret Thatcher’s favourite free-market thinktank has called on the government to legalise cannabis, arguing that the move could save more than £1bn generated from extra taxes and other savings in public services.

The thing is though that we don’t really want to do it for the tax take. The point being that we’re only here talking about consenting adults. And it’s a basic matter of freedom and liberty that consenting adults should be allowed to get up to what adults consent to. Sure, some of these things will be wasteful – say, Simon Cowell – some will be damaging – Simon Cowell – and yet that’s the whole point of freedom itself. We get to do as we wish, even Simon Cowell. The only truly moral constraint is when our activities prevent others from enjoying those same rights.

So, legalise cannabis just in order to legalise cannabis.

As the report itself notes, if we do legalise it then we can tax it. Actually, we could tax it pretty highly and still have it being cheaper than the illegal stuff is today. And we’ve got to gain our tax revenue from somewhere. So, yes, tax it and collect some money.

But the reason for the legalisation is because there’s no reason it should be illegal.

Posted: 30th, June 2018 | In: Money, News, Politicians | Comment


£1bn of cannabis to boost the British economy – and let criminals sell skunk

The argument for legalising cannabis hinges not on your chronic pain or need to bark in front of daytime telly, rather on money, specifically how much the Government rake in by taxing it? The sickness is all too apparent. What goes inside the body of a consenting adult is no-one else’s business, least of all that of the wonks. But money will win the argument – it always does. And the latest news is that decriminalising the drug will earn the State £1bn a year.

That’s according to guesstimates by the Institute for Economic Affairs (IEA). The headline figure is not all earnings but also savings, primarily on the cost of policing the Class B drug. The IE report, the snappily titled Joint Venture: Estimating the Size and Potential of the UK Cannabis Market, estimates the black market for cannabis at £2.6bn a year with 255 tonnes sold to more than three million people.

“It’s high time for reform of cannabis policy in the UK,” says Chris Snowdon, head of lifestyle economics at the institute, and most definitely unaware of his pun. “Canada and the USA are showing the way. Done properly, the legalisation of cannabis is a win-win-win: criminals lose a lucrative industry, consumers get a better, safer and cheaper product, and the burden on the general taxpayer is reduced.”

Maybe. Criminals get to re-evaluate their business and undercut the licence holders. Customers get to chose a product, whether it be safe or less safe will depend on price. Licensed sales allow regulators and other authoritarians to control the drug’s psychoactive compound tetrahydrocannabinol sold on their premises. But if you want skunk or anything stronger than Theresa May thinks you can handle, asks Matt the Talc if he can sort you out – and look out for the Kitemark on his bag of greens.

The IE also adds in its report: “When added to tax revenues of £690m, plus new streams of income tax, business tax and VAT created by the legal industry, claims about cannabis legalisation providing a £1bn windfall to the Treasury seem pessimistic.”

No doubt the kind of bores who sell fine wines and hipsters who felt-tip their necks and dress like Norman Wisdom in undersize jackets and leggings will set up shops offering all manner of exclusive guff to the discerning toker looking for top notes of pettuli oil over hints of uncertainty. The rest of us will just want a hit from the stuff that grows out the ground. It’s not called ‘weed’ for nothing.

Posted: 29th, June 2018 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment


Nice guy Southgate ruins the glorious chance to beat Brazil at the World Cup

Happy days. England will play Colombia in the first World Cup knockout phase. Had Gareth Southgate’s team beaten Belgium and not lost 1-0, having put in a performance devoid of verve and cohesion, England would be playing Japan, who are not as good as the South Americans and only progressed because they behaved better than Senegal. But this is great news because after England have seen off the Colombians, it’s easy street all the way to the final. That’s Colombia who reached the quarter-final last World Cup and are, according to FIFA, the world’s 16th best team. England are ranked 12th. Belgium are 3rd. What a chance, indeed, to defeat a team tanked so high.

 

england world cup belgium newspapers

We win!

 

England’s first XI will take on Colombia at the Spartak Stadium in Moscow. They will will win, of course, and play an ‘easier’ team in the next round. We won’t again watch the same England side that lost to Belgium, a match in with Southgate made 8 changes from their previous game (Belgium made 9) and cemented his reputation as a nice bloke. Everyone gets a game with Gareth. Sure the team lost the momentum it gained from victories over Tunisia and Panama (a side ranked higher than Japan) but everyone on the plane gets a memory of a good day out.

And the even better bit is that England get to avoid a thrilling, electrifying, nation-binding quarter-final with Brazil, a side that don’t look all that good. And instead of all that excitement and the chance – the glorious chance – to defeat the mighty Brazil at the World Cup, England lose to Belgium and set up a quarter-final with Sweden or Switzerland. After then it’s the ‘easier’ semi-final with any one of Russia, Denmark, Croatia or – gulp! – Spain. What can go wrong?

Meanwhile, those Belgian muppets get Brazil in the quarter-finals, a game they have a cracking chance of winning, before a semi-final with any one of France, Argentina, Uruguay and Portugal. Belgian should fear no-one. England, well, best of luck with Spain, the best side in this year’s Cup…

 

Posted: 29th, June 2018 | In: News | Comment


Donald Trump’s right: the European Union was created to hurt the United States

It is possible – gosh, it might even be – that Donald Trump is a little over the top in his rhetoric and beliefs. It’s also entirely true that he doesn’t quite grasp the right end of the stick on a number of points. But that doesn’t mean that everything he says is wrong. Such as this, that the European Union was set up to be in opposition to America:

During the President’s speech in Fargo, North Dakota, he blasted the EU for taking “advantage” of the US.

He said: “We love the countries of the European Union.

“But the European Union was set up to take advantage of the United States, to attack our piggy bank.

“And you know what? We can’t let that happen.”

Yes, over the top and all that. But there is still much more than just a grain of truth to it. For the EU really was set up in order to be against the US.

Not in the sense of being in a shooting war with them of course. But to be an alternative power in an economic war, most certainly. Much of what the EU does only makes sense if it is all about building up the continent into being a global power. The euro, for example, is meant to weld the various economies together. We’ve got the EU diplomatic service which is meant, over time, to take the place of the various national ones. That we’ve five – count ’em, five – Presidents of Europe might be overshoot but it’s all part of that building a Federal Government of Europe.

This isn’t, despite the fact that I am, froth mouthed anti-EUism. This is what the founders of the thing, the current defenders of it, all insist is true. They want Europe to be that global power, so as to be in opposition to what they see as that gauche Americanism.

Whether we all think this is a good idea r not is another thing. But Trump is right here. The EU always was meant to be a counterbalance to the US.

Posted: 28th, June 2018 | In: News, Politicians | Comment


Are Arsenal launching a top-shelf adult magazine?

The latest edition of the official Arsenal magazine is very much a top-shelf affair. Unless it’s all a terrible misunderstanding? Spurs fan Iain Aitch thinks it might be, tweeting: “Good to see Arsenal have abandoned sub-editing and proofing.”

 

Arsenal magazine fail
 

As the Arsenal magazine sells well in certain niche ‘communities’, we recall the 2011 Scunthorpe FC calendar (yours for just £12.99). It included an unusual entry for September. The slogan ‘Scunthorpe United No1 Fan’ had been cropped – the ‘S’ was missing. Fan Jamie Muir told us his mum had bought him the ‘cunthorpe’ calendar “I had to rub my eyes. I thought I was seeing things. Initially, I thought the publishers had made a mistake with mine. But then I got a letter and a sticker. They asked us to put it over the mistake, but I reckon I’ll keep it as it is.”

* No-one from Peru’s Deportivo Wanka was available for interview.

Posted: 27th, June 2018 | In: Arsenal, News, Sports | Comment


Gender Pay Gap: Haim fires agent over male band getting 10x the cash

haim gender pay gap

 

There is indeed a gender pay gap out there. Some of it is – whisper it gently though we must – entirely justified. Women do tend to take career breaks, there is what is called occupational segregation – people deciding to pursue careers in different occupations – and it does tend to be men who are stupid enough to think that success at work is the be all and end all of life. There are other times it’s entirely justified too – no one is going to be surprised that Tom Cruise gets a higher paycheque than whichever blonde is the arm candy this time around.

There’re also times when it’s rather less justified. And the answer there is for women to take matters into their own hands. To complain and demand that is. Which is exactly what Haim have just done:

All-female band Haim say they fired an agent after discovering they were paid just a tenth of the amount of a male artist on the same bill at a festival.

The US rock group – made up of sisters Este, Danielle and Alana – called the pay gap “insane”.

For those who don’t know these things, band pay at a festival will vary wildly. There will be those there just to get the exposure and maybe thereby get onto the radio. There will be others whose presence on the bill is what sells the tickets to the whole gig. Those latter will gain very much higher pay of course:

“We had been told that our fee was very low because you played at the festival in the hope that you’d get played on the radio,”

Well, that’s OK, as long as everyone knows the deal on the way in.

“We didn’t think twice about it, but we later found out that someone was getting paid 10 times more than us. And because of that we fired our agent.”

Maybe that is OK and maybe it isn’t. But that is the correct answer even so. Not to complain to the world nor to insist that the law must be changed, but to fire the person who negotiated the price you didn’t like.

Of course, it’s always possible that demanding more money means no bookings to play festivals but as these things work out this would also mean no gender pay gap, wouldn’t it? For we do only measure the gap among people who get hired. Those entirely unemployed aren’t included in our numbers.

Posted: 27th, June 2018 | In: Key Posts, Money, Music, News | Comment


Brexit is good news for Northern Irish potheads

Might Brexit turn Northern Ireland into a mecca for British potheads? The 2018 Parliamentary paper, “The land border between Northern Ireland and Ireland Contents” tells us:

The UK Government has been very clear that it is committed to avoiding a hard border and therefore it will not create “physical infrastructure or related checks and controls” at the border.

And there it is again:

43. The United Kingdom also recalls its commitment to the avoidance of a hard border, including any physical infrastructure or related checks and controls.

You can read more on this in: “Joint Report on progress during the negotiations under Article 50, 8 December 2017, Rt Hon Theresa May, Hansard Volume 637, 5 March 2018.”

Why this is relevant to sufferers and stoners is that on June 22 Taoiseach Leo Varadkar told the British-Irish Council in Guernsey that legalising marijuana is on his agenda:

“We’re conscious that Portugal has done it and has had some success in moving it from a criminal justice matter to a health and addiction issue and I’m very conscious that cannabis has been decriminalised in every state on the west coast of the United States. Colorado, most recently Canada and the sky hasn’t [fallen] in, so it’s something that’s under consideration”.

To Belfast, then, where strident sectarianism will be replaced by an altogether more apathetic Peace (and Love) Movement.

PS: In December 2016, a bill to make cannabis legal for medicinal use was passed in Ireland’s lower house without a vote. That could be good news for not only Ireland’s ill whose symptoms might be alleviated by cannabis but also for Teresa May and her family investments.

Posted: 27th, June 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment


After Gosport let’s rip up the NHS

Dr Jane Barton was in charge of prescribing medicine on the wards of Gosport War Memorial Hospital, Hampshire. The Sunday Times say she was “found responsible last week for the deaths of up to 650 people and a culture in which powerful opiates were routinely and recklessly prescribed”. Tough words. Surely her work “potentially contributed to the early deaths of hundreds of patients”? One thing is certain: this a scandal for the NHS to deal with. Health and Social Care Secretary Jeremy Hunt goes on the record:

“The basic problem is that if you are a doctor or a nurse and you see something going wrong – even if you are perhaps responsible for a mistake yourself – the most important thing, the thing that families want if they are bereaved or if they have a tragedy, is to know that the NHS isn’t going to make that mistake again.”

Is this to be an other story which ends with the line “lessons have been learned”?

“We make it much too hard for doctors and nurses to do that – they are worried that there will be litigation, they will go up in front of the GMC or NMC, the reputation of their unit – in some places they are worried they might get fired, so we do have to tackle that blame culture and turn that into a learning culture.”

The stand -out part of his address to the scandal is that “the lives of over 450 patients were shortened by clinically inappropriate use of opioid analgesics”. Live were shortened sounds like a euphemism. The Sun puts it on balder terms: their lives were “snuffed out”. Thinks ,less of the ignored whistleblower and families of the dead and marvel at how many people must have said nothing or worse. Says the Sun: “The health service is, in the main, an admirable institution. But it also gave us serial killer Harold Shipman, the Mid-Staffs ­outrage, the baby deaths at Bristol and Morecambe, and now hundreds killed in Gosport as staff closed ranks.” Anyone using the word “systemic” should be removed from the debate. This is about people. “Scandals like Gosport will be repeated until government targets are banned,” says one Guardian writer. Blame the system and everyone escapes.

Professor Sir Brian Jarman, director of the Dr Foster Unit at Imperial College London, says what happened at Gosport could be occurring elsewhere, because whistleblowers are “fired, gagged and blacklisted… nobody dare whistleblow in the NHS”.

The obvious question, then: why not blame the NHS and question its role? Why blame the system and not the body? Catherine Bennett wonders:

If the propensity to sanctify the NHS, to the point of worshipping it at the Olympics ceremony, helps explain occasional unwillingness to recognise its fallibility, and correspondingly exaggerated self-belief on the part of some practitioners, the Jones report doubles as a 370-page case for deconsecration. Although just a quick reading of Learning From Tragedy, p25, “a new approach to complaints and concerns”, would be a start.

And what of the technology? The Sunday Times has focused a report on the “cheap, faulty syringe pumps” used in palliative care.

The pumps, or drivers, used in the NHS for at least 30 years, led to the rapid infusion of dangerous doses of drugs into the bloodstream and made the behaviour of Dr Jane Barton — in charge of prescribing medicine on the Gosport wards — even more dangerous than had been thought

Would you put a member of you own family on such a pump – one you didn’t want to bump off?

The whistleblower said: “This could be one of the biggest cover- ups in NHS history. Anyone who has lost their granny over the past 30 years when opiates were administered by this equipment will be asking themselves, ‘Is that what killed Granny?’”

Amazing, no, how many old people can have “their lives shortened” before the rest of us take notice.

And what of the money all politicians of every stripe want to toss at the NHS? Is the NHS snow so big and bloated it can’t be questioned? If MPs and ministers can’t excerpt power over it, what chance does a nurse or hospital porter have of exposing serious wrongdoing?

A private word now: had I relied on the NHS I’d be living in a wheelchair or much worse. The NHS does much great work, but it was the sixth opinion – the first from a private doctor – that saved me. Our leaders venerate the NHS. It is beyond blame. But an organisation which has to cancel 50,000 operations to handle winter flu is not best serving the people.

Tim Black notes that questioning the NHS is heresy:

Few politicians question whether simply throwing money at the NHS is the best way forward. Or dare suggest that there are some things the NHS does, especially its intrusions into people’s lifestyles, that are detrimental to our political and social health. Or point out that its excessive managerialism and target-setting lead to routinised carelessness. Because, in the estranged world of the political class, invoking the NHS is seen as just about the only way to speak to us with any authority. The NHS is now the answer to nearly every party-political question. Why are we raising taxes? To support the NHS. Why are we leaving the EU? To benefit the NHS. Why are we better than them? Because we love the NHS more.

A final thought: if there were no NHS and we needed a body to provide medical care at the point of need at no extra cost, would anyone design the NHS as is it now? Surely not. It’s time to rethink the enterprise and come up with something that serves us all better.

Posted: 24th, June 2018 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment


How many people were on the Peoples’ Vote March for Populism?

The People’s Vote March was about walking for another referendum  – this one intended to upset the result of the EU referendum. On June 23, 2016, 17.4 million voted for Britain to end its membership of the EU; 16.1 million wanted Britain to remain. How many people were on the streets of London in support of giving us another go? The number matters to the protestors because  – get this – this was a march for populism:
 

500,000

 

“Hundreds of Thousands”


 

200,000.


 

At least 100,000

Says: The New European

“Upwards of 100,000” people were on the march, says the paper of Remain.

 
“About 100,000”

Says the: Guardian

 

the peoples vote march numbers

 

50,000

Says: Xinhuanet:

Early estimates put the number of marchers at 50,000, but organisers said it had swollen to double that as more joined in the protest.

 

No. It was 50,000.

 
Tens of Thousands

Says: Radio New Zealand

Tens of thousands of people have marched in central London

 
Thousands

Says: BBC:

Thousands march for ‘people’s vote’ on final deal

The headline figure of 100,000 was provided by anti-Brexit group Open Britain, which organised the protest.
 

How many – you can count:

Posted: 23rd, June 2018 | In: News, Politicians | Comment


‘We must overturn the will of the People’ campaigners tells People’s March

Down with populism! So goes the Remainers’ mantra. And then James McGrory from a group called Open Britain, tells the BBC as she marchers through London with “thousands” of others holding EU flags:”…the most important thing is that this isn’t decided just by 650 politicians in Westminster… Brexit is such a big deal [that] it should include all 65 million of us in the country, and that’s why people today are marching for a people’s vote.” If ‘the people’ don’t like what the Government  – the one they voted for – has agreed with the EU, they can reject the deal and reverse Brexit, which ‘the people’ also voted for.

A people’s vote is not to be confused with a referendum. A referendum is when politicians say the people must decide: winner takes all. A peoples’s vote is when politicians who lost the first vote side with the people who also lost and demand that in the spirt of fairness everyone votes again. This can continue until the ‘right’ result is delivered. By way of further explanation, People’s Vote, who organised today’s anti-Brexit march in London, say Brexit is “not a done deal” and people must “make their voices heard”. Making your voice heard might be called ‘voting’ in a ‘democracy’. Anyone over 18 can be heard this way. Voting ensures that everyone gets an equal say, no matter how rich or powerful they are.

Addressing the demonstrators was Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable, who told them: “Brexit is not a done deal. Brexit is not inevitable. Brexit can be reversed.” If you want to vote against Brexit you can vote for the LibDems.

Green Party co-leader Caroline Lucas told the crowd: “I believe Brexit will be a disaster for this country. It will make all of us poorer in so many ways.” Vote Lucas and the Greens to stop Brexit. Although a word of caution: what one person “believes” may not be the best reason to vote for them. Her belief is as valid as your belief and the belief of the woman next door. One person, one vote. All voices are equal.

The BBC notes:

Britain is due to leave on 29 March 2019, 46 years after it first joined the European Economic Community, the forerunner to the EU.

The government is giving Parliament a vote on the final deal, if one is reached, in the autumn – but it remains unclear what will happen if they reject it.

Nothing should happen. The deal will be done. And then successive governments can temper it and renegotiate parts of it. They can campaign on certain elements of the UK’s relationship with the EU and see if the electorate backs them at the ballot box.

And now for the numbers: the Guardian says 100,000 were on the march. Let’s meet two of them:

Oli Aizcorbe, 10, from London said: “I think Brexit sucks.” His 11-year-old friend Stevie Robinson said she feared for her future. “Because it has such an impact on young people’s future, I don’t think Cameron should have just put it to the public like he did. I am very angry about it,” she said.

“Cameron.” Bit adult that phrase, no, like something a dad or mum night say.

Mr Cable went on to say that the young want to stop Brexit. The young are right and should win the day, goes the message. The old are wrong and wtheir will should be ignored. “Caroline Lucas, Vince Cable and David Lammy [Lab] were among speakers that … accused the older generation of betraying Britain’s young people,” says the Guardian.

Unless…

 

brexit people

The old defy the young!

 

Such are the facts.

Posted: 23rd, June 2018 | In: News | Comment


Gosport Scandal: killing the old is easy but facts are hard

Dr Jane Barton’s is the face we are getting to know. The Mail leads with the demand “PUT HER IN THE DOCK”. On what charge? The Express demands “justice for hundreds killed by ‘Dr Death'”.

 

Dr Jane Barton

 

Dr Jane Barton

 

Dr Barton, dubbed ‘Dr Opiate’,  is “blamed” for failings that costs up to 650 lives  at Gosport Memorial Hospital. The dead were aged 62 to 99. the saying is true: if you want to be invisible, go grey.

A report “accused” Dr Barton of “giving patients powerful drugs they did not need”. The number of dead is staggering: 456 people died after being prescribed opioids “without medial justification”; the records of 200 more have gone missing. The Mail guesses that “they probably suffered a similar fate”.

Who needs fact when you’re talking about life, death and justice?

 

Dr Jane Barton

 

Dr Barton worked at the hospital between 1988 and 2000. The deaths making news occurred between 1987 and 2001. The report by the former Bishop of Liverpool James Jones does not mention her alone. His report is, says the paper, “scathing” about senior consultants, nurses, pharmacists and managers at the Hampshire hospital. None of them are pictured in any newspaper.

The dead have been the subject of reports, three police investigations, two reviews by medical bodies and 11 inquests. Nurses raised concerns decades ago. And not a single criminal charge has been levelled at anyone. The word conspiracy is flung around. Its reach extends to scores of people. But is it valid?

On pages 6 to 11, Mail readers hear more of the “deadliest coverup”. One fact seems notable above others: in 2010 the GMC found Dr Barton guilty of misconduct and that she prescribed “potentially hazardous” amounts of drugs. She retained her licence to practice medicine. The Mail says she was made the subject of sanctions, one being that she could not prescribe opiates for three years. In March 2010 Dr Barton retired on a “fat” pension.

 

Dr Jane Barton

“Murder.” Who mentioned murder?

 

We’re not being invited to sympathise with Dr Barton. But what we crave are facts. But the papers can’t get the most basic of those right. The Mail says Dr Barton is 69. The Sun says she’s 70. The Mail says she is in Menorca. The Express says she’s in Majorca.

 

Dr Jane Barton

The Express: Barton is 69 in Menoca

 

Dr Jane Barton

The Sun: Barton is 70

 

Dr Jane Barton

The Mail: Barton is 69 in Majorca

 

It’s worth noting that Dr Barton has not been charged with any criminal offence – ever. But you know who has…  Yep. Dr Harold Shipman.

 

Dr Jane Barton

 

Barton Shipman

 

Dr Jane Barton

 

Such are the facts.

Posted: 21st, June 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, Tabloids | Comment


Hitler blinks: Trumps revokes child abusing immigration policy

Looks like ‘Hitler’ had a rethink. President Donald Trump has rescinded a policy that separates children from their undocumented parents in migrant detentions. The outcry was understandable over children being isolated in “cages” and “tender age shelters” while their parents were jailed and prosecuted for illegal border-crossing. US immigration officials tell us 2,342 children were separated from 2,206 parents between 5 May and 9 June.

“It’s about keeping families together,” said Mr Trump as he put his big felt tip to the latest decree. “I did not like the sight of families being separated.” The “zero tolerance policy” of criminally prosecuting anyone who crosses the border illegally remains.”I think anybody with a heart would feel very strongly about it,” he added. “We don’t like to see families separated.”

We especially don’t like to seem them split up by uniformed men and women on the telly. This was cruelty manifest. The pressure built and Tump blinked.

And what of the view we’ve seen? Brendan O’Neill watched TV anchor Rachel Maddow shed a tear as she told her MSNBC views of children in tender-age shelters in South Texas:

Maddow began to weep. She turned away from the cameras and asked her producers to flash up some graphics while she regained her composure. Cue an outburst of social-media solidarity. ‘I’m weeping too’, virtually everyone said, for what’s the point in weeping these days if you don’t tell everyone about it? The unrecorded tear is a wasted tear in our narcissistic era.

…Ms Maddow and the army of online emotionalists who live-tweeted their weeping alongside hers somehow managed to maintain eyes as dry as the Sahara during far worse things done by previous administrations.

Where were their sobs when Obama and Clinton’s misadventure in Libya not only killed… 27 women and children but also contributed to the destabilisation of Libya and to the exodus of more than 600,000 Libyans? … Why didn’t they cry when Obama ramped up the deportation of Haitians in 2016? ‘Natasha Joseph’s almond-shaped eyes brim with tears as she cradles her pregnant belly’, started one report about a Haitian woman who was thrown out of the US while her husband was imprisoned in Arizona. Her husband would not witness the birth of their child. Shattered Haitian families don’t deserve public weeping, it seems. Because the shattering was done by politicians these people admire.

So what to do? If in doubt, troll the opposition:

 

 

The children deserve compassion. The oneupmanship is nasty. It’s not the Holocaust. Right? Michael Hayden, a retired Air Force general who ran the National Security Agency as well as the CIA, is no historian:

 

The story is worked into a frenzy. Swathes of people are monstered. Fact are blurred. Idiocy prevails. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, an architect of the “zero tolerance” policy, told us why Hayden is wrong. “It’s a real exaggeration,” says Sessions said on Fox News, “because in Nazi Germany they were keeping the Jews from leaving the country.”

Did anyone in the US study history?

But the Nazi analogy is apposite, right? MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough says the Trump administration is “just like the Nazis”.

To miss the parallels in what our government is doing today, you would have to be blind. It’s there in the way that Donald Trump invokes the boogeyman of MS-13 to justify the imprisonment of children too young to tie their shoes. It’s there in the stories of detainees who have no idea where Homeland Security has taken their children, and have no way of finding out.

Yes, our government is only rounding up human beings, not executing them or burying them in mass graves. But the roots of that evil are there — they have, to an extent, always been there. Does it need to flower into something truly monstrous before we recognize it for what it really is? Hitler also did things by degrees, nipping away at freedoms and piling one small indignity on top of another. That has been the strategy of the Trump administration: first racial insults, then stepped-up enforcement, then the wall, then the cage.

The cage? The Washington Post and National Public Radioset out to find the child cages. They found none.

Meanwhile… immigration. What are you going to do about it? “They could be murderers and thieves and so much else,” the president said on Monday. “So we want a safe country, and it starts with the borders. And that’s the way it is.”

The New York Times said this year: “Some migrants have admitted they brought their children… because they believed it would cause authorities to release them from custody sooner… Others have admitted to posing falsely with children who are not their own, and Border Patrol officials say that such instances of fraud are increasing.”

What to do?

Posted: 21st, June 2018 | In: News, Politicians | Comment


Canada seizes control of recreational marijuana market; under 18s turn to crime

marijuana

 

“Canada says ‘yes’ to cannabis,” announces Sky News. But it didn’t. If it could muster the energy to say anything, it mumbled, ‘oh, er, sure.’ Canada has legalised recreational cannabis use, the drug linked to asinine levels of apathy. The country’s Sensate passed the rule by 52 votes in favour and 29 against. The State now controls and regulates how weed is grown, distributed and sold. Let’s hear it for liberty!

Before cannabis was made illegal in Canada in 1923, the government had no control whatsoever. But in 2001 it approved the drug for medical use. And once the wonks get some control, they invariably tighten their grip. So from September smoking a refer will come with government approval. How cool is that?

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted, “It’s been too easy for our kids to get marijuana – and for criminals to reap the profits. Today, we change that. Our plan to legalize & regulate marijuana just passed the Senate. #PromiseKept”

So from September it will be easier for over 18s to get marijuana and the government will reap the profits. Under 18s, sorry, dudes, you’ll have to get fake id or buy it in the resale market – but not from your big sister because buying weed from an unlicensed dealer is illegal. And anyone selling weed to a minor is in line for a criminal record and up to 14 year in prison.

The wonks and the police say its ok for adults to possess up to 30 grams of dried cannabis in public. The government will spend the next year working out what “edibles” are ok and equipping every law enforcement operative with scales. And no more than four plants per household.

But weed is legal. And thanks to Canada, weed is recast as an adult drug, no longer the stuff bored kids puff. It’s a serious narcotic, with budtenders and strains sold like fine wines; and all that marketing guff that turns a recreational spliff into the lifestyle choice for the knowing and dull. And the best bit is that the Government runs the market and makes the money.

Let’s hear it for personal freedom!

 

Posted: 20th, June 2018 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment


Accusing every man of murdering Eurydice Dixon is pathetic and demeaning

When Eurydice Dixon was raped and murdered in Melbourne, Victoria, she went from private individual to public property. Daniel Andrews, premier of Victoria, thought it wise to take to Facebook and opine at length:

’Eurydice Dixon was 22 years old. She was an aspiring comedian. Smart, funny. She lived in the inner north. Surrounded by friends.

She had a phone.

She was using it: “I’m almost home safe.”

She was keeping an eye on her surroundings. Looking out for herself. Being responsible. Doing everything we expect.

But Eurydice did not make it home safe.

In a few days, women across Melbourne will gather in Princes Park for a vigil of her life.

And they will do so firm in the knowledge that Eurydice died because of her attacker’s decisions – not because of her own.

They’re right. And we need to accept that fact, too.

We’ll never change a thing until we do.

We’ll never change this culture of violence against women. All women.

We’ll never change the fact that one woman in this country dies every week at the hands of a partner or former partner – someone they loved, in the safety of their own home.

We’ll keep asking “Why didn’t she leave him?” instead of asking “Why did he hurt her?”.

We’ll keep asking “Why was she alone in the dark?” instead of asking “Why was he?”.

We’ll keep ignoring the real problem, instead of actually fixing it.

So our message to Victorian women is this: Stay home. Or don’t.

Go out with friends at night. Or don’t.

Go about your day exactly as you intend, on your terms.

Because women don’t need to change their behaviour.

Men do.’

If male Australians really think violence against women is ok, and all men must accept their share of the blame for the heinous crime, why is there so much upset among men at the death of Eurydice Dixon? Why can men be blamed – millions and millions of them – for the actions of one man? You begin to wonder who has the problem. Andrews is at pains to be the wokiest bloke in the chamber. But laying the blame for this appalling crime at the hands of all men and a country’s culture only excuses the actual criminal and recasts all women as victims.

NOTE: Men are perpetrators and victims:

A 2005 report released by the Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC), Homicide in Australia: 2003 2004 National Homicide Monitoring Program (NHMP) Annual Report found that:

36 per cent of homicide victims were female and;
49 per cent of female victims were killed as a result of a domestic altercation (as compared to 15 per cent of male victims).

Domestic violence is a doubly cruel crime, leaving the victim with nowhere to run. But it’s not all men. To say it is demeaning.

Posted: 19th, June 2018 | In: News, Politicians | Comment


Hey Remainers: The EU wants to kill the Internet with Article 13

The European Union is coming for the Internet. On June 20, the EU’s legislative committee will decide if Article 13 and Article 11 should form part of the EU’s Copyright directive. Article 11 says you can only link to a story if you’ve paid the site your liking to. Paying for a link is nonsense. What company or political party will permit a link from a critic?

Article 13 says things will be marked as a copyright violation if the bots say it is. Claim the work as yours first and it will be. Make the clim of copyright theft and the bots will back you up long before any human can make the correction. The bots are never wrong.

This proposed legislation is dire. A right to property is sound. A right to information is vital to any functioning democracy. The EU needs to think again.

In an open letter to the President of the European Parliament, lots of big thinkers on tech say Article 13 of the proposed EU Copyright Directive “takes an unprecedented step towards the transformation of the Internet from an open platform for sharing and innovation, into a tool for the automated surveillance and control of its users.”

 

article 13

Ouch

 

Wired says: “It’s a direct threat to the established legal notion that individual users, rather than platforms, are responsible for the content they put online.”

Boing Boing says it will empower the big platforms and kill competition and inovation:

These proposals will make starting new internet companies effectively impossible — Google, Facebook, Twitter, Apple, and the other US giants will be able to negotiate favourable rates and build out the infrastructure to comply with these proposals, but no one else will. The EU’s regional tech success stories — say Seznam.cz, a successful Czech search competitor to Google — don’t have $60-100,000,000 lying around to build out their filters, and lack the leverage to extract favorable linking licenses from news sites.

The bizarre, byzantine, undemocratic EU will allow big America companies to rule the web.

Kenan Malik has a word:

The EU wants to strengthen the music industry in negotiations with sites such as YouTube. But the proposal would inevitably require an automated system of monitoring that could not distinguish copyright infringement from legal uses such as parody. The plan will require the indiscriminate monitoring of platform users. It might also harm code-hosting platforms – key to open-source software – and scientific repositories, undermining access.

Copyright is a delicate issue, requiring the rights of content creators to be balanced against the demands of free speech and open access. What it doesn’t require is the kind of size 13 boots treatment threatened by the EU.

And Brexit? Copybuzz muses:

“Even if they are not required to implement an online censorship system immediately, new companies will have the threat of mandatory upload filters hanging over them as they grow.

“Why would startups choose to operate under these terms in the EU when they can avoid the problem by setting up a company in jurisdictions with laws better-suited to the digital age? Similarly, why would venture capitalists risk investing in new EU companies, which will be hamstrung by a requirement to filter everything once they grow beyond a certain size?”

Time to leave the EU, right?

Posted: 18th, June 2018 | In: News, Technology | Comment


The financial crisis is over; US Fed raises interest rates, ECB ends QE

Most of us have noted that the past decade hasn’t been all that hot on the economic front. That grand and resounding crash back in 2008 has led to government and bank finances being near obliterated, the follow on effects being not much to no economic growth, wages stagnating and so on. The good news though is that it’s all pretty much over.

Yes, a decade is a long time, yes, it’s even possible that different economic policies would have made recovery faster. Even, that not having the excess in the first place would have meant no crash. But it is still good news that it does, finally, seem to be over.

To think like an economist for a moment – yes, OK, so we all insist they don’t know anything. And yet they are the only experts we’ve got about this economy type thing. And they will be saying that these two events mark at least the beginning of the end. We’re now properly into recovery, rather than continuing crisis.

The US Federal Reserve has voted to raise the target for its benchmark interest rate by 0.25%, citing solid economic expansion and job gains.

The widely-anticipated decision will lift the target for the central bank’s benchmark rate to 1.75%-2%, the highest level since 2008.

When the economy goes kablooie the first thing we do is lower interest rates. The counterpart to that, the other side of the coin, is that when the economy has recovered and we’re worried again about inflation, not that kablooie, then we raise interest rates. Among economists who are not central bankers there’s a little muttering about whether interest rates should rise right now, or perhaps in a month or two – for the US that is. But that they should rise is agreed, the crisis is over and recovery well under way.

The European Central Bank said on Thursday it will end its unprecedented bond purchase scheme by the close of the year, taking its biggest step in dismantling crisis-era stimulus a decade after the start of the euro zone’s economic downturn.

When you’re really in the hole and you can’t reduce interest rates any further then you have QE. No, don’t worry what it is, it’s just what you do when there’s deep economic doo doo ahead. And if you stop doing QE then that’s the indication we need that the doo doo has been avoided, we’ve turned the corner and we’re back on the upturn. It’s not as good a sign as raising interest rates again but it’s a necessary precursor to it at the very least. The US stopped QE a few years back, has even started to reverse it – not something the ECB is starting to even talk about yet – and it took them a few years to then raise rates. So Europe is perhaps three or four years behind the US in recovery here, something which sounds about right to be honest.

The other way to put this is that if the crisis were over we’d be stopping QE and raising interest rates. We are stopping QE and we are raising interest rates, thus we should conclude that the crisis is over.

Posted: 18th, June 2018 | In: Money, News | Comment


Labour Live Workers Beer Company refuses to help Corbyn organise a piss-up in a brewery

Turns out we it was no joke about Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party being unable to organise a piss-up in a brewery. The Observer has the last laugh on labour Live, aka Jez Fest:

There was no visible revolt over the fact that half the crowd had coughed up £35 for their entry and the other half had been bussed in for free after the Labour party started desperately giving out tickets to make up the numbers. The growing sense that the leadership should not be reliably left in charge of party organisation at a brewery was compounded by the fact that the Workers Beer Company refused to provide keg versions of its product, because they were “reserved for high-volume events”.

First stop a field in North London. Next stop the entire country…

Moe highlights here.

 

Posted: 17th, June 2018 | In: News, Politicians | Comment


Middle-class nightmares: Guardian readers panic over post-Brexit au pair shortage

Brexit matters trouble the Guardian’s readers as they made their way to Jezfest, aka Goodstock. What would it all mean for au pairs? One of the most-read stories on the Guardian’s website begins: “Au pair shortage sparks childcare crisis for families.” This from the paper that mused: “Is au pairing the new slavery?” and “Au pairs on a pittance: the young women minding kids.” And so to the looming Brexit disaster for the Guardian’s caring readers:

Many families are facing a childcare crisis following a 75% slump in the number of young Europeans willing to work as au pairs, as Brexit, plus other factors such as last year’s terrorist attacks in London and Manchester, deter young people from coming to the UK.

May, June and early July are when most au pair placements are arranged, before the beginning of the school term in September, but Guardian Money has learned that some agencies are unable to find a single young European for British families to even interview.

Or to put it another way not versed in the paper of the knowing liberal who outsources child rearing on the cheap: ‘Brexit ends au pair slavery’; and: ‘Brexit ends scandal of teens minding other kids.’ Says the paper, at pains to assure readers that an au pairs shortage affects not only middle-class professionals who can’t afford full-time staff:

While families who have an au pair are often characterised as well off, agencies say many are “ordinary” people such as doctors, nurses, firefighters and academics who work long hours, have long commutes or do not work nine to five, which means breakfast clubs and after-school clubs often do not benefit them. An au pair can be an affordable alternative to employing a nanny.

Since when did GPs and university dons become anything other than middle-class and wealthy? Does the Guardian really think GPs – average wage: £100,000 per annum – are anything but well off?

Maybe it does? And maybe if Brexit happens their kids will have to put their own plates in the dishwasher? The horror!

Posted: 17th, June 2018 | In: Key Posts, Money, News, Politicians | Comment


Labour Live: the highlights of Jeremy Corbyn’s Goodstock Festival

Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Live Festival was  terrific fun. Let’s see what you missed as Corbyn continues his drive to turn a mainstream party into a fringe movement:
 

John McDonell sings Find The Magic Money Tree:

 

Clean Bandit Don’t Need No Educashun

 

 

Jeremy Corbyn front The Average White Band (Diversity No-Mix)

 

Transforming the World one rubbish dance at a time

 

The Electric Light Orchestra

 

Marx & Spender

 

If You Build |it They Will Come (the journalists; the local Labour MPs, the people with free tickets, the security…)

 

The Hacks

 

The Handlers


 

Brexit Means whatever Jeremy Corbyn Thinks You Want It To Mean


 

A Cultural Exchange


 

Your Mum…

 
His Mum…


 

Our Father (Ted)

 

Organising a Piss-up In A Brewery

 
Next week: The Women’s Institute.

Posted: 17th, June 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment