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Archive for the ‘Nanny knows best’ Category

Let’s give credit where it is due

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West Park, South Shields
South Tyneside copes with snow better than its neighbours

I’m not sure that our councillors really need to hold a special meeting to discuss the weather situation they might as well chat about the sunshine on the Veldt for what good it might do, yes we have a lot of snow on top of hard packed ice on our roads, but as temperatures plummeted to below -8 Celsius overnight our main roads were not too bad at all.

I’ve been out of the borough a few times this week, and when travelling through Hebburn to Bill Quay and Pelaw there is a marked difference in the road conditions as soon as one gets into Gateshead Council’s area of responsibility.  The Felling by-pass was treacherous on Monday and not much better on Wednesday, Sunderland’s efforts to keep the roads clear have not been a lot better and certainly not as good as ours. So let’s give some credit where it is due, those four gritters have been doing a tremendous job whilst we sleep snug and warm in our beds!

At least we haven’t faced main routes reduced to single lanes with a three foot deluge in the outside lane! On top  of that I’ve witnessed teams gritting footpaths (well they can hardly sweep up litter) and they’ve also deposited small stocks of rock salt in the estates to allow local people to do their own bit to keep paths and driveways clear. Our main shopping centres are largely cleared of snow within a couple of days too, so perhaps the only point worth discussing is stocks, availability, and whether or not we have enough to last for the rest of the winter. Admittedly, this spell of freezing weather has arrived much earlier than we would normally expect, but who is to say that January and February might not produce the normal quota of snow and ice?

I have nothing but praise for the way that South Tyneside Council has handled the current situation, but there will always be a few who might complain, they need to see the bigger picture and realise the importance of the priority routes which have been kept in really good condition under the circumstances.

Another interesting thing to note is, at the times of the heaviest snow falls, (yesterday evening and last Friday evening) before the gritters had hit the roads one could not tell where the road ended and the pavement started. Yet traffic was moving along quite nicely, slowly of course, and with large gaps between vehicles. I don’t think there were any huge accidents to note. It just proved to me that without gritted roads, the vast majority of drivers suddenly find some common sense and drive at the speed appropriate for the conditions, they appear to be much more wary of the possible dangers and many just stayed off the roads completely! Start gritting and they all start to speed up again – doh! (As with all rules, there were one or two exceptions.)

Now we just need to get some consistency between head teachers and the way in which they decide to open or close schools. Let me give you an example (without giving away names) ; yesterday the weather was a lot better than today, public transport was running fine, snow was soft and melting, yet one South Shields primary school decided to close because of transport difficulties. It’s neighbour, a community college stayed open under exactly the same conditions. Today, the situation is reversed, the college closed citing transport difficulties, but the primary school re-opened under far worse weather conditions than yesterday. Neither of them managed to get this information to the Town Hall in a timely fashion or to each other or to local news outlets where parents keep a close eye for information. Both of them made their decisions after children had set off for the school journey, which adds to parents’ difficulties in finding child minders or other supervision at short notice.

So perhaps head teachers need some coordination and clarification on their role as educators and informers, now that would be something more worthwhile for our councillors to discuss.

Oh, and the picture above was taken in the West Park, South Shields.

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Written by curly

December 3, 2010 at 1:53 pm

Street smoking man!

with 3 comments

Metro fence, Chichester, South Shields This puzzles me

Click thumbnail to enlarge

Unless I am dreadfully wrong Ravensworth Terrace in South Shields still runs from the Stagecoach bus depot at Chichester uphill following the Metro line to the West Park, it has always been thus, even though the lowest part is little more than a footpath. Google Maps does show that Ravensworth Terrace seems to stop at its junction with Hampden Street, but they have been known to make one or two small errors in the past. So, I’m puzzled, is the footpath part of Ravensworth Terrace or not? Has the last small section of highway been legally stopped up and removed from the maps ? (Durham County Council’s Historic maps show that the change from road to footpath happened after 1979)

Foregoing the above digression, I’d like you to take note of the fence on the right hand side of the picture, on the left is a building site growing in the car park of the former central surgery, which has now by and large relocated to the new “clinic” near The Nook (so I haven’t shown it), you might just see a small notice affixed to the railings, which I believe are still the responsibility of Nexus, the Metro light rail operator. Puzzling thing is the content of the notice, seems we now have some sort of semi official designated smoking zone on a public footpath, it is difficult to know which of South Shields’ smokers this is targeted at – all of them, or just the pitifully small number who use this footpath regularly? Perhaps it is targeted at the workforce involved at the former surgery, who knows?

However, after the public complaints surrounding the smokers at the General Hospital gate on Macannany Avenue I’m half expecting the NHS Primary Trust to erect a suitable notice on the adjacent bus stop, I’m sure Nexus won’t mind. Events now are far removed from the original health service that I first enjoyed as a young lad visiting his GP in Laygate Lane, back then you needed a fully operational gas mask, an 18 inch electric fan, and a million candle power torch to find your pipe smoking doctor in the the midst of the thick fog and smoke of his surgery!

I wonder if my two Progressive and one Labour councillor are aware of the emergence of this new public designated smoking area, or if Nexus are aware of the innovative use of their newish fence?

Perhaps it explains the lack of hedgehogs and foxes around there recently.

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Written by curly

October 4, 2010 at 8:23 pm

The state wants to inspect your home

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Parents of under fives face having their homes vetted by inspectors.

By God we have some jumped up numpties and Stasi types working in the Department of Health:

Parents of children under five are to get home checks to ensure they are keeping their youngsters safe.

Inspectors will check whether families have installed smoke alarms, stair gates, locks on medicine cupboards, windows and ovens, and fitted temperature controls to stop bath water getting too hot.

Guidelines for inspections have been drawn up on the instructions of the Department of Health in a bid to prevent injuries among under-15s in the home.

For heavens’ sake allow me to have my own bloody accidents, allow me to calculate risk, and allow my children the freedom to grow and learn without state interference!

I would have to ask if this is seriously for real? Come on, it isn’t made up at all is it?

Well you never know, I refuse to link to these articles for a long while yet, seeing as they belong to a newspaper which appears to have seriously undermined England’s efforts to host the 2018 World Cup! (Three cheers and three lions for Gary “big ears” Lineker please).

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Written by curly

May 18, 2010 at 7:16 pm

Clarkson for PM!

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jeremy clarksonClarkson urges a stop to “Elfin Safety” lawyers

As Lufthansa and KLM confirm that they have made test flights of their own aircraft, within their own airspace with no discernible damage to jet engines reported, Jeremy Clarkson, the veteran tongue in cheek journalist ought to be encouraged to run for Prime Minister after this article which cuts straight through the clouds of ash and points the blame firmly where it belongs.

There is a warning here, because on the volcanic explosivity index (VEI) — which goes from one to eight — the eruption at Eyjafjallajokull will probably be classified as a two. And yet it shut down every airport in northern Europe. There are much bigger volcanoes in Iceland. They could, in theory, shut the whole world down for years.

Let’s not forget that back in 1980 Mount St Helens in Washington state blew with a VEI rating of five. It was a huge blast but only local air traffic was affected.

What’s changed, of course, is our attitude to safety, brought about in the main by our fear of being sued. Could volcanic ash bring down a jetliner? Fifteen-hundred miles from the scene of the volcano itself, it is extremely unlikely, but so long as there are lawyers, licking their lips at the prospect of proving the crash could have been avoided, air traffic controllers are bound to push the big button labelled “Stop”.

It won’t be a volcano that ends man’s existence on this planet. It’ll be the no-win no-fee lawyers. They are the ones who brought Europe to a halt last week. They are the ones who made a simple trip from Berlin to London into a five-country, all-day hammer blow on your licence fee. They are the ones who must be stopped.

I would say he has a fair point.

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Written by curly

April 18, 2010 at 9:20 am

UKIP wrong to want burqa ban

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Nigel FarageThere many other ways of getting out of a “single issue”

So UKIP wants to ban the wearing of burqas, niqabs, and/or hijabs in Britain. Is this their answer to getting away from being a single issue party identified strongly with their anti EU stand? Just which sections of society are they appealing to as we approach the next general election?

At times I feel a little sorry for Nigel Farage, a man with loquacious skills, wheeled out to perform and defend the policies decided by heaven knows whom, simply because nobody has ever heard of Lord Pearson of Ranoch.

“If I wanted to go into a bank wearing a motorcycle helmet, I couldn’t. And it’s not acceptable to wear a balaclava on the Tube or bus systems. Most large shopping centres even forbid hoodies because these tops disguise the wearer. The muslim veils are no different in having that effect but UKIP believes that security issues aside, they are also a symbol of a divided Britain.

“They are part of a cultural, not religious, garment. There is no requirement in the Koran to wear a veil, only to dress modestly. UKIP believes that the wearers are prevented from full assimilation into our way of life because of the feelings of unease they give rise to in the rest of the population.”

What a pile of crass nonsense to refer to Muslim veils in one sentence then say they are not a religious garment in the next! Farage is clearly in a right old pickle on this issue, he didn’t do himself any favours at all in this interview on the Daily Politics Show, he talks of ghettos, and of the state having no place in telling us what to wear, he clearly had no data or figures to back up UKIP’s claims of growing numbers of burqa wearers, and all the while representing a party known for it’s dislike of regulation!

I have no numbers available for South Shields but I suspect that no more than a few handfuls of women wear the full veil in this town, I have never felt threatened by them, I don’t consider my security to be at risk, nor do I see them as “dividing society” as Nigel asserts.

For the sake of doubt Nigel, the state has NO PLACE whatsoever in telling people how to dress, this policy is the most illiberal edict that UKIP could possibly have invented for itself, it will further an opinion that says you are looking to mop up votes on the very far right of British politics and makes you edge so closely towards racism. It is probably the most crass policy that UKIP has formulated as it tries to re-enter mainstream politics after last year’s Euro Elections.

As far as I am aware, the wearing of burqas, niqabs, or hijabs in this country should be, and should remain, for women, purely a matter of choice, the state has no more right to interfere in that choice than it has in telling all men over the age of 18 to wear dayglow green woolly hats in public! I won’t have the state telling me what I should or should not wear Mr. Farage, I want the freedom and liberty to make my own choices, I don’t want a government that behaves like some bunch of jackbooted tailors dressed as generals pinning blue stars on some and yellow triangles on others.

UKIP appears to be backing something which is inherently against the British way of life and customs, this policy is symbolic of UKIP, not symbolic of a divided Britain.

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Written by curly

January 19, 2010 at 10:45 am

Eating makes you fat!

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Benn's Balti menu

Health police launch attack on food

Click picture for story

Yes folks Hilary Benn and Labour’s “health police ” are on the march again as the nanny state establishes a new “Healthy Food Code of Practice” that will ask all restaurants and fast food outlets to clearly label the amount of sugar and fat in unhealthy meals. Not only will they give manufacturers the excuse to score more profit by reducing the amount of crisps in the packet but they’ve even managed to link in the global warming crisis too – ingenious!

They’ll tell us to eat less meat, go vegetarian, and keep a slop bucket in the kitchen, we’ll start digging for victory campaigns in poorly used public parks and become a nation of turnip growers again.

All because Mr. Benn presumably thinks we are all thick and we don’t realise that eating makes us fat!

God save us from the nanny state.

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Written by curly

January 5, 2010 at 9:29 am

South Tyneside Tory wants CCTV cameras to “be fit for purpose”

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Jeff MilburnCllr. Jeff Milburn gives mixed message

We are all used to seeing CCTV cameras on our streets and in our shops.  They are a valuable tool in the fight against crime.  Council CCTV cameras have trebled in number over the past ten years. However,  the Government’s own research shows eighty per cent of CCTV footage can’t be used to prosecute criminals.  A Conservative government would ensure CCTV is fit for purpose – with appropriate safeguards and sanctions to prevent misuse.

So says Conservative Cleadon Village Cllr. Jeff Milburn, who is to represent the party in the  Jarrow constituency of  South Tyneside at the next election. I’m not sure what he is trying to tell us that the Conservative Party would actually do about the explosion of these near to useless snooping devices that councils and privateers are erecting all over our towns and cities in the UK, he acknowledges that their numbers have increased threefold over the past ten years and then claims that they are a valuable tool in the fight against crime.

Well I beg to differ Jeff, I have a near to useless CCTV looking camera overlooking the place where I park my car, kindly left by an old neighbour, it keeps some people mollified and happy, but not me. It seems to me that research and facts prove that CCTV cameras are not that useful as a tool against crime at all, certainly not in London, the crime capital of the UK, where just this year it has been proved that less than three percent of crimes are successfully solved using CCTV imagery and that in reality only about one in a thousand crimes are solved by this means. The Evening Standard had quite an enlightening article at the time. available here.

According to Detective Chief Inspector Mick Neville, who heads the Metropolitan Police’s Met’s Visual Images, Identifications and Detections Office (Viido), billions of pounds have been spent with almost no results to show. Only three percent of crimes have been solved using CCTV footage, and offenders aren’t afraid of being caught on video. Det. Chief Inspector Neville, speaking to The Guardian, described the system as an “utter fiasco” and that “no thought” had gone into implementation. Other issues, beyond the lack of success standing up in court, include the tedium of police officers spending hours trawling through footage, and often a failure to contact private CCTV operators (such as cameras located on private buildings etc) to request footage.

Yet Labour politicians still believe that more snooping, more prying into family life, more early intervention, more databases, more innocent children having DNA sampled, more ID Cards, and more biometrics, are the answer to crime problem that probably isn’t quite as large as the average Daily Mail reader imagines.

It seems that Cllr. Milburn is NOT telling us that Conservatives would introduce a little more libertarian spirit to the statute book by ordering the removal of thousands of CCTV cameras and the destruction of ridiculously expensive databases that will want to record every minutiae of life from the moment of free captive birth, but more that they intend to make these things work better, improve them, or modernise them! Jeff says a Conservative government would ensure CCTV is fit for purpose, but what exactly is the purpose? Surely the purpose of CCTV is to watch, monitor, and record? Surely it would be better (and cheaper) if you or I did that and reported our findings to the police.

What the Conservative Party and others need to understand is that Neighbourhood policing is what needs to work better, we need to reverse the lack of trust between the citizen and the police, we need to go back to the days of knowing that the policeman/woman is your friend, and that the guy around the corner who mugs your granny is most certainly not! Only by rebuilding this trust will we see more and more people willing to freely give statements, and freely finger their neighbours as community spirit returns to neighbourhoods. Front line police time needs to be freed up, bureaucratic form filling needs to be radically cut away from the job, people need to see police on the streets, not behind desks. Once we become more accustomed to having a two way dialogue with our local police, we will see that the criminals will start to fear their own neighbours (instead of the other way round), because at present too many people have this naive idea that they needn’t bother getting involved – after all, they’ll have it on camera, won’t they?

And another thing, once we feel that the state isn’t prying and snooping into our lives all of the time in an effort to socially engineer our behaviour, then we will feel that much more comfortable about cooperating with the agencies of the state. Freedom and liberty can work wonders when we allowed to help look after our own property and our neighbourhoods.

As far as I am aware, nothing works better in a court than a witness, a human witness, standing up and saying “yes, it was him/her”

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Written by curly

December 29, 2009 at 11:07 pm

A lunatic Act

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Quote of the day

Well Catherine Bennett in yesterday’s Observer to be more precise:

A week later, an indifferent Commons passed the bill anyway, hoping, as one idealistic speaker declared, that it would “work out as intended”. As an experienced scrutineer will appreciate, it depends what you mean by intended. Can an individual, or body of people, acting without thought, in a mood of crowd-pleasing over-excitement, amid a succession of equally superfluous and ill-considered acts, be said to have consciously intended anything at all? In an ideal world, there would be effective safeguards against such people.

An excellent article which reveals that the new Independent Safeguarding Authority will now cover 11.3 million of the adult population, all presumed guilty unless they can prove otherwise, and at their own expense too. She shows just how toothless some of our Parliamentary representatives are in allowing such legislation to find an easy path onto the Statute Book.

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Written by curly

September 21, 2009 at 9:56 am

Delyth Morgan needs to be vetted

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Quarter of adults in England, Wales, or Northern Ireland expected to be vetted by new agency.

The Independent Safeguarding Authority, an Orwellian name if I’ve ever heard one, should start by vetting Children’s Minister Delyth Morgan to determine whether or not she is a safe person to be introducing or supervising legislation in this country as we move ever closer to an age where we are all deemed guilty until proven innocent. She also needs vetting on her suitability to give a straight answer to a straight question, as demonstrated in her interview with John Humphries on BBC Radio yesterday, you can listen to the interview here.

The setting up of the Independent Safeguarding Authority will destroy the level of trust, that perilously hangs by a thread, between children and adults and between adults and voluntary organisations. It will set in train a theme, a mindset, that says adults are not to be trusted to come into contact with children, adults are a threat, male adults are all sexual predators, and you must all consider yourselves guilty until you can prove your innocence and worthiness to some mandarins operating a “safeguarding scheme” on behalf of the state.  With the threat of huge fines for those who dare to volunteer to help the scouts or the swimming club without the regulation CRB check and the certificate of registration. A registration will cost you £64 if you are a paid member of staff  who has contact with children, volunteers can register for free but will still need to pay for a CRB check, failure to register or failure to notify any change of circumstances could lead to you being fined up to £5000!

This incipient piece of totalitarianism will ensure that all adults are effectively viewed as potential paedophiles, and everyone must prove their innocence, it is totally bizarre, and begs all sorts of questions about how Delyth Morgan wants our relationships with children and teenagers to develop. One suspects that someone somewhere still sees the Girl Guides, the Scouts, the Boys Brigade, the local youth club, the seven a side football team, the Duke of Edinburgh Awards, the creche, the nursery, and our schools as worthwhile enterprises for our children to be involved in, that exercise and physical fitness is a pre-requisite to good health, but how are these bodies going to cope without a high level of volunteer adults to assist them? Who wants to take the risk and the added expense of being added to another huge database held by a state which gives scant disregard to personal digital security? Who now wants to bow their knee and submit to state intrusion just because they agree to walk three or four children to school every morning?

All of this, Ms. Morgan tells us, is to prevent another Soham type murder, oh really? Didn’t Huntley once pass through the hands of another police force who then failed to pass on information to others? No. no. this is another building block that could be used in the hands of an unscrupulous future government to build a totalitarian fascist state, Labour are good at this, they keep doing things to make us safe, keep building databases for our protection, keep tinkering around the edges of legislation to prevent terrorism. All the while a little more of our long confidence in our own beliefs about freedom, personal responsibility, and civil rights, is chipped away until the state owns and controls most of our daily lives.

The Independent Safeguarding Authority will not in any way prevent sexual predators from harming children, the vast majority of these people are close family members living in the family home, but it will ultimately change the way we view each other. If you are a teenager, you will be seen as feral, threatening, violent, and a petty criminal by adults. Children and teenagers will view adults as people not to be trusted, approached, or communicated with, and adults who hold state registration certificates will view other adults as people not safe to be around children.

It won’t be long before before you will be asked to produce a validated certificate before you are allowed to give birth (and then sign another document giving your permission for DNA samples to be taken from the baby)!

Oh, and by the way, this new vetting and barring scheme will cost around £200m pounds to set up and create 1,450 jobs down the road in the marginal Labour seat of Alan Milburn in Darlington.

Related posts

Charlotte Gore has a “plan” for our ultimate safety.

Sub Rosa invites you to join a Facebook protest group.

Trixy asks Morgan to just answer the effing question in a far more eloquent manner than I could have.

(You will note that I have chosen the views of women, rather than men).

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DBOs just won’t work

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Soviet styled re-education just isn’t the answer

Soviet Russia under the communists had huge leviathan re-education projects housed in labour camps to solve their social and criminal issues, someone in Great Britain is trying to drive us the same way, that same someone hasn’t noticed that after the fall of communism Russia was still a land fed on a diet of vodka.

I think I am in complete agreement with South Shields Cllr. Ahmed Khan (here, here, here, here, and here – sorry but he doesn’t use Twitlonger as much as he could, and I love the final comment)  in opining that the new DBOs (Drinking Banning Orders) just won’t work, the view is similarly held by a proportion of magistrates and policemen who are sick and tired of more lame “initiatives” being introduced during the final months of this already dead Labour government.

Half the trouble with the Russians, of course, was that the vodka fuelled crime, and political dissent, was little more than a reflection of the behaviour of some of it’s leaders. After long periods of repression, pogroms, war, and ruthless control, a bunch of Stalinists could well have been forgiven for soaking themselves every now and then before repeating the process over again until the general populace became entirely sick and tired of it all. The tradition appears to have followed into the post communist regimes when Boris Yeltsin carried the flag on behalf of a nation, and by now, a culture.


So, should we now expect that British politicians will get a better result than the Russians?  You know, those who have thieved from the public with their grandiose expenses claims, taken us to war on the most flimsy of reasons, repressed us with anti-terror laws that chip away at our liberties, watched over us with millions of CCTV cameras, banned us from smoking in public places, told us was is good for us to eat, waged war on motorists, tried to impose ID Cards upon us, dumbed down education to keep our kids out of the labour market, mortgaged us all to the hilt for the next few generations, and generally indulged in some anti-social behaviour of their own. Not bloody likely, as Cllr. Khan suggests, those who indulge in the drunken behaviour will continue to mirror the behaviour of their leaders and thumb their noses at everybody else.

These initiatives and re-education schemes are not designed to work, they aren’t designed to help the streets, they aren’t designed to help law enforcement, they are designed for one reason and one reason alone, and that is to satisfy Labour ministers’ needs to show that they are appearing to be “doing something”, it’s called “getting on with the job”.

Meanwhile, those at the bottom of the pile just won’t even notice – just like Soviet Russia really.

To add insult to injury with this messy little story, the Scottish government wants to impose a minimum price on alcohol, stupid people! Don’t they realise that they cannot, it would be illegal, their power to do so was ceded away to Brussels a long time ago.

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Written by curly

August 31, 2009 at 10:11 am