Sunday, 3 November 2019

Grenfell report leaked

"The 1,000-page report includes fierce criticism of the London Fire Brigade and concludes fewer people would have died without its failings. A warning: this report contains images of the fire some people may find distressing."


[Response from Fire Brigades Union]

"Before any firefighter arrived that night, Grenfell Tower was a death trap. Firefighters that night acted bravely in impossible circumstances, many of them repeatedly risking their own lives to save others. We welcome that this is reflected in the Inquiry’s report."

"Firefighters and control room staff are, as with any profession, only able to operate within their training and procedures. It is clear that no one had planned or prepared for an incident like Grenfell. The planning by fire service policy makers did not take account of a fire where compartmentation failed on such a scale..."

“It’s disgraceful that over two years since the fire and there has been no major review or assessment of the Stay Put policy. This could have been done within months of the fire and we have raised this with government ministers on numerous occasions. Concerns about stay put policy were raised with central government years before Grenfell, the government must stop dragging its heels and recognise the urgent need to act."

Read more:

Saturday, 2 November 2019

System detains young people inappropriately

"Evidence to the inquiry into the detention of young people with learning disabilities and/or autism was so `stark` and consistent that the Committee says it has `lost confidence that the system is doing what it says it is doing and the regulator's method of checking is not working. It has been left to the media, notably the BBC and Ian Birrell in the Mail on Sunday, to expose abuse. No-one thinks this is acceptable.` In relation to the Care Quality Commission, the Committee finds that `a regulator which gets it wrong is worse than no regulator at all`... "

"The Committee describes the `grim`, predictable pathway to inappropriate detention in these potentially `brutal` circumstances: Early family concerns raised with the GP or school lead to lengthy waits for assessment and diagnosis while the family struggles on alone, trying to cope. Then some trigger a home move, a parent falling ill unsettles the young person and their condition deteriorates. Professionals meet to discuss what should happen, but parents are not included. The child is taken away from their home and the familiarity and routine so essential to them, often many miles away and placed with strangers. Desperately concerned parents are treated as hostile and as a problem."

"Under these conditions, the young person unsurprisingly gets worse and is then put through physical restraint and solitary confinement - which the institution calls `seclusion`. As the child gets even worse so plans to return home are shelved. The days turn into weeks, then months and in some cases even years..."

Go to

Virtuous Western Kids ?

"Hectoring young activists cling to all the benefits of industrial society while raging against the generations that gave them these benefits. In the pre-industrial age 80-90% of populations lived in subsistence, doing backbreaking work just to survive. Life was indeed nasty, brutish and short for the vast majority. People killed by climate disasters has plummeted by 95%. Energy fuelled growth and prosperity has lifted billions out of squalor to give them longer, healthier, safer and better educated lives."

"Who knew that ‘saving the world’ is acceptable for weekly school bunking? Yet the youth cling to electricity dependent, consumer driven lifestyle of upgrading and discarding electronics devices ever year or two while decrying capitalism as evil at its core. This is the cohort with computerised classes in air conditioned comfort, driven to school compared to previous generations who walked, cycled or took the bus."

"Meanwhile for the bottom two billion poor of the world, the main priority remains roti, kapda aur makaan. Should China apologise for achieving the fastest poverty reduction rate for the biggest number of people in history? Should a billion more Chinese, Indians and others who have stayed poor and destitute over the last three decades, go on that way so Western kids could feel virtuous-green? ..."

Read More

Sunday, 27 October 2019

Scottish childhoods: drugs, alcohol and beatings?

Or a simplistic view of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs)

[Alan Sinclair: Third Force News]

"Across Scotland today one child in four is assessed as vulnerable when they arrive at primary school. Vulnerable means they lack confidence, social skills, emotional maturity, language capability and good physical health. They have poor wellbeing. Many have experienced serious trauma in the form of abuse (sexual, drugs, alcohol), violence and neglect. There are 15,400 Scots children currently in the care of social services."

"Across Scotland in 2017, £310 million was spent on 1,600 young people in residential care. In Glasgow, 93 children were placed in specialist residential care at an average cost of £228,000 a year. Most of these young people have complex needs and have lead traumatised lives. What does that say about us as a society and as adults?"

"The latest medical and scientific research into the lifelong consequences of poor parenting on the development of babies’ brains points to the fact that damage begins in the womb, where the foetus suffers trauma through experiencing external influences ranging from the mother’s drugs and alcohol use to beatings from violent men. This damage is exacerbated once born if the baby suffers a lack of the loving care that mothers across most species devote to their young..."

"The result is generations of young Scots who are incapable of recognising love when they find it, and cannot give it when it is required. They are damaged beyond repair in their first 1,000 days of life, from conception to two years old, and society bears the huge cost of coping with their lifelong struggles."


A more academic approach to adverse childhood experiences (ACEs)

"The notion of ACEs has become internationally mobile from its creation in the USA two decades ago...The concept of ACEs is gaining increasing traction in the UK and more widely as a means for policymakers and professionals in a range of services, especially health, social work and policing, to develop and use ‘tickbox’ protocols that generate individual ACE ‘scores’, and to make algorithmic-based decisions: about how to target resources and at whom, and when and how to intervene..." 

"In the UK, ACEs have found a foothold in relation to the Troubled Families Programme, with its focus on targeted, intense and time-limited intervention to ‘turn around’ families displaying dysfunction according to a set of social indicators, to address and prevent the ‘root causes’ of mental and physical disease and intergenerational social disadvantage in early childhood experience (Crossley, 2018)."

"Macvarish and Lee provide an analysis of the various perspectives on the advantages and limitations of an ACEs approach..., arguing that there are links into the wider ‘first three years movement’ which homes in on parents as both the cause and solution to childhood adversities and determining of future outcomes..."

"Mcvarish and Lee identify the way that ACEs discourse is heavily gendered, with mothers positioned as deterministic mediators for their children with little consideration of their own adversities. Davidson and Carlin consider class-based inequalities and values in resilience-informed youth policy and practice in the ‘ACE-aware’ nation of Scotland, to unpack the way that injustice is reframed as individual deficiency and young people in deprived areas are assessed and held to account against middle class social values. They call for policies that change circumstances rather than individuals."

The myth of the first three years

"John Bruer offers a voice of sanity, common sense, and genuine expertise to counter the latest fad from the witch doctors of child development. Nothing is more important than understanding the growth of children's minds, and Bruer insightfully reviews the state of the art with admirable clarity, balance, intelligence, and humour. This is an indispensable book for parents, professionals, and anyone else who is interested in the fate of our children."

[Steven Pinker Director, Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, MIT, author of `The Language Instinct` and `How the Mind Works`]

Governor of Tavistock resigns


"The trust running the country’s only NHS gender identity service for children is under fire for dismissing a damning internal report that branded it `not fit for purpose`."

"Marcus Evans, one of the governors of The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust has resigned, after accusing its management of having an `overvalued belief in` the expertise of its Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) `which is used to dismiss challenge and examination`."

"Evans’s decision to part company with the London-based trust, after a 35-year association, will intensify scrutiny of the service which has found itself in the eye of a storm as thousands of young people considering transitioning to another gender seek its help."

"Some parents who contacted the Observer have accused the service of `fast-tracking` young people into changing gender, a charge strongly rejected by the service."

Stories that make the news and those that don`t

James English talks to Anna Brees, a former BBC journalist, about journalism in general and topics such as the cover-up of Westminster paedophiles.
Her book, `Making the News in 2018`, discusses why some stories get heard and others do not.

"Reflecting on my own experiences of working in a newsroom as a newspaper and TV reporter from 2000 until 2011, and, more recently, observing the impact of producing TV-style reports on my mobile device and boosting them on social media, this book is about the power of the message, the money to deliver it, and the instinct of truth and trust that follows."

"When I worked as a journalist, we didn’t have the all-encompassing social media presence in quite the same way as we do today. Journalism was an absolute necessity and existed as a point of contact, a person or organisation who collated and disseminated news. So, as I write this book in 2018, the question I pose is, do we really need journalists anymore?"

Assange court appearance

Craig Murray blogs about the recent court appearance of Julian Assange who is showing signs of psychological deterioration:

"The effort then seemed to become too much, his voice dropped and he became increasingly confused and incoherent. He spoke of whistleblowers and publishers being labeled enemies of the people, then spoke about his children’s DNA being stolen and of being spied on in his meetings with his psychologist. I am not suggesting at all that Julian was wrong about these points, but he could not properly frame nor articulate them. He was plainly not himself, very ill and it was just horribly painful to watch. Baraitser showed neither sympathy nor the least concern. She tartly observed that if he could not understand what had happened, his lawyers could explain it to him, and she swept out of court."

Read the full account below:

Tuesday, 15 October 2019

Pornography education for children

Mike Robinson of UK Column was talking to Alex Thomson via video link on Friday 11 October 2019.

"Well this is the Times and the headline here is Parents take on John Swinney over porn lessons in new curriculum... That`s quite a headline."

"It is because `parents` is deliberately dishonest. Both the Times and the Scottish Sun came to this only yesterday whereas it had been put out on YouTube by the man asking the question the previous weekend. His name is Richard Lucas. His YouTube channel is easily found: Scottish Family Party. We`re not endorsing that or any other party, but it`s easily found. And there was disingenuously not a single mention... in the serious Times, or the sexualised dumbed down Sun, of the fact that it was Mr Lucas, the chairman of a political party, and he was just described as another dad in both of these articles."

Mike Robinson: "And he intervened in a Q and A with Mr Swinney; so let`s have a listen to what happened and how Swinney responded to this intervention..."

"Well my first response to this is that is quite a spectacular response to his intervention because as he rightly said ... in the middle of that, if that material is not suitable for that audience, and to be live streamed onto YouTube, how can it possibly be suitable for a high school or a primary school audience?"

"Correct Mike. The most shocking thing that most people have found about this much shared clip has been the arm waving lady. Now the real shocker is this: the arm waving lady is not officially the Scottish government. You might think that she was there as a bag carrier for John Swinney, the number two of the Scottish National Party, but no, she is in fact Joanna Murphy the chairwoman of National Parent Forum Scotland. Now the last term is the give away. Scotland, under the SNP, has done what Canada did in the 2000s, which is to tag the name of the country onto the end of a genuine NGO to create a government front NGO. So National Parent Forum Scotland, the last word negates the previous words. It is no longer therefore a national parent forum otherwise why would this lady be playing Stockholm syndrome for the sexualisation of children, which is what parents are supposed to be there to prevent? No, by putting Scotland on the end, she has become captured in the way that the whole of the third sector is, particularly in Scotland, and bounden to do the bidding of those who pay, which is the Scottish government."

"So there she is in a particularly egregious case of cognitive dissonance because she is there to be basically Scotland`s chief parent, although I know that title was stupidly given to Nicola Sturgeon, chief mammy, but she`s there representing the parents of Scotland, if anyone else is surely her, chairman of that body but she cannot abide what`s being said because she is there really to protect the Scottish government. It`s the unified government model again, the Scottish model of government."

"Absolutely, Well let`s just have a quick look at Swinney`s response to this.... So again Alex he is trying to fall back on the tired old position: this is just the way the world is and therefore we`ve got to bombard our children with this material to make sure that they`re equipped to deal with it but, in fact, there`s no evidence whatsoever that this protects children in any way. Quite the contrary this, in fact, drives these types of thoughts into the minds of children. It`s not a productive thing at all. It is a dangerous thing. Where is the precautionary principle in this case because again with respect to global warming and so on we have the precautionary principle shoved down our throats, but in this case, and... one or two other policy areas as well, it`s nowhere to be seen?" 

"Mike, wherever we see the precautionary principle thrown out the window, it is because the government and regulatory bodies are actually financially interested in one side of the equation and we`ve seen that with 5G, obviously, and here is the same case with pornography. I`m afraid it`s a repetition..."

"I agree absolutely and I`ve mentioned this several times before, that my mother who was a primary school principal always held the view that behaviour issues in schools were not being reflected by programmes such as Grange Hill, which the BBC was pushing out when we were children, Alex, but in fact the television programming was driving the behaviour problems in the schools and that applies equally here I think as well."

Monday, 14 October 2019

MMR vaccine should not be compulsory

"A campaigning Wigan mum, whose son was left brain-damaged by the MMR vaccine, has written to Britain’s health secretary urging him to ignore calls to make it compulsory."

"Robert Fletcher, 27, suffered a catastrophic reaction as a toddler to the triple jab that left him with the mental age of a 14-month-old, and was later awarded compensation from the Government’s Vaccine Damage Unit after a finding that the inoculation was to blame for his seizures."

"But his mother Jackie, who set up the pressure group Jabs to campaign for families still to have the option of single inoculations, has been dismayed at the continued medical establishment and government line that the combined measles, mumps and rubella injection, is perfectly safe."

"And now she has been moved to write to health secretary Matt Hancock after GP chairpersons of clinical commissioning groups in London urged him to promote compulsory MMR for four and five-year-olds."

"They want school entry procedures toughened so that the only exceptions made to the new rule would be for children whose parents have registered a conscientious objection to the triple jabs or those whose health means they cannot have it."