Monday, 31 August 2015

The Corporate Parent, not quite GETTING IT RIGHT FOR EVERY CHILD in Scotland

Breaking News - Police Scotland's Chief Constable Stephen House will stand down from his post in three months time.
Posted by Live Edinburgh News on Thursday, August 27, 2015


Will the so-called consensual searches of children below the age of consent by the police stop when Stephen House is gone ?

Or will our GIRFEC children go on being taught they have rights whilst these same rights are ignored by the state ?

Predicting future terrorists

"We live with the ever present risk of terrorism and violent extremism. It is part of life in contemporary Britain. Yet social work is sleep walking into a worrying new area that of ‘pre-crime’."

"This means, in social work terms, pre-determining which children are likely to go on to be harmed or will go on to become terrorists at some stage in the future. It sounds like something from the Tom Cruise film "Minority Report".

"It has been used in the Troubled Families area and is now being extrapolated out to determine in which families is child abuse likely to happen, and which children are likely to become home-grown terrorists."

"By using local authority data, statistical, actuarial and criminogenic data (via algorithms), risk factors are woven together to establish predictions, that point out, or indicate, who is likely to go on to be abused, or, who is likely to become a terrorist."

"Social workers need to understand this worrying development so that we point out the ethical and moral issues with this agenda contributions that importantly distinguish us from the security or policing services."

"The idea that we can pre-determine who is likely to be abused or become a terrorist is simply science fiction. It suggests risk in rather linear terms using a causal logic that we can, through statistical mathematics, locate and then resolve it. This is impossible. It represents an Orwellian development for social work and we need to take it on."

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Harvey Proctor says he is completely innocent

"Harvey Proctor says he is "completely innocent" of gruesome allegations that he murdered boys as part of a Westminster paedophile ring and says police are pursuing a witch hunt."

"The former Conservative MP for chose to reveal details of the allegations against him in a long prepared statement read out at a press conference in central London."

"He said the claims - which include rape, torture and the murder of two young boys - would be "laughable" if they were not so serious, and called for the resignation of senior police officers who are investigating reports of child abuse by VIPs in the 1970s and 1980s."

"The 68-year-old was MP for Billericay in 1987 when he admitted spanking and caning male prostitutes as young as 17 at his London flat following a story in the People tabloid. The age of consent for gay sex was 21 at the time but has since been lowered to 16."

"Mr Proctor pleaded guilty to four acts of gross indecency with two rent boys and was fined £1,450."

"The MP - a member of the right-wing Monday club who was well known for his views on restricting immigration from the Commonwealth - did not contest his seat at the 1987 general election."

"He has now been interviewed twice by detectives from Operation Midland, an investigation into historic allegations that boys were murdered by a paedophile ring comprising members of the Westminster elite."

"Mr Proctor said he wanted to go public with the allegations, made by an anonymous complainant who has been given the pseudonym Nick, to help clear his name."

"He quoted at length from police documents outlining the claims made by "Nick", who says he was the victim of serious sexual abuse by a group of men between 1975 and 1984."

See comments at Needleblog


TTIP: Europe`s most wanted secret

"The TPP is a multi-trillion dollar international treaty that is being negotiated in secret by the US, Australia, Canada, Japan, Mexico and others. This massive agreement has 29 chapters, of which 26 are still secret. It covers 40% of global GDP and is the largest agreement of its kind in history. The treaty aims to create a new international legal regime that will allow transnational corporations to bypass domestic courts, evade environmental protections, police the internet on behalf of the content industry, limit the availability of affordable generic medicines, and drastically curtail each country's legislative sovereignty."

"These treaties will have huge implications for literally almost every critical issue that an individual citizen or community would care about: health, education, the environment, privacy, access to medicines..." 

See also

Digital technologies to improve learning ?

"The digital technologies clearly stand out as hugely important in their potential to drive effective learning into the future. Highly persuasive research evidence from studies around the world confirms that the digital technologies merit a much more central role in learning."

"In guidance for Curriculum for Excellence, the technologies context of ICT to enhance learning was an appropriate concept and scale of ambition in its time. However, in light of the pace of educational, social and technological change, that role now needs to evolve to recognise the huge potential of the digital technologies to improve learning."

"This report argues that the digital technologies need to be given a much more central role in learning and teaching. These technologies need to be recognised as more than an enhancement to learning, and offer a key resource for early years and school practitioners."

Tying children to computers will allow data to be gathered from them with every key stroke. Here`s a word of warning about digital technologies in the classroom:

"No matter how much our existing stores of data and its scientific analysis reveals that poverty and attending social problems are key sources of the difficulty many schools and communities face, no matter how much our existing stores of data and its scientific analysis reveal the disintegrating effects of funding cuts and school closings, no matter what the facts are, the Doctors of Reform continue to prescribe the same medicine despite the fact that the patient is now on life support as a result of their "help."

"So, what does "data-driven decision making" actually mean, if it doesn’t mean basing policy on research? What exactly is this federally mandated approach about?"

"As I continue work for this "big data" series, the meaning of "data-driven decision making" has become much clearer: it means removing decision-making power from the practice setting. The key to the present "data-driven" agenda is "big data" and the algorithms that are developed to make sense of this data. This issue here is not big data per se, but the ideology the aim that guides the development and use of that technology."

"Algorithms using very large cloud-based education datasets, containing information that has been gathered on us, our children, our friends and our fellow co-workers, largely without our consent, will be used to make decisions "for us." Where ever a teacher or principal once used professional judgment, based on her classroom observations, tests, knowledge of students and the community, etc., learning analytics will be flown in take over. Like drones, these "personalized learning" systems will be controlled from a far away office, possibly in another country, and likely guarded by a private security firm. Its operators will know little to nothing about education, and absolutely nothing about the children and teachers they lord over."
"The "Big Data" McKinsey report cited in Part 1 makes this aim clear. They write that big data will be used to "replace … human decision making with automated algorithms..." "Of course, the decisions to be replaced with algorithms are not those of executives. They deliberate, not only based on information, but ultimately based upon what serves their interests. Data-driven decision making works so that no one in the practice setting will make the "wrong decision" because the framework for decision making is tightly controlled by those who control the data. No worries that the teacher or principal might make a decisions that would interfere with the bottom line. No worries that educators might decide something in the student’s interest, despite its cost."

"Yes, big data may enable better decision making. The question is, better decisions for whom? Does anyone really believe that their interests are served by being excluded from decision making about things that directly affect them, with their will, their agency, replaced by an algorithm? Does anyone really believe a computer and 400 data points (the number of data points reportedly used by inBloom) are a substitute for conscious human beings working together in a particular historical and cultural moment? Teachers and students make thousands of decisions every minute in a classroom, a process that cannot be replaced by a machine, because decision making properly understood requires consciousness and an aim!...."

"Big data-driven decision making means everyone is to be singularly mobilized on the basis of data from test scores and other types of "benchmarks". Simply put, data-driven decision making is the pseudo-clever, Harvard Business School-esque moniker for teaching to the test."

"This regime does not need real teachers to accomplish the task of teaching to the test; computers and McPearson classroom behavior compliance management drones will do just fine. Hence the effort to reduce the requirements for becoming a teacher."

"Seen in this light, the scripted lessons, the Core aligned modules, and robotic instructional videos, are not aberrations, the result of poor implementation of a good idea. The Core standards, Core curriculum and Core assessments have all been taken care of for educators by non-educators; few decisions remain for educators to make. Schools are becoming mazes, where students and teachers are to chase the data cheese, and "do nows." The agenda to establish massive student sorting, ranking and tracking apparati based on student potential for "added value", calculated on the basis of their "personal characteristics" as represented in the massive data cloud, is hidden by the glowing utopian reform rhetoric. But nothing could be less personal than "personalized learning" via big data regimes."

"Thus, this is not about educators using data to improve teaching and learning; it is about regulating those working in the practice setting, about mechanizing that work so that virtually (pun intended) anyone could do that work, thus vastly reducing the cost in terms of salaries and benefits, making more funds available to the techno-sharks "driving" reform. This is conscious work to reduce the quality of education."

Pushing people over the edge

"GUIDELINES on how to deal with suicidal benefits claimants have been handed out by the Department for Work and Pensions to Scots workers tasked with rolling out the UK Government’s controversial welfare reforms."

"As part of a six-point plan for dealing with suicidal claimants who have been denied welfare payments, call-centre staff in Glasgow have been told to wave the guidance, printed on a laminated pink card, above their head."

"The guidance is meant to help staff dealing with unsuccessful applicants for Universal Credit who are threatening to self-harm or take their own life."

"A manager is then meant to rush over to listen in to the call and workers who insist they have had no formal training in the procedure must "make some assessment on the degree of risk" by asking a series of questions."

"One section of the six-point plan, titled "gather information", demands that staff allow claimants to talk about their intention to commit suicide."

"The call-centre workers, who earn between £15,000 and £17,000 a year, must "find out specifically what is planned, when it is planned for, and whether the customer has the means-to-hand", according to the guidance seen by the Sunday Herald."

"Staff are also warned in the plan that they may have "thoughts and feelings" about the situation afterwards and offered reassurance that "this is all part of the process of coping with the experience and is normal".

"Glasgow-based call-centre workers have accused the DWP of asking them to carry out the job of a psychologist or social worker."

Read more :

Some of these claimants will have children. 

Monday, 24 August 2015

The `No to Named Persons` campaign continues

I am sharing the video as widely as I can and would urge others to do so. But I would also suggest that it is best to keep political party allegiances out of the debate. Too many discussions are breaking down over party political lines and that is self defeating. This is an issue that concerns everyone. Let`s keep it calm and keep going...always debating the Named Person policy. Do that and it will collapse under the weight of opposition to it.


More videos can be found at link below:

The shaken baby syndrome hypothesis

From Argument and Critique:

"The critical point ... is that shaking may cause bleeding behind the eyes or in the brain, but the existence of this type of bleeding does not prove that the baby was shaken, since it has now been established that there can be numerous causes of this of type of bleeding, other than shaking (Donohoe, 2003; Hymel et al, 2002; Lantz, 2004a; Plunkett, 2001; Findley et al, 2012; Luttner, 2014b)."

"Dr Guthkelch became aware of the uses to which his work was being put when he was approached by Law Professor Carrie Sperling from the Arizona Justice Project and asked to review the case of Drayton Witt, a young father who had been convicted of murdering his baby son, based on allegations of shaking (Sperling, 2012:248; Brennan, & Castille, 2012). At the first meeting, Dr Guthkelch corrected Professor Sperling’s use of the term theory to describe SBS."

"He pointed out to her that it was not a theory, merely an hypothesis... "

"Dr Guthkelch is concerned that aspects of the Shaken Baby Syndrome concept are "open to serious doubt." His concerns, together with the evidence of six other experts, led to Drayton Witt’s exoneration in 2012 (National Registry of Exoneration, 2012)."

"After the Drayton Witt case, Professor Sperling went on to make Dr Guthkelch aware of the extent to which parents were being wrongly accused of killing their babies through shaking. Other cases were reviewed in which it was similarly found that the child had a pre-existing medical condition that provided the cause of death (Lutttner, 2014). "

From Medical Kidnap:

"A new film exposing the corruption behind much of the Shaken Baby Syndrome diagnosis used to remove children from the custody of their parents, and in some cases put parents behind bars, is currently making its way through the film festival circuit. The Syndrome is a film produced and directed by Meryl Goldsmith, a Los Angeles-based filmmaker who teamed up with her cousin and investigative reporter Susan Goldsmith as the co-producer and editor..." "Many of the film’s subjects have dedicated their professional lives to gaining attention to updated research on child injuries, and to defending accused abusers in court. For this, they have faced a huge backlash from the doctors and prosecutors who disagree. The filmmakers knew they’d get swept up in that, too. Many film festivals that considered including the film were threatened with litigation, and accused of promoting child abuse, the filmmakers said in a recent interview." "This is a theme in our film—how the proponents of shaken baby syndrome and abusive head trauma have tried to silence their critics," Susan Goldsmith says. "And that theme is extending to here and now, to our documentary..."
"Last year (2014) law professor Deborah Tuerkheimer, who is featured in Goldsmith’s film, wrote a an article for Slate about 43-year-old Jennifer Del Prete, a former Illinois day care worker who had served 10 years of a 20 year prison sentence over Shaken Baby Syndrome, but was then released by a federal judge. Tuerkheimer’s article, Finally, a Judge Calls Shaken Baby Diagnosis an "Article of Faith", stated that the ruling was "one of a growing number that reflect skepticism on the part of judges, juries, and even prosecutors about criminal convictions based on the medical diagnosis of shaken baby syndrome."

"Tuerkheimer went on to write:" "The case is also a critical turning point. The certainty that once surrounded shaken baby syndrome… has been dissolving for years. The justice system is beginning to acknowledge this shift but should go further to re-examine and perhaps overturn more past convictions. (Read the full article.)"- See more at:

From Law Weekly:

"In The Syndrome, Goldsmith reveals that the doctors who frothed up Satanic Panic moved on to shape the next crisis. Chadwick, Reece and Jenny have all served as advisors to, or on the board of directors of, the National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome in Farmington, Utah. They've defined new medical terminology in medical books which they've promoted to doctors, hospitals, and law enforcers. With hundreds of doctors following their lead, Goldsmith's documentary argues, the three helped trigger a surge of Shaken Baby Syndrome prosecutions — convictions now increasingly discredited by multiple media investigations, outspoken scientists and doctors, and attorney-led innocence projects that seek to free condemned baby shakers from U.S. prisons."

"When I put it all together, it was like being electrocuted," says Goldsmith. "It's pretty damning." 


"Why would doctors flog questionable science? It's hard to say for certain, and each of the three doctors has done commendable work in other areas of child abuse... "

"Yet, on the stand for an SBS prosecution in Troy, New York, Jenny admitted to charging $3,000 a day to testify in trials against accused caretakers, and Goldsmith notes in The Syndrome that over the last 10 years she's received over $250,000 in grant money to research the bio-mechanical aspects of SBS but has published no new data."

"In their 2014 tax returns, the National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome reported yearly earnings of $2.14 million from grants and purchases of their often state-mandated and trademarked educational materials, such as a $250 CD Rom with slides. That's at least cheaper than the $879 that Realityworks charges doctors for a Shaken Baby Syndrome dummy with light-up sensors in its see-through brain. Notes Goldsmith, "The entire field of Shaken Baby Syndrome is a giant industrial complex with millions of dollars flowing."

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Savile report is secretly circulating amongst BBC chiefs

"The findings of the Jimmy Savile inquiry are secretly circulating among BBC bosses but have yet to be shown to victims."

"Sources say the long-delayed independent report ‘tears the BBC apart’ and is ‘much worse than expected’. In particular, it is said to show that abuse on the Corporation’s premises was far more widespread than previously feared during the period Savile worked there."

"BBC chiefs are also braced for severe criticism over its failure to act on rumours of Savile’s behaviour towards children and young people."

"This is supposed to be an independent report so I will be questioning why it may have already been released to BBC senior management and yet no information has been given to those brave enough to give evidence in person,’ she added."

"One source said that the sections of the report police say would prejudice their investigations are ‘tiny’ and easily redactable."

"Key witness: Creative director Alan Yentob has worked in and around the BBC's entertainment department since 1968."

"The review team was set up by the BBC to carry out ‘an impartial, thorough and independent review of the culture and practices of the BBC during the years that Jimmy Savile worked there’."

"After paedophile Stuart Hall pleaded guilty in 2013 to 14 charges of indecent assault, the BBC announced another inquiry, led by Dame Linda Dobbs, the former High Court judge, whose findings have gone to Dame Janet."

"Tory MP Andrew Bridgen said: ‘The Dame Janet Smith Review is the BBC’s very own Chilcot Report. It looks suspiciously like the BBC doesn’t want it published while it’s trying to renew its Charter. Victims and witnesses will rightly feel let down by this.’"

Read more:

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Social epigenetics: predicting future outcomes

Michael Kobor`s research is about understanding how early life experiences can literally get under the skin to affect health, wellbeing and behaviour, in many cases across the lifespan.

Epigenetics helps him to understand the circuitry between society and the cell, and the cell and society. The field he focusses on is the regulation of genes. He is trying to understand how the 25, 000 genes in the body are regulated.

He claims that it is possible to see an epigenetic profile in 15 year old kids that can be traced back to infancy or pre-school when their parents were stressed.

More recently the research has gone to a deeper level, to focus on the white blood cells, because one of his hypotheses is that people are affected through their immune systems.

"If you happen to grow up in poor circumstances you have a different profile of these epigenetic markers, a profile correlated to the way our immune system reacts to challenges, suggesting that these epigenetic modifications can mediate the effect of the social environment on to the immune system lasting all the way into adulthood."

There are a variety of studies that follow cohorts of children in British Columbia, California and across the world.

He believes the research is important because it provides a biochemical mechanism by which the environment speaks to the genes.

"To us that is really a profound finding. Second of all we are interested in the functional linkages to the immune system and futhermore to stress responses in people because we do feel that much of our health and our behaviour is linked to proper functioning of the immune system and lastly it is really important because it paves the way for much deeper studies. "

"We`re very excited about the potential for the future. We are building a really comprehensive suite of studies that will allow us to assess very carefully how these epigenetic changes are actually affected by different environments, in time, sometimes overlapping, sometimes distinct environments."

Is there a particular time in the child`s life when the epigenome is more susceptible to influences by the environment and ultimately of course what are the different outcomes between these epigenetic changes that are being induced by the environment?

This research may be somewhat beyond the mainstream but it follows the political profile of other studies in the early interventionist programme:

(1) The lifelong effects of poor bonding with parents - affective disorders - which actually do not appear in the DSM V manual of psychiatric disorders. Nevertheless they allow early years practitioners to be experts in relationships.

(2) Brain damage caused by deprived early environments which have been debunked by neuroscientists themselves but allow early years practitioners to be experts in child development.

(3) And now, social epigenetics which hypothesises that deprived children get the wrong genes switched on, which compromises their immune systems. Time will tell what early years practitioners are expected to make of this, but stress management in the early years comes to mind. (That will involve managing the parents.)

All of these studies explain future outcomes by concentrating on the first few years of life. They completely sidestep the social, political and economic structures which disadvantage the poor throughout their lives - but that`s the idea.

Integrated reviews for 2 year olds are to be introduced in September

"The report on a pilot integrating the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Progress Check with the Healthy Child Programme (HCP) health and development review has recommended the ‘integrated review’ is renamed to avoid confusion about how checks can be carried out..."

"The HCP 2-2½ year health and development review similarly looks into the learning, social skills and speech and language skills of children between the ages of 24 months and 30 months and is carried out by health professionals."

"The move to integrate the progress checks was announced at the
end of 2014 and will be introduced in September 2015..."
"The pilot followed the five areas of Norfolk, Northamptonshire, Medway, Leeds and Islington and measured how they developed and carried out their integrated approach to combined progress checks which identify a child’s health and well-being, learning and behaviour and arrange support for families with children where progress has been less than expected..."

"The report stated: "Involvement of experienced health visitors, rather than solely nursery nurses within health visiting teams, was important for accurate clinical judgements. Early years staff were not always able to make accurate judgements on health elements. Involving experienced staff from both health and early years seems essential." ...

"Concerns about the integrated review have been raised by nursery owner David Wright, who runs Paint Pots nursery."

"He said: "An area of real concern is the practitioner’s qualification to make judgements. We have an understanding of what to look for, how different characteristics associated with certain conditions might present themselves but we do not feel confident nor that it is right to label a child as having special needs, being developmentally delayed or disabled and certainly not at two years old. We would not commit such judgements to paper to be shared with parents. "

"Parents do not want to receive the news that their child’s progress is ‘less than expected’ or that an assessment has identified ‘significant emerging concerns’ regarding her development. "

"Sharing the results of such an assessment is not a task, I would suggest, to be entrusted to a junior practitioner." ..

"The pilot found some cases where there was a lack of trust between health and early years workers, the report called for greater understanding of each other’s professional cultures and practices."

"Another issue raised was a lack of a common electronic system in place to support information sharing between professionals after carrying out the integrated review. Although one main site and one pilot partner was able to create a sophisticated way to share data, other sites experienced problems with having access to and knowing about health records moving forward."

"However the conclusion of the pilot found that integrating the progress checks will successfully provide a more holistic and complete picture of a child’s progress and the move to introduce the integrated system has been backed by the Child and Education minister, as well as the Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years (PACEY) and the National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA)."

Predicting the future, integrating services, data sharing; they are moving in the same direction as Scotland.

Parents do not want the bad news that their child`s future health and wellbeing is in jeopardy and that they will be expected to work with services to change future outcomes.

It`s a crazy idea !

English children are unhappy with school

"The Good Childhood report, released this week by The Children’s Society, has found that English children are among the unhappiest in the world with their school life. More than a third of 10-12 year olds have been bullied in the last month and half have felt excluded by their peer group. Against satisfaction with life as a whole, children in England rank 14 out of 15 countries, and have particularly low body confidence and self esteem with girls in England bottom of the international ranking."

"Liz Bayram, PACEY’s Chief Executive, said of the findings; "We know that the foundations of emotional resilience and positive self image starts pre-school. A recent study published in the American Journal of Public Health which tracked children from pre-school through to adulthood found that social-emotional skills in young children are a strong indicator for wellbeing in later life."

"At PACEY we have welcomed Nicky Morgan’s call for emotional wellbeing of school children to be made a priority for the Department, but the focus needs to start much younger. We know that childcare professionals have a vital role to play in supporting children to understand and manage the wide range of emotions that they experience, and to encourage emotional resilience. When education policy in this country is increasingly focused on academic progress, and when children as young as 4 starting school this year will be tested on literacy and numeracy skills, we are looking for the Government to do much more to demonstrate that the happiness of our children really is at the heart of policy making."

Children are unhappy with their school life but Liz Bayram of the Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years believes the problem begins pre-school.

How are children expected to express unhappiness with school life and to have that accepted these days ?  

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Lifelong psychological evaluations

"Unemployment is being rebranded as a psychological disorder, with an increasing range of interventions being introduced to promote a 'positive' psychological outlook or leave claimants of welfare to face sanctions, according to a new analysis carried out by social science researchers from Hubbub and Birkbeck, University of London ... "

"The research, published in a special edition of BMJ Medical Humanities – Critical Medical Humanities, exposes the coercive and punitive nature of ‘psycho-policy’ interventions in Government workfare programmes designed to get unemployed people back into work. Ill-defined and flawed constructs such as 'lack of motivation' and 'psychological resistance to work' are being used to allocate claimants to more or less arduous workfare regimes, the paper argues."

"Drawing from written accounts of the lived experience of workfare as described by those undertaking it, the authors document the impact of psychological coercion, from unsolicited emails extolling 'positive thinking' to 'change your attitude' exercises – with people looking for work frequently perceiving such interventions as relentless, humiliating and meaningless."

"Increasingly, workfare – mandatory unpaid labour under the threat of benefit sanctions – also includes coaching, skills-building, motivational workshops and training sessions that use psychological approaches to address apparently negative perceptions and instil approved characteristics such as optimism, confidence, aspiration, motivation and flexibility."

"Commenting on the study, Lynne Friedli, co-author of the paper and researcher with Hubbub – the current residents of The Hub, the Wellcome Trust’s dedicated space for interdisciplinary research – said: “Claimants’ ‘attitude to work’ is becoming a basis for deciding who is entitled to social security – it is no longer what you must do to get a job, but how you have to think and feel. This makes the Government’s proposal to locate psychologists in Job Centres particularly worrying. "

Along with work experience in primary schools, the approved characteristics: optimism, confidence, aspiration, motivation and flexibility (resilience) are being promoted in Scottish schools via Curriculum for Excellence to prepare children for their role in life in the 21st century.  Interventions will be provided as soon as children deviate from the approved standards of behaviour.

Unless people protest about it, there is going to be no end to this psychological manipulation, euphemistically called lifelong learning.

Environmental catastrophes

Children throughout the world are being encouraged to become little eco-activists because "Mother Earth is burning and something must be done !"  Because their emotions are played with through music, drama and doomsday scenarios, by the time these children leave school, they will not be able to think critically about climate change. As it is, this complex and chaotic system called climate, which scientists have so far been unable to model, is a difficult subject to think about.  But that`s the idea.  

The indoctrination programmes are supplied by the United Nations and associated organisations.

For instance in 2003, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) signed an official "Memorandum of Understanding" (MoU) stating that UNEP and FEE would "collaborate on all relevant areas of common interest related to environmental education on prioritized issues and programmes." (

Young Reporters for the Environment

"Young Reporters Scotland is part of the international Young Reporters for the Environment (YRE) programme which is in operation in over 25 countries. It is coordinated internationally by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) and is managed in Scotland by Keep Scotland Beautiful."

"Young Reporters Scotland (YRS) aims to empower young people to take action towards an economically, socially and environmentally just world. Taking part in YRS," they say, " is an exciting opportunity for young people to build life-changing skills and to be part of an international group of young people creatively raising awareness of sustainability issues within their communities."

But it is as well children are not fully aware of what they are singing about or what Re-use, Recycle, Reduce actually means.

Walter E. Williams, writing in American Contempt for Liberty, illustrates the anti-human stance taken by many environmentalists.

"One need go no further than their own statements, such as those cited in Chris Horner`s article "In Gaia We Trust," a 2003 newsletter published by the Competitive Enterprise Institute. Ecologist Lamont Cole said, "To feed a starving child is to exacerbate the world population problem. "Regarding the deaths of millions of people because of a worldwide prohibition on DDT spraying, Charles Wurssta of the  Environmental Defense Fund said, "This is as good a way to get rid of them as any." Paul Watson, founder of Greenpeace, said, "I got the impression that instead of going out to shoot birds, I should go out and shoot the kids who shoot birds." 
(Part 5 Environment and Health)

It is interesting that the BBC has recently had its knuckles wrapped by Ofcom for broadcasting ready made programmes from environmental organisations without informing the public that the material was not neutral

Why should standards like that not be provided for school children ?

For more information visit: 

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

The many roles of Baroness Butler-Sloss

One of the patrons of the British Association of Adoption and Fostering (BAAF), the charity which has recently collapsed, was Baroness Butler-Sloss GBE.

On its website BAAF says: "Among her many roles she has been High Court Judge and President of the Family Division."

So Baroness Butler-Sloss was part of the system which fed children into the adoption and fostering industry. Many would see that as a conflict of interest.

She has several other interesting connections; one of them is that she is also a trustee of the Human Trafficking Foundation. This is an organisation which gets to know about the movement of vulnerable adults and children.
She had to stand down from the inquiry into child sexual abuse because her late brother, Sir Michael Havers, was accused of a white-wash after he backed a decision not to prosecute Sir Peter Hayman, a paedophile diplomat caught exchanging obscene material.

Recently, Baroness Butler-Sloss gave character evidence on behalf of Philip Chard who was convicted of raping a 13 year-old girl.

"Lady Butler-Sloss, who is a working peer in the House of Lords, said she had known Chard for 20 years because his mother Valerie was her cleaner at her home in East Devon."

"She told the jury she was astonished by the allegations against him and considered him unlikely to be a sex offender."

How does she know?  Well, she has had 34 years of experience... so she just knows.

Read more:

Here she is in 2013 apologising to Fathers4justice for her false statement about death threats from them.

What more needs to be said ?

Collapse of British Association of Adoption and Fostering

By Luke Stevenson & Tristan Donovan

"Staff knew something was up. First came whispers of financial problems, then talk of restructuring but always caveated with upbeat ‘don’t worry, it will work out ok’."

"Then came the unfamiliar visitors, who came to the offices for hush-hush meetings. The mystery visitors, staff discovered were from the children’s charity Coram, who unknown to them at the time would take over a significant chunk of BAAF’s work in England just a few weeks later."...

"The truth emerged soon after. On Monday 27 July BAAF employees were told there would be redundancies and more would be revealed that Friday. It was a blow, but at least there would be time to job hunt during the consultation period they thought."

"But what happened on Friday 31 July was a shock. That day the 37-year-old adoption and fostering charity entered administration and announced it was closing with immediate effect."

Of its 135 employees, 55 were told they were now working for Coram, which had taken over several BAAF services in England including the Adoption Register, its membership, publications and the Independent Review Mechanism.

"Around 50 of those remaining were told they were now unemployed while in Scotland staff learned that the country’s adoption register and national adopter information helpline had been transferred to St. Andrew’s Children’s Society."

"It was just quite shocking really," one former BAAF employee says. "It was quite unbelievable that something like that could have happened, such a crash without any real understanding."..

"When we read that staff are being supported as much as possible, I would like to ask those responsible what support that is," says one of the employees made redundant. "We are not even being offered references or anything. We were just told get out of the building and that’s it. So I don’t know what constitutes as being supported."..

"Andy Elvin, chief executive of fostering and adoption charity and former BAAF member organisation TACT, feels the issues don’t explain the suddenness of BAAF’s demise."

"It’s a shock and disappointment that such a long-standing charity could go out of business so very abruptly," he says. "We think it was the pension liability but I run a large charity and I can see these things coming 18 months away. It doesn’t speak of good governance..."

"Ahead of formally entering administration, BAAF began talks with Coram about the charity taking over its services, an option the letter to creditors said should enable the administrators to recover around £932,000 of the money BAAF is owed by its debtors."

"While Smith & Williamson’s review looked at several merger partners, Coram was regarded as the only "appropriate" option by BAAF’s trustees."

"Offering BAAF’s operations on the open market was ruled out due to the sensitive nature of services such as the adoption register, the need for the DfE to approve the transfer of such contracts and the charitable nature of the BAAF’s operations."

"But even a deal with Coram had issues...

"(The) transfer of services to Coram has caused concern among adoption and fostering agencies that were members of BAAF. TACT’s Elvin, for example, is uneasy about BAAF services now being part of a group that includes another adoption agency."

"BAAF was an umbrella agency, Coram’s an adoption provider, so they are in the same space as us," he says. "It doesn’t feel comfortable with, particularly the Independent Review Mechanism where we are being asked to hand over commercially sensitive information to a rival agency. I’m not sure the DfE has been well advised to allow these contracts to be handed over."

"Same with the adoption register. There’s the new charity Adoption Link that do an excellent job with matching. That seems like a more obvious fit because they are not an adoption provider, so there is no conflict of interest."

"There are worries on the fostering side too. Stephanie Clay is the chief operating officer of PICS, which runs the fostering agencies Clifford House, Fosterplus, ISP and Orange Grove Fostercare..."

"Coram are experts in adoption so how are they going to retain expertise in the fostering field? How are they going to retain that link with central government around fostering? How are they going to inform practice and work with partners to inform the changes in the literature around fostering and the research to inform our practice?"...

"It’s important that we have an independent body that is able to support and influence best practice in fostering and BAAF was that body. I don’t know who is going to fill that gap," says Clay. "There is going to be a longer term impact as we move through this year. Where do people now go for that research? We had one body we could go to, one place, one phone number, one membership."

"Harvey Gallagher, chief executive of the Nationwide Association of Fostering Providers, shares Clay’s concerns about the potential loss of fostering expertise. "Although Coram has taken this on, for me the reason BAAF’s publications were so good was the expertise behind them," he says. "At BAAF there were all these experts around the country coming together and contributing to this knowledge and that for me is the key thing we’ll lose with BAAF."

"Now more than ever it’s needed because there’s a huge increase in care numbers year on year and the system is under pressure like it’s never been before. I hope Coram can fill the gap."

NHS England`s plans for pharmacies to obtain sensitive data from GP surgeries

From the Telegraph:

"High street pharmacies such as Boots, Tesco and Superdrug will be given access to NHS medical records, under a national scheme which privacy campaigners fear could expose patients to "hard sell" tactics."

"Health officials have drawn up plans to send sensitive data from GP surgeries to pharmacies across the country, starting this autumn, without considering the views of patients."

"NHS England says the scheme will ease pressures on family doctors, and improve the care given to patients in the High Street."

"But campaigners fear major commercial chains will be able to exploit the valuable data, and use it to push the sales of their products. "

"Officials have now ordered the national rollout of the scheme, on the basis of an evaluation of pilots in 140 pharmacies which they say showed "significant benefits".

"But the official report, seen by The Daily Telegraph, shows that the research garnered responses from just 15 patients a sample so small that their views were discarded from the research."

"The scheme got the green light, after the pharmacists involved in the pilots gave it their backing."

From medConfidential:

"The Telegraph, followed up by the Independent and Daily Mail, reports today that Boots and other pharmacies including the large supermarket pharmacies may from this Autumn be granted access to the Summary Care Record*. There are concerns that such access may be used for marketing purposes. Further details will likely follow in due course."

"Under current rules, patients should always be asked for their consent what is called "Permission To View" before anyone looks at their Summary Care Record. How the high street pharmacies, and their commercial managers with their incentives to cross-sell remedies, will make this work in practice is an open question."

"Safeguards that may operate in a hospital context are going to have to be applied to a whole range of other (possibly non-medically registered) people, who must all be properly trained and rigorously audited on an ongoing basis. A considerable investment must be made if pharmacies are to be given access and patient confidentiality and consent is to be maintained. A report of a pilot scheme earlier this year found, for example, that:"

"The principles around asking patients for permission to view (PTV) their SCR and its practical application for some prevalent patient groups in the pharmacy setting caused confusion and uncertainty.."

"If you have a Summary Care Record (around 94% of the population do) and you are concerned that your record may be misused or abused, you can opt-out of the scheme..."

Read more

Catholic Church apologises for decades of abuse

 "The Catholic Church in Scotland has issued a `profound apology` for decades of child abuse as survivors described a landmark report into the issue as a `whitewash`..."

"It followed the publication of a report by the Very Rev Andrew McLellan, a former Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, who said safeguarding victims and potential victims was the `greatest challenge` facing the Church."

"The McLellan Commission, which was established last year, was charged with undertaking a review of the Church`s procedures for protecting children and vulnerable adults."

"It made eight recommendations, the chief of which was that the Catholic Church must make support for survivors of abuse an `absolute priority`."

"Archbishop Tartaglia said the Church would accept the recommendations in full."

"He said: `As the President of the Bishop` Conference, and on behalf of all the Bishops of Scotland, I want to offer a profound apology to all those who have been harmed and who have suffered in any way as a result of actions by anyone within the Catholic Church`..."

"A review of all cases of historical abuse allegations between 1947 and 2005, is also to be published at a later date."

"Many of the allegations against the Church are expected to be heard by a national public inquiry into historical abuse, which is due to begin in October."

Read more

Monday, 17 August 2015

Heath`s former private secretary shot himself

"An ex-aide of former Tory Prime Minister, Sir Edward Heath, shot himself in the head following his arrest for potential child abuse offences. Two days after being questioned by police investigating images on his computer, 40-year-old Nick Edgar killed himself near his parents’ Cambridgeshire estate."
"The Sun reports the father of three, who worked as Sir Edward Heath’s Private Secretary in the 1990s, was held by police investigating child abuse crimes in April 2010. Having been questioned again four months later, Edgar shot himself with a shotgun near his parents’ home."

"The former Oxford University Union president started working with Sir Edward in 1992 when he was in his early 20s. He worked as his Private Secretary for several years, spending months at the former Prime Minister’s Wiltshire home."

"Edgar did not attend Sir Edward’s funeral in 2005, and a member of the Sir Edward Heath Charitable Foundation yesterday told The Sun that after they parted ways Heath had little to do with Edgar who moved to West London. He added:"

"They had a working relationship in the nineties but hadn’t spoken in years after that stopped. His crimes that police were investigating are in no way linked to Sir Edward."

See also  

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Interview with Chris Spivey

Published on 11 Aug 2015 by Ian R Crane

" Chris Spivey had the audacity to question the official Government Narrative of the events surrounding the 'murder' of Lee Rigby in May 2013. Instead of offering irrefutable evidence to challenge his analysis, the British Establishment finds him GUILTY of 'Harassment' without offering any real evidence, plants obscene images on his computer, then threatens to make him homeless ... and take his grandson into care. Welcome to Stasi UK in 2015! Please support Chris when he appears for 'SENTENCING' at Chelmsford Crown Court on Thursday 27th August 2015."

The trouble with benefit sanctions

The Families and Societies report says that it is not surprising that the parents of children with disabilities generally exhibit higher stress levels and poorer mental health than other parents. "When comparing children with developmental disabilities and the general population, Byrne et al. (2010), Guyard et al. (2011), and Rentnick et al. (2007), among others, found this to be true in the case of cerebral palsy. .."

"The presence of a disabled child in the family can increase the physical demands made on the caregiver, increase depression and anxiety, cause a general feeling of exclusion from "normal" life, influence the perception of the individual well -being (emotional contact with other people, social capital, feelings of being rejected and excluded) , and it can also influence physical health... "

"Economic support to families with disabled children needs to be extended because costs for raising a disabled child are three times those of a non-disabled child. (Langerman and Worrall 2005: 1). "

Governments know all of this, of course, which makes the following account of a family in trouble all the more damning.  

The writer of the Poor Side of Life blog recounts the story of a man who was ill advised by the Job Centre and lost his whole family.

One of his three children had cerebral palsy and his partner became more and more stressed over time until eventually she had a nervous breakdown for which she was hospitalised and could not return home. The writer believes that this was a family who was never given the right kind of advice or support when it was needed.

Nevertheless, the man was determined to look after his three children and put in an application for DLA and Carers Allowance but in the following  few weeks he was called into the job centre for a `back to work` interview and told that he must look for work. As the full time carer of a disabled child the information he was given was erroneous but he was not aware of that at the time.

His troubles really began when he was sanctioned over and over again for not trying hard enough to look for work. In desperation he contacted social services and told them he could not care for his children and they were taken into care.

It is appalling that neither the job centre nor social services informed the man that in his circumstances he was not legally obliged to spend time looking for employment and should never have been sanctioned.

"Many of the consequences of having a disabled child are not inevitable and can be counteracted by adequate policy measures. Personal resources and the ability to cope flexibly with problems, together with a favourable environment can prove relevant in providing some feeling of safety and protection. Moreover, the risk and the costs of having a disabled child might be more acceptable to the families if the state were to provide better services and more support to families with disabled children. The promotion of programmes directed at the psychological support of the parents and at improving and managing their emotional resources seem to be a crucial point. "

Parents also need economic security.
"The UK’s statistics watchdog has called on the Department of Work and Pensions to give "objective and impartial" information on benefits sanctions, it has been reported..."

"Employment Minister Priti Patel has defended the department, telling the House of Commons: "The Government intends to publish mortality statistics but before doing so they need to meet the high standards expected of official statistics. Once we have completed that important work we will publish them."

As well as mortality - and the massaged statistics may be produced eventually -  there are all the other negative consequences of benefit sanctions: stressed families, broken relationships, children in care, that we will never hear about.

Goodbye UK from Belinda McKenzie

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Kezia Dugdale is the new Scottish Labour leader

"Kezia Dugdale has been elected the new Scottish Labour leader after defeating Holyrood veteran Ken Macintosh."

"The contest followed the resignation of Jim Murphy in June after the party lost all but one of its 41 seats in May’s general election."

"Dugdale, the favourite, won 72.1% of the vote, and Macintosh won 27.9%. She becomes leader after just four years as an MSP and months after becoming deputy leader in Scotland."

So there will be no opposition to the Named Person policy from the Labour Party, just bickering about the detail.