Saturday, 31 October 2015

Growing debt burden for students

Kezie Dugdale at First Minister`s Questions (29 October 2015): 

"I turn to student finance. Figures that have been published this week by the Student Awards Agency for Scotland show that, under the Scottish National Party Government, the average student bursary or grant has been cut by almost 30 per cent, and that it is the poorest students who are suffering. Students from deprived backgrounds are being forced to take on an even greater debt burden. Students who have the potential to get on in life and to do great things are being held back because their parents do not have a lot of money. The gap between the richest and the rest has grown on the Scottish National Party’s watch."

- Read more at:

Friday, 30 October 2015

Kendall House review is being stalled

"According to files from Kendall House, which is no longer a children’s home, girls were given massive doses of a number of drugs over long periods of time. Former resident Teresa Cooper’s three children all have birth defects. Her eldest son was born with respiratory difficulties, her second son is blind and has learning difficulties, and her daughter was born with a cleft palate and a short lower jaw."

"Ms Cooper, who left the home in 1984 at 16, was given medication at least 1,248 times over a 32-month period. This included three major tranquillisers, drugs to counter side-effects and anti-depressants, including up to 10 times the current recommended dose of Valium."

"Nine other former residents of Kendall House, who all underwent similar drugging, have also gone on to have children with a range of birth defects, including brain tumours, learning difficulties and cleft palate, the BBC reported. "

The painstaking research that Teresa Cooper has unearthed over thirty years will not be considered or examined by the review.

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Is Gardasil about protecting girls against cancer, or something else ?

"Schoolgirls should stop being given a vaccine which helps protect them from cervical cancer until a "proper investigation" is held into side effects, a campaigner has insisted. "

"Freda Birrell, of UK Association of HPV Vaccine Injured Daughters (AHVID), called for a moratorium on the use of the controversial HPV vaccine until more is known about "serious adverse reactions".

"She made the plea as she called for the Scottish Government to hold a roundtable discussion on the safety of the vaccine, involving medical and scientific experts from both sides of the debate. "

"Members of Holyrood's Public Petitions Committee agreed to ask ministers for their view on this, although committee convener Michael McMahon expressed some reservations about the petition..."

"Ms Birrell said: "Of the 88 family reports analysed so far 68% reported their daughters had experienced health problems serious enough to interfere with their education, 24% reported symptoms so severe that their daughter could no longer participate in educational activities, 70% required help with daily care and a full 91% reported being told their daughter's medical conditions were psychological in origin."

"She added: "I am very much aware HPV vaccines are a controversial issue and that this information put's Scotland at a cross roads with a very difficult decision to make. "

"Do we accept what the manufacturer and their list of experts are saying and assume that HPV vaccines are safe and effective and there just happens to be an epidemic of psychosomatic disorders spreading round the world, affecting certain young people who have one thing in common - they were injected with the HPV vaccine. "

"Or do we listen to experts from both sides, to try to discover exactly what the situation is and make every effort we can to get the problem solved?"

My guess is that the interests of the pharmaceutical companies will prevail, but who knows?

Serious adverse reactions have been reported about Gardasil, statistically rare maybe, but real, and with devastating effects on young women and their families.  

Extraordinarily, the effects on reproductive health of Gardasil on the population of young girls vaccinated has not been investigated.  Has the birth rate gone down as a consequence of the vaccination progamme?

It looks like it has.

This video is not for the faint hearted but explores that concern.

The food bank scam

"Job advisers are set to be placed in food banks across the country, Iain Duncan Smith has told MPs."

"The work and pensions secretary said he would like to see a trial scheme in Manchester rolled out nationwide after it was given "very strong feedback".

"The Trussell Trust, which operates food banks, says the facilities were used more than one million times in 2014-15..."

"... Labour's welfare spokesman Owen Smith said it showed the "grim reality" that emergency food aid had become an established part of the welfare system."

"The country’s biggest network of foodbanks charges volunteers £1,500 to hand out free food in its name, it emerged yesterday."

"The Trussell Trust asks for the ‘donation’ from churches and community groups which open new foodbanks."

"The money, volunteers are told, is needed to pay for the Trust’s staff, branding materials, PR advice and relationships with supermarkets such as Tesco."

Read more:

The public hand in food, free of charge; volunteers work in the foodbanks for free while the Trussell Trust sets itself up like a company paying its executives high salaries.

It`s Big Society.

The end of the Social Fund

Mel Kelly was writing about it in 2011.

"But "crisis loans", I learned, are small interest-free loans made by the DWP from the social fund to people in financial crisis due to unforeseen circumstances such as deaths, flooding, a child in hospital. They’re used to buy food and/or credits for gas and electric pre-payment metres in winter when social security benefits are unlikely to cover the weekly winter pre-payments required."

"While researching crisis loans I stumbled across a coalition government consultation paper issued in February 2011 stating the government’s intention to abolish the social fund, and instead give the money, un-ring-fenced, to English Councils who could refer people to community schemes (citing the Trussell Trust Food Parcel Service) rather than giving people crisis loans."

"I had come a full circle. Hadn’t the minister told me that only those refused crisis loans would be given vouchers for food parcels? And here was the government proposing to abolish the social fund. . .in which case wouldn’t everyone who currently qualifies for a crisis loan get just a voucher for a food parcel in future? How many people would this affect?"

"In March I wrote again asking my MP to ask Steve Webb how many crisis loans were given out in England in 2010/2011. The minister’s stated in reply, dated 26th of March, that "2,697,000" were given out. I was in absolute shock. The government was advising councils not to give crisis loans, as the DWP currently do, but instead to send perhaps 2.6 million families, each year, to their friends at the Trussell Trust with vouchers for a 3 day family food parcel containing no fresh meat, no fresh milk, no fresh bread or vegetables."

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Police Scotland target family after reporting a paedophile

Brian Docherty from Glasgow reports on video how his family were targeted by Police Scotland after informing them that a paedophile attempted to buy access to his son for £25,000.
From the blurb published on 6 Apr 2015
"This paedophile was very close friends with a member of the aristocracy - a Viscount. This Viscount threatened parents if they reported his friend to the Police that he would get social services onto their children."

"This happened."

"Not only did police officers not investigate this paedophile but they sent a litigious report to social services about this family - even though they had not seen or met the children."

"The parents took their children to Ireland for a week to contact their government safely about police corruption. Scottish Police contacted Interpol to find this family."

"The police and social services then entered lies into their children's health notes and planned an attack on this family by supplying false information to Irish police who seized these children with armed officers."

"The four children were placed into foster homes - because their parents reported a dangerous paedophile to the police."

"An Irish judge returned the children to the police after she ruled in favour of the parents and the children. The correspondence from these parents to governments was described as explosive."

Vicar faces jail after decades of cover-up

"A paedophile vicar is finally facing jail decades after his sexual abuse was covered up by a perverted Church of England bishop who was friends with Prince Charles."

"Vickery House, 69, was yesterday found guilty of a string of sex attacks against four victims in the 1970s and 1980s while he was working as a curate and vicar in Devon and Sussex."

"His crimes were hushed up by sex abuser Bishop Peter Ball, 83, who avoided justice until this year after receiving support from establishment figures including the Royal Family and MPs."

"Ball wrote a letter of apology to a teenager who complained of being groped by House and assured him it was being ‘looked into’ and ‘would never happen again’."

"The boy did not contact police until 2012, when he told how Ball had hidden the allegation against House."

"House was found guilty of five counts of indecent assault at the Old Bailey yesterday. He was acquitted of a further three counts of indecent assault."

"Judge Christine Henson QC freed him on bail, but warned him that prison is ‘inevitable’ when he is sentenced tomorrow."

"Some of the victims were also groomed in the 1970s and 1980s by Ball, who was handed a 32-month jail sentence earlier this month for 15 years of abuse against novice monks."

"The court heard how the pair targeted young men seeking spiritual instruction on the Bishop’s ‘Give a Year for Christ’ scheme."

Read more:

The `Enabling State` is being rolled out across the UK

There was an interesting post from Mike Robinson on Facebook (Monday 26 2015).

He was commenting on the Cabinet Office proposal to alter the relationship between the individual and the state, as part of constitutional reform.

One of the ways the reformed relationship may be expressed is through the idea of continuously improving public services by experimentation. "Test, try small, fail fast and learn."

Mike Robinson quotes Bertrand Russell to indicate where some of the ideas about psychologically experimenting on the citizen may have originated.

"In The Impact of Science on Society, written in 1952, Russell had this to say: “I think the subject which will be of most importance politically is mass psychology ... Its importance has been enormously increased by the growth of modern methods of propaganda. Of these the most influential is what is called 'education.' Religion plays a part, though a diminishing one; the press, the cinema, and the radio play an increasing part ..."

"It may be hoped that in time anybody will be able to persuade anybody of anything if he can catch the patient young and is provided by the State with money and equipment. “The subject will make great strides when it is taken up by scientists under a scientific dictatorship ... The social psychologists of the future will have a number of classes of school children on whom they will try different methods of producing an unshakable conviction that snow is black. Various results will soon be arrived at. First, that the influence of home is obstructive. Second, that not much can be done unless indoctrination begins before the age of ten. Third, that verses set to music and repeatedly intoned are very effective. Fourth, that the opinion that snow is white must be held to show a morbid taste for eccentricity."

"But I anticipate it is for future scientists to make these maxims precise and discover exactly how much it costs per head to make children believe that snow is black, and how much less it would cost to make them believe it is dark gray. “Although this science will be diligently studied, it will be rigidly confined to the governing class. The populace will not be allowed to know how its convictions were generated. When the technique has been perfected, every government that has been in charge of education for a generation will be able to control its subjects securely without the need of armies or policemen.” "

Recall that Noam Chomsky has talked about education as the indoctrination of youth in the Corporate Assault on Education. It has a long history and is speeding up as more young people in the US are channelled into private technical colleges and begin their working lives burdened with debt. Only the elite have access to the best educational establishments.

In Scotland the altered relationship between the individual and the state is being acted out through public service provision and is set out in a number of documents about the Enabling State. Sir John Elvidge who previously worked in the Cabinet Office and the Scottish Office is acknowledged as masterminding the policy in league with the Carnegie UK Trust.

One of the ideas of the Enabling State is that there needs to be constant tweaks and iterations to systems in order to improve services. It is the same model as "Test, try small, fail fast and learn."

Since outcomes are based on human behaviour, this methodology is really about experimenting on human populations.

It can be seen to be working in Curriculum for Excellence where teachers are now expected to engage with each other to design the curriculum themselves, but within very tight constraints, thus bypassing local authorities. The idea is that the curriculum must be constantly updated and regulated by centralised control. New standardised testing is being brought in to monitor outcomes.

Andrew Carnegie, the great philanthropist, bequeathed a most beautiful park to the `toiling masses` in Dunfermline, Scotland.  A kind gesture, perhaps, but there is a message that the role of the masses is to toil for others. This attitude is being slid into place in Curriculum for Excellence where workforce training begins in the nursery and NEETs (not in employment, education or training) are tracked when they leave school. Education in Scotland has become more vocational and no gap year for some sections of the community is allowed. 

Of course, it is recent technological advances that allow statistical methods, integrated services and e-governance to be implemented. The reformed relationship between the individual and the state is also being brought in through the Named Person scheme but this is only one small part of a much wider agenda of control.

The Enabling State was discussed earlier in the year by UK Column and is worth another view given recent developments. The discussion begins at about 17.46 minutes.

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Opposition to Scottish Higher Education Bill

"The former US National Security Agency (NSA) contractor, currently in exile in Russia after leaking details of surveillance programmes carried out by American intelligence, was elected as rector of Glasgow University by students."

"Now Mr Snowden has hit out at the Scottish Government’s Higher Education bill, which opponents say could lead to the end of ancient universities electing rectors to chair their governing bodies and champion students’ interests. The bill would standardise the way chairs of university courts are elected."

"Critics have said the shake-up would remove the right of democratically elected rectors to chair university courts..."

"However, the Scottish Government has denied that it plans to abolish rectors."

There was a strong response from Mel Kelly on Facebook:

Failure by design

"The corporate assault on education is not new and is just one part of the corporate assault on the population generally."

"In 1776 Adam Smith warned that the masters of mankind relentlessly pursue their vile maxim `All for ourselves, nothing for anyone else,`and they use their control of the political system... to assist this pursuit."

"He was talking about England, of course," says Noam Chomsky, "The principle architects of policy in England are those who essentially own the country.  In Adam Smith`s day the people who owned the country were the merchants and manufacturers and they make use of their wealth and influence to ensure that their own interests are very scrupulously served , no matter how grievous the effect on the people of England."

Nothing changes.

One correction: Adam Smith was from Enlightenment Scotland
and was discussing ideas more widespread.

Often misquoted: An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations can be downloaded or read online.

Free to read for personal use:

Monday, 26 October 2015

Encouraging the work ethic through more poverty in work

Lords tax-credits speech
"Those who strive to do everything we ask of them... now find themselves punished for doing what's right."Labour peer Baroness Hollis attacks government cuts to tax credits in a Lords speech so widely discussed that it trended on Twitter.
Posted by Channel 4 News on Monday, October 26, 2015

"Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson told the Sunday Telegraph that any cuts would have to be carefully introduced. She said: `It's not acceptable. The aim is sound, but we can't have people suffering on the way. The idea that there's a cliff edge in April before the uptake in wages comes in is a real practical human problem and the government needs to look again at it.`"

"Opponents of the plan have said that the cuts could take more than £1,000 per year from the average family. The tax credit policy is said to cost the government £30bn a year. It is thought that 200,000 children could be forced into poverty as a result of the cuts. Under the new rules the income threshold for Working Tax Credits - £6,420 - will be cut to £3,850 a year from April. "

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Hearing at Supreme Court in March for NO2NP group

"Campaigners against Scottish Government's plans to appoint named guardians for children are to take their battle to the Supreme Court next year."

"A legal challenge at Scotland's top civil court failed earlier this year but the No To Named Persons (NO2NP) campaign group have secured a hearing at the Supreme Court in London in March."

"The government measure, contained in the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act, assigns a "named person" - such as a teacher or health visitor - to look out for the welfare of children under 18."

"NO2NP argue that ministers have exceeded their powers and are in breach of data protection laws and the human rights of parents but a judge at the Court of Session refused a petition for the judicial review of legislation back in January."

"The campaign group have stated they could even take the case to European courts in search of a favourable review."

"Campaign spokesman Simon Calvert said: "The right to a family life unhindered by state interference is of such vital importance that we feel we have no option but to bring the matter before the Supreme Court..."

"The judgement states that a named person is unable to interfere in family life but merely able to make 'an offer of help, which may simply be rejected'. But the legislation gives a named person broad powers to interfere without parental consent."

The Scottish government will insist that the Named Person is merely a single point of contact for families backed up by health workers and teachers doing what they have always done.

But it`s all about the data.
THE SNP is to create a £12million database containing medical details about every child in Scotland, with officials admitting the trove of information could be stored abroad. It will work alongside the controversial Named Person scheme, allowing health workers to "monitor" youngsters at the click of a button and flagging up parents who refuse vaccinations.
The network will join with another upgraded NHS database containing the medical records of everybody north of the Border, known as the Community Health Index (CHI)...Ten-year contracts for both projects have been put out to tender by the Scottish Government, with a target start date of August 2016 and a total cost of up to £32million.
A network of joined up databases might as well be a single database.

In England, Integrated Children`s Services was supported by ContactPoint a database that cost £224m to set up and £41m a year to run. It was criticised for privacy, security and child protection reasons and was shut down in 2010.

The same criticisms apply to the Named Person scheme.


Demand to end fraudulent vaccine science

By Jefferey Jaxen

"On October 23-25th, a gathering will be held to demand the end of unsound political decisions based on fraudulent science. Attendees of this rally will be taking their message directly to the Atlanta headquarters of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The hopes for this CDC rally demanding truth, transparency, and freedom will be to create awareness around the dangers of vaccines and to spotlight the “cesspool of corruption” within the agency as Robert F. Kennedy Jr. recently described it..."

The flu season is here again and there is a lot to consider when balancing the risks of the vaccine against the potential benefits.
"A new campaign to encourage people in Scotland to be prepared to ‘show flu who’s boss’ has been launched by NHS Health Scotland. This year’s influenza vaccination programme, launched on 1 October, will offer over two million people in Scotland the influenza vaccine. Children with a health condition, people over aged 65, those with pre-existing medical conditions, NHS workers, healthcare workers and unpaid carers are among the groups who are eligible for the flu vaccine. "

The flu vaccine, unlike other vaccines, does not provide life long immunity and must be renewed each year. It is also a bit of a `hit and a miss` because it is not possible to protect against all strains of the virus in any particular year.
Listen to Dr Mark Geier.

Silencing dissent in the UK

From the Canary:
"Theresa May has announced a host of measures to tackle the `unprecedented threat` she believes we face from `extremism.` These include creating a register of all those convicted of extremism or terrorism offences, similar to the system used for sex offenders, meaning those included will automatically be banned from working with children or vulnerable people. The proposals will also look at how extremists can be prevented from working for all public bodies and charities."

"However, as discussed previously, Theresa May is reluctant to define the term extremism, and if you’ve ever considered taking any political action outside of the law, no matter how minor the infringement, you could be included. In other words, it is possible you could be arrested for blocking the road at a protest, be convicted of highway obstruction an offence so insignificant it doesn’t show up on a DBS check but still be on the register because you have a conviction for `extremism`."

"This may sound like scaremongering. However, it’s important to look at how far the state is prepared to go in silencing and repressing dissent. This week, Dr Jiang, a survivor of Tiananmen Square, was` brutally manhandled` for holding up two signs and standing in the road attempting to block the motorcade of Chinese Premier, Xi Jinping. Following his arrest, he was detained overnight, his home was raided and his computer seized. His wife stated:
The police here in the UK are now doing the same things as in China."

From Computing:

"The Communications Data Bill, different versions of which successive governments have sought to ram through Parliament for almost a decade now, is set to be reintroduced within weeks."

"Revived and renamed, the Bill will provide government agencies with a "dizzying" array of new surveillance and hacking powers."

"These are expected to include powers for Britain's spy agencies to be able to take remote control of a smartphone and to access every area of the device, including documents, photos, text messages and emails. It will also legally empower them to be able to install eavesdropping software - similar to the technology sold by Hacking Team and Gamma International to third-world dictatorships - onto people's smartphones and computers."

Friday, 23 October 2015

A Stasi State

This particular section of the UK Column programme deals with the measures being taken by the government to tackle extremism.

Published 22 October 2015

"Teachers, child care providers, local authorities, NHS, Border Force, prisons, probation, housing authorities, mental health and others are now required to spy on children and adults under the guise of preventing extremism."
"Counter-Terrorism policy and legislation is reserved to the Westminster Government, but many aspects of preparation, prevention and dealing with the consequences of a terrorist act in Scotland would be managed and controlled by the Scottish Government and local agencies."
"The Scottish Government is engaged in a range of activities to address the threat, which integrate with the UK Government's overarching "CONTEST" counter terrorism strategy."
Pursue. Prevent. Protect. Prepare.

UK Column (22.10.15) reports on Goddard Inquiry

The Missing Files 
"There were two files that Geoffrey Dickens gave to Leon Brittan in 1984, this is the second file and the person who gave it to Geoffrey Dickens has now given a copy to me," Mr Mann said.
"Two questions now arise. Firstly, why were the contents of the file not investigated? Secondly, why was the Prime Minister unable to find this file when he instigated the Wanless Review last year?
Mike Robinson asks: "Is this dossier complete. Is it as it was when it was passed to Mr Dickens or has it been sanitised? "

"This is the question, isn`t it?" says Brian Gerrish.  "Because miraculously this document suddenly pops up.. and I thought to myself has it been doctored to remove any real incriminating information? And then of course after the Leon Brittan put down by BBC Panorama we can presumably have the BBC crowing that there was no substance in that dossier either."

Goddard Inquiry on child abuse

Brian Gerrish says: "Over a number of months I have been asking Justice Goddard what she is going to do to protect child abuse whistleblowers and we have been citing the case of Melanie Shaw. Melanie Shaw of course is the Beechwood Children`s Home whistleblower and ever since Melanie has blown the whistle she has been hounded, victimised, and bullied by the very authorities who allowed the abuse to be committed in the first place."

"So we wrote to the Inquiry and we asked for a simple reply pointing out that under Justice Goddard`s own Terms of Reference she had a duty to care for people who were coming forward. Well we could not get an answer from the Judge. We kept getting an answer from a member of the Information and Engagement Hub... What did she have to say? "

"In this latest letter of course we`ve got exactly what we need because she says ... that the chair has read my letter. Now this lady never refers to Justice Goddard in person; it`s always done as the chair. So is Justice Goddard a chair? Well we assume she is; we assume it is this chair, but we don`t know. But finally the chair has read the correspondence. And here`s the reply:"

"I understand your concerns but unfortunately the inquiry does not have the express duty of care to individuals to which you refer, although of course we understand the need to engage sensitively with victims and survivors and other members of the public."

Brian Gerrish continues: "Now the letter at the beginning says something like you may be disappointed with this response but actually I am not disappointed because here the inquiry is telling us in no uncertain terms that of course the thing is a scam. So they are investigating the police; they are investigating local authorities; they`re investigating charities supposedly for their failure to protect children from abuse and when you report to them a case where day by day that abuse has continued, all the inquiry says it is going to do is refer the case back to the very police system that is conducting the victimisation of the child abuse whistleblower in the first place."

"So this letter I think is absolutely key. It shows that the Goddard Inquiry is a scam. And we have now the fact that of course all of that information and team around Justice Goddard is provided by Theresa May and the Home Secretary`s department itself. So there is absolutely no independence. And then we have NSPCC acting as the big fishing net, taking the calls coming into this independent inquiry. So there we have it: if you are a child abuse victim; if you`re a whistleblower and you come forwafd with evidence, do not expect the Goddard Inquiry to protect you because they will simply refer your case back to the very authorities who`ve failed you in the first place."

"It`s outrageous Mike. I can`t think of any other word to express it. But slowly and surely the truth is coming out and let us just remember that the Goddard inquiry is not yet fully set up; they`re still arranging themselves and they have still to answer the question: Who was directly responsible for the IT systems from which the evidence was miraculously lost or destroyed. We believe the Home Office was responsible for those systems but to date there is no reply from the inquiry itself. "

New chair for deaths in custody review

"Following the tragic and brutal death of Sheku Bayoh in Police Scotland custody what is the Home Secretary doing? ... She announced a new chair  for deaths in custody review and who would you choose to do this? Well we cannot make this up. Here we`ve got Dame Elish Angiolini, the woman who refused to get involved and engaged in the investigation of the abuse of Hollie Greig, massive attack on Robert Green for trying to expose the failure of Grampian police and others to investigate that child abuse case. Then this is the lady brought in to advise the Met Police on their rape policy . We`ve now got a brutal death in custody. Who do you bring back in ? Elish Angiolini. I get a mental picture here of the cowboy wagons drawn in around the plane and they are now so desperate to protect the establishment they have to bring in a safe pair of hands at every opportunity."
"Indeed," says Mike Robinson. "Here`s the cover-up queen."

See the full programme

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Stitching up the complaint process

"On Friday 30th October 2015 the Scottish Government closes its ‘consultation’ on the complaints procedure for its hugely controversial Named Person / State Guardian scheme."

"Those with arguments, positions and views on this illiberal and dangerous scheme should take pains to meet that deadline."

"The Government says it realises the complaint process needs to be ‘accessible, clear and straightforward’, so that people aren’t put off making complaints due to ‘overly complicated processes’. As an example of what it considers to be ‘accessible, clear and straightforward’ is online here and is worth a look. It has to be said that it is not even graphically straightforward."

"The No2NP [No to Named Persons] organisation says that the proposed complaints processes are not fit for purpose in at least two ways, citing:
‘One fundamental thing someone might want to complain about is the identity of their Named Person, for example if it is someone they do not feel they can trust. But the consultation document makes no mention of this, only talking about Named Person "functions".’

‘If a complaint is not dealt with properly, an individual will be able to have their case reviewed by the Scottish Public Service Ombudsman [SPSO]. But the SPSO doesn’t have the power to enforce its decision even if it agrees with the complaint.’ That is risible no assured protection whatsoever, leaving the appeals process quite pointless."

Actually, it gets worse. There is another problem with the SPSO complaint procedure:
Many complaints are about decisions. We cannot change a decision that has been made properly. This means we can look at how the organisation reached its decision - for example, we can check that it followed the correct process - but if the decision was made properly we cannot question it.
This means it is going to be difficult to complain about the identity of the named person and any decisions they make. All that an individual will be able to complain about is that the named person did not follow procedures correctly. (And there are plenty of them to be following. Best get a lawyer because the LA will have theirs !))

To take part in the consultation, see link below

The Westminster extremist threat

"What started as the British government's attempt to ban extremist thought from social media and television (under the notion that some thoughts are too dangerous to enjoy the freedom that other thoughts deserve) then devolved into the conscripting of teachers that were to be on the lookout for children that might become radicalized. To assist them with this, the government helpfully provided spy-software to use against students. Spy-software which itself was found to be exploitable in the most laughably easy of ways. This employed two of the most horrifying aspects of Orwell's Oceania: the concept of thought-crime and the employ of citizens to fearfully surveil one another. "

"And now it seems the UK is going even further, adopting Oceania's reputation for the swallowing up of citizens should they be found suspect of thought-crime by those watchful citizens. Specifically, the Family Division of the Judiciary has put out a memo declaring exactly how it will
remove children from the homes of anyone it suspects might radicalize those children..."

"It goes on from there, essentially giving courts and law enforcement an absolute free pass to deny the court open access and review of the very intelligence that landed the case before it in the first place. This is a memo designed to create a court system by which Muslim parents will lose their children and won't even be told why, or have the opportunity to rebut evidence against them, as no evidence need be presented. This isn't just overreaction, it's terrifyingly provocative action designed with one target in mind and built on the back of a process designed to be flawed in favor of a government that apparently can't get its head on straight. "

See also

Inequality of arms

"Through their campaign, Justice for LB, Connor's family managed to fundraise £26,000: enough to pay a solicitor, but not their two barristers, who worked pro bono. Sara believes that their lawyers had a big impact on how the inquest, which finally concluded last week, was conducted..."

"For example: the coroner was initially undecided about whether a jury should be present at the final hearing. Though an independent report found that Connor's death was preventable and Slade House was subsequently shut down after failing an inspection, Sara says that at the pre-inquest review the Trust's lawyers still argued that Connor died of natural causes and that he had not actually been detained in the unit, so a jury would be unnecessary. "


"The first argument that a death by drowning was not unnatural was immediately dismissed by the coroner. But the second was less clear cut. "The argument about whether or not Connor had been detained was relentless," says Sara. "It probably took our barrister about 20 minutes of careful arguing, holding up case law and all the rest of it, for the coroner to eventually accept that he was. And we would never have been able to do it on our own." A jury inquest was granted. "

"For Mr Dias, this kind of legal wrangling is to be expected at a state death inquest. He says that families initially come to him relieved that their relative's death will finally be investigated. "I have to advise them, time and again, you must understand that this will be terribly, terribly difficult," he says. "Because when something like that happens, rather than throwing open its doors to expose systemic wrongdoing and individual and collective failures, the state closes the doors and you have to bash them open."

See also

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Sale of data

We have today announced a fine of £130,000 to online pharmacy, Pharmacy 2U for selling the details of more than 20,000...
Posted by Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) on Tuesday, October 20, 2015

A little bit of extra help, or mass surveillance ?

Alistair Gaw, president of Social Work Scotland, attempts to set us all straight about the named person policy in the Scotsman today.

"It’s not about creating a nanny state, it’s about helping and supporting children and families."

He was bemused by media misrepresentations that the legislation would mean there would be a social worker for every child. Actually, for school aged children the named person is most likely to be a teacher he informs us.

He has missed the point of the criticism against the named person policy completely. It is not about which hat the named person is wearing that is the issue, it is the fact that the named person has been legislated into existence and is to be imposed on every child.

He goes on:

"The main reason Social Work Scotland, the leadership body for social work, supports the policy is that it is designed to make sure social work is involved only when it is needed. "

Only when it is needed ? - he is trying to pull the wool over our eyes -  that has always been standard practice. If this is the main reason Social Work Scotland supports the policy it is a very poor one. He has thought about the consequences for Social Work but has given no thought at all to the effects of the policy on every child and his/her family.

"The name person role will reduce not increase the involvement of social work in the lives of families, protecting resources for our most vulnerable children," Gaw says.

Time will tell. But if the involvement in the lives of families reduces for social work, it increases exponentially by named persons and the pilot scheme provides the evidence:
Almost 8,000 youngsters in the Highlands have been given a 'Child's Plan' - meaning they have been singled out for "targeted intervention" by an army of public sector busybodies.
Incredibly, before the trial began four years ago there were only 64 children on the Child Protection At Risk register in the entire Highland Council Area.
Gaw then goes on to use the `falling through the net` myth to justify the named person scheme. Children must be spotted early, before a crisis, and personal data must be inspected and joined up to get the bigger picture. By necessity that means for all children.

Yet if we look at Audit and Analysis of Significant Case Reviews (October 2012), it states:

"A very high proportion of families (93%) whose circumstances formed the subject of SCRs were known to social work services, with just 7% of families known only to universal services. This suggests that concerns had been identified in these families and had been correctly passed on to statutory services as specified in national child protection guidance."

In other words it is not universal services who are failing children but statutory social services. Then there is the more recent case of Mikaeel Kular.
At the time of MK’s death the family were receiving support from Fife Social Work Services on a voluntary basis...
(T)aking specialist legal advice, all partners in this Review have concluded that it would not be appropriate to release the full report.

I think we can guess why.

Gaw then quotes Lord Carloway, the Lord Justice Clerk`s, ruling about the named person scheme: "It has no effect whatsoever on the legal, moral or social relationships within the family," which we are probably going to hear ad nauseum.

That is, despite information to practitioners indicating that legal, moral and social relationships are going to be drastically altered. For instance, Dumfries and Galloway Practitioner`s Guide to Information Sharing has this to say:

"It is important that you:

...  understand that you are empowered to share personal and/or sensitive personal information, if you are worried and/or concerned about a child or young person’s wellbeing. In these circumstances nothing whatsoever prevents you from sharing the information."

So, whereas it was the role of parents to worry and be concerned about their child`s wellbeing, it is now the business of the named person who can share personal and sensitive information about the child and family across government departments and decide whether or not to instigate early interventions. (whatever they are !)

That changes everything.

Is it not about time the Scottish government and their sock puppets stopped trying to hoodwink the Scottish public about the named person scheme?

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Survivors question the loss of their data

Whiteflowers campaign for the rights of survivors of child sexual abuse. They state:

"A petition has been raised by survivors, whistelblowers, child protection professionals and members of the general public that calls upon the Home Affairs Select Committee to bring Justice Lowell Goddard to account about the ‘instant and permanent deletion’ of survivor evidence at the time of a change in the Inquiry website between the dates of 14th September and 2nd October 2015."

They ask why there was no back-up system in place "in contravention of government recommendations on safe IT practice...and "condemn calls for survivors to re-input their information online and call on the Committee and the Inquiry to warn survivors not to input information until a full inquiry has been conducted and can assure the security of their information. Survivors need guarantees that the Child Sex Abuse Inquiry is a `safe place.`"

Phil Mair, an IT and Web Developer of Police Systems for 25 years, spoke to Whiteflowers and his response was updated on 19 October 2015..

"I find it inconceivable that any such data could be deleted instantly and permanently. The only way such a catastrophic loss of data could occur would be if it never made it from the web-based form to the intended location (be it via a backend database or emailed in some way)."

"This would mean there had to be a fundamental flaw in the system that collected and posted the data from the web page. Such a fundamental flaw would have been obvious from the start - ie a simple test would have identified the fault before the system went live, or as a result of a trivial (and necessary) post-implementation test .. basically: once the web site was made live, then all someone would have had to do was spend a few seconds trying to fill in a dummy form."

"If, however, they claim the data did reach its intended target (database or email system) then it would require both incredible naivety and incompetence during setup, and/or a highly sophisticated and deliberate set of actions, to destroy all trace of the data in such a thorough and irretrievable way. "

"This is such a ridiculous story that no one could possibly believe it."

See the petition:

Monday, 19 October 2015

Andrea Davison: "Panorama Abuse Survivor David Says BBC Misrepresented H...

Teaching biology with mixed messages

OK, there is `political correctness` gone mad, particularly directed towards early learning environments and schools and with the poor and disadvantaged in mind.
There are certain things that children cannot do, or say, or be. So say those who would rule over us, and so do the sheep who follow them.
And then there are the educators who like to get into the mix as the Telegraph inadvertently explains:
"We've all been bored at school before. This teacher managed to keep her class focused by standing on a table and taking her clothes off ."

"This Dutch teacher has raised the educational bar for others who simply read from textbooks or point to a plastic skeleton."

"Standing on a desk in front of her ninth grade class, Debby took off her clothes to reveal the bodysuit, which clearly showed where all the organs of the body can be found in graphic detail."

Let`s examine the language.

This teacher took the lesson to the next level.

Her method was inspired.

She managed to keep her class focused.

By standing on the table and taking her clothes off.

Snickering in the classroom was an indication that schoolchildren were absorbing the lesson, nothing else.

All perfectly innocent, of course. No gimmicks or the teacher`s exhibitionism involved, at all.

It`s the language of advertising.

And we`re supposed to take this seriously.

Hot Teachers

This is not Debby

Pre-education for the disadvantaged, or no child benefit

If you want to work on the minds of children, it is best to get them as young as possible:

Here`s Welfare Weekly:

"Parents should be denied child benefit if they do not send their children to pre-school education from the age of three, according to an increasingly influential Conservative pressure group."

"The penalty should apply to a parent in the case of a child aged two if the toddler comes from a disadvantaged background, the new counter-poverty strategy suggests."

"The proposed loss of child benefit is set out in a pamphlet by Bright Blue, a liberal Conservative pressure group and thinktank, and is designed to ensure disadvantaged children go to Sure Start centres to make them ready for school."

"Bright Blue says it is essential to seek new ways to persuade parents to send their children to Sure Start centres."

"It argues that just as the government is planning to withdraw child benefit from parents of truanting children, so the same disincentives should apply to parents that do not take up the opportunity of free pre-school education. Ministers have said they are doubling the amount of free pre-school childcare or education to 30 hours a week."

"The proposal is bound to be attacked by Labour as another assault on the poor and comes in the wake of controversy over the loss of tax credits. A survey last year by a children’s charity found that many Sure Start centre face closure because of budget cuts with £830m less being spent on them in the three years from 2011-12."

Forcing children into mental straightjackets

"Teachers are to be issued guidelines detailling the words which are to be banned from the playground."

"Children as young as five are going to be admonished for using language that enforces gender stereotypes as new guidelines are sent to every school in England this Tuesday. "

"School students are no longer allowed to use sexist language to bait each other in the playground, such as "man up" and "go make me a sandwich", and head teachers are being urged to ensure that sexist language is taken as seriously as racist language. "

"In response, some schools are creating volunteer squads of girls to police sexist attitudes and report back to teachers." [That should help relations between the sexes !]

"Even low-level comments are potentially an issue with teachers using phrases such as ‘man up’."

"Schools are also being asked by the report to appoint senior teachers as 'gender champions', appointing them with the task of encouraging more girls to take traditionally 'male' subjects such as economics, computer science and physics at GCSE and A-level and more boys to take 'female' subjects such as English literature, foreign languages and psychology." [Male and female subjects: that language is sexist too, is it not ?]

Saturday, 17 October 2015

The Great British cover-up ?

"The Metropolitan police service has withdrawn its assertion that Cyril Smith attended a house in south London which was allegedly used by a VIP paedophile ring."

"Statements released by the force in 2013 and 2014 claimed that officers had "established" that the late Liberal MP, who was known to be a child abuser, had visited Elm Guest House in Barnes, south-west London."

"That claim has been repeated by campaigners such as the Conservative candidate for mayor of London, Zac Goldsmith who believe there is evidence of a cover-up of abuse at the home dating back 30 years."

"But a new statement released by the Met to the Guardian has removed the claim, casting doubt on whether the late MP for Rochdale was ever there..."

"Claims of a ring at Elm Guest House have been widely circulated across the world’s media. Prominent British men were alleged to have attended the guest house in the 1980s to abuse young boys who had been plied with alcohol."

"Many of the claims originate from Chris Fay, a campaigner for the National Association of Young People in Care, who told the BBC he had written down a "guest list" of VIP paedophiles who attended the guest house. Names on the list include Smith, Harvey Proctor and Leon Brittan."

It looks like an effort is being made by the establishment to undermine the inquiry into child sexual abuse at Elm Guest House, in particular,  as well as frightening off potential witnesses to VIP child abuse more generally.

(1) There was the recent Panorama documentary in which Christopher Fay was rubbished and the interviewer questioned fragile witnesses before completion of police investigations. Exaro claimed that the BBC stole some of their video material for the programme.

(2) There have been calls that Tom Watson MP should apologise for his statements about a VIP paedophile ring in Westminster.

(3) Information provided by alleged child abuse victims to the  inquiry has been deleted due to a blunder...

(4) In January, the Home affairs select committee chaired by Keith Vaz MP accidentally published documents naming victims of abuse on its website.