Thursday, 29 June 2017

Petition to Scottish parliament about teacher training

[Anne Glennie 2015: Scottish teachers are not being trained to teach reading according to evidence based practice]

[Debbie Hepplewhite: June 29 2017]

"Regardless of the country in which you reside, please do support Anne Glennie’s parliamentary petition to bring about an official enquiry in Scotland regarding teacher-education in evidence informed reading instruction:"

See here: ... nstruction

"It is an absolute travesty that England has made good strides towards the need for systematic synthetic phonics and yet to all intents and purposes, Scotland has made a back-slide. Worryingly, this is the case in Wales too."

"How ironic that the parliamentary inquiry in England leading to Sir Jim Rose’s exceptionally important independent review was highly influenced by the Clackmannanshire studies in Scotland (Johnston and Watson) and yet in Scotland itself, promotion of systematic synthetic phonics is not universal and a leading academic, Sue Ellis, (and others) works actively through official auspices to undermine the need for systematic synthetic phonics."

"Scotland also appears to be moving increasingly towards discovery learning and the official guidance, Curriculum for Excellence, is nothing short of a nightmare in its complexity and unhelpfulness for teachers in Scotland..."

The erosion of democratic accountability in education

"COUNCILS are preparing a campaign to oppose a radical shake-up of the way Scottish schools are run. Cosla, the umbrella body for local authorities, is to write to the Scottish government highlighting concerns over the proposals."

"Earlier this month, John Swinney, the Education Secretary, unveiled plans to give more power to headteachers alongside a new statutory requirement to raise standards."

"Mr Swinney also transferred the power to provide support for schools to seven new regional `collaborative` bodies led by a director who will report to the chief inspector of schools."

"Previously, councils were responsible for improving schools and reports on progress would be presented for scrutiny to education committees made up of locally-elected councillors."

"A paper on the changes prepared for Cosla’s special leaders meeting on Friday warned that giving more power to headteachers `eroded` local democratic accountability."

"Officials also said it was unclear how the plans would be regulated or enforced."

Judge appointed to head Grenfell fire inquiry

"A recently retired court of appeal judge who specialised in commercial law has been appointed to head the inquiry into the Grenfell Tower. Sir Martin Moore-Bick, 70, only left the bench last December..."

"The former senior judge has in the past been praised by the justice minister, Dominic Raab, for applying `long-awaited common sense` to limit human rights law in a case where he deported a foreign-born criminal whose young children lived in Britain. But Moore-Bick, who is widely respected within the legal profession, will have to gain the confidence of the north Kensington community where the tragedy occurred."

"In one 2014 case, Moore-Bick said Westminster council could rehouse Titina Nzolameso, a single mother with five children, more than 50 miles away in Milton Keynes. He ruled that it was not necessary for Westminster to explain in detail what other accommodation was available and that it could take `a broad range of factors` into account, including the pressures on the council, in deciding what housing was available."

"In April 2015, the supreme court reversed his ruling, pointing out that the council had not asked `any questions aimed at assessing how practicable it would be for the family to move out of the area.`"

Meanwhile the number of dead has crept up to at least 80:
"A six-month-old baby was found dead in her mother’s arms after the Grenfell Tower disaster, in which at least 80 people died or are missing presumed dead, an inquest has heard."
"Leena Belkadi’s body was found in a stairwell between the 19th and 20th floors of the 24-storey high-rise block, Westminster coroner’s court was told."
"The coroner’s officer, Eric Sword, said she was `found in her mother’s arms`. Leena’s sister, Malak, aged eight, who was recovered from the 20th floor, where the family lived, and taken to St Mary’s hospital, also later died. The cause of death for both sisters was given as inhalation of fire fumes."

Vatican treasurer charged with sex offences

"The Vatican treasurer, Cardinal George Pell, has vehemently denied any wrongdoing after being charged with sex offences in his native Australia..."

"Cardinal Pell has been a strong supporter of traditional Catholic values, taking a conservative stance on same-sex marriage and contraception, and advocating priestly celibacy."

"But his career has been dogged first by claims that he covered up child sexual abuse by priests, and then later that he was himself an abuser. He has always strongly denied any wrongdoing."

"In 2014, Cardinal Pell was summoned to Rome to become chief of the Vatican's finances, a new position created by Pope Francis in the wake of scandals at the Vatican Bank."

"But he left behind growing anger over revelations of child sex abuse by members of the Catholic clergy in Australia."

"Cardinal Pell repeatedly faced allegations from abuse victims of a cover-up and his critics accused him of appearing aloof and arrogant."

"He was accused of moving one notorious paedophile priest - Gerald Ridsdale - around parishes rather than reporting him, and of attempting to bribe one of the victims to keep quiet."

"He denied any wrongdoing but said he could have done more to investigate claims of abuse."

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

The human cost of the Named Person scheme

[Daily Mail: comment by NO2NP spokesman Simon Calvert]

"The Scottish Government and the Scottish courts were proven wrong in the highest court in the land when NO2NP took the case to the UK Supreme Court, where five judges handed down their verdict which effectively emasculated the scheme."

"For at its insidious heart lay the requirement to use the law to gain access to every house in the land to allow state snoopers unbridled and unwelcome access to every part of a family`s life."

"The court decision meant the Named Person proposals as enshrined in the Scottish legislation were dead in the water. And this new proposal confirms that the Named Person scheme, as originally designed, is history..."

"But at what cost?  Many families have already been victimised and demonised by state guardians in the areas where this perverse scheme has been trialed and tested."

"Decisions have been taken by snoopers which have had dreadful consequences on families, some of whom have even been forced to move home to escape the clutches of their state-sponsored tormentors..."

"Polls have revealed that two-thirds of Scots think the original scheme was an unacceptable intrusion into family life - and that includes 55 per cent of the SNP Government`s own supporters."

"Finally acknowledging the scale of the protest against the scheme, Mr Swinney said yesterday: `We must ensure that we get it right for every child... but in a way that respects the rights of families fully`."

"We should also remember that last year Mr Swinney angrily berated those who pointed out that murdered toddler Liam Fee had been subject to an early version of the Named Person scheme in Fife..."


A recent review report has understood that the additional layer of a Named Person in what was actually a child protection case caused confusion among professionals.
 "The role of the Named Person under the principles of Getting It Right for Every Child (GIRFEC) policy was relatively new in Fife at the time and not always fully understood by professionals, and may have contributed to confusion as to who was coordinating care for the family."

Decline of National Health System

With PFIs so called Private Finance Initiatives gobbling up more and more of the budgets of individual hospitals and trusts in the United Kingdom and as the NHS has lost over 50 percent of its bed capacity in the past 25 years, the fabled national health system in the UK is starting to look in dire health. In fact, some say the prognosis is terminal, much like Obamacare. Dr. Bob Gill of warns Double Down that a ‘skid row’ NHS is on the way providing only the most basic services whilst the rest of the healthcare system gets turned into a US-style corporate bureacracy.

Filmed during the production of the Sputnik podcast:

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Charlie Gard will be allowed to die

"In its decision in the case of Gard and Others v. the United Kingdom (application no. 39793/17) today the European Court of Human Rights has by a majority endorsed in substance the approach by the domestic courts and thus declared the application inadmissible. The decision is final."

"Consequently, the Court also considered that it was appropriate to lift the interim measure under Rule 39 of its Rules of Court. The case concerned Charlie Gard, a baby suffering from a rare and fatal genetic disease. In February 2017, the treating hospital sought a declaration from the domestic courts as to whether it would be lawful to withdraw artificial ventilation and provide Charlie with palliative care. Charlie’s parents also asked the courts to consider whether it would be in the best interests of their son to undergo experimental treatment in the U.S.A.. The domestic courts concluded that it would be lawful for the hospital to withdraw life sustaining treatment because it was likely that Charlie would suffer significant harm if his present suffering was prolonged without any realistic prospect of improvement, and the experimental therapy would be of no effective benefit."{"itemid":["003-5768362-7332860"]}

Gun Lessons

"For children, the highlight of school trips to meet the police is usually getting the chance to sit in a panda car and turn on the siren and blue flashing lights."

"But for this class of seven and eight-year-olds, posing with machine guns on a mock police firing range proved the most memorable - not to mention controversial - part of their school trip."

"The laughing Year Three children were pictured lined up at the range, their replica pistols and machine guns aimed at drawings of `terrorist` targets on boards yards away."

"But the decision to hand children toy guns for `target practice` at the West Midlands Police firearms training centre has divided opinion among parents and social media users. The youngsters from Kings Norton Primary School in Birmingham were invited to the training centre in the city last week after writing to the force to thank officers for keeping them safe."

"The letters followed a class discussion about recent terror attacks in Manchester and London and the role of the emergency services."

"One father, who only wanted to give his fist name, David said: `The police even put out a press release entitled `Ready,!`"

"Well that sends out the wrong message in my Book. It glamorises guns and makes shooting terrorists nothing more than a game.`"

[Daily Mail, Tuesday June 27 2017]

Scepticism grows about official death toll

Coroner Wilcox is reported in the Guardian as describing the "complexity of identifying victims as inquests open and scepticism about the official death toll grows."

"`Paulos, one of the youngest of the victims so far, lived with his family on the 18th floor and was found on the 13th floor`, Wilcox said. He was identified by dental records and his preliminary cause of death was given as inhalation of fire fumes."

"The hearing came as the estimated death toll remained at 79, a number authorities have consistently said is likely to rise."

"Let`s have a look at what local residents have been saying to the UK Column. [19 June 2017] They say that more than 50 children are dead. They say that local schools are actually closed and this makes it very difficult for parents and the community to actually find out what has happened with children, or numbers of children, who may have died. Local people are saying that they believe the total death toll is now over 300. And they believe that many if not most of those who have died are in fact Muslims."

"The authorities are still not admitting or clarifying the scale of the disaster and on Sunday 18 June 2017 hundreds were on the streets locally, many dressed in their Sunday best in respect, but there was no media reporting..."

7 days of action

7daysofaction worked with Elaine James and Chris Hatton from Lancaster University to write the report a Trade in People.

"The first thing we noticed was the amounts of money that were being spent. In total in 2015/16 it was estimated that £ 477.4 million was spent on keeping approximately 2500 people with learning disabilities in hospital..."

"On average a person who has been in hospital for 5 years will generate £950,000 in income for an independent sector organisation, although significantly higher levels of income are possible."

"We believe that the interplay between the public and private sectors has had an enormous impact on people’s ability to get home and has played an important role in the emerging development of what is effectively a trade in people."

Monday, 26 June 2017

Review says there was no immediate investigation into death

AN INVESTIGATION into a York man’s death after suffering a seizure in supported living accommodation has raised a series of major concerns.

An independent review was ordered by City of York Council into the circumstances surrounding the death of Danny Tozer on September 22, 2015, at York Hospital, a day after he suffered an epileptic fit at a house in Bishopthorpe run by the charity Mencap.

The review reported that Danny, an autistic man of 36 with a severe learning disability and uncontrolled epilepsy, had a seizure in his bedroom while the door was shut, followed by a cardiac arrest and brain damage.

It said his parents, Rosemary and Tim, believed it was a preventable death, which had come after they had raised many concerns about the quality of his care, which was commissioned by the council and the NHS...

In its findings, the review noted there was no immediate investigation by Mencap after Danny’s death, and it was difficult to state with accuracy exactly what occurred on that morning.

`There was no immediate investigation.` This follows a familiar pattern which indicates that to certain authorities some lives are worth less than others. But if Mencap, whose vision is a world where people with a learning disability are valued equally, listened to and included - or so they say - can dismiss a young man`s death so easily, who are the learning disabled and their families to trust ?

Charity will have largest facility in Europe

This is very bad news for young people and their families.

"A charity is set to build Europe`s largest mental health facility for young people in Northampton."

"St Andrew`s the UK`s leading charity providing specialist NHS care, has received planning approval to construct a new residential building for young people with mental illness, autism and learning difficulties in Northampton."

"Designed by P+HS Architects, the new building on Cliftonville Road, which will cost £45 million, will bring together adolescent services at St Andrew`s on one site and will be the largest facility of its kind in Europe."

"It will provide care to young people from across the United Kingdom, and alongside 110 residential beds, it will include a school, sports and therapy areas, and a number of landscaped courtyards."

See Finola Moss`s blog: New Gold Rush: forced residential care

Also see Sara Ryan`s blog: The mystery of Loring Hall and the CQC*

*CQC Care Quality Commission

Children`s ward in Livingston to close

"A children's hospital ward is to close in two weeks - just a year after an independent review recommended it stayed open."

"The inpatient ward at St John’s hospital, Livingston, will stop accepting patients on July 7 onwards, NHS Lothian has confirmed."

"But the move has sparked fury among campaigners and locals who say sick kids will now be forced to travel over 20 miles to Edinburgh."

"The staff member added: `This will force families to travel into Edinburgh with a sick child and be far away from home. This could be problematic for those who rely on public transport`."

"`The staff were happy to provide cover and it’s just lies to say the issue is staffing problems when we have a full rota`."

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Tower block survivors to be moved on

23 June 2017

"Today residents of Grenfell Tower were given eviction notices by the local council to vacate their temporary accommodation in Kensington, in a move described as ‘barbaric’ by Radical Housing Network."

"Residents of Grenfell Tower who had been staying at the Holiday Inn, Kensington, were told today that they were to be separated and moved by 4pm to other temporary hotel accommodation across London, in places such as in Heathrow, Lambeth, Southwark and north London. Following intervention by legal observers, most of the residents have been moved together to a hotel in Westminster."

"Pilgrim Tucker, a community organiser working with the Grenfell Action Group and liaising with residents at the hotel, said:"
"It’s beyond disgusting that after all these people have been through losing their neighbours and watching their homes burn to the ground authorities are prepared to tell them that they have hours to pick up their bags and move to some unknown destination, separated from their friends and neighbours. It makes you wonder if anything’s been learned from the Grenfell catastrophe."


"Commenting on the Metropolitan Police statement on the Grenfell Tower investigation, a spokesperson for the Radical Housing Network said:"
"From the council’s estate management organisation failing to respond to repeated resident complaints, to the reported delaying of a fire safety review by government ministers, it’s clear that a culture of negligence existed at all levels. Those responsible must be held to account. In particular, Kensington & Chelsea council leader Nick Paget-Brown must answer questions on what appear to be multiple failings by his local authority and its privately contracted service providers."


Saturday, 24 June 2017

Sharing the public sector pie

The relationships and networking going on between councils, charities, central government and the private sector is quite astonishing as the hasty retreat of Sir Derek Myers from Shelter exemplifies:


"Two board members of the housing charity Shelter, including its chairman Sir Derek Myers, have resigned amid reports of internal disquiet over the organisation’s allegedly muted response to the Grenfell Tower fire."

"Myers is a former chief executive of Kensington and Chelsea council, which owns Grenfell Tower, while trustee Tony Rice is chairman of Xerxes Equity, the sole shareholder in Omnis Exteriors the company that sold the cladding used in the tower."

"On Friday afternoon, Shelter confirmed the pair had resigned from the board but offered no reasons for their departure..."

"Asked subsequently to explain the joint resignations, a Shelter spokesperson said: "The trustees decided to step away from their roles in the interests of the charity. They would not want there to be any unnecessary distraction from the work we are doing to help people affected by the Grenfell fire..."

"Myers is a qualified social worker and respected former local government manager who jointly ran Kensington and Chelsea and Hammersmith and Fulham councils between 2011 and 2013. Until recently he led the government intervention team running Rotherham council in the wake of the child abuse scandal."

Sir Derek Myers speaks on behalf of the Service Transformation Challenge Panel -- very new world order -- which is transforming public service delivery.

"In most of the places we found some form of transformation happening," he said. When asked what were the panel`s key recommendations on transformation he added: "Well we do think that this emphasis on being thoughtful about those people who`ve got complexities - or sometimes called high demand, those households who one way or another take a slightly larger slice of the public sector pie than others - we think those are the people who both deserve a joined up approach but also it`s in everybody`s interest that we move those households to a position where they are less demanding, more independent, more self-sufficient and so on."

"So we think however you analyse this you come back to: Where are we spending the money and how can we spend that money more smartly?"


No thought that spending more smartly can cost lives.

Not only that but anybody who watched UK Column on Friday 23 June 2017 will have heard Brian Gerrish talking about the millions of pounds that councils across the country have been stashing away under the radar. So where is this piece of the public sector pie going when it is not providing much needed services?

See also 

English school inspections are changing

[Greg Ashman]

"I never like to criticise individual schools and, in this case, I’m quite hesitant to offer praise. However, I think it is in the wider public interest to draw attention to Michaela Community School, not least because if Aussie teachers have heard of it at all, it is likely to be through one of the online witch hunts or feverish blog posts that hurl abuse at the school."

"Why does Michaela provoke such a reaction? Under the headship of Katherine Birbalsingh, Michaela is an avowedly traditional school with high expectations for all of its students. It teaches a knowledge-based curriculum and eschews the silly gimmicks that many schools pursue. It also happens to be a Free School. Let’s face it, Michaela needs independence because local bureaucrats would never allow a school like that to exist."

"The English schools’ inspectorate, Ofsted, have now visited Michaela and released their first report on the school. Ofsted used to be a student-centred inquisition, promoting progressive teaching methods. However, it has reformed in recent years and no longer enforces a particular teaching style. It also shows signs of taking behaviour much more seriously as an issue."

Here are a few quotes from the Ofsted report:

Here`s a quote from Amanda Spielman the new head of Ofsted which indicates her wide vision for education in England.


Here`s a few quotes from her admirers hoping, no doubt, that this is going to be the end of the tyranny of progressive education.

Fair play

By Alan Honick

"Everyone100 percent of an admittedly tiny sampleremembered their first encounter with fairness in its negative incarnation. My hypothesis is that this pattern holds, if not universally, at least among a very high percentage of individuals."

"We apparently begin with fairness as our default position. We’re surprised and affronted when we first face a situation that seems unfair, so that’s what we remember."

"It seems we’re predisposed to prefer and expect fairness..."


"While that seems to be clear evidence that a sense of fairness and altruism are linked in individual development, it gives only a suggestion that these personality traits may be, to some degree, encoded in our genes. By 15 months environmental influences, such as parenting style and sibling interactions, have undoubtedly begun to shape behaviour."

"Whatever the roots of causality that underlie these prosocial behaviors, it seems remarkable that a sense of fairness and altruism should be evident so early in life, with such marked variability in its expression. The experiments performed by Ernst Fehr and colleagues demonstrated that prosocial behaviors emerge as children learn to interact within a social milieu. Sommerville’s experiments suggest the possibility that some individuals may develop a strong sense of fairness more naturally."

Friday, 23 June 2017

Tory scam for votes

Retraining required for Named Persons

"Changes announced by Deputy First Minister John Swinney as a result of consultation with charities, public bodies and critics of the scheme [but not NO2NP] will require named persons appointed by councils, health boards and other agencies to take into account human rights, data protection law and confidentiality rules before sharing information about a child. "

"The Government has also clarified that accepting advice from a named person is voluntary and a refusal to accept advice or services offered will not in itself be taken as evidence a child is at risk..."

"A financial memorandum attached to the new legislation suggests at least £1 million will be spent on providing cover in schools and health boards for staff needing additional training ahead of Named Persons laws coming into effect in 2018. "

"Scottish Conservative education spokeswoman Liz Smith said: `The named person policy was a huge mistake from beginning to end, which is why the Government has been forced into a major U-turn`. "

"`The Scottish Conservatives believe the revised bill still raises many questions and it also lays bare the extent of the expense to the taxpayer of this ill-conceived policy`."

Fake consultations and fixed agendas

Speaking of Nicola Sturgeon`s answers to the crisis in Scottish education - each and every answer being a failed Tory policy - Kezia Dugdale says, "She has even flirted with opt out schools."

Well actually the Scottish government is still flirting with opt out schools with governance arrangements by head teachers as a first step.

Kezia Dugdale goes on to say: "Doesn`t this prove First Minister that if you vote SNP you get Tory?"

At this point the building erupts. It`s true, and Kezia should know since she represents the party who invented that scam.


Brian Wilson in the Scotsman draws attention to the fact that the Scottish Government is big on consultations but not so big on listening to consultees. This is most apparent after the recent consultation about governance of Scotland`s schools.

"While headlines focused on John Swinney’s prescription for the problems giving more power to head teachers almost no attention has been paid to the conclusions of the consultation process, published on the same day as Swinney’s statement in Holyrood. This is unfortunate since the contrast is dramatic."

"Reading the Scottish Government’s own Analysis of the Consultation Responses, it is impossible to escape the conclusion that Swinney has rejected every area of consensus to follow his own dubious path."

"More than 350 organisations and 700 individuals took the trouble to make submissions. Hundreds more attended meetings. Their conclusions appear to have been remarkably uniform remember this is the Scottish Government’s own summary of what they said. Fundamentally, it told Swinney there was `widespread support for the current governance system and an apprehension towards further change within the existing system there is ‘no need to fix something that is not broken’.` In case the point was missed, it stressed: `Current governance arrangements were not seen as a barrier for improvement and changing them should not be expected to address the deep-seated issues that get in the way of achieving excellence and equality for all`."

"That was not a cry of complacency but simply recognition that the whole discussion around improving performance and narrowing attainment gaps is based on the false premise that the primary issue to be addressed involves structures rather than other critical factors. Helpfully, the (Scottish Government’s own) Analysis of the Consultation Responses went on to define them. `Specifically,` it stated bluntly, `respondents thought that budget cuts and staffing issues were the two keys to barriers for improvement`."

"Which part of that does Swinney find difficulty in understanding? Or did he understand it all too well but felt, at a very personal level, he had no option other than to ignore it?"


Paul Holywood who comments reminds readers of the consultation about the Named Person legislation. This is not unrelated to the education debate since head teachers, as well as taking on new governance responsibilities, will also have Named Person duties.

"After the Supreme Court defeat, Mr Swinney pledged a three-month period of `intense engagement` including parents and those with 'concerns' in a consultation process designed to come up with alternative proposals which might meet the approval of the court. But he ruled out meeting with NO2NP, whose members warned more than two years ago of the problems with the scheme, and brought the legal action which resulted in the Named Person law being struck down. It has now emerged that Mr Swinney's office has failed to properly respond to parents, including some of his own constituents, seeking to become involved in the consultation process."

Read more at:

Witness did not see many escape the building

"When I first came out I was doing what my neighbours were doing which was trying to alert people in the block to wake up and at least stick their heads out of windows or wrap their heads in towels or something like that. .. It didn`t work unfortunately because a lot of them were still stuck in there. I hope that a lot of people got out but frankly I didn`t really see that many. "

"What I did see were firemen who went above and beyond the call of duty. I saw ones running in without protective clothing on them to try and get into that building to try and get people out. How they managed to do it I have absolutely no idea because the first thing that caught fire was the emergency staircase because during the regeneration they fitted gas pipes along the emergency staircase. It was the quickest way to get them from the bottom of the block to the top and then to drill through to all the flats to give them new boilers..."

"All our concerns were dismissed. We were told that we would end up with more green space than we have now and we were told ... that any objections people were making about the risks of fire or the risks of people dying was scaremongering and they actually sent a cease and desist letter to the local blog, the Grenfell Action Group... David and Goliath didn`t have a patch on this, believe me."

Joe Delany, resident of Grenfell Tower.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

A firefighter`s account

"A firefighter who attended Grenfell tower has written this"

"We arrived about 0120hrs but due to the way cars are parked in the streets and the fire engines that are arriving with us we couldn't get closer than 4-5 streets away from the building. Other trucks were closer they would be setting up water ready for us."

"We could see this was a bad one immediately. The sky was glowing. Leaving our truck we started quickly towards it. Picking up pace we are carrying our BA sets on our back, while making our way we are trying to read the conditions in front of us, trying to take in as much information as we could. How big is the tower, where is the fire, where is the fire going next, how's it behaving, how many flats are internally affected, how many people are in there? "

"We mustered outside the entrance. Parts of the building we already starting to fall down on to the surrounding area.
As we entered the building the fire on the outside was raging from the top to the bottom.
Walking up to the bridgehead on the 3rd floor we were told to look at a floor plan that had been hastily drawn on a wall.
We stood looking at it waiting at entry control to be given instructions my BA partner and I stood waiting with other firefighters waiting to see what information there was available. Then we received our brief... 23rd floor people stuck in their flat go!
23rd floor? I repeat back.. giving the flat number I received to the Watch manager.
She confirms. I turned at told my BA as the reality of how high we are going to try and go on a single cylinder of air. "

"Weighed down carrying 30kg+ of equipment not including our firekit and breathing apparatus (BA) we passed through entry control handing in our tallies and confirming our brief.
We made our way up a crowed stairwell struggling to make progress, at times unable to pass because of the amount of people on the stairs. The stairwells were full of other BA crews bringing people down all in various states and conditions. "

"The smoke grew thicker with each floor we went up. No proper floor numbers on the stairwells after about the 5th floor made it hard to know where you were. Someone before us had tried to write them on the wall with chinagraph pencil but this didn't last long. The dirty smoke was covering the walls with a film of blackness."

"Around the 9th floor we lost all visibility and the heat was rising. Still we continued up and up through the blackness. We reached what we believed to be the 19/20th floor but there was no way to tell. It was here where we found a couple trying to find their way out, panicking, choking, blinded by the thick toxic air."

"A quick gauge check showed us that the amount of floors we'd climbed had taken its toll, we were getting low on air. There's no way we could make it to the 23rd and back to the bridgehead."

"The couple were shouting and screaming at us through the coughing, trying to tell us there were 5 more people on the floor above! "

"Now I had horrible decisions to make and a very short amount of time to make them."

"In what I think would of been less than a minute these are all the things I had going through my head.
I will list a few of them for you.
All of which I needed to consider before making my decision:........"

"Now that we've stopped and lost our rhythm on the stairs would we have enough air to leave this couple and try to reach the next floor?"

"Was the information we are getting from these people was correct. After all they are frantically panicking as they choke and suffer from the heat. "

"If we let them carry on down the stairs alone would they or could they find their own way out? "

"If we went up another floor would we actually find the 5?"

"If we found them what state would they be in? Could the two of us get that many out especially one or more are unconscious? "

"How would we decided who to take?"

"Do we have enough air to make it back down to safety ourselves from where we are? "

"Should I be considering asking my BA partner a `new mother` to risk even more than she already has...?"

"Can I accept/live with the thought that saving two lives is better than taking the risk to go up and potentially saving no one? "

"Ahh!! Come on think...!
Am I doing enough?
Can I give more?
Am I forgetting any of my training....? "




The aftermath of Grenfell: raging and checking

"Downing Street said 600 buildings in the country have `similar cladding` to that of Grenfell Tower in North Kensington, which was destroyed by the June 14 blaze."

"The Department for Communities and Local Government later said that figure refers to buildings with all types of cladding and that not all of them necessarily have cladding made from the same aluminium composite material as Grenfell Tower. Landlords are being asked to check what the cladding on their buildings is made from..."

"Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn called for urgent checks on around 4,000 buildings as Britain comes to grips with the potential ramifications of the disaster. Thousands need urgent assurances about their own safety, he said..."

"Corbyn compared the tragedy to the 1989 Hillsborough disaster in which 96 people were killed in the crush of a crowded soccer stadium, and recent sexual abuse scandals involving vulnerable children, arguing that the government had long turned a blind eye to the needs of the poor..."

"May has apologised for mistakes that were made in the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower tragedy and promised that `no stone will be left unturned` in a public inquiry into its causes."

"For any guilty parties there will be nowhere to hide," she said.

Recalling May`s performance regarding the independent child sexual abuse inquiry which has lost three chairpersons already - few people are confident about an inquiry into fire safety at Grenfell. Instead of an inquiry they call for an inquest which might assign manslaughter charges to guilty parties, some of whom might be in the government itself.

What chance ?


Here is Sam the Blogger`s spin on the Day of Rage a protest which he believes is a waste of everybody`s time. The mission of the protesters was to shut down London and parliament.

"Shutting down parliament is Theresa May`s speciality," says Sam. And he has a point.

Other than that we must ask what point he is trying to make.

The political attack on society

[UK Column 16 June 2017]

"Yesterday we mentioned so-called gender neutrality. We picked up on this. This is Highgate school who decided that they were being too binary in the way that they`re looking at boys and girls. So they were proposing that really anything went and if boys wanted to be called girls names or wear skirts then that was quite normal."

"What`s the NHS been up to?  Exactly the same thing. Because here`s NHS Choices heavily promoting NHS gender identity clinics. What`s interesting in this article is if you dig in a little bit deeper up comes our old friend the Tavistock Institute. So we`ve got Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust - they`re running gender identity clinics - but the overall message coming out very strongly here is: Well it`s not really the case that there are men and women. There`s a multitude of different versions, some of them undiscovered as yet. I think this is a massive attack on conventional heterosexual relationships and stable families to bring up children. So this is very dangerous. And I`ll also say that many people, particularly from the gay community, are being drawn in and used as a political weapon."

"On it goes. We`ve got the Metro ... Northamptonshire. Police force ditches traditional hats for `gender-neutral` baseball caps. And what is interesting in this article is we find another embedded video - so this is how strong the propaganda is - and this is an HSBC video where Stuart Barette is leading the HSBC project which is HSBC Pride Network where he is talking about the need to get rid of what they call Mx titles: Ms, Mr or Mrs because that is just not sufficient. We`re going to need ten new gender neutral titles. So I`m not quite sure what the plus is when we talk about LGBT+ but 10 is not enough to cover it. There`s going to be more variations."

"And then of course we get the charities coming in. So this is one particular charity which is pushing the whole agenda. And who is actually funding Educate & Celebrate? - well we come straight back to the government: the Department of Education. And no surprises, good old BBC with Children in Need."

"And I`ll just end on this note, that we`re not the only ones picking up on this. This is an email sent in where a man said `I watched your news yesterday. I find this stuff disturbing but I was also disturbed that it was beginning to be discussed in my work place and he drew our attention to Snopes.`"

"Did Bill Nye Say Gender is Determined `by Your Chromosomes?` And what this is, is apparently supposed to be an accuracy of news check. So it said this statement is false. But what it then got on to is a very complicated dialogue which if you said what`s the overall line?  Well it`s not as simple as just men and just women."

"I am very very confident that this is a political attack on society. It was mentioned in a lot of early work including material which the Soviets warned about."

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Survivor group pulls out of independent child abuse inquiry

"A victims’ group has said it is formally withdrawing from the national inquiry into child sexual abuse, claiming the investigation is `not fit for purpose`."

"Survivors of Organised and Institutional Abuse (Soia) said it announced the decision with `deep regret` but felt the inquiry was not serving the needs of victims."

"The group said survivors have been `totally marginalised` from the process, adding that the inquiry had descended into a `very costly academic report writing and literature review exercise`."

"It comes after the Shirley Oaks Survivors Association (Sosa) one of the largest victims’ groups involved pulled out of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA), describing it as a `stage-managed event` which has `lurched from crisis to crisis`."

"Soia, part of the national WhiteFlowers survivor and whistleblower campaign, said in a statement: `It is with deep regret that Soia announces its withdrawal from the inquiry`."

"`We emphasise that each of us will continue to vigorously campaign outside of the IICSA, for the rights of survivors of organised and institutional abuse to justice and healing`."

"Soia, which had four core participants involved in the process, said it supported the concerns aired by Sosa in November."

"It added: `We wish to thank all those who have contributed time, effort and their own money to WhiteFlowers and Soia`."

"`However, we believe that, despite our efforts, IICSA remains not fit for purpose`."

Forget about victims: paedophiles need help

"Although it is difficult to dispute the story's central message that individuals who have a sexual attraction to children 'need help,' attempting to label paedophilia as a 'sexual orientation' crossed the red line for many readers."

"In a recent BBC article entitled, 'Paedophiles need help, not condemnation - I should know,' we are 'introduced' to an anonymous 60-something male who opens this teary-eyed treatise by proclaiming, `It’s a long time since I’ve described myself as a paedophile. Paedophilia is a disorder, a deeply distressing sexual orientation. For me, it's triggered by traumatic experiences in childhood`."

"Did you catch it? If you blinked you missed it. Like one of those clunky bills rammed through Congress on Christmas Eve that is 'sweetened' with all sorts of hidden 'riders,' the opening line of the article declares that pedophilia now ranks - alongside hetereosexuality, homosexuality and bisexuality - as a `sexual orientation.` A `distressing` one for the pedophile, no doubt, but a sexual orientation nevertheless. But that is simply wrong..."

"The irony of the BBC promoting this puff piece on pedophiles is a bit rich considering its former relationship with Jimmy Savile, the long-term host of a popular BBC music program, who has been described, postmortem, as a `predatory sexual offender,` possibly Britain's worst of all time."

"Savile, who died at the ripe old age of 84, was reported to have sexually abused hundreds of girls and boys over the duration of his career. The full extent of Savile's sex crimes makes it difficult to believe he was not protected by some very influential people."

NEXT STOP PERHAPS:  Let`s teach children not to bully paedophiles as part of an LGBTP project in primary schools ?

Drag queens to promote tolerance in primary schools

"DRAG Queens will visit primary schools to read stories to children in a bid to boost LGBT awareness."

"The man behind the scheme hopes it will `spread a bit of happiness and love` and promote tolerance and individuality."

"And he said despite a backlash from a minority of critics, their comments are the `kind of negativity we are trying to change`."

"Call centre worker Tom Canham, who came up with the idea, said he was inspired by Drag Queen Story Time, an American project in San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles..."

"He has recruited 30 drag queens from across the UK and is getting daily requests from people wanting to take part..."

"He said the scheme has faced harsh criticism from some corners, revealing he had been called a `paedophile` and accused of `trying to incite young children into being gay`."

"Tom said: `Thankfully that is only one in 1,000 people and in a way it spurs me on, because that is the kind of negativity we are trying to change`."

"`The aim is to give children `glamorous, positive, and unabashedly queer role models`."

"It comes weeks after a new primary school in Glasgow with unisex toilets was given the go-ahead in a bid to stop lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender pupils being bullied."
"Complaints have been lodged with Glasgow City Council after it emerged boys and girls as young as FIVE will share lavatories at the new Blairdardie primary in a bid to stop lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender pupils being bullied."

Ridiculous. What should five-year-olds know about lesbian, gay or bi-sexuality? 

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Expert warned authorities of fire risk

"The cladding system is combined polyaluminum sheets with a filler of polyethylene. And that is what has caused the problems, because the polyethylene melts at a very low temperature and it catches fire. It is basically like a candle which is sandwiched between two sheets of metal."

"We have seen those fires before. There was one in 2014 in Melbourne, Australia, but those didn't enter the flats, because I understand the flats were sprinklered. In Britain, we didn't have these flats sprinklered, and therefore the fire was able to enter the flats quite rapidly."

[Arnold Tarling, Fire protection specialist]


Another problem, of course, is that once alight the burning of the cladding produces thick toxic smoke.

Mr Swinney is bringing consistency, clarity and coherence to the unpopular Named Person scheme

"Public bodies operating the `named person` scheme will only be able to share information about youngsters if is likely to `promote, support or safeguard the wellbeing` of the child."

"They will also be required to consider whether sharing the information would be compatible with existing data protection, human rights and confidentiality laws."

"Crucially too parents will not be forced to accept advice from a named person, and can reject this without being viewed with suspicion."

"It follows a damning Supreme Court ruling that parts of the original plan breached parents' human rights*."

"SNP ministers want to introduce a named person for every child under 18, with health visitors assuming the role for pre-school children, and teachers and councils for older youngsters."

"Originally, this would have enabled information about children to be shared across agencies without the knowledge of parents."

"Mr Swinney said the changes would bring `consistency, clarity and coherence` to the twice delayed scheme..."

*It is not just parents whose human rights were breached. Children also have a right to a private and family life.

Grenfell Tower residents threatened by officials

"As the SKWAWKBOX covered at the weekend, in spite of promises to the contrary by Theresa May and the local council some residents of Grenfell Tower have been offered accommodation in Preston and even as far north as Northumberland and threatened with being labelled ‘intentionally homeless’ if they refuse the offer."

"Being judged ‘intentionally’ homeless would mean the withdrawal of support and the loss of a position on housing lists."

"But it has emerged that it can also mean losing custody of your children."

"Intentional homelessness when dependent children are involved usually results in the involvement of social services and, as a government document on intentional homelessness confirms, Social Services departments, frequently limit their response to ‘offering’ to take the children into care."