Friday, 28 September 2018

Promoting a positive image for the named person scheme

"Ministers were urged to obtain the backing of JK Rowling to help sell the named person scheme."

"Minutes from a meeting of Scottish government officials and outside stakeholders released under freedom of information legislation disclosed a call for the Harry Potter author to be brought in to convince a sceptical public to back the plan."

"The idea of involving her came after the writer Alexander McCall Smith took a swipe at the scheme in one of his serialised novels."
"He used two episodes of his 44 Scotland Street series in The Scotsman to mock the scheme last year. In an episode on April 21 a character said: `It was a shocking moment of realisation. Irene was an unrepentant social engineer. She was post-factual. She was a . . . He searched for the metaphor, and then he found it. She was an archetypical named person.`"

"On May 5 McCall Smith’s novel contained the following passage:  ‘Ah yes,’ said Domenica. ‘The named person legislation. Can you believe it? Can you believe that they’re insisting that every child in Scotland should have a sort of official guardian because that’s what it amounts to. Can you conceive of a better way of insulting parents?’"

"At a meeting on June 21 last year plans were drawn up for introducing the scheme. Under the plans for August 2018 an official wrote: `High profile person/celebrity as that is the world we live in to publicise Getting it right for every child. Get JK Rowling on board, countermine the likes of Alexander McCall Smith`."

"Alison Preuss, of the No 2 Named Person campaign group, said: `It seems an odd thing to have discussed at a serious meeting. It now seems obvious they weren’t very confident on getting the legislation through`."

Ignorance of science leads to reading failure

"The basic assumption that underlies typical reading instruction in many schools is that learning to read is a natural process, much like learning to talk. But decades of scientific research has revealed that reading doesn't come naturally. The human brain isn't wired to read. Kids must be explicitly taught how to connect sounds with letters phonics..."

"Most teachers nationwide are not being taught reading science in their teacher preparation programs because many deans and faculty in colleges of education either don't know the science or dismiss it. As a result of their intransigence, millions of kids have been set up to fail..."

"Whole language was a movement of people who believed that children and teachers needed to be freed from the tedium of phonics instruction. Phonics lessons were seen as rote, old-fashioned, and kind of conservative. The essential idea in whole language was that children construct their own knowledge and meaning from experience..."

"The battle between whole language and phonics got so heated that the U.S. Congress eventually got involved, convening a National Reading Panel to review all the research on reading. In 2000, the panel released a report. The sum of the research showed that explicitly teaching children the relationship between sounds and letters improved reading achievement...."

Ritalin may be cause of higher incidence of Parkinson`s diease

[Peter Hichens]

"It’s odd the way some health scares get a lot of publicity, and others don’t. But I was amazed how little attention has been paid to a study showing a higher incidence of Parkinson’s disease in those, including children, who take pills prescribed for ‘ADHD’."

"Those given these pills were said to be significantly more likely to develop the disease, or similar conditions, between the ages of 21 and 49. This connection was more marked for patients who had been prescribed only Ritalin, the drug most commonly used in such cases in the UK."

"The one newspaper that mentioned it gave it a tiny space and a poor position, and quickly added that ‘no definite link had been found’, which is true but not very reassuring."

"It then quoted unidentified ‘experts’ who said that the sample size of the study was small. Well, it isn’t that small. I got hold of the study, which pretty much examined the whole population of the US state of Utah, born since 1950, including 31,769 ‘ADHD’ patients and 158,790 people who haven’t been labelled with ‘ADHD’. Of course, there could be another explanation. But as the authors say, it certainly deserves further study."

Tuesday, 11 September 2018

The whereabouts of Melanie Shaw is still a mystery

Robert Green reporting on the Melanie Shaw court case, 5 September 2018:

"As expected, Melanie was not present at the latest hearing at Leeds Crown Court today."

"As you will be aware, I have issued two formal complaints about Judge Phillips, who officiated on 7th August. The grounds on which the complaint was made were based on what appeared to be his failure to apply due diligence towards the welfare and safety of the defendant."

"When Melanie appeared that day, in a clearly distressed and incoherent state, after being passed fit to plead just five days earlier by court appointed psychiatrist Professor Jennifer Shaw, the judge should have immediately called for an appropriate medical professional to physically examine Melanie to ascertain whether drugs had been unlawfully administered to her before her appearance or if the medication she needs had been withheld from her."

"His failure also led to the possibility of her being placed back into the hands of the very people who may have committed a criminal act against her. The complaints against the judge are ongoing."

"Today, Judge Phillips was replaced by Judge Neil Clark."

"I have no concern whatsoever about Judge Clark`s conduct. Although the requirements placed upon him were far from exacting, he seemed fair and understanding, stating only that no realistic decision could be made today, as Dr Quinn, currently responsible for Melanie`s welfare, had informed the judge that Melanie was unwell. The judge thought that she may need to be moved to hospital within the next few days, but there was no obvious indication, as we had feared, that any attempt to section Melanie was imminent."

"He saw no reason to change the date of the next hearing, the 4th October although he did consider the possibility, at the request of the prosecution, that an interim hearing about Melanie`s health, may take place on 28th September."

"We shall need to remain vigilant, of course, but there appeared today, at least on the surface, nothing that anything sinister was afoot."

"Around thirteen members of the public were present to observe the proceedings."

Robert Green


There have since been unconfirmed reports that Melanie Shaw has been released from prison into a psychiatric hospital.


See Here

Friday, 7 September 2018

AI technology for shocking online child abuse

[UK Column 4 September 2018]

Mike Robinson: "Now yesterday we mentioned Sajid Javid making it his personal mission to deal with child sexual exploitation online; and I suggested that, perhaps, there was a bit more to this than meets the eye; because let`s face it, the British government for many many years of many political hues hasn`t exactly felt that this was a subject that they particularly needed to deal with."

"So they`re going to keep children safe online and as we made the point yesterday Sajid Javid said that he was absolutely the scale of the potential for abuse of children online; and so he had said that all technology companies had to step up their efforts to tackle online sexual exploitation; and that was the result of this figure of 80,000 people in the UK presenting some kind of sexual threat to children online; and a 700% increase in child images being referred to the National Crime Agency."

"But he said that while he was pleased at the efforts of online platforms to tackle online extremism following the government`s calls for them to do that a couple of years ago.... really they needed to do something about this issue as well. Well, as I say, you know, this seemed very fishy to me because government has done absolutely nothing in this area in the past. But we don`t need to worry because ... at the same time Sajid Javid is making this statement and saying that the social media companies and the big online companies needed to do something about this, well, Google just had a press release ready to go - just a pure coincidence Brian. It wasn`t staged in any shape or form; they just had it ready to go, this announcement, which took place about the same time Savid Javid was making his."

"And they`re saying that they are going to use AI to help organisations detect and report child sexual abuse material online. So this is a new free tool that they`re offering to service providers, NGOs and other technology companies which is going to be able to review content at scale and use deep neural networks for image processing. They can now assist reviewers sorting through many images by prioritising those that are the most likely to contain child sexual abuse material... So that`s good."

"So Javid had said that he wanted technology companies to stop child grooming taking place on their platforms. He said he wanted them to work with government and law enforcement to shut down live-streaming child abuse. He wanted companies to be much more forward leaning to help law enforcement agencies to deal with these types of crimes; and he said that he wanted them to show a greater level of openness and transparency and a willingness to share best practice and technology between companies. So if you were taking this problem seriously those suggestions are probably quite useful; but I maintain a healthy scepticism."

"Now the other item that he mentioned on his list was this: that he expected ... technology companies to block child sexual abuse material as soon as companies detect it being uploaded. And this one stuck out for me because ... this is identical  to the EU`s copy directive."

"Article 11 of that failed to pass in July which was all about the ability for technology companies to scan content as it`s being uploaded to their platforms and automatically censor content that they didn`t feel was appropriate. Now, of course, I am by no means suggesting that child sexual abuse material is appropriate to upload but of course this is ... about implementing, or finding an excuse to implement, certain types of technologies. I just reiterate the point that at no point in the last 30 years has the British government done anything to deal with this issue and suddenly now we`re dealing with it by implementing policies and implementing technologies which aren`t going to make a huge amount of difference to the people who are perpetrating these crimes but are going to make a huge amount of difference to us; because what this means is that all material being uploaded to these platforms is being scanned... under the cover of being scanned for the purposes of identifying this material."

"What else is going on today?"

"Well Cressida Dick the police commissioner for the Metropolitan Police said: `Vital evidence in criminal investigations held by tech and social media firms should be made available in minutes.`"

"So, in other words, what we`re building here - under the - this is a pretty cynical effort I think by Sajid Javid - to build a police state using child abuse ..."

Brian Gerrish: "As a way of levering in the censorship."

Mike Robinson: "Absolutely. And I`ll just say once again the British government has done nothing on this issue, and you know, I have to say I`m staggered that the various police authorities are able to offer any statistics on this:  Suddenly we`ve got this big statistic of 80,000 people and a 700% increase; because one thing we`ve been flagging up over the last number of years is how statistics with respect to child abuse and children in care and so on, these statistics are impossible to find because they`re not held...So how they magicked these up for this purpose is another question I`d like an answer to."

Brian Gerrish. "Very interesting. Well if we might pop the lovely Cressida Dick back on the screen there Mike I read this. It makes me wince: ...`Vital evidence in criminal investigations held by tech and social media firms should be made available in minutes`. "

"For what? Because, Ms Dick, when one of your own policemen, John Wedger, came forward with his evidence ... that the abuse of children...children dying, was being covered up by the Met police, by MPs, by local authorities and charities, your force did absolutely nothing with that evidence. In fact, they attacked John Wedger: bullied him, threatened him, put him on half pay, stopped his pay. So this was all on the watch of Cressida Dick and yet she`s now standing up to threaten internet companies that you better produce this information. Presumably she wants the information to help close it down, as was done with John Wedger. "