Monday, August 18, 2008

More British "Health & Safety" nonsense

Card-playing oldsters landed with $500 bill

The 14 whist players - aged between 70 and 90 - met every Friday for almost 10 years in a communal room at a sheltered housing complex in Norfolk. But officials at Neville Court, in Heacham, told the group they must pay liability insurance for all those who did not live at the complex before they could meet again. Tom Coulstock, from Hunstanton, said the cheapest insurance the group could find was $500 a year, which would have to be paid in addition to the $3 a head entrance fee. Just six of the players are residents and as none of the group can afford to pay the charge, the card-lovers have been forced to disband and re-locate elsewhere.

Freebridge Community Housing (FCH), which runs Neville Court which comprises 20 flats, said the insurance was "common practice". But player Bill Corbett, who lives nearby, said: "Perhaps they think that pensioners will attack one another with the playing cards? The situation is so stupid its laughable. "Freebridge claim the insurance is a matter of course but you can't tell me every group meeting needs public liability insurance. They are just trying to cover their own backs. We should not have to pay for that."

Mr Corbett, 86, said the game took up five tables in a corner of the communal room and insisted there had never been any trouble in the club's eight year history. He said the six residents who live at the home find it hard to travel outside the premises. "They don't understand why they can't have their friends over to play cards," he said. "It's health and safety gone mad and it is short-sighted of Freebridge."

Mr Coulstock said: "It's a farce. If they offer room hire they should have the insurance cover in place for the service they offer. "We won't be using the room in the future. We'll find somewhere that already has the insurance in place." Another player, who did not wish to be named, added: "It's disgusting that Freebridge is more concerned about making sure no-one could ever sue them than ensuring their residents have a good quality of living. "How on earth is someone going to injure themselves whilst playing cards?"

The card players were told they had been banned from the premises after their game on August 1. Tony Hall, chief executive of FCH, said it was standard procedure to ensure members of the public using their facilities were insured. "Freebridge Community Housing actively promotes the use of its community rooms as the social interaction of its elderly residents and people from the local community is a positive contribution to their lives," he said. [By banning them? Bare-faced British hypocrisy again]

"It is general practice that any room hire includes a requirement for insurance. "This can be covered by the group, club insurance or could form part of the hire cost. Freebridge charges a nominal hire charge but then require individuals to organise their own insurance. "The requirement has been in place for many years, but as Freebridge has recently updated the hire agreement it is checking that groups have their own insurance in place. "I am surprised Mr Corbett has been quoted $500 for insurance and Freebridge will make enquiries with our own insurance company to see if alternative quotes are more competitive."

FCH owns and manages around 7,000 properties for rent in the King's Lynn and West Norfolk area. [It is a QANGO -- a hived-off local government body]


Rape compensation disgrace in Britain

The latest revelation about Britain's rape policies is cause for indignation, tempered by a small sigh of relief. The news that there existed a practice of cutting compensation to rape victims who had been drinking alcohol before the attack provides the indignation; the fact that it has been disputed and rowed back, the relief.

According to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority, 14 rape victims - accounting for around one percent of rape-related applications - were told that they would be paid less compensation because of the involvement of alcohol.

Compensation reflects a desire to mitigate for the harm suffered by an innocent victim. The idea that this can be parcelled up and chipped away at because a woman had a few glasses of Pinot Grigio before being brutally attacked is abhorrent. As Helen, a rape victim whose compensation was cut by a quarter, puts it: "Which 25 per cent did they think I was responsible for?"

It may well be common sense that drinking excessively makes women more vulnerable to being raped, and that it clouds the issue of consent. But the fact that a woman can choose to take responsibility for minimising her risk of being raped is in no way comparable with saying that she is responsible should the worst come to pass.

For someone to be convicted of rape, a jury will have decided that there is sufficient evidence to prove that the victim did not give consent, and that the defendant was aware that consent was not given. This is no straightforward task, helping to explain the woeful statistic that less than six percent of reported rapes currently result in a conviction.

For the few who battle through their ordeal to achieve justice, the last thing they deserve is belittlement at the hands of the CICA. For their sake, it's just as well this ignominious policy has been repealed.


British security laws are eroding human rights, says UN

This UN body is generally anti-Western but there is nonetheless much truth in what they say below

A report from the UN's committee on human rights hit out at Britain's terror and libel laws and use of the Offical Secrets Act. The UN said provisions under the Terrorism Act 2006 covering encouragement of terrorism are too "broad and vague" which could infringe on freedom of expression. Under the new law people convicted of encouragement of terrorism face up to seven years in jail even if they did not intend to incite violence

"In particular, a person can commit the offence even when he or she did not intend members of the public to be directly or indirectly encouraged by his or her statement to commit acts of terrorism, but where his or her statement was understood by some members of the public as encouragement to commit such acts," concluded the committee.

The body also said tough libel laws should be reformed to end "libel tourism" - where people come to the UK to sue over articles they would not be able to pursue in their own countries.

And it said the use of the Official Secrets Act was gagging civil servants from bringing issues of genuine public interest to wider attention even when national security was not at risk.

The criticisms came as part of the committee's analysis into human rights in the UK. But the body welcomed the government's abolition of common-law offences of blasphemy and blasphemous libel in England and Wales and the adoption of the civil partnership act recognising unions between gay and lesbian couples.



Arab media around the Middle East this week reacted hysterically after learning that a Jewish professor at Haifa University is using verses from the Koran to teach Arab Muslim psychology students how to treat their future Muslim patients.

Professor Ofer Grosbard developed the Quranet course using specially chosen verses from the Muslim holy book to help students reinforce in their patients concepts like respect, responsibility, honesty, dignity and kindness.

Grosbard realized the need for the special course after one of his Muslim students complained that traditional Western psychology would be ineffective on Muslim patients who hold tightly to superstitious beliefs.

Despite the fact that the Quranet course was developed together with 15 Muslim students and was reviewed by three Islamic clerical figures, Muslim authorities around the Middle East denounced the project because it was overseen by a Jew.

Speaking to Gulf News, Dr. Abdullah Al Mutlaq of the Senior Ulema Board in Saudi Arabia insisted that all Jews hate Islam, and that Prof. Grosbard's efforts to emphasize the Koran's few lessons in human dignity and kindness would give Muslims the wrong impression of their religion.

Dr. Manae Abdel-Halim Mahmoud, professor of Koranic sciences at Al-Azhar University in Cairo, told an Egyptian newspaper that the Israeli project "aims to tarnish the image of Islam by giving wrong interpretation of the noble Koran."

Palestinian Authority officials also blasted the project, stating that the current prevalent interpretation of Islam that has led to so much regional death and destruction is the correct interpretation, and that Prof. Grosbard's kinder, gentler selection of Koranic verses is misleading.


Interesting that Prof. Grosbard has only a small beard. "Grosbard" means "big beard". I suspect that his Lithuanian ancestors were more religious than he is


Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


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