Sunday, June 28, 2009

Could this happen in Britain?

I doubt that many modern day Brits would have the ticker for it anyway but if they did the guy concerned would not be praised by the authorities. He would be bawled out and punished in some way for breaching "Elf 'n Safety" rules. You must go through the "proper channels" before doing anything. Story below from Australia

Firefighters have praised a Williamstown diner for single handedly extinguishing a potentially fatal warehouse blaze.

Joe Vetesi was dining with three friends at Williamstowns Satorini restaurant when he heard a call for help about 10pm. Noticing a fire in a Parker St warehouse he ran to help. "I have 29 years CFA experience so I'd like to think I know what I'm doing," Mr Vetesi said.

Mr Vetesi scaled a three metre high fence to gain entry to the warehouse and sourced water to extinguish the blaze. "My first concern was that people were inside but once I realised the warehouse was unoccupied I went about putting the fire out," he said.

Two fire crews attended the scene. Newport senior station officer Shane Rhodes praised Mr Vetesis actions. "When we arrived the fire was basically extinguished - he did a good job," he said.


Yet again British social workers were too busy harassing middle-class parents to deal with dangerous feral families (1)

It's part of the Marxist hate they learn in social work schools: The middle classes are the enemy and the "worker" can do no wrong. Too bad if the occasional child get brutalized and killed

Social workers in Doncaster failed to intervene before a father snapped the spine of his 16-month-old daughter despite being aware she was at significant risk, an inquiry has found. Amy Howson was punched on numerous occasions by her father, James, leaving her with fractures to her arms, legs and ribs. Basic procedures that might have prevented her death were not followed. The 25-year-old was later sentenced to a minimum of 22 years in prison.

A serious case review into the way social services dealt with the family revealed that there had been sufficient information about the father’s violence for action to have been taken. It was one of two serious case reviews published today into the deaths of youngsters murdered in the borough of Doncaster, South Yorkshire. There was such concern at the inadequacy of the children’s services that, earlier this year, the Government sent in a leadership team to manage the council’s social services department and the then mayor, Martin Winter, made it clear he would not be seeking re-election. In total the deaths of eight children known to the town’s social services since 2004 are being investigated.

In a separate serious case review into the death of Alfie Goddard, who died from head injuries in May last year at 11 weeks old, agencies were criticised for failing to heed warning signs. The child’s father, Craig Goddard, 24, a man who struggled with alcohol and drugs, threw the child to the floor because he was crying. He was known to have had issues over controlling his temper.

The report’s authors concluded that agencies failed to recognise that anger, mental health problems, substance use and domestic violence could be risk factors for children. Individual bodies, including social services and health workers, generally acted in isolation. “There was very little communication between agencies and no co-ordinated involvement with the family,” said the report. "There was also a tendency for agencies to concentrate on the needs of the parents without considering the impact on the children.”

It was the shockingly violent death of Amy Howson in December 2007 that pushed Doncaster’s social service provision onto the national stage. In the report’s conclusion, the authors suggest: “The murder of Child B (Amy Howson) by her father was not predictable given the information and knowledge held on him and other family members by agencies. “However, there was sufficient information and knowledge on family members, including (the father), held by individual agencies to conclude that, on balance, both Child B and (and another child) were at risk of significant harm from him. “Some agencies within the Doncaster multi-agency child protection system failed to follow basic safeguarding procedures and did not take proper and effective action to safeguard and promote the welfare of Child B and (another child).”

The report also suggested that the Doncaster Community and Schools Social Worker Service, the Youth Inclusion Support Service and the Doncaster PCT Health Visiting Service missed key opportunities to intervene to help the child. The borough’s children’s services, which received only one star in the Audit Commission’s assessment last year, remain under the control of the Government’s intervention team.

Gareth Williams, the director of children’s services, insisted that plans are now in place to offer an effective service run by experienced staff. However, he admitted that there were still problems with recruitment. Julie Bolus, director of quality and clinical assurance for NHS Doncaster, said that changes to working procedures have been made, including how information is shared with other agencies.


Yet again British social workers were too busy harassing middle-class parents to deal with dangerous feral families (2)

Social services are in the dock again after a toddler was left to die at the hands of a schoolboy babysitter despite repeated warnings that she was in grave danger. Demi-Leigh Mahon, two, was punched, kicked and bitten by 15-year-old Karl McCluney, while her drug-addict mother was out collecting child benefit. The little girl suffered at least 68 separate injuries.

As McCluney was convicted of murder the catalogue of failings by social services was finally revealed. An independent report found that social workers should have taken action. They knew that Demi-Leigh was being raised in a drugs den. Members of the public and neighbours had told children's services that the child was left crying a lot and that her mother, Ann-Marie McDonald, was injecting heroin and was unable to care for her. Police had reports of domestic abuse.

Yet at no point did social services intervene, and Demi-Leigh was never placed on the 'at risk' register. The case is the second in two years in which Salford social services - branded inadequate by Ofsted in 2007 - have been found to be at fault. However, no one has been disciplined over the errors which enabled Demi-Leigh's mother to leave her daughter with McCluney, who had previously threatened to beat up a teacher and stab another man.

In March last year 31-year-old Miss McDonald - known as Sindy - was given a rehabilitation order after being convicted of supplying heroin and cocaine from her flat in Eccles, near Manchester. But she failed to comply and took Demi-Leigh to a friend's flat, resulting in a warrant for her arrest.

On July 15, she left her daughter with McCluney at his father's flat. It was his 15th birthday. When Demi-Leigh began crying he flew into a rage. He subjected the defenceless toddler to an appalling assault, punching her in the face, biting her and kicking her. When Miss McDonald returned after an hour and a half, Demi-Leigh was barely breathing. She died in hospital two days later.

McCluney admitted manslaughter but a jury at Manchester Crown Court found him guilty of murder. He was remanded in custody and will be sentenced next month.

Last night Demi-Leigh's father, Gary Mahon, and grandmother, Frances Gillon, said they twice contacted the council up to six months before the toddler's death. Mrs Gillon, 68, said: 'It is a disgusting failure by social services. 'They should have done something. There was no communication and they need their back sides kicking.'

Demi-Leigh's father, Gary Mahon, who left the family home when she was just three months old and now lives in Morecambe, Lancashire, said: 'Demi was a much-loved and wanted child. She smiled so much she looked like a Cheshire Cat.'

In a statement Miss McDonald said: 'I always tried to do my best and I'd do anything I could for Demi but sometimes I feel I didn't get the help and support I needed.

Ministers told Salford social services bosses last year to make improvements or be removed following Demi-Leigh's death and a report on failings which led to the death of a twoyearold boy in a blaze at his home. Additional social workers have now been recruited and the improvement notice has been lifted.

John Merry, the leader of Salford council, said: 'I do not want to make excuses, but the report's sad conclusion is that this tragedy could not have been foreseen and it could not have been prevented.'


Israel will not sacrifice its security

By Greg Sheridan

BARACK Obama has become ahero to the Palestinians. Meanwhile, a poll published in The Jerusalem Post shows a minuscule 6 per cent of Israelis believe Obama's administration and policies are pro-Israel.

This week I spent a morning in the Palestinian West Bank capital of Ramallah. Unlike most of the West Bank, Ramallah is a thriving city of shopping malls, new apartment buildings and designer brands.

Riad Malki, the Palestinian Authority's Foreign Minister, cites Obama's attitude as the biggest positive change in the prospects for peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians. Another Palestinian politician, Mustafa Barghouti, tells me he found Obama's speech to the Muslim world in Cairo inspiring: "We were especially touched when President Obama compared the Palestinian struggle with that of African Americans for civil rights, or blacks in South Africa under apartheid. That was new language. We saw some fairness in the US President."

Israelis point out that Obama didn't actually equate those diverse situations but, rather, urged Palestinians to commit to non-violent political processes. It may well be that Palestinians will wind up disappointed by what Obama can ultimately deliver to them. And it may equally be that Israelis will ultimately be reassured about Obama's commitment to their security.

But there is no doubt that Obama has stirred a frisson of hope among the Palestinians and anxiety among the Israelis. He has done this through his Cairo speech, his administration's repeated criticism of Jewish settlements in the West Bank, and his sustained advocacy of a more urgent peace process.

In response, Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a speech in which he accepted the need for a Palestinian state. He had done this before in his political career but not since becoming Prime Minister (for the second time) a few months ago. This is especially telling because Netanyahu's Likud Party split when its former leader, Ariel Sharon, embarked on a disengagement plan to unilaterally withdraw from Palestinian territories. Netanyahu stayed with, and led, the Likud hardliners who opposed Sharon's plan.

The Palestinians are unhappy with aspects of Netanyahu's speech. But the speech does mean that all the big Israeli parties are now committed to the establishment of a Palestinian state.

One of the key figures in Israeli politics whose backing was essential for Netanyahu to make his landmark speech was the sleek, smooth figure of Gideon Sa'ar. Sa'ar is Israel's Education Minister, the No.2 ranked politician in the Likud Party, widely seen as Netanyahu's logical successor and a future prime minister. In a long discussion with Sa'ar at his Jerusalem office, I ask whether he is happy with Netanyahu's speech. "Happy is not the right word," he says. "But I support the Prime Minister. I thought he stood on the right red lines: Jerusalem, refugees, defensible borders."

What Sa'ar means is that Netanyahu insisted that Jerusalem would remain an Israeli city, Palestinian refugees and their descendants (now numbering several million) would not be allowed to return to Israel proper, and that an independent Palestinian state would have to be a demilitarised state.

"It's quite clear that today the dispute in Israel is not between those who favour territorial compromise and those who don't," Sa'ar says. "The argument is more about the extent of the compromise and the powers that this entity (a Palestinian state) will hold. The real argument inside Israel is not so big. Those who support a (Palestinian) state support a state minus, others support an entity plus."

Sa'ar, like Netanyahu, insists a Palestinian state must be demilitarised, which means limited rights to sign military alliances, control its own airspace or import certain weapons systems.

Other influential figures inside Likud still oppose a Palestinian state. Danny Danon, a young Likud politician and Deputy Speaker of the Knesset, who is thought to have a big future, tells me he believes an independent Palestinian state will reproduce the toxic syndrome of Hamas control of Gaza. This would engage in terrorism against Israel, which would require Israeli military intervention. That does not mean he wants Israel to rule the Palestinians forever. In Danon's vision, the West Bank will eventually go back to Jordan and the Gaza Strip to Egypt.

But the Israeli consensus is now with Netanyahu and Sa'ar. For his part, Sa'ar does not see an independent Palestinian state emerging quickly: "Everyone agrees today it's quite dangerous to step to a solution now. It's just not practical at this time." Sa'ar comes to this conclusion because he believes Palestinian institutions cannot yet enforce security or run a state. He thinks, therefore, that the American focus on stopping all building in Jewish settlements beyond the 1967 borders will not enhance peace.

"Some people believe that if Israel does X - withdraws to the '67 borders, uproots the settlements - then we'll have peace," Sa'ar says. "The truth is that our will, or our willingness to make concessions, is not the most important factor. A deep change in Palestinian and Arab society is the most important thing. Until now they never recognised Israel's right to exist."

Netanyahu has lately insisted that the Palestinians and neighbouring Arab governments recognise Israel as a Jewish state. All of Israel's Arab interlocutors have refused point blank to do this. Israel's population is 75 per cent Jewish, the only majority Jewish state in the world. Recognising Israel as a Jewish state would seem to be no more controversial than calling Italy a Christian state or any of the Arab nations Muslim states.

Sa'ar explains its significance: "The UN decision of 1947 (to create Israel) is all about a Jewish state." He argues that without explicit recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, the demands for Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank are really a disguise for a strategy aimed at the destruction of Israel in stages.

Sa'ar argues, controversially, that the peace process of the past decade and a half has made things worse for both Israelis and Palestinians: "After 16 years of the peace process we stand in a place where we have less security than before and the Palestinians have less of an economy. "The truth is, without working at the grassroots to change the reality on the ground, we can't build reliable processes. We need to change the Palestinian economy, create jobs, build a better standard of living, build a Palestinian administration. Until now, the peace process exists in political meetings, not between the people, and on the ground things don't get better."

One area where Israelis and Palestinians could co-operate, Sa'ar believes, is in encouraging tourism to the great Christian sites, such as Bethlehem, on Palestinian land.

Sa'ar is equally determined to reject the American demand for a freeze on any building in Jewish settlements beyond the 1967 borders: "We don't intend to expand the settlements. We just want people there to live normally and raise their children until negotiations are complete. The demand for a complete freeze on all building actually pre-judges the outcome of negotiations. It is not a demand the international community would put on any other nation."

Sa'ar points out that Israel's unilateral withdrawal of all settlements from the Gaza Strip, and the associated closing down of several settlements in the West Bank, brought no peace or stability.

The government of Netanyahu and Sa'ar is to some extent locked in a battle of wills with the Obama administration over a total freeze on building in the settlements. It is by no means clear how that battle of wills will be decided. The air of steely resolve that Sa'ar exudes will play its part.


Nazi lovers? Not us, say David Cameron’s new EU friends in Latvia

The trek across Eastern Europe to find David Cameron’s Nazi-loving friends came to a wholly unsatisfactory conclusion yesterday. It turns out they are just a bunch of sweeties. Instead of inhabiting a dimly lit beer cellar echoing to the sound of steel-studded jackboots, the headquarters of the Fatherland and Freedom Party is about as menacing as a maternity ward.

Their three-room apartment is right next to the best hot-chocolate shop in Riga, the 100-year-old Café Kuze, and that’s where you go if you want to talk about new alignments in the European Parliament. “Hi,” says a chubby man in a Hawaiian shirt. “We’re the Tories of Latvia.”

Perhaps the party used the same line when they met William Hague in London in March. Certainly the party, which has served in Latvian coalition governments for the best part of eight years, seemed a plausible enough member of the Gang of Seven, the Conservative and Nationalist Parties that make up the newly minted European Conservatives and Reformists Group in Strasbourg.

This was to be Mr Cameron’s first roll of the European dice, his way of demonstrating that he was not going to be a pushover in matters of deeper EU integration. Somehow though the grouping has come to resemble the cocktail party from Hell: in one corner there are breakaway Belgians, in another homophobic Poles, a sprinkling of Bulgarians, some fully clothed Czechs — and yes, sure enough, supposedly Nazi-sympathising Latvians. “I don’t know where all that Nazi stuff comes from,” says Janis Tomels, 39, the international co-ordinator of the party.

Actually, there is in the view of the Western press and experienced Nazi-hunters such as Efraim Zuroff of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, a pretty simple explanation. The Fatherland and Freedom Party supports a march every year of veterans of the Latvian Legion from the tall Freedom Monument in Riga to the cathedral. In the past they have worn their old uniforms. I visited an old legionnaire officer and he proudly opened a cupboard to show me his mothballed uniform — complete with the distinctive runes of the Waffen SS, for the legion had been incorporated into Hitler’s army in 1943. “We weren’t fighting for him,” said the former colonel, “but against the Soviets.”

The legion was a ragbag of soldiers and they included, among the well-trained and disciplined infantry and grenadiers, some members of the Arajs gang, Latvians who had either personally killed hundreds of Jews or who had helped the Germans to carry out the massacres. About 80,000 Latvian Jews lost their lives in the war. “We have submitted the names of 13 suspects who deserve serious investigation,” says Dr Zuroff. “So far there has been no sign of the Latvian state prosecutor taking up the cases.”

The problem, then, is whether a party remains a credible ally of the Conservatives as long as it glorifies the legion. How tainted are the war heroes of the Baltic, and how modern are the East European parties that present themselves as Conservative allies in the European Parliament?

Latvian politicians across the spectrum condemn the Arajs killers and hail the rest of the legion as patriots. The slaughtering of the Latvian Jews occurred, they say, on German orders and was conducted before the legion was set up. There can, therefore, be no collective guilt for the legionnaires. In 1950 the US declared: “The Waffen SS units of the Baltic states are to be seen as units that stood apart and were different from the German SS in terms of goals, ideologies, operations and constitution.” “That is why the American and the then Labour Government in Britain allowed surviving conscripts to settle in Britain and the US as political refugees after the war,” says Roberts Zile, who represents the Fatherland and Freedom Party in Strasbourg.

Gunta Sloga, political correspondent for the liberal Diena newspaper, said: “My grandfather wriggled out of serving for the Soviets, was conscripted by the Germans and after doing time in an Allied PoW camp, he returned home in 1947. I should have the right to commemorate him — and just about every Latvian is in a similar situation.”

One supporter of the veterans’ march is a former European Commissioner, Sandra Kalniete. Her family was deported to Siberia where she was born in 1952: she lost three of her grandparents in the enforced exile. Paying tribute to the legion, she says, is not a way of denigrating the Holocaust but simply acknowledging a historical truth.

The problem is mainly about how Latvia should deal with the Russians. Altogether the European Union has almost a million Russians living within its borders and many of them are unhappy. It is only a matter of time, say analysts in Riga, before the Kremlin tries to put pressure on the Baltic states to be nicer to them. Mr Tomels says: “If the Russians don’t like it here, they are free to leave.” And a chill enters the voice of Mr Cameron’s man in Riga.



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 readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


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