Friday, June 03, 2011

Those innocent days before 'Elf 'n' Safety took the fun out of a British childhood

Do you remember the days when a childhood was about getting into scrapes and having adventures?

It isn't so long ago that children were allowed, and often encouraged, to take risks - with teachers and parents believing it was the best way to learn.

This poignant set of pictures points back to a time before 'Elf 'n' Safety took over our schools - banning youngsters from hugging in case it spreads illness, or forcing them to hold hands in high-vis jackets in order to cross the road.


Useless "regulators" of British care homes

Box-ticking bureaucrats let abusers off the hook: Whistleblower points finger at 'deskbound' care inspectors

The social care watchdog which failed to halt the barbaric treatment of patients at a private hospital is ‘completely hampered by red tape’, a whistleblower claimed yesterday.

The Care Quality Commission has already admitted an ‘unforgivable’ lapse of judgment after shocking scenes of abuse were uncovered at the centre for adults with learning disabilities. And yesterday it emerged that the quango has drastically reduced the number of inspections it carries out.

CQC is now investigating why staff ignored the pleas of a former senior nurse at Winterbourne View hospital in Bristol, where patients were routinely subjected to violent treatment from members of staff.

But an inspector who works for the commission said regular visits to hospitals had been sidelined by demands for increased administration and ‘box-ticking’. The employee said: ‘We are so deskbound that inspectors are unable to do what they are supposedly paid to do – inspect. ‘What was uncovered at Winterbourne is a direct result of this.

‘CQC is more interested in spending millions on IT systems and admin skills at the expense of actually ensuring that social care is up to scratch.’

The source told the Daily Mail: ‘A few years ago, I was carrying out two or three inspections a week. Now I’m lucky if I do that many in a month.’

The inspector added that unannounced checks at hospitals can help to root out the kind of behaviour exposed by the BBC’s Panorama programme earlier this week.It showed employees of the hospital physically and verbally abusing vulnerable patients.

Four members of staff at Winterbourne View were arrested on suspicion of assault. Wayne Rogers, 30, Graham Doyle, 25, Jason Gardener, 42, and Allison Dove, 24, have been released on bail.

In one shocking scene, a female patient called Simone was repeatedly drenched in cold water and left to shiver on the floor. The CQC employee said yesterday: ‘If an inspector had made an unannounced visit at that moment, that kind of behaviour could be stamped out. ‘As it is, hospital staff can be pretty confident that two years will pass without an inspector dropping by. We are not being allowed to do our jobs.

‘There is an atmosphere of shame in the office and my colleagues are glad what was happening at Winterbourne View has been exposed. We hope it will shine a light on the organisation so that urgent improvements are made.’ He said CQC ‘is completely hampered by bureaucracy and red tape’.

After the CQC was formed in 2009, to replace three separate commissions, a great deal of time was spent amalgamating data bases, the inspector said. ‘For about three months last summer, we effectively had our inspecting duties removed completely. It was all about entering data and registering for a new IT system.’

He added: ‘The cutbacks have made a difference too. There aren’t enough inspectors to carry out the work we need to do. It is very frustrating that our resources are so limited, and that the resources we do have are so often misused.’

CQC executives had travelled to Scandinavia and Arab states to advise foreign organisations, the inspector said.

The Government has ordered a report into how warnings from former nurse Terry Bryan of systematic abuse were not acted upon by CQC. Mr Bryan had become concerned about the standard of care and complained to the home’s managers in a four-page e-mail in October. When managers failed to address his concerns he resigned.

As a result of his concerns, an undercover Panorama reporter shot footage of the regime at Winterbourne.

CQC issued an ‘unreserved apology’ after admitting it failed to respond to Mr Bryan’s warnings but its chairman, Dame Jo Williams, said she would not resign, blaming ‘an unforgivable error of judgment’ by staff for the failure to act.

Care services minister Paul Burstow has said that the CQC would have to stage unannounced inspections on care homes, rather than giving them advance notice.

Responding to the inspector’s concerns, a CQC spokesman said: ‘Inspection activity has dropped to lower levels while we have been engaged in registering care providers under the new regulatory system required by the Health and Social Care Act 2008.

‘It is a big job and we had to concentrate our resources accordingly. The rate of inspections is now rising again. Our aim is still to review every home at least two-yearly and for the great majority this will involve a site visit.’

She said that CQC ‘does not spend money on systems at the expense of inspections. IT systems exist to support the inspection regime. Additionally, it is extremely rare for employees to travel abroad and its impact on operations will consequently be negligible.’


How EU spends £20m a year promoting left-wing causes in the U.S.

Brussels is pouring nearly £20million a year from its human rights budget on lecturing the Americans on left-wing causes.

The EU Human Rights Fund is intended to help promote Western values in the developing world. But a shock report has found at least £17million of cash – around £2million from British taxpayers’ – has been ploughed into promoting the pet causes of Eurocrats in the U.S.

It is being spent on promoting abolition of the death penalty, discussion of climate change, green energy, and the International Criminal Court – all controversial subjects in the U.S.

The study by the Heritage Foundation, a centre-right Washington think-tank, found a further £4million has been ploughed into pro-EU propaganda in the U.S., including funds for advertising and publicity material.

More than £3million has been funnelled to American universities to promote the benefits of European integration and a further £3million to think-tanks who want to study EU affairs.

The European Commission’s own accounts show millions have also been paid to unnamed individual opinion formers in the U.S.

The report’s British author Sally McNamara said: ‘It is impossible to justify EU human rights budgets being spent in one of the world’s freest nations.’

Tory MP Douglas Carswell said: ‘The U.S. was founded by North Americans fed up with Europeans interfering in its internal affairs.

'The U.S. as a country has done more to bring liberty and human rights to the world than anyone in Europe. They don’t need any lessons from Brussels.’

Stephen Booth, research director of the Open Europe think tank said: ‘The EU has absolutely no mandate to wade in to politically sensitive debates in the U.S.’


Australia: Liberal party returns fire over Leftist hypocrisy about abusive language

As ever, Leftists are the stone-throwing glasshouse inhabitants. Due to the swamp in which their major policies are stuck, the Labor party has made a big deal out of a "miaow", believe it or not -- because a conservative politician made that sound while a Leftist politician was speaking. How desperate can you get -- to make a fuss about such a triviality? The Left, themselves, of course, have said much worse

THE most senior Liberal woman, Julie Bishop, has blasted Julia Gillard for making nasty comments about men. A day after Coalition Senator David Bushby was carpeted for a catcall aimed at Finance Minister Penny Wong, federal MPs continued to take swipes at each other.

Ms Bishop turned the attack on the Prime Minister saying she was shocked by her behaviour. "The Prime Minister has the opportunity to raise the level of debate in this country, but she frequently makes nasty personal jibes, never apologises for them," Ms Bishop told ABC News 24's Capital Hill program.

"She's called people fat, misogynist, mincing poodles in the past, and never apologised for them," she said. "The worst I thought was saying Bob Brown did not have a love of family. Now what on earth was she getting at?"

In October 2006, Ms Gillard referred to Liberal frontbenchers as "the misogynist and the fat man".

Her comment in February, 2009, describing senior Coalition frontbencher Christopher Pyne as "mincing" and a "poodle" was raised yesterday as the Liberals fired back after Treasurer Wayne Swan claimed the "miaow' incident was evidence of the "rudeness and the sexism of Tony Abbott's goons".

Ms Gillard denied calling Mr Pyne a "mincing poodle" and challenged her accusers to check the Hansard record. It shows she used both words in reference to Mr Pyne but never joined them together. It was in a speech after Mr Pyne was given a promotion ahead of Mr Abbott to be then leader Malcolm Turnbull's chief parliamentary tactician and attack dog.

"In a choice between macho and mincing, I would have gone for macho myself, and obviously the Leader of the Opposition faced with the choice of doberman or poodle has gone for the poodle," the then deputy PM said.



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here or 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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