Sunday, November 18, 2012

A little man misuses the little power given to him -- with a tragic outcome

It's all so British.  Britain is  such a frustrating place with its myriad of formal and informal rules and regulations  that anyone given any power or responsibility  -- whether in private business or in government -- will tend to boost his feelings of personal power by using even small powers given to him by his job  to hurt or inconvenience others. 

Getting the attention of a British shop assistant is a classic case.  When you walk in they treat you as invisible for as long as possible.  I had my own very unBritish way of dealing with that when I was in Britain.  I used to say in a loud voice: "I hate being invisible".  That was such a shock  -- no Briton would do it  -- that I immediately got very good if resentful attention.

So the train guard below was actually normal.  He just misjudged the effect of his little act of bastardry.  I have experienced  much the same from British train guards myself.  If you are slow to get on they just signal a departure anyway.  Fortunately I was not drunk so the only adverse effect was that I missed my train  -- no doubt to the quiet glee of the guard concerned

A railway guard found guilty of manslaughter following the death of a teenage girl who fell under a train was jailed for five years today.

Christopher McGee, 45, took a 'terrible risk' by giving the signal for the driver to depart as Georgia Varley, 16, was leaning against the carriage, a judge said.

The sixth-form college student, who was drunk on a night out in Liverpool with friends, fell between the train and the platform at the city’s James Street station in October last year as a result of McGee's 'appalling disregard for her safety', a court heard.

Georgia, who was leaning against the train when the railway guard gave the signal for it to leave, was seen to stagger and fall into the gap as it moved away from the platform.

McGee was found guilty of manslaughter by gross negligence following a two week trial at Liverpool Crown Court.

Jailing McGee for five years today, Mr Justice Holroyde said: 'You did not intend to kill or even injure her, but you displayed an appalling disregard for her safety and she paid for your criminal negligence with her life.'

Passing sentence, the judge said: 'In my judgement, the CCTV footage is unequivocal, Georgia Varley was not moving away and she was not showing any sign of moving away.  'She only moved when the movement of the train deprived her of support and caused her to lose balance and fall to her death.

'I am satisfied that you merely hoped and assumed she would get out of the way when the train began to move, and on that wholly inadequate basis you took a terrible risk,' he added.  'You must have known that a passenger who falls between the train and the platform is likely to be killed,' he told the defendant.

'As the guard of the train, you were in complete control of the movement of the train. That control carries with it the direct and personal responsibility for the safety of passengers.'

Georgia, from Moreton, Wirral, had gone into Liverpool for a night out with her friends when the incident happened on October 22 last year.  A blood analysis following her death showed she had 236mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood in her system - the legal driving limit is 80mg.  She also had 0.083mg of the drug mephedrone, or Mcat, in her system at the time of her death.

The jury was shown shocking CCTV footage of the teenager’s death.

Georgia was seen mistakenly getting off the train just before 11.30pm, and then turning around and leaning against the side as she realised her friends were still on board.

The Birkenhead Sixth Form College student was then seen to stagger and fall down the gap as the train moved off, before stopping after travelling around 30ft.

Mr Justice Holroyde told the defendant today: 'Much has been made on your behalf during this trial of how intoxicated Georgia was, but that did not relieve you of the duty of care which you owed to her.

'You alone determined whether the train remained stationary or began to move. Your decision and your action determined whether Georgia Varley was safe from risk.'

The judge, who pointed out that McGee had been 'repeatedly trained and instructed' in safety matters during his career with Merseyrail, described the suffering of Miss Varley's family in the wake of the tragedy.  'When a crime of homicide is committed, one life is ended but many more lives are damaged or destroyed,' he said.


Peer's revenge over Twitter slurs: McAlpine will sue internet gossips

Whether on Twitter or anywhere else, those who make defamatory allegations need to be able to show the truth of them

Lord McAlpine is taking landmark legal action against internet gossips who falsely branded him a paedophile.

Lawyers for the Tory peer warned Twitter users ‘we know who you are’ and urged them to come forward voluntarily or face being pursued through the courts.

His action is intended to stop so-called ‘trial by Twitter’ and, if successful, could radically change the way the internet is policed and make those using social networks more directly accountable for defamatory comments.

Lord McAlpine, the former Tory party treasurer wrongly accused of being a child abuser following a botched Newsnight report, yesterday agreed a £185,000 compensation settlement with the BBC – funded by licence-payers.

ITV’s This Morning and Sally Bercow, wife of the House of Commons Speaker and a prolific Twitter user, were next in the firing line.

Lord McAlpine’s lawyer Andrew Reid said those suspected of defaming the peer would receive a letter before action was taken telling them they had 48 hours to respond.  He said there was a ‘very long list’ of people to whom letters would be sent.

Lord McAlpine, 70, said no amount of compensation could repair the damage to his reputation from being branded a paedophile. He told the BBC: ‘There is nothing as bad as this that you can do to people.’

Describing his revulsion at the false accusations, the former Thatcher aide said: ‘It gets into your bones, it makes you angry. And it gets into your soul. You just think there’s something wrong with the world.’

The fiasco began on Twitter when Iain Overton, managing editor of the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, which jointly produced the Newsnight report, sent a Twitter message saying: ‘If all goes well we’ve got a Newsnight out tonight about a very senior political figure who is a paedophile.’

The message prompted a maelstrom of internet speculation about the man’s identity, despite Newsnight’s decision not to broadcast a name that night, November 2.

On November 4, Mrs Bercow tweeted, ‘Why is Lord McAlpine trending? *Innocent face*’, a reference to the fact the peer’s name was being repeatedly mentioned on Twitter.

Mr Reid told Radio 4’s World At One programme: ‘Very sadly, we are going to have to take action against a lot of people.  The next person on our list is in fact the This Morning programme, run by ITV, where Phillip Schofield managed to embarrass the Prime Minister... and then destroy my client’s reputation.’

Schofield confronted David Cameron with a supposed list of paedophiles live on air last week.

The Newsnight investigation into child sex allegations at the Bryn Estyn children’s home in North Wales in the 1970s was a joint project with the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, which is also being sued by Lord McAlpine.

Neither organisation contacted the peer to allow him to respond to allegations he was involved in the abuse.

BBC director general George Entwistle resigned over the fiasco and Mr Overton quit his job over his disastrous Twitter message.

Lord McAlpine’s lawyers said anyone who had made allegations on social media should contact them or face a legal battle.  Mr Reid said: ‘Let it be a lesson to everybody that trial by Twitter or trial by the internet is a very nasty way of hurting people unnecessarily and it will cost people a lot of money.’


Israel has every right to take action against the relentless terror meted out to its civilian population

By The Rev Dr Peter Mullen,  a priest of the Church of England

I have just been reading the latest bulletin from the Hamas Propaganda Bureau – sorry, I mean of course the BBC – who inform us that Israeli forces have killed “ … eleven Palestinians, mainly militants, but also children.” The general tone of the report makes it sound as if the Israel Defence Force set out wantonly to begin a new massacre of the innocents. Regrettably, children will be killed if they have to share their schools with rockets and stashes of high explosives. The truth is that Israel’s military strikes were belated retaliation for the Hamas bombardment by 800 rockets this year and 120 during the last week.

The entire population of southern Israel lives in constant terror. And if we’re talking about the suffering of children, imagine what it’s like to be a little boy or girl in small southern towns and villages such as Sderot, where they have half a minute’s warning to sprint to the air-raid shelters, and where the schools are closed for weeks at a time. I haven’t been to southern Israel, but I have visited the north, near the border with Lebanon, on days when Hizbollah were firing Katyusha rockets at the civilian population. To have to live under such a threat is to know the meaning of terror.

The recent increase in violence was provoked by the Israelis’ killing of Ahmed Said Khalil Jabari, military leader of Hamas: a man complicit in the kidnapping of the Israeli soldier Shalit and responsible for most of the terrorist acts launched from Gaza over the last 10 years. He himself once boasted that the men under his control were responsible for the deaths of 569 Israeli civilians. Yesterday this dead terrorist was praised by the leaders of Hizbollah and declared a martyr by representatives of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.

These recent eruptions of violence are of course only the latest in a long war of attrition which has been going on since the foundation of the State of Israel in 1948. The country is surrounded by its enemies. Four times since 1948 these enemies have made war on Israel.

No doubt the Palestinians have legitimate grievances coupled with territorial aspirations. Israel has generally understood these grievances, and time and again tried to meet its opponents halfway. For instance, I remember the talks between Yasser Arafat and the Israeli prime minister brokered by the US in which the sides came close to a two-state solution to the problem. Arafat smiled agreeably, got on the plane back to the Middle East and immediately declared a second intifada, a violent uprising against Israel.

To be sure, this is a labyrinthine mess, but beyond the ceaseless argy-bargy there is one real and pressing question: wouldn’t any sovereign state take strong action in response to the relentless terror meted out to its civilian population?


Australia: Flight attendant awarded compensation for injuries sustained on day off

Individual  responsibility takes another hit.  Qantas was in no position to supervise the guy in his day off

A QANTAS flight attendant has won a legal case that could affect hundreds of airline employees and other workers who are injured while travelling for job-related reasons on days off.

John Kennerley was injured on March 10, 2010, after setting off from his Gold Coast home to spend the night in Brisbane, the day before he was due to fly to Sydney to renew his US visa.

Queensland's Industrial Court President David Hall last month ruled Mr Kennerley's traffic accident injuries were suffered in the course of his employment, even though he was on a day off.

Qantas required Mr Kennerley to renew his visa in his own time, it had booked his 8.45am consulate appointment and had paid for his 5am flight to Sydney on March 11, 2010, the court heard.

The airline's insurer, Qantas Airways Ltd, originally rejected his worker's compensation claim, and there were subsequent appeals to Q-Comp and the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission.

But on October 18, the Industrial Court president found that Mr Kennerley's employment was "a significant contributing factor" to his injuries and he was entitled to compensation.

"It was the nature and terms of his employment together with decisions and initiatives of Qantas which caused Mr Kennerley to be riding his motorbike where and when he was injured," Mr Hall said.

The Industrial Court heard because he had such an early flight to his Sydney consulate appointment, Mr Kennerley decided to travel the day before and stay overnight with a friend in Brisbane.

While Qantas Airways Ltd tried to argue that he was spending the night with a Brisbane friend for social reasons, this was rejected by Mr Hall.

Mr Kennerley said he was unable to travel by train in time to meet his flight on March 11 and felt it was unsafe to make an early morning motorcycle journey to Brisbane in the dark.

Mr Kennerley's lawyer, Greg Black of Turner Freeman, said the decision was significant for hundreds of Queensland flight attendants and the Flight Attendants' Association had supported Mr Kennerley's appeal.

Mr Black said it also could protect "fly-in, fly-out" workers and other workers whose employers required them to travel in their own time to renew work-related licences or visas or meet job conditions.



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICSDISSECTING 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.  Email me (John Ray) here


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