Wednesday, August 14, 2013
In Britain, little brother is watching you too
A seven-year-old child and a pensioner aged 99 are among thousands of people deemed 'threatening' enough to have their personal details stored on secret council databases, it emerged today.
Authorities are keeping vasts files on citizens who are said to pose a potential risk to their staff.
But included on the so-called 'cautionary contacts lists' (CCL) was a man who 'pulls faces', a seven-year-old girl highlighted for 'verbal abuse', and a 91-year-old man previously demonstrating threatening behaviour.
A council even flagged children aged one, four, seven and nine on its files because 'the tenant is very abusive'.
Database: An investigation discovered authorities held files about potentially dangerous residents - including children as young as one and a 99-year-old pensioner. (Stock picture)
Database: An investigation discovered authorities held files about potentially dangerous residents - including children as young as one and a 99-year-old pensioner. (Stock picture)
An investigation found notes between colleagues warning about people who present a 'risk' - including those threatening physical or sexual aggression, residents with dangerous dogs, and some with criminal records.
The probe also discovered numerous errors contained within the records.
Scores of Britons at either end of the age spectrum - including many not yet old enough to attend school - were put on council lists, according to details obtained by the Press Association.
It comes after a barber in Cornwall said he was placed on his council’s CCL for using a megaphone to warn motorists of traffic wardens.
Andy Blackwell, from Liskeard, was issued with a letter from his local authority in January after his alerts were said to have been a threat to traffic wardens’ 'health and safety'.
Cornwall Council said the CCL was 'an internal system which aims to protect council staff from potentially harmful situations'.
In some instances, files have been kept for decades - occasionally dating back to when clients were small children. Others are kept without notifying clients about their inclusion on the list.
A Local Government Association spokesman said: 'Recording instances where staff have been subject to unacceptable behaviour - including physical assaults, threats of violence, intimidation with dangerous dogs and even inappropriate sexual behaviour - is an important part of ensuring our employees can go about their daily work without fear or harassment and the public is protected when we are aware of a risk.
'However, councils recognise there needs to be a common-sense approach to how they make staff aware of any perceived risks and any information will be routinely reviewed to ensure it is proportionate.'
Here are examples of some of the reasons why some authorities keep this data, which can include names, ages, addresses, notes on behaviour and criminal convictions:
In Calderdale, latest figures show there are 102 people on its list, between the ages of 12 and 73, for reasons including Asbos, intimidating behaviour, and threats with weapons.
At Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council, more than 200 records relate to 168 individuals. The authority said that, in some exceptional circumstances, people could be entered on to its Employee Warning System without being informed; for example, for those with mental health problems that could be made worse by the notification.
In Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council, some people have been left on the Adult Social Care register of violent incidents for dozens of years - including one man who has been on it for 23 years - almost half his life - while another has been on it since the age of seven - around 16 years earlier.
Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council’s 'warning marker' list features three entries for a 'dangerous/loose pet'.
Wolverhampton City Council’s list includes three clients in their 80s, who staff are warned are 'potentially violent, verbally abusive or not to be visited alone'.
Derby City Council said there is no centralised corporate register of service users, but said some departments mark their files or systems to state a client could be potentially violent. It provided figures from Derby Homes, an arms-length management organisation with the city council, whose database included a 94-year-old.
Darlington Borough Council’s Corporate Potential Risk Indicator System (CPRIS) features more than 300 people, from a 10-year-old with 'violent or threatening associates' to a 92-year-old who poses a risk of 'verbal or written abuse of threats' to council staff.
Among the people entered on Luton Borough Council’s 'warning register' was a resident who had got involved in a spat with a pest control officer. The council said pest control staff did not enter the client’s property again, having been sworn at and verbally abused on a previous visit.
There are just over 50 people on Medway Council’s CCL, including a 22-year-old tenant with an 'aggressive son'.
Northumberland County Council’s adult services department holds a list featuring nearly 250 people, of whom five are aged over 95. The authority said hazard warnings assigned to service users or carers 'are not always attributable to aggression or abuse and could be related to other threats or dangers'.
Warrington Borough Council’s neighbourhood and community services directorate CCL contains nearly 200 files, including five children - the youngest being 14 - and three clients in their 80s for posing unspecified risks to staff or others.
In Wiltshire, the council said a decision had recently been taken to abandon its central Employment Safety Register in favour of local services keeping their own records.
Councils were asked to provide details of their internal systems or registers for the past two and a half years.
This included council house tenants, social services customers and other members of the public who had previously come into contact with officials.
Just over half of the 150 authorities contacted by the Press Association said they kept a CCL or similar, while three - Durham, Surrey and Tower Hamlets - refused to disclose the information.
In North East Lincolnshire, the council has more than 150 records for people - including those barely a month old.
Children aged 10, eight and five and three babies aged less than six months were all added due to reasons including a 'risk of violence' or 'physical aggression', according to the council’s statistics, while a nine-year-old was included on the list due to previously being 'violent to staff'.
Some of the risks presented to staff are disclosed in Portsmouth Council’s hazard files, in which one staff member was 'pricked by a (drugs) needle' when attending a property in Havant, while staff have also been advised against visiting one client while working alone due to him 'regularly answering the door with no clothes on'.
In another note kept on file, staff were warned about a man who had previously become so aggressive that he threatened to burn down council offices.
Police were later informed and the man volunteered a sword to them, which he kept at his home.
In York, more than 300 people featured on its register - including a 14-year-old who 'made verbal threats over the phone that he intends to kill anyone who he comes into conflict with', as well as a man in his mid-50s who 'can pull faces that appear aggressive' when he has been drinking.
Others have armed themselves with weapons, including a machete, while the presence of dangerous dogs have also caused concerns for some council staff.
Kirklees’s list includes a 91-year-old and an 82-year-old who have both demonstrated 'threatening behaviour and verbal threats' - neither were notified of their inclusion on the list, the authority confirmed.
Others were included for making 'serious unfounded allegations'.
Data from Barking and Dagenham Council showed how children aged one, four, seven and nine have been flagged on its database where 'the tenant is very abusive', while a 90-year-old is described as potentially 'violent and aggressive'.
A council spokesman later said its own records relating to children were 'errors', as the system only records details on adults.
He said: 'Warning notes exist so we can protect frontline staff by providing a record to alert them to potential dangers when visiting a property. People mentioned on the list have not necessarily been notified.
'However, housing services is currently reviewing the way we deal with warning notes with a view to making this process more transparent.'
Essex Council said that, while it did not hold a CCL, it did keep a record of incidents. Information disclosed by the authority shows that two 93-year-olds have markers for 'consistently verbally threatening' and for being 'violent to staff or other professionals', while a 99-year-old is said to have also been violent.
The authority also has markers on more than 20 children - including nine under-fives - for being 'violent to staff or other professionals'.
It said: 'We have recognised a need for a register as part of our health and safety strategy, and will be developing a suitably robust and compliant process in the coming years.'
Most councils said it was policy to notify people of their inclusion on the CCL, with the option of appealing over the decision.
Others, however, said doing so could further ignite tensions between the two parties.
Many also said they reviewed their databases regularly, although some disclosed examples of clients being left on file for decades.
Teddy Roosevelt's Warning about children
TR himself had 6 children
Roosevelt left the White House in 1909 and was at the pinnacle of his renown a year later when he toured Europe. One journalist wrote at the time, “When he appears, the windows shake for three miles around. He has the gift, nay the genius of being sensational.” TR addressed a massive audience in the school’s grand amphitheater. The crowd included academicians, “ministers in court dress, army and navy officers in full uniform, nine hundred students,” and another 2,000 “ticket holders.”
The former president was introduced that day as “the greatest voice of the New World.” And hiding in the shadows of his remembered-as-the-man-in-the-arena-speech is a long since forgotten rhetorical rebuke to the ideas promoted in the current issue of Time:
"Finally, even more important than ability to work, even more important than ability to fight at need, is it to remember that chief of blessings for any nations is that it shall leave its seed to inherit the land. It was the crown of blessings in Biblical times and it is the crown of blessings now. The greatest of all curses is the curse of sterility, and the severest of all condemnations should be that visited upon willful sterility. The first essential in any civilization is that the man and women shall be father and mother of healthy children so that the [human] race shall increase and not decrease. If that is not so, if through no fault of the society there is failure to increase, it is a great misfortune. If the failure is due to the deliberate and willful fault, then it is not merely a misfortune, it is one of those crimes of ease and self-indulgence, of shrinking from pain and effort and risk, which in the long run Nature punishes more heavily than any other. If we of the great republics, if we, the free people who claim to have emancipated ourselves from the thralldom of wrong and error, bring down on our heads the curse that comes upon the willfully barren, then it will be an idle waste of breath to prattle of our achievements, to boast of all that we have done."
That’s right. Theodore Roosevelt told the French that they needed to keep having babies.
At the time of Roosevelt’s speech, France was a major world power. Today—not so much. There is enough blame for such decline in global influence to go around, but the increased secularism of Europe, with its penchant for socialized everything, has certainly played a role.
Now more than 100 years later, there is an even greater threat to their cherished way of life. If only the French today would rediscover Teddy’s advice and reverse the birthrate trend—they might have a fighting chance. But such is the mindset of secularism, it is all about self and “fulfillment.” Issues of family, not to mention progeny are secondary, if thought about at all. Marriage is deferred—even eschewed. Children are planned—or better, planned around. And over time the birth rate in Europe has fallen far short of what is needed to keep up with the various demands of the future. In other words, the nations are aging. There are fewer children, yet more grandparents—a trend that will continue and accelerate.
It takes a fertility rate of 2.1 births per woman to keep a nation’s population stable. The United States is drifting away from that. Canada has a rate of 1.48 and Europe as a whole weighs in at 1.38. What this means is that the money will run out, with not enough wage-earners at the bottom to support an older generation’s “entitlements.”
But even beyond that, the situation in France also reminds us of the opportunistic threat of Islamism. It is just a matter of time before critical mass is reached and formerly great bastions of democratic republicanism morph into caliphates. In the United Kingdom the Muslim population is growing 10 times faster than the rest of society. In fact, all across Western Europe it’s the same. The cities of Amsterdam and Rotterdam are on track to have Muslim majority populations in a decade or two. A T-shirt that can be seen on occasion in Stockholm reads: “2030—Then We Take Over.”
A few years ago, Britain’s chief Rabbi, Lord Sacks, decried Europe’s falling birthrate, blaming it on “a culture of consumerism and instant gratification.” “Europe is dying,” he said, “we are undergoing the moral equivalent of climate change and no one is talking about it.”
The Rabbi was right, and so was Teddy.
Nursery kids denied a kiss and a cuddle in Britain
Rising numbers of nurseries ban physical contact to stop paedophilia accusations
Thousands of toddlers spend a whole day without a kiss or a cuddle at nursery to protect staff from paedophilia accusations.
A rising number of nurseries are banning physical contact with children after the conviction of paedophile nursery worker Vanessa George.
Some staff even face the sack for simply comforting toddlers distraught because they miss their mothers and fathers.
However, child development experts are increasingly concerned at the move towards ‘no-kissing’ policies, and claim the lack of contact threatens the well-being of children.
They warn that denying young children affection can have a devastating impact on their development, their happiness and their stress levels.
Penny Tassoni, president of the Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years, said: ‘It is actually the duty of anyone working with young children to offer physical contact.
‘Young children who are not with their parents are likely to produce a stress hormone known as cortisol. Having access to a hug or even holding a hand of a key person can help to reduce anxiety.
‘Policies that are draconian in terms of not allowing children to be reassured are not fit for purpose as they ignore children’s right to being nurtured.’
An investigation by daynurseries.co.uk, a leading online guide to day nurseries and nursery schools, found that the kissing of children was being banned by a growing number, with workers facing disciplinary action if they disobey.
Others tell staff not to cuddle children for all but briefest period, because to do so could harm their independence. The findings will concern parents who entrust their children to nurseries to allow both mother and father to go to work and are likely to reopen the controversy over whether nurseries are the best place to bring up children.
One parent told an online forum: ‘The thought of a small baby in a nursery going all day without a kiss from someone makes me quite sad.’
Vanessa George was jailed for an indeterminate period four years ago after sexually abusing children in her care in Plymouth and swapping images of the abuse with two other paedophiles.
But the daynurseries.co.uk investigation found the fear of being accused of paedophilia was having a chilling effect in nurseries across the country, particularly for male staff.
One nursery manager said: ‘I tell my staff not to kiss children and explain the reasons for it, to protect them from any allegations. Children naturally come to you for a kiss and a cuddle, and we always turn to the side so that they can kiss our cheeks.
Nurseries are drawing up strict rules. For example, the policy of Twinkle Star Day Nursery in Portsmouth says: ‘Children are encouraged to be independent; therefore prolonged periods of cuddling and sitting on practitioners’ laps is discouraged.
In Barnstaple, North Devon, Ladybirds Day Nursery’s policy says: ‘While some contact is unavoidable (nappy changing and toilet training), there are other activities, often instigated by the children themselves, that we explain is not appropriate.
‘This includes any form of kissing on cheek, forehead or lips when a parent is not present.’
But Sarah Steel, managing director of the Old Station Nursery chain, said cuddles were important for young children.
She added: ‘All the evidence around attachment theory and the guidance in the Early Years’ Foundation Stage supports close physical contact with the youngest children and the importance of contact for all children.
‘A good, confident practitioner would know exactly what was appropriate, and less experienced staff need to have good role models.’
Pauline Hanson is an Australian conservative politician who has always spoken freely about race. She has as a result been disowned by the mainstream conservatives and has no political power. She does however have influence in that lots of Australians agree with much of what she says. Illegal immigration is a red-hot political issue in Australia and she has been an immigration critic for a long time
IT WAS once the most famous fish and chip shop in Queensland. Behind the counter was one of Australia's most divisive political figures - a woman regularly accused of racism and xenophobia.
Today, it is a migrant success story, run by a Vietnamese couple who came to this country 20 years ago. Pauline Hanson says she hopes to pop in one day, say hello and pick up a few dollars' worth of chips. It's a scene few would have imagined in 1996.
Almost 17 years ago, the newly elected member for Oxley used her maiden speech to launch a fierce and polarising attack on Asian immigration and multiculturalism. She told the nation it was "in danger of being swamped by Asians" and that "they have their own culture and religion, form ghettos and do not assimilate".
Controversial and unapologetic, Ms Hanson found her short stint in federal politics often drew shouts of rage and cheers of support alike.
"I don't dwell on that, I know who I am as a person," she said. "To call me a racist is just ridiculous. To be a patriotic Australian and care about the country, that's not racism. That's patriotism."
Today, Thanh Huong Huynh and her husband Huong Van Nguyen quietly smile as they take orders for crumbed cod and prawn cutlets from many of the same people who helped Ms Hanson storm to power in the '90s.
The couple say they bought the Ipswich business, which has changed hands several times, two years ago. They also say they know little about the One Nation founder, other than that she was "very famous".
Locals are still prickly about their former local member - who is currently running for a NSW Senate seat - and are reluctant to put their name to any description of her, positive or negative. Many businesses fear alienating the migrant community, as well as those still wary of multiculturalism.
One exception is David Banfield, who has owned the nearby dental clinic for five years. "Things have changed mate - for the better," said Mr Banfield, who noted that his wife was Vietnamese.
While he disagreed with Ms Hanson's "anti-immigration stance" at the time, he said she "seemed to be the person that would get things done".
Ms Hanson said she wished the new owners of her old shop "all the best". "I think it's wonderful - good luck to them," she said. "That's what Australia's all about - is to come here and make a life for yourself and become Australian and start up your own business."
She adds that she hopes to meet them. "If I'm up there in the area again I'll call in and get some fish and chips off them," she said.
But Ms Hanson is still reluctant to back down from one of her more recent controversial comments. "Yes, I did say that I wouldn't sell my house to Muslims," she said.
"And I have grave concerns and I see what's happened in other countries around the world and I, like a lot of other Australians, do not want to see our culture changed, I do not want to see the introduction of Sharia law."
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 POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.