Wednesday, September 18, 2013
Get rid of the guns, cars and Tasers and we might just end up with real policemen
By Peter Hitchens
What use are the police these days? We know they have a pretty ambiguous attitude towards us, the public, avoiding us where possible by staying indoors or racing about in cars, and seldom going out alone in case one of us actually approaches them.
They’re busy doing something else, as one of them recently explained to me in an irritable voice, when I asked him to act against a driver who’d driven through a red light at a pedestrian crossing 20ft from his nose.
That ‘something else’ often involves hanging about scowling, with sub-machine guns, supposedly saving us from an exaggerated terrorist menace.
But now it turns out that all those haughty squads of armed militia who supposedly protect the great and the powerful don’t even know who it is they are meant to be guarding. Prince Andrew was quite right to be angry when two armed officers treated him like a suspect as he strolled in broad daylight in his mother’s garden.
How typical. First, they failed to detect or halt an intruder into Buckingham Palace, surrounded by high walls and fences and an obvious terror target (and nutcase target) if ever there was one.
Next, they failed to recognise one of the best-known people in Britain, who was also one of the very few people who had an absolute right to be there, and whose features should be imprinted on their minds since they are being paid to protect him.
It is ridiculous to accuse the Duke of York of having a self-important ‘Don’t you know who I am?’ moment or of being insufferable or pompous. The officers were paid to know who he was.
It wasn’t as if his presence was unlikely or unexpected or out of context. It’s his childhood home. He was right to be livid, and we should be livid on his behalf. And there’s more.
It is now almost a year since the then Chief Whip, Andrew Mitchell, was falsely said to have called police officers ‘plebs’. This happened after an overzealous and inflexible officer refused to open a gate to let him ride his bike out of Downing Street.
Mr Standfast, our warlike, missile-rattling Prime Minister, quickly dumped Mr Mitchell from his job when he realised it might endanger his poll ratings. And Mr Mitchell remains sacked, despite the unravelling of the claims made against him.
Meanwhile, there’s still no sign of any action against those who leaked the original falsehood, despite an investigation almost as big as the one into the late Jimmy Savile.
Call them all back in. Take away their guns and their Tasers and their stab vests, sell their helicopters and their fast cars with the go-faster stripes.
Give them proper British police uniforms, which mark them out as the people’s servants, not their masters.
And send them out on solitary foot patrol, yes, even in the rain, where they might once more meet those they are supposed to serve.
If London’s really so dangerous it needs armed guards, then deploy the Army.
They’re better at it, they don’t look down on us, they’re nicer and more polite than the police, and would be most unlikely to threaten a member of the Royal Family or fabricate lies against a Minister.
British government minister: Ban Muslim women from wearing veils in schools and public places
Britain should consider banning Muslim girls and young women from wearing veils in schools and public places, a Home Office minister has said.
Jeremy Browne, a Liberal Democrat, said there needs to be a national debate about whether the state should step in to protect young women from having the veil “imposed” on them.
Mr Browne said he is “instinctively uneasy” about banning behaviour, but suggested the measure may still be necessary to ensure freedom of choice for girls in Muslim communities.
The Home Office minister is the first senior Liberal Democrat to raise such deep concerns about Islamic dress in public places. A growing number of Conservative MPs also want the Government to consider a ban.
Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, has suggested he may support banning the veil in classrooms, but downplayed the chances of wider restrictions.
He said: “My own view, I don’t think we should end up like different countries where we tell people how they go about their business. I do think there is an issue with teachers in the classroom…that might be an area where a full veil might be inappropriate.”
The debate was given momentum last week when David Cameron’s spokesman said the Prime Minister would have no problem with the veil being banned in his children’s schools.
Tory MPs, including a vice-chairman of the party, have now voiced support for Mr Browne.
Mr Browne told The Telegraph: “I think this is a good topic for national debate. People of liberal instincts will have competing notions of how to protect and promote freedom of choice.” He added: “I am instinctively uneasy about restricting the freedom of individuals to observe the religion of their choice. That would apply to Christian minorities in the Middle East just as much as religious minorities here in Britain.
“But there is genuine debate about whether girls should feel a compulsion to wear a veil when society deems children to be unable to express personal choices about other areas like buying alcohol, smoking or getting married.
“We should be very cautious about imposing religious conformity on a society which has always valued freedom of expression.”
His comments follow a political row last week over a decision by Birmingham Metropolitan College to ban veils.
The college was accused of discriminating against Muslims when it ordered all students, staff and visitors to remove face coverings so individuals are “easily identifiable at all times”. It then backtracked after a petition attracted 8,000 signatures in 48 hours and the policy drew criticism from politicians.
Under the current guidance, schools are entitled to set their own uniform policy.
Mr Cameron has so far declined to revisit the rules on veils in schools, but his position is coming under pressure as MPs from across the political spectrum speak out.
Downing Street has said the Prime Minister would support a ban on full-face veils in his children’s schools, but insisted the final decision should rest with head teachers.
However, back-bench Tory MPs yesterday suggested that the rules should be changed to instruct schools to enforce a ban on face coverings.
Dr Sarah Wollaston, the MP for Totnes, said the veils are “deeply offensive” and are “making women invisible”. She suggested that the niqab should be banned in schools and colleges.
Writing for The Telegraph, she said: “It would be a perverse distortion of freedom if we knowingly allowed the restriction of communication in the very schools and colleges which should be equipping girls with skills for the modern world. We must not abandon our cultural belief that women should fully and equally participate in society.”
Bob Neill, a vice-chairman of the Conservative Party, backed Mr Browne’s call for a national debate about a ban. “I do think we need to have a serious conversation about it,” he said.
He said that schools should be able to ban children who persist in covering their faces in lessons.
“Schools should be allowed to say if you want to go into lessons in our schools you have got to comply with the rules,” he said. “You can’t allow the teaching of the majority to be undermined, to be disrupted by that.”
Schools and colleges are given the freedom to set their own policies on uniform covering areas such as the length of skirts and suitable haircuts.
Guidance from the Department for Education states that it should be possible for various religious beliefs to be accommodated within individual institutions’ policies.
The right to a particular religious dress code is safeguarded by the Human Rights Act 1998 and must be followed by schools and colleges, it is claimed.
But the guidance says that teachers can lawfully impose policies that “restrict the freedom of pupils to manifest their religion” – for example, by covering their face or carrying the traditional Sikh kirpan dagger – on various grounds.
The DfE guidance, last issued in 2012, says: “Where a school has good reason for restricting an individual’s freedoms, for example, to ensure effective teaching, the promotion of cohesion and good order in the school, the prevention of bullying, or genuine health and safety or security considerations, then the restriction of an individual’s rights to manifest their religion or belief may be justified.”
Peter Bone, the Tory MP for Wellingborough, said: “From a security point of view you need to be able to see the faces of people – in the House of Commons when we go through a division [to vote] we are not allowed to cover our face. There is a security issue here that is worth debating.”
Midwife sacked over HIV disclosures defends right to blow whistle
It's a continuing disgrace the way relevant matters are hidden from foster parents by British social workers -- in some cases endangering the foster families
A midwife who was sacked after revealing that foster parents were not being told that children had HIV has defended her right to “whistleblow” on the practice.
Bernadette McDaid, 50, went to the media to raise her concerns when foster parents were not told that a baby was HIV positive in the London Borough of Newham in east London.
Although the midwife raised “legitimate concerns”, she had approached the matter in “an entirely inappropriate” way, the Nursing and Midwifery Council heard yesterday.
She was struck off in March 2012 but the order was overturned earlier this year at the High Court and she is now facing a fresh hearing.
After a baby was born to an HIV-positive mother in November 2008, plans were drawn up for the child - who was also HIV-positive, to be fostered with relatives.
The birth mother did not want the relations to know about the condition and measures were taken to ensure they did not know the reason why the child was on medication.
Michael Collis, counsel for the NMC, said that as well as hiding the fact the child was HIV-positive, “it also appears that steps were taken to disguise the medication that Patient B’s baby was required to take while she was with the foster carers”.
After raising her concerns about this deception internally, the midwife went to the media, the panel heard.
Mr Collis said the midwife “had legitimate concerns about aspects of the clinical care received by Patient B and her baby” and was not wrong to raise her concerns. “However, what is asserted is that the registrant behaved in an entirely unprofessional and inappropriate manner,” he said.
He said: “The registrant (Mrs McDaid) made it clear that she was unhappy with the fact that Patient B’s HIV status was not being disclosed to the foster carers.”
He told the hearing that Mrs McDaid had “shouted” at the patient and at social workers at a meeting after the baby was born. and should not have spoken to the media in detail about the case.
The midwife sent a letter to two senior employees at Newham University Hospital trust stating “you will be exposed as the repugnant, amoral, dishonest characters that you are”, the panel heard. The midwife faces a catalogue of allegations including verbally abusing colleagues and breaching patient confidentiality.
She is also accused of submitting false evidence to the High Court and the NMC.
McDaid denied the claims and claimed many of the allegations were “fabricated”.
If her actions are found to amount to misconduct, McDaid’s striking-off could be upheld.
The midwife told the hearing that many of the allegations against her were baseless, saying “I call a spade a spade” and alleged that critical documents had been stolen from her, which would have aided her defence.
The midwife also said she contacted senior Government figures in the last administration, telling them: “I was reporting child abuse and that I had a right to whistleblow’.
Charges denied by Mrs McDaid include making inappropriate comments after telling a woman, named only as Patient A, that her baby looked “very white” during a home visit, in January 2009.
“During the course of the registrant’s (Mrs McDaid’s) routine visit to Patient A’s house the registrant made several inappropriate comments, centred around the colour of Patient’s A’s child,” Mr Collis said.
“This included the comment ‘your baby looks very white’, ‘he is very fair, people may ask if you are the nanny’, ‘people may think that you have had an egg donation, because he is so white’,” he said.
Mrs McDaid described the charge as “nonsense” and said: “I said nothing inappropriate.”
This isn't very liberal is it?
by Tim Worstall
We've just spent a couple of centuries enshrining in the law the idea that consenting adults can do, in matters sexual, pretty much whatever consenting adults wish to do. This is one of the great liberal victories. Yes, it's easy enough to point to those who make something of a mess of said freedoms but no one ever said that freedom and liberty were perfect, only that their presence is better than their absence.
At which point we get this proposal:
"A shake-up of the law to give extra legal rights to unmarried couples who separate is set to be backed by the Liberal Democrat conference. Supporters of the move say it is a widespread myth that cohabiting couples enjoy the same rights as if they had married. There are almost three million cohabiting couples in Britain. The Law Commission suggested six years ago that former partners who have lived together for two years should be able to make a financial claim if they break up. The amount awarded could reflect whether claimants suffered a financial loss – by giving up a job, for example – as a result of the relationship."
Last time I looked the Lib Dems were at least claiming to be something of a liberal party. So what is this illiberality? Why must cohabitation lead to financial rights? There's a perfectly good government mandated contract to take care of those issues if consenting adults should wish to use it. Called marriage and it's open to every possible legal pairing of a couple in matters sexual.
Why must those who do not wish to avail themselves of this contract be corralled into something very similar just because they wish to have sex with someone for a few years?
It's a decidedly illiberal idea and goes entirely against the grain of everything that liberalism has managed to achieve in the sphere to date
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.