Saturday, February 07, 2004

Ballet Awful

Ever wonder about the glamorous life of a student dancer ? Admittedly the Twin Cities may not be the Royal Ballet School, but there's no need for this, from the ironically titled Laura's Fun Journal.

"I'm really sick of all this waiting crap. I'm tired of sitting at parties, waiting to go home. I'm tired of waiting for mail to come. I'm tired of waiting for people to return calls. I'm tired of waiting for people who said they were coming right over. For hours. I'm tired of waiting for people to call. I'm so tired. Of all of it .... My life is wasting away ......And there's nothing I can do."

I hope she's not waiting for mail about her blog. There's no address on it.

(original concept by Peter Briffa)

Friday, February 06, 2004

"Even the Guardian ...."

Listening to Radio 4's "The Message" this afternoon, hosted by uber-liberal Jenni Murray.

First part was another example of what appears to be a liberal campaign to make newspapers report asylum and immigration in the approved PC fashion rather than the robust manner beloved of the Sun and Express. Jenni tut-tutted about the demonisation of immigrants as only one who upped sticks from Wandsworth to the (hideously white) Peak District can do.

" ... as journalists at the Daily Express consider whether to complain to the PCC about the papers coverage of asylum seekers, we ask how far can we go in expressing opinions, free from "censorship" or "political correctness" before free speech becomes hate speech?"

The correct answer of course being 'not very far at all".

But it was an aside in the second item, about media coverage of the Democratic primaries, which amused me. Jenni and her guest were bemoaning the fact that no-one actually asks about policies when they compare the Democratic candidates.

"Even the Guardian ran a story comparing their hairstyles the other day ..." said Jenni.

Now I've searched the Grauniad site and I can't find the article. But no matter.

"Even the Guardian ....". Says it all - about the BBC and about its culture.
Free The Care Homes 100 !

I have commented before about the industrial-scale child abuse perpetrated by social workers in children's homes. I will unsay no word that I have spoken about it.

But it is probable that many, perhaps a majority, of the 'carers' jailed in the last few years as the result of police 'trawling' operations are, like Anver Sheikh, innocent. These people are not only in prison, but as convicted child molesters occupy the lowest, most despised niche in prison society - the 'nonce'. They are perpetually in danger of attack by other inmates and usually have to be segregated for their own safety. Many are elderly men with previously blameless records

The state, contrary to Polly Toynbee's belief, is not normally the best possible nanny to children - quite the opposite. The child in state care who then gets good A-levels, sails through university and works productively is a rarity. More common is the child with tattoos, a criminal record, low academic achivement and drug or alcohol problems. Sad but true.

Twenty years after leaving care, large numbers of children will have become the kind of adult known in judgemental days as 'low-life'. As Richard Webster writes :

"They are almost always adults, many of them with long criminal records. In a number of cases they make their allegations in prison or while facing serious criminal charges. It is here that the real dangers of police trawling operations become apparent - or ought to become apparent.

If police officers interview hundreds of damaged young people with long records of deception and dishonesty, with the aim of gathering allegations of abuse against those who once cared for them, it would be surprising if they did not succeed in provoking a large number of false allegations - particularly when it is known that such allegations can result in thousands of pounds being paid out by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority. "

Richard Webster has updates on Anver Sheikh, links to the organisation Falsely Accused Carers and Teachers, and background on the issues. Read - and make others aware of this scandal.

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Guardian of Law And Order

It's now open season on Lord Hutton, who failed to tell the 'left' what it wanted to hear. But the Guardian gets lower than the gutter in choosing a writer to take a shot at him. More the depth of a shallow grave.

In 1990 an IRA volunteer and suspected informer called Sandy Lynch was rescued by police while undergoing interrogation by IRA internal security (aka the 'nutting squad') in a house in Lenadoon, West Belfast. According to his court testimony, Fred Scappatici told him he'd better talk, or he'd 'be able to talk to me the way he wanted, hung upside down in a cattle shed. He said it didn't matter about me screaming because no-one would be able to hear'. He was resigning himself to a slow and terrible death when police burst in and arrested everyone in the house.

Among those present and arrested was Danny Morrison (known within the IRA as the 'Lord Chief Justice' for his power of life and death over informers), Sinn Fein's publicity director.

The man the Guardian thinks suitable to judge issues of the 'contradictions, the lies and the evasiveness' of government evidence.

The Guardian has inadvertantly raised one point in Hutton's favour. Morrison may just possibly be biased against Hutton, who sentenced him to eight years in jail for conspiracy to murder, IRA membership and kidnapping. My respect for Lord Hutton has doubled. Pity the sentence didn't.

(Info from Toby Harnden's Bandit Country, about the IRA in South Armagh)