There\’s more on they way in which elfn\’safety rules mean that Plod is to walk past someone drowning:
Rules for West Country officers are set out in a policy document headed Health and safety – water safety, which states: "Devon and Cornwall Constabulary do not expect or require any member of staff to enter water in a rescue attempt of any person or animal under any circumstances.
"Life-saving equipment such as life-belt, throw line, throw bag or buoyancy aid may be used where such use is in accordance and compliance with dynamic risk assessment procedures… Physical contact with a struggling casualty should be avoided to prevent a rescuer becoming overwhelmed and pulled into the water and submerged.
"The task of rescuing members of the public, or animals, from water lies primarily with other emergency services that are equipped and trained to undertake such tasks."
All of which is bad enough but the truly astonishing comment is this:
A force spokesman said: "No organisation can expect staff to risk their lives. However, the force has reported many instances where staff have saved people."
Well actually, yes, an organisation can expect staff to risk their lives. The military actually exists to do so. The emergency services are not, as is obvious, the military, but they are half way there from a purely civilian organisation. Is no fireman ever to risk his life? Reduce the risks taken by having proper training and equipment, of course, but no risk at all?
All I can say is thank the Lord that the RNLI are a voluntary force. Otherwise the lifeboats would never put to sea in a storm.
Two quotes from CC Net:
European leaders are getting a bit impatient, not on our own behalf but on behalf of the planet. China, India and the other industrializing countries will not do anything unless the U.S. is moving.
–Connie Hedegaard, Danish Environment Minister, Washington Post, 26 September 2007
Denmark\’s CO2 emissions rose 16.1 per cent in 2006 compared to the previous year on the back of strong economic growth and electricity exports from coal-fired power plants, according to statistics released today.
–Point Carbon, 28 September 2007
The Metropolitan Police told organisers of the Stop the War Coalition that no march would now be allowed “within one mile of Parliament” while MPs were in session.
The organisers, who are expecting thousands of people to turn up for the protest march from Trafalgar Square to Parliament Square, said that this was a “totally different” interpretation of the regulations, and accused Gordon Brown of reneging on a pledge to liberalise the laws on demonstrations.
“One moment the Prime Minister is supporting the right of Burmese monks to demonstrate in Rangoon, and yet here in London we’re being stopped from marching on Parliament. It’s hypocrisy,” Lindsey German, convener of the Stop the War Coalition, said.
German, who is I think one of the raving Trots known as the Socialist Worker\’s Party, would find I disagree with just about everything he (or is it she?) says on just about any and every subject under the sun. However, I do think that he and his equally deluded chums should be allowed to have a day out in London. Even, to make known their misguided views. It\’s one of the things that would make us a free and liberal country, that people were not prevented from exercising their natural right to express themselves.
We really are ruled by scum, aren\’t we? And will any of them be alert enough to appreciate the irony?
A tale from the past:
"A lot of Englishmen have this thing about English schoolgirls… He took me to Marks & Spencer, and we went into the section where they sold school uniforms. We started play-acting and XXXX told the saleslady, \’I have to buy this little girl a school uniform, she\’s the daughter of one of my friends, can you fit her please?\’ Here was this 21-year-old kid with this however-the-hell-old-I-looked young girl. I was supposed to be going into seventh or eighth grade, but must have looked about 11.
Groupie: Patti D\’Arbanville
So we\’re all revved up to worry about gambling addictions again then.
The money lost by British gamblers will exceed £10bn annually next year – a rise of 50% in nine years, and the biggest jump since the 1960s.
Looks terrible, doesn\’t it? Hmmm. Inflation (RPI) was 25% or so over that period. So that\’s some of the rise explained. Average earnings rose 45% over the period (OK, I\’m using 97 to 2006, because that\’s what the calculator allows, but it\’s illustrative) so in fact we could say that the rise is purely down to the fact that people have more money and that they are spending it. Doesn\’t actually look so bad now, does it? Gambling up 50%, incomes up 45%? As GDP has risen 59% in the period then we might actually say that gambling as a percentage of GDP has fallen, although I\’m not sure I\’d actually believe that.
Estimates produced for the Guardian by a leading government adviser show £650m a year is taken from punters by the terminals – a sum almost matching the conventional casino industry\’s entire takings.
Leighton Vaughan Williams of Nottingham Business School said British punters lose £9.5bn a year across all gambling- a 36% rise on £7bn lost in 1999, the year online gambling emerged. Excluding the lottery – the "softest" form of gambling – the annual loss from hard gambling widened by 56% in eight years to £7bn.
So the lottery has losses of £2.5 billion. That is, the lottery is 3.8 times as bad as video roulette. So when do we ban that tax on stupidity then?
Aren\’t we lucky to have such a wonderful and caring organisation looking after us:
However, it is just such a fate that befell Jean Gambell when at the age of 15, in 1937, she was falsely accused of stealing 2s 6d (12.5p) from the doctor\’s surgery where she worked as a cleaner.
She was sectioned under the 1890 Lunacy Act and even though the money was later found, she has been moved from mental institution to mental institution. More recently, she went into a care home and has been lost to her family, who thought she was dead.
The brothers spent much of their childhood in orphanages because their parents were so poor. They said that they had later discovered that their father had tried for years to get Jean freed after she was put in Cranage Hall mental hospital in Macclesfield for being "of feeble mind", but was unsuccessful because her records had been mislaid.
She spent years, lost in a maze of instutitons and care homes, trying to convince people in authority that she had a family. But nobody would believe her.
Macclesfield Social Services are now conducting an inquiry into Miss Gambell\’s incarceration.
An entire lifetime spent "lost" in mental institutions. No one will be held responsible of course. No one at all.
Private schools could lose their multi-million pound tax-breaks unless they help state-educated pupils get into universities such as Oxford and Cambridge, it was disclosed yesterday.
The number of failing schools has soared by almost a fifth this year, new figures showed yesterday.
None of those failing schools, as far as I can see, are in the private sector.
So, is it joined up thinking to remove subsidy friom what works and to spend more on what does not?
I have some sympathy with this statement:
"This analysis misleadingly claims to represent the average situation, but it is undermined by the carefully-selected assumptions on which it is based."
Smith & Williamson estimates that the total taxes paid by a typical family with two children, buying an ordinary terrace house, have soared from 36p in the pound to 54p since 1997.
Well, yes. Only if they move house though and that\’s because a hige chunk of it is the stamp duty on a house which has soared in price. So it is very much a cherry picked number.
A Treasury spokesman said the tax burden on the average family had fallen since 1997.
But that I flat out do not believe. It is clearly not true in nominal, monetary terms. I doubt very much if it is true in percentage terms. And if we remember that to spend (even to promise to spend) is to tax, then it most certainly isn\’t true. For we\’d have to add in to the tax burden all those wonderful promises for the future, like public sector pensions, the future PFI payments and the Trreasury debt itself.
No really, I do mean it. Thank the Lord for the existence of the European Union.
For, as you will remember, they passed some laws a few months back that made roaming across international borders with your cell phone cheaper. Isn\’t that lovely?
Well, yes, indeed it is:
One especially lucrative business, however, has somehow escaped the Internet’s notice so far: international cellphone calls.
That’s about to change. Early next month, a small company called Cubic Telecom will release what it’s calling the first global mobile phone.
Now, most carriers offer special international plans: you pay more a month, you get slightly lower roaming rates. But even they can’t touch the appeal of Cubic’s cellphone. It makes calls to or from any of 214 countries — for 50 to 90 percent off what the big carriers would charge.
For example, consider this: at the MaxRoam.com site from Cubic, you can request local phone numbers in up to 50 cities at no charge. Now you can have a Paris number, a London number and a Mexico City number that your friends overseas can use to call your cellphone.
No longer must you hand out a series of international phone numbers for each trip you make, or expect your colleagues in the United States to pay $50 a pop to reach you.
Even that’s not the end of this phone’s possibilities. For a flat $42 a month, you can turn on its unlimited Wi-Fi calling option. It lets you receive unlimited unmetered calls to any numbers in the world from Internet hot spots, or make them for a penny a minute. Either way, you have little fear of racking up your bill.
But here’s the other dizzying news: Cubic’s cheap global dialing has nothing to do with the phone. The real magic is in the SIM card, the memory card that determines your account information.
So get this: For $40, you can buy this card without the phone. Cubic says that you can slip it into any GSM phone — even your regular T-Mobile or AT&T phone, as long as it’s an “unlocked” phone (one that works with other companies’ SIM cards). Then your own cellphone behaves exactly like the Cubic phone described up to this point, minus the Wi-Fi calling, of course.
So what\’s all this got to do with making roaming on the traditional networks cheaper? Well, by insisting that roaming is cheaper, they\’re compressing the pricing against which Cubic is competing: making it, therefore, more difficult for it to enter the market and prosper.
So the nett effect of the European Union regulations is to further entrench the incumbent Telcos at the expense of the upstart market entrant. That upstart being the one offering us 90% of roaming charges.
Thank God we have the European Union, eh?
Can we leave yet?
It\’s looking like Hillary vs. Rudy. Consider this:
Brad DeLong: "… I think it is the two cents\’ worth of everybody who worked for the Clinton Administration health care reform effort of 1993-1994–is that Hillary Rodham Clinton needs to be kept very far away from the White House for the rest of her life".
Daniel W. Drezner: "… Despite the fact that this collection of individuals would likely disagree about pretty much everything, there was an airtight conensus about one and only one point: A Giuliani presidency would be an unmitigated disaster for the United States."
The citizens of Brussels “reclaimed the streets” last Sunday when it was “Car Free Day”. Thousands and thousands of people enjoyed a warm and sunny day on their feet, bikes, skateboards or horses (!). We also enjoyed the silence and the improved air quality.
We\’re ruled by someone who thinks that horse transport improves urban air quality.
Can we leave yet?
This is one of the problems we have with teaming up with Johnny Foreigner in all of these international organisations:
South Africa’s police chief faces a warrant for his arrest as a bitter struggle at the top of the country’s ruling African National Congress threatens to plunge the country into chaos.
The warrant against Jackie Selebi, who is also head of Interpol, was issued last week, according to SABC, the state broadcaster. Mr Selebi has been accused of links to figures from South Africa’s underworld. Last night he told a local radio station that he had no knowledge of the warrant.
The reported move comes amid a fierce political battle that this week propelled the country’s chief prosecutor into murky circumstances. “There is a full-scale war going on now between the prosecutors and the Justice Ministry,” one political commentator said. President Mbeki has pledged to root out corruption but has been accused of soft-pedalling on allegations made against his own supporters. Mr Selebi would not have got his job without being one of the early Mbeki backers. In 2004 he was elected to the rotating post of Interpol President.
Mr Selebi, who has been criticised harshly for failing to reduce crime, himself became a target for investigation by the country’s FBI-style Scorpions unit after a business associate was arrested on suspicion of the murder in September 2005 of Bret Kebble, a flamboyant mining magnate who had close links to the ANC. It emerged that Mr Selebi had frequently played golf with the suspect, Glenn Agliotti, a well-known drug lord.
The problem being that we\’ve teamed up in an international organisation with Johnny Foreigner, who might have a rather different understanding of the words probity and legality than we do. For example, aren\’t you glad that Interpol, the people who deal with international police matters, warrants and so on, has as its President someone who is a regular golfing partner of a drug dealer?
Or that the European transport system is run by a convicted fraudster?