February 20, 2011

Sunday Round-up

Or we could call it "Only in Britain!"

Perhaps I'm not looking hard enough but I don't see much 'new news' in today's Sundays: they're mainly regurgitating old stuff so the usual round-up is a mix.

‘Any new policy statements with spending or economic implications will be cleared with the Leader’s office and Shadow Treasury teams, working closely together.
'Where there are policies with neither spending nor economic policy implications they will need to be cleared by the Leader’s office.
‘Issues for clearance will include: any public statement by a frontbencher spokesperson, whether in speech or article or Press statement; any contribution to Parliament.
'It should also include public campaigns you intend to support. A template has been circulated showing the information required to facilitate sign-off.
'It is imperative that all statements made which change our existing position or language on spending or taxation are cleared in advance with the Shadow Treasury team in addition to the Leader’s office.
'It goes without saying that this the entire Shadow team.’
'Locality' has been chosen as the government's preferred 'national delivery partner' to co-ordinate 500 Leaders @ £20k a throw so that the rest of us can be 'empowered'.  It seems the phrase 'Broken Britain' did its job well and has given way to 'Something must be done'.
A new case, involving four patients at secure mental hospitals and one former patient, is among a series of extraordinary claims being considered by Strasbourg, demonstrating the extent of the court's influence over Britain.  Other new applications to the European Court, disclosed for the first time today, include a convicted terrorist claiming it was "inhuman and degrading" to increase his jail sentence and a paedophile claiming that his "right to a family life" was breached when the Prison Service banned visits from his infant son.  The criminals detained at Broadmoor and other psychiatric hospitals claim it is discriminatory to prevent them claiming Income Support, pension credits or Jobseeker's Allowance, which are paid to some of their fellow patients.
Low staffing levels, assaults on prison officers and criminals being sent to inappropriate prisons are some of the complaints raised by the POA.  However, an un-named Prisons Service spokesman schooled in nu-speak refuses to take his head out of his backside and says: "Prisons are secure and ordered environments housing a complex and challenging population.  Incidents are dealt with professionally and efficiently by trained Prison Service staff.  We take the safety of our staff and security within our prisons very seriously.  Staffing levels across the prisons estate are strictly risk-assessed and there is a zero tolerance approach to violence against staff.  Incidents such as those at HMP Ford are thankfully rare but do demonstrate the difficult challenges that prison staff face and it is to their credit that prison regimes are peaceful and well-ordered."
The financial crisis engulfing the MoD is now regarded as so severe that, following Britain's withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2015, the size of the Army will be reduced to "circa 80,000", according to one senior defence source.  This would make the Army the smallest since the reign of George IV, when troop numbers were drawn down after the end of the Napoleonic Wars.
Skilled IT professionals will bypass the Government’s new immigration caps and then be free to undercut struggling British graduates, despite soaring unemployment.  They will be exempt from National Insurance in their first year, yet be able to use the NHS for free. Britain is preparing to accept 20,000 skilled Indian workers every year for the next five years, 40% of the proposed quota for all 27 countries in the EU.  The deal was initiated by Marrakesh Mandy in 2007 and is expected to be signed by the end of June..
All, supposedly, to benefit tourism.  It was not clear last night whether the proposals would mean a two-hour shift every spring and autumn, or whether winter time would also advance from GMT to GMT+1, bringing Britain into line with most of the European continent year-round.
Barclays said it complied with all taxation laws in the UK "both in the spirit and the letter".  "In 2010 the Group paid over £2.8bn in taxes in the UK and £6.1bn globally... The corporate tax affairs of an organisation with the global footprint of Barclays are complex and not reducible to simplistic comparisons; any link between Barclays Group profits and the amount of tax paid to the UK Government is inappropriate – there is no direct correlation."
This year's intrusive 32-page census is already part of a trial run on an EU data sharing project but Lockheed Martin's involvement seems to have gathered together disparate groups calling for a boycott.  Protesters say they are willing to break the law and face a £1,000 fine and a criminal record by refusing to fill in the 32-page questionnaire. Resistance to the decennial census is growing as a coalition of anti-war groups, pacifists, religious organisations and digital activists begin raising public awareness about the role of Lockheed Martin, America's largest arms manufacturer.
Recently, there have been those who might want to hang the Big Society label around the necks of the lighthouse men and women. The people in Happisburgh have little time for this and show scant interest in David Cameron's pledge this weekend that community organisers in the Big Society will be paid £20,000 during their first year.  The volunteers don't foresee going cap in hand to the Government for money any time soon. "That cash will come laden with caveats and be impossible to get hold of ... We've learned how to manage ourselves."
They were 'celebrating' the 3rd anniversary of Kosova's independence.   More money is obviously the answer to this problem on our streets:  Luljetta Nuzi, project director for Shpresa, a group for Albanian speakers in the UK, said that the violence was a reminder of the work that needs to be done in addressing divisions within the expatriate community.  "It is very sad to hear these things are happening, when we are trying to integrate in the community ... We know there are gangs of young people in Barking and Dagenham and we did some work with them previously. Unfortunately, there is not enough funding to continue the preventative work we were trying to do."
CRB checks reveal only UK convictions.   They failed to disclose that, according to the summary indictment issued against him by the Rwandan authorities, Ugirashebuja chaired meetings after the genocide began and ordered the killing of Tutsis.   The indictment alleges: 'The defendant issued instructions that they were to be taken to a certain place and killed.'
Dr Zakir Naik addressed the Oxford Union on Friday despite the exclusion order against him entering the UK.  Naik gave a speech and answered questions via video link from India to a crowd of students and other onlookers at the event, organised by the famous debating society.  In his speech, Naik blamed the “virulent propaganda” in the media for the “misconception of Islam” and for his own ban on entry to the UK. He claimed the media printed portions of his speeches “out of context” and so portrayed him as a “preacher of hate”.
A small number of "muslims who have got upset" protested to David Cameron about Britain's foreign policy.
Research, commissioned in 2005 and scheduled for publication in 2007,  has not been released to the public.  Officially, the Environment Agency says the report is still being peer-reviewed. However, it was submitted to the peer-review process "more than a year ago". The Environment Agency does not have a date for its publication, except to say that it will be soon.  I wonder if there's something they'd rather we didn't know.

And, finally, why it's pretty pointless relying on others with vested interests for unbiased news:
Red meat good
Red meat bad

1 comment:

Amusing Bunni said...

Thanks for this great round-up of the UK news, GV. I can't believe eurodave is spending all that money for stuff that used to be done for free by volunteers!

I love a nice red juicy steak, too!