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Showing posts from November, 2008

Gissa job

Quoting from The Times, see links The official said Stephenson should have told Sir David Normington, the Home Office permanent secretary who called in police, that leaks of nonclassified information were not a matter for a police inquiry. Normington will chair the panel that will interview and vet applicants for the job of Met commissioner. The deadline for applications is tomorrow. Dreadful.

Eternal Vigilance

I have linked to part of the proceedings of the Employment Bill. The relevant section follows. The attitude of the Labour Party is that they don't need to legislate to prevent vindictive acts because they are nice people and wouldn't do that sort of thing. Sadly, however, although some people are nice and would hold themselves back - others are vindictive and as such systems need checks and balance to prevent vindictive acts obtaining state sanction. As yet Gordon Brown has not commented on "Green-gate". At some stage he will have to. Natascha Engel: The hon. Gentleman is trying to legislate for something that I do not think will ever happen. The idea that a trade union might be purely vindictive and get rid of somebody because 40 years ago they were a member of such-and-such an organisation just will not happen. Mr. Djanogly: I assure the hon. Lady that in Nazi Germany a person’s membership of the Communist party 20 or 30 years previously may well have been ta

The Green Case: the tip of an iceberg of tyranny

The case of Damien Green's arrest is particularly egregrious involving as it does the abuse of parliamentary privilege. Parliamentary Privilege exists to protect those people that MPs serve - the citizens as a whole. In the mean time, however, it is clear to me that this is in fact the tip of various tyrannical acts The Sally Murrer Case is another over the top prosecutoin relating to information. The number of tyrannical acts in the family court is legion with people being imprisoned in secret time and time again. Hopefully the Green case will wake up everyone to the fact that we are sleepwalking towards tyranny.

Proposals for change in Child Protection

Together with two social workers I have written an article about how the decisionmaking system in social work needs to change. This does not directly refer to the Family Court although if the family court was not as much of a procedural mess then we could not have got the initial decisionmaking system wrong as cases would have bounced at the family court level. Initially the article was published in the Birmingham post, but has now also appeared in Family Law Week and Community Care Magazine .

Parliamentary Privilege

The question, of course, is to what extent communications by MPs is privileged. In fact in 1957/8 there was a case in which the LEB threatened a writ against an MP because of a letter he had written to a Minister. This was raised in the house to be referred to the Privileges committee The committee considered the issue and on October 30, 1957 concluded that "(a) In writing the letter of February 8, 1957, to the Paymaster-General of which the London Electricity Board complain, Mr. Strauss was engaged in 'a proceeding in parliament within the meaning of the Bill of Rights 1688. "(b) The London Electricity Board in threatening by the letters from themselves and their solicitors to commence proceedings for libel against Mr. Strauss for statements made by him in the course of a proceeding in Parliament are threatening to impeach or question the freedom of Mr. Strauss in a Court or place outside Parliament, and accordingly the London Electricity Board and their solicitors hav

Results: Thursday 27th November 2008.

Cambridgeshire CC, Hardwick LD Fiona Whelan 1369 (49.9; +14.5) Con 1169 (42.6; +1.3) Lab 208 (7.6; -7.4) [Green (0.0; -8.3)] Majority 200 Turnout 36% LD gain from Con Percentage change is since May 2005 Devon CC, Exminster and Kenton LD Alan Connett 1969 (62.5; +12.1) Con 1182 (37.5; +0.4) [Lab (0.0; -12.5)] Majority 787 Turnout 43% LD hold Percentage change is since May 2005 Teignbridge DC, Kenn Valley Con 924 (48.2; +7.0) LD Hilary Berman 832 (43.4; -15.3) Ind 160/128 (8.4; +8.4) Majority 92 Turnout 42.1% Con gain from LD Percentage change is since May 2007 Walsall MBC, Birchills and Leamore Con 764 (43.9; +12.9) Lab 661 (37.9; -16.7) BNP 90 (5.2; +5.2) LD Christine Cockayne 72 (4.1; +4.1) Democratic Labour 69 (4.0; -2.3) UKIP 52 (3.0; +3.0) Green 34 (2.0; -6.1) Majority 103 Turnout 19.6% Con gain from Lab Percentage change is since May 2008 Bridlington TC, North Ind 369 (38.1) LD Mike Heslop-Mullens 275 (28.4) BNP 198 (20.5) SDP 126 (13.0) Majority 94 Turnout 9.9% Ind gain from Lab

Damien Green: a complete non starter (and I don't mean Damien himself)

I cannot believe that any action has been taken against a member of parliament about leaked government documents. This goes straight against Article XI of the 1688 Bill of Rights. I accept that various local authorities have threatened me with imprisonment, but to have a go at an opposition member of parliament is totally and absolutely wrong. OK so Parliament is in suspension now. However, there must be a reaction against this. Whistleblowing to MPs is implicitly protected as part of the 1688 Bill of Rights. If we are going back in legal terms to pre 1679 (Habeus Corpus) that is very worrying. This is not in any way something minor.

Tories vote with Labour on Pre Budget Report

Confusion reigned in The House as the Conservatives decided to vote with Labour to ensure that there wasn't a vote on the Pre Budget Report. Personally I think they didn't know what was going on and will regret this in the future. Some came into the aye lobby and wandered out again. Technically there was a vote to have a vote 30 seconds before the end of the debate against which Labour and the Tories voted. On the substantive issue there is a need for investment to bring back confidence into the economy (which is what it needs). The word "kick start" is misleading in that sense. Looking through the PBR itself, however, the government seem to be ignoring £70,000,000,000 of debt (not precisely), £37bn of bank funding and £33bn of off-balance sheet - Enron style government debt. (I have those figures from a March report of 505 off balance sheet PFI projects). We are committed to paying £156bn over the next 30 years for all the PFI projects which has a net present

RP and Others v The United Kingdom

The link is to an entry on BAILII for RP and Others v The United Kingdom. I was surprised to be told that this entry is there. This is the case where I had a row with two court of appeal Lord Justices. There are a material number of similar cases where mainly women have had their legal rights to fight their own case removed - in my view wrongly. This particular case is one where the House of Lords seemed entirely happy that a woman had had no trial at which the evidence claiming she was an unfit mother was tested. I am quite pleased that the European Court of Human Rights has moved in what is a relatively rapid manner for this particular court.. We are in the middle of preparing a second similar case to go to ECtHR.

Results: Thursday 20th November 2008.

South Cambridgeshire DC, Teversham LD Frances Amrani 269 (38.6; +2.9) Con 237 (34.0; -30.3) Ind 191 (27.4; +27.4) Majority 32 Turnout 36.1% LD gain from Con Percentage change is since May 2007 Tower Hamlets LBC, Mile End East Lab 1208 (47.3; +15.0) Con 630 (24.7; +13.7) Respect 604 (23.7; -0.3) LD Jainal Choudhury 110 (4.3; -15.7) Majority 578 Turnout 31.4% Lab hold Percentage change is since May 2006 Barnstaple TC, Forches and Whiddon Valley LD Tony Clark 287 (51.3) Con 164 (29.3) Ind 97 (17.4) Communist 11 (2.0) Majority 123 Turnout 17.0% LD hold

Ofsted reveals true picture on child deaths

The time story reports Ofsted's report into child deaths from abuse. This figure gives around 200 a year rather than the government's 100 a year (80+). The report is available here . Quoting from the report Since April 2007, Ofsted has been responsible for receiving notifications of serious incidents involving children and for evaluating the quality of serious case reviews. Between 1 April 2007 and 31 August 2008, Ofsted received notifications from local authorities of 424 serious incidents, relating to 282 deaths of children, 136 incidents of significant harm or injuries and six incidents of which the outcome is not yet known. Four in 10 incidents involved babies under the age of one. Their figures are closer to those I have produced than those of the government.

Government Cover up - response

So the government's response (see linked story) is: A spokeswoman for the Department said: “We have not ordered councils not to reply to Mr Hemming.” Why then do I have all these responses which say: Durham Your request for information on Part 8 Serious case reviews request 1 of 5, received on 01-JUL-2008, has been considered. Unfortunately we will not be able to provide you with this information. This is because we have been informed by central government that a national response is being provided by DCSF. In accordance with section 17 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 this letter acts as a refusal notice. Bolton I have since been instructed by The Department for Children, Schools and Families that they will be providing you with a coordinated national response and Bolton Council has no requirement to respond. The fact that someone else is producing a response is not a reason for not responding. DCSF are not allowed to "instruct" departments that they have "n

Serious Case Reviews: Government attempts to cover up lists of child deaths

The link is to a story on "The Stirrer" based upon a press release I sent out over the weekend. The following is the text of an email I have just sent to the Children, Schools and Families Select Committee: Dear Barry I am writing to you as Chairman of the Children, Schools and Families Select Committee as you may wish to review the matter of Serious Case Reviews. You will be aware that where a child dies or is seriously injured as a result of child abuse that a Serious Case Review is instigated. There is an important question as to whether these reviews achieve their objective of informing practise. However, these reviews are being carried out. I have been concerned for some time as to the decision making process in respect of Public Family Law. It is my belief that substantial numbers of falst positives and false negatives occur - I believe that this arises as a consequence of the lack of accountability in the system which is caused by threat of contempt proceedings in the

Haringey is not unique

The link is to a story how a retaliatory allegation was made against the Haringey whistleblower for telling the truth. Sadly this sort of thing is not in any way unique. It doesn't only happen in Haringey.

Results: Thursday 13th November 2008

Boston BC, Fenside BNP 279 (42.6; +42.6) Boston Bypass Independents 141 (21.5; -21.8) Con 119 (18.2; -0.1) Lab 69 (10.5; -13.2) UKIP 24 (3.7; -11.0) Majority 138 Turnout 22.1% BNP gain from Boston Bypass Independents Percentage change is since May 2007 Darlington UA, North Road LD Anne-Marie Curry 561 (50.8; -4.1) Lab 262 (23.7; 0.0) Con 115 (10.4; -1.0) BNP 106 (9.6; -0.3) Ind 60 (5.4; +5.4) Majority 299 Turnout 24.2% LD hold Percentage change is since May 2007 Hinckley and Bosworth BC, Markfield, Stanton and Fieldhead Con 637 (35.2; -0.1) Lab 521 (28.8; -11.8) LD Robin Webber-Jones 390 (21.5; +12.8) BNP 263 (14.5; -1.0) Majority 116 Turnout 41% Con hold Percentage change is since May 2007 Wokingham BC, Coronation Con 850 (53.2; 0.0) LD Coling Lawley 675 (42.2; +4.6) UKIP 74 (4.6; -0.2) [Lab (0.0; -4.3)] Majority 175 Turnout not known Con hold Percentage change is since May 2007 Woodley TC, Coronation Central Con 255 (50.8) LD Patrick Power 247 (49.2) Majority 8 Turnout not known Con

EDM 2499 - Independent Inquiry

This EDM is at the nub of the issue recent deteriorations in child protection practise. The government is proposing to look at how well the changes have been implemented. We need to look as to whether the changes were the right thing to do. I would not go about reorganising local authorities again. I would, however, move away from ticking boxes towards visiting people.

Jumping to Conclusions

The link is to Camilla Cavendish's article today where she argues a similar case to the one that I argue. I add concerns about the Integrated Childrens System and the fact that this drives social workers to make earlier decisions and remain in the office feeding the machine. The Family Court system then fails to challenge these wrongful decisions.

Review into Child Protection

It seems to be that the government are going to have a review of Public Family Law. The question, however, is whether it will be wide ranging enough. *edit Having Lord Laming look at what has happened since Climbie is thoroughly insufficient. Firstly, his proposals were unlikely to help in solving the wrong problem and actually making things worse. Secondly, this is taking the same person to look at the same issue which is likely to result in the same conclusions. A typical family court nonsense.

Baby P - Haringey again

The link is to the story about Baby P. That is another false negative. The system we operate in England (and Wales) for child protection is systematically flawed. It generates wrong decisions and causes masses of damage. Not only that, but the changes post Laming have made things worse.

Birmingham Remembrance Parade 2008

As usual I took photos of the parade from the VIP stand. This really is not such a good location to take photos. There may be other photos on the web later. Previous years: 2005 2006 2007 The parade is gathered. Then the wreath layers come out of the Rep. The Colour bearers gather outside the Hall of Remembrance The service is run from the Hall of Remembrance A volley of shots is fired at the start and the end of the 2 minute silence. The Lord Mayor's party stand outside Baskerville House and the parade parades out past the Lord Mayor There are more photos on flickr Lest we forget.

Birmingham Childrens Hospital

The link is to the commissioner report about Birmingham Children's Hospital. A lot of the criticisms relate to short cuts by not having evening and weekend services and not having specialist teams. A few years ago concerns were raised about the tariff paid to childrens' hospitals. The consequences of these changes now seem clear.

Edinburgh and Glasgow by-elections

What is interesting about STV elections is that you find out voters subsequent preferences. The full result for Forth is here The Scottish Socialist Party vote went a third green and only 3 votes to Solidarity whereas Solidarity went independent. The Lib Dem votes went first non-transferable, then tory then Labour then SNP. The tory votes went mainly-non transferable, but more than half transferred and that was 270 SNP and 267 Labour. What this says to me is that this battle has a distinctive anti SNP element to it. The glasgow results are harder to find, but can be tracked from here . You need to download a zip file and extract it. The few green votes went SNP in preference to Labour. The BNP voters preferred the tories to SNP then Labour. The SSP just about preferred the SNP to Labour, but it was close. The Lib Dem votes preferred Labour, then SNP then Tory. The Tory votes mainly didn't transfer, but otherwise preferred SNP (77) to Labour (48). I find that interesting,

Zimbabwean Inflation in pictures

The link is to pictures of Zimbabwe's 231 000 000% inflation. I noticed in 2012 that the webserver it was on had stopped working so I found the page in the internet graveyard and have uploaded it here . One image is missing, but most of the quality of the original post is there.

Results: Thursday 6th November 2008

Edinburgh City UA, Forth First preference votes: Labour 2013 (29.5%: +0.5%) SNP 1841 (26.9%: +4.2%) Conservative 1180 (17.3%: -2.9%) Lib Dem (Sanne Dijkstra-Downie) 985 (14.4%: -3.5%) Green 341 (5.0%: -0.8%) Independent 1 297 (4.4%: +2.6%) Solidarity 80 (1.2%: -0.6%) SSP 53 (0.8%: +0.0%) Independent 2 26 (0.4%: +0.4%) Turnout 32% The Labour candidate was elected at Stage 9 Labour hold Glasgow City UA, Baillieston First preference votes: Labour 2257 (46.8%: +0.8%) SNP 2027 (42.1%: +9.1%) Conservative 226 (4.7%: -1.8%) Lib Dem (David Jackson) 142 (2.9%: -0.9%) SSP 88 (1.8%: -0.4%) BNP 46 (1.0%: +1.0%) Green 32 (0.7%: -1.1%) There were no Solidarity or Scottish Unionist candidates in the by-election. In May 1907 between t

Fire Station Proposals

People living in Yardley will be aware that we are unhappy with the proposals in terms of locations of fire stations and closures of Hay Mills and Sheldon. We now have the files with the maps of timings now and proposed timings. Anyone who wishes to see those should contact my office. They are big files of about 5Mb each and there are over 10 so we cannot email them. Constituents with a memory stick can have a copy and we will display the maps in the window.

Camilla wins Paul Foot Award

Camilla Cavendish should be congratulated on winning the Paul Foot award for her work on opening up the family courts. This is a battle between the vested interests of lawyers, experts and practitioners and the interests of children and families. The people who earn money from the system want to be kept away from scrutiny. Those who suffer from their actions want the professionals to be held to account.

Sam Thomas and her baby in Ireland

The link is to Fabulous. That is the News of the World's magazine. I am not sure the link will last for ever. Hence I have extracted some of the article. As they count down to their due date, most mums-to-be are busy putting the finishing touches to the nursery and packing their hospital bags. But not 19-year-old Sam Thomas. In the last weeks of her pregnancy, she became so terrified the British authorities were planning to take away her baby, she fled 262 miles from her Somerset home to Wexford in Ireland, where 7lb 5oz Ellie-Jay was born on September 30. "She's the most beautiful thing I've ever seen in my life. She makes everything I've gone through worth it," says Sam. I am the MP referred to in the article. What is important about this is that it was another case where a baby was scheduled for removal at birth. Providing all the information to sensible authorities (and remember that a Social Worker from Somerset went to Ireland to argue for removal at

Canadian Miscarriage Suicide

The link is to a story from Canada where similar mistakes are being made to those in England and Wales. I don't think they have the problem in Canada where cases are dragged out merely to increase the legal fees, but the same problem with assumption of guilt causes tragedies like the one involving the murder/suicide in Canada.