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11th September 2013: The world's gone mad and I'm the only one who knows
13th August 2013: Black is white. Fact. End of.
11th August 2013: Electric cars, not as green as they're painted?
18th June 2013: Wrinklies unite, you have nothing to lose but your walking frames!
17th May 2013: Some actual FACTS about climate change (for a change) from actual scientists ...
10th May 2013: An article about that poison gas, carbon dioxide, and other scientific facts (not) ...
10th May 2013: We need to see past the sex and look at the crimes: is justice being served?
8th May 2013: So, who would you trust to treat your haemorrhoids, Theresa May?
8th May 2013: Why should citizens in the 21st Century fear the law so much?
30th April 2013: What the GOS says today, the rest of the world realises tomorrow ...
30th April 2013: You couldn't make it up, could you? Luckily you don't need to ...
29th April 2013: a vote for NONE OF THE ABOVE, because THE ABOVE are crap ...
28th April 2013: what goes around, comes around?
19th April 2013: everyone's a victim these days ...
10th April 2013: Thatcher is dead; long live Thatcher!
8th April 2013: Poor people are such a nuisance. Just give them loads of money and they'll go away ...
26th March 2013: Censorship is alive and well and coming for you ...
25th March 2013: Just do your job properly, is that too much to ask?
25th March 2013: So, what do you think caused your heterosexuality?
20th March 2013: Feminists - puritans, hypocrites or just plain stupid?
18th March 2013: How Nazi Germany paved the way for modern governance?
13th March 2013: Time we all grew up and lived in the real world ...
12th March 2013: Hindenburg crash mystery solved? - don't you believe it!
6th March 2013: Is this the real GOS?
5th March 2013: All that's wrong with taxes
25th February 2013: The self-seeking MP who is trying to bring Britain down ...
24th February 2013: Why can't newspapers just tell the truth?
22nd February 2013: Trial by jury - a radical proposal
13th February 2013: A little verse for two very old people ...
6th February 2013: It's not us after all, it's worms
6th February 2013: Now here's a powerful argument FOR gay marriage ...
4th February 2013: There's no such thing as equality because we're not all the same ...
28th January 2013: Global Warming isn't over - IT'S HIDING!
25th January 2013: Global Warmers: mad, bad and dangerous to know ...
25th January 2013: Bullying ego-trippers, not animal lovers ...
19th January 2013: We STILL haven't got our heads straight about gays ...
16th January 2013: Bullying ego-trippers, not animal lovers ...
11th January 2013: What it's like being English ...
7th January 2013: Bleat, bleat, if it saves the life of just one child ...
7th January 2013: How best to put it? 'Up yours, Argentina'?
7th January 2013: Chucking even more of other people's money around ...
6th January 2013: Chucking other people's money around ...
30th December 2012: The BBC is just crap, basically ...
30th December 2012: We mourn the passing of a genuine Grumpy Old Sod ...
30th December 2012: How an official body sets out to ruin Christmas ...
16th December 2012: Why should we pardon Alan Turing when he did nothing wrong?
15th December 2012: When will social workers face up to their REAL responsibility?
15th December 2012: Unfair trading by a firm in Bognor Regis ...
14th December 2012: Now the company that sells your data is pretending to act as watchdog ...
7th December 2012: There's a war between cars and bikes, apparently, and  most of us never noticed!
26th November 2012: The bottom line - social workers are just plain stupid ...
20th November 2012: So, David Eyke was right all along, then?
15th November 2012: MPs don't mind dishing it out, but when it's them in the firing line ...
14th November 2012: The BBC has a policy, it seems, about which truths it wants to tell ...
12th November 2012: Big Brother, coming to a school near you ...
9th November 2012: Yet another celebrity who thinks, like Jimmy Saville, that he can behave just as he likes because he's famous ...
5th November 2012: Whose roads are they, anyway? After all, we paid for them ...
7th May 2012: How politicians could end droughts at a stroke if they chose ...
6th May 2012: The BBC, still determined to keep us in a fog of ignorance ...
2nd May 2012: A sense of proportion lacking?
24th April 2012: Told you so, told you so, told you so ...
15th April 2012: Aah, sweet ickle polar bears in danger, aah ...
15th April 2012: An open letter to Anglian Water ...
30th March 2012: Now they want to cure us if we don't believe their lies ...
28th February 2012: Just how useful is a degree? Not very.
27th February 2012: ... so many ways to die ...
15th February 2012: DO go to Jamaica because you definitely WON'T get murdered with a machete. Ms Fox says so ...
31st January 2012: We don't make anything any more
27th January 2012: There's always a word for it, they say, and if there isn't we'll invent one
26th January 2012: Literary criticism on GOS? How posh!
12th December 2011: Plain speaking by a scientist about the global warming fraud
9th December 2011: Who trusts scientists? Apart from the BBC, of course?
7th December 2011: All in all, not a good week for British justice ...
9th November 2011: Well what d'you know, the law really IS a bit of an ass ...


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We make no apologies for returning to one of the most worrying aspects of Nu-Labour Stasi Britain. We've written about it umpteen times before, and we'll keep banging on about it until the stupid bastards curl up and die. And yes, we know that could take quite some time, because there's no one quite so tenacious as a talentless bully who sees the opportunity for jobs, money, influence and power.
This excellent article by Jenni Russell in last week's Sunday Times ...

David Cameron gets it. Last week he had the good sense to say what many people know to be true, but fear to articulate: that all too often the government’s bureaucratic schemes to protect children have so many unintended consequences that they end up making children more vulnerable and society less strong.
In his Scott Trust speech, Cameron picked up on the themes that this newspaper has been highlighting: the hidden damage being caused by the government’s vetting and barring regimes. He was unequivocal about the malign effect that the new Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA), with its plans to monitor at least a quarter of the adult population, would have on our lives.
Many responsible adults would, the Tory leader said, rather abandon volunteering than go through the rigmarole of a vetting procedure. That mass withdrawal would actually reduce the amount of care and love in children’s lives. This is already happening, although no one in government appears willing to recognise it. Ministers are so busy mouthing platitudes, both in public and in private, about “safeguarding children being our most important priority”, that they don’t want to hear or think about what it means for children when grown-ups decide it’s too risky to spend time with them. Ask them about sports or drama groups closing down for fear of breaking regulations, or of teachers deciding it’s too hazardous to organise school trips, and they say blandly that protection must come first.
They don’t want to know about all the quiet and disastrous ways in which society is being reshaped by the constant message that adults can’t be trusted. Evidence has poured into this paper since the issue was raised here two weeks ago. Some came from professionals who cannot afford any misinterpretation of their interaction with children because of what it means for their jobs.
A paediatric nurse told me that until this autumn she was a volunteer at a local mother and toddler group. She stopped on the day a baby tumbled off a low slide. She realised then that if the mother concerned had accused her of negligence, that accusation could put an end to her career. She will no longer volunteer at any activity where children might be present.
A school governor talked of her distress at seeing a six-year-old child screaming after a bad fall in a playground and of no adults going to comfort her. The teacher standing beside her, watching woodenly, said it was more than his job was worth to touch a child. A children’s social worker said he made it a rule never to take out his godchildren, or to be alone in a room with the children of friends, in case he was ever accused of abuse.
If it seems perverse that the people who are trained to relate to children now have a particular reason to avoid them, some of the consequences outlined by other adults seem sadder still. A couple in their seventies wrote to say that their small dog was so attractive to children that every time they went out with him children wanted to stroke him and talk to them. The couple were so worried about how this might be seen that they now walked the dog only when children were in school.
A company director, fit, wealthy and about to retire, said that what he really wanted to do was to change deprived children’s lives, as he had done by running football teams for them in his thirties and forties. But he didn’t want to do so in a climate of such suspicion, so all his energy and experience would go to waste.
A fifty-something grandmother wrote to say that on Hallowe’en she had stopped in the street to compliment three nine-year-olds on their costumes and, in the midst of a lively conversation, had felt such sudden panic that she might be accused of grooming the girls that she had cut it short and hurried off.
This is the reality of what pervasive suspicion is doing to us all. The government and its agencies may prefer to be wilfully blind to it. The Conservatives can’t afford to be. Their vision of a better Britain is built on the idea that people and communities should come together to take more responsibility for one another. They want to build links between people and generations, not erode them. That’s why they intend to rethink the way the ISA operates.
It is delicate territory and they know it. Demanding more protection for children is the politically easy option; talking about why mass monitoring won’t achieve it, and what will be lost in the ruthless and misguided pursuit of it, is harder and needs a more sophisticated argument.
Everyone notices, and recoils, when a child is atrociously abused or dies; the absence of thousands of voluntary activities, or untold acts of kindness, warmth and concern between children and adults never registers. It is to the Tories’ credit that they are willing to open up this argument.


Well, possibly. It'll be far more to his credit when he actually does something about it. Personally we're willing to vote for him and give him the chance, but then we are a bit naïve.
Last month Heidi Blake wrote this article in the Daily Telegraph. Some of the names have been changed to protect the innocent. And boy, do the innocent need protecting ...

Since the death of Baby Peter, state applications to put children into care has risen by almost 50%, and innocent families are suffering.
In an inn on the banks of the Firth of Clyde, with the lights of the Kintyre peninsula twinkling on the water, a small group of friends is gathering. Middle-aged, smartly dressed and chatting over ginger beer, they blend in seamlessly with the post-work pub-goers in the town of Helensburgh. But these friends are united by every parent's darkest nightmare. All have come terrifyingly close to having their children removed by the state.
George and Liz McCulloch committed one simple crime in the eyes of the authorities. They fought for a better standard of education for their disabled daughter; it was behaviour that Argyll and Bute Council called "emotional abuse". Their friends, Janice and Rory McCulloch (no relation), are well placed to sympathise, having fought off proceedings to take their own daughter into care five years ago during a disagreement with her school.
These friends are part of a growing network of parents across Britain who have faced losing their children after challenging the judgement of doctors, teachers or social workers. John Hemming MP, co-ordinator of the Justice for Families campaign, warned last month that child protection proceedings are being used as a punishment for "uppity parents".
Jean Robinson, of the Association for Improvements in Maternity Services, confirms that "parents who question or criticise professionals about their child's care risk being referred to social services for investigation".
Child protection referrals have rocketed in the wake of the tragic death of Baby Peter, and figures published yesterday by Cafcass, the organisation that represents children in the family courts, show applications to take children into state care have risen by more than 47 per cent since last year.
Although partly a product of over-caution by professionals terrified of making another fatal mistake, this disturbing heavy-handedness seems to spring, in some cases, from an authoritarian vindictiveness almost too Orwellian to be believed. But I have spoken to eight law-abiding, professional families, with a passionate interest in their children's lives, whose stories of abuse by the authorities are far more chilling than fiction.
George, 49, a team manager for Scottish Gas, is a large, gentle man. His 50-year-old wife, Liz, has a warm smile and sparkling green eyes. Their troubles began in 2005 when they made a request to have their visually impaired daughter Emily, then 12, moved from a local school, where she was bullied, under-performing and miserable, to the Royal Blind School in Edinburgh.
The local authority rejected the request, which would have cost £34,705 a year, both at the initial stage and at appeal. Undeterred, the couple started court proceedings to demand their statutory right, under the Scottish Education Act 2004, to have Emily moved to a school that met her special educational needs. "I told them face to face, we're taking this all the way because we want the very best for our daughter," says George.
It was then that things turned sour. Through a data protection request to the local authority, the couple discovered minutes to a series of secret child-protection meetings at which they had been accused of emotionally abusing Emily by persisting with the placing request.
"I was almost sick when I read what they had said about us," says Liz. "We felt like a half-cocked pea shooter against a cannon because they were all colluding against us."
With the accusation in the open, social services called George and Liz to a meeting in February 2007 at which, they say, they were told that they would be taken to the Children's Reporter, who decides whether to start care proceedings against abusive parents, unless they abandoned the request.
'Liz was unable to speak she was so upset," says George. "But I told them this was fascist behaviour and they wouldn't get away with it. I said my father fought in the war so we could have freedom and you're threatening us to try to stop us exercising Emily's statutory right. You're abusing a good family for the sake of money."
After the local MSP, Jackie Baillie, took up the family's cause, proceedings were eventually put on hold, allowing George and Liz to pursue their court case, which they won in May last year. Sheriff Valerie Johnston ordered Argyll and Bute Council to send Emily to the Royal Blind School and pay the McCullochs' legal costs, noting that "a great deal of distress" had been caused to the family. The council refused to comment on the case.
Emily started her new education in September 2008, three years after the placing request was first made. "My new school is really nice," she says. "At my old school, I thought I was a bit worthless, but now I know I'm not because I can actually do things."
She is a now a bold, articulate girl of 16, but her eyes fill with tears when we talk about her parents' battle with the authorities. "I was heartbroken to see what they were doing to my mum and dad," she says. "I used to cry about it every night because I didn't want them to be called abusers – they are the best mum and dad in the world."
The McCullochs' case is not unusual. All over Britain there are similar stories. Sarah Langton tells me hers on a bright autumn morning at her home in the south of England. Her eight and 11-year-old sons are playing happily in the next room, but she lives every day with the fear that she will lose them.
"I'm worried social services will find out I've spoken about what happened and make our lives hell," she says, her voice trembling. The 47-year-old is a softly spoken stay-at-home mother who suffered severe post-natal depression after the birth of her sons. Her husband Philip, 50, an electronics engineer, sought help from social services, but the couple soon became uncomfortable about inaccuracies in the records of their meetings that looked like attempts cast them in a negative light.
Sarah recovered and was signed off in 2003, but the couple continued to feel anxious and eventually approached their MP for advice. He contacted the local authority to ask if the records could be amended, and within days Sarah received a telephone call to say the family was under investigation.
"They said it was because our complaint showed there was anger in the family, which is bad for the children," says Sarah.
The investigation lasted three months, in which time the boys were repeatedly interviewed by social workers, who eventually concluded that there was "no cause for concern". The inaccurate records were never addressed. "It's shocking that however much you love your children, there is a greater power that can threaten to take them away for no reason," says Sarah.
Kylie Thompson, 24, knows how it feels to live in the shadow of that power. She tells me from her home in Yorkshire how her troubles began in 2007, when she took her two-year-old son to hospital to check a small red mark on his cheek. The paediatrician who examined him reported the family to social services in case it was caused by a "non-accidental injury".
The social workers who first came to assess the family saw at once that there was no cause for concern, and told Kylie not to worry. But, thinking the risk to her children had passed, she made the critical mistake of complaining about the paediatrician.
"Immediately after I complained, he changed his report and said it was definitely a non-accidental injury, rather than just a possibility," says Kylie. "He said it looked like it was caused by an adult grabbing my son's face and striking him a hard blow."
Because of the altered diagnosis, social services were obliged to launch an investigation, and Kylie was questioned by the police. Her son and daughter, then three, were placed on the child protection register, and the family were repeatedly visited by social workers scrutinising the children for signs of abuse.
The nightmare finally ended last February, a year after the paediatrician changed his diagnosis, when the children were removed from the register. "Even now, I'm terrified of my son getting a bruise or a cut and not being able to explain it," says Kylie. "It could all happen again."
Social work managers admit that overworked staff, who encounter aggression and abuse every day, can become vindictive without careful supervision and support. Even Kim Bromley-Derry, the chairman of the Association of Directors of Children's Services, confesses that the phenomenon is "obviously not uncommon".
"Ultimately, if there is a difference of opinion between a family and a social worker, who are all the other professionals going to believe? Inevitably, the family are in a much weaker position, and we have to prevent all abuses of that power imbalance," he says.
Mr Bromley-Derry urges social work managers to ensure staff are rigorously supervised and says parents should be offered an independent second opinion in cases of disagreement. His suggestion is echoed by John Hemming MP, who wants to see the right to a second opinion enshrined in the Family Courts.
There is no doubt that child protection professionals provide a crucial safety net for society's most vulnerable children. But when their attention is misdirected, they possess the power to destroy happy, loving families.
Jack Frost, who fought off attempts to remove his daughter after he complained about a paediatrician, sums up the horror. "You simply cannot imagine how it feels to look at your beautiful daughter every day and prepare yourself to have to say farewell to her forever."


I suppose most of us would be prepared to allow that many of these cases are the result of overworked social workers trying to guard their own backs at the expense of the children and families they're supposed to serve. But sometimes things happen out of sheer wicked deception by politicians with an agenda few people would welcome if they knew about it.
This is Dr.Eamonn Butler writing on the Adam Smith Institute website ...

Here's the line. Women are being trafficked into Britain and forced to become sex slaves. We know this because the massive Operation Pentameter, involving 55 police forces, six government departments and various NGOs, led to the arrest of 528 sex traffickers. On the basis of this, Harriet Harman is rightly pushing through a bill to make it illegal to pay for sex with a prostitute controlled by someone else.
Except it's all lies. As Nick Davies reported, the six-month investigation actually failed to find a single sex trafficker. Ten of the 55 police forces arrested nobody at all. Some 122 of the 528 arrests claimed never happened (they were wrongly recorded, or phantom arrests designed to chase targets). Half (230) were women – suggesting that the Operation was a convenient excuse to harass prostitutes and clock up more arrest figures.
Of the 406 real arrests, 153 had been released weeks before the police announced their 'success', 106 without any charge at all, and 47 being cautioned for minor offences. Of the rest, 73 were charged with immigration breaches, 76 convicted on drugs raps, and others died or disappeared.
Only 22 people were finally prosecuted for trafficking, including two women. Seven were acquitted. The net haul from this vast operation was 15 successful prosecutions. Of those, just five men were convicted of importing women and forcing them to work as prostitutes (two of whom were already in custody).
So that's the 'huge success' that allowed Jacqui Smith and now Harriet Harman, to claim that 'thousands' of women were being trafficked, and to push a Bill through Parliament. So much for evidence-based policy: I would feel happier if they just said that they found prostitution disgusting and wanted to outlaw it for our own moral good. At least that would be honest. This is simple deception, a fraud on the public.
Sex workers are opposing the new legislation. They know that every time governments 'get tough' on prostitution, they are the ones who suffer. The police just have another excuse to go on fishing trips, round up a few girls, and boost their arrest figures so that they get Brownie points and the Chief Constable gets a better bonus. And to prove that they are not 'controlled', girls will start working alone, rather than in flats with a maid to look after them, which will make them more vulnerable to abuse and attack. Thanks, Harriet.


Eamonn Butler is the author of "The Rotten State of Britain", described by one newspaper as a "jaw-dropping book". Labour MP Austin Mitchell reviewed it in the Mail on Sunday, concluding "Suicide may be the only answer."
Amazon describe the book thus: "... reveals the state of our political system, the low standards in public life, the justice system, the draconian powers the police and public officials have been given, the surveillance and nanny state, public service bureaucracy and spending, the economy and how we urgently need new checks and balances to restrain our political leaders and the unelected advisors who actually control our lives. As an economist, psychologist and Westminster insider, Eamonn Butler initially thought New Labour seemed purposeful and businesslike. They promised an open kind of government and so as the Head of the Adam Smith Institute he decided to work with them. Two years later, though, he had become deeply troubled by the fact that words were not backed up by deeds."
We haven't read it, to be honest, but it sounds worthwhile and very similar to Alan Pearce's "Whose side are they on?", which we reviewed recently. Incidentally, Alan Pearce turns out to be one of our regular readers (how flattering is that?), and he has sent us this link to an excellent video about the book.
You can buy "The Rotten State of Britain" here.

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