Here we are again, The GOS's quick round-up of the state of play in this wonderful nation of ours. He hopes you will notice the admirable self-restraint with which he refrains from making any comment …
Finger of Fate
Fireman John Pennington was attending the scene of a multiple pile-up on the M25. One driver was trapped in his lorry, and desperate attempts were being made to free him (he later died). John's colleague, who was operating the power-ram being used to straighten out the tangled metal, was overwhelmed by "fatigue and exhaustion", so John stepped in and took over the machine. However, he hadn't been trained in its use, and made a mistake which trapped a finger and injured his hand despite protective gloves.
For his injury he was awarded £3,000 compensation, but his bosses Surrey Fire Service and Surrey County Council weren't having that. They appealed and took him to court in an action that must have cost far more then the paltry payout he'd received. They argued that because John hadn't been trained to use the machine, he should have put his own safety first and left the driver to die.
Luckily judges at the Court of Appeal dismissed the claim as "unrealistic", saying Mr Pennington had "acted reasonably" in attempting to save the driver's life. Lord Justice Pill said "Without any training or experience on the ram, Mr Pennington took over the urgent attempt to save life. I find quite unacceptable the authorities approach to their duties as employers in such circumstances". Lady Justice Arden said "It was a situation of great stress, with the life of a road traffic victim at stake. There is no doubt that the fire and council authorities must have expected firemen to be called upon to use this machinery in some fairly horrific road accidents. They must have expected him to do his best in this situation and he was entitled to training to help him do so without risk to himself."
The racist attacks we don't hear about
15-year-old Kriss Donald was snatched off the street by an Asian gang and subjected to a terrible ordeal. He was beaten, stabbed, doused in petrol and set ablaze. This week his killers were jailed.
Rugby-player Lee Massey was also the subject of a racially motivated attack when he was set upon by a gang of Iraqi asylum seekers "out looking for someone to hurt". He and two friends were stabbed in a car park in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, in October 2003. Lee was then thrown into the air and suffered devastating brain injuries when one of the gang used a car to run him down. Three years later he has not fully recovered. 13 members of the gang were not charged.
Gavin Hopley, 19, was kicked to death by up to eight Asian men in Oldham in February 2002. Six men were convicted of violent disorder and theft offences but no one has been convicted of his murder.
An Asian gang was also responsible for the violent killing of 17-year-old Ross Parker, who was savagely stabbed with hunting knives during an attack in Peterborough in 2001.
David Lees, 23, was run over and killed during a fight between whites and a gang of Asians in Prestwich, Manchester, only last month.
Christopher Yates had been out celebrating a birthday with a group of friends in London and, concerned about their safety, insisted on taking some of the women he was with to a bus stop during a cool November evening two years ago. Without warning the 30-year-old office worker was viciously assaulted by a gang of drunken Asian men - Sajid Zulfiqar, Zahid Bashir and Imran Maqsood - who stamped on his head, smashing every bone in his face before killing him. After the murder the attackers shouted in Urdu, "We have killed the white man - that will teach an Englishman to interfere in Paki business." Despite this appalling racism, the three were never convicted for committing a race crime - which would have meant a heavier sentence.
Figures recently published under the Freedom of Information Act show that of the 58 people killed because of the colour of their skin between 1995 and 2004, almost half were described as white. The British Crime Survey in 2004 reveals that 87,000 people who described themselves as black or minority ethnic had been victims of what they believed was a racially motivated crime. They had suffered 49,000 violent attacks, with 4,000 being wounded. At the same time a staggering 92,000 white people also said that racism was the cause of an attack or crime they had suffered. The number of violent attacks against whites reached 77,000, while the number of white people who reported being wounded was five times the number of black and minority ethnic victims at 20,000.
Sir Ian Blair, Britain's most senior police officer, even attacked the press as "institutionally racist" in January this year because cases such as the killing of Tom ap Rhys Pryce, the solicitor, had gained more publicity than the equally terrible death on the same day of Balbir Matharu, who had tried to stop thieves ripping the radio from his car.
Peter Fahy, chief constable of Cheshire police and spokesman on race issues for the Association of Chief Police Officers, said: "A lot of police officers and other professionals feel almost the best thing to do is to try and avoid [discussing such attacks] for fear of being criticised. This is not healthy."
The silence means it is impossible to know how many white people are victims of racist attacks in today's multicultural Britain and whether they are right to feel aggrieved that the attacks they suffer do not appear to get the same recognition as those of black victims.
Revealed today that six prisoners are to receive substantial sums in compensation because they weren't allowed to take drugs in jail. This is held to be an infringement of their human rights.
Campaigners are now preparing a similar claim on behalf of all the smokers who aren't allowed to smoke in the pub.
No, not really. I just wish someone would.
Those that can, do. Those that can't … er, don't teach
Teaching is fast becoming an all-female profession with women outnumbering men in the classroom as much as 13 to one, dramatic new figures revealed today. The number of male teachers has plummeted to an all-time low, threatening a classroom discipline crisis as a generation of boys misses out on authority role models.
In parts of the country worst-hit by the male recruitment slump, fewer than 10 per cent of primary teachers are men. In Reading, just 38 primary teachers are male compared with 478 women.
It means that in the space of a generation, the proportion of secondary school male teachers has dropped from 55 per cent to 41 per cent. Across all state schools, just a quarter of teachers are men.
The GOS says: Oh, b*ll*cks, I know I said I wasn't going to comment, but I used to be a teacher and I can't keep quiet on this one. Why anyone is surprised by this news I can't imagine. Teaching's a rotten job these days. You're hemmed in by political correctness, abused by children, overloaded with new initiatives you know full well are totally pointless, criticised and patronised by inspectors and education advisers who were failures in the classroom themselves which is why they became inspectors and advisers in the first place, the children don't want to learn, behave or even listen to you, you have no sanctions at all with which to try and impose some discipline, and to cap it all you can be automatically suspended, your career blighted and your good name ruined because some evil little mare takes it into her head to accuse you of molesting her.
And don't anyone dare to tell me the long holidays make it worthwhile. They don't. Trust me, they don't. Most of the teachers I know would be delighted if the terms were made longer, because then they might have just the tiniest chance of getting something done for a change. If there's one thing worse than being in a rotten job, it's being in a rotten job and knowing that you could actually do it quite well if only they'd let you.
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