Now it's official, and very public. Motorists are criminals.
Motorists fined in court for speeding will be forced to pay a £15 surcharge to help the victims of domestic violence. Fair enough, perhaps. But read on …
The decision, announced on Friday, brought an incredulous response. "If they want to help victims of domestic violence, they should be suing the perpetrator - not treating the motorist as a cash cow," said Paul Smith, of the pressure group Safe Speed. Frankly, we think he's being a bit naïve - what else does he think the motorist is for?
The £15 levy will be imposed on anyone who faces a fine, including drivers who challenge a speeding ticket in court. Ministers announced that they would immediately plough £3million of this into expanding the number of independent domestic violence advisers on the public payroll. The rest will go to other victim services but none will be paid in compensation to actual victims.
The surcharge scheme will rake in £16million a year. Home Office Minister Baroness Scotland said: "We are hitting criminals in the pocket to make sure that crime doesn't pay." However, the only instance in which those sent to jail will have to pay the surcharge is if they are also required to pay a fine, so rapists, murderers and other violent criminals who have earned a jail sentence will escape the penalty - it's only the real criminals, motorists, who will pay.
And none of the money will actually end up in the pockets of crime victims - it'll just be used to employ more and more civil servants, make the senior civil servants and politicians who employ them more and more important, and increase the stranglehold of the state on individuals.
Same old same old, really.
Boris Johnson's just realised ….
Good old Boris Johnson has just tumbled to something that GOS warned about months and months ago (note to self: perhaps Boris reads GOS?). He's featured in the Daily Mail this week saying that men are being scared away from the teaching profession by a wave of "paedophile hysteria". School staffrooms are increasingly dominated by female teachers because men are afraid of attracting false child abuse allegations.
Women now outnumber men by 13 to one in primary schools. Boris says that young boys need male role-models to aid their intellectual development, but "potentially brilliant" teachers are deterred from entering the profession because they fear being branded as paedophiles.
He may be right, but he may also be missing the point. Maybe they don't like the idea of being hounded from pillar to post by inspectors, swamped with paperwork and endless new initiatives, and brutalised or insulted by evil children against whom no effective deterrent is permitted? Perhaps men don't want to be teachers because they know what a crap job it is?
EC President pisses on PC
Not strictly the state of our nation, I suppose, but worth celebrating all the same.
Former Portuguese premier Barroso, who in 2006 had became the European Union's top executive, rained on the PC parade recently, saying he backed "the right to offend" and that "we have to show respect for all communities, but the fundamental right of freedom of expression is to me more important than other collective rights".
He spoke of "political correctness killing our freedoms" but didn't actually say what he intended to do about it.
Nice to hear from him, though. I wonder who he is? The GOS thinks he might find the IQ & PC website worth reading.
"I've got the key of the door …."
While motorists are being made to fork out for the victims of crime, thousands of real criminals - including many guilty of violent and sexual offences - are being given keys to their cells. They can roam in and out virtually at will under a scheme designed to give them substantially more "respect and decency" than they allowed their victims.
Official figures revealed that 5,747 of the 9,577 offenders in Yorkshire prisons have keys for 'privacy locks' to protect themselves and their belongings. Although many of them are at open prisons and youth offenders' institutes, others are in standard closed prisons for those who have committed serious crimes. It also emerged that some youth prisons now call offenders 'trainees' or 'residents'.
Governors in other parts of the country are also understood to have introduced the key scheme.
Tory MP Philip Davies accused the Government of "turning prisons into hotels". He said: "People will be horrified to know so many prisons give inmates their own keys. It will reinforce their views that the regime is far too lax and cushy. These people are banged up for a reason. But the Government seems more concerned about the human rights of criminals than those of their victims, who are footing the bill to keep them in increasingly pleasant surroundings."
In the financial year that ended last March, £8.8million in compensation was paid out to prisoners - almost 15 times as much as just two years earlier. Cases included £2.8million for medical treatment for a prisoner who failed in a suicide bid, £750,000 for nearly 200 drug addicts who suffered withdrawal symptoms after they were forced to go 'cold turkey', £80,000 for three illegal immigrant convicts who were not deported quickly enough, £200 each for prisoners whose DVD players were taken away because they watched pornography. There was also the case of Gerry Cooper, who sued the Home Office after falling out of a bunk bed in his cell.
Litter wardens triumph again. Bastards.
Newsagent Ted Patel is fighting a £50 fine after a piece of paper bearing his business's name was found in a black rubbish bag next to a litter bin 120 yards from his shop. A council enforcement officer marched into Ted Patel's store waving the A5 sheet before issuing the fixed penalty notice in front of half a dozen customers.
Mr Patel was said to have committed the "crime" of trying to dispose of personal waste by leaving it next to the bin. But he insists he was not responsible. He is refusing to pay the penalty and faces a magistrate's court hearing where he could be fined a maximum £5,000.
Mr Patel said: "The officer came in and was waving the paper triumphantly in the air in front of me. He was really rude and in front of loads of customers accused me of dumping personal rubbish. He then started noting down my height, colour and that I was Asian. It made it sound like I was a hardened criminal.
Mr Patel and his wife Rita, 42, have run Smoker's Paradise near Upminster tube station in Essex for 20 years. The uniformed official from Havering Council walked into his store, having rooted through the bin bag and discovered the piece of paper that would originally have been issued to a delivery driver. Mr Patel said "If the council can employ snoops to go through the rubbish at 7.50am when there's litter lying all over the streets then it's an absolute liberty. I open up in the mornings and sometimes there's sofas and old washing machines piled up at the bin, but nothing happens to those people. Yet I'm an honest man making an honest living and I'm being punished for something so trivial. The delivery driver probably dropped the sheet and someone found it. The council should be grateful. It's better than leaving it on the ground."
There is an old and cherished belief in this country that a man is innocent until proven guilty, but in this wonderful politically-correct NuLabour paradise, that no longer applies. Mr.Patel was not seen putting the piece of paper in the wrong bin. There are a multitude of possible explanations for its presence there, even if you ignore the absurdity of trying to distinguish between private and public litter - surely all litter originates from someone - it doesn't just appear on the pavement by magic? So all litter is private litter. Public litter is just a load of private litter lying in the street, isn't it?
But although there is absolutely no evidence that Mr.Patel committed any offence beyond that of having an address (how dare he?) Havering Council are quite content to charge and fine him in what sounds like a very offensive manner.
There's some discussion in our Guest Book about local authority wardens getting punched on the nose. Sounds good to us ….
Elsewhere, an 11-year-old boy was sent a £50 fine after an envelope with his name and address was found half a mile from his home, but council officials later issued a grovelling apology after admitting it was lying 100 yards from a municipal tip. A man who threw away two pieces of junk mail after being handed them by a postman on his way to work was fined £150 for putting "domestic refuse" in a public bin. And last October a court fined Michael Reeves £200 for putting a scrap of paper in a bin meant for bottles and cans, leaving him with a criminal record.
Then there's that City of Gloucester website where they think it's OK to post pictures of members of the public who are alleged - again with no proof so far as we can see - to have dropped litter but whom the council's litter wardens are too slow or too scared to approach directly.
The class war hots up
Our universities are being told to practise discrimination when deciding to whom they should award a place. As part of a drive to admit more students from disadvantaged backgrounds, the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) says applicants will now be asked to declare whether their parents have degrees or other higher education qualifications. It has also decided to give admissions tutors information about parents' ethnicity and jobs.
It is claimed that the reason is to widen participation at university by compensating for disadvantage and thus creating a level playing field. But in fact the proposal is designed to narrow participation by certain groups. In effect, it means that if you are unfortunate enough to have white parents who have degrees and good jobs, the university admissions process will be rigged against you. However well-qualified you may be, however hard you have worked and however good your exam grades, you stand to lose your chance of a university place to someone who can tick all the right boxes about their parents' circumstances.
This, we are told, is necessary to create a fairer society.
Of course we're all in favour of a fair society. And there are quite a few other criteria that could be used. For instance, children do best if their parents are married, so assuming that NuLabour hold on to power, we can expect marriage to be outlawed by 2015.
Children who live in nice houses with central heating and plenty of books do better than those from trailer parks. So by 2020, we may expect most of Chiswick to be bulldozed in a pilot scheme to see if forcing people to live in caravans makes them more equal.
Children of drug-addicts, criminals or alcoholics tend to do worse at school, so by 2025 it will become compulsory for all adults of child-bearing age to use drugs or alcohol. All motorists are already criminals, so that evens things up nicely.
Talented people who have good jobs, or do interesting things like writing poetry or collecting orchids, tend to have higher-achieving children which is obviously unfair. Sometime in the third decade of the century we may expect the beginning of a debate to determine which is more practical: banning all activities that require more than three brain-cells, or taking babies from their mothers soon after birth, mixing them all up and then redistributing them on a completely random basis.
The government's thinking is guided by their alarm at the very poor rate of applications for university from children from disadvantaged backgrounds. They seem to think it's because they can't compete with the white middle-class kids.
The GOS can assure them this isn't the case. They aren't not applying for university because they're scared of the competition. They're not applying for university because they don't want to go there.
And who can blame them? Three or four years being taught something totally irrelevant by bored, uninterested tutors, just to leave with several thousand pounds of debt round your neck and a degree that might, if you're very lucky, get you a job flipping burgers?
Nah! Much better to leave school as soon as possible and get a job - become a postman, perhaps. Who knows, play your cards right and you could end up as Education Minister.
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