Monthly Archives: February, 2017

Ukip’s only MP describes UKIP party as a ‘basket case’

From the Daily Telegraph here http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/02/28/douglas-carswell-suggests-ukip-basket-case-nigel-farage-calls/?WT.mc_id=tmg_share_tw

Nigel Farage predicts Ukip will kick Douglas Carswell out of the party after donor Arron Banks says he will stand against him in next election

Nigel Farage has predicted Douglas Carswell will be kicked out of Ukip after one of the party’s biggest donors declared that he will stand against him in the next general election.

Arron Banks said the UK Independence Party’s MP for Clacton was a “terrible individual” who has “done his best to destroy Ukip”.

The party is in an open civil after Mr Farage publicly warned that the party will collapse unless its sole MP moves on.

The two men have been at odds for years over the party’s policies but their antipathy came to a head amid claims that Mr Carswell frustrated Mr Farage’s chances of being awarded a knighthood.

Speaking after a Brexit event in central London, Mr Farage said: “It’s not just me. A lot of people have been saying it and saying it for a very long time.

“We nearly got rid of him back in 2015 when he sabotaged all my efforts at the European summit. We didn’t quite have the nerve to do it. I suspect now the party will.”

Read the rest here:

Quick Comment

Quick Comment

John Elworthy has suggested in his misleading news article that I had “hinted I would resign.”

I’m sorry if I gave that impression.  It was not intentional.

I was elected by the people of Medworth to represent them, and represent them I shall until they tell me they don’t want me anymore.

No political stitch up or hate-driven campaign by the Usual Suspects will change that.  Only the people of Medworth can change that.  They will be asked in two years time if they would like somebody else and if they choose to replace or upgrade me then that will be up to them.

I was elected by Full Council as the Deputy Mayor in 2016 and I have performed the role to the best of my ability.  The Conservative Group have elected me as the Conservative Candidate to be Mayor this year – which is what traditionally happens after you have been Deputy Mayor – and I will proudly stand as their candidate.  If Full Council elects me then I will perform the job of Mayor diligently, proudly and to the best of my ability.

Again, no staged political drama will bully me into running away.  They may think they can upset me – and in that they are correct.  But they cannot and will not bully me into running away, no matter how many newspaper Editors they have supporting them.

I’d like to thank the 200+ people who have sent me messages, texts, Facebook messages and emails supporting me against last night’s attack.  Many of whose comments can be read on the previous blog post.  It has been very touching to receive such overwhelming support in the face of some rank unpleasantness.

If I will make two changes it is this – I will not be blogging opinion pieces during the next couple of months or in my time as Mayor (if I am elected as Mayor.)  And I will double down on my communication – I have always tried to combine scrutiny and fair and objective comment with honesty and professionalism.  It has been possible for opponents to misuse cherry-picked bits of my blog for their own ends, out of context.  This will not be possible in future.

I will continue to do what I have always done.  I will work hard for my Ward and for my Town.  I will try to do so honestly and transparently (as per this blog), rather than in secret groups and private chat rooms.  I will continue to put my time, energy, money and skills (such as they are) where my mouth is to help make Wisbech a better and safer place.  And I will trust and have faith that the truth will shine through.

 

Completely coincidentally

Completely coincidentally

At Wisbech Town Council tonight, Dave Patrick, some UKIP supporters and a couple of the people from the Hatefest forum came to Wisbech Town Council.

Completely coincidentally, the editor of the Wisbech Standard also came along to video the whole thing (even though he almost never turns up to WTC Meetings.)

They had prepared banners saying unpleasant things about me. They used the public speaking section of the meeting to personally attack me, and they did so with prepared statements. Although they were members of a political activist group, they posed as “members of the public”. John Elworthy took every opportunity to take pictures and record.

Once that portion of the meeting was over John Elworthy left promptly along with some of them.

It was the culmination of the character assassination that I believe John Elworthy, Dave Patrick and others put into action at the beginning of the year.

The primary argument they made was that the Council was “too political” while they stood there with their political group, alongside their convenient politically active Editor, and carried out a sustained and particularly nasty attack on me.

I expect the whole purpose of this was for John Elworthy to run a headline in his newspaper this week which will claim that -rather than being an organised group of haters – they were “random members of the public.”

Bob Doughty – who I was surprised about given that I have put myself out to help him in the past – called on me to consider my position and resign as a Councillor and as Deputy Mayor.

I know that all of this was politically motivated. I know it was organised and deliberate. I know the aim is to make me feel so bad that I give up, so that their favourite candidate gets an easy win in May and so that a well-known local Conservative gets knocked down.

I know all this. But sitting through a sustained character assassination in a public meeting, where politically-motivated individuals are allowed to say horrible stuff about you in front of your friends,colleagues and family, is very difficult even if you are as thick skinned as me.

There is no way for me to win this. The newspaper will continue to pretend this group of haters are “the general public” and the Editor will continue his endless array of tweeted and newspaper attacks.

I don’t like to let them win. But just now I really don’t know if I want to continue putting up with these lies, this spin,and this media campaign led by the Editor of the leading local newspaper. I have given thousands of hours to the Town and I have worked relentlessly for Wisbech,because I love the town. But I have not felt “bullied” since I was a child and what happened tonight was something I would not wish on anybody.

Their aim was to isolate, focus on and attack me. To upset me, to upset my family and to trash my reputation. They have managed to do so. I am sure they are very pleased about it. Well done John Elworthy. Well done Dave. Well done Sharon. You have achieved your aims.

UK economy grows faster than thought

UK economy grows faster than thought

From: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-39049073

The UK economy grew by more than previously reported in the final three months of 2016, according to the latest official estimate.

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) increased by 0.7%, up from 0.6%, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The upward revision is mainly due to manufacturing industry having done better than thought.

The ONS cut its estimate for growth in 2016 as a whole to 1.8%, down from the 2% it forecast last month.

This downward revision pushes UK slightly below Germany, with an estimate of 1.9%, in the G7 growth league, said John Hawksworth, chief economist at PwC, “though the difference is well within the margin of error on any such early GDP estimates.”

The downward revision appeared to have been prompted by weaker North Sea oil and gas production during the first six months of 2016, and did not reflect the underlying strength of the UK economy, he added.

“Excluding oil and gas output, estimated UK GDP growth might actually have been revised up in 2016,” added Mr Hawksworth.

The third revision of the figures will be on 31 March, after the Budget on 8 March.

“Unfortunately, this means that the chancellor won’t be able to say that the UK was the fastest-growing G7 economy in 2016 in his upcoming Budget – Germany grew by 1.9%,” said Capital Economics UK economist Paul Hollingsworth.

Baroness Chakrabarti is ridiculed

Baroness Chakrabarti Is Ridiculed

From the Daily Mail: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4261334/Chakrabarti-blames-Copeland-loss-carless-Labour-voters.html

Baroness Chakrabarti is ridiculed after she WRONGLY blames Copeland defeat on low turnout saying Labour supporters don’t have CARS

  • Shadow attorney general gives laundry list of excuses for Copeland disaster
  • Suggests bad public transport and carless Labour voters hampered party
  • But insists Jeremy Corbyn’s dire personal ratings nothing to do with the loss
  • Critics accuse her of being the ‘epitome of what Labour voters just rejected’  

Baroness Chakrabarti has been ridiculed after she wrongly blamed low turnout for Labour’s humiliating defeat in Copeland, saying the party’s supporters don’t have cars.

The shadow attorney general, a key ally of Jeremy Corbyn, set out a laundry list of excuses during an interview today as she insisted the leader was not responsible for the worst by-election performance since the war.

Factors she cited included interventions by Tony Blair and Peter Mandelson, the seat’s former MP Jamie Reed, disunity in the party, divisions over Brexit, media bias, Storm Doris and poor public transport.

But critics quickly pointed out that turnout in Copeland was over 51 per cent – significantly higher than the 38 per cent in the Stoke by-election, which Labour won, and well above average for such contests. And Mr Reed shot back: ‘Shami and co. have no idea how much the Labour vote dislikes them.’

In her appearance on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show, Lady Chakrabarti flatly denied that Mr Corbyn’s appalling personal ratings were an issue.

‘It’s not about the terrible regime, it’s about the fact representatives cannot weigh people’s votes anymore,’ she said.

‘There was a low turnout in Copeland and having been to Copeland recently, I know that it’s a very rural constituency, public transport is not great,’ she said.

‘But it’s just one factor, of course that’s not the entire explanation.’

She said: ‘I think Copeland is probably one of those constituencies that was neglected by my own party over some years.

‘It’s remote from London. It’s changed its shape over many years.

‘There’s the nuclear industry and people who’ve done very well out of that industry – and then the people left behind.

‘From my experience in Copeland, Labour has looked like the establishment for a very long time because they’ve been represented by Labour for a long time.’

Lady Chakrabarti also criticised Marr for having Lords Mandelson as a guest the weekend before the vote.

‘Sometimes we haven’t had the fairest or most balanced treatment in the media, including in the broadcast media,’ she said.

But Labour former frontbencher Michael Dugher hit back: ‘Pearls of wisdom from the never-having-stood-for-election, joined-ten-minutes-ago wing of the Labour Party: Labour voters “don’t have cars”.’

Ex-MP Mr Reed – who quit to take a job at Sellafield amid despair in the parliamentary party at their electoral prospects – said Lady Chakrabarti was ‘the epitome of what Labour voters just rejected’.

In a series of tweets directed at the Labour peer, he said: ‘Shami and co. have no idea how much the Labour vote dislikes them. Even faced with the evidence.

‘She’s an unstoppable vote-harvesting-election-winning machine. Or the epitome of what Labour voters just rejected. I wonder which one?’

Using the hashtag #TellShami, Mr Reed reeled off a number of projects such as new schools, hospitals and the Moorside nuclear reactors that had been achieved under Labour leadership.

Mr Reed also insisted the weather was not a factor in Labour’s loss.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4261334/Chakrabarti-blames-Copeland-loss-carless-Labour-voters.html#ixzz4ZpCfQmYc
F

One Year Of Wisbech Citizens’ Patrol

One Year Of Wisbech Citizens’ Patrol

http://www.citizenspatrol.co.uk/

Section 40 will curb media abuses

Section 40 will curb media abuses

Hugh Grant in The Guardian here: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jan/11/section-40-media-abuses-press-regulation-justice

Many newspapers have carried fulminating editorials and opinion columns recently about section 40, and how it spells the end of press freedom in this country. Do readers believe this stuff? Do people even read it? Is press regulation too much of a yawn?

I don’t know the answers to those questions, but I do believe that one newspaper should perhaps publish the other side of the argument. Or what I would humbly call the facts. And I’m very grateful to the Guardian for giving me the space.

So here they are, in the clearest English I can muster, and in plain vanilla with no jokes and (I hope) minimal or no ranting.

At his inquiry, Lord Justice Leveson found he could apply the same answer to two of the most important issues he identified. In other words, he killed two birds with one stone.

Issue one was that people without substantial means who are libelled or have their privacy illegally invaded by newspapers find it impossibly expensive to launch civil actions against those papers. They are effectively deprived of access to justice. (A typical court fee is £10,000 up front, even before you add in lawyers’ fees.)

Issue two is that over the past 60 years there have been several public inquiries and commissions into press misconduct. On each occasion, it was clearly demonstrated that the press had failed to enforce even its own codes of ethical practice. Recommendations were made for improvements, or for a new regulator that was independent both of press control and government influence.

On every occasion, the corporate mass of the commercial press, owned by a handful of wealthy men, refused to comply. Instead they made cosmetic changes, falsely claiming that their new arrangements were a vast improvement, and then carried on exactly as before.

This is what those same papers have done now – rebranding the discredited PCC as “Ipso” – which is largely the same people working to the same model.

Just as on every previous occasion, the Leveson inquiry stopped short of recommending that papers should be compelled by law to join a “good” new regulator. Instead, it gave the press a final chance to put its own house in order.

But how to persuade newspapers to do something they have never done before: to create a fair, effective and independent new regulator? What incentives could be offered?

The solution Leveson came up with to deal with both these issues was a new regulator, which could be set up by the press themselves, which would offer a cheap arbitration service to settle legal claims.

This is the part that is seldom or never mentioned when newspapers talk about section 40. Through this arbitration service a person could have their case against a newspaper dealt with very quickly (in less than a day) and at very low cost (less than £200) without either side having to suffer the vast expense and stress of going to court.

If a newspaper chose not to join this “good” new regulator, and so deprived claimants of this low-cost system of arbitration – forcing them instead into the expensive courts – then that newspaper should have to pay ALL the costs of the court case, even if they won the case. The idea was that recalcitrant newspapers would be incentivised to create a “good” regulator.

But – crucially – there was a further incentive, a carrot as well as a stick. You will not read about this carrot in newspaper reports or editorials on section 40.

Newspapers that join this new regulator would enjoy much greater freedom to publish important investigative journalism. Hitherto, if a paper had an important story about a wealthy and powerful person, they might reluctantly decide not to publish because the threat of being dragged through expensive court actions was too great. A wealthy oligarch would only need to win once to bust the paper.

But under the new system, our litigious oligarch would first be offered the new cheap arbitration system. If he took this option, the matter would be settled at a tiny fraction of the time and cost for the newspaper. But if he insisted on going to court (as is his right) he would have to pay his own costs even if he won. This is why investigative journalists such as Nick Davies (who of course broke the phone hacking story in the Guardian in the first place) are so keen on the Leveson recommendations, in full.

This solution was voted into law (as section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act) by big majorities in parliament in March 2013. But a law that has been enacted by parliament still requires the subsequent pressing of a green button by the secretary of state. This is known as “commencement” and is a formality in 99% of cases. This government, under intense lobbying from the corporate press, has so far not commenced the law.

And here is the gentlest of nudges to the esteemed editor of the Guardian and to the Scott Trust. A recent YouGov poll commissioned by Hacked Off found that 93% of Guardian readers with an opinion on the matter (which is, of course, most) agree with the Leveson system or something stronger. That seems like a mandate to me.

In the face of all this, and in the face of an astonishing volume of dis and misinformation on this issue, it’s vital that people who care about the standards and practices of the national press make the case for full Leveson.

Corbyn distrusted on the NHS

 
The public’s satisfaction level with the NHS has risen from around 40% to 60% in the last 20 years. More importantly, dissatisfaction has halved from 40% to 20%. This gives the public an NHS net satisfaction level of 40%.
 
Three times as many people are satisfied with the NHS as are dissatisfied. Labour can argue that the improvement happened on their watch, the fact of the satisfaction however is ongoing, this presents a strategic problem for Labour.
 
By the time of the 2015 general election Cameron was more trusted than Miliband on the NHS by 22% to 20%. Survation (and other pollsters) find May is more trusted than Corbyn by 35% to 24%, Corbyn is actually distrusted on the NHS by 45% to 31%. The NHS is now a negative for the Labour leader.

HOW TO KEEP THE BULLIES AT BAY FOR THOSE ON THE AUTISM SPECTRUM

Original post can be found at http://the-art-of-autism.com/how-to-keep-the-bullies-at-bay-for-those-on-the-autism-spectrum/
Picture_Of_Self_ChristinaMacNeal

I was bullied by other kids, teachers and faculty, my own family at times and bosses and yet I couldn’t communicate what was happening until I was well out of my teens.

By Christina MacNeal

As someone who was an autistic teen and is now an autistic adult I want to share the problems of bullying that are faced by those on the spectrum of any age together with some solutions that can be implemented. Furthermore, this article comes right after anti-bullying week and this is a topic not addressed in our community as much as it needs to be.

This is coming from someone who was bullied from a young age into some of my adulthood. At the time I was unaware that I was being bullied; I just thought that is how people engaged with each other. As a result of being bullied for much of my adolescence it seemed much more normal and tolerable than it should have been. I was bullied by other kids, teachers and faculty, my own family at times and bosses and yet I couldn’t communicate what was happening until I was well out of my teens. I had to relearn how people are supposed to treat each other and what to look for, how to recognize a bully and what I should not accept in others behaviors toward me.

Bullying_Image

Hopefully you can use this information and be more aware in order to protect yourself or your loved ones from being bullied. It is important to remember that there is no set age, look or role that a bully plays and he/she can be anyone from a classmate, friend and co-worker to a spouse; really it can be anyone.

These are solutions that are sometimes easy to overlook and there are others that you may not have thought of before. Maybe it will enable you to see something you are doing in a different light that you can cut out of your loved ones life. Or possibly you will find something to add to you or your loved ones life that helps combat bullying.

As most of us would agree the ideal end to bullying would be for it simply not to happen. That a child is shown the love and compassion they deserve and in turn they show the same to others. Until that happens prevention, awareness and action are the best options.

The purpose of this article is to share some insight from someone who has lived to tell the tale about what made my autistic childhood and adulthood experiences amazing and things that I could have lived without.

Bullying is something that should never be taken lightly and it is something that happens more often than not to those on the spectrum. There are multiple factors that play a part into this happening more frequently to those on the spectrum than neurotypical counterparts.

While human beings and particularly those on the spectrum are known for their resiliency, bullying takes away more than a bloody nose from someone even on the spectrum. Bullying takes away the things that are the most difficult to get back. Things that can shape the way a person views themselves, who they allow in their life and the choices they make for a life time.

Here are the some of the major reasons why bullying happens to those on the spectrum with tips that apply to teens and adults for helping prevent you or your loved ones from being bullied.

Bullying_Image

Communication

We all have to some degree or another an inability at times to effectively communicate what is happening to us and to those around us; this makes bullying someone on the spectrum easier than someone who is not.

Make it part of the routine at the end of each day to address how treatment from others went as an assessment and use a chart if needed. Verbally asking doesn’t work for a lot of people on the spectrum; however use the favored communication tool, whether it be writing, assisted technology/typing, art, verbal communication or even pointing.

Being aware of how treatment from others was experienced every day sets someone with ASD up to be thinking about it into adulthood and the more of a routine it is the easier it becomes. Stay away from feeling-based questioning as it is harder to give a clear answer. Communication is key and the more people are on the same page about making sure that bullying isn’t happening the more successful prevention or intervention will be.

Another communication point for those on the spectrum and/or their loved ones to consider is this – do not assume that because it has not been addressed it isn’t happening.

Also make sure that the questions include anybody and everybody; that way you won’t miss anything and there is no distinction made between the different roles of the people that interaction occurs with. (As in no one is thought to be more important or not capable due to their role).

Behavioral

Equally appealing to bullies are behavioral differences such as repetitive behaviors and either a visibly responsive reaction or a visibly unresponsive reaction to bullying. Those with ASD respond differently than neurotypicals and any of the responses are appealing to bullies because of the reactions they generate.

Those on the spectrum don’t have control over how they react to things a lot of the time. However, knowing how the person with ASD or one’s self normally reacts to different situations and people can be extremely helpful as with that knowledge you have something that you can count on to work with. If you know that normally an individual is under responsive and when it is time to go somewhere or meet someone the individual makes a visibly responsive reaction, you’ll know something is not quite right.

The opposite is just as true of someone who is normally overly responsive. These can be warning signs that something including bullying could be going on. Being aware of the subtle differences in time and behavior is imperative to understanding if and when bullying might be taking place and with whom. It is a good reason to inquire from those who can offer any input, but most importantly asking the person with ASD or oneself what is going on and why this is happening when it is. (This asking, of course, not being while the person on the spectrum is going through these reactions or responses.)

Yet another reason our behavior can result in being bullied is that we are different from those of our neurotypical peers and unfortunately popular culture dictates that different is less even though our community knows otherwise. This again can be prevented by being aware of differences in behavior, time in behavior shifts and by clearly asking as many people as you can including the person on the spectrum. Communication with staff, other parents or students and the community about autism behaviors can greatly ease bullying due to behavioral reasons.

Processing

Not being able to process, or having a hard time processing what just happened and why is something typical for those on the spectrum and that includes if bullying occurred. Keep in mind bullying can be extremely obvious but it can also be very subtle in the way it is conducted.

This is a large problem for those on the spectrum when discussing why bullying goes unreported. It is not to say that it didn’t or doesn’t affect the individual in a huge way, it just means it has passed the point of communication. That isn’t to say that there is no memory or thoughts about it. It can be or feel very similar to when you are thinking about or talking about something and the answer is on the tip of your tongue and you know what the answer is, but you are unable to say it or tell anyone.

Also more than likely the reason for the bullying happening does not make any more sense to the person on the spectrum than it does to the non-bullying neurotypical. Whoever is around during the larger parts of the day, be it a caregiver, teacher, parent supervisor or yourself you can all but stop this from happening with regular how are you and observation behavior check-ins that should happen at least every three hours and be documented. For many on the spectrum charts with pictures or pictures and words are going to work better than just words. If emotional and behavioral check-ins are done correctly within a few months’ time you will have documented a pattern as to why this is always happening during this time or on this date(s). You can then yet again use steps one and two and you will have an even better picture about what is or isn’t most likely happening.

Social Skills

Those on the spectrum, generally speaking, tend to give their trust very easily and do not recognize dangerous situations. This coupled with a lack of social peer support and a strong need or desire to make friends leaves those with ASD a more open target for bullying because they are either unable or less likely to question people and situations they might end up in.

Those on the spectrum can give trust to others freely; as it doesn’t always occur to them that someone has ill intentions. The other part of giving trust freely and not recognizing danger is impulse control as living in the moment is where it is at for most with ASD.

Being optimistic about others isn’t a negative trait to have and it helps everyone on and off the spectrum live happier lives. The real problem is being more prone to be taken advantage of, becoming trusting of the wrong people or putting too much trust into the people we are told to trust and they become the bullies. Those with ASD are not picking up on the danger and just as hard as it can be to get into a situation, it can be equally as difficult to get out of one.

Make sure there is a well-known, trusted and compassionate group of people that have proven they are trustworthy and that can see, advise or point out danger to the individual with ASD. Another suggestion is social and peer groups online for socializing and advice; Facebook has the best ones. It is a support network that helps the person on the spectrum through life and those with ASD can mutually mentor, teach and learn from each other.

Bullying_Image_Article

Here is the final piece of advice about stopping you and/or your loved one from being bullied.

Starting as young as possible, educate the individual on the spectrum about bullying; about what they should look out for and what to do if they are bullied. Be sure to include why it’s important.

Remember that you alone will not be able to prevent bullying from happening to yourself or a loved one with ASD and that it takes a chosen group of trusted people for support in this effort.

Education and discussion about ASD within the community you live in and in places that the person who has ASD will be frequently attending are pivotal points for reducing bullying. It will also afford the person with ASD more freedom and options.

If you or someone you know is experiencing bullying or for more information go to:

StompOutBulling.org
Ability First
Stopcyberbullying.org 877-768-4600
Stopbullying.gov
Teenline.org 310-855-4673

***

Christina MacNeal is a writer, journalist, activist, artist and public speaker who has autism. She is currently the director of development at The Gadget Guys Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to helping those on the autism spectrum. She also runs the organization the Autism Collaboration Project. Prior to that she was an editor and communications director. For more information about Christina or for any questions or comments she can be contacted at christinamacneal@gmail.com or christina@gadgetguys.org

Make Autistic hate crime as punishable as racism

Far too often in the United Kingdom we see some of the most vulnerable members of our society i:e the Autistic community being abused to the highest degree, they are subjected to horrific levels of bullying and psychological torture; often by those who pretend to befriend them just so they can exploit them for their own personal gain and amusement.

Autistic teenager 16 year old Emily O’Reilly (pictured above) was brutalised on her way to a friends house.

http://metro.co.uk/2017/02/16/autistic-girl-16-left-with-horrific-injuries-after-being-attacked-by-another-girl-6452142/

If you follow the link above then you will see the urgency of this epidemic, the consequences of such treatment and atrocities are often fatal; why should it be allowed to continue that the lives of some of our most vulnerable are left so undervalued in both society and the justice system?

 

The 1 in 100 people in the United Kingdom who are born with this condition who will most likely experience this kind of abuse is far too many to not implement stronger sentencing for those who commit targeted violent attacks against the autistic community.

 

I urge the government to advise and work with the justice system to put in new legislation, and to follow the guidelines in sentencing already regarding racially, religiously and sexually motivated attacks;  let them be just as protected under hate crime laws as everyone else.