“Unhealthy” patients could be denied free NHS treatment
Very dangerous. Who is to define “unhealthy” and how do you prove it? Fat people live as long as skinny people on average so that can’t be it
And since all Britons have paid National Insurance are they not ENTITLED to treatment regardless of how “unhealthy” they may be? Or are fatties, smokers and couch potatoes to be exempted from NI payments? Could get interesting
Unhealthy Britons could be denied free NHS treatments in the next decade, a report warned today. Experts told the researchers they predicted treatments including IVF and fertility treatment, dental treatment, obesity surgery and drugs, dementia treatment and complementary therapies will no longer be free in 2020.
People could also face penalties if they refuse to change their unhealthy ways, according to predictions made by Friends Provident and the Future Foundation. The report – Visions of Britain 2020 – maps out the potential impact of people eating unhealthily, exercising too little and drinking too much alcohol despite Government health campaigns.
Dr Sarah Brewer, a GP and medical journalist who was consulted for the report, said: ‘We all know that we should follow a healthy low-fat diet, eat at least five (portions of fruit and vegetables) a day etc. [That is a completely made-up goal with NO scientific basis whatever]
Trevor Matthews, chief executive officer of Friends Provident, said: ‘We all know that the NHS will probably change in years to come, but some of the behaviours identified in the report mean that these changes will be much harder on us than what we expect them to be. ‘We all need to adopt healthier lifestyles or else risk being faced with penalties in the years ahead.’
One foreign criminal a day wins right to stay in Britain
One foreign criminal is escaping deportation nearly every day by using human rights laws, shocking figures reveal. UK Border Agency statistics showed 350 offenders, including a double murderer, were allowed to stay in the UK last year on human rights grounds instead of being sent home. In many cases, dangerous offenders were granted the right to stay despite the courts accepting that they pose a risk to the public.
Among those to have taken advantage of the Human Rights Act to stay here are killers, rapists, serial burglars and drug dealers. Critics said the figures should prompt a further examination of how human rights laws are being used.
Tory MP James Clappison said: ‘Deportation of foreign criminals was a sorry saga under the last Government. ‘This shows there are still issues to be resolved and we need to look very carefully at the way in which human rights legislation is being implemented in the UK – not least because this seems to be allowing foreign criminals to remain in this country.’
In Opposition the Tories promised to scrap the Human Rights Act and replace it with a British Bill of Rights, but the pledge was abandoned by the coalition Government.
Each individual case can cost taxpayersthousands in court costs and legal aid as criminals try everything to avoid returning to their homelands.
The foreign prisoners scandal erupted in 2005 when it emerged that more than 1,000 foreign inmates had been released without anyone even considering whether they could be kicked out of Britain.
In 2007, shortly after becoming Prime Minister, Gordon Brown told foreign nationals to ‘play by the rules’ or face the consequences. He added: ‘If you commit a crime you will be deported from our country.’
Foreign criminals who are jailed for more than a year are automatically considered for deportation. But often the Home Office is powerless to act in the face of court and tribunal rulings.
In most cases, lawyers argue that deportation would breach their clients’ right to a private and family life because they have children, a family or relatives in the UK.
Others say they cannot be deported because they would be at risk of imprisonment, persecution or torture in their home countries.
Although individual cases of criminals using human rights laws to escape being sent home have come to light before, this is the first time the shocking scale of the problem has become public.
Previous estimates had put the total number at around 50 per year. And despite publishing the figure of 350, Border Agency officials admitted they still did not know the exact number, because uncovering it would require an examination-of individual files.
A spokesman-for the agency said 5,535 foreign national prisoners were deported last year. He added: ‘A review of our data shows that, in the same year, approximately 350 individuals were successful in preventing their removal from the UK based on their rights under the European Convention on Human Rights.
Among those offenders who won the right to stay in Britain are Laith Alani, a paranoid schizophrenic who stabbed two doctors to death. The Iraqi murdered consultants Michael Masser and Kenneth Paton in 1990, stabbing them both repeatedly in an unprovoked attack.
The tribunal judge ruled that if Alani was sent back to Iraq he would be unlikely to receive the treatment he gets on the NHS for his illness. Sending him home would also breach his right to a family life because he moved to the UK with his parents as a child, the judgment said.
Another case was that of Rohail Spall, a Pakistani businessman jailed after he was seen spiking a woman’s drink so he could rape her. Police found hundreds of date rape drugs in his car.
He was allowed to stay because sending him home would breach his right to a family life. A third offender is Mark Cadle from Belize, who came to the UK aged 18 and was jailed for sex with a 14-year-old girl who he infected with a sexually transmitted disease.
He has a string of other convictions, including racially aggravated assault, and a court heard he was a ‘significant danger to the public’ and likely to reoffend. But the immigration tribunal ruled it would breach his human rights to separate him from his family.
The 42-year-old has five children from five mothers, and his mother and halfsibilings live in Britain. Last year the Home Office was prevented from deporting a Congolese crack addict whom a court described as a ‘burglar on an industrial scale’.
He was given a five-year jail term for beating a woman unconscious and sexually assaulting her but was allowed to remain in Britain because of his right to a family life.
The court ruled he was a ‘home-grown criminal’ because he came to the UK aged five.
A truly British absurdity: Police told not to pursue stolen motorbikes… because thieves weren’t wearing helmets and might get hurt
As a gang of raiders roared off on three high-powered motorbikes they had just stolen, they were spotted by police. But the officers were told not to chase the thieves, because a pursuit would put the criminals’ health and safety at risk. They were not wearing crash helmets and might have fallen off and hurt themselves.
Yesterday the decision to let the robbers escape was greeted with incredulity, and critics asked why the welfare of criminals was more important than catching them.
The balaclava-clad trio smashed into a showroom in Altrincham, Greater Manchester, late last Thursday night and stole three motorcycles worth a total of £20,000.
Officers who saw them escaping radioed their inspector but were told that because the thieves were not wearing crash helmets or protective clothing it would be unsafe to pursue them. They are still at large, although one of the bikes has been recovered.
Tony Crawford, who runs the Manchester Motorbike Store which was targeted, said: ‘It’s bizarre that a criminal’s health and safety is more important than catching them.
‘It’s not the police I blame, it’s the politicians who’ve put these ridiculous rules in place. ‘They’re effectively telling criminals that as long as they make their getaway on a motorbike and don’t wear a helmet, the police won’t be allowed to chase them.’
He was backed by Graham Brady, Conservative MP for Altrincham and Sale West, who said: ‘I am astonished that the welfare of criminals in the act of breaking the law should be put before the public’s expectation that they should be apprehended. ‘I expect most police officers would be deeply frustrated not to be allowed to pursue criminals because of health andsafety issues.’
Chris Burrows, chairman of the Greater Manchester branch of the Police Federation, agreed that officers found such situations ‘incredibly frustrating’ but said they had to comply with guidelines.
Superintendent Steve Nibloe, of Greater Manchester Police, confirmed the officers were following ‘a nationwide policy which gives clear guidance that motorbikes should not be pursued because of the higher risk of injury to the rider’. He added: ‘The officers were asked not to pursue the suspects as they were not wearing the correct safety equipment and were not wearing helmets, so it is clear to me the correct decision was taken.’
Police have been criticised over the number of deaths during high-speed pursuits, and new guidelines drawn up by the Association of Chief Police Officers are aimed at balancing the potential risk against the gravity of the crime.
Greater Manchester Chief Constable Peter Fahy said that in the case of the motorbike thefts, his officers had probably been right not to give chase. He said: ‘What are the chances of us catching a high-powered motorbike? Pretty low. ‘What is the risk to the offender? The risk is that he is probably going to get killed. It is about balance.’
But he added: ‘My main frustration is that people seem to want it both ways. ‘We get criticised hugely about deaths in police pursuits – was it worth somebody losing their life? – but then in a case like this we are being criticised that we did make a judgment that putting somebody’s life at risk wasn’t worth it.’
Who’d be an 18-year-old today? My generation’s lies have wrecked their dreams
Comment on the low educational standards and credentialism in Britain today
What happens when a regime decides to brainwash a population, making them believe the most pernicious lies? With luck, the people eventually rebel and scream ‘No!’ – but not before much misery has been endured.
Let’s not delude ourselves that lies are only told in totalitarian states. We’re telling them right now to the very people who are this country’s future: our young adults. When will they rise up and shout defiance – rejecting all the lies they have been told by successive governments?
I’d like to think it might happen sooner rather than later. That is, if today’s 18-year-olds are not beaten down by gloom over the bad hand they’ve been dealt. They’ve been told for years that they must go to university – so there they are, competing desperately for fewer places than ever on the basis of A-level grades which have been systematically inflated.
As the Mail reported yesterday, that means thousands of those who receive three A grades – supposedly the highest level of achievement – must hope to sneak into what Tory minister David Willetts euphemistically calls ‘less competitive’ institutions.
Those who do secure a precious place then face crippling student debt. To cap it all, there’s an uncertain job market for graduates – as well as for everyone else.
Never mind the longer-term worries about getting together the money to buy a house and save enough to start a family, or even – heaven forbid – build up a nest egg for their retirement.
All this lies in wait for our school leavers, while the world bombards them with demanding junk culture and plenty of worries, but little guidance or inspiration. Worst of all, no one teaches them how to cope with the real world.
Who would be an 18-year-old in 2010? My generation was so much luckier. On my bookshelf is a paperback of the selected poems of the Russian activist Yevgeny Yevtushenko, with the year I bought it written inside – 1969.
As a mini- skirted student, I approvingly ticked the famous poem Lies, which begins: ‘Telling lies to the young is wrong.’ Today I find myself rather embarrassed by that knowing tick because I knew so little – I was a complacent part of that very generation which has let this one down so badly. ‘We never had it so good – but we have handed on so much that is bad to young people who deserve better.
When I first read Yevtushenko’s poem, nobody had ever lied to me. My small, girls’ grammar school gave me a challenging, academic education. As a student at University College London, I benefited from one- on- one tutorials, a generous local authority grant and an almost cast-iron guarantee of work.
Oh, but we found much to complain about. From the exam system, to the Vietnam war, to the capitalism on which the very prosperity of the West was founded – it was all up for noisy protest. We chanted ‘We shall fight and we shall win’ about a war on the other side of the world, in which no British soldiers were getting killed – as they are today.
No wonder young people today sometimes look at all the ‘ summer of love’ posturing and think: ‘How ridiculous.’ Really, they ought to be angry – because that posturing has an ongoing effect on their lives.
I’ve often looked back with nostalgia at all that was good in the values of my generation – an idealism that sincerely wanted to make the world a better place. But Yevtushenko writes ‘Forgive no error you recognise/ it will repeat itself, increase’ – which is why I am not going to make excuses for what we got so wrong, the way our ideals folded in on themselves to create downright lies about what was possible.
Yes, there is a world recession, but that cannot explain away the mess these young people have inherited. How can it be separated from changes that have happened in the past 30 years – since we privileged baby-boomers took control?
One problem is those laissez-faire attitudes to education which have their roots in the radicalism of the Sixties, and go on betraying today’s hopeful young. Another is the liberal-left mentality which refused to teach spelling, grammar or mathematics in case it created inequalities.
This was finally given the ultimate badge of respectability by Tony Blair when he declared ten years ago, with colossal vanity, that 50 per cent of young people should go into higher education.
Imagine if he had decreed that half of young people should excel (to competitive level) at a sport of their choice – and to do so, they would receive the intensive training to ‘follow their dream’ (as the absurd modern phrase puts it).
The reality of varying levels of natural ability would have quickly scotched that nonsense . Instead, the one- size-fits-all mantra did great harm to young people who should be celebrated for richly varied talents and skills, which need to be harnessed in different ways.
Everybody across the political spectrum told the young to aim high, aim for a degree – even if that meant creating ludicrous ‘qualifications’ which couldn’t possibly lead to paid employment. With this went a criminal neglect of those most in need of attention – the working-class child who needs to be stretched.
Who was ‘assisted’ by the gradual erosion of standards? A teaching profession (I’m sorry to say) grown too attached to child-centred shibboleths and not enough to the red pen of constructive criticism. Who was served by grade inflation?
Head teachers, infected by the ‘target’ mentality of New Labour, whose empire-building vanity was fed by 20 hapless pupils going off to study Mickey Mouse courses – rather than one lad finding a rare apprenticeship in an honourable trade.
Universities expanded without resources, which meant they needed to sting far more foreign students for fees, and the numbers game meant that the recent generations of students lacked real attention from their tutors. When my own son dropped out, nobody noticed. My daughter (doing an English degree at Warwick) had far less teaching than I had.
We have sold out the young by telling them that aiming high is the same thing as becoming a student. Wouldn’t it be better to encourage many of these desperate A-level students to learn a skill – or enter a job through the menial back door? Plenty of high-fliers began by making the tea.
Why does everything from carpentry to nursing now require high- flown paper qualifications? The Cathedral at Chartres was build by people with no City & Guilds or B.Techs – or lengthy architecture degrees, either. Florence Nightingale did not think she had to have a degree in nursing to save lives.
Missing out on university is only a real loss if you have an absolute passion for an academic subject worthy of study. This is the truth which young people should grasp – and celebrate.
Let them rebel against the one-size-fits-all pressure and think outside that particular box. Let them realise that none of this is their fault. Let them be valued as individuals, not numbers.
As for we who are older – it’s time we agreed with Yevtushenko that instead of offering our children the lie of impossible dreams, we should be honest and ‘Say obstacles exist they must encounter/Sorrow happens, hardship happens’. And if we don’t? Then (in the poet’s words) ‘our pupils will not forgive in us what we forgave.’
British Met office takes a tumble
Beaten by an amateur who gathers his own facts and sticks to them
The Met Office’s forecasts were guaranteed to drive Simon Cansick and his neighbours into a deep depression. It seemed the professional weather experts could never get it right.
So 47-year-old Mr Cansick decided to see if he could do better himself. He bought his own weather station, positioned it on the roof and linked it to the internet.
He provides live information – automatically updated every three seconds – 24 hours a day. And it has proved so accurate that farmers in the North Yorkshire village of Duggleby, near Malton, are ignoring the Met Office forecasts in favour of his readings.
‘As a country we’re obsessed by the weather so we naturally check the forecast every day and plan things round it, only to find out that the forecasters got it wrong,’ he said.
‘It just ends up spoiling the day. A lot of the information collated by the Met Office for this area is based on what is happening in Scarborough, which is by the sea.
Mr Cansick, an accountant, spent £1,000 on his meteorological equipment. He now provides data for wind speed, gust speed, temperature, rainfall and cloud height. The website, http://www.dugglenet.org, offers predictions for the next 24 hours, graphs on recent conditions and even historical data.
He also plans to set up a service which measures and records soil temperatures – vital information for arable and horticultural producers. And he hopes to extend his weather predictions from one day to five.
Sadly for the rest of the country, however, he confines his forecasts to within a ten-mile radius.
‘Certainly, in terms of the correct weather conditions, our readings are more accurate than the published ones,’ said Mr Cansick, who lives with his wife Emma, 34, and their 11-month-old daughter Emily.
‘The local farmers used to check the Met Office forecasts every day. ‘If it was due to be nice and sunny they’d head down to the fields, get the combine harvester out and then, more often than not, it would pour down with rain. ‘As a result their entire day was interrupted and ruined because of a dodgy weather forecast.’
Unsurprisingly, Mr Cansick’s efforts received a frosty reception from the Met Office. Forecaster Charles Powell said: ‘Every observation we have has a standard location where we can get consistency of accuracy and reliability.
‘Putting measuring instruments on your roof isn’t technically the best place to have them because they might absorb more sunlight and therefore record a temperature a few degrees hotter than it actually is.’
Students in Scotland want to censor conservative British professor
“A distinguished British professor is facing a backlash from students at St Andrews University because of his stance on homosexuality. Prof Roger Scruton was appointed quarter-time professorial fellow in moral philosophy and is due to take up his new role in the spring.
But the university’s students’ association has hit out at comments Prof Scruton made in 2007, where he defended the rights of children in an article about same-sex adoption, and stated that homosexuality was “not normal”.
The group has raised objections to Prof Scruton’s appointment claiming his views could create an “uncomfortable” atmosphere for homosexual students.
A university statement said: “Like all members of staff, Prof Scruton will be expected to abide by our equal opportunities and anti-discrimination policies.” The statement continued: “Universities, however, particularly where philosophical argument is concerned, must be the one place where differing and difficult views can be freely held, expressed and challenged without fear of discrimination. “That is the essence of academic freedom.”
Good to find one university that stands up for free speech