British flu vaccine shortage to hit the elderly
Millions of flu jabs being rushed out to plug vaccine shortfalls will not protect the elderly against a strain of the virus now putting them at increased risk, experts have warned.
A national stockpile of more than 12 million swine flu jabs left over from the 2009 pandemic will be released on Monday, in a bid to combat local shortages of flu vaccines. But influenza experts claim that the stocks, which protect only against swine flu, will do almost nothing to protect elderly people, who are at far greater risk from another strain of flu – type B – which is now rising sharply.
On Saturday health officials issued a warning that type B flu had reached “substantial” proportions in London, while lab reports show that it has become more common than swine flu across central and southern England.
Latest figures show that although swine flu currently remains dominant nationally, the increase in type B cases has been almost double that of swine flu in recent weeks, while overall influenza levels among the over-65s are rising sharply.
This year’s seasonal flu jab, which protects against both strains of flu, plus a third, called H3N2, has been offered to elderly people, pregnant women and people with health conditions throughout the autumn and winter. While swine flu has aggressively targeted the under-65s, elderly people have stronger immunity to it, and are at greater risk from the other strains.
Following weeks of soaring flu levels, many GPs are now running out of this year’s vaccine.
On Thursday the Government ordered that 12.7 million doses of swine flu vaccine left over from last year’s pandemic be released to meet demand.
Department of Health advice issued on Friday tells GPs who have no seasonal flu jabs to simply offer last year’s vaccine instead. The advice makes no mention of the fact that the stocks will offer little protection to the elderly.
Prof John Oxford, a flu expert at Queen Mary, University of London, said: “It is incontrovertible that elderly people are far more at risk from the other flu viruses than swine flu. “The worry is that until recently the number of cases of flu among the over-65s had been fairly flat – but the graph is now rising sharply.”
Prof Oxford said: “One third of elderly people still haven’t had the seasonal flu jab and they need to get the right vaccine – there is no point giving an elderly person last year’s stocks.”
The virologist said it was “not helpful” that the advice to GPs about how to use the national stockpile was “cloaked in ambiguity” and did not make it clear that elderly people would gain little benefit from last year’s jab.
Microbiologist Prof Hugh Pennington also criticised the Government’s attempts to manage the outbreak, and said better communication with the public could have avoided a desperate surge in demand for the vaccines. He said: “I think we needed far more public information that there was a big risk that swine flu was likely to be back this winter. “One would hope GPs would make the right judgement about how to act on the latest advice, but so far its all been a bit of a shambles.”
A Department of Health spokesman said over-65s who had not been vaccinated should see their GP. If the doctor could only offer the swine flu jab, pensioners should have it, the spokesman said, and later discuss whether to also have a dose of the seasonal vaccine when stocks became available
The latest Greenie shriek: The Ecologist magazine compares using fossil fuels to owning slaves.
These guys are the original eco-nutters, and have inspired generations of imbeciles like Keith Farnish (whose book calling for the end of industrial civilization Hansen endorsed). They defended the Khmer Rouge and said “they deserve our best wishes . . . we could learn from them”. There are also clear and documented connections of the magazine to post-war British Fascism. With articles like these, the global warming movement is moving rapidly to the most extreme fringes
`The Ecologist’, widely considered to be the most influential environmental magazine, has published an article which asserts that using machines that require “fossil fuels” (for example, petrol in your car, or gas for your stove) is “morally comparable” with owning slaves.
The article, entitled “Climate Change: We Are Like Slave Owners” bases its case on two separate but linked arguments:
First, slaves and fossil-fuelled machines play(ed) similar economic and social roles: `energy slaves’ (machines powered by fossil fuels) now do the work in our homes, fields and factories, which used to be carried out by slaves and servants in the past . . .
Second, in differing ways, suffering resulting (directly) from slavery and (indirectly, through Climate Change) from the excessive burning of fossil fuels are now morally comparable. When we burn oil or gas at a rate that exceeds what the ecosystem can absorb, we contribute to global warming, which in turn contributes to droughts, floods or hurricanes. These climatic events cause suffering to other human beings, today and in the future. They contribute to crop failures and put some people at risk of falling into debt bondage, a condition similar to traditional slavery.
This condemnation of machinery, on what are extremely tenuous grounds is a favourite topic for The Ecologist magazine, which has been arguing for the abolition of labour-saving devices since it was first published.
An article in 1977 by its founding editor, Edward Goldsmith (brother of the noted corporate raider and industrialist, Sir James Goldsmith, who financed the magazine) discussed phasing out machines and how it could be done. Goldsmith argued that “The consumer goods we wish to phase out must simply be removed from the market”. The new ecologically-oriented society Goldsmith envisioned would not need such things:
“To suggest that dish-washing machines and other domestic appliances should be phased out would meet with instant opposition. These [machines] are undoubtedly needed in a family of but two or three people and in which both husband and wife must go out to work. They would become quite unnecessary, however, once the family had become re-established and eight to ten people once more inhabited the same house”
Goldsmith fantasized that environmental disasters and general alienation would lead to a general disenchantment with modern society and that would provide the opportunity to put these plans into action:
“At this point panic will set in and people will grope about frantically for an alternative social philosophy with an alternative set of solutions. The most attractive is likely to be the most radical – the one which provides the best vehicle for expressing the reaction to the value of industrialism.”
This phasing out of machinery was seen by The Ecologist as part of a “rural revolution” for society, and they were particular excited by the example of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia.
In an 1975 article Robert Allen (later Head of Publications and a Senior Policy Advisor for the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, the IUCN) defended the Khmer Rouge against the “distortions” that had been appearing about them in the media, arguing that the Khmer Rouge had to force the sick out of the hospitals and into the fields otherwise there would be too many “exceptions” to their program of agrarian communism. The Ecologist saw in the `Year Zero’ program of the Khmer Rouge an exciting possibility that could be copied in the West as well. Of course, people in Western society had been so brainwashed by consumerism that they would have to be `forced to be free’:
“If Cambodia succeeds in forging a rural economy, it will force us to appraise the prison of industrialism. Most men and women today are slaves who if offered their freedom would reject it, refusing to spend the time that freedom requires.”
The article ended with The Ecologist congratulating the Khmer Rouge and the people of Cambodia on their approach: “They deserve our best wishes, our sympathy, and our attention. We might learn something.”
The Ecologist magazine was founded in the late 1960s by Edward Goldsmith and funded by his brother, Sir James Goldsmith the noted corporate raider, industrialist and financier. The editorial staff came from the Soil Association’s Mother Earth magazine following the death of its editor in 1963, the well known fascist Jorian Jenks, formerly Oswald Moseley’s Secretary of Agriculture for the British Union of Fascists (1).
1) Graham Macklin, Very Deeply Dyed in Black: Sir Oswald Moseley and the Resurrection of British Fascism After 1945 . (I.B. Taurus & Co: London, 2007) P. 65.
SOURCE (See the original for links)
Uniforms worn by British police give a good clue to their mentality
Britain’s most senior policeman has launched a stinging attack on the ‘paramilitary style’ uniforms being worn by many forces. Sir Paul Stephenson, Commissioner of the Met, spoke out against the all-black kit favoured by an increasing number of constabularies.
As Scotland Yard prepares to police the Olympics next year, Sir Paul said he wanted his officers to look like ‘traditional British bobbies’ – complete with white shirts. He has no plans to introduce the so-called ‘boys in black’ uniforms being worn in forces such as North Wales, Sussex, Kent, Surrey, Hampshire and Thames Valley.
Critics have likened them to the black uniforms worn by followers of fascist Sir Oswald Mosley in the 1930s, who were known as the Blackshirts.
Sir Paul, renowned for his traditional views on policing, stopped short of making that comparison. But he made it clear he believes black uniforms send out the wrong message. He said: ‘I’m not awfully keen on ever-more paramilitary-type equipment on our streets. On occasions, we look paramilitary enough now. Frankly, that worries me. ‘I want to continue to look like the British police officer whenever we can.
‘It’s one of the reasons why I’m very passionate about continuing to make sure Met police officers look like Met police officers in white shirts, and not awfully keen on the move in other areas of the country towards different sorts of uniform that look more paramilitary.’
In an interview with LBC Radio’s Nick Ferrari, Sir Paul went on: ‘I want cops in London to be reassuring, not oppressive.’
As more forces adopt the all-black uniforms, a fierce debate has raged in Police Review magazine about their suitability. Over the past few years, critics have included senior officers such as Barry Taylor, then speaking in his capacity as Association of Chief Police Officers’ spokesman on police uniforms. He said: ‘I am not in favour of black shirts because of the political connotations. It gives the wrong impression, which we should try and avoid where possible.’
When North Wales Police announced its officers would be adopting an all- black look, David Jones, the Tory MP for Clwyd West, said the move would give officers ‘a sinister, unfriendly appearance … a fascist, militaristic appearance’.
However, the black look has proved popular where it has been adopted. Brian Stockham, of Sussex Police Federation, told Police Review the uniforms, consisting of a black polo shirt and black combat trousers, were ‘eminently sensible’.
But Scotland Yard said in a statement: ‘Whilst uniforms must equip officers with the tools they need to be safe and effective, it is also important officers on London’s streets look traditional and approachable.’
Teachers MUST be free to touch children, says British education boss as he vows to restore common sense in schools
Michael Gove has said music teachers must be free to touch children to show them techniques, after a performers’ group said all physical contact should be avoided.
The Musicians’ Union sparked outrage when they released a video, supported by the NSPCC, telling teachers not to get too close to youngsters – amid fears they could be branded paedophiles. They insisted the policy was necessary to protect tutors who are suspended instantly when an accusation of inappropriate touching is made.
Education secretary Mr Gove said the video was pandering to peoples’ fears and teachers have branded the tape a ‘hysterical over reaction’.
The film – entitled ‘Keeping Children Safe In Music’ – shows a sinister looking music teacher helping a boy to play the violin. As the teacher intervenes to correct his play by putting a hand on his shoulder and his fingers in the correct place on the strings, the youngster looks concerned.
In a letter to the Musicians’ Union general secretary John Smith, Mr Gove wrote: ‘By telling your music teachers that they should avoid any physical contact with children, it sends out completely the wrong message. ‘It plays to a culture of fear among both adults and children, reinforcing the message that any adult who touches a child is somehow guilty of inappropriate contact.’
The Department for Education ‘is taking steps to restore common sense to this whole area’ he said.
Mr Gove confirmed in October last year that he intends to scrap so-called ‘no touch’ rules which discourage teachers from restraining and comforting children.
In his letter, Mr Gove added: ‘It is entirely proper and necessary for adults to touch children when they demonstrate how to play a musical instrument, when they show how to play certain sports, when they are leading a child away from trouble, when they are comforting distressed or disconsolate children and when they are intervening to prevent disorder and harm.’
He added that it is ‘particularly important’ that music teachers are confident in demonstrating techniques.
In the video, a voiceover message says: ‘When you’re teaching instruments, there are times when you need to demonstrate particular techniques. ‘In the past, this has often been done by touching students, but this can make students feel uncomfortable, and can leave teachers open to accusations of inappropriate behaviour. ‘It isn’t necessary to touch children in order to demonstrate: there’s always a better way.’
Diane Widdison, the national organiser at the Musicians’ Union said the video was made to protect teachers. ‘When allegations are made against music teachers they are suspended immediately while an investigation is carried out and their careers are damaged or ruined even if they are declared innocent,’ she said.
‘In one recent case the parents of a child learning the guitar complained that the teacher had touched their child’s finger to pluck a guitar string. ‘In many cases having to be more creative and find alternatives to touching reinforces the learning process because it ensures that children are thinking for themselves.’
Only one British child in six gets five good High School grades as pupils switch from academic subjects to ‘soft’ courses
Only 15 per cent of children get five good grades in traditional subjects at GCSE. The shocking figures – to be released next week – highlight the consequences of a shift toward ‘soft’ courses.
A Labour shake-up in 2004 gave pupils more scope to study non-academic GCSE equivalents – and these options have surged in popularity by 3,800 per cent. They include certificates in personal effectiveness, salon services and preparation for working life.
Education Secretary Michael Gove wants schools to switch to a so-called ‘English baccalaureate’ comprising English, maths, a science, history or geography and a language.
Currently five in six pupils fail to get A* to C grades in five of those disciplines. And that figure is inflated by the superior performance of children at independent schools.
Mr Gove has also altered the threshold at which schools are officially deemed to be underperforming. Labour put them in that category if fewer than 30 per cent of their children got five A* to C grade GCSEs, including English and maths.
That threshold has been raised to 35 per cent, meaning many more schools will be branded as failing. In nearly every other developed country in the world, children are assessed in a range of core academic subjects at 15 or 16 – even if they are on a vocational route.
In France, for example, all children take the ‘brevet des colleges’, which assesses French, maths, a modern foreign language and one from history, geography and civics.
But Labour gave non-academic qualifications – including computer skills and sports leadership – parity with traditional subjects in league tables in 2004. The move helped fuel a damaging collapse in the number of children taking academic courses as schools pushed weaker pupils into other areas to improve their standing in league tables.
Mr Gove told the Daily Mail: ‘We are publishing more information which shines a light on the last Government’s failure to give millions of children access to core academic knowledge in other subjects. Universities, colleges and employers value rigorous learning in subjects such as French and German, history and geography, but under the last government access to this core was limited.
‘And the very poorest lost out most. That is why we are supporting schools and teachers in their effort to give every child access to the best that’s been thought and written.’
In 2004, around 15,000 non-academic qualifications were taken in schools. By 2010 this had risen to around 575,000 – mostly at age 16 – a 3,800 per cent increase. Since 1997, there has been a 31 per cent decline in the number of children studying a modern foreign language. The number of children taking any GCSE science – single, double or additional sciences – fell by 60,000 between 2007 and 2010.
BBC TV programme mentioning cot death draws ire
“EastEnders” is a “soap”
“As complaints about the show reached more than 6,000, it was sensationally claimed that its screenwriters are in revolt over the storyline, in which a mother whose new-born baby has just died secretly swaps the child for a healthy one born to a neighbour on the same day.
In addition, a host of critics – led by former TV star Anne Diamond and the online forum Mumsnet – complained that the New Year storyline was ‘cynical’, ‘ill informed’ and portrayed grieving mothers as ‘unhinged’.
Astonishingly, even the charity that the BBC asked to advise it on the storyline added to the growing chorus of anger, swiftly distancing itself from any direct involvement in the cot death scenes.
The decision to air the episodes has plunged the corporation into its biggest controversy since the Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand ‘Sachsgate’ saga in 2008.
Yesterday the BBC sought to justify the episodes by pointing out that calls the to the cot death charity had increased five-fold since the story was broadcast.
Upsetting your audience would be pretty dumb if you were a commercial broadcaster but when you are government-funded (as the BBC is), that is not much of a worry.