British doctors diagnose meningitis as a migraine

The symptoms of the two ailments have a lot of differences so this sounds like carelessness

Karleen Clark, 22, from Manchester, has been suffering from severe headaches before she flew out to the Mediterranean island, but was allegedly told she just had a migraine. Karleen had been suffering severe headaches before she went on holiday to San Antonio Bay in Ibiza.

But Karleen, who worked as a nursery nurse at Kidspiration in Gorton, was determined to go on holiday with best friend Jenna Rooney and flew out on 23 July. She soon started feeling sick and was taken into hospital just days after she arrived on the island.

Doctors diagnosed meningitis and contacted Karleen’s parents to give them the chance to say their final goodbyes.

Karleen died on 29 July with her parents at her bedside.

Jenna, 21, said: ‘There was a big group of us and we’d saved up for about a year to go out there. ‘She hadn’t been feeling well and had been having headaches, but the doctor said it was migraines. ‘There was nothing that could stop her having that holiday – she really wanted to go. I’ll really miss her.’


Sick British police priorities

Greater Manchester Police have been rightly praised for their robust response to the riots. The courts in the North West are equally resolute in their determination to crack down on disorder.

In Warrington, magistrates had no compunction about sentencing two men to four years in jail for using Facebook to incite a riot.

Needless to say, the severity of some of the sentences has been roundly criticised by the usual conga-line of hand-wringers and ‘criminal justice professionals’. They protest that ministers have put undue pressure on the courts to hand down exemplary jail terms, and insist that sentencing should be left to the discretion of magistrates.

So I wonder what they make of the case of Christopher Heathcote, from Stockport, Greater Manchester, who has just been banned from driving for a year — against the wishes of local magistrates.

In April last year, he made five 999 calls when his cousin’s quad bike was stolen. It took the police 90 minutes to respond, by which time the bike was long gone. The next day, when there was a report that the bike was being driven in fields at nearby Wythenshawe, he set off in hot pursuit.

Spotting a police patrol, he stopped to ask officers for their help. But instead of joining the chase, they breathalysed Mr Heathcote and arrested him when the test showed he was over the drink-drive limit. He admitted he had drunk three pints of lager earlier in the day.

While he was being processed, the thieves made good their getaway. They’ve never been caught, and the bike has not been recovered.

The magistrates were sympathetic and refused to give him a mandatory 12-month driving ban because there were ‘special circumstances’.

The police were not satisfied with the verdict and referred it to the Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer. A High Court judge subsequently ordered the magistrates to disqualify 26-year-old Mr Heathcote for a year.

This week, the chairman of the bench, Alan Bodgers, reluctantly banned Mr Heathcote, while making it quite clear it was only because the magistrates had been overruled by the DPP and a higher court. He added: ‘You’re only a young man, you’re just starting off, and this is a bad lesson to learn. I’m not happy with the police.’

The ‘bad lesson’ Mr Heathcote will take from this case is one which millions of ordinary citizens have already absorbed. We can’t rely on the police to protect us or our property in normal circumstances, let alone in the event of a riot.

In this case, Mr Heathcote wasn’t even taking the law into his own hands, which the police hate. He had actually stopped to ask the officers for help. His only thought was catching the thieves and recovering his cousin’s stolen quad bike.

Let me say right here that no one is condoning drunk-driving. Mr Heathcote was over the limit, but, as the magistrates appreciated, there were ‘special circumstances’. If local courts are better placed to decide on appropriate sentences for rioters and looters, without political interference, why shouldn’t they also be able to use their discretion in cases like this?

Greater Manchester Police may have deserved the plaudits for their rapid response to the riots. But when it comes to everyday crime, they’re not quite so enthusiastic. A senior officer admitted that their target for responding to non-violent thefts and burglaries is four hours. As a result, every small-time crook in Manchester now knows that if they commit a crime, they will have up to four hours to make their getaway.

It’s not just inner city estates like Broadwater Farm which have been abandoned by the police, it’s city centres and suburbs, too. Not to mention vast swathes of the countryside.

A couple of weeks ago, it was reported that one in three reported crimes in Britain is never investigated. As many as 650,000 crimes, from cycle thefts to violent assaults, are ‘screened out’ because officers think there is no realistic chance of a conviction.

Little wonder, then, that they concentrate on easy collars like Mr Heathcote, a man with a previously unblemished record. Still, no doubt it got them off the streets for the rest of the shift.

If the police had done the job we pay them for, Mr Heathcote would never have climbed behind the wheel.

Why were the DPP and the High Court judge so determined to over-rule the magistrates? Simple: it’s because the criminal justice establishment operates a rigid closed shop. They think they own the law.

The independence of magistrates has been consistently undermined by rigid rules and soft sentencing guidelines imposed by the Guardianistas at the Home Office and the Ministry of Injustice to satisfy their own ‘liberal’ prejudices.

JPs are slaughtered when they reflect the public mood and sentence those who attempt to instigate riots to hard time. Yet they’re also over-ruled when they show justice and compassion, and refuse to impose a mandatory driving ban on a decent man like Christopher Heathcote.

Nothing of substance will change until we are allowed to elect our judges and police chiefs.

To add insult to injury, the insurance company has refused to pay out on Mr Heathcote’s cousin’s £2,000 quad bike because it wasn’t in a garage at the time it was stolen.

As for those poor little toe-rags sentenced to four years for inciting a riot, you can guarantee that they’ll be back on the streets by this time next year, if not sooner.

Before the last election, Call Me Dave promised he would be on the side of those who played by the rules, paid their taxes and tried to do the right thing.

If you’re Christopher Heathcote, or you’ve been burned out of your home and business while the police watched and did nothing, that must seem like a sick joke.


British Christians get more rights — except if it affects homosexuals

The state equality watchdog yesterday set out a plan for a two-tier law for Christians. It said that Christians should be freed to display their faith by wearing crosses or pinning up Christian symbols at work.

But they should not be allowed to follow religious principles if they clash with gay rights, the Equality and Human Rights Commission said.

The decision means that the equality watchdog will back BA check-in clerk Nadia Eweida, who was banned by the airline from wearing a cross at work.

BA caved in during the row caused five years ago by the ban on Miss Eweida wearing a cross with her uniform, but she is taking her case to the European human rights court in Strasbourg to try to establish a right for Christians to wear symbols of their faith.

The Commission, which is headed by former Labour politician Trevor Phillips, will also give its support at the human rights court to Shirley Chaplin, a nurse removed from the wards at her hospital in Exeter because she refused to stop wearing her crucifix.

However the equality body will oppose any leniency towards Christians who asked to be excused from work which involved helping homosexual couples.

Documents released yesterday show that Mr Phillips’ lawyers will go to Strasbourg to oppose the claims of Lilian Ladele, a registrar in Islington who lost her job after she refused to conduct civil partnership ceremonies, and of Gary McFarlane, a Relate counsellor sacked for refusing to give sex therapy to gay couples.

The double standard for Christianity follows an admission from the Commission last month that British judges have failed to protect religious freedom. All four of the Strasbourg cases are under way because British courts and tribunals found against the rights of Christians.

But Christian groups yesterday accused Mr Phillips of backing down from the Commission’s declaration in July that ‘the way existing human rights and equality law has been interpreted by judges is insufficient to protect freedom of religion or belief.’

The Evangelical Alliance, which represents a million Christians from the evangelical wing of the Church of England and the major nonconformist denominations, said Mr Phillips had been bullied into backtracking by the gay lobby.

Alliance spokesman Don Horrocks said: ‘It seems pretty clear that the Commission has been successfully intimidated against proceeding as they initially announced. They appear to have changed their initial approach as a result of the outcry from those groups who wish to restrict freedom of religion and religious rights of conscience being recognised more fairly by the courts.’

Mr Horrocks added: ‘For many Christians wearing a cross is important, but these situations ought to be relatively easily accommodated by reasonable people on both sides in work related situations. However, being forced to be morally complicit in activities which directly violate people’s religious conscience involves seriously fundamental human rights principles.’

The EHRC is to run a two-week consultation to gather opinions from interested groups before giving final instructions to its lawyers on which line to take when the cases are heard in Strasbourg this autumn.

A spokesman said: ‘There is no change to the question we are asking: have the UK courts properly considered people’s right to manifest their religion?

‘There is a wide range of opinion on this issue and we have had helpful responses to our consultation from a wide range of mainstream religious groups. Our job is not to take sides in political arguments between activist groups, it is to make sure people do not face unjustified discrimination.’

Its consultation document said: ‘The accommodation of rights should not require the rights of one person to cancel out or trump the rights of another.’


Record race for British university places ahead of £9,000 tuition fees means even pupils with new elite grades miss out

Hundreds of teenagers with straight A* grades were left without a university to go to last night in an unprecedented scramble for places. Despite picking up the elite A-level grade – introduced last year as a new ‘gold standard’ – they face a desperate battle through the clearing system. Only 40,000 places are available with 220,000 youngsters chasing them.

One star pupil from a leading private school learnt yesterday that she had achieved three straight A* grades yet has been rejected by the English departments of five universities. Four thousand students with straight As also had no offers. Unless they secure one through clearing, they face going to university next year when annual tuition fees treble to a maximum of £9,000.

One academic said the competition for places was the ‘fiercest in living memory’.Most of the leading universities did not even enter the clearing system, which allocates last-minute places.

Places are available only in lower-ranked institutions and in less sought-after disciplines such as computing, business studies and biological science. The scramble for places came as:

* Universities minister David Willetts claimed it would be ‘cheaper’ to start courses in 2012;

* Boys closed the gender gap with girls, getting the same number of top grades for the first time;

* Pass rates rose for the 29th consecutive year, with one in four awarded an A;

* Maths and science enjoyed a resurgence in popularity. Maths entries have risen 40 per cent over five years;

* Exam boards were braced for a record number of complaints following marking blunders.

The shortage of places was caused by 682,367 candidates applying for 350,000 places. Around 100,000 of these candidates will have now decided not to go to university, to take a gap year or to study abroad.

This leaves an estimated 220,000 hopefuls – including mature and foreign students and students who failed to get in last year – chasing the 40,000 places. Among them are 62,500 candidates who got their results yesterday and either had not been offered a spot or missed their grades.

It is estimated around 50,000 in clearing had grades equivalent to BBB or above. Although 10,000 extra places were made available, there were 40,000 more applicants than usual, probably because of the fees hike.

The rush saw the University and College Admissions Service website close down for much of yesterday morning as those who had missed their grades tried to secure offers. It failed to cope with a fourfold increase in the number of visits and normal service was not resumed until midday.

Professor Alan Smithers, director of the Centre for Education and Employment Research at Buckingham University, claimed the system was in chaos. ‘It always happens when the pressure on the system is greatest, the cracks begin to show,’ he said. ‘Not only have the students been in the fiercest competition for places in living memory, but the support system for those who have missed out on their grades hasn’t worked properly.

‘Ucas normally does these things very smoothly, but today, of all days, it hasn’t been able to cope. It’s the worst chaos in university admissions history.’

Those students forced to start university in 2012 will graduate with debts of around £57,000, compared with £29,000 for those starting their studies now.

Those who fail to get into university must now decide whether to reapply for next year or look for work.

Exam boards, some of which have had to admit over the summer that they set impossible questions and made errors in papers, are expecting a record number of complaints as desperate students seek to raise their grades.

One board, OCR, has, for the first time, put all papers affected by errors on a website so pupils can see the examiner’s markings. Defending the chaos, Mr Willetts said: ‘What we’ve tried to do, as our bit to easing the stress, is we have delivered again the 10,000 extra places we delivered last year, so there will be once again a record number of places at universities for young people.’

But TUC deputy general secretary Frances O’Grady said: ‘Because of the rush to avoid next year’s fees hike, and the Government’s refusal to fund extra university places, record numbers of students will lose out on higher education altogether.’


Bandwagonitis leads to embarrassing gaffe

The report below claims to note a dramatic change in the last 10 years and attributes it to global warming. But even the Warmists now admit that there has been no warming in the last 10 years. So the claim CANNOT be true. It would be wise to check the facts before opening mouth

Animals across the world are fleeing global warming by heading north much faster than they were less than a decade ago, a new study says.

About 2,000 species examined are moving away from the equator at an average rate of more than 15 feet per day, about a mile per year, according to new research published Thursday in the journal Science which analyzed previous studies. Species are also moving up mountains to escape the heat, but more slowly, averaging about 4 feet a year.

The species – mostly from the Northern Hemisphere and including plants – moved in fits and starts, but over several decades it averages to about 8 inches an hour away from the equator.

“The speed is an important issue,” said study main author Chris Thomas of the University of York. “It is faster than we thought.” …

“It’s already affected the entire planet’s wildlife,” Thomas said in a phone interview. “It’s not a matter that might happen in the lifetime of our children and our grandchildren. If you look in your garden you can see the effects of climate change already.”


The past is another more courteous country


Review by Val Hennessy:

Talk about the past being another country. Even the recent past. My nonagenarian mother and her contemporaries will certainly recognise, with regretful shakes of their heads, the England depicted by Victor Canning in these elegiac essays commissioned in the 1930s by the Daily Mail. But, for the rest of us, he could be describing another planet.

His England is a place where weekend cinemas are packed to bursting with enthusiastic film fans all cheerfully whistling, shouting and applauding the action.

The main street of a town in the Fens throngs, on Saturday nights, with a good-natured ‘slow-moving, joking, flirting, healthy mob’, dressed in their best, farm-labourers and their girls congregating ‘to forget the toil of the week … to seek colour, warmth and laughter’.

From the doorway of every inn comes the plunk and tinkle of pianos and the group chorusings of mawkish ballads. By 11.30pm everyone has hurried home to bed, and the streets are deserted.

Hey ho! No vomiting, fornicating, brawling and scantily-attired, knock-kneed, boozed-up girls baring their bottoms. Those were the days…

Canning finds beauty everywhere, but never sentimentalises, and is consistently honest enough to highlight poverty and social inequality.

In Maryport in Cumbria, where the silent pit heads signal the decline of the mining industry, he discovers unemployed men foraging for small fragments of coal on the snow-covered shingle. A morning’s foraging will fill half a sack, to be hauled back to keep fires going in homes where fires are luxuries. Yet there is laughter too, and ‘the happy clatter of clogs’ from children playing in the streets.

In sooty Halifax, a town ‘which has wrung dignity and beauty from chimney stacks, gasometers, canals and mills’, the doorsteps and windows are spotless, and proud working men tog up at weekends in bowler hats, white collars and navy-blue suits.

In the Cotswolds Canning describes the soft patina of lichen and moss on walls, and senses the pride taken in ‘houses built to last … reflecting the spirit of the master craftsmen who made them’, and in Norfolk he gets talking to an ancient sea salt who had joined the Navy when ‘sails and bare feet and a penny a week for boys made Britain mistress of the seas’.

In Rutland Canning describes an incident which is unthinkable in modern Britain. Exhausted after a long ramble, he knocks on a cottage door to ask for water.

A jolly, motherly sort invites him inside to freshen up, then sits him on the porch amongst the hollyhocks and roses, offers him tea and, referring to her husband who is out hedging and ditching, explains: ‘The master does the kitchen garden and I look after the flowers’. ‘Master’ indeed! What distant times!

His best anecdote concerns the hilarious men-only bathing rules at Parson’s Pleasure on the river Cherwell. Mixed bathing was forbidden due to the tradition that men bathed naked there.

In this male Arcadia (and I think Canning misses a significant social situation here, in his innocence) Oxford dons and undergraduates would loll about ‘clad only in spectacles and a copy of Plato’s Socratic Discourses’.

Any approaching punt steered solely by women would be halted; the punt would be taken through the bathing enclosure by an attendant, and the women were made to avert their eyes as they walked along a special footpath to rejoin it. Forgetful females were known to disobey the rules, causing a mad scramble as naked dons flattened themselves behind tufts of grass or scuttled for cover amongst the willows.

It is astonishing to remember that Canning’s pilgrimage to ‘understand the intricate pattern and appreciate the colour of the fabric of English life’ was made within living memory.

His gentle adventures will probably seem boring, if not ludicrous, to post-war generations who travel more often to exotic, far-flung foreign hot spots than to the towns and villages of England.

Canning travelled through a law-abiding, slow-paced, courteous country where a stranger in town (Canning) would address a passing resident like this: ‘Good day to you, sir. Would it be a breach of good manners if I was to ask you to oblige me by telling me a little history of this town?…’

Good-manners, and respect, yes. It certainly was another country… No obscene gestures, filthy language, feral yoof on the rampage or lawless, mindless morons burning and looting for the hell of it. And if I’m beginning to sound like my mum, I make no apologies…



About jonjayray

I am former member of the Australia-Soviet Friendship Society, former anarcho-capitalist and former member of the British Conservative party. The kneejerk response of the Green/Left to people who challenge them is to say that the challenger is in the pay of "Big Oil", "Big Business", "Big Pharma", "Exxon-Mobil", "The Pioneer Fund" or some other entity that they see, in their childish way, as a boogeyman. So I think it might be useful for me to point out that I have NEVER received one cent from anybody by way of support for what I write. As a retired person, I live entirely on my own investments. I do not work for anybody and I am not beholden to anybody
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