Black nurse was so incompetent she gave dialysis patient Lucozade instead of glucose drip and couldn’t even take a pulse

Still only suspended for 12 months. She is just dumb. Should never have been qualified. But you can’t fail a black, of course

A nurse trained to grade five standard of care was so incompetent she couldn’t even calculate a patient’s heart rate, a disciplinary hearing heard.

Juleth McKenzie was hauled in front of the Nursing and Midwifery Council after she gave a dialysis patient a drink of Lucozade instead of a glucose drip.

The nurse, who worked at Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, didn’t know the difference between milligrams and micrograms and checked a patient’s temperature instead of blood pressure – despite having qualified eight years ago.
Juleth Deborah Mckenzie was hauled in front of The Nursing and Midwivery Council after she gave a dialysis patient a drink of Lucozade instead of a glucose drip

Juleth Deborah Mckenzie was hauled in front of The Nursing and Midwivery Council after she gave a dialysis patient a drink of Lucozade instead of a glucose drip

Eleven allegations of incompetent errors against McKenzie were either admitted or found proved against the nurse.

Following an NMC hearing in November last year, at which McKenzie was not present or represented at, her fitness to practise was found impaired by lack of competence.

She was handed a 12 month suspension order, according to the findings of the hearing which have now been released.

The allegations heard by an NMC conduct and competence panel included giving medication to patients she was not authorised to do so, prioritising getting personal details of a patient over stemming bleeding and assessing a patient with Parkinson’s disease as being independent and needing no care or support.

She was also accused of attempting to give drugs which had already been given, preparing drugs for oral administration for a patient who was nil by mouth, being unfamiliar with equipment on a resuscitation trolley, making four errors in relation to giving Heparin, giving prescription eye drops when not authorised and giving them to the wrong patient, failing to register patients and putting the wrong hospital number on a patient’s wristband and not being aware of the difference between milligrams and micrograms and checking a patient’s temperature instead of blood pressure.
McKenzie worked at Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and was found to not know the difference between milligrams and micrograms

McKenzie worked at Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and was found to not know the difference between milligrams and micrograms. Miss McKenzie’s patients on the renal ward and senior colleagues described how she ‘places patients at risk every time she put them on dialysis’.

While others said she was a very caring person who wanted to deliver good practice, she was ‘out of her depth and lacking in ability’ and was described as ‘getting muddled and panicked’.

Patients on the dialysis ward had even gone as far as to ask to not be treated by Miss McKenzie.

The panel heard how the job on the renal ward was Miss McKenzie’s first substantive post after qualifying in 2005.

She was required to complete a new starters programme which most nurses complete within three months, but after six months concerns remained about her ability as a registered nurse.

By December 2006, she had been placed on the Trust’s poor performance plan and was diagnosed with dyslexia and poor short-term visual memory.

McKenzie was redeployed to a less acute area on ward 18 but she continued to make fundamental errors.

She became a healthcare assistant but even in this capacity concern was expressed about her competence and she left the Trust on November 30, 2008.

The Royal College of Nursing’s career framework outlines nine levels of nursing. McKenzie was a level 5 nurse, qualified to ‘provide general nursing services to defined groups’.

No evidence was given to the panel which gave it any concern that the hospital had acted in appropriately or unsympathetically towards Miss McKenzie.

A spokesman for the Foundation Trust, which runs Bradford Royal Infirmary and St Luke’s Hospital, said: ‘The Trust took appropriate action to safeguard patients and Miss McKenzie managed in accordance with the Trust’s capability procedures and was provided with extensive supervision and support.’


Scandal of neglect in Britain’s care homes: NHS survey of 63,000 elderly residents reveals one in three are living in fear of abuse

Tens of thousands of vulnerable care patients say they feel at risk from abuse, are allowed to go hungry and are often left unwashed, according to a shocking Government survey.

It found that one in three adults who are in residential care or receiving help at home fear abuse or physical harm – equivalent to about half a million people. Others complained they received so little food and drink that they believed their health could suffer.

Charities claimed last night that the survey showed the system was in ‘massive crisis’ and warned that the problems could get even worse as cash-strapped local authorities targeted care budgets for further cuts.

About 1.5 million people in England – most of whom are elderly or disabled – receive basic care funded wholly or in part by local authorities because they have issues with mobility, have ongoing health issues or are dependent on alcohol or drugs.

Up to 50 per cent of those questioned in some areas said they felt unsafe because they believed they were at risk of abuse or physical harm.

Nearly one in ten in some areas claimed they did not get enough to eat or drink, while one in 100 across the country said they received so little nourishment they feared their health could be at risk.

Nearly half of those relying on carers to perform basic washing duties said they did not feel as clean or presentable as they would like.

Thousands said the way they were treated ‘undermines’ the way they feel about themselves.

England’s 152 local authorities were each asked to send the survey to at least 300 people receiving social care, who were selected at random. Nearly 63,000 completed the poll between January and March last year. A third said they did not feel as safe as they would like, while two per cent said they did not feel safe at all.

But in some areas, such as Brent, North-West London, more than 50 per cent claimed they did not feel safe, while in Hartlepool, Co Durham, St Helens, Merseyside, and Tameside, Greater Manchester, more than 40 per cent said social care services did not make them feel safe.

The report did not reveal why people felt unsafe or who they feared might cause them harm.

At the same time, 2,500 people – four per cent of those surveyed – claimed that they did not get enough food and drink. This rose to 9.2 per cent in Westminster, Central London, and 8.8 per cent in Manchester.

An additional one per cent – 630 people – said they got so little food and drink that they believed there was a risk to their health. And 44 per cent said they did not feel as clean and as well-presented as they would like, with six per cent claiming they felt less than adequately clean.

One per cent claimed the way they were treated ‘completely undermines the way I think and feel about myself’.

Liz Kendall, Labour’s care spokesman, said the study was a damning indictment of England’s £17 billion-a-year care industry.

‘These figures are deeply concerning but they represent only part of what’s going on and that’s not good enough,’ she said.

‘The Government must ask why people are not feeling safe, and this information should be fed back to providers, commissioners and families. We need to know what’s going on here in depth.

‘I suspect part of the problem is how isolated many elderly and disabled people feel while in care, separated from their families. But a lack of funding and the high turnover of carers also mean many receiving care in their own homes don’t know the people who are coming to help them, and basic compassion is lacking.’

Michelle Mitchell, charity director general at Age UK, said: ‘By neglecting the social care system for so long, governments have put the human rights, health and dignity of too many at risk.

‘Many older people are worrying about having enough food to eat, and feel unsafe and unable to present themselves in a way that retains their dignity. How can this be acceptable in a civilised society?’

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: ‘The quality of care needs to be valued as highly as the quality of treatment. There can be no hiding place for those providing poor care. We have protected access to care by investing £7.2 billion over four years, but we also want to drive up standards so everyone gets the service they have the right to expect.’


Devastated parents sue hospital after doctors fail to identify unborn baby’s disabilities

Oxford’s John Radcliffe Hospital again

A devastated couple are suing a top NHS hospital for £300,000 after doctors failed to identify that their unborn child was severely disabled.

The case is highly controversial because the couple claim they would have made the heartbreaking decision to abort the pregnancy if they had known their daughter would be so profoundly disabled.

But instead, the child will now require a lifetime of round-the-clock care after two separate specialists at Oxford’s John Radcliffe Hospital failed to spot the significant problems during routine ante-natal scans.

The little girl is described in documents filed at the High Court as having ‘extremely severe disabilities’ with several crucial bones missing. Because she is still very young, the full extent of her disabilities ‘is not yet known’.

The documents say: ‘It is the Claimant’s case that, had foetal abnormalities been detected during the course of foetal ultrasound scanning, as they ought to have been, then the First Claimant together with the Second Claimant would or should have been offered to terminate the pregnancy.’

Abortions carried out because of a risk of the child being born disabled – known as ground E abortions – can take place at any time during pregnancy. About 2,300 abortions were carried out for this reason in the UK last year, most for chromosomal conditions such as Down’s syndrome.

All pregnant women are offered two ultrasound scans at between 11 and 14 weeks to date the pregnancy and again between 18 and 23 weeks to detect any abnormalities. Both can pick up severe disabilities at an early stage.

Some campaigners argue that a child can still live a relatively full life despite substantial disability. Josephine Quintavalle, from Campaign for Reproductive Ethics, said: ‘Being born disabled is not necessarily incompatible with life.’

A spokeswoman for the Family Planning Service said parents had a right to be fully informed. ‘If there are foetal abnormalities, women can choose to have an abortion. It’s a fundamental decision about family life.’

The couple, who are in their 40s and have two older children, needed counselling about the child’s disabilities.

The little girl’s condition was particularly devastating because the couple had raised concerns during the pregnancy that their unborn baby may have suffered deformities.

The mother unwittingly had surgery under general anaesthetic before realising she was pregnant, which is not recommended because of potential risks to the child. But they were reassured after an ultrasound at the John Radcliffe found no cause for concern.

A second scan, supposed to detect any abnormalities, including missing bones, also failed to pick up any problems. The sonographer wrote in the notes that there was ‘no evidence of a foetal abnormality’.

A hospital consultant later wrote in the woman’s medical records: ‘I have explained that we would normally expect a defect of the type affecting XX to have been detected at the anomaly scan stage and that our failure to do so is very disappointing to all concerned. I have apologised to them for the failure.’

The court documents say: ‘Damages are claimed for their own personal injury, loss and expense that they have each suffered, and by both Claimants for the additional cost of raising XX attributable to her disabilities.’

A spokeswoman for the hospital said she was unable to comment.


‘Treat white working class boys the same as ethnic minorities’: British minister says universities should help those from poorer backgrounds

Universities should treat white, working-class boys in the same way as ethnic minorities, said David Willetts. The Universities minister wants them put in the same category as students from disadvantaged communities when it comes to recruitment – meaning universities will have to agree to improve access for them before being allowed to charge higher fees.

Critics fear the move could lead to universities discriminating against middle-class students at independent schools.

Mr Willetts said the university access watchdog, the Office for Fair Access, already looked at disadvantaged groups ‘when it comes to access agreements’. ‘I don’t see why they couldn’t look at white working class boys,’ he said, in an interview with The Independent.

He said he put forward a plan to include white, working class boys as a target group for university recruitment in a forthcoming meeting with the Offa director Professor Les Ebdon.

More girls entered university every year than the number of boys who had submitted an application form, Mr Willetts said.

Figures show applications from men this autumn were 13 per cent down on the previous year – four times more than the drop in women applicants.

Dr Wendy Piatt, director general of the Russell Group, which represents 24 of the most selective universities, said: ‘Universities cannot solve this problem alone.

‘The root causes of the under-representation of students from disadvantaged backgrounds are under-achievement at school and poor advice on the best choices of A level subjects and university degree course.’

In an article to accompany his interview in the newspaper, Mr Willetts reveals there will be a £1.1billion increase in universities funding for teaching over the next two years – led by income from the higher tuition fees. He claims this will improve teaching standards and cut class sizes.

He also plans to remove the cap on student numbers, which currently means universities face stiff fines for breaching their targets.

And he sets out plans for a drive to target parents to explain the new fee structure. He said parents ‘reportedly understand the details of the student finance system less well than their children – for example, no eligible student has to pay upfront fees.’


Put cooking back on the national curriculum to make children healthier and stop them wasting food, urges Britain’s Women’s Institute

The head of the Women’s Institute today called for all children to be taught cookery at school to prepare them for adult life.

Ruth Bond, whose organisation has more than 200,000 members, believes it would help pupils eat healthier and teach them not to waste so much food at home.

The WI has launched a food security campaign in an attempt to reduce the 15million tonnes of food Britain throws away each year.

It comes as ministers are considering whether to force schools to increase culinary teaching.

Mrs Bond said the education system had ‘fallen down’ because cookery lessons were not ‘taught widely’.

She said: ‘I think it would be an excellent thing if it was brought back into schools but, of course, so many schools do not have the facilities. ‘The way you live depends a lot on how you eat and being able to cook your own food is a great bonus.’

She said the demands of modern life meant many children were living on a diet of ready meals because their parents were often too busy to cook.

It would also help if more parents got their children into the kitchen with them, added Mrs Bond, who admitted she was ‘fortunate’ to learn from a mother who taught the subject.

She added that the WI, which has around 210,000 members in 6,500 branches, holds regular home-cooking courses for young parents so they can plan meals at home more effectively.

Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, she said a useful tip would be to adapt recipes from books to include ingredients that need using up. She said: ‘It is a case of planning what you are going to eat, make your list, and look in your cupboard to see if there is anything that would do.’

Mrs Bond also suggested that best-before dates do not have to be followed too religiously, especially if the food has not gone mouldy.

The WI has enjoyed a long history of campaigning on behalf of women and their communities

A Department for Education spokesman said: ‘Decisions on the subjects to be included in the secondary National Curriculum will be announced in due course, but nothing will prevent schools from teaching practical cookery.

‘We know that a healthy attitude towards food, developed early, is critical to the health and well-being of young people. ‘We are currently looking at the role food and cooking plays in schools and how this can help children develop an understanding of food and nutrition.’

The WI was set up during the First World War to encourage women to tighten their belts and make the most of their meagre household budgets.

Last month, it was revealed that, due to the recession, record numbers of young women are once again turning to the organisation to learn vital ‘make do and mend’ skills. In the last three years, 56,500 women have joined the WI, which has a total membership of around 210,000 in England and Wales.


University applications plummet for second year running in Britain as 40,000 fewer pupils apply since introduction of £9,000 a year fees

University applications have plummeted for the second year running amid a backlash against £9,000-a-year tuition fees.

The number of applicants from England has fallen 14.2 per cent – nearly 40,000 – in two years following the imposition of higher charges.

Students applying to start university this year will be the second cohort to face the new regime of fees amounting to £9,000-a-year for some courses – almost treble the previous limit.

The fees hike led to a sharp drop in applications last year but universities hoped numbers would soon rally.

The latest figures, which show a further 6.5 per cent decline between 2012 and 2013, triggered renewed claims that fees are dampening demand for higher education.

But the Government and universities insisted it was too early to say definitively whether demand had dropped again.

As many as half of candidates have not yet submitted their forms, according to trends seen in previous application cycles, it was claimed.

But Sally Hunt, general secretary of the University and College Union, warned that Britain risked being left behind economic competitors because the fees regime was putting youngsters off higher education.

‘We are witnessing a worrying trend of fewer people applying to university, particularly among young people,’ she said.

‘We need our brightest people pursuing their dreams. We simply cannot afford to fall behind other countries that are seeing a rise in the number of students and graduates.’

Under reforms which took effect in September 2012, universities in England can charge up to £9,000-a-year in fees, with students able to take out Government-backed loans to cover the cost and repay them once they are earning £21,000-a-year.

Universities in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland can also charge £9,000-a-year but the three devolved administrations made arrangements to cushion the impact on their own students.

Scottish students receive free tuition while those in Wales qualify for subsidies to cover the difference between the old and new fee levels, wherever in the UK they study. Northern Irish students receive fee subsidies if they choose to study within the province.

Figures released yesterday by the UCAS admissions service show that as of December 17, 303,861 applicants, including overseas students, had submitted forms – more than 18,000 down on last year.

Among students from England alone, applications dropped 6.5 per cent, or 16,000.

Excluding mature applicants, the number of English 18-year-old school-leavers applying for degree places has dipped 6.6 per cent.

This is more than three times the drop seen among Scottish applicants, who put in 2.1 per cent fewer applications.

But the decline in demand was sharpest among Welsh students, who made 10.9 per cent fewer applications.

According to analysis by the UCU, the number of 18-year-old English applicants is down 9.0 per cent between 2011 and 2013 – far exceeding the estimated 2.3 per cent reduction in the overall population of 18-year-olds over the two-year period.

Wendy Piatt, director general of the Russell Group, representing 24 leading universities, said: ‘It’s likely that around 40 per cent of students have yet to apply so let’s not jump the gun – it’s still too early in the year to say what the overall applications numbers will be.

‘It’s only right that prospective students are taking their time deciding which universities to apply to and making use of all the information available to them.

‘Going to a good university remains a sound investment for the vast majority.’ A spokesman for the Department for Business said: ‘It is too early to form a definitive picture about university applications for the 2013/14 academic year.’


Stop blaming the state for Britain’s obesity, and start eating less and running around more

Welcome to the new army of Fat Controllers. Following the national binge, the sordid newspaper supplements are full of diets, exercises and lifestyle fads. Naturally, the Royal College of Physicians doesn’t want to be left out and so has blessed us all this New Year with the recommendation that there should be an anti-obesity commissar “in every NHS trust.” They don’t quite put it like that, but that’s exactly what it amounts to.

The RCP – and I am again translating their euphemisms into the way we speak in the street – blame the Government for our national tubbiness. Government help for those who stuff themselves daily with food items so disgusting as to put you off eating forever is, says the RCP, “patchy.” And there is, apparently, “a lack of joined-up thinking from the government.”

Well, quite. It’s time that someone had the guts – so to speak – to lay the blame squarely where it belongs: of course the Government is entirely responsible for the extravagant girth of the national waistline. It has nothing to do with a tendency to lie on the sofa swigging cans of strong lager and cheap cider all day only reluctantly to arise and go to the supermarket and there pile the trolley with pizzas and pies and sundry processed inedibles which thicken the figure, dull the brain and clog the arteries.

While I’m on this investigative journalism kick, this courageous fault-finding with everyone else but myself and ascribing culpability for all ills to the state, let me say also how angry I am for that the Government has not acknowledged its other responsibilities: for instance, to provide me with a £10,000 watch and my wife with a £20,000 handbag and both of us with a house like wot Wayne Rooney’s got.

But back to the flab. Jonathan Swift, thou should’st be living at this hour – to satirise our nation as a new Lilliput in which the poor die because they haven’t enough to eat, and a new Brobdingnag where the rich die because they eat too much.

What should be the message of these NHS-based, taxpayer-funded “teams of experts” and “obesity champions” to all the Mr and Mrs Gargantua and Pantagruel as they waddle around our great cities between the burger bar and the kebab stall? I don’t want to blind the nation with science, but I’m afraid the advice is extremely technical and hard to understand: EAT LESS AND RUN ABOUT MORE


Quarter of British mothers forced to turn their heating off to afford food for their children: Survey warns of increase in ‘fuel poverty’

With crazy British Green energy schemes and surcharges responsible for a lot of the bill

Soaring energy bills are forcing one in four mothers to turn off their heating in the depths of winter in order to afford food for their children.

Fuel poverty is resulting in thousands of families resorting to wearing extra clothes and using blankets in their homes.

More than half of families turn off the heating in their houses when the children are out, while 45 per cent of adults keep warm using blankets or duvets during the day, according to a survey.

Fuel bills have already soared by eight per cent this winter, but costs are expected to rise further in coming months.

Experts have warned that the number of households suffering fuel poverty, whereby heating bills account for more than a tenth of a family’s income, will double to nine million by 2016.

A shocking 23 per cent of families are already having to choosing between buying food or using heating, according to a survey by the Energy Bill Revolution campaign.

A fifth of respondents said that their children were ill more regularly as a result of colder homes.

The poll questioned 1,000 members of the Netmums website and found that 88 per cent of respondents are more concerned about fuel bills this year compared to last.

Sally Russell, the founder of Netmums, said: ‘These are impossible choices for families to make.

‘With almost nine in 10 families now rationing energy use due to spiralling prices, this signals a new winter of discontent for British families.’

Ed Matthew, the director of Energy Bill Revolution, said: ‘No one should have to make the choice between feeding their family and heating their home.’

The campaign is urging the Government to use money from the carbon tax to insulate housing, which campaigners argue could reduce bills by £300.


Bad weather prompting more British farmers to consider GM use

Washout summer and flooded autumn have persuaded an increasing number of farmers to start using the technology

The extreme weather of 2012 has turned British farmers on to genetically modified crops, with calls from farming leaders to start using the technology as a way to help combat the effects of climate change.

England’s wettest year on record, and the UK’s second wettest, which had begun with one of the worst droughts for decades, has persuaded an increasing number of farmers that the development of crop varieties with engineered resistance to extreme weather conditions is now a priority. Farming groups are in favour of the move, and many individual farmers now want to explore the use of the controversial techniques, according to delegates at the Oxford Farming Conference.

“If the UK is sets itself outside the global market [in which many countries are pursuing GM crops] then we would become fossilised into an old-fashioned way of farming,” Peter Kendall, president of the National Farmers’ Union, told the Guardian. “The majority of our members are aware of the real risk of becoming globally uncompetitive because of avoiding using GM.”

Kendall pointed to the severe problems that potato and tomato growers have had with blight, as the wet weather has encouraged the spread of the disease. “If you could have something that was blight-resistant, that would be a huge improvement,” he said. He argued it would be more environmentally friendly to use GM food and thus avoid the problem of losing large quantities of food to spoilage from such diseases.

Many farmers at the conference backed his views. “When you look at the year farmers have just had, with the weather and diseases and pests [that have spread because of the soggy weather] it has increasingly got to be recognised that we need to look at this,” said Alastair Brooks, who farms 6,000 acres in Buckinghamshire.

Andrew Brown, with 620 acres of mostly arable land in Rutland, said: “If global warming is going to go the way scientists tell us, this is only going to get more important.”

Adrian Ivory, who farms in Perthshire, said colder, wetter summers seemed to be becoming the norm [LOL!], and these would require different varieties to cope with the adverse growing conditions – varieties that could take many years to cultivate by conventional means, but could be brought forward more quickly using GM technology.

But they emphasised that any move towards GM would be slow, involve scientific assessment and would require public support. “This is not something anyone is rushing into. We recognise it would be in stages, by degrees, and we’d need to have scientific input at every stage,” said Brown.

Owen Paterson, secretary of state for the environment, gave a clear signal of the government’s backing for further use of GM crops in his speech to the conference. He told delegates that the government would make the case in Europe for GM crops, as well as in the UK.

But many environmental groups oppose the use of GM technology.

It is also unclear whether major retailers will support any move to increase the use of GM crops. Some GM products can be found in imported foods, but UK supermarkets have banned the ingredients from their own-brand products. The European commission has a list of approved strains of ingredients such as corn, maize, soy and rice that are used as ingredients in processed foods, often as emulsifiers.


British wind farm protesters backed by planning minister Nick Boles

People opposed to onshore wind farms should not have their views “ridden over roughshod”, the planning minister has told the energy minister in a private letter.

Nick Boles told John Hayes, a fellow Conservative, that “local people have genuine concerns” and “wind farms are not appropriate in all settings”.

The Daily Telegraph has been told that Mr Boles warned Mr Hayes in the letter that people “bitterly resented” having onshore wind farm developments imposed on them by planners after an inquiry.

The intervention will be a major boost for communities which are fighting the construction of turbines near their homes. It is also the first evidence of a Tory ministerial alliance against Liberal Democrat attempts to introduce more onshore wind turbines.

Mr Boles is looking to build an informal alliance against wind turbines with Mr Hayes, a near constituency neighbour, without having to get agreement from Ed Davey, the Lib Dem Climate Change Secretary.

Campaigners are fighting to halt the spread of wind turbines, with communities complaining that they blight properties and harm wildlife, particularly bats and birds.

There are currently 3,350 onshore turbines, generating five gigawatts (Gw) of power, which is enough for 2.4 million homes. Improvements mean that the approximately 2,682 turbines awaiting construction will produce about five Gw, with around a further 3,063 turbines — producing 7GW — in the planning system.

Many in the planning stage are in Scotland. Not all of these projects will be built — in England about half of all onshore wind projects do not receive planning approval.

To meet current targets, the Government is expected to need up to 13Gw of onshore wind by 2020.

Mr Boles, who is in charge of planning policy in England, wrote to Mr Hayes’s department to form part of a consultation into the community benefits of wind farms.

The letter, sent on Dec 20 to Mr Hayes after the consultation had closed, was described to The Daily Telegraph by a Whitehall source. In it, Mr Boles throws his weight behind communities fighting new onshore turbines. “We should be working with communities rather than seemingly riding roughshod over their concerns,” he wrote.

“Proposals allowed on appeal by planning inspectors can be bitterly resented,” he added. “We have been very clear that the Government’s policies on renewable energy are no excuse for building wind farms in the wrong places.

“We need a package of measures that can command broad public support which is consistent with our emphasis on local and neighbourhood planning which puts local communities in the driving seat. We should be quite clear that local communities and their accountable councils can produce their own distinctive plans to help shape where developments should and should not take place.”

Last night, a source close to Ed Davey said: “We don’t want to impose wind farms on communities but onshore wind remains an important part of our overall energy package.”

In November, Mr Hayes said there was no need for more onshore wind farms that were not already in the planning system, adding it was “job done” in terms of the number required for renewable energy targets.

A spokesman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change said: “The whole point of the planning system is to ensure that developments happen in the right places and take into account local concerns.”

The department wanted communities “to feel greater benefit from hosting onshore wind farms. There are some terrific examples of best practice out there, where people feel positively about their local wind farms and we want to learn lessons from these.”

Jennifer Webber, the director of external affairs at RenewableUK, the body representing the industry, said that a record amount of onshore wind capacity had been approved at local level in 2012, suggesting growing community support. She said analysis showed that for every megawatt of wind energy installed “the local community benefits to the tune of £100,000” over the wind farm’s lifespan.

Mr Boles has emerged as a covert champion of opponents of wind power since he was appointed planning minister in the September reshuffle. Last month, he suggested wind farms should not be less than 1.4 miles from homes.


I’ve lived through the greatest revolution in sexual mores in our history. The damage it’s done appals me


The Sexual Revolution started 50 years ago. At least, that was the view of the poet Philip Larkin, who wrote: ‘Sexual intercourse began … In nineteen sixty-three …(which was rather late for me) …. Between the end of the Chatterley ban …. And the Beatles’ first LP.’

Probably when today’s students read this poem, they understand the reference to the Beatles first LP, but need a bit of help with ‘the Chatterley ban’.

D.H.Lawrence’s novel, Lady Chatterley’s Lover, had been banned for obscenity, and all the liberal-minded ‘great and the good’ — novelists, professors of literature, an Anglican bishop and sociologists — trooped to the Old Bailey to explain to a learned judge why Penguin Books should be allowed to publish it.

To my mind, Lawrence’s account of how a sex-starved rich woman romps naked in the woods with her husband’s gamekeeper is risible.

It is hard to read the accounts of them cavorting in the rain, and sticking wild flowers in one another’s pubic hair, without laughing.

Yet the great English Literature professors of the Fifties and Sixties spoke of Lady C in the same breath as the most wonderful writings of the world, and the Chatterley trial in 1960 marked a major watershed.

The prosecuting counsel, Mr Mervyn Griffith-Jones, lost the case when he shot himself in the foot by asking the jury whether they considered Lawrence’s bizarre novel was something they would wish their wives or servants to read.

By putting the question in that way and referring to ‘servants’, he seemed to suggest that being loyal to one partner was as outmoded as having a butler and a parlour-maid.

With the ban lifted, Lawrence’s book became the best-selling novel of the early Sixties. And by the end of the decade, hippies with flowers in their hair, or would-be hippies, were practising free love Chatterley-style. Those who could not classify themselves as hippies looked on a bit wistfully.

Of course, Larkin — born in 1922 — was being ironical and humorous. But the 1960s were a turning-point, and the decade did undoubtedly herald the Sexual Revolution.

I was born in 1950, 28 years after Larkin. And far from being ‘rather late for me’, the revolutionary doctrines of the Sixties were all readily adopted by me and countless others.

From being schoolboys who read Lady Chatterley under the sheets, to teenagers and young men who had the Rolling Stones reverberating in our ears, we had no intention of being stuffy like our parents.

The arrival of a contraceptive pill for women in 1961 appeared to signal the beginning of guilt-free, pregnancy-free sex. We were saying goodbye to what Larkin (in that poem) called ‘A shame that started at sixteen … And spread to everything.’

But if the propagators of the Sexual Revolution had been able to fast-forward 50 years, what would they have expected to see? Surely not the shocking statistics about today’s sexual habits in the UK which are available for all to study.

In 2011, there were 189,931 abortions carried out, a small rise on the previous year, and about seven per cent more than a decade ago. Ninety-six per cent of these abortions were funded by the NHS, i.e. by you and me, the taxpayer. One per cent of these were performed because the would-be parents feared the child would be born handicapped in some way. Forty-seven per cent were so-called medical abortions, carried out because the health of mother and child were at risk.

The term ‘medical abortion’ is very widely applied and covers the psychological ‘health’ of the patient.

But even if you concede that a little less than half the abortions had some medical justification, this still tells us that more than 90,000 foetuses are aborted every year in this country simply as a means of lazy ‘birth control’. Ninety thousand human lives are thrown away because their births are considered too expensive or in some other way inconvenient.

The Pill, far from reducing the numbers of unwanted pregnancies, actually led to more.

When women neglected to take the Pill, there seemed all the more reason to use abortion as a form of birth control.

Despite the fact that, in the wake of the Aids crisis, people were urged to use condoms and to indulge in safe-sex, the message did not appear to get through.

In the past few years, sexually transmitted diseases among young people have hugely increased, with more and more young people contracting chlamydia, gonorrhoea, syphilis and other diseases, many of them unaware they were infected until after they had been sexually active with a number of partners.

The divorce statistics tell another miserable story. About one third of marriages in Britain end in divorce. And because many couples do not marry at all before splitting up, the number of broken homes is even greater.

This time of year is when the painfulness of family break-up is felt most acutely. January 3 has been nicknamed ‘divorce day’ by lawyers. In a moving article in the Mail recently, Lowri Turner, a twice-divorced mother of three children, wrote about the pain of waking up on Christmas morning without her children. She looks at the presents under the tree, with no children to open them, and thinks: ‘This isn’t the way things are supposed to be.’

Every parent who has been through the often self-inflicted hell of divorce will know what she means.

So will the thousands of children this Christmas who spent the day with only one parent — and often with that parent’s new ‘partner’ whom they hate.

I hold up my hands. I have been divorced. Although I was labelled a Young Fogey in my youth, I imbibed all the liberationist sexual mores of the Sixties as far as sexual morality was concerned.

I made myself and dozens of people extremely unhappy — including, of course, my children and other people’s children. I am absolutely certain that my parents, by contrast, who married in 1939 and stayed together for more than 40 years until my father died, never strayed from the marriage bed.

There were long periods when they found marriage extremely tough, but having lived through years of aching irritation and frustration, they grew to be Darby and Joan, deeply dependent upon one another in old age, and in an imperfect but recognisable way, an object lesson in the meaning of the word ‘love’.

Back in the Fifties, GfK National Opinon Poll conducted a survey asking how happy people felt on a sliding scale — from very happy to very unhappy.

In 1957, 52 per cent said they were ‘very happy’. By 2005, the same set of questions found only 36 per cent were ‘very happy’, and the figures are falling.

More than half of those questioned in the GfK’s most recent survey said that it was a stable relationship which made them happy. Half those who were married said they were ‘very happy’, compared with only a quarter of singles.

The truth is that the Sexual Revolution had the power to alter our way of life, but it could not alter our essential nature; it could not alter the reality of who and what we are as human beings.

It made nearly everyone feel that they were free, or free-er, than their parents had been — free to smoke pot, free to sleep around, free to pursue the passing dream of what felt, at the time, like overwhelming love — an emotion which very seldom lasts, and a word which is meaningless unless its definition includes commitment.

How easy it was to dismiss old-fashioned sexual morality as ‘suburban’, as a prison for the human soul. How easy it was to laugh at the ‘prudes’ who questioned the wisdom of what was happening in the Sexual Revolution.

Yet, as the opinion poll shows, most of us feel at a very deep level that what will make us very happy is not romping with a succession of lovers.

In fact, it is having a long-lasting, stable relationship, having children, and maintaining, if possible, lifelong marriage.

An amusing Victorian historian, John Seeley, said the British Empire had been acquired in ‘a fit of absence of mind’. He meant that no one sat down and planned for the British to take over large parts of Asia and Africa: it was more a case of one thing leading to another. In many ways, the Sexual Revolution of the Sixties and Seventies in Britain was a bit like this.

People became more prosperous. People were living longer. The old-fashioned concept of staying in the same marriage and the same job all your life suddenly seemed so, so boring.

But in the Forties and Fifties, divorce had not been an option for most people because it was so very expensive, in terms of economic as well as emotional cost. So people slogged through their unhappy phases and came out at the other end.

It is easy to see, then, if the tempting option of escaping a boring marriage was presented, that so many people were prone to take the adventurous chance of a new partner, a new way of life.

But the Sexual Revolution was not, of course, all accidental. Not a bit of it. Many of the most influential opinion-formers of the age were doing their best to undermine all traditional morality, and especially the traditional morality of the Judaeo-Christian tradition, which has always taught that marriage is for life.

A decade on from the Chatterley trial, in 1971, an ‘alternative’ magazine called Oz, written by the Australian Richard Neville and his mates, was had up, not for obscenity, but for ‘conspiracy to debauch and corrupt the morals of children’.

What brought the authors into trouble was ‘The School Kids’ Issue’, which depicted Rupert Bear in a state of arousal, and which carried many obscene adverts.

The three perpetrators of the filth were sent to prison, but the sentence was quashed on appeal.

Their defender was none other than dear old Mr Rumpole of the Bailey, John Mortimer QC — warming to the role of the nation’s teddy bear.

He said that if you were a ‘writer’, you should be allowed to describe any activity, however depraved.

Obscenity could not be defined or identified. And it was positively good for us to be outraged from time to time.

Even the Left-leaning liberal Noel Annan, provost of King’s College, Cambridge, suggested this was nonsense. He remarked that it was impossible to think of any civilisation in history that fitted Mortimer’s propositions.

But when the Oz Three were released from prison, the Chattering Classes all rejoiced.

Of course, this was the era when the BBC was turning a blind eye to the predatory activities of Jimmy Savile, and when the entire artistic and academic establishment was swayed by the ideas which John Mortimer presented to the Court of Appeal: namely that old-fashioned ideas of sexual morality were dead. Moribund. Over. From now on, anything goes — and it was ‘repressive’ to teach children otherwise.

The wackier clerics of the Church of England, the pundits of the BBC, the groovier representatives of the educational establishment, the liberal Press, have all, since the Sexual Revolution began, gone along with the notion that a relaxation of sexual morality will lead to a more enlightened and happy society.

This was despite the fact that all the evidence around us demonstrates that the exact opposite is the case.

In the Fifties, the era when people were supposedly ‘repressed’, we were actually much happier than we have been more recently — in an era when confused young people have been invited to make up their own sexual morals as they went along.

The old American cliche is that you can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube; and it is usually a metaphor used to suggest that it is impossible to turn the clock back in matters of public behaviour and morality. Actually, you know, I think that is wrong.

One of the brilliantly funny things about the TV sitcom Absolutely Fabulous was that the drunken, chain-smoking, sexually promiscuous old harridans Edina Monsoon (played by Jennifer Saunders) and her friend Patsy (Joanna Lumley) are despised by the puritanical Saffy — Eddie’s daughter.

A small backlash has already definitely occurred against that generation. I have not conducted a scientific survey, but my impression, based on anecdotal evidence and the lives of the children of my contemporaries, is that they are far less badly behaved, and far more sensible, than we were.

My guess is that the backlash will be even greater in the wake of the whole Jimmy Savile affair, and in reaction against the miserable world which my generation has handed on to our children — with our confused sexual morality, and our broken homes.

Our generation, who started to grow up ‘between the end of the Chatterley ban and the Beatles first LP’ got it all so horribly wrong.

We ignored the obvious fact that moral conventions develop in human societies for a reason.

We may have thought it was ‘hypocritical’ to condemn any form of sexual behaviour, and we may have dismissed the undoubted happiness felt by married people as stuffy, repressed and old hat.

But we were wrong, wrong, wrong.

Two generations have grown up — comprising children of selfish grown-ups who put their own momentary emotional needs and impulses before family stability and the needs of their children.

However, I don’t think this behaviour can last much longer. The price we all pay for the fragmentation of society, caused by the break-up of so many homes, will surely lead to a massive rethink.

At least, let’s hope so.


Should We Trust Official British Crime Figures?

You would have to be gullible

What are we to make of the following facts? The week began with leaked figures apparently showing that ‘Recorded crime fell by at least 10% in 19 out of 43 force areas in England and Wales while budgets were cut by an average of just under 10%.’

Later came the revelation that the Prison population in England and Wales actually fell during last year – dropping by 2,869 to 83,909. Don’t get too excited The prison population is still very, very high( in 1950-51 it was 20,474, in 1960-61 it was 27,099, in 1970 it was 39,028, in 1980 it was 42,300, in 1990 it was 45,636 and in 1999 it was 64,770, passing 70,000 for the first time only in 2002).

But under Kenneth Clarke there is no doubt that, by some means or other, a way has been found to halt and even reverse the rise. The least likely explanation for this, especially under Mr Clarke, must be a tougher and more punitive justice system scaring wrongdoers back on to the path of righteousness. So either crime really is falling (a comically unlikely solution to the riddle) or a way has been found of a) ignoring more crimes b) not sending people to prison for offences which would formerly have merited prison sentences and c) letting more people out of prison more quickly.

One hint came when, this morning (Thursday 3rd January)the ‘Sun’ newspaper revealed on page 2 (where important stories are put, which editors do not regard as exciting) that one in nine murderers is freed from prison after serving fewer than ten years of a life sentence. The figures, obtained by the genuinely conservative MP Philip Davies , showed that 275 convicted murderers were released during 2010 and 2011. Of these, 32 served fewer than ten years. Four served fewer than eight years, seven served fewer than nine. It is also the case that 35 people, who had been convicted of homicide, killed again after being released, surely the indefensible deaths of innocents caused by deliberate state action.

My main argument is that the crime figures are fiddled for political reasons, and cannot be trusted. And , thanks to the dedicated work of Dr Rodger Patrick, a former Chief Inspector in the West Midlands Police turned academic, I can tell you how it is done. Dr Patrick got in touch with me after I wrote about the astonishing increase of ‘Out of Court Disposals’ (OCDs) of crimes – including the use of ‘cautions’ to dispose of rape cases, in return for an admission of guilt.

He has been researching the manipulation of crime data for many years. During this time, police performance has been politically important – so bringing into operation what (unless anyone else wants to claim ownership) I shall term Hitchens’s Law ‘Any politically sensitive statistic will be manipulated’. This sits alongside the well-known ‘Bikini Effect’, noted by Sovietologists in the 1960s, under which the official interest in deception is so great that ‘What the figures conceal is more interesting than what they reveal’.

For example, in a period when the police are trying to obtain more money and resources, and the party in power is keen to oblige, police and state might co-operate to give the impression that crime is rising. When the government of the day is anxious to show that its ‘crackdowns’ are working, then the figures will be massaged to show that crime is falling. But the police, with other objectives, may not co-operate. Cue conflicts between different sorts of statistics. Similar things are true of inflation figures, exam results, school performance. But we will stick to crime.

Often the attempts to manipulate statistics show up when one force or another seems to be doing particularly, exceptionally well. Detection rates, for instance, sometimes rise quite spectacularly. In the case of at least one force, large numbers of supposed detections were obtained through offences being ‘Taken Into Consideration’(TICs) *after* culprits had been convicted and sentenced. Or crimes were dealt with through ‘Penalty Notices for Disorder’ (PNDs), thus avoiding the expense of a trial, but also sparing the culprit form proper punishment . You will have to get used to quite a lot of acronyms in this discussion, for there are more to come.

TICs are supposed to be offences which accused persons admit to when they plead guilty, so that they can be sentenced for them as well, and will not be prosecuted for them in future . You can easily see how a police force under pressure to show evidence of improved performance might persuade criminals to admit falsely to such offences, thus increasing their clear-up rate. There have been instances when this has been proven to happen. As for PNDs, once again it may be useful for criminals and police, in that the police can say the offence has been dealt with, while the offender avoids prosecution and a much more serious penalty.

Then there is what Dr Patrick refers to as ‘nodding’, when numbers of burglaries and vehicle thefts ‘detected’ through TICs suddenly rises. If malpractice is exposed, the numbers then fall.

Next there is what Dr Patrick calls ‘cuffing’ ( a term taken from the trade vocabulary of conjurors, who use it to describe the hiding of objects up one’s sleeve).

This, most crucially for our discussion, is used to deflate the level of *reported crime*. You will note that it is *reported* or *recorded* crime that is said to have fallen in the figures leaked at the weekend. This is crime actually fed into the records by police forces, who have compiled the figures themselves. It is different from the levels of crime recorded by the British Crime Survey, an opinion poll of the over-16s which has considerable faults (not least that it leaves out so many young people, who are often victims of crime) . Older figures, of arrests and convictions, are simply not comparable with either of these measures, as police are often reluctant to make arrests for ‘minor’ crimes because of the appalling bureaucracy they must then suffer; because those arrested are often not charged by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), when they would have been in the days when police took such decisions arrests are; and because a lot of prosecutions fail or are dropped ; and because a growing number of offences are dealt with by OCDs ( see above) including (largely unpaid) fines, farcically feeble ‘restorative justice’ and non-punitive actions such as probation or community service orders.

An attempt was made to avoid such ‘cuffing’ when in, 2002 a National Crime Recording Standard (NCRS) was introduced. This was based on the idea that the victim decided whether he or she had been the object of a crime, and what that crime was.

But around 2004, this absolute standard was altered. Instead, the police were asked to classify notified crimes according to the ‘balance of probability’. This meant that individual forces were once again free to decide whether a crime really had taken place. Sometimes senior officers cancelled crimes that had been recorded, by ruling that ‘no crime’ had taken place. A BBC survey in 2011 found wild variations among forces in how many crimes had been ‘no crimed’ (2% in one force, 30% in another) . These decisions are recorded and so fiddling is fairly easily detected.

Since this method was exposed, forces have tended to put pressure on officers not to record an event as a crime in the first place. Thus members of the public are asked to accept that that a theft is in fact no such thing, just ‘lost property’. Or a group of burglaries in one block of flats are classified as one crime.

One way in which these figures are influenced is in the police response to reports of (for instance) stolen mobile phones. There have been cases of youngsters (with no conceivable dishonest motive as they were not insured) threatened with prosecution for making false claims that their phones had been stolen. Could this be to help keep the figures down?

Some social scientists have in any case estimated that around half of all robberies and of theft from the person are never reported to the police at all, probably because the items are uninsured and the hope of detection is very small. The fact that many people do in fact have insurance on mobile phones may have increased the number of such cases, previously unrecorded, which began to be recorded.

In one of his papers, Dr Patrick shows how levels of certain crimes dropped abruptly when particular forces adopted new policies of challenging and discouraging the reporting of certain types of crime. This was a shift from a victim-centred approach, under which the police believe you unless there is evidence to the contrary, to a police-centred approach, under which the person who reports a crime is not believed until he can produce proof of the crime.

Dr Patrick quotes Hans de Bruijn, an expert on performance measurement, saying that any system of performance management can be threatened by the activity known as ‘gaming’ ‘generally accepted as one of the failings of the Soviet centrally planned economy’. What this means is that , seeking to meet targets, those involved will distort the figures to please their political or other masters.

As De Bruijn wrote: ‘ Once a system of performance measurement has been designed and introduced, the perverse effects will, in the long term, force out the beneficial effects’.

Another method mentioned by Dr Patrick is (apart from deliberate under-recording and the conversion of post-sentence admissions into TICs, dealt with above) is ‘the shifting of efforts towards easier-to-detect offences, and the systematic redeployment of specialist officers traditionally committed to combating serious and organised crime in inner city areas to affluent suburbs’. This is known as ‘skewing’.

One thing which Dr Patrick homes in on the use of cautions and informal warnings. ‘This resulted in many individuals gaining a police record when the evidence was insufficient to secure a conviction at court. In some cases the suspect would be unaware they were being recorded as responsible for an offence, this included serious offences such as rape and kidnapping’. This might mean they continue in their criminal behaviour, and do much more serious things later. They also escape justice, as their crimes are dealt with through minor fixed penalties or cautions, and cannot thereafter be brought to court.

We have dealt with ‘cuffing’ , ‘nodding’ ‘skewing’ and ‘gaming’. Another method available to police forces which want to give a false impression are ‘stitching’ under which offenders are charged with crimes when there is insufficient evidence. The police know perfectly well the CPS will not pursue the charge, but can still claim that the crime has been ‘solved’ in records.

You might think that the massaging of figures could be shown openly to clash with the British Crime Survey, which for all its faults cannot be manipulated in the same way. But Dr Patrick says the Home Office has in recent years stopped asking the specific questions in the BCS , on which such comparisons could be based.

I think those who ceaselessly maintain that the official crime figures should be believed without question have to re-examine their position in the light of Dr Patrick’s research (which I have here briefly summarised from voluminous papers).


Don’t let hardened criminals out early, says Justice Secretary Chris Grayling

Hardened criminals should serve more time in prison and not be granted automatic early release because locking them up cuts crime, the Justice Secretary has said.

In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, Chris Grayling says that he would “ultimately” like to introduce a system under which only prisoners who have behaved well are released early.

Casting aside the doubts of his predecessor, Kenneth Clarke, Mr Grayling insists that putting “people behind bars reduces crime”.

However, he warns that “there are financial constraints” and that such radical changes cannot be delivered “overnight”.

The vast majority of prisoners are automatically released after serving half their sentence under rules introduced by Labour, which removed discretion within the system to release only those who had behaved well.

As a result, thousands of dangerous criminals and rapists have been returned to the streets after serving just a few years in prison.

Mr Grayling is hoping to start a “rehabilitation revolution” which will lead to fewer prisoners returning to jail after release. The move should free up prison places that can be used to incarcerate those who have not “earned” early release.

The Justice Secretary will also use sophisticated tagging technology to curtail the movement and freedom of some prisoners released early.

He says: “What people don’t particularly understand is why sentencing works in the way it does. If you get [sentenced for] 10 years, you’re out after five automatically.

“It’s not something that can be changed overnight, there are constraints on the system, there are constraints on prison places.

“Ultimately, I’m attracted by an option that doesn’t simply automatically release you at a certain point, regardless of whether you’ve behaved well or not.”

The last Conservative election manifesto described the system of sentencing as “dishonest” and Mr Grayling says today that he wants to set out the “direction” of policy to tackle this problem.

“These are not areas where you can deliver radical reforms overnight, you have to work in a direction,” he says. “My message would be that I get and understand concerns the public have over aspects of the system at the moment and I will take whatever steps I can to develop and reform the system in a way that makes that possible.

“One of the areas where possibly we’ve got increased scope in the future in monitoring offenders is GPS tagging where new technologies mean actually it’s possible to watch an offender wherever they go.” The Justice Secretary says this would toughen the regime for offenders, tighten curfews, and restrict their movements. “I get the frustration and I want the system to evolve and develop but you can’t do everything overnight,” he adds

Mr Grayling was promoted in last autumn’s reshuffle to replace Mr Clarke and his comments signal a further toughening of the Government’s approach towards criminal justice. Although repeatedly stressing the need to improve the rehabilitation of prisoners, he also backs the greater use of prison for offenders.

He says he will not cut prison places and insists that one reason that crime is falling is because more people have been in prison. “Every police force will tell you when a serial burglar is behind bars their local burglary rate goes down.”

The Justice Secretary has proposed plans for a “payment by results system” to reward voluntary organisations and companies for mentoring and turning around the lives of former criminals.

He has also established a review of the conditions in prisons and describes the ability of some inmates to watch Sky television as “crazy”.

Mr Grayling warns that it is a “challenge” to make prisons seem off-putting to criminals from “dysfunctional backgrounds.” He says that “for some young people, prison is the first stable environment and so it is a challenge for us to make it an environment that they don’t want to come back to.”

In his interview, the Justice Secretary urges the Liberal Democrats to stop attacking their Coalition partners. He describes a letter sent by Nick Clegg to his MPs calling for more attacks on the Conservatives as a “silly political document”. He is also understood to believe that the Conservatives should consider pledging to leave the European Union but warns that supporting the UK Independence Party risks “gifting” the next election to Labour.

Separately, he is drawing up Conservative plans to overhaul human rights laws, which “at the very least” will involve “curtailing” the reach of the European Court of Human Rights in Britain.


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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