Dementia sufferer, 90, taken to hospital and ‘left waiting on a trolley in a corridor for FIVE HOURS with 25 other patients’
A 90-year-old dementia sufferer was left waiting on a trolley in a hospital corridor for a shocking five hours, it was alleged today.
Pam Bailey was taken to A&E in an ambulance while suffering from a water infection, vomiting and dehydration and paramedics were said to have handed her to staff at 6:20pm at Queen Alexandra Hospital, in Portsmouth, Hampshire.
They allegedly put the widow of more than 30 years on a trolley bed in a packed corridor for five hours until she was seen by a doctor in a treatment room, confused and distressed.
She then allegedly had to wait until another four hours to be taken to a ward. An investigation has been launched by the hospital into the incident.
Mrs Bailey, a former Women’s Royal Naval Servicewoman, said she had been left shaken by her ordeal. She was surrounded by another 25 patients waiting on trolleys, her family claimed.
Mrs Bailey, who still lives independently in Fareham, Hampshire, said: ‘I’m pretty shook up – it feels like the wait has cut years off my life. I think the hospital owes us something, but I don’t know what it is exactly. A simple “sorry” would be a nice word for them to say to everybody.
‘For two-and-a-half years during the Second World War I was in the Wrens and we never had treatment like that. I wouldn’t want anyone else to go through what I had to that night.’
The nonagenarian, who was diagnosed with mild dementia a year ago, was ‘periodically monitored’ and put on a drip almost four hours after arriving.
Mrs Bailey’s daughter Pauline Taylor, 64, sat with her during the long wait and said doctors told her to complain because it happens ‘all the time’.
Retired Mrs Taylor took photos of her in the queue and filed a complaint about the wait and her mother’s subsequent treatment.
She said that although she and her husband were with her, Mrs Bailey had been left upset and bewildered by the experience.
Mrs Taylor, of Gosport, Hampshire, said: ‘Mum was really dehydrated and in a bad way, so the doctor said we needed to get her to hospital.
‘The ambulance driver did say to me as we got into the ambulance that there was a queue at the hospital but I didn’t know what she meant.
‘When she said that, I never thought of queuing on trolleys and certainly not for so long. Although the nurses took her temperature and blood pressure when we arrived, we were then left in the corridor.
‘It was a nightmare – I couldn’t believe it. Because my mother has dementia and is elderly she didn’t know where she was or what was happening.
‘The nurses, doctor and consultant were saying sorry, please put in a complaint, it happens a lot and it’s not good enough. When we visited her the next day she thought we’d left her altogether – it was awful.
‘She was so cross and angry. Elderly people shouldn’t be sitting in a busy corridor, there should be somewhere else for them to go. Mum is back home now but she’s upset and will not go out.
‘This experience has really disturbed her and been an eye-opener for us.’
During her two night stay, Mrs Bailey was allegedly moved to two different wards. A Queen Alexandra Hospital spokesman said it is investigating but could not comment due to patient confidentiality.
The hospital aims to treat patients in time according to their clinical needs, she said, adding: ‘We have recently experienced an unprecedented increase in attendances to the department.’
The hospital must see 95 per cent of patients within four hours. But it failed to do so between September and December, according to papers from Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust Board.
On average, three out of every 14 people attending A&E at 6pm – a similar time to Mrs Bailey’s admission – had to wait for more than four hours in November.
In comparison, it takes six minutes from admission to triage at nearby Southampton General Hospital.
90% of NHS staff say to fire the man with no shame
But PM insists health service chief David Nicholson is doing a good job
Nine in ten NHS staff say Sir David Nicholson should resign for presiding over one of our worst-ever hospital scandals. But as the NHS chief executive lost the confidence of doctors, nurses and other senior managers, the Prime Minister came to his defence in an extraordinary show of support.
Mr Cameron insisted Sir David was doing a ‘very good job’ and should not be made a ‘scapegoat’ after a report this month implicated him in the Mid Staffordshire disaster, in which 1,200 patients died needlessly.
Sir David, who has faced widespread calls to resign, insists he is ‘not ashamed’ to still be in his job and has blamed the failings on the ‘whole system’.
But the findings from two online polls – which together received 2,000 responses – show he has lost the trust of health service professionals. When asked whether it was time for him to step down, 91 per cent voted yes.
Speaking to reporters during his trip to India, the Prime Minister leapt to Sir David’s defence, saying: ‘I’ve been impressed with the grip and grasp he has over the NHS and his knowledge and understanding and love for it and what he helps to deliver in terms of results.
‘I obviously read that report very carefully. I looked at what people were responsible for. ‘It seemed to me that he had properly apologised and acknowledged the mistakes that the regional health authority had made when he ran it for that short period of time as these events unfolded.
‘We should not be seeking scapegoats and I think to highlight David Nicholson in that way would be seeking a scapegoat.’
A similar survey of 255 family doctors by GP magazine found 89 per cent wanted him out.
Roy Lilley, a respected health policy analyst who runs NHS managers.net said: ‘This is a huge blow for Sir David. ‘It is clear he no longer enjoys the support of front-line staff. ‘As stories of quality horrors, bullying and service dislocation emerge, it would seem time to recognise Sir David’s huge contribution to the NHS in the past but make it clear he is not the man to take the NHS into the future.
He continued: ‘If this were a business I think the shareholders would be calling for a new boss and a clean sweep of the board.
‘I don’t see why taxpayers should expect anything less.’
Sir David’s position has come under increasing pressure over the last fortnight following a damning report into the Mid Staffordshire disaster.
Sir David has been accused of ignoring the warning signs and failing to intervene while head of the regional health board and later, the Department of Health.
Although he has apologised to bereaved families, he has refused to quit his £211,000-a-year post.
Last week he was implicated in another scandal when it emerged he had ignored warnings about a hospital trust now at the centre of a probe into high death rates.
Gary Walker and David Bowles, two senior managers at United Lincolnshire hospitals, said they raised concerns three years ago but were hounded from their jobs.
As many as 670 patients are now thought to have died unnecessarily at the trust and it faces an investigation over poor care.
Sir David appears to be losing political support and at least two Tory MPs from the health select committee, Chris Skidmore and Dr Sarah Wollaston, believe he should go. On Tuesday, health minister Dr Daniel Poulter also appeared to invite him to ‘consider’ his position.
When questioned on BBC’s Newsnight, Dr Poulter said: ‘David Nicholson can obviously consider his own position. ‘But at the moment we are accepting the fact that he, like many people, has made an apology for what he has done and we need now to move on and make sure that we never let another Mid Staffs happen again.’
Aside from his role in the scandal, many health professionals privately believe that unless Sir David leaves, the culture of secrecy within the NHS will not change.
At last, most new jobs in Britain are filled by British workers thanks to stricter immigration policies
The majority of jobs created in Britain over the past year have been filled by workers who were born in this country, official figures revealed yesterday.
It represents a dramatic reversal on Labour’s 13 years in power when there was a haemorrhaging of jobs to foreign workers.
Office for National Statistics figures show that three in four jobs have gone to workers born outside Britain since 1997, even hitting more than 90 per cent at times.
Of the 3.1million increase in employment since 1997, some 2.3million jobs went to foreign-born workers and just 794,000 went to those born in the UK.
But the latest figures reveal that the situation has dramatically reversed, helped by the Government’s stricter immigration policies.
Over the past year, employment levels in Britain have increased by 584,000, with 380,000 (65 per cent) going to British-born workers.
Immigration Minister Mark Harper heralded the long-awaited change, which comes six years after then Prime Minister Gordon Brown called for ‘British jobs for British workers’.
He said: ‘These figures show that we are building a better immigration system that works in the national interest and is supporting growth.
‘The rise in numbers in employment has benefited British citizens first, but our system is still allowing skilled migrants to come to the UK where they are needed by British businesses.
‘This follows significant changes to the immigration rules – clamping down on bogus students who only came to the UK to work, often in low-skilled jobs, while remaining open to the brightest and the best.’
Overall, the ONS said the number of workers in Britain has reached its highest level since records began in 1971, with a record 29.7million people in work.
Despite the stream of dismal economic data, the number of workers soared by 584,000 last year, the biggest annual increase for nearly a quarter of a century.
This is equal to 1,600 new jobs being created every day, a robustness which puzzles experts at a time when economic output is falling.
Dr John Philpott, a director of The Jobs Economist, said: ‘The UK jobs market continues to astound.
‘We are in the middle of both a jobs boom and a pay slump as jobseekers struggle to gain or retain employment in a stagnant economy by pricing themselves into work.
‘This is unlike anything seen in this country since the Second World War, with the economy using more and more people at falling rates of pay to produce a static level of output.
‘For the time being this looks like a decent trade-off if the alternative is even higher unemployment.’
And there is evidence that people are finally finding full-time jobs, rather than being forced to accept part-time work, typically poorly paid, in the absence of a better offer.
Between October and December, the ONS said an extra 197,000 people found full-time jobs, the largest increase since records began in 1992.
Tory MP David Ruffley, a member of the influential Treasury select committee, said: ‘These figures suggest that economic austerity really is biting.
‘Before you were either better off on benefits or you turned your back on part-time work.
‘But UK-born workers now think that any job is better than being in no job.
‘Whether the threatened influx of Romanians and Bulgarians takes the same view remains to be seen.’
The Green Lobby Is Destroying The British Economy
IMAGINE a different future. We are now so used to rising energy prices – they’ve gone up 159 per cent since 2004 – that they have come to seem an inevitable part of life.
That’s certainly what Energy Secretary Ed Davey tells us, saying it’s impossible to “turn back the tide” of rising energy prices.
But instead of unrelenting increases, instead of a collapse in our capacity to generate energy and instead of fears that we will soon be in hock to Russian gas oligarchs, imagine a different story.
Imagine the price of gas falling by two-thirds in less than a decade. Imagine electricity prices crashing by more than a quarter in less than a year. It sounds like a fantasy. Too good to be true.
A little later I shall tell you why it needn’t be. But first let us reflect on Britain’s actual energy policy.
Yesterday Alistair Buchanan, the departing head of energy regulator Ofgem, warned that our energy reserves are “uncomfortably tight”.
If we think the rises in energy prices have been bad enough already then we need to think again. This, he said, is only the start.
As Mr Buchanan put it, the combination of British power plants closing, foreign gas supplies shrinking and demand for energy rising has tipped us perilously close to the edge. He is simply stating the obvious.
Our energy policy is no longer dictated by the need to keep supply plentiful and cheap which for decades was the basis of all planning. Today energy policy is framed with only one factor in mind: satisfying the green lobby.
It is, to be blunt, mad. Next month we are forcing 10 per cent of our energy production plants to close in order to meet environmental targets.
They are in full working order. No matter. They will be boarded up by order of the state.
There is no starker example of the disconnect between the political classes and the rest of us. For the political classes – all three main parties are as one over this – the only thing that matters is signing treaties on global warming.
They love nothing more than flying off to summits parading their green hearts. Only when they get home does reality strike and we have to start implementing their deals.
Five years ago we lived in a different world. Growth was not just a cherished wish but a reality. For many people climate change was the most pressing problem faced by the world.
And so green treaties seemed prescient – an example, it was proclaimed, of foresight and good stewardship of the planet.
But actions have consequences.
And we are now paying the price of the green lobby persuading governments to rip up decades of energy policy and start again.
Some of the less starry-eyed analysts warned at the time that by 2015 there would be an energy crunch as coal and oil plants were closed to meet EU green energy rules.
Added to that wasteful subsidies for wind power, a minimum price for carbon (due to come into effect on April 1) which would push up prices and the failure to bolster nuclear supplies have all added to the mix. And then came the financial crash.
In the pre-crash world the green obsession might, just, have been manageable if we actually wanted to throw money away on inefficient and unnecessarily expensive energy supplies. But in today’s world it is economic madness.
Energy Secretary Ed Davey thinks rising energy prices are now out of control
“Five years ago we lived in a different world. Growth was not just a cherished wish but a reality. For many people climate change was the most pressing problem faced by the world. ”
Not one of the coal or oil plants now being closed needs to shut. The only reason they are being tossed aside is because of our green obligations.
Soaring energy costs are the opposite of what the economy needs as it limps from one quarter to another. We need to reduce the price of energy.
And yet governments – this one and the last – have constructed a new energy system calculated to inflate costs.
What is truly enraging about the perfect storm of energy chaos into which we are now plunging headfirst is that none of it is necessary.
The “fantasy” scenario I sketched above is, you see, no fantasy at all. It is the story of energy prices in the US over the past few years. Two huge economies. Two nations with vast energy needs. One – the US – has chosen to meet those needs and put its people first.
Another – the UK – has chosen the opposite path.
Because as well as saddling ourselves with crippling green commitments we have turned our backs on the new technology and method which has brought about such a revolution in the US: fracking.
In America the extraction of shale gas from rocks (fracking) has transformed everything. In one state alone – Pennsylvania – production of natural gas went from zero to more than the North Sea’s entire output in four years.
Gas prices in the US are now just 20 per cent of the equivalent price of oil.
The International Energy Agency forecasts that the US will overtake Russia as the world’s biggest producer of natural gas by 2015 and by 2020 will produce more oil than Saudi Arabia.
Yet in the UK we let the green lobby sneer at fracking and barely even pay lip-service to its possibilities, at the same time as we close down productive power plants and stand back watching while prices go through the stratosphere.
The political classes have treated the rest of us with contempt.
When Ed Davey says the only way for prices to go is up he is talking, quite simply, nonsense. And he is treating the rest of us as idiots.
British government invests another £37m in electric cars despite only 2,000 being sold last year
The electric car industry was handed a £37million boost by the taxpayer yesterday – even though only 2,300 were sold last year.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin announced a subsidy for homes and businesses which fit plug-in points for the cars.
It will pay up to three-quarters of the installation costs, which range from £1,000 to £10,000.
Hospitals, police and public bodies may have the full price paid.
The government wants to encourage the ownership of electric cars, such as the Vauxhall Ampera (pictured)
The government wants to encourage the ownership of electric cars, such as the Vauxhall Ampera (pictured)
The news comes amid fears that battery-powered cars are losing their spark with drivers.
Only 3,200 have sold in the last two years – less than 1 per cent of the total market – despite green discounts of £5,000 per car.
In 2012 just 2,237 electric cars were sold and registered for the ‘plug-in car grant’, though that is double the figure of 1,052 in 2011 and a big increase on the 111 in 2010.
Studies show the fear of losing power on the road is a top reason people do not use the vehicles.
Mr McLoughlin announced the subsidy on a visit to Sunderland, where Nissan produces its Leaf electric car. He said he wanted Britain to be a world leader in the electric car industry.
But he rejected criticisms that electric sales were poor because they were only of use in towns, and insisted manufacturers would not be making them if there were not a market for them: ‘They are fantastic cars.’
The new multi-million pound funding package aims to kick-start home and on-street charging, as well as the creation of new charge points for people parking plug-in vehicles at railway stations, by offering subsidies covering up to 75 per cent of the cost of installing the charging points.
Hospitals, the police and other public bodies are set to have the full cost of the installation covered.
The announcement was made at Gateshead College’s Skills Academy for Sustainable Manufacturing and Innovation next to Nissan’s site in Sunderland.
The cash-boost follows a critical report by MP watchdogs in September which said electric car sales are stalling except as ‘subsidised second cars for the rich’ allowing the affluent middle classes to run around town and appear environmentally-friendly. The MP’s report said Government grants were ‘subsidising second cars for affluent households’.
It concluded that despite the £5,000 per car ‘green’ subsidy, electric vehicles have lost their spark and proved too expensive for most motorists. Past failure by ministers to provide enough public plug-in power points also means electric car sales had fallen flat threatening an end to the Government’s electric dreams, said the report by the House of Commons transport Select Committee.
The Department for Transport said the £37million funding for the package comes from the Government’s £400million commitment to increase the uptake of ultra-low emission or ‘green’ vehicles and is available until April 2015.
Installing a charge-point in a home costs about £1,000-£1,500, while rapid chargers can cost around £45,000. A charge-point capable of charging two vehicles at once in residential streets or train stations costs around £10,000.
The full package announced today includes up to £13.5million for a 75per cent grant for homeowners who want domestic charge-point installed at their. There is also an £11million fund for councils in England to install on-street charging for residents who have a plug in vehicle but do not have off-street parking.
Up to £9million is being made available to fund charge-points at railway stations.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: ‘This investment underlines the Government’s commitment to making sure that the UK is a world leader in the electric car industry.
‘Plug in vehicles can help the consumer by offering a good driving experience and low running costs. They can help the environment by cutting pollution. And most importantly of all, they can help the British economy by creating skilled manufacturing jobs in a market that is bound to get bigger.’
Business Minister Michael Fallon said: ‘Today’s announcement will make the consumer environment for plug-in vehicles more attractive and, in turn, makes the UK a more compelling place to invest.’
John Martin, Nissan’s senior vice president for manufacturing, said: ‘We are delighted that the UK Government is showing it shares our commitment to the transport of the future.’
The Society of Motor Manufacturers and traders welcomed the move which it said would ‘boost confidence’ in the electric car market.
BBC reveals huge scale of honour attacks in Britain, fails to mention the word ‘Islam”
All right. I’m not going to make this difficult. The families giving the orders, as well as the victims, are, in the overwhelming majority of cases, Muslim. Surprised? No, of course you’re not. Honour attacks ranging in brutality from beatings to murder are commonplace in many parts of the Muslim world.
Since Britain, like many other European countries, has imported sizeable Muslim communities, which are to a significant degree unassimilated, the cultural practices of the old country have survived the transition to the new.
Finally, the figure of 2,823 attacks is almost certainly a gross under-estimate since, apart from anything else, it is drawn from only 39 of 52 UK police forces.
Got it? In just over 150 words (including title and summary) you now know all the basic information, and as intelligent, informed citizens you can have a discussion on what to do about it. That’s what journalism is for.
Propaganda, on the other hand, is intended for something else. It is designed to present a politically charged narrative held to with a fanaticism that will allow no mention of facts that contradict it. It is thus deliberately intended to lower the quality of the discussion by erasing key pieces of information.
Enter the BBC, which reported on the matter in a lengthy, 700-plus word article and failed to mention the words “Muslim”, “Islamic” or “Islam” even once.
As I write this I am flicking back to the story itself so I can double check using the Find function. Could I be mistaken?
Here goes: “Islamic”? “No Matches”. “Muslim”? “No Matches”. “Islam”? “No Matches”.
This is how societies go down: when matters of the profoundest significance to their character, and potentially their very existence, have been rendered undiscussable by the people that set the terms of public debate.
Clearly the people who wrote and edited that story should be dismissed.
They won’t be of course because the mind-numbing, multiculturalist narrative that demanded censorship of the salient evidence is effectively institutionalised as the dominant narrative across the BBC as well as the wider liberal establishment.
So be it. Go ahead and have a conversation about deep-seated problems inside the fastest growing demographic group in Europe without mentioning what that group is. The quality of your discussion will be moronic. But you reap what you sow.
It would be nice to leave it at that on the grounds that these people are too narrow and boring to be bothered with.
Unfortunately we can’t because the BBC is the most powerful media outlet in the English speaking world and it sets the British news agenda.
I have been watching SKY News for at least three hours today and, unless I coughed when the word was mentioned, they’re not reporting that the story is about Muslims either despite multiple repetitions of the news item, and interviews.
Turning to the Daily Telegraph (the UK’s flagship, right-leaning, “quality” newspaper) its report is openly parasitic on the BBC’s, meaning that they also make no mention of Islam.
So you can see the problem. The power of the BBC is such that it is not only capable of influencing what is said, it can also influence what is not said.
And, when the whole organisation has been captured by politically correct ideology, that means that it’s not just a problem for the BBC, it’s a problem for Britain as a whole.
Unspeakable British bureaucrats get a just reward from the public
Not a glimmer of remorse over their evil deeds, apparently
Baby P social worker forced out of her home, court hears
Baby P’s social worker was forced out of her home and branded a “murderer” by members of the public in the wake of the toddler’s death, a court heard.
Maria Ward was advised to wear a disguise and forced to move house as people gathered at her front door, with the public labelling her a killer, she claims.
She was one of the women charged with the care of Peter Connelly when he died in August 2007 after months of abuse, but maintains that she was unfairly sacked as a result of the “hysterical outcry” which followed the toddler’s horrific death.
Ms Ward, who was his nominated social worker at the Haringey Council from February 2007 until his death, and Gillie Christou, her team manager, took their case to the Court of Appeal today in the latest battle against their sacking.
Peter’s mother Tracey Connelly, her boyfriend Steven Barker, and his brother Jason Owen were jailed in May 2009 for causing or allowing the child’s death.
After the convictions “there then followed a media outcry, a hysterical outcry”, said Karon Monaghan QC, representing both Ms Ward and Mrs Christou.
Ms Ward had to permanently move home and “was advised to disguise herself”, she told London’s High court:
“She had members of the public and press outside her house with members of the public calling her a murderer.
“Mrs Christou was subjected to similar, albeit less severe harassment.”
A Watford employment tribunal concluded in 2010 that the local authority acted reasonably in dismissing them because of serious failings in their care of the toddler.
The women then challenged that ruling at the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) in central London, but their appeals were dismissed in May last year.
The EAT ruled that the employment tribunal did not “err in law or come to perverse conclusions” in rejecting their claims for unfair dismissal.
Peter, who was originally known as Baby P before his name became public, was 17 months old when he died in Tottenham, north London, on August 3 2007.
He had suffered more than 50 injuries despite being on the at-risk register and receiving 60 visits from social workers, police and health professionals over eight months.
Ms Ward and Mrs Christou were sacked after an investigation which discovered there was a period in mid-2007 when they did not know where the child was.
The joys of “multiculturalism” again
A man dubbed the ‘Hounslow Slasher’ is facing jail today after confessing to random knife attacks on two women. Sasha Masamba, 20, grabbed the victims from behind and cut then across the neck or face as they walked in the street.
The first, 19 year-old Kaja Zablocka, was slashed across the neck in Hanworth Road, Hounslow, and ran away laughing shortly before midnight on 7 August last year.
Ten days later Masamba slashed the face of Deserilyn Aurelio, 26, after grabbing her in Whitton Road, Hounslow, at around 1.30am.
He was arrested on August 21 by a police officer on a high-visibility patrol at Hounslow train station.
Masamba, of Hounslow, west London, was charged with two counts of attempted murder.
He appeared at the Old Bailey to plead guilty to the alternative charges of grievous bodily harm with intent.
The prosecution accepted the pleas after consultation with the victims.
Masamba will be sentenced on April 9 after a psychiatric report is prepared.
Sasha Masamaba was snared after a police officer with only four weeks service spotted him at Hounslow train station on August 21. The un-named woman police constable recognised him from CCTV images she had seen and he was arrested.
DCI Amanda Hargreaves of the Homicide & Serious Crime Command said: ‘Although we do not fully understand Masamba’s motive for these senseless attacks, I have no doubt that he would have continued to pose a serious threat to women had he not been caught.
‘Masamba was not previously known to police, but he was caught through the hard work of detectives, the availability of CCTV footage and the diligence of the additional officers on patrol in Hounslow.’
Angry clashes at Cambridge University as French far-right leader Marine Le Pen arrives to give speech to debating society
The leader of France’s far-right Front National was greeted by anti-fascist protesters today ahead of a debate at the Cambridge Union.
Marine Le Pen – daughter of Jean Marie Le Pen and who took over the party leadership from her father in 2011 – addressed students at the Cambridge Union debating society about the future of the European Union and French politics this afternoon.
Her appearance sparked controversy, with “anti-fascist” group Unite Against Fascism organising a demonstration of about 200 people outside the famous venue.
Officers from Cambridgeshire Police attended to prevent trouble.
A spokesman for the Cambridge Union Society defended the decision to invite Ms Le Pen, 44, who has been an MEP since 2004.
He added: ‘We welcome the opportunity to discuss, debate, and challenge an individual who has had an unquestionable impact on French and European politics.
‘Whether you agree with her politics or not, this event represents one of the very few opportunities a British audience has had to directly engage with Mrs Le Pen, who finished third in the last French presidential election, behind Hollande and Sarkozy, and who currently sits in the European Parliament as a democratically elected representative.’
Student Rights, a group supporting equality, democracy and freedom from extremism on university campuses, called for the university to investigate the decision to invite Le Pen to speak.
In a statement, it added: ‘Universities do have a duty to uphold freedom of speech, but they are no place for the promotion of fascist views, and university authorities have a duty of care to their students to protect them from those who would promote hatred.’
The Union Society is well known for hosting controversial speakers, who have in the past included former IMF chief Dominique Strauss Kahn and Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.
British penis enlargement ad banned after ‘inadequacy’ complaint
An advert for a penis enhancement has been banned after a man complained it left him feeling “inadequate”.
The man contacted advertising watchdogs after being bombarded with ads telling him his penis size was a “disappointment” and that his partner might be “turned off”.
The ad boasted men could “have a penis that’s inches longer and much thicker naturally, without surgery, pumps or exercise. Guaranteed or your money back!” with the help of Maximus penis enlargement capsules.
But for one man, the ads aimed at tackling his manhood came too thick and fast after he began receiving the Life Healthcare four page mailing on his doorstep on a monthly basis so he complained to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).
The ASA banned the ad and said the company must suppress the complainant’s personal data.
Sounds like he does have a small one. Such ads are as common as dirt on the internet. They have never bothered me.
Leading British headmasters defend values of independent schools
As the debate about “posh prejudice” rages, the men who will lead the independent schools sector over the next two years enter the fray and launch a robust defence of the values of private schooling.
Independent schools are under the spotlight like never before, and their place in Britain’s education landscape has never been so intensely debated.
It started with the claim by Christopher Ray, the high master of Manchester Grammar School, that private schools were being “demonised” by politicians. And it quickly snowballed, prompting articles, letters and tweets about the existence or otherwise of “posh prejudice”.
Then a couple of weeks ago, Frances King, the headmistress of Roedean School in Sussex, revealed that she was leaving to work abroad and would not miss the “hostility” in which private schools have to operate.
On Friday, the former high master of St Paul’s School, in south London, joined the debate. Martin Stephen, writing in the Times Educational Supplement magazine, said that two of the three main political parties “hated independent schools to the core of their being” and that the third was run by so many public schoolboys that to extend even the “merest hand of friendship to independent schools would knock them into a trap the media are braying for them to fall into.”
Among many parents, the feeling is growing that at a time when many families are struggling to make ends meet, it may be better not to mention that you are paying for your child’s education – that such an outlay is morally questionable.
At the same time, the smooth path from selective independent school to leading university, via straight As at A-level, is becoming distinctly bumpier.
More than half of the members of the elite Russell Group now have a target, agreed with the Office for Fair Access (Offa), in return for charging £9,000 a year tuition fees, designed to boost the number of students recruited from state schools. If places are finite, this inevitably means a reduction in places for privately-educated sixth-formers.
Stepping into the fray is Tim Hands, the master of Magdalen College School, Oxford. The 55-year-old takes up his chairmanship of the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference (HMC), which represents the leading independent schools, in very interesting times.
He will be followed as chairman by Richard Harman, the head of Uppingham School, the £30,000-a-year boarding school where HMC was originally established in 1896.
“It is not a question of feeling sorry for ourselves,” says Mr Hands, sitting in his study, along side Harman, at the £14,000-a-year day school.
“If you have a job like a football manager, then you are under pressure. If you have the spending power of Chelsea, there is going to be envy by the supporters of other clubs.
“That is only natural. Independent schools charge fees. Yes, a third of pupils have bursary support, but we can’t get rid of the fact that people pay.
“But it is not wrong de facto to pay for education. There is a kind of assumption isn’t there in some bits of society that it is necessarily wrong to pay for education, in a way that it is not wrong to pay for expensive holiday, for instance. And I disagree.”
The idea fuelling the “posh prejudice” debate – that independent schools are full of “toffs” – is simply mistaken, according to Hands and Harman. A third of pupils in HMC schools are on financial support to help with days fees which average £11,000-a-year and average boarding fees of £24,000-a-year.
It emerged last year that one third of the means-tested bursaries given out by Oxford University to undergraduates who are from low-income homes went to students who were educated at independent schools – a fact seized on by Hands as evidence that not all pupils who are privately schooled are “posh”.
“There is a tendency for Joe Public to think about independent schools with a ‘them and us’ mentality in which independent schools represent toffs and are therefore to be tilted at,” says Hands.
“That is not the reality. This school comes out of the grammar school movement. Schools like Uppingham are not about toffs either. HMC is about the aspiring middle classes.”
A raft of leading figures in the Coalition were educated at private school, including David Cameron, Nick Clegg, George Osbourne, Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, Jeremy Hunt, Andrew Lansley and Oliver Letwin. On the opposition frontbenches, Ed Balls, Harriett Harman, Tessa Jowell and Chuka Umunna were privately educated.
What particularly angers HMC is politicians who enjoy the huge benefits bestowed by the independent sector, but then distance themselves from it or seek to undermine it.
In last year’s conference speech, the prime minister, while referring to the “great school” he went to, did not mention Eton by name.
While Ed Miliband, the Labour leader, made a point of highlighting his education at Haverstock comprehensive school in north London, claiming that his time there had taught him “how to get on with people from all backgrounds”.
“One has to be realistic about the political pressures on politicians,” says Harman. “It is part of the world we live in but it is a paradox that many of our leaders are people who have been educated in our greatest schools but find it rather difficult to make a virtue of that.”
Hands pulls no punches, accusing Nick Clegg of “double standards”. The deputy prime minister is considering private school for his eldest son and recently looked round £23,000 a year Westminster School with his wife Miriam González Durántez.
However, in a speech last year that recommended giving university places to students from poor backgrounds even if their grades were slightly lower, Clegg said that the “great rift” between the best schools, most of which are private, and the schools ordinary families use was “corrosive”.
Hands says: “On the one hand there’s personal support for the independent sector by sending one’s own child into it. On the other there is a political interference in higher education by trying to limit the number of independent school pupils going to top universities.
“Worse, this interference is based on inaccurate statistics and questionable research. So it is rather a case of the left hand claiming not to realise what the right hand is doing – Nick Clegg’s actions and his language smack of double standards.
“If you want to find something corrosive, then you only need to look as far as political interference in the academic integrity of university admissions.”
The mixed messages coming from the Coalition make it difficult for the sector to “know where it stands”, according to Hands.
Despite this, HMC is confident about its power to influence the education landscape. In a recent interview Sir Michael Wilshaw, the head of Ofsted, said the techniques used by private schools to push bright children and talented sports stars should be emulated by state schools. In the 2012 Olympics, for instance, more than a third of British medal winners in the 2012 London Olympics were from private schools.
Sir Michael also praised the sector’s commitment to developing pupils characters – its concentration on pastoral care and extra-curricular activities that help to fuel outstanding academic results.
In last summer’s A-levels, almost a third of privately educated teenagers gained straight As, compared to one in 10 of state school pupils.
Some 18 per cent of A-level entries from independent schools received A* grades compared to a national average of 8 per cent. At GCSE, 31 per cent of private school entries gained an A* compared to a national average of 7 per cent.
Harman makes the point that successive governments have accepted the virtue of the “autonomy” of schools, making it the backbone of the academies programme.
He takes it as a tribute to the private sector that the notion of “independence”, even a partial one, is becoming embedded as education orthodoxy.
Links between the private sector and England’s 23,000 state schools are at record levels and when the two sectors speak in a united and loud voice, mountains can be moved – as was evident with Michael Gove’s back down over GCSE reforms. The next battle is improving exam boards’ record on the quality of examiners and marking.
Hands cites a recent book, Everyday Life in British Government by Rod Rhodes, an Australian academic and Professor Emeritus of politics at Newcastle University, which claims that during the A-level crisis of 2002 – when grades were “fixed” because the pass rates in Labour’s new modular A-levels were deemed too high – it was the intervention of HMC that swung the balance with the press and the public and lead to the downfall of Estelle Morris, the then Labour education secretary.
“That is the virtue of the sector,” says Hands. “Its ability to say what it wishes and what it thinks is best for young people. Opinion polls show that the majority of people would send their child to an independent school if they could. That means that when independent school heads speak out, the public is very prepared to listen.
“That’s the whole historic basis of HMC – it’s what we actually started for – to stand up for the rights of children over the long arm, and sometimes dead hand, of government.”
His comments do not quite amount to a threat, but they do suggest that whether it be on university admissions or sloppy marking, independent schools heads will be raising their heads above the parapet – even if it means they become a target.