The NHS handles complaints about patient care ‘insensitively and without compassion’

A report has exposed serious flaws in the way the NHS handles complaints with patients and families routinely being treated ‘insensitively’ and ‘without compassion’ by staff.

The Health Service Ombudsman warns that the system is ‘overly bureaucratic’ and ‘impersonal’ which ‘clashes’ with the needs of sick patients.

One woman who warned managers that her mother was not being washed nor helped to the toilet was told to submit a complaint in writing which would be ‘acknowledged within 28 days.’ She said: ‘My mum could have died in that amount of time.’

Another elderly patient who tried to raise concerns was put off ‘brusque’ receptionists who refused to hand him a complaint form. He said: ‘Some of the reception staff are very brusque and fail to make eye contact. ‘It is as if it is such an everyday occurrence that it is not worth their while bothering to explain or take it further.’

‘I might have pursued it further if a complaint form had been offered, or if I had been given advice of the “how to and who to complain to” variety.’

Dame Julie Mellor, Health Service Ombudsman said: ‘We know the process can be overly bureaucratic and impersonal, clashing with the needs of the unwell patient who simply wants to be heard, understood and have things put right simply and quickly.

‘People complain because they want to know what has gone wrong, they want an apology and they want to make sure others don’t suffer the same problems.

‘We see example after example of cases where hospitals aren’t using complaints as the vital source of feedback they are. Learning from patients, improving services and building trust all flow from managing complaints effectively.’

The Health Service Ombudsman investigates serious complaints from patients and relatives which haven’t been properly dealt with by hospitals. Last year it looked into 400 cases and found ‘serious flaws’ in the way they had originally been handled.

Its report warned that hospital staff fail to listen to patients and families who raise concerns and do not make any attempt to put things right.

In some cases staff will even make ‘blatant attempts’ to cover-up their mistakes by falsifying patient records.

The daughter of one elderly man who complained about his care said there were ‘discrepancies’ between what she was being told. She said: ‘Not consulting my father or I was both disempowering and insensitive. ‘The deeper the investigation went the more discrepancies became apparent.

‘I was concerned that other elderly people might encounter similar experiences and would like to prevent more serious outcomes for those who do not have relatives to advocate on their behalves.’

Just two months ago a damning report into Mid Staffordshire hospital scandal where hundreds died from neglect warned of a ‘culture of secrecy’ across the NHS.

The Government is now trying to make the health service more open by encouraging staff to raise concerns of poor care and make it easier for relatives to complain.

And Labour MP Ann Clywd has been appointed to carry out a review of the complaints system after she witnessed the appalling treatment of her husband in hospital in Cardiff.

She told the Commons last year how her beloved Owen Roberts died ‘like a battery hen’ after her repeated pleas for nurses to help him were ‘brushed aside’.


Mad cow infected blood ‘to kill 1,000’

Up to 1,000 people could die of the human form of “mad cow” disease through infected blood given to them in British hospitals, ministers have been told.

Government experts believe there is still a risk of people contracting variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD) through blood transfusions, as about 30,000 Britons are likely to be carrying the brain-wasting illness in a dormant form — double the previous estimate.

They warn the current total death toll of 176 from vCJD could rise more than five-fold as the infection has not been wiped out of the blood supply like it has been in the food chain.

Frank Dobson, a former health secretary, tonight urged ministers to develop a nationwide screening programme for blood donors to stop future infections of vCJD, which has the potential to cause “horrendous deaths”.

People are no longer in danger of getting vCJD from eating British beef, after ministers ordered the slaughter of millions of cows when the “mad cow” disease scandal broke in 1989. Fears that hundreds of thousands of people could contract the human form of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) proved unfounded.

However, the Government acknowledges that one in 2,000 Britons – or approximately 30,000 people- are already “silent” carriers of infectious proteins that lead some people to develop vCJD.

A little-reported study last summer concluded the prevalence of this “silent” vCJD is likely to be twice as high as previously thought. These 30,000 carriers can unknowingly pass on the infectious proteins – known as prions – to new potential sufferers through donated blood.

Because so little is known about vCJD, there is no telling which carriers will go on to develop the disease or whether any new cases will actually materialise at all.

There have been no new cases for two years and there are thought to be no surviving sufferers of vCJD, which has always historically proved fatal.

However a new risk assessment published this month by the Government’s Health Protection Analytical team reveals that infected blood donations could cause up to 1,000 deaths in a high case scenario.

About half of the cases could develop in people who have already received blood transfusions and up to 580 cases from people who are yet to be infected with the disease. The central estimate of infections yet to occur is 205.

It suggests ministers could consider recruiting young blood donors born after 1996 once they become eligible, as they will not have eaten infected beef.

“The number of “silent” vCJD infections associated with transfusion would be much higher than the number of clinical cases,” it said. “It is therefore important to maintain, and if possible enhance, measures to prevent onward transmission of infection, notably the exclusion of recipients from donating blood.”

Mr Dobson, the former Labour Health Secretary, said “everything humanly possible should be done to develop a blood test”.

“There is no room at all for complacency,” he told The Daily Telegraph. “With a blood test, you would be able to screen every potential donor. If that screening showed the incidence was higher than thought then maybe you would do it for the whole population.”

Professor John Collinge, an expert from University College London, whose research unit has developed a blood test for vCJD, said there is an element of “wishful thinking” within the Government, with officials hoping the problem has gone away.

He said he is “sceptical of guesstimates” of future cases and believes ministers need to start a study of vCJD in blood, rather than appendices, to get a proper grip on the risk of infection through transfusions.

“The figure of one in 2,000 in the appendix study was pretty worrying,” he said. “I was pretty alarmed by that. It’s clear there is a very substantial pool of infection in the community. There needs to be blood testing to answer this question of prevalance properly.”

Sir Paul Beresford, an MP and former Conservative environment minister, also believes the Government must wake up to the potential for future vCJD infections and is campaigning for more filtering of donated blood.

“If we’ve got it wrong our grandchildren are going to potentially have an epidemic of vCJD that we can do nothing about but we can prevent it if we act now,” he said.

“There’s some quite simple things they can do. For example, there’s a new system that’s being developed that will filter red blood cells before transfusion.

“[The system] is not adequate at the moment but the Government’s argument is that there’s no sign of a risk because the number of people turning up with vCJD is going down. But it can take 10, 15, 20, 25 years for this to pop up.”

A spokesman for the Department of Health said the Government continues to encourage “people of all ages to give blood”, adding “we have one of the safest blood supplies in the world”.

“Independent experts from the Advisory Committee on the Safety of Blood, Tissues and Organs have used this study during their considerations of measures to reduce the potential risk of transmission through blood transfusions,” she said. “There is no evidence of any UK clinical cases of vCJD being linked to a blood transfusion given after 1999.

“In fact there have been no new cases in the UK for more than two years.”

She said the study relates to people’s future potential to develop vCJD, not actual new cases that have occured.


Four in ten British students may default on their loans: Treasury fear funding system is unsustainable

Four out of ten student loans may never be repaid, amid fears that university funding is becoming unsustainable.

The Treasury is said to be concerned that the new system – which sees students borrow up to £9,000 a year for their course fees – will not recoup its costs.

Officials anticipated that 28 per cent of loans would never be repaid. It is now understood that their estimate stands at 40 per cent.

From last September, the maximum amount universities could charge for tuition was nearly trebled from £3,290 to £9,000. This leaves students with the prospect of £36,000 of debt for a four-year course, before living costs are taken into account.

And graduate salaries have fallen dramatically in recent years, impairing their ability to repay the loans when they start work.

Ministers said it was necessary to put higher education ‘on a more sustainable footing’ – but some claim they fear the loans could increase the cost to the taxpayer in the long-term.

A senior source said yesterday: ‘The Treasury are all over this and are extremely worried about the viability of the system. They are taking a very long-term view but their estimate for non-repayment keeps going up.

‘It is not helped by the recession, which means graduate incomes are going to be lower than they hoped.’

An independent schools expert also raised fears that teachers are not giving pupils and parents enough information about the debts they could accumulate by going to university.

Barnaby Lenon, chairman of the Independent Schools Council and a former headmaster of Harrow, said students on four-year courses would have debts of up to £80,000 on graduation, once borrowing for living costs was included.

He added: ‘If you were an adult taking on this size mortgage you would go through a rigorous process which guarantees you understand what you are taking on. That is not happening with 17 and 18-year-olds.’

And Sir Steve Smith, vice-chancellor of Exeter University and a former president of Universities UK, said it was ‘inconceivable’ the Government could reopen the issue of university fees before the next election.

He said: ‘The only way you can save money is to cut student numbers going to university or alter payment terms. Either is a political no-go area before an election.’

Currently all UK and EU students can apply for a loan, paid to their university or college, of up to £9,000 which they pay back. They can also get a loan for living costs of up to £5,500 – or £7,675 a year if they live in London.

Students must pay back the loans only when they earn more than a certain amount, which is currently £16,365.

For those under the fee system who will graduate in 2015-16, the threshold will be £21,000 and they will have to pay back their loan at a rate of 9 per cent of their earnings every year.

A Treasury spokesman said: ‘The Coalition transformed university funding to make it more sustainable, progressive and transparent.

‘According to the OECD, we have the most advanced student support system of any comparable country.’


Fired! Governors of British school that covered up poor standards: Parents fooled into believing pupils were doing well

A school’s entire board of governors has been sacked after teachers were caught marking work too generously to cover up poor standards.

Parents were being fooled into thinking their children were doing well by teachers who have not had their work monitored properly for years.

Ofsted inspectors only discovered what was happening when they looked at pupils’ written work at Bradford Moor Primary School – where only 2 per cent of pupils speak English as their native language.

The school has now been placed in special measures and the education authority dumped the entire board of governors last week.

Two years ago the Labour-controlled council praised the school as an example of successful multi-racial education. But since then the school has come under fire for falling standards.

In February, a parents’ group staged a protest over the school’s scrapping of sets in favour of mixed-ability classes.

There has also been criticism over resources being spent on interpreters for children and parents.

Most pupils at the primary school come from a Pakistani background and speak Urdu or Punjabi. Only nine out of 470 have English as their first language.

Christopher Keeler, who led the Ofsted inspection, said in his report: ‘Evidence from looking at the work in pupils’ books indicates that teachers’ assessments of what pupils can do are too generous, particularly in writing. ‘This gives a misleading impression of standards to pupils and their parents.’

And in a withering attack on staff, the report added: ‘Some teachers lack the level of subject knowledge, experience and confidence required to teach either literacy or numeracy effectively.’

Inspectors concluded that planning and support for pupils was ‘not good enough’ and the governors had failed to ‘challenge’ the poor standards.

The report said pupils started school with ‘skills that are much less developed than usual for their age’ and standards continued to fall over the next three years.

They identified basic reading and writing as well as communication and social development as being particularly poor in the early years. Even Year 6 pupils were well below average in maths and reading.

A new headteacher is now in place and council bosses are waiting for the go-ahead from the Department of Education to bring in a new team of governors.

Nigel Farage, the leader of UKIP, said yesterday: ‘It is not surprising children who have English as a second language will struggle in English as a subject.’

He said money spent on interpreters ‘would be better spent on teaching,’ adding: ‘This is a classic example of what you get when you put political correctness before results.’

Bradford councillor Ralph Berry said: ‘We have got a school which has been through a period of change and difficulty. ‘But we have a new head who has come in to address some of the long-standing issues and we are really turning things around.’


Fizzy drinks ‘should carry cigarette-style health warnings’, say experts as study shows diabetes danger in just ONE sugary drink a day

This is just a beatup of a study I debunked on 26th. — with additional reference to that persistent old crank, Robert Lustig

Lustig’s extreme claims about natural fruit sugar (fructose) being a “poison” have rightly put most of the medical research fraternity against him and the research evidence against his demonization of fructose is strong. There are even some studies (e.g. here) that suggest that fructose is good for you.

He does seem to have crumpled under the weight of opposition and now demonizes sugar generally, including ordinary table sugar, which is a combination of fructose and glucose.

Sugary soft drinks should carry cigarette-style health warnings on their packaging, according to experts. Scientists warned this week that drinking one can of soft drink a day can increase the risk of type 2 diabetes by a fifth.

A major study by Imperial College London found the risk rose by as much as 22 per cent for every 12oz serving of sugar-sweetened drink – a typical can – consumed per day.

Soft drinks have previously been linked with weight gain and obesity – a well-known trigger for type 2 diabetes – but researchers say the effect goes beyond body weight and may be caused by an increase in insulin resistance.

Other research has shown that sugary drinks can damage the liver and kidneys and are linked to the risk of developing cancer or dementia.

There are growing concerns that fizzy drinks and sweet juices could be more dangerous for health than previously thought.

Professor Barry Popkin of the University of North Carolina told the Sunday Times: ‘If there is any item in our food supply that acts like tobacco, it is sugared drinks.’

Professor Nick Wareham, who led the Imperial team, told the newspaper: ‘Labels on sugar-sweetened beverages should be explicit about how much sugar they contain and should say that we should limit consumption as part of a healthy diet.’

Previously, American scientist Robert Lustig called for sweetened drinks and food to be regulated in the same way as tobacco. Dr Lustig, a University of California academic, led a team of scientists for the paper The Toxic Truth About Sugar. ‘This is a war and you didn’t even know you were fighting it,’ he told a nutrition conference last month.

The Imperial study of almost 30,000 people living in eight European countries, including Britain, follows US research which made near-identical findings. Scientists wanted to determine whether the link held good in Europe, where soft drinks are less popular than in America.

Professor Wareham, of the Medical Research Council’s epidemiology unit, said it was more evidence that people should be cautious about the amount of sugary soft drink they consumed.

He said: ‘This finding adds to growing global literature suggesting that there is a link between consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages, obesity and risk of development of type 2 diabetes. ‘This observation suggests that consumption of these beverages should be limited as part of an overall healthy diet.’

Researchers found that the risk of type 2 diabetes rose 22 per cent for people having one 12oz (336ml) serving of sugar-sweetened soft drink a day compared with those not having any.

The number of Britons diagnosed with diabetes hit three million this year for the first time – almost one in 20 of the population.

Type 2 diabetes is strongly linked to lifestyle factors such as being overweight or obese, leading a sedentary lifestyle and an unhealthy diet.

It occurs when the body gradually loses the ability to process blood sugar, leading to high levels which can damage body organs and result in years of ill-health.

The latest study used data on consumption of juices and nectars, sugar-sweetened soft drinks and artificially sweetened soft drinks. It involved 12,403 people with type 2 diabetes and 16,154 without diabetes.

The researchers, led by Dr Dora Romaguera, said a possible reason for the link could be the effect of sugar-sweetened drinks on insulin resistance.

Type 2 diabetes is frequently preceded by an increase in insulin resistance, where the body becomes insensitive to the effects of insulin resulting in high blood sugar levels. Dr Romaguera said: ‘Given the increase in sweet beverage consumption in Europe, clear messages on the unhealthy effect of these drinks should be given to the population.’

Consumption of pure fruit juice and nectar drinks was not implicated in rising diabetes, although the study could not separate out the effect of 100 per cent pure juices from those with added sugars.

Dr Matthew Hobbs, of Diabetes UK, said: ‘The large number of people involved in this study means this finding is extremely unlikely to have happened by chance.’

Gavin Partington, of the British Soft Drinks Association, said: ‘It is well known that diabetes is the result of many different factors, including obesity and family history. ‘Soft drinks are safe to consume but, like all other food and drink, should be consumed in moderation.’

The study was published in Diabetologia, the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes.


Secret British court in control of a £2billion fortune: It holds the assets of 16,000 vulnerable people – but pays them paltry interest

A secret court is controlling £2billion of assets of thousands of elderly and mentally impaired people and paying them a paltry rate of interest.

The controversial actions of the Court of Protection were criticised by an MP last night as ‘bordering on malpractice’.

The interest rate – currently much less than they would receive in an ordinary bank account – means that the value of the financial estates are falling rapidly because the rate of inflation is 2.8 per cent.

An investigation by the Daily Mail has uncovered a litany of other complaints about the court, which came under fire last week after it emerged it had jailed a woman for defying its orders over the fate of her elderly father in a care home.

The allegations include claims that:

* The court’s officials frittered away people’s money by charging exorbitant fees;

* Officials have raided homes in search of documents and read private emails;

* The billions controlled by the court are being used to offset the national debt through an arm of the Treasury.

The court sits in private and deals with up to 23,000 cases a year.

It was set up in 2007 by Labour to act in the interests of those deemed incapable of running their own financial affairs because of ill health or old age.

It takes over when an individual suffers sudden mental impairment and has not already handed over power of attorney to a trusted friend or relative. It now controls huge sums of money for 16,000 vulnerable people.

The money is not at any risk. However, many families say the low interest rate – equivalent to the Bank of England base rate of 0.5 per cent – produces an income that it is impossible for their loved ones to live on.

Lib Dem MP John Hemming said: ‘The money should be well-managed and pay a decent rate of interest or it borders on malpractice.

‘The current rate is risible and losing these 16,000 people, who desperately need a proper income, tens of millions of pounds a year in total.’

The Ministry of Justice said: ‘These accounts are designed to protect funds awarded by the courts with a 100 per cent government-backed guarantee and at zero risk to the individual. ‘These are not supposed to be an investment fund.’


You can’t bash a burglar after all: British Government’s tough rhetoric branded a farce as it’s revealed homeowners are barred from fighting raiders in garden or chasing them outside

New laws giving householders the right to fight back against burglars were condemned as a ‘farce’ last night after it emerged they are riddled with loopholes.

The Government had promised to let people use maximum force when confronted by intruders, after an outcry at cases where victims were arrested for defending their homes and businesses.

Justice Minister Chris Grayling told last year’s Tory Party conference: ‘Householders who act instinctively and honestly in self-defence are crime victims and should be treated that way.’
Justice Minister Chris Grayling MP had promised to let people use ‘maximum force’ against burglars at last year’s Conservative party conference

But today it can be revealed that the new defence of ‘disproportionate force’ – which became law this week – will not apply in many cases.

Official guidance sent to judges, prosecutors and police shows:

* Homeowners cannot rely on the new defence if they find an intruder in their garden or chase them outside – the fight must take place indoors.

* Shopkeepers can only get away with disproportionate attacks on robbers if they live above their shop, and only if the two parts of the building are connected.

* Shop assistants and customers cannot get involved in the violence, unless their loved ones happen to be living in the store.

* Householders cannot use the defence if they are only trying to protect their property, rather than trying to defend themselves or their family.

The document admits: ‘The provision does not give householders free rein to use disproportionate force in every case they are confronted by an intruder.’

Dramatic CCTV footage released this week showed the risks shop staff are prepared to take to defend their livelihoods. Thurairagh Pirabahuran used his seat to hit gunman Sheldon Green as he tried to rob his store in Ilford, Essex.

But the brave shopkeeper does not live above the premises, so would not be protected from prosecution if police decided he had used ‘grossly disproportionate’ force.

Last night critics said the detail of the law, due to come into force within days, exposed Mr Grayling’s tough rhetoric as worthless.

They said it meant terrified homeowners and small businesses would still face possible prosecution if they lash out at criminals.

Malcolm Starr, a spokesman for jailed burglary victim Tony Martin, said: ‘I think it’s an absolute farce. They really must let common sense prevail.’ He said that rather than drawing up new laws, the system should simply prevent homeowners being arrested as soon as an intruder is attacked. Mr Starr added: ‘People immediately seem to get arrested and don’t get the benefit of the doubt – it’s the wrong way round.’

Nick de Bois, a Conservative MP on the Justice Select Committee, said: ‘It looks like the Ministry of Justice civil servants are watering down the intent behind this very sensible law. People have the right to defend their property and homes, and they don’t need a straitjacket from the Ministry of Justice.’

Campaigners have been calling for greater protection for burglary victims for years, prompted by a series of cases. Tony Martin, whose farmhouse had been repeatedly broken into, was convicted of murder after he shot two intruders in 1999, killing one. On appeal his sentence was cut.

In 2008, Munir Hussain chased and caught one of the three men who broke into his house. He and his brother Tokeer were jailed for attacking the intruder with a cricket bat, although their sentences were also later reduced on appeal.

Last September a couple spent two nights in custody after firing a shotgun at intruders, but Andy and Tracey Ferrie were not prosecuted.

Mr Grayling has been saying since 2009 that the law on self-defence should be reviewed and the Conservatives’ 2010 Election manifesto promised householders ‘greater legal protection if they have to defend themselves against intruders’.

The following year David Cameron himself said: ‘We’ll put beyond doubt that homeowners and small shopkeepers who use reasonable force to defend themselves or their properties will not be prosecuted.’

Then at last year’s Tory conference, Mr Grayling announced that householders would be able to use more than reasonable force.

A clause on self-defence was added to the Crime and Courts Bill, which gained Royal Assent on Thursday.

But a circular sent this month by the Ministry of Justice makes clear the limitations of the legislation. It states: ‘Householders are only permitted to rely on the heightened defence if they are using force to defend themselves or others. They cannot seek to rely on the defence if they were acting for another purpose, such as protecting their property.’

It continues: ‘The term “in or partly in a building” is used to protect householders who might be confronted by an intruder on the threshold of their home, climbing in through a window perhaps. But householders cannot rely on the heightened defence if the confrontation occurred wholly outside the building, for example in the garden.’

Steve McCabe, a Labour MP on the Home Affairs Committee, said: ‘This shows how empty the conference rhetoric is. This constant raising of expectations followed by a failure to deliver, is undermining justice in this country. It’s time people like Chris Grayling acted more responsibly.’

Whitehall sources stressed the legislation was only ever intended to give more protection to homeowners who wake up to find intruders.

Mr Grayling said: ‘Being confronted by a burglar inside your home while loved ones sleep upstairs is a rare but uniquely frightening experience. This law is designed to protect those whose actions in that awful moment may seem disproportionate in the cold light of day. ’


What kind of society treats smacking as a war crime – while teaching children how to watch porn?

A group of sex education ‘experts’ has suggested that pupils should be taught in school about pornography, on the grounds that it is not ‘all bad’ and can even be ‘helpful’ to them.

Yes, you read that right. The Sex Education Forum says in a new publication for schools that pornography should be taught in terms of ‘media literacy and representation, gender, sexual behaviour and body image’.

Behind the gobbledegook, this seems to be at least in part a confused attempt to deal with the fact that children are now accessing all manner of dubious or harmful material on the internet.

Accordingly, this publication warns that the sex and bodies in pornography ‘are mostly unrealistic’, and that such material may involve coercing participants into performing sex acts. But it also suggests showing such images to children at age 14. Moreover, it states they might find some of the positions in such porn films ‘helpful’, while being made aware that ‘the so-called pleasure’ they see ‘may be anything but’.

So schoolchildren are to be taught sexual positions from pornography — with a pious health warning that they may not get much pleasure out of them! Pinch yourself — we’re talking 14-year-olds here. Whatever happened to childhood innocence? Whatever happened to teaching?

The Forum says that this approach will equip children with ‘filters in their head’ to apply to the disturbing or damaging media images available to them.

What an amazing argument, that for children to handle situations that are harmful to them they must be exposed to that harm! What next — teaching them how to smoke a crack pipe?

There is no such thing as harmless porn, let alone porn that is actually helpful to children. This is because, even at its least extreme, porn invariably turns the human body into a dehumanised sexual object and degrades the people involved, particularly women.

Yet the Forum’s publication suggests that pornography may not in fact lead people to view women with contempt or disgust.

Whatever happened to feminism, and its fierce campaigns against pornography for putting women in danger by representing them as sexual objects?

These dangers move on to a different plane altogether when children are exposed to porn. Some will see these images before they are old enough fully to understand human sexuality. Indeed, porn may shape their whole view of sexuality, doing untold harm as a result.

It also inescapably makes the viewer complicit in a voyeuristic exercise which uses sex as a salacious peep-show. Exposing children to these disgusting images is therefore itself a type of child abuse.

Lucy Emmerson, co-ordinator of the Forum, has said the magazine aims to help teachers ‘offer factually correct information and an opportunity for safe discussion that matches the maturity of the child’.

But it is never safe to subject a child to pornography. At 14, a child is not mature enough to handle all the implications of healthy sexuality, let alone its perversions.

Among these ‘sexperts’, there is a shocking confusion between adults and children. Exposing children in this way is to treat them wholly inappropriately as quasi-adults, supposedly able to apply adult values and considerations to behaviour which would trouble many adults themselves.

The Forum’s publication also contains some all-too telling details: a hypothetical correspondence with parents who would be horrified to hear that their children are to be exposed to porn in school

To these imagined (but realistic) parents protesting that they are trying to keep their children away from such images, this document replies with patronising idiocy that avoiding such things gives children the impression that it is wrong to talk about sex in any context.

How extraordinary to imply that there is nothing between ignorance and porn! And how revealing to dismiss such proper parental concern as damaging!

A teacher named Boo Spurgeon writes that, since children start accessing porn at around the age of 11, teachers need then to start talking to them about it.

This argument says if you can’t beat them, join them: innocence is already being abused, so teachers might as well finish the job. What an abandonment of responsibility. Adults need to set boundaries for children by saying that certain things are simply wrong — and talk about matters that belong to the adult world only when children are fully able to understand that world.

Indeed, destroy the innocence of a child and you destroy what it is to be a child — and as a result, damage the adult into whom the child then grows.

In any event, children almost instinctively filter out from their minds much information that is too grown-up for them to understand. No chance of that, however, in many of today’s sex education lessons and teaching materials which introduce even pre-pubescent children to the full range of sexual practices, positions and perversions.

Indeed, since many such lessons are themselves a kind of pornography, it is not really surprising that teachers are now being advised to go the whole hog and introduce their pupils to the real stuff.

An adult world which thinks some pornography is acceptable fare for 14-year-olds can no longer grasp the difference between children and adults, nor between sexuality and pornography. It can no longer make the essential distinction between healthy and harmful behaviour.

A quite different campaign illustrates this terrible confusion. Brecon Cathedral has joined forces with a number of children’s charities to end what they call ‘legalised violence against children’ — which in the real world is called sometimes giving a child a smack.

The Dean of Brecon, Geoffrey Marshall, says ‘resorting to violence and smacking is not effective and should no longer be seen as acceptable behaviour or reasonable punishment’. Such language elides the acceptable and the intolerable.

Beating a child is wrong; a one-off smack is not in the same league. To call that ‘violence’ is to minimise, and thus effectively deny, what real violence actually is.

It fails to draw the proper distinction between loving discipline, without which a child cannot flourish, and child abuse.

What has our society come to when it treats as a war criminal anyone who admits to giving their child an occasional smack, and yet advocates exposing children to porn?

The answer is that, for several decades now, a small number of determined zealots have wormed their way into influential positions from where they have set about undermining traditional moral precepts and replacing parental authority with their own, in order to brainwash children with the doctrine of ‘anything goes’ and ‘the right to choose’.

The Sex Education Forum, which describes itself as ‘the national authority on sex and relationships education’, is actually a bunch of activists with a ‘lifestyle choice’ agenda who have been busy undermining parental authority and traditional moral values for a quarter of a century.

Lo and behold, the organisations supporting the Brecon campaign include Barnardo’s, the National Children’s Bureau and Relate — which are also listed as members of the Sex Education Forum.

Is it any wonder, therefore, that parental discipline is treated as child abuse while children are force-fed pornography in the classroom — and anyone who dares protest faces vilification, ostracism and scorn?

But don’t worry. Children may have their innocence corrupted and become brutalised and degraded as a result — but they won’t be smacked. So that’s ok then.

There’s a name for this — society’s death wish.


Man fined for racism after Welsh sheep slur

Not quite clear whether it was his words or behavior that was penalized

A man who was fined for racism after he branded Welsh people “sheep shaggers” claims he was using a term for people living in the countryside.

Anthony Taaffe had to be restrained and sat on by an off duty policeman and security staff at a holiday park in Wales after he was seen shouting and swearing while drunk, a court in Lladudno heard.

He then called the off duty policeman and security a staff “a bunch of sheep s******s.”

The court heard there were children present at the time at the holiday park in Gronant.

But Taaffe, of Bolton, told the court that he hadn’t been insulting Welsh people specifically and that instead he was using the words because it “is a term for people living in the countryside.”

The 47-year-old was fined £150 after he admitted racially aggravated disorderly behaviour.


New Zealanders are also routinely joshed about their many sheep and supposed carnal connections with them but mostly they seem to smile through gritted teeth about it. The joke seems reliably hilarious to Australians but it undoubtedly gets tedious to Kiwis. It seems that the Welsh have a similar problems with the rougher element among the English. Ethnic jokes are jokes no more

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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