You have 82% more chance of DYING after surgery at the weekend: Shocking death toll following routine NHS operations

Patients who undergo planned operations at the weekend rather than a Monday are 82 per cent more likely to die.

Shocking findings show that death rates for elective procedures increase throughout the working week.

This will add to mounting concern about NHS patients receiving poor care during ‘antisocial’ hours when consultants are off duty.

The study suggests for the first time that some weekdays are safer than others, with Friday and the weekend being most hazardous for planned surgery.

Researchers from Imperial College London looked at four million elective operations in NHS hospitals in England between 2008 and 2011 with at least one night spent in hospital.

Elective surgery normally involves procedures such as heart bypass, hip and knee replacements, gastric operations and hysterectomies.

Altogether 27,500 patients died within 30 days of surgery, with the risk lowest for those having it on Monday and rising on each subsequent day of the week.

The extra risk on Tuesday was minimal, but went up to 15 per cent on Wednesday, 21 per cent for Thursday patients and 44 per cent on Friday (all compared with Monday).

Almost one in 20 operations was performed at a weekend, when the increased risk reached 82 per cent, said the study published online at bmj.com.

Lead researcher Dr Paul Aylin said: ‘The first 48 hours after an operation are often the most critical period of care for surgery patients. A failure to rescue the patient could be due to well-known issues relating to reduced and/or locum staffing and poorer availability of staff over a weekend.’

Frailer patients were at even higher risk at weekends.

Dr Aylin said: ‘Unlike previous studies, we included both deaths in hospital and deaths after discharge, so this eliminates a potential bias of counting only in-hospital deaths.

‘We tried to account for the possibility that different types of patients might have operations at the end of the week, but our adjustment made little difference.

‘This leaves us with the possibility that the differences in mortality rates are due to poorer quality of care at the weekend, perhaps because of less availability of staff, resources and diagnostic services.’

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt last week condemned the scandal of out-of-hours care, with patients seldom able to see their own GP as opposed to locum doctors ‘who don’t know you from Adam’.

Canadian doctors writing a commentary on the study said there should be a rethink on whether any elective surgery should take place at the weekend.

They wrote: ‘Although emergency procedures such as the repair of ruptured aortic aneurysms cannot be controlled, the scheduling of elective procedures, such as knee replacements, is wholly within our control.

‘If weekend care proves to deliver poorer outcomes than its weekday counterpart, it might be argued that elective procedures should not be scheduled at weekends at all.’

Previous research found that hundreds of deaths could be avoided every year by putting consultants in charge of care, regardless of the day of the week.

Katherine Murphy, chief executive of the Patients Association, said: ‘We know of cases where patients get admitted on a Friday night and, if there’s a bank holiday, they don’t get any proper care until Tuesday morning because of the lack of experienced staff and diagnostic facilities.

‘Quite apart from the human cost, this costs the NHS because they may need more treatment as a result.’

SOURCE

My darling Penny died after eight out-of-hours doctors failed to save her: How mother ‘fell through widening cracks of the NHS because she fell ill over bank holiday’

There weren’t many people whose lives were not made brighter by knowing Penny. Mine certainly was. We had been together since we were students, nearly 20 years in all. We were both besotted by our lovely little boy, Joseph. I never imagined any life other than the one we had.

According to her post-mortem examination, Penny died of multiple organ failure caused by blood poisoning that was the result of a freakishly rare infection that she contracted after a minor surgical procedure.

The simplest way to describe Penny’s death would be to say she fell through the widening cracks in our National Health Service. Specifically, she fell through the gap created by the disastrous 2004 decision to take out-of-hours care out of the hands of GPs.

For Penny died because she fell ill over an Easter weekend, on which the doors of our local surgery were bolted shut from Thursday evening until Tuesday morning and the care of its patients left in the hands of a dysfunctional out-of-hours service.

The bacteria that killed her, Group A Streptococcus (GAS), are lethal once they get a hold of your system, but this is no superbug. Antibiotics, delivered promptly in response to the early symptoms of blood poisoning — clamminess, fever, steadily-increasing pain — will usually repel it.

Penny died because seven of the eight out-of-hours doctors she consulted over the course of that weekend failed to spot the signs, thanks to a scarcely credible combination of individual incompetence and organisational chaos.

The first doctor she spoke to that night said it was probably nothing, but nevertheless suggested a face-to-face meeting. So Penny drove herself the short distance to the Camidoc out-of-hours clinic, where a second doctor confirmed that she was running a fever but, suspecting a viral infection, advised her to wait and see how she felt in the morning.

Over the following two days a rash, clamminess and constant, increasing pain in the abdomen and groin were added to the symptoms she explained over the telephone, calmly and precisely despite her growing discomfort, to Camidoc’s doctors. At different points she reported a temperature of 41 degrees and that she could hardly walk, each time patiently repeating the history of her symptoms and the injection she’d had.

On Easter Sunday another Camidoc doctor did visit her at home, but once again there was no continuity of care. Once again she had to explain her symptoms afresh.

Flu, food-poisoning and colic were all put forward as possible explanations and it was not until Penny spoke to an eighth Camidoc doctor that she was referred to hospital, on Easter Monday morning. ‘She had severe, ongoing pain,’ that doctor told her inquest in 2006. ‘It was obvious she had to be seen urgently.’

Obvious but too late. A few hours earlier, another Camidoc doctor had told her, ‘if you were really sick, you wouldn’t be talking to me like this’.

By the time Penny was placed in an artificial coma at the Royal London Hospital — intended to give her the best chance of responding to the antibiotics being pumped into her — I knew she was going to die.

It took just under 24 hours, but it was not until more than two years later that I fully understood why it had happened.

In the bleak months that followed the funeral, it was the love of our son Joseph, the imperative of looking after him, that kept me getting out of bed in the morning.

But what got me through the days was a determination to get to the bottom of what had gone wrong with Penny’s care. Had our positions been reversed, I thought, there was no way she would have let it pass without kicking up an almighty fuss. So with the help and support of a solicitor called Grainne Barton, an expert in clinical negligence issues, I did my best.

In October 2006, the shambolic nature of Camidoc’s organisation, which meant none of the doctors involved in treating Penny had access to each other’s notes, was exposed at the inquest into her death.

The resulting media coverage belatedly bounced the local Primary Care Trust into a proper independent investigation into what had gone wrong.

It concluded, in June 2007, that a major failure of Camidoc’s systems had contributed to Penny’s death but also highlighted a dangerous national policy confusion over what out-of-hours services were supposed to be doing: handling only urgent cases, in effect acting as a screening service for Accident and Emergency units, or providing the kind of service offered by GPs during regular hours?

On the day it was released, the report topped the news bulletins for most of a day. Gordon Brown, then the Prime Minister in waiting, was forced to respond, publicly acknowledging that the NHS had to do much better in its care at nights, weekends and Bank Holidays.

Penny would be proud, I remember thinking. A wake-up call had been delivered. Something, surely, will be done.

How wrong can you be? Six years on, the Government, Opposition and the medical profession are still embroiled in a futile squabble over who is to blame for an out-of-hours system that continues to be a fiasco, rather than actually addressing how to fix it.

It feels as if all those hours that I spent writing letters to Islington Primary Care Trust (PCT), and poring over the service standards that Camidoc never came close to meeting, were in vain.

Now, it seems that barely a day goes by without some new out-of-hours tragedy or near-tragedy coming to light somewhere in the country, many of them with echoes of what went wrong in Penny’s case.

Rushed consultations resulting in confused clinical judgments, the inherent problems involved with trying to assess the gravity of a patient’s condition over the phone — it is all painfully familiar.

In almost every case of avoidable death in the health system, establishing exactly where responsibility lies is a complex process, often hinging on a finely-balanced assessment of whether an individual doctor’s mistake amounted to professional misconduct or was forgiveable given the information they had to work with.

But surely, by now, we have witnessed enough heartache to recognise that fatal mistakes have been made much more likely because of the fundamental flaws in the out-of-hours system.

With too few doctors trying to cope with too many patients, there is too much reliance on diagnosis by telephone and there is zero chance of anyone being seen by someone with an idea of their medical history.

The case for a proper review and real reform is unanswerable. The stories of Penny and baby Axel Peanberg King made headlines. But how many more go unreported because the families of those who died just want to be left to grieve in peace, or because they don’t know how to voice their rage?

Penny’s case became news because I had the means to employ a solicitor who helped me ensure I got the most out of the inquest process and because, as a journalist myself, I know how the media works and had the contacts to ensure the case had the best chance of being covered.

As the chaotic state of out-of-hours care across huge swathes of the country has become increasingly apparent, it is hardly surprising that more and more people have started by-passing these ‘dodgy doctor’ services and heading straight for the ever more stretched A&E units of their local hospitals.

I will spend the rest of my life wishing I’d done that with Penny.

Looking back, it is impossible to comprehend what possible rationale there could have been for a government signing off on a new contract which absolved GPs of the requirement to work some anti-social hours while simultaneously awarding them pay rises that mean the average GP surgery partner now takes home a six-figure salary.

It is our health service. We can decide how it is run, and choose to put the people who rely on it first. It won’t bring back Penny, or any of the others who have died needlessly, but it might prevent more tragedies.

SOURCE

No financial gain for British female graduates with first-class degrees

Any chance that women tend to take useless degrees in things like Art History? Might that not affect how seriously their degrees are taken?

Women who leave university with a first class degree see little difference in their salary, but their male counterparts receive a clear financial advantage, a study has found.

As female students across the country prepare to sit their exams, the London School of Economics has discovered that the future salary difference for those walking away with a first and those gaining a 2:1 is small.

In contrast first-class male graduates are likely to be paid six percent more than their peers who obtained a lower grade.

The report was carried out by Professors Andy Feng and Georg Graetz who found that, on average, a first-class degree adds roughly 3 per cent to earnings in the first year of employment

“In cash terms, this means that the men get a bonus for a first of about £1,780 in today’s money,” the report’s authors conclude. “If this difference remains over a 40-year career, this would be worth about £71,000.”

The authors claim that the differences may wear off over time, but they cannot explain the gender pay discrepancies.

“The difference between monetary gains for men and women is a puzzle. Perhaps men are more likely to ask for or be given a higher wage offer. We honestly don’t know,” the authors said.

The findings come as increasing attention is being given to the lack of women in senior positions in British industry and a European drive to place more women on corporate boards of directors, the FT reported.

They are likely to fuel the debate about gender inequality in the workplace.

However, the researchers found that, regardless of gender, those gaining either a first or a 2:1 did considerably better in the workplace immediately after graduation than those with lower grades.

There is a bigger difference between a 2:1 and 2:2 – a 2:1 is worth about 7 per cent higher wages.

“‘Our study is probably the best evidence available that exam results matter, but there’s a lot more work to be done in understanding what drives the gender split and figuring out if the differences in pay-offs by degree result eventually go away,” the authors wrote.

SOURCE

Report: Sunshine vitamin “may treat asthma”

This is a study in laboratory glassware only

The amount of time asthma patients spend soaking up the sun may have an impact on the illness, researchers have suggested. A team at King’s College London said low levels of vitamin D, which is made by the body in sunlight, was linked to a worsening of symptoms.

Its latest research shows the vitamin calms an over-active part of the immune system in asthma. However, treating patients with vitamin D has not yet been tested.

People with asthma can find it hard to breathe when their airways become inflamed, swollen and narrowed.

Most people are treated with steroids, but the drugs do not work for all.

“We know people with high levels of vitamin D are better able to control their asthma – that connection is quite striking,” said researcher Prof Catherine Hawrylowicz.

Her group investigated the impact of the vitamin on a chemical in the body, interleukin-17. It is a vital part of the immune system and helps to fight off infections.

However, it can cause problems when levels get too high and has been strongly implicated in asthma.

In this study, published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, vitamin D was able to lower levels of interleukin-17 when it was added to blood samples taken from 28 patients.

The team is now conducting clinical trials to see if giving the sunshine vitamin to patients could ease their symptoms. They are looking at patients who do not respond to steroids as they produce seven times more interleukin-17 than other patients.

Prof Catherine Hawrylowicz told the BBC: “We think that treating people with vitamin D could make steroid-resistant patients respond to steroids or let those who can control their asthma take less steroids.”

She said a culture of covering up in the sun and using sun cream may have increased asthma rates, but “it is a careful message because too much sun is bad for you”.

Malayka Rahman, from the charity Asthma UK, said: “For the majority of people with asthma, current available medicines are an effective way of managing the condition but we know that they don’t work for everyone, which is why research into new treatments is vital.

“We also know that many people with asthma have concerns about the side effects of their medicines so if vitamin D is shown to reduce the amount of medicines required, this would have an enormous impact on people’s quality of life.

“We look forward to the results of the clinical trial.”

SOURCE

Introducing Nigel Farage, the Ukip leader who’s charming the ladies…


Britain’s most “incorrect” politician

It was an apparent late surge by female voters that led to Ukip’s electoral success last month Melissa Kite checks out party leader Nigel Farage’s girl appeal
‘People see me as approachable. Perhaps they don¿t see me as a politician. That¿s the point’

‘People see me as approachable. Perhaps they don’t see me as a politician. That’s the point’

Going to the pub with Nigel Farage is very therapeutic. Within seconds of our drinks arriving, I realise I am telling him my troubles as we sit beneath an umbrella at a table in the street.

He is nodding sympathetically, sipping from a pint of beer and puffing on his trademark cigarette. As I offload my frustrations, he says all the right things. Before long, we are setting the world to rights and I catch myself thinking that I must tell Nigel about that problem I had with my local police because…
Because what, exactly?

Farage has that indefinable quality that makes you believe he is interested in your problems and even that he might be able to put them right. But to be realistic, he can’t possibly put anything right, can he?

He’s the leader of a fringe party that, on the face of it, hasn’t a hope in hell of getting into power. Yet with the UK Independence Party hitting 19 per cent in the council election polls last month, people have started to sit up and take notice.

And they are now looking at its chirpy leader as someone who cannot be as easily dismissed as David Cameron would like.

Most surprising of all, given that Ukip was once a nerdish, male-dominated party, is the fact that Farage, 49, is becoming a hit with women. Indeed, it was apparently a late surge in the female vote that led to Ukip’s stellar performance in last month’s council elections.

A few weeks ago, I asked my circle of friends how they voted in the local elections and one glamorous, wealthy divorcee revealed she had voted Ukip, saying: ‘Nigel Farage is a straight talker. He isn’t surrounded by spin doctors. He’s a real man.’

‘There is a country out there desperate for success. You see it in the Olympics, in football. People want to belong, to be proud’

Perhaps it’s the pint, the cigarette, the reassuringly macho banter. Perhaps women are tired of the touchy-feely, organic, free-range posturing of Cameron and his Notting Hill metrosexuals.

After all, Farage wouldn’t make a song and dance of telling voters he went home early for bath time.

This is the man who emerged with minor injuries from a serious plane crash while campaigning in the 2010 general election.

He wouldn’t tell us how he loves to cook lasagne, naming his favourite celebrity chef’s recipe.

But is he really becoming a sex symbol? Farage rocks with laughter. ‘Oh, I don’t…ha ha… Oh, no, you are not going to get me to answer a question like that. I very much doubt it anyway. I’m English, for God’s sake.’

‘I can cook. I’m good at fish I’ve caught. It’s the hunter-gatherer thing’

And he goes on chuckling, but looking ever so slightly flattered. When he eventually calms down, he says: ‘Look, people see me as approachable. Perhaps they don’t see me as a politician. Perhaps that’s the point.’

But I have obviously planted an idea because Farage develops the sex symbol theme as he sips his pint.

‘Isn’t it funny? It’s the perception thing: how women see men and how men think women see men. Men can never work out why some women find some men interesting or attractive. “Why is he so popular with women?” they say.’

But Farage is still pondering the sex symbol comment. ‘I’m going to go all shy now,’ he says.

‘Seriously, maybe the others are a bit too polished.’ I put it to him that the others are indeed polished, and that politicians such as Cameron and Clegg make all sorts of slick claims about being good with children and cooking Sunday lunch.

He says: ‘I’m really good with nobody’s children. But I can cook, actually. I’m good at fish.’

What fish? ‘Fish that I’ve caught.’ Macho cooking, you see. His press secretary Annabelle reveals he is a dab hand at gutting sea bass. ‘He’s useless at cooking artichokes, though,’ she adds.

But who needs artichokes when you’re a man who can gut bass? Farage, a keen angler, has even written columns for Total Sea Fishing. He enjoys shooting as well. ‘It’s the hunter-gatherer thing,’ he explains, rather extraneously.

The effect of this old-fashioned chauvinism on the numbers is impressive. Female support for Ukip is now only fractionally behind male votes and the party has burgeoning numbers of female councillors, some of whom arrive at the pub later for a drink with Nigel and are really quite chic.

By contrast, while Cameron brags about doing the school run, his female vote continues to plummet.

One might postulate that women, who have keen antennae for authenticity, warm to Farage because he does not put a gloss on things. He is prepared to manfully put his foot in his mouth if the moment requires it. He described the first president of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, as having ‘the charisma of a damp rag’ and called Belgium ‘pretty much a non-country’.

Has he consciously cultivated this maverick streak? ‘That’s just the way I am,’ he says, before adding wistfully, ‘I’m an accidental politician.’ For a moment, he looks reflective, almost troubled. ‘I had no plan to do this. It wasn’t my boyhood dream.’ He is staring into the middle distance as he slowly exhales smoke. What was his dream?

‘I had different ambitions and aspirations. I thought in my early teens I would join the army. Then Thatcher got elected. The birth of the yuppie. I thought, “I’d like to be one of those. I want to make lots of money.”’

That’s Nigel, you see. Ask him what he wanted to be and he’ll tell you that he wanted to make lots of money. Cameron would never admit that. He would come out with some guff about how he wanted to serve his country.

Farage says: ‘In my late 20s I didn’t change, the world changed. Maastricht [the 1991 agreement that gave birth to the EU], the ERM [European exchange rate mechanism, a precursor to financial union that went disastrously wrong for Britain in 1992]. These things motivated me to get involved.’

But what else drives him, personally? I ask about his wife and four children, who – unlike other party leaders’ wives and families – are never trotted out for the cameras. I offer him a chance to say what a devoted father he is, but he turns it down.

‘If I was honest with you, I’m not there enough because of the demands of this job. I have sort of failed on that score really.’ Failed? Even by Farage’s standards of straight-talking, a politician using the f-word is astounding. ‘I’ve had four children. I wouldn’t say when they were little that I was particularly brilliant. I try. I have tried. But I’m not very good.’

His German-born wife Kirsten is an elusive figure. They met when he was working in the City and she was a bond dealer. Now she’s works as his PA. She is obviously devoted, yet he refuses to put her on display.

‘I haven’t mentioned my wife because you can’t have it both ways. If you make your family public property… I have tried to make sure there isn’t a single photo of my children.’

When he talks about his hobbies his face lights up. ‘I love the big outdoors. I enjoy watching cricket. Going to Lord’s for the Ashes. I won’t sleep the night before.’

When he outlines his vision for Britain it is tinged with the same excitement and idealism:

‘There is a country out there desperate for success. You see it in the Olympics, in football. People want to belong, to be proud. And we cannot have any sense of pride or self-respect if we are not a self-governing nation. Our entire political class has given up on this country. It’s the concept of managed decline: “Let’s go down the tubes with dignity. We are no bloody good, let’s admit it.” Well, I think we are an extraordinary country. Of course we can turn it around.’

I can almost hear Elgar in the background. And no, I haven’t been drinking pint to pint with Farage. I’m on the mineral water. But does it have to be hokum? Can’t we believe in Farage’s simple, patriotic vision? He makes it sound so straightforward: ‘You can’t pussyfoot around.

You have got to get the hell out of the EU political union. You have got to have an amicable divorce and replace it with a trade deal.

‘But we have got these spineless, pathetic, weak politicians and this weak prime minister who says, “Sorry, it makes me sick to my stomach, but there is nothing I can do about it.”’

Farage, a former Tory who resigned from the party during John Major’s leadership, clearly does not have much time for David Cameron.

The most damaging insult he levels at the prime minister is an aside that comes out casually as he poses for photographs. As he reaches into his pocket for his Rothmans, he reveals something Cameron used to do when the two were between takes on TV debate shows: ‘He was always nicking my fags. He never had his own.’

Authenticity. Cameron cultivated his wholesome image while sneaking cigarettes from his adversary. Farage may be flawed. But at least he wears his vices on his sleeve.

SOURCE

Tony Blair says murder of Lee Rigby PROVES ‘there is a problem within Islam’

He’s finally getting it right

Tony Blair today makes his most powerful political intervention since leaving Downing Street by launching an outspoken attack on ‘the problem within Islam’.

The former Prime Minister addresses the shocking killing of Drummer Lee Rigby in Woolwich by going further than he – or any front-rank British politician – has gone before over the issue of Muslim radicalism.

Writing in today’s Mail on Sunday, he departs from the usual argument that Islam is a peaceful religion that should not be tainted by the actions of a few extremists.

Instead, Mr Blair urges governments to ‘be honest’ and admit that the problem is more widespread.

‘There is a problem within Islam – from the adherents of an ideology which is a strain within Islam,’ he writes.

‘We have to put it on the table and be honest about it. Of course there are Christian extremists and Jewish, Buddhist and Hindu ones. But I am afraid this strain is not the province of a few extremists. It has at its heart a view about religion and about the interaction between religion and politics that is not compatible with pluralistic, liberal, open-minded societies.’

He adds: ‘At the extreme end of the spectrum are terrorists, but the world view goes deeper and wider than it is comfortable for us to admit. So by and large we don’t admit it.’

Mr Blair’s comments are likely to be seized on by critics who will argue that by leading us into the Iraq War he has helped to swell support for radical Islam around the globe.

The former PM’s remarks come as David Cameron prepares to make a Commons statement about the Woolwich murder tomorrow afternoon.

The statement will come just hours after the first meeting of the Prime Minister’s Tackling Extremism and Radicalisation Task Force (TERFOR) – made up of senior Ministers, MI5, police and moderate religious leaders – tomorrow morning.

Whitehall sources said that it would be a ‘preliminary meeting’ to draw up the agenda for a full meeting within days. The group, which the Muslim Foreign Office Minister Baroness Warsi, will examine new powers to muzzle hate preachers.

Mr Cameron’s Commons speech is also expected to address the situation in Syria.

In his article, Mr Blair, who is trying to establish a Palestinian state through his work as a peace envoy, also addresses the Syrian situation, warning: ‘We are at the beginning of this tragedy ….. Syria is in a state of accelerating disintegration.

‘President Assad is brutally pulverising communities hostile to his regime.’ Mr Blair says that ‘the overwhelming desire of the West is to stay out of it’, which he goes on to describe as ‘completely understandable’.

He suggests that ‘the problem within Islam’ can start to be tackled by ‘educating children about faith here and abroad’.

Sir Malcolm Rifkind, a former Foreign Secretary and chairman of the Parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee, said: ‘Much of what Tony Blair says is sensible.

‘The Islamic terrorists who kill people have the silent support of many more in their community who share their ideology, if not their methods.

‘But even combined, they represent only a small minority of British Muslims, and we must never forget that.

‘However, he appears to be still trying to justify the Iraq War rather than acknowledging that that war provided an unprecedented opportunity for the Sunni and Shia extremists to slaughter so many of their co-religionists.’

SOURCE

Violent Far-Left “anti-Fascists” arrested in Britain

Violent clashes took place outside the Palace of Westminster between anti-fascist campaigners and BNP supporters. As the trouble erupted, dozens of police officers rushed to break up the disorder.

The angry scenes led to groups kicking and punching each other as police struggled to keep the opposing sides apart.

A total of 58 people – all anti-fascist campaigners – were arrested at the scene by police officers and packed onto London buses.

They were then transported to London police stations for further questioning.

At least one man, a BNP activist, suffered a large cut to the nose after fierce shouting from either side of gated barriers spilled into violence.

Police dogs were also deployed to the scene as the protesters fought with each other. The crowd of anti-fascist protesters heavily outnumbered the BNP supporters. They held banners which read ‘smash the BNP’ and ‘say no to Islamaphobia’.

The BNP had planned to march from Woolwich Barracks, but were banned from doing so by Scotland Yard, amid community fears that their presence could prompt disorder.

Around 100 people gathered on Old Palace Yard, clutching BNP banners and calling for ‘hate preachers out’.

A short time later, counter protesters began directing chants at them, calling them ‘fascist scum’, ‘you racist Nazis’.

Scotland Yard said that a group, believed to be part of the Unite Against Fascism (UAF) protest, gathered in a pre-arranged penned area – but some were unwilling to remain within that area.

The BNP had planned to march from Woolwich Barracks, but were banned from doing so by Scotland Yard, amid community fears that their presence could prompt disorder

A spokesman added: ‘Due to police concerns about serious disruption to the life of the community, and the potential for serious disorder should this counter protest confront the BNP organised protest, police have imposed conditions under Section 14 of the Public Order Act.

‘Those conditions state that the protest must take place in Whitehall Gardens junction with Whitehall.

Around 50 anti-fascist protestors were reported to have rushed towards one man as he was escorted by police to the area containing the BNP group.

BNP leader Nick Griffin also attended the protest. He said the murder of soldier Lee Rigby would not be an isolated incident.

Labour leader Ed Miliband today joined celebrities and thousands of others in signing a letter to a newspaper in protest at far-right groups using the death of Drummer Rigby for their own agenda.

In the letter to the editor of the Daily Mirror, they wrote: ‘The EDL and Islamic extremists are more similar to each other than to us. They share a violent, hate-fuelled desire for conflict and war, and we will not let either group tear our country apart.

Meanwhile officers in Scotland last night said a 25-year-old man had been charged in Inverness in connection with an alleged hate crime on an internet memorial page for Drummer Rigby.

In a statement, police in Scotland said a man was charged ‘in connection with an enquiry into alleged hate crime comments on Facebook’.

The man is expected to appear at Inverness Sheriff Court on Monday.

SOURCE

Feminists warn British supermarkets: Stop selling raunchy lads’ mags or we will sue

Shops selling ‘lads’ mags’ with covers of featuring scantily-clad women, could be sued for sexual harassment by their own customers and staff, feminist groups have claimed.

Campaigners are warning high street retailers to remove magazines that display naked and near-naked images on their covers or face the risk of legal action.

The Lose the Lads’ Mags campaign, by pressure groups UK Feminista and Object, says displaying publications in stores or requiring staff to handle such magazines could amount to sex discrimination or sexual harassment.

In a letter in the Guardian today, 11 equal rights lawyers say there have been previous cases of staff suing employers in respect to exposure to pornographic material at work, and called on retailers to stop selling ‘lads’ mag’ publications.

‘High-street retailers are exposing staff and, in some cases, customers to publications whose handling and display may breach equality legislation,’ the letter said.Displaying lads’ mags and pornographic papers in ‘mainstream’ shops results in the involuntary exposure of staff and, in some cases, customers to pornographic images.

‘Every mainstream retailer which stocks lads’ mags is vulnerable to legal action by staff and, where those publications are visibly on display, by customers.’

The group says it has been contacted by employees who dislike handling such magazines but who feel they have no power to take the issue up with their employers.

UK Feminista and Object are discussing with lawyers about bringing a test case and will support employees who are uncomfortable with images of naked or near-naked women on magazines, the Guardian said.

Kat Banyard, founder of UK Feminista, told the newspaper: “For too long supermarkets have got off the hook, stocking lad’s mags in the face of widespread opposition, but this time we have the law on our side.


The barnyard lady. Guaranteed to deflate anyone

Every shop that sells lads’ mags – publications which are deeply harmful to women – are opening themselves up to legal action.”

Sophie Bennett, campaigns officer for Object, added: ‘Lads’ mags dehumanise and objectify women, promoting harmful attitudes that underpin discrimination and violence against women and girls.

Reducing women to sex objects sends out an incredibly dangerous message that women are constantly sexually available and displaying these publications in everyday spaces normalises this sexism.’

SOURCE

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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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