British police harassing decent people again

Because the people concerned did the job that they were too lazy to do

For two months, the empty cottage’s faulty burglar alarm shattered the peace with its incessant ringing. Appeals to the police and district council failed to put a stop to the 290 villagers’ sleepless nights. So when parish council chairman Edmund Done, 67, decided to silence it for good, he thought he was doing everyone a favour. Accompanied by his deputy Michael Curtis, 72, he cut the alarm’s wires. But while their action was widely welcomed in Hagworthingham, Lincolnshire, it has landed them in trouble with the law.

The pair are due to appear in court accused of causing criminal damage after a complaint to the police. The offence carries a maximum sentence of up to three months’ jail. They were taken in for questioning more than eight months after silencing the noise from Foxglove Cottage.

It is unclear who made the complaint although many residents in the village – which was the setting for Tennyson’s poem The Brook – believe it must have been the cottage’s mysterious owner. Inquiries have found that, according to Land Registry records, Foxglove Cottage was bought for £55,000 in May 2002 by a Gillian Mary Makinson-Sanders, but she could not be contacted last night.

Yesterday, villagers told of their anger at the decision to prosecute Mr Done and Mr Curtis. One said: ‘The noise was driving us mad. The burglar alarm kept ringing at all hours of the day and night. ‘Normally you can hear a pin drop at night here but for weeks we were kept awake by the noise. No one knew who owned the cottage and none of the authorities would do anything to help. ‘It might have been legally wrong to cut the wires but there really was no option. Everyone thinks that it’s totally over the top to take two respectable elderly councillors to court.’

Mr Done said: ‘We did everything we could to get the noise stopped but no one wanted to know. We appealed to the police and to the district council but nothing happened. ‘People were really annoyed and demanded that something was done about it. I admit I went round to the cottage and cut the wires but what else could we do?’

A Lincolnshire Police spokesman confirmed Mr Done and Mr Curtis are due before Skegness Magistrates’ Court on Monday charged with causing criminal damage. Meanwhile, Foxglove Cottage remains deserted – and the alarm blissfully silent.

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Backdoor amnesty just sneaked through in Britain

An illegal immigrant now has to have been in Britain for only four years and they are home free. And given the glacial pace of the British immigration bureaucracy, it’s easy to be in Britain for that long while your case is being dealt with. In typically dishonest Leftist fashion, they are denying that it is an amnesty but it is. It is an amnesty for anyone who has been in Britain for 4 years

Immigration rules are being changed to ease a backlog of asylum cases, it emerged last night.

The UK Border Agency urged an alteration to existing guidelines after realising that it would be too difficult to deport failed applicants from countries with poor human rights records without going through costly court battles. Matt Coats, the agency’s head of immigration, asked Alan Johnson, the Home Secretary, and Phil Woolas, the Immigration Minister, to relax laws to allow his teams to clear a backlog of up to 40,000 applicants from Zimbabwe, Iran and other countries.

In a memo signed off by Mr Woolas, Mr Coats suggested the applicants be given leave to remain after being in Britain for just four years rather than the 10 to 12 years as rules had stated.

Last night Mr Woolas said: “There is no amnesty. Our guidelines were updated to provide case workers with a simple framework to judge cases, and to avoid long drawn out court battles. Less than 40 per cent of cases are being granted.”

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Private schools are the main ones teaching the hard stuff in Britain these days

University courses important to the economy rely on independent schools for many of their students, says research. These “strategically important and vulnerable” degree subjects include modern languages and engineering. The study for an independent schools’ group found a quarter of places in such subjects in leading UK universities went to independent school pupils. Without such pupils the subjects would be at risk, argues the report by an Exeter University academic.

The analysis of university admissions, commissioned by the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference (HMC), shows that independent school pupils are disproportionately represented in these economically important subjects. Based on figures from 2006-07, the research says that 42% of undergraduate students entering economics in leading universities were drawn from independent schools. Among modern languages, 28% of French degree students were from independent schools, with the figures 38% for Italian and 41% for Spanish. In mechanical engineering the independent school entry was 26%, in civil engineering it was 25% and in general engineering 36%.

Comparing this with university entrance in 2003-04, report author William Richardson of Exeter University found the proportion of independent pupils in leading universities had either been maintained or had slightly increased. Showing the wider context of these admission figures, about 9% of 17-year-old pupils are in independent schools – and 14% of university entrants are from independent schools.

Without independent pupils, “the study of subjects recognised to be vital to the future of the nation would be in serious jeopardy in many of our leading universities”, says Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference chairman Andrew Grant.

Independent schools argue that the research shows the scale of their contribution to maintaining important degree subjects, identified by the government as valuable to the wider economy. It also reflects the extent to which independent schools in England have continued to teach subjects such as modern languages at GCSE and A-level, when they are no longer compulsory in the state sector beyond the age of 14. University modern languages departments have reported problems in finding sufficient applicants, as their potential pool of A-level students has diminished.

In economics, a report last year warned that the subject was at risk of “dying out” in schools – with A-level student numbers down by a quarter in a decade.

The research also follows a report earlier this year into social mobility by MP Alan Milburn, which interpreted the over-representation of independent school pupils in prestigious university courses as evidence of the weaknesses in the ambitions of the state sector and in university admissions. Mr Milburn’s report argued that even though participation in university had widened, children from wealthier backgrounds continued to dominate the most sought-after subjects at the most prestigious universities. The report from the HMC shows that 38% of students entering medicine in leading universities are from independent schools.

A survey from the UCU lecturers’ union, also released on Tuesday, claims that a majority of people want to see the ending of charitable status for independent schools. It found that 56% of people wanted to abolish charitable status, including 41% of Conservative voters.

At the HMC’s annual conference, Mr Grant dismissed claims that charitable status meant that independent schools were a cost to the taxpayer – arguing that private school fees saved the state sector £3bn, in terms of the private pupils who would otherwise have to be taught in state schools.

A spokeswoman for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills said: “The government believes that it should be character, endeavour and talent that matter, not life chances at birth, which is why our policies have seen an increase in the proportion of people from less privileged backgrounds going into university. “But we recognise that there is still more to do which is why we continue to invest in initiatives, such as Aimhigher, that encourage students from state schools to aspire to the most competitive courses and universities, and our recent white paper also set out our plans to enhance social mobility in the years to come.”

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Bright British pupils ‘will miss out’ on university in row over qualifications

Horror that bright students might be more likely to gain university admission!

Sixth-formers are facing fresh chaos over university admissions following a clash over whether to accept new A* grades. School heads are being urged to prepare bright youngsters for rejection because universities will struggle to whittle down well-qualified pupils applying for places next September.

Prestigious universities are at loggerheads over whether to take the new supergrade into account when choosing between candidates and setting entry requirements. Some, including Oxford, have been accused of ‘political correctness’ for failing to embrace the A*, being awarded for the first time next summer. The universities are said to be afraid that using the A* would result in an increase in the number of privately-educated pupils winning places. Studies suggest that private school applicants are more likely to gain A*s and will therefore tighten their grip on the top universities.

School heads are also split over whether to include A*s in their performance predictions to universities, leading to claims that thousands of bright children will be disadvantaged. Ministers were accused of failing bright pupils after it emerged they have been pressurising universities into ignoring the A*.

The row erupted as university chiefs warned of intense competition for places next year as the recession continues to deter youngsters from seeking work in a harsh job market. Oxford said the annual university admissions scramble was a ‘numbers game’ and bright students faced rejection from some of their choices despite having impeccable applications. But the university came in for criticism yesterday for refusing to take into accept A* grades from candidates applying this month. Like most other universities, and in line with Government advice, it will ignore the grade for at least the first few years of its operation.

But Cambridge, Imperial College London and University College London are among universities opting to use it in setting entry requirements for some candidates. Warwick is considering including it in offers for maths and science subjects. Cambridge expects to set conditional offers of one A* and two As for many students. Geoff Parks, director of admissions, said: ‘We hope that will seem to be a fairer system because students who get into Cambridge will by and large have higher grades than those who don’t.’ He revealed former Schools Minister Jim Knight had been ‘bending ears’ at the university because it was going forward with the A*.

Private school leaders, gathering in Liverpool for the annual meeting of the Headmasters’ and Headmasters’ Conference, expressed frustration at the reluctance of more institutions to accept the A*. Tim Hands, head of Magdalen College School, said: ‘First of all we had pusillanimity because the Government didn’t want to introduce it and now we have got stealth. ‘The mood is one of resentment at interference, resentment at stealth, shock at a lack of progression in standards and a firm feeling that where people support real educational quality and endeavour they deserve commendation not restraint, arbitrary impositions and politicially-inspired interferences.’

Some state schools are said to be refusing ‘in principle’ to use A*s when predicting their students’ grades on university application forms because they fear it will come to be seen as a passport to a good university.

Oxford said its decision to monitor the grade’s implementation for the next two years was a ‘pragmatic decision’. ‘A lot of teachers have said very clearly, this is a new qualification, we haven’t had a chance to teach it yet, and the idea we can accurately predict who will get these A*s, we won’t,’ said Mike Nicholson, director of admissions.

Professor Michael Whitby, pro-vice-chancellor of Warwick, warned that 2010 would be a ‘tough’ year for applicants. He said: ‘We are under some pressure to rein in our offers next year, with the result that whereas in a normal year people who just missed an offer might get into the Liverpools, Warwicks, Durhams, Oxbridges of this world, in the current climate they might not.’

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British Warmists getting desperate

Climate change doubters to be targeted by government advertisement in prime-time. This is great news. People are very skeptical of government propaganda and will suspect an attempt to pull the wool over their eyes

Climate change sceptics are to be targeted in a hard-hitting government advertising campaign that will be the first to state unequivocally that Man is causing global warming and endangering life on Earth.

The £6 million campaign, which begins tonight in the prime ITV1 slot during Coronation Street, is a direct response to government research showing that more than half the population think that climate change will have no effect on them.

Ministers sanctioned the campaign because of concern that scepticism about climate change was making it harder to introduce carbon-reducing policies such as higher energy bills.

The advertisement attempts to make adults feel guilty about their legacy to their children. It features a father telling his daughter a bedtime story of “a very very strange” world with “horrible consequences” for today’s children. The storybook shows a British town deep under water, with people and animals drowning.

Carbon dioxide is depicted as rising in clouds of black soot from cars and homes, including from a woman’s hairdryer. The soot gathers into a jagged-toothed monster menacing the town.

The daughter asks her father if the story has a happy ending and a voiceover cuts in, saying: “It’s up to us how the story ends” and directs viewers to the Government’s Act on CO2 website.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change publishes research today showing that 52 per cent of people think climate change will not significantly affect them. Only 33 per cent think that it will and 15 per cent do not know.

Fourteen per cent of people think that climate change will have no effect on Britain, even in their grandchildren’s lifetime. Twenty-six per cent said they could think of no action they could take that would help to reduce climate change.

When asked how they would react if they knew climate change were going to have a serious effect on their children’s lives, 74 per cent said that they would be willing to change their lifestyle. Fifteen per cent said that they would not make any changes.

The Met Office has predicted that the 2003 heatwave, which resulted in 2,000 premature deaths in Britain, could happen every other year from the 2040s.

Joan Ruddock, the Energy and Climate Change Minister, said: “The survey results show that people don’t realise that climate change is already under way and could have severe consequences. With over 40 per cent of the UK’s C02 emissions a result of personal choices, there is huge potential for individual behaviour change to lower emissions.”

But Philip Stott, Emeritus Professor of Biogeography at the University of London and a critic of the Government’s plan to cut CO2, said the advert was an attempt to manipulate people with alarmist language and apocalyptic imagery. “It is straight out of Orwell’s 1984: an attempt to control with images of a perpetual war against something, in this case climate change.”

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AFTER 10 YEARS OF CLIMATE ALARMISM, MOST BRITONS REMAIN UNCONVINCED

Less than half of Britons believe climate change will affect them during their lifetime and fewer than a fifth think it will disturb their children, a government survey showed Friday.

In the YouGov poll for the Department of Energy and Climate Change, 69 percent of respondents said flooding would be the most likely consequence in Britain, but only 26 percent believed the country was already feeling the impact of climate change. “Recent research shows the public are unclear on what causes climate change and what the effects are,” the department said.

Scientists say rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, caused by burning fossil fuels through greater energy usage, mass deforestation and increased transportation, will lead not only to flooding, but widespread drought, famine and disease, especially in poor countries. People displaced by climate change, or ‘climate refugees’, was another consequence of a warmer world, and could weigh on Britain’s economy and social services.

“The survey results show that people don’t realise that climate change is already under way and could have very severe consequences for their children’s lives,” UK Energy and Climate Change Minister Joan Ruddock said in a statement. “With over 40 percent of the UK’s CO2 emissions a result of personal choices, there is huge potential for individual behaviour change to lower emissions.”

To raise public awareness, the department is launching its first ever advertising campaign Friday “confirming the existence of climate change and its man-made origin.”

To see the DECC television adverts, click here

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