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A New Blog

Posted on 31st December, 2013

Readers may be interested in a new blog at www.hearken-unto-me

 

Use the link.

Action for Children is lobbying vociferously for 'early intervention' - by which it means it wants children to be taken away from their parents by social workers when they are younger than they are now.

 

What is Action for Children?

 

Action for Children inherited the assets of National Children’s Homes (founded nearly 150 years ago) and (like Barnado’s) invented a new role for itself after there was no further need for orphanages.  It now acts as a paid service provider to local councils.  As such, it plays key roles - under the auspices of the highly secretive Family Court - in the process of removing children from their parents. 

 

A policy of 'early intervention' would generate more work, more income and more power for it. 

 

In the year to 2009, it was paid £173 million for providing its services; but lost £20 million by incurring costs of £193 million.  It also lost £0.2 million by running charity shops.  It incurred a staggering £8.8 million of costs in raising donations of £10.4 million.

 

Action for Children also admits (in the fine print of the notes to its accounts) that, in the next 5 years, it is looking to make good a deficit of about £100 million in its pension scheme for retired staff.  One might almost say that this is its main financial object for the time being; because, logically, that's where most donations will end up.

 

In the year to 2009, Action for Children employed one person who was paid over £150,000 pa; another who was paid over £120,000 pa; and another three people who were paid over £100,000 pa.

 

Its chief executive was made a Dame in the last New Year's Honours List.  But of course.

Little Rich Kids?

Posted on 28th June, 2010

Barnardo's has commissioned a report from Demos which urges social workers to be quicker in taking children into care.  The purported 'evidence' for this is that it costs children's services £354,053 to place a child in care for 14 years and £393,579 for 7 years - i.e. £41,526 more for half the time.

 

We are also told that 66% of children in care for more than 8 years have at least one GCSE; which is seen as a relative success. (Others might note that after all that expense, in addition to the education costs, a third of children in care have no GCSE passes.)

 

So what's behind all this?

 

Well, if you thought Barnardo's looked after orphans, forget it.  They closed their last home in 1989.  Barnardo's coins in well over £100 million a year by selling its services to local authorities etc; it taps into the sentimental 'kiddies' charity sector; and it lobbies openly and vociferously for more state spending. 

 

Barnardo's commissioned the Demos report in a blatant attempt to tout for more business in relation to taking children into care.

 

However, we know now it costs at least £25,000 a year (and often more than double that amount) to take a child into care.  This figure should obviously now be added as notional income when assessing 'child poverty'; one of Barnardo's particular obsessions.

 

Or do those who persistently demand more state spending think that the benefit to the child from being taken into care does not remotely equate to the costs of £500-£1,000 per week to the taxpayer? 

In the post of 7 October 2009, we met a jumped-up committee clerk called Mr. Badman who had been employed by Kent County Council.  In passing, I guessed that he had been well paid.

 

Today we learn of Adam Wilkinson who had been employed as director of environment by the same Kent County Council.  Mr. Wilkinson had tried to struggle by on about £170,000 per year but, alas, his 'work and life balance was not working.'

 

The problem was that Mr. Wilkinson and his family lived in West Yorkshire; and Mr. Wilkinson found it inconvenient to come and stay in Kent during the week, plus all that travelling at the weekend.

 

Luckily 'Kent were very supportive' and a solution was found.  No, Mr. Wilkinson didn't move house.

 

After 12 months in the job, Mr. Wilkinson was paid off with £365,000.  He is now the chief executive of Derby City Council who pay him £160,000 per year. 

 

I note that, under the government's austerity measures, I shall shortly be required to pay to go swimming with my grand-daughter.  I'm sure none of us will mind making small sacrifices if the savings can be used to improve the 'work and life balance' of people like Mr. Wilkinson.

Happy Families

Posted on 9th June, 2010

Once upon a time, Susan Taylor (29) and Lynn Cowan (28) were partners and they lived in Scotland. 

 

And, quite often, a tiny tot would come to stay with them (but we cannot be told his name, for legal reasons).  And, sometimes, the social workers would also come round.  And one day, when they came round, they found that the methadone was stored securely out of reach of the tiny tot.  Which was good, children, wasn't it? 

 

Except that, sometimes, Susan Taylor would put the tot's dummy in the cup she used to measure out her methadone, and run it round, so that the tot's dummy was coated in methadone. 

 

And one day, the tot seemed to stop breathing, and his lips went blue and his face went grey, and he vomitted, and on the way to the hospital he seemed to have fits.  And Lynn Cowan wouldn't let on that the tot had been fed methadone.  So she was sent to prison for 10 months. 

 

As for Susan Taylor, she was sent to prison for 3 years - but she couldn't start her sentence immediately because she was already serving 26 months for bashing up and robbing an old lady of 66.   

 

A recent report from the Office of National Statistics says that all the government's expensive schemes to give children from poor homes a better start in life have been ineffective and waste of money.  Well, bless my soul.  Who ever would have thought it?      

 

If we had repealed the Act of Union (1707), of course, this particular squalid episode would no longer have been a burden on English taxpayers. The Scots would have had to pay for it all themselves.  As it is, the partnership of Taylor and Cowan seems to be a public sector job creation scheme.

An Extraordinary Proposal

Posted on 15th May, 2010

Our new Prime Minister, Mr. Cameron, has proposed that the new Parliament cannot be dissolved until shortly before a General Election to be held on 7 May 2015 unless 55% of MPs vote for an earlier dissolution. 

 

This means that it would need only 293 out of 630 MPs to block such a resolution even if it were supported by 357 MPs.

 

There are currently 306 Conservative MPs.  Mr. Cameron is thus saying that Parliament cannot be dissolved unless he and his supporters agree; even though they do not constitute a majority.

 

This proposal is a constitutional outrage.  It reeks of arrogance and inexperience in Messrs Cameron and Clegg.

 

It is also a damn silly idea.  Too-clever-by-half schemes like this have a nasty habit of creating anomolies and controversies.  Although sometimes they just come to look rather weird.

 

When Charles de Gaulle came to power in France, in 1958, he insisted on having a new constitution - the Fifth Republic.  There would be an executive President - himself - and he would have a Premier leading a government in the National Assembly.  There would also be a Senate as a fairly weak second chamber. 

 

Under the Fourth Republic, the Assembly had habitually toppled governments by passing votes of 'no confidence'.  To discourage this practice, the new constitution stated that only 'no' votes would be counted in a vote of confidence; abstentions would be treated as 'yes' votes.  In addition, 'no confidence' motions would require several sponsors and there would be limits on the number of such motions any individual member could sponsor in a given period.   

 

Cunning stuff, eh?

 

And what happened?  The Gaullists promptly won thumping majorities in the National Assembly and the fiddly new rules proved completely irrelevant.

The death of John Boakes has created a situation that even Jeffrey Archer would blush to invent.  (Okay, sorry, well most thriller writers, then.)  Mr.Boakes was the UKIP candidate for Thirsk and Malton in the General Election on 6 May 2010; but he died suddenly, soon after nominations had closed.  In consequence, UKIP were allowed to nominate a replacement candidate and the poll was deferred to Thursday, 27 May. 

 

Thirsk and Malton is a new constituency, in which the Conservatives were expected to get about half the votes; with Labour and the Lib Dems expected to share most of the rest.

 

Now the electors of Thirsk and Malton are suddenly in the spotlight.  They are the first peasants permitted to express their views on the arrangements made by Dave and Nick - the two Cs - to rule us for the next five years.

 

The Conservative and Liberal Democrat candidates have said they will compete against each other in Thirsk and Malton; although one wonders how.  Will this be on the basis of the differing General Election manifestos or the subsequently agreed Coalition policies?  Or will the Lib Dem candidate merely point out that, as such, he has a better statistical chance of becoming a Cabinet Minister than his Tory opponent.

 

This would be a golden opportunity for traditional Conservatives, especially, to give a big rasberry to Messrs. Cameron and Clegg.  But will they take it? 

 

Traditional Conservatives tend to be very loyal; they will be glad to see the back of Mr. Brown; and they will probably still be rather shocked and confused by the Cameron/Clegg deal whereby Mr.Clegg suddenly became Deputy Prime Minister.  (Hang on.  Am I dreaming all this?  No... apparently not.)

 

When Neville Chamberlain arrived back from Munich, in 1938, and said he had reached an agreement which was in the country's best interests and would be long-lasting, most people cheered for a while.

 

I wonder if my fellow Yorkshire folk, in the constituency of Thirsk and Malton, will be more perceptive and astute.

 

 

Lost Cause or a Life Line?

Posted on 12th May, 2010

In my posts on 20 and 28 December 2009, I wondered whether David Cameron's election as Conservative Party leader meant the death of traditional England.  Mr. Cameron has been ruthless in purging the Conservative Party of its members who hold traditional views and/or browbeating them into cowed acceptance of his 'modernising' agenda.

 

One could almost imagine that Mr. Cameron wanted to turn the Tory Party into what an Old Etonian imagines the Liberal Party to be.

 

(The real Liberal Democratic Party, of course, has a northern, urban wing which plays rough, nasty, left-wing politics in rundown cities. And in rural/middle-class areas it plays dirty tricks while the 'respectable folk' aren't looking.)

 

Mr. Cameron must be thinking that Father Christmas has come early.  Suddenly, here he is as the Prime Minister of a Conservative - Liberal Democrat Coalition Goverment.  What better position from which to tell traditional Tories that he cannot accommodate their views?

 

But...

 

The Liberal Democrats want to change the electoral system.

 

Conventional wisdom has it that this will benefit the left; because for about 100 years Labour and Liberals have competed for the anti-Tory vote.

 

I wonder...

 

Perhaps the next civil war will erupt on the right as traditionalists seek to re-capture the Conservative Party from the usurping Cameroons and/or they break away to form The English Party which wants separation from both Scotland and the European Union.

 

An Alternative Vote (AV) system would make it feasible for the traditionalists to start, and perhaps win, a civil war of this nature.

An Accurate Election Result

Posted on 11th May, 2010

As I said in my posts on 20 December 2009 and again on 28 April 2010, the electorate will probably need to wake up to the gravity of the situation before we can address our problems. 

 

In the past 13 years, a Labour government has created 1 million new 'jobs' in the public sector (taking the total from 4 million to 5 million) to bribe its supporters. 

 

Take that muppet, Janet Watson, who suddenly popped up as Chair of the grossly incompetent, Blair-created Electoral Commission, or whatever.  She's in her mid-forties; has faffed around in various lefty causes for most of her adult life; and she now gets £100,000 a year for putting in a 3 day week.  You want to cut public spending by £100,000 a year?  I have a suggestion.

 

The Labour government has been spending £200 billion (i.e.£200,000,000,000) per year on welfare payments.  These are skewed towards Labour-held constituencies in which one in five, sometimes more than one in four, adults simply don't work.

 

Scotland - where the Conservatives have precisely one MP - sucks up public money like a vacuum cleaner. 

 

It is plain that much of the electorate has simply not grasped - or does not yet want to accept - that the country simply cannot afford this debilitating waste and corruption of economic effort.

 

So, there is much to be said for making a 'progressive' - i.e. high state-spending - Labour-Liberal Democrat coalition face up to this ghastly mess and tell us what they propose to do about it.

 

Gordon Brown has risen to the occasion by telling us that he intends to hang around as Prime Minister for a few months while the Labour Party, including the public sector trades unions, take their time in deciding who should be the next non-elected Prime Minister of this country.  It is difficult to see how any applicants who want to prune public spending - which is the country's key requirement - will get a fair hearing from that lot.   

 

The Lib Dems are giving serious consideration to this proposal.  HANG ON, MR. CLEGG!  You're now saying that Gordon Brown should continue as Prime Minister for several months until the trades unions have announced who will replace him.  And - even better - Mr. Brown will introduce a new voting system which is intended to make this sort of shenanigan normal practice in future.

 

As it happens, a new transferable voting system might actually prove to be a good idea.  The Conservative Party could then split advantageously between the Unionists (with Scotland and Europe) and the English Party (who want to split from Scotland and the European Union).

 

OFM would vote for THE ENGLISH PARTY.

Scottish Nationalist Party leader, Alex Salmond, says he will exploit a hung Parliament to get more money for Scotland.

 

At least he is open about it.  Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling both represent the Scottish Labour Party who have been shovelling taxpayer money into Scotland for 13 years. 

 

Why does the Conservative Party stubbornly insist on continuing the Union of England and Scotland when it can elect only one Scottish MP?  Why not eliminate all the Scottish Labour and Scottish Nationalist MPs in the Westminster Parliament at a stroke by ending the Union of England and Scotland?

 

In the last 13 years, the Labour government has created one million 'jobs' in the public sector, to create a payroll vote.  It pays out £200 billion a year in welfare payments. 

 

Labour elects its MPs from Scotland and Wales; and from rundown city centres where one in five adults claim welfare benefits instead of working.

 

These electoral bribes are the main reason for the vast public sector debt.

 

The Labour Party will never tackle this situation.  However, without its Scottish MPs, Labour would never form another UK government so it wouldn't really matter that the Labour Party was always spendthrift.

 

Electoral Reform?  Fine; but start by repealing the Act of Union and free England from Scotland.