Wednesday, 16 February 2011

The dangerous Supreme Court ruling on the human rights of sex offenders

The Supreme Court has ruled that sex offenders under the European Convention on Human Rights should be allowed to appeal against their lifetime inclusion on the sex offenders register.

Those who are placed on the sex offenders register for life are there for a very good reason.  Serious sex offenders remain a risk for life and like an alcoholic they are never completely cured of their problem.  The risk can be reduced and monitored but the danger is nevertheless always there.  Sex offenders are often very manipulative and devious.  They change their names and hide their real identities.  They work out clever ways of offending and hiding their hideous crimes.

This Supreme Court ruling gives far too much ground to the perpetrator and not enough concern and protection to the victim and vulnerable potential victims.  The rights of the public to necessary protection should come before the rights of the criminal.

Ugly Scenes at the San Siro: Gennaro Gattuso was a disgrace

There were ugly scenes at the San Siro last night when Tottenham Hotspur defeated AC Milan by one goal to nil.  Gennaro Gattuso, who is considered by some critics to be a dirty player with a bad disciplinary record in the Champions League, headbutted Joe Jordan.  Earlier Gattuso had been given a yellow card and he attacked Jordan by grapping at Joe's throat.  At the end of the match Gattuso really lost his temper and began fighting with officials after the headbut incident.  As a team captain and long serving player he should have shown much more restraint.
Gattuso is setting  a very poor example to young players. Whether he likes it or not, a Serie A captain is a role model.  Such disgraceful behaviour deserves a severe punishment by UEFA.  At least he has apologized for his conduct.  The vile tackle of Flamini also incensed the Spurs bench as it meant that Corluka had to be stretchered off and substituted.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Mubarak must listen and leave

If Mubarak really cared about the people then he would have left office.  He must listen and take responsibility for the troubles, the bloodshed and the deaths.  Mubarak has remained in power for too long.  He loved power more than the people.  The people have called time, so Mubarak must go now. It's time for him to leave the presidential palace.

Silly School Rules and Child Poverty

Over the years time, money and effort have been wasted over silly school rules.  I have already commented about the daft moves to remove competitive games at some primary schools. It goes completely against the Olympic ethos and value of teamwork.

In the first part of the 20th century some children did not go to grammar school because their parents could not afford the uniform, particularly the blazers.  One schoolgirl had a blazer that had to last her for years.  She had to grow into it.  Sometimes the sports equipment, especially cricket,  made further demands on the parental purse.  There were very poor children, before the days of mass production, who only had one set of clothes, second/third hand shoes, and if they were fortunate a Sunday best. Often the poorer children had one set on and one in the wash. I know of one school teacher who remembers children coming to his school without proper shoes. George Orwell eloquently described the dreadful poverty during the 1930s. In later times there were grants, vouchers and assistance schemes for poorer homes, especially with the advent of the welfare state and social benefits.

At some girls' schools the teachers measured the length of skirt above the knee and fussed about showing too much leg. This was to preserve modesty. Yet a short time later girls would be removing their skirts and revealing their school gym knickers worn with a sports top on the netball court, or in the school hall used for PE, for all to see.  I knew one sixth form girl who was cruelly teased by schoolgirl classmates for wearing regulation school gym knickers as regular underwear.

 School knickers were often loathed.

They were called passion killers, but poorer girls wore gym knickers daily as they had "to make do and mend"; the wartime slogan lived on when the elastic would go and needed to be replaced or a safety pin held them up. Tights did not come to the rescue until the mid to late 1960s.  During WWII there was rationing and utility clothing.  Some rationing continued into the early 1950s.

In Wales children were caned for speaking Welsh in schools.  There was "the Welsh not".  Any child caught talking in Welsh was given a Welsh not, a piece of wood which was placed around the neck.  They could pass it on if another child was heard to converse in Welsh.  The child who was wearing the Welsh not at the end of the day received a caning. 

Some kids were frequently smelly as they did not have a bathroom, but a tub used about once a week. They did not change their clothes much. Mothers did not have washing machines, but used tubs and mangles; families lived without central heating and inside toilets. Clothes were dried by the fireside and on thin wooden planks hoisted high in the warm kitchen. Standards of hygiene and health were improving through the National Health Service, legislation (e.g. the clean air act) and economic progress.  Free school milk and meals definitely helped poorer children. Some of us can remember the smogs and pea-soupers. There was serious air pollution in industrial areas.

Some private schools had elaborate uniforms which had to be purchased from specified outfitters, such as Harrods and Selfridges.  These uniforms were status symbols.

Over the years there have been some crazy regulations and rules about dress codes, hairstyles, badges, accessories, status/religious symbols and all manner of items.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Mubarak must go now to avoid further violence

The people of Egypt have made it clear. It is game over for Mubarak, who is not listening.  He is trying some delaying tactics but, in the interest of peace, prosperity, public order and the people, Mubarak should step down immediately.  Otherwise there will be more violence, bloodshed and death on the streets.  While Mubarak remains in power the economy will falter and fail, as strikes and industrial unrest will harm the country.  The Mubarak regime has had its day.


River Stour