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Showing posts from August, 2011

NHS Reforms

Why does the NHS need updating?
The NHS is a national treasure. But despite the best efforts of staff, the NHS could deliver better care for patients. Right now around one in four cancer patients are only diagnosed when they turn up as emergencies. So although the NHS is good, it could be better still.

What is the purpose of the bill?
To update the NHS to give every patient the best possible health care by trusting family doctors, nurses, and other health experts to work with local people to decide, design and deliver the right health services to meet local need and deliver world class healthcare. The Health and Social Care Bill is designed to give every patient the best chance of surviving an illness like cancer, and the best quality of life if they have a long-term condition like diabetes.

It is basically about more control for patients, greater power for doctors and nurses and less central bureaucracy.

The Coalition’s plans to update the NHS will give patients the best-possible care…

Vicky Haigh's case, the Huffington Post and various campaigners

I have written an article about the problems with adversarial family justice on the Huffington Post

My own view is that the adversarial nature of family proceedings have made the whole process much harder to resolve and if any lesson is learnt from this that needs to be learnt.

I have also been criticised for the behaviour of Elizabeth Watson. There are a large number of people in England who are unhappy about the way the legal system operates. She is one of them.

I work with some of these people, but I do not work with others. Elizabeth Watson did contact my office. I advised her to obey the injunction and that her behaviour would be likely to result in her being jailed. I ended up having to ban her from being able to email me. I do not accept any responsibility for her behaviour. The court papers applying to imprison Elizabeth Watson were issued before I raised Vicky Haigh's case in the House of Commons.

I remain of the view that it was wrong for the authorities to attemp…

Vicky Haigh - yesterday's court hearing

Yesterday's court hearing brought into the public domain more about the case relating to Vicky Haigh.

It, however, has not brought into the public domain all of the issues relating to this case and the judiciary retain control of those aspects of the case.

I am not making any statement as to the details of the underlying care issue. The Judge who took the hearing yesterday was also the judge in P, C and S v The United Kingdom. The link gives the case report from ECtHR on Bailii. In this case the decision was found to be in contravention of a fair trial on a procedural basis.

The same judge (Sir Nicholas Wall) was also a judge in the case which is now RP v The United Kingdom. I have considerable concerns about the way that particular case was handled by the judges concerned.

It remains that I am making no public comment about the underlying care case in respect of Ms Haigh. However,

1. Even if the court's decision is 100% accurate - does that warrant the removal at birth…

Firing Bullets into the air

I always wondered about this issue. What goes up normally comes down (unless it reaches terminal velocity).

The link is to an interesting BBC story.

Who, What, Why: How dangerous is firing a gun into the air?

The rebel advance into Tripoli has been celebrated with gunfire

Libyan rebels have celebrated their advance into Tripoli by firing guns in the air. How hazardous is this?

It is, unarguably, an emphatic way to display one's jubilation.

Shooting an automatic weapon into the sky to signal an occasion one welcomes is a popular practice in much of the world, as the footage of Libyan anti-Gaddafi forces seizing the main square of the capital city has demonstrated.

Six months for recording a court hearing - Norman Scarth

The link is in Russian about the imprisonment of Norman Scarth who is actually 85. He has a complex history including a court hearing which found that he used a chainsaw to fight off bailiffs when he was 75. [a court judgment which is disputed see comments] However, that does not justify imprisoning him for 6 months for recording a court hearing (see the link and ask google to translate it if your Russian is not up to it).

It has got into the Argyll News

Because he has been held such that people cannot get to him to sign paperwork an application for a writ of Habeas Corpus was made today. This has been adjourned until next week.

The English judicial system is really not good at responding to major abuses of human rights by the judicial system.

Looting, the Riots, Families and the Role of the State

I described the events last week as a "game changer". I think they are as they highlight the substantial numbers of people who basically don't feel a personal commitment to following the rules of society and are willing to simply fight their own corner.

There seems to be a dispute between those who argue that it is a question of poverty and those who argue it is a question of discipline and law and order.

The problem is that actually it is both. Given a static situation in terms of discipline if there is greater poverty then there will be more people tempted to break the law. At the same time poverty in itself does not require that people don't follow the law.

Hence we need to look at both aspects and not pretend that either aspect doesn't matter.

The high levels of youth unemployment we see today are a problem. What the statistics have concealed, however, is that there have been growing numbers of people who are "economically inactive".

The jolt…

The looting, the police and politicians

I know there are people who are critical of the police. My own view is that I am supportive of the police action last week. It is always possible to dig little holes into someone's performance, but normally futile.

I think that Chief Constable Chris Simms of the West Midlands Police did a good job throughout the week and his management assisted in both bringing orders into the situation and also keeping things calm when they could have become much more difficult. I have personally thanked a number of the rank and file and our thanks as society should go out to them who have put themselves in harms way to deal with a difficult situation.

We must also thank Tariq Jahan for his efforts that assisted in dealing with a tragic and dreadful situation that could have been the flashpoint for further problems.

David Cameron and Ed Milliband are both doing speeches today. I think they need to get into the details of the issues. I would be interested in knowing how many of the children…

The best and the worst

The best people I met on my tour around the city centre were those who had come to help clear up. This is a photograph of the volunteer clean up crew.

Thanks to the efforts of the city council's staff who started work at 6am most of the mess had been cleared up by this point.

The aftermath of the worst is really looking at the attempts to steal a cashpoint machine.


All we had was an attempt to loot things. This does not warrant dressing up as anything more than this.

I am now updating my earlier post following meeting with The Chief Constable, other Police Officers and The Deputy Prime Minister.

The looting and vandalism (which is a concentration on looting and "free stuff") is done by ill disciplined youths who are out to get a small amount of money and get up to mischief. Nothing more should be read into it or the other events other than the event in Tottenham which was the catalyst. It is not as technically driven as people think although there is some organisat…

Where does it go from here

This is always the test of chart readers.

There is obviously an international element to the recent market movements. There is also recognition that even the US cannot simply fund demand on increasing debt.

I think there is also an August over-reaction as a result of many people being on holiday and people closing out positions. However, to hazard a guess I would not expect the market to go below the 2010 low.

I may, of course, be wrong. A goodly amount of weekend doomsaying could push the market lower. I think there is a 40% chance of bottoming out below the 2010 figure, but I am with a 60% chance of it bottoming out above that.

I think, however, that Labour's whinging about the government's policy of managing the deficit (too much too quickly) is now essentially proven to be wrong.