Saturday, May 16, 2009

Saturday Stories

A pretty picture to introduce some ugly news spotted while reading the British press on a cloudy Saturday morning.

Undelivered: Neither rain, nor sleet, nor dark of night... only political beliefs can stop the UK mail, as Britain's postal union workers decide not to distribute BNP election leaflets:
The Communication Workers Union says that Royal Mail is breaking a “conscience clause” agreed four years ago that allows staff to refuse to deliver literature they find offensive.
"...The clause says members don’t have to deliver material if they feel threatened or if it is against their personal beliefs."
One postman working in the Fishponds area of Bristol, said that his route bordered two ethnic-minority areas and it was “concerning” to be made to deliver inflammatory material.
He told the Western Daily Press: “We are being forced by management to give out the BNP material even though it’s against my beliefs — everyone knows what they stand for.
“We are being made to dish out this rubbish. I’ve read the BNP literature and although there isn’t anything racist or fascist on it, it does say ‘No to immigration’.”
Menace: A perennial danger is finally being addressed, as British school uniforms dispense with... ties:
Concerns over accidental strangling, playground games in which pupils yank each others' ties and fears that ties might catch fire in science lessons have seen the classroom institution fall victim to its clip-on cousin.
Clip-ons have also been credited with improving pupils' behaviour at Arthur Terry School, in Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands.
Head Christopher Stone said: 'It's a mess when you walk around town and you see children with their buttons undone and their ties all over the place. Both attendance and behaviour had improved since the ties were brought in.'
Guilty: Great Britain's grim statistics in their war on terror: Out of 1,471 suspects detained in counter-terrorism operations, only 521 - just over a third - were charged with a crime. Of these, 340 were accused of terror-related offences, with 196 later being found guilty in court.
Fortunately they can add one more to their guilty column:
A man was convicted Friday of involvement in firebombing a London publisher behind "The Jewel of Medina", a controversial book about the child bride of the Islamic prophet Mohammed.
Minicab driver Abbas Taj, 31, drove two men to the offices of Gibson Square publishers last September who poured diesel through the letter box and set it alight.
"These men planned to carry out arson as a violent reaction and protest against the publishing of a book," said John McDowall, head of counter terrorism command at London's Metropolitan Police, after the trial.
"They did not care whether anybody would be killed or injured when they poured diesel through the letterbox and set fire to it.
"Photographs, tapes and documents found at their homes showed the violent mindset of this trio of arsonists."
Priorities: North Wales tells its police to focus law enforcement manpower towards dog owners who don't clean up after their dogs and people who litter on the street, instead of actual criminals:
Police in North Wales, where serious crime has rocketed year-on-year, have this week been told they need to “up the number” of people they stop for littering offences.
PC Richard Eccles, the General Secretary of the North Wales Police Federation, said: “Police officers act as litter-spotters but because they cannot issue the fines they have to detain the offender and wait for the PCSO to arrive. They feel like idiots.”
“We should be more focused on more serious crime like burglaries, violent crimes and theft rather than being tasked with offences more suitably dealt with by the local council,” he said.
Compared with the same period last year, violent crime in North Wales has increased by 18 per cent, burglaries have risen by nearly 8 per cent and robberies have rocketed by an astonishing 115 per cent.

Surprise: I find myself reading the British press every morning, despite an almost daily oath to include it less frequently in my news reading; it's just too depressing and infuriating to be consumed in such regular doses. Fortunately, I have an ocean between me and these dispirIting stories; I can't imagine what it's like when this upside-down world is the one right outside your front door. Is this new poll, therefore, really all that shocking:

British people, long known for their pragmatism and "stiff upper-lip," have surprisingly come out on top in a poll to find the angriest nation in Europe, it was revealed Friday.
The survey, commissioned for comedy channel Gold, found that Brits on average get angry four times a day, while the supposedly hot-headed Italians only admit to 3.5 bouts of fury over the same period.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

For a view on this by a British politician: