The Conservative government’s policies risk systematically stripping children of their rights, a report for the United Nations has found.
An assessment by the four children’s commissioners of the UK, the first full-scale review for seven years, called on the government to reconsider its deep welfare cuts, voiced “serious concerns” about children being denied access to justice in the courts, and called on ministers to rethink plans to repeal the Human Rights Act.
The commissioners, representing each of the constituent nations of the UK, conducted their review of the state of children’s policies as part of evidence they will present on Wednesday to the UN revealing how much progress has been made under the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Many of the government’s decisions are questioned by the report as being in breach of the convention, which has been ratified by the UK. England’s children’s commissioner, Anne Longfield, said:
“We are finding and highlighting that much of the country’s laws and policies defaults away from the view of the child. That’s in breach of the treaty. What we found again and again was that the best interest of the child is not taken into account.”
In particular there are continuing concerns over the issues of abuse and the impact on children – with 25% of children in the UK exposed to domestic abuse between adults in their homes at some point in childhood. Studies reveal that in family courts “many of the youngest and most vulnerable children are currently not heard”.
Perhaps the most shocking finding is the rise of peer-on-peer domestic abuse among young people. Commissioners say that almost two thirds of “contact sexual abuse of children was perpetrated by other children”.
Longfield said that “over the next five years it will be the case that there will be an enormous number of children through the court system and we need to reflect the need to engage and listen to them in a way that is not happening now”.
The commissioners argue the government’s plans to “break the formal link between British courts and the European Court of Human Rights” by scrapping the Human Rights Act is a backwards step.
One of Cameron’s power-crazed plans is to scrap the Human Rights Act and replace it with a ‘Bill of Rights’.
The move is intended to remove the checks and balances in place which stop the government abusing its power and citizens.
Under current legislation, the government is accountable for breaches of human rights articles contained in the European Convention on Human Rights.
Checking the record of the British government in cases at the European Court of Human Rights reveals a less than glowing record, falling far behind many other European countries.
European Court of Human Rights – Violation Statistics 1959 to 2014 – Number of judgements finding at least one violation. (Lower numbers are better). The United Kingdom is 36th out of 47 on the list.
1959 – 2014
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There are reports and articles in some of the mainstream press that we just pass by as the usual propaganda initiated by the Tory spin machine, and there are others that are truly sickening.
The BBC’s ‘article’ entitled ‘The David Cameron story’ falls into the latter category. In fact, it is beyond sickening, as it clearly displays the sycophantism that is rife throughout the public broadcaster.
In the article, writer Brian Wheeler attempts to put a positive spin on every aspect we have come to despise in Cameron.
Wheeler writes: “Not only was he the first former pupil of Eton to hold office since the early 1960s, he can also trace his ancestry back to William IV, making him a distant relative of the Queen,” in the context that both of these are an attribute – which we consider neither to be.
Having had a privileged and cosseted…
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Hundreds of thousands of British citizens were left unable to vote around the world and across the UK after registering to vote by post.
Ex-pats from all over the world have complained that they did not receive their ballot papers in time to vote in the general election.
Speaking in the Independent, Brian Cave, 82, an expat in south-eastern France, has been compiling a dossier of evidence of the problem which he plans to send to the Electoral Commission. He said reports have come in that standard UK postage was used on ballot papers that arrived too late to be sent back by the close of voting at 10pm last night.
“I have received complaints from people about the non-reception of voting papers from as far apart as California, Massachusetts, Norway, France and Spain,” said Mr Cave, who runs a blog supporting the rights of Britons overseas.
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Within hours of the general election result being announced the Conservative party announced several policies, some of which had been ‘hampered’ by their coalition partners in the last government.
As the results came in and it was clear the Conservatives were heading back to Number 10, Theresa May announced that the party would reintroduce the Draft Communications Data Bill, giving the government unprecedented surveillance power.
The snoopers’ charter received huge criticism from computing experts and civil liberties campaigners in the wake of introduction. It was set to come into law in 2014, but Nick Clegg withdrew his support for the bill and it was blocked by the Liberal Democrats.
Cameron indicated that the government would seek even more surveillance powers. Speaking in Paris in January, he said there should be no form of communication that the government was unable to read, which could lead to encrypted messaging applications such as…
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Over 400 psychotherapists, counsellors, and other mental health professionals have described government proposals contained in the budget as “profoundly disturbing” and creating an “intimidatory disciplinary regime”.
In a letter to The Guardian newspaper, the experts said that austerity cuts are impacting on the emotional and psychological wellbeing of the nation, and amounted to nothing more than unethical ‘get to work therapy’.
Increasing inequality and poverty, families being moved out of their homes and new systems determining benefit levels were part of “a wider reality of a society thrown completely off balance by the emotional toxicity of neoliberal thinking”, according to more than 400 signatories to the letter. The consequences were “most visible in the therapist’s consulting room”.
The letter’s writers said it “sounds the starting bell for a broadly based campaign of organisations and professionals against the damage that neoliberalism is doing to the nation’s mental health”.
The 2015 budget…
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As we have reported many times, the claims of the government that their so-called ‘austerity measures’ are saving money for the taxpayer are nothing more than lies. Simple.
In particular, their claim of saving money through housing benefit reforms are ridiculous and defy simple logic. Looking at the ramifications of their ill-thought-out policy shows that the housing benefit bill has risen considerably as a direct result of their incompetence and social engineering policies.
The following report is from The Guardian.
Britain’s failure to build affordable homes has led to a soaring housing-benefit bill – with half a million more people now relying on state hand-outs to pay their rent than when the coalition came to power, a damning new analysis reveals.
The coalition’s crackdown on welfare has failed to prevent an explosion in the number of people relying on state help in recent years, with a total of five…
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Wonga Group will remain as Newcastle United sponsor until at least 2017, despite a major restructuring and cost reduction programme that will see it shed half of the workforce supporting its UK arm.
The company has announced a strategic refocus on its consumer business, which will see its UK headcount drop from 650 to 325 as its alters its business model in light of the rapidly changing short-term credit market.
A spokesman confirmed that all marketing is under review as part of the process.
However, he added:
“As far as Newcastle United is concerned, we have a contractual obligation until 2017.”
It is expected the phased reduction in roles will primarily impact teams that support the UK business from London, Dublin, Cape Town and Tel Aviv.
The remaining roles are expected to be based in London and Cape Town, with plans to close the Tel Aviv office by mid-2015 and the Dublin office by mid-2016.
Wonga will immediately launch a formal 30 day consultation period for those at risk of redundancy and expects all changes to be complete within 12 months.
Andy Haste, who was appointed group chairman in July, said:
“Our focus is on creating a business that meets the demand for short-term credit sustainably and responsibly, resulting in good customer outcomes.
“We’ve already made significant changes, including appointing a new leadership team, implementing a new risk decision engine and tightening our lending criteria.
“However, Wonga can no longer sustain its high cost base which must be significantly reduced to reflect our evolving business and market.
“Regrettably, this means we’ve had to take tough but necessary decisions about the size of our workforce.
“We appreciate how difficult this period will be for all of our colleagues and we’ll support them throughout the consultation process.”
As part of the restructuring plan, Wonga – which has also agreed to sell its small business lending brand Everline to Orange Money Ltd – will now focus on its core consumer businesses in the UK and overseas.
It has likewise filed an application for authorisation with the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK, beginning a regulatory process that can last up to a year.
Source – Newcastle Evening Chronicle, 24 Feb 2015
A leader of a controversial ‘anti-extremist Islam’ movement today claimed they already have an established following in Newcastle.
More than 320 people have now gone online to confirm attendance at Pegida UK’s Tyneside rally which has also sparked interest from Far-right wing groups in the region.
> Well, there’s a suprise – I wonder how many members of the local racist loonies are the same people as those apparently supporting Pegida ? I’m sure they’ll see it as a nice Trojan horse…
The British arm of the highly-criticised German protest movement say their North East following is one of the reasons they will be coming to the city at the end of this month.
The decision by the group to hold their first UK demo in Tyneside has already met with widespread condemnation.
But Pegida representative Matthew Pope said the march would be “peaceful” with the aim of standing against extremist forms of Islam.
Mr Pope added:
“We did not want to start our UK demos in London because there are a lot of right-wing extremists there and we wouldn’t want to associate ourselves with them.
> Tough shit, mate. You’re going to be their puppet organization.
“We are already have a following in Newcastle and it is far enough away from London to be the best place to get things underway.”
Mr Pope said anywhere up to 1,000 marchers could be expected in the city centre on the planned date of the demonstration, Saturday, February 28.
The plans have been met with concern and the Chronicle can reveal that several individuals, associated with Far-right groups in the North East have already, via social media, confirmed they will be attending.
In a Facebook post, Pegida UK sent out an open invitation to the march, stating: “All are welcome to attend. Let’s show the Islamists we show no fear.”
Under the banner of ‘Patriotic Europeans against the Islamisation of the West’, the group claims it is trying to defend countries from the spread of extremism at the hands of Muslim immigrants.
Mr Pope said:
“We understand that we are going to get tarnished with the same brush as certain other groups but this will be a peaceful demonstration.”
Mr Pope went on to say the purpose of the march would be to take a stand against Islamic extremism and not against the Muslim community.
However, he did say Pegida had concerns about the way the UK Government and police forces were approaching certain issues.
“We have concerns about the way Islam is being taught in schools. We are also worried with the way some groups seems to be setting their own laws withing our system of laws.
“We are certainly not against immigration, but feel our culture is being taken over by another culture.”
Mr Pope said that on February 28, protesters would be handing out leaflets and posters with containing information about their aims and about their views of Islamic law.
Opponents to the group have said they will hold a counter-demonstration if the Newcastle march goes ahead.
Councillor Dipu Ahad, from Elswick, Newcastle, has already written to Northumbria Police’s chief constable asking for the demo to be banned.
“I’m not hopeful this will happen so we will be planning our own counter-protest, bringing together people from all cultures in the city to celebrate the diversity of our community in a peaceful and celebratory manner.”
Anti Fascist groups in the city also say they are monitoring the plans for the protest.
Since the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris, dozens of Pegida chapters have popped up online, prompting some reports that the group is establishing a bigger presence across Europe – in France, Norway, Sweden, Belgium, Spain, the UK and other countries where local Pegida Facebook pages have sprung up.
Will the march go ahead?
Pegida UK say they are currently in talks with Northumbria Police over the date, time and place of the march.
Mr Pope said:
“As representative for the organisation I have just started liaising with Northumbria Police about our plans.
“We are hoping that this will be on February 28.
“Although an exact route has not been set down, it will be in Newcastle city centre and we can expect anywhere up to 1,000 people to be attending.
“We are happy to work with the police and follow any guidelines which they set down.”
Newcastle City Council said they had not been contacted by the organisation.
A spokesman added that they have to wait to be informed by the police about any demonstrations happening in the city before taking any necessary action.
Source – Newcastle Evening Chronicle, 06 Feb 2015
A notorious European ‘anti-Islam’ movement says it will hold its first British demo in Newcastle.
Pegida has sparked huge controversy in Germany.
Under the banner of ‘Patriotic Europeans against the Islamisation of the West’, it claims it is trying to defend countries from the spread of extremism at the hands of Muslim immigrants.
It brought 25,000 to the streets of Dresden in demos backing its cause.
But it also sparked huge counter demos, with 100,000 protesting against its stance.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has described it as racist, and Pegida’s leadership was said to be in crisis with “massive hostility, threats and career disadvantages” causing five of its senior members to step down after its founder was pictured dressed as Adolf Hitler.
It is advertising its first ever UK demo for Newcastle on February 28, the Mirror has reported.
It is the first of a series of demos planned for the UK, with others due to take place in Manchester, Birmingham and London.
Northumbria Police has yet to be notified about the event.
Pegida’s UK spokesman told the Mirror:
“We do not want to attract extremists to this rally.
“We are against radical Islam, hate preachers and believe Muslims need to adapt to our way of life in the West instead of us adapting to them.
“We do not want to do anything illegal and we will liaise with the police over this even if it means delaying the march by a week or two.
“We expect anywhere from 500 to 3,000 people for our first rally, and could then move on to London, Manchester and Birmingham.
“We chose Newcastle as neutral ground. This is a new and peaceful movement, and we do not want to get into any racist, right wing stuff.
> Well that’ll confuse the home-grown right wing loonies… are they supposed to support it or not ?
“This is against extremism. If we can get 300 terrorists out of the UK, then as far as we are concerned that is a step in the right direction.”
Northumbria Police said they had not been contacted by the organisers of the February 28 event.
The group has also held its first march in Austria, where it attracted a few hundred supporters.
Source – Newcastle Evening Chronicle, 05 Feb 2015