Tuesday, 31 May 2011

A woman to be admired

Sharon Shoesmith is for me a person to be greatly admired.

She scraped herself off the public pavement and has fought back against the odds.

She was made a scapegoat for the inadequacies of the governments support of the social services.

She had Ed Balls making an example of her without examining his responsibility in what happened.

The media rose up against her because it made a good story and whipped up ill informed criticism of her department. This was at a time when the problem really was that the social services were ill equipped to deal with the problems they faced in Harrigey society.

In the BBC report we hear that the court heard Ms Shoesmith had not been able to find work since she was sacked, had experienced suicidal thoughts and continued to be vilified by the press.

"But as the judges have said, making a 'public sacrifice' of an individual will not prevent further tragedies," she added.

Ms Shoesmith said she had received death threats in the wake of the Baby Peter case that had "terrified" her.
"The police were advising me that I was probably at risk," she said. "And when people begin to take photographs of you on the trains and on the buses and point you out and start to shout, 'That's that woman,' you're fearful of where that can go."

The guardian reports  :

The furore had broken three weeks previously after Peter's killers were convicted, and Shoesmith found herself at the centre of media attention. She had anticipated a "steadying hand" from Balls and his officials.

Even after he ordered an Ofsted report on Haringey's safeguarding services, she had no inkling that she was to be sacked and offered up as what the appeal court judges called a "public sacrifice".

Then came Balls's infamous press conference, in which he held up the Ofsted report and announced he had used special powers to remove her.
She did not believe something as outrageous as being sacked on live TV could happen. "I was shocked. I probably didn't move out of the chair for three days. I was utterly stunned at what on earth had gone on. When I read the [Ofsted] report I questioned the evidence and I question it to this day."

Now Cameron shows his true colours by questioning the courts decision backed by the Daily Mail in a typical tabloid article that demonstrates just what Sharon Shoesmith is up against

We should not stand by and allow politicians and the press to do this to an individual that has the best interests of others at heart. She should be truly vindicated.

Again I put my trust in the legal system in the form of the High Court to defend her and make her opponents think twice in future about their totally irresponsible action against an individual.

This is the old lynch mob syndrome rearing its pubic head in a very worrying way:

Lynch a victim and flout all thoughts of the actual facts and belief in justice.

I trust Cameron and those like him get their comeuppance

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Watch out if your on a Mac

 Basically don't believe it when you are told that you've got viruses that need cleaning up. It could be getting you to install some malignant software. This may apply to PCs as well I don't know.

It's just happened to me on a very Innocent looking site.

Luckily I'd seen the message below.

From the Mac users group:


There is a new form of malware out there and it covers itself by looking like a legitimate Mac Software installer.
As we know with all installer operations 99% require a admin password to install, doing this for malware opens the doors.
I picked it up somehow by looking at a link from a New Scientist page regarding a story about Area 51. (I hasten to add I didn't allow it to install)

So please be very wary.

Full story here



Dave Perry
Open University

From Jose Marques

Apple has a KB article on the subject now: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4650

Also :

There's actually a more comprehensive summary of the removal process at

Small Blue-Green World

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Amazing new technology in Ulverston

As everyone knows, the soil in Furness is very rich in Iron. It made some people in the past very rich.

Now we have some that are exploring the latest scientific break through:

That of growing scaffolding poles straight out of the soil.

This tried and tested method of growing wood from trees is being used in the very centre of the town to grow steel.

Best wishes to those in Ulverston with a flair for innovation.

"Straight as a die"

This is the quality in a person that most of us value most of all.

Naturally it's not one that in reality actually exists.

We're, after all, human.

It takes courage to be "straight".

Since none of us really know who we are - it's impossible.

At best we attempt an approximation.

That's why I enjoy the discussion group I join fortnightly on Thursdays.

It helps me sort out who I am and what, deep down, I believe.

We particularly value the quality of being "true to yourself" in the people we meet.

Most of all in the people who seek to lead us.

This is a hard path to follow as a politician.

President Obama is someone who for me qualifies. He comes across as "genuine" and trustworthy - though no one is completely so.

Tim Farron is another.

Thankfully there are some more - Shirley Williams heads the list, Archbishop Tutu another.

What they have to say helps us sort out what we believe ourselves.

Isn't it great that in Ulverston we have so many people who are 'wise'  - they just get on and live; they don't have to say anything; they just 'are' and we learn a lot by being contact and watching them get on with life.

I realise that this is why I enjoy being with young children. They, for the most part, are themselves and don't give others too much thought which I find refreshing. Of the humans we get to know, they are more understandable than those that are older.

May we encourage them to want to be "straight", "true to themselves", and like themselves.

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Friday, 20 May 2011

Dedicated to inspiring musicians

During this last week or so I've had two thrilling experiences that seem to me at the moment to excel anything I've ever experienced in my life before.

I return home to practice and practice and practice on the love of my life ( at the moment) my piano.

The first was Wednesday evening at the Malt Kiln - the musicians of the Budapest Cafe´orchestra

the previous experience was this:

Hearing it live at the Preston Guild Hall was - as will you will gather - inspiring.

What made it special was that the conductor projected the emotion so effectively that one felt that every musician played "out of their skins".

The audience of "golden (white haired) oldies clapped their hearts out. No wonder there were so many people being carried out because of heart attacks from over excitement. (only kidding).

So here is my homage to top rate musicians:


Watch this space - . . . . .

Last few days to see the Flags

They are coming down for a while on Monday morning!

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Sadly , they've gone!

To the West Coast of Scotland and beyond.

Starting at Drumnadrochit, via Eigg, Mull and Iona .

You missed an amazing evening

But you lucky guys, they're stopping off nearby at Arnside on their way home to London.

Hear them at Arnside Village Hall in just over a fortnight on the Evening of Sunday 5th June .

Better book your ticket now!

They'll be high as kites after what I'm sure will be an exhilarating tour.

With material like this what else?

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

The Great British Legal System ?

Doreen Laurence is quoted as saying:

"It's been a long time in coming but we still have a long way to go,"

Will Stephen Laurence's murderers at last be convicted?

Can we start to believe in the police and our legal system?

I have many friends that still have severe doubts.

From my experiences with the Ulverston Police Force, I trust several of them but not the system that employs them.

This case could start to redress the balance.

At least I know of no other country whose police I would trust more.

Monday, 16 May 2011

The Great British Public

Voted recently!

We are told that we should take their result seriously.

"You CAN NOT be serious?

"Really serious?"

Have you watched the junk they are glued to on Tele most nights?

Have you watched the ads on tele.

Don't they tell you a lot about "The Great British Public?"

People pay good money for these ads in the belief that they help sell their products.

Persil washes "whiter" - they used to say after they had added blue specs of dye to their "white".

One has to assume that successful businessmen know what they are doing when they spend their valuable money "wisely".

They seem to have a firm belief that they can brainwash the public into buying their 'superior' products.

Looking at many of the ads for cars leads to strange conclusions about how minds of the public work and what persuades them.

Haven't we all been brainwashed into thinking that rain is bad and sun is good.

With global warming, how long will this continue? Drought and unworkable high temperatures may change minds. But will they?

The cost of food may one day persuade us that "Rain is good". But will the weather forecast presenters ever say this?

Yesterday I spent a lovely time persuading a youngster that rain was fun. And he became a rain enthusiast.

A chance to watch and listen to water running down pipes and into drains. Water drumming on empty dustbins. A chance to find puddles deep enough to stamp in and cause a splash and,  joy of joys, one deep enough to say "I haven't got  any Wellies" and then to proceed to wade angle deep in shoes that were open at the top. He was overjoyed, maybe naughtily, that he'd got his socks wet.

In the future he may question the myth that rain is bad and sun is good and start thinking for himself:

Someone that will question ads and the exaggerated statements made by many of the those around him.

Hopefully he will grow up to be part of a more humble and realistic "British Public",  part of the Thinking and Questioning British Public who are not easily swayed by cliches, half truths and outright lies.

NHS reform

I've just received this:

Sadly I don't feel up to speed on this issue though this comment from Shirley Williams is certainly edifying:

"I do not know if the prime minister authorised or knew about remarks made by his adviser Mark Britnell, who, at a recent conference in New York organised by the private equity company Apax, is reported to have said that the NHS was to become a "state insurance provider, not a state deliverer" of care, adding that this was "a big opportunity for those companies that can facilitate this process".

I don't agree with saying no to any change in the NHS but am wary of the changes, proposed.

A sweeping change like the one proposed by Cameron and done so quickly is not on.

The Liberals need to show that they are going to force the lying Tories ( as exhibited in the AV referendum ) to dramatically change their proposals.

(Which is why AV is/was such a good system as it provided the electorate the means to put pressure on government to change extreme proposals that are so common with governments of all kinds with large majorities)

Shirley Williams, who is the politician, above all all others, that I admire the most, looks like one of the Liberals that is intent in putting some backbone into floppy Clegg. Paddy Ashdown comes second and is another of the same ilk. The Conservative, David Davies is another I admire - why is he strangely out of the news - is he too embarrassed by his present leader to voice and opinion? Perhaps not!

Dear Geoff,

Over the past week we've all been forwarding the Save the NHS petition to our friends, and sharing it on Facebook and Twitter. It's working - between us we gathered 100,000 more signatures in the last seven days!

Meanwhile, 38 Degrees members have started handing in copies of the petition to their local MPs. This weekend, in Blackpool, East Kilbride, Truro, Filey and Sheffield, 38 Degrees members asked their MPs to oppose Andrew Lansley's dangerous NHS plans.

Watch what happened on Friday evening when 38 Degrees members in Sheffield delivered a copy of our petition to Nick Clegg:

Nick Clegg was visibly taken aback at the size of the petition. Several of his aides had to help him carry it! 38 Degrees members made it clear to Clegg that he needs to stand up to Lansley and block the NHS plans if he wants to win back voters' trust.

Imagine the effect if we deliver a copy of our 380,000 strong petition to every single MP in the country. It will send a stir through Parliament, and should help tip the balance against Andrew Lansley's plans. By working together we can make this happen.

It's pretty easy to organise a petition hand-in to your MP. Find out more, and sign up to help, here:

38 Degrees members who've already organised visits to their MPs have found it pretty simple. There's info and advice on the 38 Degrees website. 38 Degrees volunteers in the office are on hand to help if you need it. It takes 2 or 3 hours in total, spread over about a month.

It works something like this:
- put your name down on the 38 Degrees website
- get in touch with your MP's office to book an appointment
- choose a meeting place near to where you're meeting your MP, where 38 Degrees members can gather half an hour earlier (e.g. a cafe, pub, community centre)
- post up the meeting time and place on the 38 Degrees website. We'll be able to let every 38 Degrees member in your area know so they can come along

Please put your name down to get started:

On Friday, confronted with our huge petition, Nick Clegg said some warm words. But, as you'll see from the video, he didn't fully address some of our big concerns. Other politicians seem to be further from where we'd like them to be -  the BBC is reporting today that David Cameron wants to "stand firm" on the NHS plans. [1] Our pressure has already pushed Clegg, but if we're going to save the NHS we need to make sure that every MP feels the heat. 

Here's what Bob, a 38 Degrees member in Blackpool said after organising a petition delivery to his local MP:
"I've never done anything like this before and it was very easy to set up the meeting. It only took about three hours in total. We met up with other 38 Degrees members before the meeting and then went to see our MP. He was very pleased to see us and showed a keen interest in our comments. The local press came along with a reporter and photographer. Can't wait to see the papers!"

Can you do the same with your local MP? Put your name down here:

Thanks for getting involved,

Johnny, Hannah, Becky, David, Cian, Marie and the 38 Degrees team

PS: Thousands of 38 Degrees members emailed our MPs last week urging the government to keep their green promises. It looks like it's working - the press is reporting that tomorrow David Cameron will step back from the brink. Find out more here: http://blog.38degrees.org.uk/2011/05/16/cameron-to-back-climate-targets/

[1] BBC: Cameron set to stand firm on need for NHS changes http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-13408021

"We were not amused"


The joke labels have been removed.

Bare beds are back!

How boring!

We have an establishment without a sense of humour.

Local people and visitors have been deprived of a chuckle.

Surprise surprise!

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Do we really believe in cuts ?

It's clear that the countries finances are in a mess..

Due in my view, largely to irresponsible bankers across the world who have been to ready to lead money to those that relied on favourable conditions.

The current thinking, which seems to go unchallenged, is that we need to cut spending which means cutting much needed services, leads to unemployment and misery for some many people most of them poor.

Why is it that the alternative approach is never talked about:

That we can't raise more revenue?

ie Tax those that can afford it

I believe its because the political parties nearly all favour those with money and are afraid to tax them.

As long as I can buy Mangetout and many other luxury items in the Supermarkets, I believe we have an unfair system of taxation.

There are plenty of people that are not being affected unduly by government measures and I'm one of them. Until I start feeling hardship I believe I'm being unfairly treated - too well.

I therefore support those that rebel in many ways at what is happening at the moment - in some cases they are making their point. Until we hear that rich and the moderately well off are feeling the pinch as much as those suffering extreme hardship I know the system is wrong - typical of a Tory Government that takes care of its own kind.

What do you think?

Qualities to be admired - beware if you visit The Gill with an out of control dog

It's rare to find someone in Ulverston that when they are annoyed about an issue put so much effort into dealing with it as Gill Resident, Paul Holmes.

Many of us in The Gill have given up over the issue of dog mess. We patiently clear it up when others that avoid detection create this absolute nuisance which is much more being a health hazard as well.

From the Evening Mail Article, Paul clearly put a very powerful case. He had researched the way other communities across the country had used Bye Laws to deal with the problem.

It seems that the Town Council was shocked by the thoroughness and power of his arguments and evidence. This included reports that tourists and others from outside the immediate area remark about the amount of mess that is on the path that is the beginning of the Cumbria Way.

What is even more serious is that several people or their dogs, both local and from away have been bitten by dogs that are out of control. One of these dog owners responded fiercely recently when criticised about the behaviour of her dog and refuses to keep it on a lead so that there have been several severe injuries to other dogs.

So fed up are the people here in The Gill that about ten people have signed a statement that they will prosecute  even first time offenders if they catch them. One of them even goes around with a camera attempting to catch an offending dog and their owner 'in the act' so watch out.

Paul Homes has done a great job so far and we're so pleased that he's not going to let the matter rest even now. He is to be found using every minute he can spare doing a survey and recording every incident in Gill Banks so that he has a strong case for futher action from local authorities.

It's very satisfying that Cllr Colin Hodgson, our local councillor, has taken on board the issue and will be leading a dicussion at the next council meeting.

Quote from the paper:

“It is an issue we should take on.

“We have a responsibility as we have taken over the lease (of The Gill).

“We should put it on the agenda for the next meeting.”

Well done and thankyou Paul Holmes; we're very much behind you on every aspect of what you say.

This Wednesday Evening - They are special

 these are exceptionally talented musicians.

Tongue in Cheek

Captured on 'film'

Ulverston, Cumbria shows its creative streak

Ulverston Town Council are adopting an unusual approach to add pizzazz to their town streets in order to add that bit of "je ne sais quoi"  to their Flag lined streets during its current festival.

The Town Clerk, David Parratt was heard to say that in these times of cuts and financial hardship, the Town Council have adopted this unusual approach at their recent Council Meeting.

Former Mayor Phil Lister is quoted as stating that these 'flowers' have many desirable characteristic:

"They will survive any weather that global warming throws at us - drought, scorching heat even freezing conditions.

We regret that the real thing is no longer within the scope of our public purse.

We feel these replicas will remind us of our sunlit past and help us look forward to the better times we are determined to achieve in the future."

The above was used as a press release yesterday morning.

It elicited a furious phone call from David Parratt, the town clerk that "We (unspecified) are not amused", in spite of receiving the following accompanying email to him:

I trust you will both feel that this will will put a wry smile on people's faces and alert the rest of the world that we share a strong sense of humour during difficult times.

For me it puts across the message that our Northern Town is a fun place to visit with a strong determination to make the most of life , whatever is thrown at us.


I gather from this the Town Council don't have a sense of humour.

Was David speaking for himself and his secretary as the "we" or was this meant to mean the whole Town Council?

It is reassuring to find that many sane people seem to have found the prank amusing.

What do you think?

Believe it or not, the origin of these labels comes from a government directive that force the wholesalers to buy them at 4p each when they don't want them - this is an example of bureaucracy gone mad.

Thousands of pounds must be wasted in this rediculous legislation.

Where does it originate?

Out of action

"Blogger" was withdrawn from service for nearly 48 hours and has only been available since last night.

Makes me think that there is a need for a back up alternative using another one that is Google based.

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Why I still feel positive

- about the present political situation is that there are some - not very many - great people in politics.

Now is their chance to speak out honestly, avoiding polispeak, and tell us really what they think and give us the benefit of their wisdom.

Many of these people are Liberals though there are several Conservatives and Labour people as well.

Now is their opportunity to talk 'sense' and demonstrate what they are really made of.

What we admire is a man when he is down, to scrape himself off the floor and fight back with every ounce of self dignity and guts that he can muster ( please substitute she and herself wherever appropriate).

For the Liberals this applies particularly to Clegg who has to show us his fighting spirit or step aside for someone who can. We're not looking for people who shout and holler but those that speak with calm confidence and tell us exactly what they think and stand by their word.

This is how the Liberals and other politicians will gain our respect.

Conservatives who speak out boldly that they're disgusted with Cameron's behaviour and risk their political career. It can't be easy when you won a fight by shabby dishonest tactics. We all need to like ourselves to survive as people if we are to be positive to others.

This is a time for quality of leadership to show itself.

In the past I have voted Conservative as well as Labour and Liberal. At the moment I would find it very hard to support a Conservative who didn't denounce the behaviour of the No campaigners.

I look too for Labour leadership that doesn't just shout down the opposition  but demonstrates that it acknowledges mistaken policies of the past and is putting into practice where it can, policies that put people first.

In summary I'm looking for people and not political parties to offer solutions and leadership.

We now have difficult times where the qualities of people themselves are the most important.

Let's see what they are really made of by what they say and particularly what they do. Can they stand above party politics and convince us that they are worthy of our support.

I suspect there are a lot of people who are fed up with polispeak and polibehaviour but instead want honest commitment, trustworthiness and steadfastness; qualities are occasionally to be found in politicians and ones we value.

Flags - beautiful photography set to wonderful music

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Don't forget to vote

It's easily done.

I'd already managed to forget !

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Vote for AV today - Thursday

Because of the expected low turn out it could be those of us that are keen on democracy and are well informed will win the day.

Received today from "Yes to Fairer Votes":

So far today we've received an incredible £9,323 in donations to keep our ads online.

Thousands of target voters have seen ads like this already today, but we want to spread the word further.

These ads are our last chance to reach out to our target voters before voting day - and this is absolutely your last chance to invest in fairer votes.

Please don't miss it. Give now - help us keep the ads online longer and win more votes.

*        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *

Isn't it sad that a thing so precious as democracy is sold on the merits of its advertising rather than the nature of its reasoning.

The view that has the most advertising behind it is usually the most persuasive.

It reminds me of the story that in a South American Country a brand of toothpaste won the election - by mistake.

Certainly the leaflet for the No vote, I received, was the more convincing in terms of its glossy size and the quality of the lies it told.

Who in their right mind sees a connection between Nick Clegg's 'broken promises' and AV.

Cameron's Tories are trying to win the argument with blatant lies.

AV is much fairer because it helps reflect the view of the majority and not a powerful minority.

Vote for a system the allows your vote to count even though you may not get your first choice candidate.

Vote for a system that avoids frustration that leads to people not voting at all.

Upset the polls that predict a result based on crooked expensive glossy Tory advertising.

Vote for a system that allows the majority view to win.

Monday, 2 May 2011

It's those flags - again !

Really living life to the full!

Fight for AV

It will be our last chance to improve our democracy for many years if the No vote wins.

This is a very precious moment in our British democracy.

A chance to make some major improvements the large parties won't like.

It gives them less power to make sweeping changes which lead to havoc from ill thought out policies.

We are witnessingthe kind of result AV will produce: a Coalition that prevents sweeping changes taking place.

The excesses of Conservative policy are being reigned in by repeated compromises insisted on by the Liberals.

Yes the Liberals have been forced to ditch some of their policies, Clegg has had to 'break' promises but he is not in power. He is not in a position to keep them. His alternative is to sacrice the Coalition and precipitate an election at a time when this country needs stability to solve the economic crisis.

It is the Conservatives that are to some extent 'in control' but because the Liberals with MPs like Tim Farron have a strong say in policies, so that the Conservatives have been forced to abandon or seriously modify their policies.

AV leads to well debated , better thought out policies.

It's particularly important for thinking people to get out and vote as many less well informed won't both bother if there's nothing else to vote on as is the case in this area.

AV achieves the will of the majority. It prevents the excesses of Thatcher, Blair  and all those with a large majority in Parliament.

It means that we can influence policy at any time - not just at elections.

With AV we can force a debate to take place before drastic policies are forced through.

AV brings a little sanity to politics.