Friday, August 31, 2007

Flag burning season to start again.

Here we go again as another Swedish artist is upsetting Muslims across the world with his cartoons of the Prophet Muhammed. Lars Vilks has done a number of cartoons featuring the Prophet Muhammed as a dog like this one on his blog . He has drawn other cartoons featuring the Prophet Muhammed as a dog and even one showing the Prophet Muhammed playing football .

Fears grew of a new confrontation over images deemed blasphemous by Muslims as Pakistan joined Iran in protest at these cartoons. However, art is art and you should be able to take it or leave it. Artists must be free to work and not be censored by religious groups. Freedom of expression must be upheld throughout the world and Muslims are doing themselves no favours by objecting to an artist's work. People must be allowed to view whatever images they wish and Muslims should lighten up a lot.

There should be humour about all aspects of life and that includes religion. If you cannot laugh at your own religious beliefs then you must be shallow in your convictions and very easily offended. Life is to be enjoyed and celebrated, Muslims should be able to join in and see the lighter side of life. Lose the chip on your shoulder, everyone is not out to get you and you should be able to have a laugh like the rest of us.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Boys From The Brown Stuff.

Following on from my post last week about the value of education and young peoples' attitudes, watching television last night was like a breath of fresh air. On BBC2 was a documentary film by Ken Loach called "The Boys From The Brown Stuff" . This was a wonderful film about the work and lives of men who work for Thames Water maintaining London sewers.

What I found so refreshing was how content the characters appeared to be in their most unglamourous of jobs. Today we are used to young people stating just how special they are, how with the wonders of education they are embarked upon glamourous career paths. Young people can fool themselves into believing that they all have the wonderful X Factor and can succeed at any interview or talent contest.

With the Boys from the Brown Stuff you had a more honest appraisal of their chances in life. They accepted their lot in life and they knew that whatever some members of the public thought of their filthy job, they were in secure and properly paid employment. Compared to other manual jobs they were paid a premium and also enjoyed a security of employment. They did not fool themselves about their employment prospects and were modest in their personal and domestic ambitions. They knew what life was about and just how little they could achieve on the world stage. They were content and happy with their lot, not the moaning whingers that a lot of British people are today. They understood a good work/life balance, how generations can live and work happily together. How a day job is not the end of the world and to be grateful for what each day can bring.

Ken Loach has shown that it is not only professionals at the top of their ladders that can have success in life. The little man, who career advancement will always pass him by, can have a full and happy life. These Thames Water workmen were not suffering from stress or mid-life crises but were as happy as pigs in a heap of dung.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Two clicks and away.

This computer is my simple reading and writing machine. I switch the power on at the monitor, then I switch the power on at the system box and walk into my kitchen to make a cup of tea. When I return to my dining room this computer has booted up into Windows XP service pack 2 and I simply double click on the Mozilla Firefox icon and I am away reading and writing on the internet. This is simple, two clicks and away - there is no thought about the technology involved or the software running in the background. Just two clicks and away, I get used to this and like most internet users can take these processes for granted.

A friend of ours has bought herself a laptop computer and has signed up for Sky Broadband and asked me to set it up for her. The modem comes with instructions and an installation CD. All should be easy for me to do, read the instructions, run the CD and everything should work.

From experience of other broadband service providers I know that things do not always work first time. The nature of the beast is that one size does not fit all. Also although many computers run Windows XP there are differences from one computer manufacturer to another.

I poked around but the installation CD did not appear to gain an internet connection. The modem with it's well documented flashing lights appeared to be working correctly. I tried to make a manual internet connection using the wizards offered with Windows XP but this did not work. I was stumped and could not figure out how to get it working. She decided to telephone the helpline and they talked me through it. They talked me through a logical process and by making a few changes that did not appear to make sense the internet connection suddenly went live. Success but I do not know how much our friend paid in telephone call charges. Now her laptop is working she can now have a simple two click internet experience like I enjoy without considering what is happening behind the scenes.

It is at times like these that you realize just how involved computers are but that they are very user friendly once they are running properly. For all the claims of ease of use and software that is machine independent, in the real world the beast behaves very differently.

Thankfully computer users do not need much knowledge about software and various settings. Once a computer and it's internet connection is set up it is simply two clicks and away on your tamed beast. The nature of a tamed beast is far better than a new beast that may not obey regardless what the salesperson will claim.

Many thanks to the staff on the Sky Broadband helpdesk for being able to resolve problems with software which should be universal but in reality has quite a few differences between versions and machines.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Chug, chug, chug, the Russians are coming.

Eurofighter Typhoon jets scrambled for the first time to intercept Russian nuclear bombers approaching British air space, the Ministry of Defence said yesterday. The incident comes as part of continued Russian sabre-rattling by President Vladimir Putin. In two incidents this summer Russian Tu-95 nuclear bombers were spotted heading towards British air space off Scotland and over the US-held territory of Guam. There is a suggestion that Russia could be testing the West's air detection systems and response times. Officers at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, a secret scientific establishment, said diesel electric submarines were believed to have been spotted close to British shores.

What surprised me is the age of this technology. We think about Star Wars military capabilities but these engines are really old school. We have planes with jet engines today yet the Tu-95 is powered by four Kuznetsov turboprop engines, each driving contra-rotating propellers, and remains the fastest propeller-driven aircraft to go into operational use. That is definitely old school, a propeller-driven plane. We hear about nuclear submarines but these are powered by old school diesel electric engines.

Are the Russians going to be putting on preservation rallies demonstrating old aircraft and submarines? Will the Russian Army be advancing overland in preserved Leyland Leopard coaches?

Whatever happens the Russians can come towards our shores, chug, chug, chug they are coming. This also demonstrates that new technology is not always cost effective when you can deploy some excellent old workhorses like these.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The wonders of education with young people.

Oh I begin to wonder the value of education with young people. I think that maybe the time and money has been badly spent. New Labour promised education, education, education but what for I ask? I am not alone for wondering the value of further education and in particular university education. There is a flow of thought that suggests that if you school people long enough they will become educated. This is a dream, and a very silly dream at that.

People need to have life skills, ones that help them succeed in work and their everyday lives. This is not some classical education involving dead languages but skills that are used in the workplace or home. This is what used to be called common sense and growing up but is now awarded a National Vocational Qualification. This nonsense continues and these little princesses are now special, they need - in their parents eyes - to go to university. That way their little madams will succeed in society. This way their little daughter will gain good employment not through diligence or experience but a university grade that has been awarded from study that is very often not related to employment in the real world.

This is money and time wasted when what we want is on-the-job training - giving people the skills to work professionally in todays world.

Children play with train sets in their childhoods. They accept arrivals into their stations, allocate platforms, place departure routes through conflicting points and send their trains out on time. Fine, everybody is happy. Nowadays these princesses go to university and have not played with their train sets but have passed important exams. They then gain employment and have little or no on-the-job training and struggle to perform basic work tasks that any playful child with a train set could master.

So there we are, little Amy is on her station holding a coach for 45 minutes, for a connecting coach which has no connecting passengers for a waiting service, watches it arrive, does nothing and neglects to dispatch the delayed service. For this she offers no explanation or apology as she is new on the job. I rest my case and most of the non-university educated public understand just how little these little madams have to offer industry.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Toilet humour from Muhammad.

In an interview with Saudi cleric Muhammad Al-Munajid, which aired on Iqra TV on July 26, 2007: he said...

"There are rules of shari'a in everything. We have counted almost 70 rules about how to urinate and defecate. In contrast, how do those beasts in the West answer the call of nature? They stand in front of other people, in toilets at airports and other public places. They do not care about covering their private parts. Even their underwear is colored and not white, so it can conceal all that filth. We are a nation that has long known the meaning of cleanliness, what to do when nature calls, and what the rules of hygiene are. The others, to this day, live like beasts. To this day, many of them are not circumcised, even though the World Health Organization has advised to circumcise people as a treatment for AIDS, because it has been scientifically proven that circumcised people are less susceptible to AIDS, and are less likely to spread it than uncircumcised people."

...Well, well this guy is not the life and soul of any party. This guy has a lot of hang ups and is talking like a right sissy. I thought that only women were fussy about toilets but this cleric is more frightened of public toilets than women with their delicate skin are.

We have good toilet hygiene in the West, we wash our hands. Remember that urine and faeces cannot bite you and your skin is an excellent protector. To urinate or defecate in front of other people will not do you or them any harm whatsoever. We have no hang ups about public toilets, which is how it should be. Unlike Muslims we can wipe our bottoms with both hands, not just our left hand. Did this superstition come from Muslims not having running water to wash both hands, so the right hand had to be kept clean for later food preparation? I have noticed that in all the Muslim countries I have visited on holiday that their toilets are absolutely spotless - gleaming clean.

The colour of peoples' underwear is a personal choice and has nothing to do with their lifestyle.

Circumcision is a barbaric assault on the person, generally without the consent of the child and serves no real purpose. Once the boy has his foreskin removed, it has gone forever.

The sight of men having sex in public toilets would probably make this cleric faint with horror, so I would not recommend he came to the UK for a holiday. He might find our toilets and men to dirty for his tastes.
Always listen to announcements.

Always listen to announcements no matter how familiar you are in various situations. Listen when people remind you about emergency exits, you never know who else is around and you may need that emergency exit. Some people were very pleased to know where all the emergency exits were on their plane...

Two men who hijacked a Turkish passenger jet gave themselves up and all 142 people on board escaped unharmed after a four-hour hostage drama. Most of the passengers managed to escape from the rear exit of the plane while the hijackers were releasing the women and children from the front exit, passengers who left the aircraft said.

...OK, so these were not the brightest of hijackers but this story does illustrate the importance of listening to all announcements even if you think they are inane.

Many people get off their coaches at the wrong stops here in the UK, clearly ignoring the driver's announcement of the stop definition. They assume that their stop is the only stop on that route and have ignored both common sense and previous announcements.

Friday, August 17, 2007

The reign of terror.

The death toll in the co-ordinated suicide bomb attack on the minority Yazidi sect in northern Iraq could be as high as 500, medics have said. Five fuel tankers were driven by suicide bombers into two crowded villages belonging to Kurdish members of the Yazidi religious sect before they were detonated almost simultaneously. A vast number of clay-built homes in Al-Qataniyah and Al-Adnaniyah were levelled by the blast on Tuesday night which was followed by an enormous fireball. Television pictures showed badly burned and screaming survivors, many of them children, in hospital. More than 350 are thought to have been injured.

But Major Rodger Lemons, operations officer for a US brigade in the area, which is near the city of Mosul, said that rescue efforts are winding down. "My assessment is there’s probably no one left alive in the rubble," he said. "We’ve transitioned through to a clean-up phase." The US military has said the "al-Qa’eda in Iraq" group is the prime suspect for the attack on the Yazidis, seen by Sunni Muslim militants as infidels. Major Lemons said it appeared that two refuse trucks packed with explosives had been driven into each of the villages, Kahtaniya and al-Jazeera. In al-Jazeera, Iraqi security forces shot and killed the driver of one truck before it reached the village. Both trucks detonated in Kahtaniya village, he said.

The situation gets worse as time goes on with the reign of terror growing. I wrote about the problems in this region in May and now Al-Qa'eda in Iraq have chosen these villages as soft targets. I have feared before the threat posed by fuel tankers being driven by suicide bombers. The risk is there and I wondered just when it would happen. I see many fuel tankers driving along our roads here in the UK and wonder if a terrorist act of this type may happen in my lifetime. The heat and fire involved would be tremendous. These people were peacefully going about their daily lives, ordinary people not invading forces from another country. Their religion should have been their own private business but Al-Qa'eda consider them to be infidels and worthy only of slaughter. Can you imagine this happening in one of our cities?

Our towns and cities are getting worse with neighbourhoods being terrorised by unruly teenagers. I am not talking about the odd knocked over dustbin or moved traffic cone. I am talking about intimidation of whole communities by these lawless yobbos. This is more than a temporary nuisance, this can increase into cases of murder if these hooligans are rightly challenged over their behaviour. On Sunday, father-of-three Garry Newlove, 47, died after allegedly being attacked two days earlier by a gang who were throwing stones at a mechanical digger. Evren Anil, a 23-year-old science graduate, was killed when he challenged two teenagers who allegedly threw a half-eaten chocolate bar into his sister's car. Both incidents have added to fears that the risks of confronting drunken or aggressive youths is now too great. Commentators have claimed that law-abiding citizens are no longer willing to defend themselves or their property in case the police charge them with attacking the criminal. Last week Patrick Walsh, a homeowner, was arrested on suspicion of causing grievous bodily harm after a burglar fell 30ft from a window at his flat, although police have now told him no further action will be taken.

I agree with David Green, who is a Director of Civitas when he writes that an Alcohol ban is no answer; proper policing is to the problem of intimidating teenagers. The Police have enough powers already to deal effectively with the minority of teenagers who are a nuisance and who make peoples' lives a misery. Targeted policing of problem areas can bring back law and order to these communities. Young people must be told to respect everyone in our society and they are not above the law. Our streets are not a playground for them and they should be responsible for their own actions. They should not be allowed to intimidate other people by their physical fitness or superiority of numbers. Respect is earned and the minority of teenagers who abuse society should be put in their place by everyone, not just by uniformed Police Officers.

We must take a stand against all terrorism, large and small. We should not have to live our lives like frightened sheep nervous of wolves in our insecure communities.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Quality of reading matter.

Harry Mount starts his column in The Telegraph today...

Do you ever start talking to an incredibly boring person at a party and say to yourself, after five minutes: "Well, he's incredibly boring, but I'll talk to him for another 30 hours. He's bound to get better." Or, when you've finished with a newspaper you've enjoyed, do you ever put it on a shelf on prominent display so that you can admire it from a distance and never read it again?

No? Well, why do so many people do the same with books? I've lost count of the number of people I've met on holiday who are 100 pages into a book, still hoping it'll warm up.

...OK, so Harry's column goes on and he does have some points that I agree with. Some people do uphold undue reverence for books that should be throwaway items, just like newspapers. I think that people should set their own margins and not be afraid to follow them. With television I have a 15 minute rule, if the programme does not exceed my quality threshold within the first 15 minutes then I abort the programme. It is good for people to do the same with books and if it is rubbish then throw the book away. Your life is too valuable to waste reading rubbish books. However, caution should be made before you buy a book and if you choose wisely you will not buy a rubbish book. I hope that most book readers give could thought and research before they make the purchase and do not risk wasting both time and money. I have never been disappointed in the books I have purchased but I firmly believe that a fool and his money are easily parted. Choose your reading matter well, with good quality writing and subject material and you will not be disappointed but enlightened by your reading experience. If I did make a bad purchase, I would not waste my time after the first 10 pages, I would simply bin the book, put it down to experience and never buy a book by the same author again. The irony of Harry Mount's column is that he does not appear to recognize that the same rules apply to newspapers. I have switched my daily newspaper from the Independent to the Telegraph purely because of what quality of writing I was getting for my 70p. Readers can ditch their newspapers tomorrow if he and other journalists do not deliver the goods. The Telegraph is not brilliant every day and if it's quality slips then I could switch my reading quota very easily to paperback books. Watch out Harry, there are plenty of good quality authors out there who I could spend my reading time with and you could be out of a job mate. I have a book on the go at the moment and this guy can write far, far better than you mate.

So newspaper editors, if you do not excite and ring your readers' bells every day then they may become paperback readers and abandon your inconsistent quality newspapers.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Modern day lemmings.

Some people are just so stupid in their search for thrills. This new craze for tombstoning is plain stupid as this man who jumped at Durdle Door in Dorset demonstrated. Had other people on the beach not came to his rescue then he would have clearly died. His friends were of no use as his companions, two other men and a woman, grabbed his belongings and fled when they saw him land badly.

These modern day lemmings are stupid, it is obvious the risks involved and anyone jumping into water from these heights is a fool. This Playstation generation think that they are super heroes and whatever you can do in a video game can be done in the real world. What fools they are and would their loss to society be much considering their lack of reasoning. A fool and their money are easily parted is an old saying. A more up to date saying would be a tombstoner and their lives are easily parted. Forget the flash video games and live in the real world, people cannot fly - that is the job of birds and birds alone.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Judicial caning in Malaysia.

Here in the UK we have a justice system that can be rather liberal. Anti-social behaviour orders, suspended sentences and other punishments that quite often do not fit the crime. Common criminals are often let off lightly. The video below has caused some controversy world-wide and some people may consider this punishment barbaric.

When you read week after week the lenient punishments given to our common criminals we can make a case for judicial caning here in the UK. We could have a trial period in pilot areas where this scheme could operate under an agreed tariff. One lash of the cane across the naked buttocks of the offender could equal the fixed penalty fine of £60. Therefore a speeding motorist would have one lash but a shoplifter stealing £300 worth of goods would be given 5 lashes from the cane. We must have sex equality and treat both sexes the same under this trial. New Labour, new punishments, it even has a slogan and is sure to win votes. Imagine those shell suit wearing female shoplifters getting a big surprise when their polyester pants are pulled down and the cane is lashed against their expectant naked buttocks. Councils could gain revenue by selling tickets so that council tax payers could see justice being done rather than the lenient punishments we read about in our newspapers. Now watch the video and make up your own mind, I think it is worth a trial here in the UK.

Monday, August 06, 2007

What do you buy a coach potato for a present?

On Friday in the interests of journalistic balance I picked up a workmates' newspaper. I am a happy reader of the Daily Telegraph which I enjoy very much. My workmate that day had purchased a copy of the Daily Mail, the bigoted voice of middle England. So I looked at his newspaper with an open mind until I turned a page and roared out loud with laughter. It was a full page advert by Coopers of Stortford which featured a leisure device. My initial impression is that it was an April Fools joke but this company is serious. The wording of this advertisement was slightly different to the copy I have pasted below from their website but readers will get the general idea...


This Electric Mini Walker will help improve strength, fitness and circulation in your arms and legs, providing essential benefits from the comfort of your own home. Ideal for convalescents, the elderly or as a gentle exercise programme, it is extremely easy to use. Just sit in your favourite chair, put your hands or feet in the stirrups and pedal as you would a bike. A few moments every day gives you the same level of workout for your upper and lower body as a daily walk or cycle ride, yet you don't even have to step outside. Its built-in computer continually displays the elapsed time, pedal revolutions and estimated calories burnt. Features include: four speed settings, five time settings, LCD display and easy touch controls. Measures H29cm x W41cm x D45cm (10 1/2ins x 16ins x 17 3/4ins). Just a few minutes a day of gentle exercise and you will soon feel the benefit. Mains powered with a 1.9m (6ft 3ins) cable.

...And the cost, just £79.99 to enable a coach potato to plug into the electric, press a button and an electric motor will move their feet for them without them moving their backsides from the sofa. If they wanted a more vigorous workout then they could turn off the electric assistance. This advertisement included photographs of a happy model demonstrating this wonderful device. By the time I had read the full advertisement I could not control my laughter, I was in stitches.

The thought of Grandma sat at home, grazing on the sofa and watching daytime television. Suddenly she has a thought, into the stirrups go her feet and at the click of a button her feet are moving. All from the comfort of her favourite sofa, what more could a coach potato want from a present?

I think this product could sell like hot cakes across the pond in America.

There are other wonderful products on the Coopers of Stortford website including this big button telephone for £14.99 and it is claimed to be a best seller...

There's no need to reach for your glasses, the digits on this practical Big Button Phone are a massive 2.5cm x 2cm (1ins x 3/4ins)! With phones getting smaller and smaller, this phone is a must for anyone with poor eyesight. What's more, the phone is packed with features: large buttons (4cm x 3cm / 1 1/8ins x 1 1/2ins) for easy dialling, hands-free speaker (with adjustable volume control and indicator lamp), last number re-dial key, 10 two-touch speed-dial keys for your favourite numbers and adjustable volume controls. Stone coloured, it is fully wall mountable (bracket included, fixings required) and measures 22cm x 16.5cm (8 3/4ins x 6 1/2ins) with a 2.14m (7ft) lead and BT compliant connector.

...There you are, birthday and Christmas presents for Grandma sorted out on one mail order website.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Newport grinds to a halt.

What a fiasco on Thursday this week brought to you by the Gwent Police . Thousands of motorists faced long delays for most of Thursday after a fatal lorry crash on the M4 on the outskirts of Newport. The driver died when his truck overturned after crashing into the motorway's central reservation between Malpas and High Cross at 0215 BST. The M4 was shut in both directions between J28 (Tredegar Park) and J24 (Coldra) until lunchtime. Delays affected other roads and continued into the evening rush hour. At its worst, there were 10-mile tailbacks in the morning rush-hour. There was a knock-on effect for other roads, with five mile tailbacks on the A449 southbound and congestion on the A48 during the evening peak. Around 60m of the central reservation was destroyed in the crash and that section of the motorway is not expected to be fully reopened until next Tuesday. Traffic jams of 10 miles eastbound and five miles westbound built up during the morning rush hour.

Inspector Lee Ford of Gwent Police said...

"The closure of the road was necessary as we needed to preserve the scene in order for a thorough investigation to take place. It was of paramount importance that the road was made safe for motorists to use. We are now concentrating efforts to get traffic flowing freely and we would thank the public for their continued patience and co-operation."

Well this is not how the public feels. Gwent Police have been criticized for their handling of this accident. I agree with Brynle Williams, the Conservative AM for North Wales when he said ...

“It is time the police got their act together. We are seeing this sort of thing every time there is an accident. Of course it is a great tragedy when someone loses a life but it does not take 11 hours to gather evidence and take photographs. This sort of incident warrants strong comment because otherwise nothing will get done about it. We need to be very critical of the time police are taking to handle accidents all over Wales. They seem to take joy in inconveniencing the public. If the police cannot conduct themselves in a better way than this then we should be looking for better police officers. The Welsh police force is adequately serviced so there can be no excuse.”

I do not think that Gwent Police should have closed the M4 motorway from Junction 28 to Junction 24 for a staggering 11 hours. I do not think that 2 lanes should still be closed to traffic before new barriers are installed. I do not think that there should be a 40 mph speed limit enforced on this section of motorway.

The Gwent Police claim that they want to preserve the scene but what for? This was a single vehicle accident in which sadly one person died, nothing can be done about it now. The Gwent Police did not need to close this motorway for 11 hours. The accident was at Junction 27 so there was no need to close the section from Junction 26 to Junction 24 which they did. Previous experience would tell the Police that if there is a problem with Junction 24 then Newport and the A449 would come to a stand still like it has before. All the Police needed to do was to take some photographs, a few measurements, drag the lorry away and let the world go on. What were they Police thinking, shall we build a Visitor Centre here or just be bloody minded as usual? Remember, the Police are here to protect and serve. We pay their wages and this is how they serve us. If this accident had happened near Junction 4 of the M4 motorway then I bet the local Police would not have closed the motorway for 11 hours. The Prime Minister and the Mayor of London would have kicked the Police into line for being so obstructive.

I think that standard crash barriers should already be in stock to replace the broken section. I do not believe it should take 5 days to have new barriers fitted. If for any perverse reason standard crash barriers are not available then surely the temporary steel/concrete or water filled barrier blocks could be used in the central reservation. What is good for the Green Zone in Baghdad should be good enough for High Cross. There should be no need to close 2 lanes to traffic and cause further daily congestion with temporary barriers in place.

With one lane closed and two lanes open on a motorway there is no need for a 40 mph speed limit - this is being silly. This is a dual carriageway of standard width lanes with no additional hazards. The Police are being over cautious and are using this as an excuse in their usual bloody minded way. The motorway signs now display "Kill your speed" which is quite emotive. However, speed was not an issue in this accident as all lorries are speed limited to 56 mph. Because this lorry was full of fruit and vegetables whilst going up quite a hill it's speed was probably around 50 mph. Yet the Police still like to spin the message of speed kills and make people think this is a dangerous road, so dangerous they had to close it for 11 hours.

On Thursday the Gwent Police really messed up everybody's day. The cost to business is huge and this whole fiasco could have been avoided if the Police were not so bloody minded and abused their powers by closing the motorway. The freedoms in our country are becoming more and more limited by Police forces who treat council tax payers, who pay their wages, like pawns in their fantasy Big Brother Police state.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

People must take responsibility for their own actions.

I believe that people must take responsibility for their own actions. Anything that you do that goes wrong is your own fault. We should not blame other people for our own mistakes. This applies to children as much as it does to adults. When children play they will from time to time catch the odd knock. This is part of childhood and growing up. Children quickly learn that they cannot fly like a bird or act like a comic strip hero. We they climb trees there will be times when they fall. When they run on steps there will be times when they fall over. These little cuts and grazes are part of childhood and children should not be wrapped up in cotton wool in case they get a scratch. If a child falls over it is their fault and they should put it down to experience.

This common sense however was lost on 11 jury members when they found a head teacher guilty for the death of a 3 year old child who fell over. The teacher was not there when Kian Williams wandered into the out-of-bounds area of the school in Bangor, Gwynedd, and jumped down the steps, tripping on the last one and landing on his head. He suffered swelling of the brain and died in hospital from pneumonia five weeks later. James Porter, 66, the owner and head of the private school where it happened, was charged with breaching health and safety regulations by failing to ensure the children’s safety. A jury convicted him after five and a half hours of deliberation on a majority of 11-1.

Kian’s family have also launched a civil action against him and the school. An inquest into his death recorded a verdict of accidental death.

What was up with this jury? Have they no concept of common sense? Children fall over every day and there is no need for a scapegoat. It is very sad that Kian died but accidents will happen. Child mortality is nothing nowadays to what it was years ago here in the UK and is now in developing countries. Justice has not been done and the head teacher has been let down buy this jury. Had this accident happened at a supermarket I suppose Kian's family would be looking for the scalp of the supermarket manager. Had this accident happened in a park his family would probably want to sue the Park Warden. Sad though Kian's death is I think his family's legal actions are vindictive and motivated by greed for compensation. I hope for justice and common sense that this family are not successful in their civil actions against this head teacher and his school.

I also hope that the 11 jury members who returned this verdict eventually see the folly of their judgement.

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