Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Charities: the eyes and ears of the community

From UK Column News on Monday:

"Let`s move into this little area because if we want to know what the changes are for society, the government is now telling us very clearly. This was released in the last couple of days from the House of Lords: Stronger charities for a stronger society. I wonder what the comment of child abuse survivors would be to that statement in its raw form. Because many of those people say - well they laugh - if you mention the names of the charities NSPCC or Barnardo`s, but here we are, Stronger charities for a stronger society."

"It says: `We are living through a time of profound economic, social and technological change and the environment in which charities are working is altering dramatically. We do not believe that this is a temporary aberration: such disruptive changes are likely to become the norm`."

Brian Gerrish underlines the statement `such disruptive changes are likely to become the norm`.

"Well that`s very interesting. How do they know that Mike? And this is unlikely to be a temporary aberration: such disruptive changes are likely to become the norm."

Mike Robinson: "They can only know that because that is the intention."

"That is the intention and it`s ... only the UK Column that`s pointed out that people are talking about the need to have disruptors in society and we featured some time ago the Ted video ... with a man from Barnet Council - who talks about future government and the fact that we need more disruptors in order to get the necessary changes through."

"So here we`ve got the policy, the policy is of disruption in order to get the government`s change agenda through. What`s the change agenda? Well luckily this Baroness is going to tell us. So here we are: Baroness Pitkeathley and here are some of her comments in respect to the report."

"Charities are the eyes, ears and conscience of society says Lords Select Committee... we need `Stronger charities for a stronger society`..."

"Wouldn`t it be the case that if you have a strong society you wouldn`t need charities because you wouldn`t have people who are poor or suffering or ..."

"That`s absolutely true. Charities are the eyes and ears of society, Brian?"

"Did that remind you of anything?"

"Well are charities replacing GCHQ, is that what`s going on?"

"Well I think that`s part of it. But eyes, ears...certainly made my ears prick up because I remembered this."

"This is Leeds Advisory Group for Common Purpose. This is the meeting going back to 25 July 2006. And just for an indication, here is a charity Common Purpose - we often say this is an oxymoron because of course they`re a political charity. Here are the sorts of people Common Purpose were bringing together. So we`ve got a Regional Director of Common Purpose. We`ve got a Divisional Chief Superintendent from West Yorkshire Police. We`ve got newspapers. We`ve got the university. We`ve got the Council. We`ve got businesses; we`ve got people from the Education sector all meeting behind closed doors under Chatham House rules of secrecy."

"So the two that really stick out are the policeman and the newspaper man because those two organisations should be kept separate from any of this nonsense."

"Indeed. So separation of powers gone out of the window, under the control of a political charity. Why were we so interested? Because in this particular meeting, well it was this statement:"

1. Introduction of new Advisory Group Members

The group and new Advisory Group members were welcomed and introductions were made.

2. Purpose of Advisory Group

Claire went through the advisory briefing pack and reiterated that they are not a board, but the eyes and ears of Common Purpose, Leeds, and will feed key business information to the director. They are there to assist with recruitment, by spreading the word, putting their own staff on programmes and making decisions on accepting participants for matrix. The Advisory Group should also act as a support in localising the content of the curriculum for matrix.

"So think of those orders being given to the very senior policeman there. Because his job is not to be a policeman it`s to work for business information for Common Purpose. And what do we see here? An excellent look into very very dangerous activity by the charity Common Purpose but of course this is mirrored across many other charities as we see."

"Here`s the lady Claire Bennett. You can find her on the Common Purpose website and according to the information she`s very experienced."

"Design and delivery of leadership development courses in West and North Yorkshire."

"Design and delivery of courses for emerging leaders in the north... Youth courses. On it goes. So I don`t know where she got all this experience - she`s been working for Common Purpose for years but this is the lady who was simply pointing at a policeman - a senior policeman - and saying this is what you will do in order to support Common Purpose."

"So let`s come back to the Baroness and see what else she had to say:"

"She said: `Charities are the lifeblood of society. They play a fundamental role in our civil life and do so despite facing a multitude of challenges. Yet for them to continue to flourish, it is clear that they must be supported and promoted`."

"So what`s coming here? Well it`s pretty simple because if you`re a charity you`re not going to be allowed to act as a charity unless the government is supporting and monitoring you`."

"She says: `We found that charities lead the way with innovation, but that this is at risk of being stifled by the `contract culture`. And while advocacy is a sign of a healthy democracy, and is a central part of charities` role, this role has been threatened by Government`."

"Now this is itself an interesting statement. What she`s getting at is the fact that many big charities: Barnardo`s, NSPCC, for example, are now doing the work of government. So they are running contracts. They are no longer effectively charities in the sense that most of us would remember. So big contracts she says are causing charities problems."

"So running on through: `We hope that charities will be encouraged by this report; that the Government will respect their role; and that in addition it will value the connections charities have with all sections of society, and encourage the vital scrutiny they provide`."

"So what we`re interested in here Mike is the fact that the charity sector - that`s about 167,000 charities in UK representing well over £44 billion - those charities affect everyone. They affect local communities, very small communities -  the government now getting the control in through those charities."

"So what Baroness Pitkeathley is expressing here echoes what
Priti Patel was talking about last week where they`re going to fund particularly smaller charities; they`re going to give them grants. But in order to achieve that grant funding they have to agree to special training."


"And of course that is control."

"So Mike`s hit that absolutely on the button. So let`s just put a few things together. This itself was reported by Third Sector magazine, very good article. I encourage people to go and have a look at it. And it says that basically charities are going to be encouraged to report to government on how they perform and they`re going to be encouraged as Mike says to do training for the government. So why should we be interested in all this? Well in that article this is one of the organisations mentioned: the New Philanthropy Capital and they say: `We have seen our approach adopted and adapted as far afield as Brazil, Germany, Sweden and Israel."

"So we now get a clue that this is not UK internal policy - there`s something much deeper here - and why would we be interested with New Philanthropy Capital?  Well if we look at who created it, it`s Goldman Sachs the very same bank that`s helping the British army to train at the moment, alongside Barclays."

"Let`s have a look at another aspect of this article because we`ve got Power to Change mentioned... we`ve got a gentleman called Christopher Stephens. He was chairman of the Judicial Appointments Commission. So we`ve got a nice mix here Mike. One minute we`re talking about charities. We then have a look at the interests of the senior people involved and they`re busy appointing judges and at the same time they`re part of the Salaries Review Board for the top Civil Service Commissioners who are going to give them the money through the government in the first place. But there`s no conflict of interest, luckily."

"None at all."

"So what else can we add to this one? Well in the article it also mentions Lloyds Bank Foundation with community businesses to revive local assets, protect services people rely on and address local needs."

"Is that assets in the sense of intelligence gathering?"

"I think that`s exactly what`s going on. They`re trying to get people to believe they`re going to be helping the local children`s football team that needs some help refurbishing their ground but if you have a look at what`s going on here it`s massive data collection."

"And we shouldn`t be surprised because of course it was this gentleman Eric Pickles who said: `We are going to shake up the balance of power in this country. We are going to change the nature of the constitution. Now he said that alone; no debate... He said he was going to be a revolutionary -  and the revolution starts here.`"

"So what we are really seeing coming in now is this central core of Big Society. This diagram we did years ago but it showed the change agents driving through the third sector to produce this Common Purpose based Big Society and this is going to be - well you talked about this the other day Mike - well this is Theresa May. She`s calling it the shared society but it`s exactly the same thing just using slightly different language."

"Again this is constitutional change, localism. OK the Localism Bill has gone through and become the Localism Act. That`s quite constrained and limited whereas most of this change seems to be pretty much unlimited and no real debate in parliament about what this change is about or where it`s taking us... "

"And this is because there is effectively no Westminster. We simply have the Cabinet Office with its special advisers driving policy."


See also Imagining the future

Operation Conifer has identified more than 30 alleged victims

"A force has rebuffed claims that it will shortly wrap up an investigation into allegations that former Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath sexually abused children..."

"A spokesperson said: `Wiltshire Police would like to reassure persons who have come forward as part of this inquiry that any announcements about the progress and/or conclusion of this investigation will be made by formal announcement by the police as and where appropriate`."

"`At the conclusion of the investigation a confidential closing report will be written`."

"`We have briefed the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) and on completion of the investigation we will make available to them our report such that they can consider it relative to the terms of reference of the public inquiry`..."

"Allegations against Sir Edward first surfaced during Operation Midland, the Metropolitan Police Service’s inquiry into claims high-profile figures sexually abused young children."

"As part of part of Operation Conifer launched in 2015 to examine claims against him specifically Wiltshire Police has so far identified more than 30 alleged victims."

"Last month the force reassured the public that the investigation is under `no risk` of stopping despite senior investigating officer Superintendent Sean Memory taking sick leave and facing a misconduct inquiry."

"It also warned that media speculation about the investigation risks undermining officers’ efforts and damaging Sir Edward’s reputation."

"Another paper had reported that Chief Constable Mike Veale believed `120 per cent` that the allegations against Sir Edward were correct."

"However, Mr Veale stressed that the police do not judge people’s guilt or innocence, adding: `Our role is to objectively and proportionately go where the evidence takes us`."

Video message from Wiltshire Police

"Mike Veale, Chief Constable of Wiltshire Police, has today (Friday 2 December 2016) published an open letter video message in relation to the ongoing national investigation into allegations of non-recent child abuse made against Sir Edward Heath (Operation Conifer)."

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Parents are arrested on suspicion of neglect

"Parents who leave 15-year-old children alone for short periods are being arrested on suspicion of neglect, it has emerged."

"While the majority of cases involve infants, figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, have revealed that some of those involved are as old as 15."

"At the moment law on the issue is vague with legislation simply stating that a parent or guardian can be prosecuted if they leave a child unsupervised in a manner likely to cause unnecessary suffering or injury to health."

"There is no mention of what age it is deemed safe to leave a young person alone, so when matters are reported it is often left up to the individual officer to make a decision on whether to take action."

"With police action usually triggering intervention from the social services, campaigners are demanding more clarity so parents know where they stand."

"Former MP John Hemming of the group Justice for Families, said parents risked being criminalised because they had no idea what the law was and how it was being applied."

Future ready schools

Published on 26 Mar 2017

Talk by Alison McDowell on `Future Ready Schools: What Silicon Valley Has Planned for Public Education` recorded March 25, 2017 at the Lake City Library in Seattle, WA.

Saturday, 25 March 2017

The lucky primary school teacher who never got caught

"Like Reid and her Northern Irish friend Michaella McCollum, Mairi found herself involved in the Peruvian drug industry. Unlike Reid and McCollum Mairi ... never got caught."

"In fact she made enough money to buy a two bedroom house in Glasgow’s well-heeled West End."

"It's been five years since she left Peru, and she's about to qualify as a primary school teacher..."

"Prison never really scared her: `At the time prison seemed like the least scary option. Peru wasn’t very friendly to a little white girl selling drugs`."

"Mairi decided to leave Peru and come back home when a new government made it more restrictive for foreigners to run businesses."

"Mairi makes clear she is not recommending life as a drug dealer in Latin America."

"`It makes an interesting story, but no. An enormous part of it was how lucky I was`."

"The political situation has changed since she was there."

It`s not a pleasant story.

Potential named person ?

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Investigation into former PM Sir Edward Heath

"A £1 million ($1.25mn) taxpayer funded child abuse investigation into former Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath has been closed by police, reportedly due to a lack of evidence."

"The inquiry, codenamed Operation Conifer, will be closed in the coming weeks, but the report on its findings will remain confidential, the Telegraph reports."

"The huge bill has been criticized as a waste of taxpayer money since it was launched in August of 2015. Police have also been slammed for damaging the reputation of the late ex-PM, who cannot go on trial."

"According to sources who spoke to the newspaper, private investigators that were hired by police to help conduct the inquiry have been told that their contracts will not be renewed..."

"Friends of Heath, who died in 2005 aged 89, insist that the inquiry found no evidence implicating the Tory politician, saying the questions police put to his former staff members and sailing friends were so lacking in detail that there appeared to be no hard evidence."

"The investigation was launched after at least seven allegations of child sex abuse were brought against Heath, including one claiming that the former Tory MP abused a boy on his yacht before throwing him overboard."

"Heath was also examined in a now defunct investigation into a suspected VIP paedophile ring at the heart of Westminster dubbed Operation Midland."

So that is RT reporting on the Telegraph report.

The UK Column News took the story up on Tuesday 21 March by referring to the Mail on Sunday and calling it a false article. [about 42.27 minutes] The investigation into former PM Sir Edward Heath has NOT been closed.

"A source for UK Column spoke to the police who said this was not true," Gerrish informed viewers. "So we have something that the police are saying is untrue but then we notice this in another Daily Mail article:"
"Yesterday, Lord Armstrong, the former Cabinet Secretary and Sir Edward`s principal private secretary from 1970 to 1974, said: `I simply don`t understand how the Chief Constable got himself into such a position.`"

"So the Daily Mail are helping the former Private Secretary of Mr Heath to gently undermine the police investigation."

Brian Gerrish points to another article in the Mail in Scotland from a couple of years ago which reports:  "`Mandarin who can`t help being economical with truth: Lord Armstrong at centre of accusations of child abuse cover-up.`  And basically what this story is about is this gentleman working with MI5 -  bring in the security services again - and what were they doing?  They were pushing the child abuse under the carpet in order to protect the state."

"So this is some of the comment from that article:"

"Lord Armstrong - who was Margaret Thatcher`s Cabinet Secretary for eight years - is now at the centre of accusations of a major establishment cover-up of child abuse by leading public figures in the 1970s and 1980s."

"It has been revealed that he was urged by MI5 to help hush-up abuse allegations against a senior MP so as to avoid political embarrassment for the Thatcher government."

"Even today, despite years of official investigations into the claims and a top-level review into the loss of hundreds of Home Office files relating to the original allegations, Armstrong defiantly refuses to identify the suspect politician or even say if he is alive or dead."

"So I`m going to put a label on that and say: why does the Daily Mail want to use this man to help undermine a police child abuse investigation?"

"Any clues Mike?"

"And indeed they seem to be undermining their own reporters. There`s a difference...between the Daily Mail and the Mail in Scotland."


Gerrish then reads from a letter by Robert Green to Mr Paul Dacre, Editor of the Daily Mail.

"With regard to previous correspondence, I was disturbed to read today of yet another attack on Chief Constable Mike Veale by your crime correspondent, Rebecca Camber."

"It was of great concern on two counts."

"First, the article quotes the opinion of Lord Armstrong, who clearly seeks to undermine the competence of the Chief Constable. It was a curious choice by Ms Camber to quote Lord Armstrong as less than two years ago, the Scottish Daily Mail published a withering attack on this individual for his apparent attempts to cover up child abuse by another senior Conservative MP, Sir Peter Morrison. I am sure that your readers may have formed a different view of Lord Armstrong`s attack on the Chief Constable had details of the Mail`s earlier article been revealed."

"Secondly and possibly even more seriously, Wiltshire Police has confirmed that the Daily Mail has indulged in fake news: the investigation into Edward Heath has not been called off."

In the next paragraph there is a reminder that Tim Fortescue MP, Chief Whip to Edward Heath, admitted covering-up for Members of Parliament who were child abusers.

"Finally, I have provided expert witness evidence regarding Edward Heath and others that has been accepted by Wiltshire Police. Included in those named are two of your most senior journalists."

"The reputation of your newspapers could hardly be at more risk over this issue. I trust that the readers will be treated to more balanced and truthful journalism over this issue in future."



21 March is World Down Syndrome Day

It was not forgotten by the UK Column team that there has been no support for Hollie Greig, the down syndrome girl who was abused in Aberdeenshire.


Former mayor admits abusing 4-year-old child

"Former mayor of Hubbard, Ohio (D) Richard Keenan has admitted in court to raping a young child, as President Trump’s urgent investigation into the elite pedophile ring that has infiltrated Washington D.C. and politics nationwide continues taking down high-profile perpetrators."

"Keenan previously blamed the 4-year-old victim for initiating the acts, describing her as a `willing participant`. He is now facing life behind bars."

"The Youngstown Vindicator reports that according to court documents, the victim told Keenan’s wife about the sexual abuse that began when she was 4-years-old and lasted for three years."

When Keenan’s wife confronted him about the allegations, he responded, `I did it.`"

"The Democrat mayor also confessed to the allegations to his pastor, a social worker and his brother and sister-in-law, according to documents filed by the assistant prosecutor."

Missing children are inappropriately categorised

"A charity has called for police forces to improve their handling of missing children cases after it emerged some are inappropriately categorising those who are missing from care as `absent`. "

"Railway Children is concerned about the way some police forces deal with instances of children going missing from care."

"Railway Children is concerned by the findings of a National Crime Agency report around the potential misuse of this lesser categorisation, which indicates the missing person is not at risk."

"The report, which looks at 2015/16 missing persons data, found that while some forces label all cases involving children with the higher priority category of `missing` this is not the case nationwide."

"Andy McCullogh, Railway Children's policy and public affairs director, said: `It is worrying that the NCA report has identified some police forces to be still inappropriately classing all missing children from care only as absent, meaning the child is at ‘no apparent risk', when the reality is they could be at serious risk of harm."

"A quick and accurate assessment of risk is essential to ensuring vulnerable children get the help they need at the right time..."

"While Surrey had stopped using this lesser category for children, this policy was reversed during 2015/16."

"Last year HM Inspectorate of Constabulary found
that most police forces did not have a good understanding of the problem of missing children in their area. This also found that cases where children were categorised as `absent` received far less attention."

"Ofsted has previously raised concerns
about a rise in the number of children going missing from foster care."

According to Seligman, big data is better than wellbeing surveys

"At the World Government Summit, big data made its debut in the Happiness Movement with Martin Seligman."

"Seligman opened his keynote speech with `Happiness is a plausible goal for our planet.` He went on to say `Happiness is the most you can expect for yourself, for your nation, and for the world.` He announced his preference for big data for use by governments. Seligman gave four reasons he feels that big data is a better source for information about a population's happiness and well-being than survey-based data. Survey based data, and subjective well-being indicators, are being used by the governments of Bhutan and the United Kingdom to inform public policy, and over 40 countries are now measuring the happiness and well-being of their people using surveys)."

"The four reasons Seligman gave are that measuring big data is non-reactive, unobtrusive, huge samples, and less gameable than questionnaires."

"Non-reactive means that the subject does not know they are being observed or that data is being gathered about them. The idea is that there is no interaction between the observer and the subject - the person from whom the data is being gathered. Unobtrusive, an aspect of non-reactivity, means the subject is not being directly asked, unlike in an interview or online questionnaire. Less gameable means the subject is less likely to lie, misrepresent or distort the truth. A huge sample size means lots of people provided data. A sample size is generally determined to be large or small relative to the population it represents..."

"Seligman used twitter and facebook for the big data examples given in his talk. He suggests that data collected from facebook and twitter are unobtrusive The question of whether a facebook, twitter or other social media user understands that they are being observed by parties other than those they choose (their facebook friends, twitter followers, or linked-in connections) and whether a user understands that their data is being gathered is not clear."