Patricia Scotland – what about the housekeeper?

Patricia ScotlandPatricia Scotland (or Baroness Scotland as she apparently likes to be known) was made a peer by the Blair government in 1997. She didn’t actually turn up much in the Lords (too busy being a QC) but nonetheless has ended up as Attorney General.

I’d like to see her sacked.

But not because of this row about employing an illegal immigrant. Big deal – she didn’t follow the procedure. This isn’t a case of dishonesty, is it?

It’s highly embarrassing for Labour, of course. Their ludicrous laws, rushed through with little or no sensible scrutiny and based on populist opinion rather than fairness and common sense have been making innocent people’s lives a misery for years. It’s no surprise that she can’t follow the rules. Who can?

So chuck her out for being partly responsible for these daft laws in the first place. Unless, of course, she really does see the error of her ways and starts a process to repeal them. I won’t hold my breath.

However, the press and politicians (opposition and own side) have got their teeth into her, and that’s all they can talk about.

What you don’t hear anyone talking about the person she employed: Loloahi Tapui. Let’s just take a look at the facts as we know them.

Tapui applied to work for Scotland as a housekeeper, and Scotland checked her documentation and found it in order. Scotland has said this clearly, and the court accepted it. What she did not do is keep a photocopy, and it is because of this that she was fined. However, from this we can conclude that Tapui lied about her status and presented false documents to Scotland at the start of her employment. The documents must have existed to have been checked, but they cannot have been genuine.

So Scotland is the victim of a crime here. Tapui set out to deceive her in order to gain employment and obtained forged paperwork.

Tapui is here illegally. I expect she’s still here. Hitting Scotland with the maximum £5000 might do something to serve her right for producing such stupid laws in the first place. But what of Tapui? She’s the dishonest one. Lock her up with hard labour and then deport her back from whence she came? I haven’t heard of that happening. I haven’t even heard that she’s been charged. Have you?

Margaret Haywood vs. Nursing Establishment, Round 3

Remember that Panorama documentary from 2005 highlighting problems at the Royal Sussex hospital? The whistle blower responsible for the undercover filming was a Ms Haywood, a nurse of 20-years experience. At worst you could claim she was a victim of the reality-TV craze, trying to get her 15-minutes of fame. At best she’s a public-spirited whistle blower taking a desperate step to highlight problems and bring about change. I’m inclined to place her near the later end of the spectrum myself.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), however, don’t share this view and had her struck off in April – she can no longer work as a nurse. The NMC was set up by the present government in 2002 in order to regulate nurses and midwives. Ms Haywood clearly embarrassed the government, but I’m sure this had nothing to do with their decision, bizarre as it appears. Even government health minister Ben Bradshaw was quick to criticise their decision in no uncertain terms.

As far as I know, the NMC didn’t feel inclined to take any action against the Royal Sussex or any of those shown to be neglecting patients – only the messenger. If anyone from the NMC is reading this, perhaps they could enlighten us?

Now there’s been another twist. Someone’s had the bright idea of nominating Ms Haywood for a the Patient’s Choice award, 2009 – the country’s favourite nurse as chosen by the patients themselves and run by the Nursing Standard, organ of the Royal Collage of Nursing (their union, in effect). Apparently when the NMC was approached by the BBC concerning this development they declined to comment.

I don’t know anything about the four other worthy nominees, but I know what message I want to send to the NMC – and everyone gets a vote.

So Vote Here

Sir Alan Turing?

If you know about computers, you’ll know Alan Turing was a great man. Without his pioneering theoretical work in the 1930s computing would not have developed as did; his work on code-breaking computers during the war helped win it, and he made a considerable contribution to the National Physical Laboratory once the war ended. The man was a genius, and we owe him a lot.

Unfortunately for him, the great man was queer and this got him into trouble with the law following an incident in 1952, after which he was hounded until his death in 1954.

He was awarded an OBE in 1945 in recognition of is work during the war, but there is now a campaign afoot award him a posthumous knighthood and apologise for his treatment at a time when homosexual acts were still illegal. Although it’s regrettable that society treated him, and others, so badly, it was illegal at the time. Not liking a law is no excuse for ignoring it.

John Graham-Cumming has started a petition to get something done about his treatment. Unfortunately it specifically calls for an apology over the prosecution rather than the climate that lead to it. However, it’s still a good cause and the support from the likes of Peter Tatchell isn’t enough to put me off. Unlike the campaigners today, Alan Turing’s world was discrete and should have been no one’s business but his own.

You can get at the petition here

Bailing out the devil

So the government’s big idea to save us from recession is to prop up the motor industry by giving everyone a £2000 discount on new cars, assuming you trade in an old one. Brilliant! This subsidy will keep the price of cars down while needlessly scrapping perfectly good vehicles that could have given many more years of service.

To make this lunacy palatable the usual emotive terms such as ‘gas guzzler’ and ‘old banger’ have been wheeled out again to try and hide the environmental nonsense of it all from the emotional, and anyone else not bothered to look more deeply into the matter.

And this is aside from the loans and government bail-outs taking place in England, Europe and the USA.

Wake up! We have too many cars because of an over-healthy motor industry able to pile them high and sell them cheap. If you want to reduce the number of cars then contracting the motor industry is the only way to do it. And right now it can be done ‘naturally’, without the need to legislate or tax.

Abandoning any veneer of environmental awareness the politicians will justify this subsidy by pointing to the jobs that would be lost. This is pure emotional blackmail as well as nonsense. If you have surplus workers and piles of cash available there are plenty of other more useful projects available. How about building facilities for sustainable transport with the same resources?

The reason, presumably, is that sustainable transport means just that. Once the infrastructure is in place it lasts, and you’ll end up with a load of workers with no more work unless you can think of further projects. Sustainable energy or agriculture, perhaps? Unfortunately we are stuck with politicians that can only see as far as the next election, and they have vested interests to placate in the mean time. But one thing we can learn from this – when the chips are down they don’t care a jot about the environment, carbon emissions or sustainability.