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Cyclist numbers fall across England as roads are ‘too dangerous’ to ride | London Evening Standard
Eleven per cent of adults in England cycled once a week in 2017/18, down from 12 per cent in 2015/16 - a “statistically significant decrease”, according to the Department for Transport report.

The City of London saw the largest decrease in the proportion of weekly cyclists, from 22 per cent to 11 per cent.

The government analysis also shows men cycle more often and further than women and adults in their 40s cycle the most.

In 2018, men made 15 more cycle trips than women and cycled almost four times further.
cycling  uk 
24 days ago by juliusbeezer
Tories continue Facebook ad spree as 'major bugs' block transparency | Technology | The Guardian
Launched in the UK in 2018, the Facebook ad library is a public record of all the adverts related to social issues, elections or politics that have been posted on the site. In March, the social network launched an API – an application programming interface, or set of protocols – for the library, intended to let researchers perform complex analysis on the information contained within.

Instead, researchers found a series of bugs and design flaws that hampered any serious attempt to hold advertisers to account. “Once our technical experts began working with the API we quickly concluded it was unusable,” the foundation said.
facebook  uk  politics  advertising 
25 days ago by juliusbeezer
SAS soldier was killed by friendly fire, inquiry finds | UK news | The Guardian
“It was initially believed that Sgt Tonroe was killed by enemy action, however subsequent investigation concluded that Sgt Tonroe was killed by the accidental detonation of explosives carried by coalition forces. Our thoughts continue to be with Sgt Tonroe’s family and friends.”

Tonroe, who joined the army in 2004, served in the 3rd Battalion of the Parachute Regiment in Colchester on completion of his training, where he served as part of the Sniper Platoon. He later passed selection for the Special Air Services Regiment. In Syria, he was embedded in Seal Team 6, the unit that killed Osama Bin Laden.

According to reports, Tonroe was on a mission to capture or kill high-value Isis personnel when he died. Five other people were injured in the explosion.

military  us  uk  syria  agnotology 
27 days ago by juliusbeezer
Workers could go home if temperatures hit 30C under new Labour plan - Mirror Online
If the indoor workplace temperature goes over 30C (27C for those doing strenuous work), employers will have to put in place effective temperature controls to help workers keep cool.
These would include measures that many good employers already take: flexible working and travel arrangements, extra breaks, access to water, cooling systems/air conditioning, flexible dress codes or the provision of protective clothing.
uk  politics  climate 
4 weeks ago by juliusbeezer
Boris Johnson rebuked for his 'unwise' contact with Green during inquiry | London Evening Standard
BORIS Johnson has been reprimanded for his role in the Damian Green affair but escaped an official warning for misconduct.

An independent report commissioned by the London Assembly criticised the Mayor for "extraordinary and unwise" behaviour.

It said that in talking to his friend, the Tory MP Mr Green, after his arrest in connection with a series of leaks from the Home Office, Mr Johnson was risking his actions being "perceived as furthering private interests".

It also concluded that his actions: "Placed him at risk of being called as a witness by either the CPS or defence in any criminal prosecution of Mr Green, to the potential detriment of his office as Chairman of the Metropolitan Police Authority."

The report, written by solicitor Jonathan Goolden, was commissioned after Len Duvall, the leader of the Labour group on the London Assembly, complained that Mr Johnson had broken the codes of conduct of the MPA and the Greater London Authority.
police  uk  politics 
4 weeks ago by juliusbeezer
Dave Hill: Things Boris Johnson did as London Mayor that really mattered - OnLondon
But then, in 2013, came his Vision for Cycling and the extraordinary appointment of a journalist supporter, Andrew Gilligan, as “cycling commissioner”.

Gilligan, a fervent convert to pedal power, had no prior experience as a transport planner, but had devoted himself to attacking Livingstone throughout the two mayoral election campaigns that Johnson won. Described by an experienced AM as “one of those people who can’t be wrong”, he oversaw a programme of infrastructure change, including the construction of segregated lanes, which TfL bosses, who’d been aghast at Gilligan’s appointment, regarded as being “railroaded” through in order to furnish Johnson with some sort of legacy. From no modal hierarchy to spending £913 million on privileging cyclists is quite a turnaround, although the cycling demographic – still disproportionately white, male and middle-class despite claims that special infrastructure would diversify it – is not wholly out of line with Johnson’s electoral base. The silence of the former Mayor’s left wing critics on this aspect of his City Hall record has been predictably deafening.

In general, the best things about Johnson’s eight years as Mayor were those he left to competent, experienced people to get on with.
uk  politics 
4 weeks ago by juliusbeezer
As Theresa May loses control over Brexit, her lawyer admits the EU referendum was illegal | The Canary
Prime minister Theresa May has conceded that MPs will have a vote to extend Article 50 and delay Brexit. They will also have a vote to rule out a No Deal scenario.

Despite this Commons pantomime, it’s notable that these concessions come only days after a largely unreported appeal court hearing. During this, May’s legal counsel admitted “the PM is aware” that the Leave campaigns acted unlawfully.
law  Brexit  politics  uk 
february 2019 by juliusbeezer
Brexit, the Irish border and the 'battle for the union' - BBC News
The power to call a border poll rests with the Secretary of State Karen Bradley, who could do so at any time if it appears "likely" to her that a majority would vote in favour of it, but earlier this year she said the conditions had not been met.

Kevin Meagher says Brexit makes it much more likely to happen, and that there are other contributing factors too:

Lack of devolved government in NI for almost two years, due to a financial scandal over a green energy scheme
Changing demographics in NI, which could see a Catholic majority by 2021
Liberalisation of Republic of Ireland on social issues such as same-sex marriage and abortion
ireland  Brexit  uk  politics 
february 2019 by juliusbeezer
I talked to my Leave-voting constituents about Brexit. This is what I learnt
The message is clear. Too many people feel trapped with no way to improve their lives or those of their families.

It may come as a surprise that immigration was barely mentioned by any of my interviewees, although Julie acknowledged it as a factor for some local Brexit voters she knew. She said the nearby Derbyshire town of Shirebrook is now known as “Shirebrookski” because of the high number of Eastern European people who have come over to work in its infamous Sports Direct warehouse and it is now a place that the natives do not consider as a place they would or could work.

Nationally, 41 per cent of 18- 24-year-olds said immigration was too high and 58 per cent of those aged between 25 and 49 said the same, according to Eatwell and Goodwin.

Tony said that he had seen wages for British brickies go down since Eastern European builders have come over and worked for less – even as little as £3 or £5 an hour. He was as concerned for their standard of living as the British natives’ because he said they are living in sub-standard shared accommodation and gang masters line their pockets at their expense. “It is happening all the time and the poor little Poles are getting no money and living in a crappy caravan somewhere,” he said.
politics  uk  Brexit 
february 2019 by juliusbeezer
Europe’s new Reformation
In England the Reformation was not a doctrinal dispute over theological truth that developed into a political contest. It happened the other way around. It originated as a challenge by Henry VIII against the authority of the church – to be more specific, his desire to annul his marriage to his wife Katherine, despite the pope’s refusal to grant this, and marry another in order to produce a male heir. This escalated into a broader assertion of English sovereignty, most strikingly expressed in parliament’s Act of Appeals in 1533, which laid down “that this realm of England is an empire”.

In other words, England was a legal system unto itself. There could be no appeal to a higher authority. The doctrine of “praemunire”, which had previously applied only to matters of state, now became the law of the land. A wronged woman in Yorkshire could no longer appeal to Rome. England was increasingly separated from the European legal order. At the same time, Henry VIII relentlessly attacked the institutions of the Church, especially through the dissolution of the monasteries.
uk  history  politics  religion  Brexit 
february 2019 by juliusbeezer
UK taxpayers to spend at least £24bn cleaning up after oil companies in the North Sea
Taxpayers are liable for the costs of decommissioning in the North Sea through significant tax reliefs granted to oil companies by HMRC, which allows operators to deduct up to 75 per cent of their spending on decommissioning from their tax. This can include reclaiming corporation tax paid since 2002. The government is also liable for the total cost of decommissioning oil rigs owned by operators that go bankrupt, or lack the funds to decommission them themselves.

The Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) told the NAO that the total cost of decommissioning the North Sea’s oil and gas infrastructure could be up to £77bn. HMRC’s current estimate of the cost to the public through tax relief is £24bn, including £12.9bn in repayments of taxes previously collected.
fossil-fuel  oil  politics  tax  uk  environment 
february 2019 by juliusbeezer
Trump and Putin have relaunched the arms race. Hug Europe close, Britain | Rafael Behr | Opinion | The Guardian
Europe might feel a bit unstable these days, but at least it is not a hair-trigger away from nuclear Armageddon. One reason is the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty. That deal, signed by Washington and Moscow in 1987, banned missiles with a range of 310 to 3,420 miles. Last week, Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the INF, blaming Russian violations. Vladimir Putin reciprocated over the weekend, promising to accelerate development of prohibited weapons. Unless Moscow and Washington unexpectedly rediscover the spirit of detente, the INF treaty is finished. A global monument to the triumph of diplomatic rationality over militaristic paranoia is being pulled down.

The response in Britain has been oddly muted. Politics is mostly taken up by Brexit, but the issues are linked.
nukes  politics  us  russia  eu  uk 
february 2019 by juliusbeezer
The very short history of 'no deal' Brexit | LSE BREXIT
May was keen to instigate simultaneous talks on withdrawal and free trade, in the hope of settling Brexit quickly. In threatening to turn Britain into a giant tax haven, the Lancaster House speech was a futile attempt to frighten the EU into negotiating both deals at the same time.

The suggestion was quickly consigned to irrelevance. The EU did not blink, instead pointing out that withdrawal had to be agreed before trade talks could begin. There is the legal impossibility of the UK signing a trade deal with current EU members, and the political imperative to ensure that dissenting members understand the consequences of leaving the EU before they start imagining the possible benefits of doing so.

The political bind for May was clear. The EU insisted on an orderly withdrawal before trade talks (which would then ensue during a transitional period). To avoid damaging the Irish economy and jeopardising the Northern Ireland peace process, something like the ‘backstop’ – in case a two-year transition was not long enough – was always going to be necessary.

But May knew this meant she would struggle to get a withdrawal deal through parliament unless she could also offer the sunny uplands of the post-Brexit trade relationship at the same time. Although the leading Brexiters in the Conservative Party are now seemingly content to leave the EU without a withdrawal deal, the irony of Britain’s present predicament is that the Leave campaign’s offer in the 2016 referendum was not ‘no deal’ at all, but rather a very comprehensive free trade deal as an alternative to EU membership.
Brexit  uk  eu  politics 
january 2019 by juliusbeezer
There is no left-wing case for Brexit: 21st century socialism requires transnational organization | LSE BREXIT
But those who advocate civic republicanism are understandably frustrated with these propositions. Suppose all this is true, they say. Suppose you want to change transnational institutions. How are you going to do that, if you can’t even sort out your own nation state? How are you going to advance ambitious proposals of state intervention in the economy given the disciplinary neoliberal legal constraints that the EU imposes on its members?...
The left nationalist project collapsed when realising socialism with peaceful means turned into a project of stabilising capitalism. This is not what the founding fathers of social democracy originally intended.
Brexit  politics  eu  uk 
january 2019 by juliusbeezer
Pedestrian dies after being hit by police car on Christmas Day - Liverpool Echo
A man has died after being hit by a police car in Liverpool this evening.

Emergency services were called to Scotland Road, heading away from the city, to reports that pedestrian had been knocked down.

The incident occurred shortly before 7pm and has been referred to the Independent Office for Police conduct...

A number of witnesses also confirmed that the police car had it's blue lights flashing at the time of the collision and two officer attempted to give emergency first aid to the man.
crash_report  police  uk 
december 2018 by juliusbeezer
Fighting on Twitter? In the UK, You Could Be Arrested for That. - Slog - The Stranger
And failing to be considerate of others in the UK can have serious consequences. In 2016, according to The Times of London, UK police arrested an average of nine people a day for posting content online that someone, somewhere, considered offensive. In all, over 3,300 Brits were detained and questioned in 2016, a 50 percent increase from two years before. And the numbers have likely gone up since then because the government, according to the paper, “announced a national police hub to crack down on hateful material online.”

Of course, what's hateful and what's not is all in the eye of the tweeter. But local police departments seem to be complying with this directive. In September, the official South Yorkshire Police account tweeted, “In addition to reporting hate crime, please report non-crime hate incidents, which can include things like offensive or insulting comments, online, in person or in writing. Hate will not be tolerated in South Yorkshire. Report it and put a stop to it.” This tweet was widely mocked; as one tweeter responded: “Non-crime-hate-incidents' is a bit wordy. Might I suggest you condense it. I think 'thought crime' has a nice ring, don’t ya think?”
freedom  politics  uk  humanrights  police 
december 2018 by juliusbeezer
At last, parliament is taking back control of Brexit | Rafael Behr | Opinion | The Guardian
reviously, in an imminent no-deal scenario, the prime minister would have been obliged only to inform the House of her intentions. Grieve’s amendment, backed by Labour, opens that statement to amendment. In theory, the Commons could put on record its call for a much softer Brexit, or a referendum, or a request in Brussels to extend the article 50 negotiating window, or even a retraction of the article 50 notification. None of those things would have the force of law, so some (presumably deranged) prime minister could ignore them and run at the cliff edge anyway. But the balance of control has shifted. It has been said many times that there is no majority in parliament for an insane course of action, but no one has been able to say how a majority for sanity might constitutionally assert itself. Now a coalition of the reasonable is starting to take shape.
Brexit  uk  politics 
december 2018 by juliusbeezer
Met police push ahead with armed patrols despite backlash | UK news | The Guardian
he commissioner, Cressida Dick, downwards – stressed the plan would not amount to routine armed patrols in the capital.

Some parts of central London have armed patrols to counter the threat of terrorist attack, but the new plans being developed by the Met would send armed foot patrols to residential areas with high violent crime...
Gordon said that officers on armed foot patrols would carry their main weapon and wear a pistol on their hip. “If they leave the vehicle to do a patrol their weapons would be accessible and visible.”
police  uk 
december 2018 by juliusbeezer
Brexit psychology: cognitive styles and their relationship to nationalistic attitudes | LSE BREXIT
Furthermore, Structural Equation Modelling analysis demonstrated that cognitive flexibility and intolerance of ambiguity predicted individuals’ endorsement of authoritarianism, conservatism, and nationalism to a substantial degree (see Figure 3). Individuals who exhibited greater cognitive flexibility and were more tolerant of uncertainty were less likely to support authoritarian, conservative, and nationalistic attitudes. These ideological orientations in turn predicted participants’ attitudes towards Brexit, immigration, and free movement of labour, accounting for 47.6% of the variance in support for Brexit. The results suggest that cognitive thinking styles associated with processing perceptual and linguistic stimuli may also be drawn upon when individuals evaluate political and ideological arguments.
authoritarianism  psychology  uk  politics  Brexit  language 
november 2018 by juliusbeezer
Populism and the internet – a toxic mix shaping the age of conspiracy theories | John Naughton | Opinion | The Guardian
Sixty per cent of British people, for example, believe at least one conspiracy theory about how the country is run or the veracity of information citizens have been given. Britons who supported Brexit were considerably more likely to give credence to conspiracy theories than those who opposed it. Most worrying of all, though, is that 31% of Leave voters believed that Muslim immigration is part of a wider plot to make Muslims the majority in Britain, a conspiracy theory that originated in French far-right circles and is known as the “great replacement”. The comparable figure for Remain voters was 6%.

How has the internet affected all this? Our research showed that conspiracy theorists were early adopters, in that they perceived the unique usefulness of the early (pre-social media) web for people who believed propositions that would never get past the editorial gatekeepers of mainstream media. So part of the blogosphere was occupied by conspiracy theorists and what one might call conspiracist entrepreneurs: examples include those espousing the “new world order” conspiracy theory, David Icke with his “lizard” theory and Alex Jones with his InfoWars site. These and other sites became key nodes in an infrastructure of conspiracist and far-right discussion that lay beneath the radar of polite society and mainstream media.

This is probably why many people who thought about these things initially dismissed online conspiracism as a politically irrelevant phenomenon. As one cynic put it to me, at least it keeps fanatics in their pyjamas and off the streets.
internet  socialmedia  authoritarianism  uk  politics 
november 2018 by juliusbeezer
Q&A: What next for UK capacity market after surprise EU ruling? | Carbon Brief
The capacity market is designed to make sure there is always enough supply to meet peak electricity demand, even on cold and dark winter evenings when there is little wind. It covers the electricity market in Great Britain only, with Northern Ireland part of an all-Ireland scheme.

It awards contracts to firms that offer to supply electricity generating capacity during the periods of peak demand between 4pm and 6pm in winter. Firms can offer to turn down electricity demand instead – a process called demand-side response (DSR).

Existing power plants can get contracts for one year at a time, or three years, if they carry out upgrades. New power plants get 15-year deals. Crucially, DSR is only offered one-year contracts. This is why Tempus Energy – a DSR firm – challenged the capacity market approval.
energy  uk  eu 
november 2018 by juliusbeezer
Government response to its “Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy (CWIS) Safety Review”. | Road Danger Reduction Forum
High visibility and helmets: Very disappointing. It does say:”… we believe wearing helmets, and also high-vis clothing, should remain a matter of individual choice rather than imposing additional regulations which would be difficult to enforce”.(8.11), but note that the reason for this is NOT – as we think it should be – an evidence-based approach based on the lack of evidence of benefits of hi-viz and helmets. There is still an assumption that these are basically good interventions, with no evidence referenced at all for hi-viz, and poor evidence for helmets being quoted. Despite the lack of good evidence, the Government is still saying: “we will continue to encourage cyclists, especially children, to wear helmets to protect them…” .
road_safety  uk  helmetwars 
november 2018 by juliusbeezer
Matthew and Sarah Elliott: How a UK Power Couple Links US Libertarians and Fossil Fuel Lobbyists to Brexit | DeSmog UK
At the heart of this network lies a little-known power couple, Matthew and Sarah Elliott. Together, the husband and wife team connect senior members of the Leave campaign and groups pushing a libertarian free-market ideology from offices in Westminster’s Tufton Street to major US libertarian lobbyists and funders.

Collectively, the network aims to use Brexit as an opportunity to slash regulations in the UK, paving the way for a wide-ranging US-UK free-trade deal that could have disastrous consequences for the environment.

The current draft withdrawal agreement appears to try and provide some protection for the current level of environmental regulation — at least in principle. But politicians associated with this transatlantic network are lobbying hard for the draft deal to be scrapped, along with those protections.

This DeSmog UK investigation reveals the strength of the ties between Matthew and Sarah Elliott, UK lobbyists and politicians, and US groups with vested interests in fossil fuels keen to profit from deregulation.

It shows how organisations with strong ties to the Koch Brothers and Robert Mercer increased their political activities in the UK immediately before and after the Brexit referendum.
agnotology  politics  uk  us  climatechange 
november 2018 by juliusbeezer
Don’t blame the Irish: the Brexit chaos is all about England | Fintan O’Toole | Opinion | The Guardian
It is a new thing: the first time in 800 years of Anglo-Irish relations that Ireland has had more clout. No wonder the Brexiters and the British government found it impossible for so long to even recognise this new reality. They operated – and some of them continue to operate – under the old rules, in which the game would be settled between the big powers, and the interests of a small country such as Ireland could be easily shoved aside. The Irish would get a few platitudes about peace but the real deal would be done between London and Berlin...
Yet it has not been like that. In part, this is because of simple arithmetic: Ireland is not isolated, it is part of a bloc of 27 states. There is a basic lesson here for the Brexiters: even a very small country inside the EU has more influence than a much larger country on the outside. In part, too, it is because of basic statecraft. The Irish government and diplomatic service, backed by a near-unanimous consensus in the Dublin parliament, had a very clear sense of where Ireland’s vital national interest lay, and hence of what they needed to achieve.
ireland  eu  uk  politics  Brexit 
november 2018 by juliusbeezer
Media Lens - The Filter Bubble - Owen Jones And Con Coughlin
'Owen, we absolutely loved your thread exposing Con Coughlin. But what happened to the promised Guardian article on this? I'm asking because you told us you were writing something on Oct 17. The piece then came out a week later on Oct 24 with almost all the meat missing. Did you run into internal opposition at the Guardian?' (Direct message, Twitter, November 8, 2018)

We received no reply. Jones, of course, is not about to reveal what happened to his article. Perhaps the Guardian editors simply published what he submitted. One thing is clear: somehow, at some point, the filter bubble worked its magic and prevented a damning expose of a senior UK journalist reaching the Guardian's readers.
journalism  uk  iraq  attention  agnotology 
november 2018 by juliusbeezer
There is no version of Brexit which will benefit the NHS—only varying degrees of harm - The BMJ
It is likely that there will be provision for doctors and nurses coming to the UK after Brexit, albeit at extra cost and bureaucracy, if the government—as it has indicated—follows the guidance of the Migration Advisory Committee. But the effect on the social care workforce and those who rely on them for care will be particularly significant because of the salary threshold of £30,000.

Just over 5% of the regulated nursing profession, 16% of dentists, 5% of allied health professionals, and around 9% of doctors are from elsewhere within the EEA. We cannot afford to lose or further demoralise those who have given so much to our health service. That so many colleagues now feel unwelcome, as a result of the divisive and xenophobic rhetoric of the last campaign, shames us all.
Brexit  uk  medicine  politics 
november 2018 by juliusbeezer
London Calling Brexit: How the rest of the UK views the capital | LSE BREXIT
Firstly, there is the question of overall pride in the capital. Leavers were less likely to express pride in London as capital city of the UK than Remain voters. However, for both groups, a majority of people still said that they were proud of London as a capital. This included 51 per cent in the North of England, and an average of 59% across England only. So whilst there are differences in opinion along Brexit lines, these are far from terminal.
Brexit  London  uk  politics 
november 2018 by juliusbeezer
Most drivers in fatal collisions with cyclists avoid jail says Cycling UK research |
From 2007-17, in the areas covered by the 10 police forces that responded, 209 cyclist fatalities were recorded. Less than half, 86, resulted in a motorist being charged with causing death by careless or dangerous driving.

Of those, 66 were convicted, with just under half of them – 31 – receiving a custodial sentence.
cycling  deaths  uk  police  law 
november 2018 by juliusbeezer
Judicial Office Launches Investigation into Complaint over Fracking Judge with Alleged Oil and Gas Ties | DeSmog UK
An investigation has been launched into allegations the judge who handed three fracking protesters “manifestly excessive” jail sentences has family ties to the oil and gas industry.

Judge Robert Altham sentenced Simon Blevins, Richard Roberts and Richard Loizou to up to 16 months in prison after they were convicted by a jury of causing a public nuisance offence. The protesters had their sentences quashed in an appeal case last week.

Under the Judicial Code of Conduct, judges are expected to disclose personal relationships, social contacts and activities that could cause a bias or a conflict of interest and which put their impartiality into question.

In a statement, the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office (JCIO), an independent body which deals with judicial complaints of misconduct, has confirmed receiving a complaint regarding Judge Robert Altham and added that it will be considered in accordance with the Judicial Conduct Rules.
law  uk  energy  climatechange 
october 2018 by juliusbeezer
Manchester police couldn’t stop the bike muggers. So we stepped in | Helen Pidd | Opinion | The Guardian
Greater Manchester police (GMP) finally confirmed on Tuesday that 10 cyclists had been violently robbed on that stretch in the previous six weeks. All were attacked in broad daylight. As the superintendent for the area put it: “This offending cohort doesn’t worry about being seen.” They had established a “crime series”, he told me. Officers would be investigating properly now. Why? Might it have been something to do with the mass cycling protest that took place in Manchester on Wednesday night?
cycling  uk  police  crime 
october 2018 by juliusbeezer
Long read: how EU membership undermines the left | LSE BREXIT
It is leaving the EU that challenges and disrupts the British state in its contemporary form. Remaining in the EU means not challenging or disrupting the smooth operation of the actually existing political form of capitalist rule in Britain today. The EU is not a foreign superstate that rules over Britain. The EU is a political form through which the British government collaborates with other European governments in order to govern Britain. The other EU member states do the same for their own populations and territories. They collaborate with each other by constitutionalising various restrictions on economic policy, and by making law in intergovernmental forums.

This intergovernmental process means that European governments are more accountable to each other than they are to their domestic legislatures. The capitalist nation states of Europe have been transformed by EU membership into capitalist member states. Brexit represents a serious blow to this form of remote and unaccountable government, the one by which we are actually ruled. This blow is experienced as such by the British state’s political, bureaucratic and academic cadres who have as a result been relentlessly negative about the vote to Leave, and the prospect of implementing it. And it is why the support of so much of the left for Remain is profoundly conservative.
Brexit  politics  uk  international 
october 2018 by juliusbeezer
West Midlands Police Road Harm Reduction Team – Setting the Gold Standard for road danger reduction policing | Road Danger Reduction Forum
By now readers of posts on this site will be aware of the existence of operations policing the close passing of cyclists and related enforcement based on reducing road danger at source. Our last update of what is happening nationally is here.

This post is about the work WMPRHRT carry out in general. For us they have been setting the Gold Standard for road danger reduction policing with the typical resources (the Metropolitan Police being the exception that proves the rule here) of a Police Service.
road_safety  police  uk 
september 2018 by juliusbeezer
Number of dirty diesels on road still growing, report shows | Environment | The Guardian
The number of dirty diesel vehicles pumping out toxic emissions on Europe’s streets is still rising three years after the Dieselgate scandal began, according to a new report. More than 7m such cars and vans remain on UK roads alone.

There were 29m diesel vehicles whose emissions on the road were significantly higher than official laboratory-based EU limits when the diesel scandal erupted in September 2015. But that has now risen by to 43m, according to analysis by the group Transport & Environment (T&E). France has the most dirty diesels on the road, with 8.7m, followed by Germany’s 8.2m and the UK’s 7.3m.
driving  airpollution  europe  uk 
september 2018 by juliusbeezer
Government opens dangerous and careless cycling law consultation |
Alliston, who had been riding a fixed wheel bike with no front brake when he collided with Mrs Briggs in 2016, fatally injuring her, was acquitted of manslaughter but found guilty of causing bodily injury through wanton or furious driving under the Offences Against the Person Act 1861.

The case led to calls for the law to be updated, rather than prosecutors having to rely on outdated legislation in such circumstances and last year the government announced that it was conducting a review of the law.

Announcing the consultation today, transport minister Jesse Norman, who has responsibility for cycling and walking, said: “In recent weeks we have announced a range of measures designed to protect vulnerable road users such as cyclists and pedestrians.

This campaign so obviously ludicrously misses the point, that it's worth considering why a political party would launch it.

The creation of narratives to distract from the central problem is an essential part of the new politics. First masterminded by the Russian political adviser Vladislav Surkov in the 1990s, the essence of the strategy is to create guff in the public attentional space that distracts from any meaningful action that would harm the financial interests of the oligarchs invested in the status quo.

A review of cycling laws is ideal: cyclists are a vocal minority who can be guaranteed to rise to the bait, generating a false debate that avoids the central issues. Meanwhile the 25% or so of the public who have difficulty distinguishing between the numbers 2 (pedestrians killed by cyclists) and 1700 (p̶e̶d̶e̶s̶t̶r̶i̶a̶n̶s̶ people killed by motorists) are left with the hazy impression in their wobbling jelly-brains that cycling is dangerous, cyclists are lawless killers (because why else would they be against this obviously sensible measure), and the party proposing action is protecting the public from a very real menace.


Don't feed the troll. Or if you can't resist, make sure you attack their cynical media strategy as you do so.
cycling  road_safety  uk  law  agnotology  dccomment 
august 2018 by juliusbeezer
Our scorched Earth needs voters to put more heat on their politicians | Andrew Rawnsley | Opinion | The Guardian
This is progress. It is not sufficient progress, but it does demonstrate that there are things that can be done to mitigate climate change and there are smarter responses to this threat than burying your overheated head in your sweaty hands...
The international picture has deteriorated. Global warming has been crowded out as a subject energising international leadership and the push to tackle the danger has lost momentum. The Paris climate agreement signed in 2016 was supposed to commit more than 170 countries to measures to hold the increase in the global average temperature to “well below” 2C above pre-industrial levels. What it lacks is any mechanism for holding the signatories to their promises and not one of the major industrialised nations has published a full and plausible strategy for meeting their targets. A growing number of the scientists of climate change fear that global warming is going to be in excess of 2C. Donald Trump, who dismisses climate change as a hoax made up by the Chinese to hurt US industry, has ripped up the commitments made by his predecessor. American withdrawal is a double disaster.
climatechange  politics  us  uk 
july 2018 by juliusbeezer
Stockpile food in the event of a no-deal Brexit? Dream on | James Ball | Opinion | The Guardian
It would not. Anyone knowing the very basics of food production – frankly, anyone who has watched an episode of Inside the Factory on the BBC – would know just how difficult it would be for industry to stockpile food. Most UK factories rely on multiple daily deliveries to keep production, which usually runs 24 hours a day, flowing. Within just 18 to 36 hours without deliveries of ingredients, production in almost all of the UK’s food sector (the country’s largest manufacturing sector) would stop.
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Factories couldn’t just step up production before the Brexit date and store the surplus, either. They no longer have much space to store their product: the UK’s highly efficient supply chains work on a “just in time” basis – factories have just enough storage space to manage about a day’s worth of deliveries, as do supermarket depots and the warehouses in the back of stores.

Stockpiling more food would mean industry having to buy or lease vast amounts of extra space, at short notice, and probably at great cost. In practical terms, it would ideally have needed to start spending that money months ago – and it would be serious money. Part of the reason people keep less inventory is that it reduces the amount of money you need to operate. If you increase the amount of stock kept in reserve from a few days’ worth to a few weeks’ worth, businesses across the sector would need five to 10 times the working capital they do now.
food  uk  politics  Brexit 
july 2018 by juliusbeezer
From Russian Winds to Cruise Ships: Exploring the Local Problems Driving the UK's Air Pollution Crisis | DeSmog UK
Earlier this year, the World Health Organisation found 47 UK towns and cities had either reached at or had gone beyond air pollution limits. The issue has been widely covered, with the NGOs, the press and opposition politicians quick to criticise government inaction.

The backdrop to all this is the ‘dieselgate’ scandal. As far back as 2015, car manufacturers including German giant VW were accused of cheating emissions tests, with their vehicles found to be much dirtier than the companies suggested. Ever since, cars’ contribution to the UK’s poor air quality has come under deep scrutiny.

But it can’t just be cars, can it?

After three years, countless pages of analysis and enquiry and multiple court cases, policymakers must finally be getting on top of the ‘car issue’, right? Surely, something else must be driving the country’s terrible air quality?

DeSmog UK spent six months trawling through local data and air quality reports to find places where air pollution wasn’t just a road traffic problem. There weren’t many.

The problem is that almost all roads are clogged up by commuter and industrial traffic.

Nonetheless, our detailed analysis of hundreds of pages of local authority reports did throw up some examples of where local idiosyncrasies exacerbate the car problem.
airpollution  uk  driving 
july 2018 by juliusbeezer
Ponies taken out of the New Forest after four horses killed in eight days | Daily Echo
Campaigners fighting for speed restrictions on the B3078 from Godshill to Cadnam have said people are fed up with the number of collisions and are being forced to keep their ponies out of harm’s reach.

The New Forest Roads Campaign is calling for speed restrictions after the road saw four ponies killed in just eight days.

Nearly 3,000 people have signed their online petition which aims to lobby higher authorities for permanent speed measures.
crash_report  deaths  uk 
july 2018 by juliusbeezer
How The Media Reveal Inconvenient Truth About Syria | Tim Hayward
Perhaps a rush to launch the attacks all at once was due to an unexpectedly quick unravelling of the authorized narrative in Syria. As the Syrian Arab Army brought Douma back under government control, the liberated citizens were bringing horrendous stories about conditions of life under the UK-sponsored “moderate rebels”, speaking of terror, humiliation, deprivation, rape, murder and forced labour. These stories, if verified, would severely undermine the mainstream narrative. As would the discovery of exceedingly inconvenient facts relating to the alleged chemical attack that recently served as justification for the F-UK-US bombing raid.

So it is that those of us who strive to get a fair hearing for the inconvenient testimonies are branded “Apologists for Assad”.
syria  news  journalism  uk  media  war 
july 2018 by juliusbeezer
British driver clocked at 165mph during secret race in France | World news | The Guardian
“I respect the 130km/h limit in France, so at most I’ll do 150km/h,” he said.
france  law  uk  police  driving 
july 2018 by juliusbeezer
True scale of UK role in torture and rendition after 9/11 revealed | UK news | The Guardian
British intelligence agencies were involved in the torture and kidnap of terrorism suspects after 9/11, according to two reports by the parliamentary intelligence and security committee.

The reports published on Thursday amount to one of the most damning indictments of UK intelligence, revealing links to torture and rendition were much more widespread than previously reported.

While there was no evidence of officers directly carrying out physical mistreatment of detainees, the reports say the overseas agency MI6 and the domestic service MI5 were involved in hundreds of torture cases and scores of rendition cases.
torture  uk 
june 2018 by juliusbeezer
Ministerial Resignation Statement - Dr Phillip Lee MP - Caring for Bracknell Constituency
However, as the negotiations are unfolding, two things are becoming clear.

• The practicalities, logistics and implications of leaving the EU are far more complex than was ever envisaged and certainly more complex than the people were told in 2016. The UK is not going to be ready in time, neither is the EU, and both would suffer from a rushed or fudged agreement.

• The outcome that is emerging will be neither fully to leave the EU, nor fully to stay. This is not an outcome for which anyone knowingly voted. In my view, this raises the important principle of legitimacy: I do not believe it would be right for the Government to pursue such a course without a plan to seek a confirmatory mandate for the outcome. And I believe that Parliament should have the power to ask the Government to adjust its course in the best interests of the people whom its Members represent.
Brexit  politics  uk 
june 2018 by juliusbeezer
UK spies ‘still share intelligence gained abroad by torture’ | UK news | The Guardian
“The commissioner’s most recent report reveals a doubling of cases considered under the Consolidated Guidance, compared with the last three years, and an unprecedented number of acknowledged failures to apply the Guidance.”

Sir Mark Waller, the then commissioner, who stood down last year, found that GCHQ had failed to follow the guidance in 35 cases.

The letter states: “Even worse, in eight of those cases, it was found that the intelligence was shared despite the fact that the Guidance should have prohibited further action – presumably as a result of what were serious risks of torture or other ill-treatment.”
torture  uk 
june 2018 by juliusbeezer
Theresa May forced to give MPs single market vote after shock defeat | Politics | The Guardian
A Department for Exiting the European Union spokesperson said: “The referendum was a vote to take control of our borders, laws and money. Ongoing participation in the EEA would mean having to implement new EU legislation automatically and in its entirety without having a say on how it is formulated – and it would also mean continued free movement. We will now consider the implications of this decision.”
politics  uk  Brexit  funny 
may 2018 by juliusbeezer
Secret UK push to weaken EU climate laws 'completely mad' | Environment | The Guardian
Benedek Jávor, the vice chair of the European parliament’s environment committee, told the Guardian: “The UK’s proposal to widen ‘flexibilities’ is completely mad and undermines the principle of additionality, as well as the overall ambition of the energy efficiency directive.”

“This approach would risk failure in our efforts to reach even moderately ambitious overall targets, while the higher – and beneficial targets – that we need to strive for could become lost altogether.”...

The EU’s climate goals for 2020 are a staging post to its more ambitious promise to the Paris conference of a 40% emissions cut by 2030.

Europe is expected to easily achieve this, although its CO2 emissions appear to be rising as economic activity picks up, while energy efficiency gains have gone into reverse.

Eurostat figures released last week showed a 1.8% rise in CO2 emissions from fossil fuel use in 2017 after a 0.4% fall the year before. Surprisingly though, the UK was the only EU country to reduce its electricity consumption in 2017.
climatechange  energy  politics  eu  uk 
may 2018 by juliusbeezer
How Russia’s rich elite spend their billions in London | World news | The Guardian
a super-rich colony in the heart of the capital. Many maintain ties with Russia and most remain “non-doms” – a dazzling loophole in the British tax system.

Meanwhile Londoners eagerly cater to their needs as butlers and architects, accountants and lawyers, interior designers and private tutors, personal shoppers and family officers. But their most important facilitator has been the UK government itself, which has rolled out the red carpet to a group whose enormous wealth became part of a narrative about a new golden age for the capital.
politics  uk  russia  business 
march 2018 by juliusbeezer
NHS chiefs urged to stop giving patient data to immigration officials | Society | The Guardian
Dr Sarah Wollaston, the chair of the House of Commons health select committee, has written to NHS Digital calling for an immediate halt to the handing over of confidential details of more than 8,000 patients a year. The MPs say the situation is unacceptable and they have serious concerns about the way the NHS has approached its duty to respect and promote confidentiality.

A memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the Home Office and NHS Digital highlighted by the Guardian last year requires non-clinical details of patients, including their last known address, date of birth, details of their GP and date registered with a doctor, to be handed to immigration officials to help trace potential offenders.
healthcarerecordsystems  privacy  uk 
january 2018 by juliusbeezer
Whose interests are the GMC really trying to serve in the Bawa-Garba case?
When I look at some of the arguments advanced in the Crown Court by both the defence and prosecution I cannot quite believe such arguments were part of criminal proceedings. A significant amount of them were technical points relating to the clinical assessment of shock. How has a junior doctor found themselves in the dock in criminal proceedings arguing that they were “correct to be cautious about introducing too much fluid into the [patient] because of his heart condition”? Together with the prosecution, in order to gain a conviction making points about capillary refill and high levels of lactate in the blood. It was also decided to to use Dr Bawa-Garba’s educational ePortfolio reflections against her, this will have a catastrophic effect on a future doctor’s ability to reflect openly and honestly about serious incidents and mistakes.
medicine  law  uk  healthcare 
january 2018 by juliusbeezer
Jimmy Savile's 'clunk click' safety ads ejected from National Archives | UK news | The Guardian
Savile made 20 clips in the 1970s warning of the dangers of driving without seatbelts. The “clunk click” films, which were repeatedly broadcast in the 1970s, were seen as playing a key role in reducing road deaths before seatbelts were made compulsory in 1983.

One of the adverts featured in a collection of public information films issued by the National Archive in 2006. But a spokeswoman has admitted that the film was quietly removed from the National Archive’s website in 2014 after the extent of Savile’s child abuse became clear.

She said: “It was on our website as part of a selection of public information films that we curated there to mark the 60th anniversary of the Central Office of Information. We took it down in July 2014. We just felt with the current climate it wasn’t the best choice and it was perhaps ethically wrong to highlight it. So we removed it from the selection.
road_safety  history  uk  agnotology 
december 2017 by juliusbeezer
20mph zones are not causing more deaths – Lewis Spurgin – Medium
the number of accidents and casualties appears pretty variable, and the change in KSI seems very small indeed. Let’s have a look at the data on a graph. This shows two things; firstly, that most of the variation in the number of incidents is explained by differences among areas, and secondly, that the number of KSI is indeed (thankfully) very low. If we perform a statistical test on the data there is no significant effect of introducing 20mph zones on the number of people KSI. So the report, and the newspapers are not correct.
crash_report  statistics  uk  Twenty'sPlenty 
december 2017 by juliusbeezer
Bitcoin: UK and EU plan crackdown amid crime and tax evasion fears | Technology | The Guardian
The Treasury plans to regulate bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to bring them in line with anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financial legislation. Traders will be forced to disclose their identities, ending the anonymity that has made the currency attractive for drug dealing and other illegal activities.

Under the EU-wide plan, online platforms where bitcoins are traded will be required to carry out due diligence on customers and report suspicious transactions. The UK government is negotiating amendments to the anti-money-laundering directive to ensure firms’ activities are overseen by national authorities.
bitcoin  eu  uk  politics 
december 2017 by juliusbeezer
Brexit labour shortage will force UK to import more fruit – winemaker | Politics | The Guardian
“The biggest potential impact of Brexit is on agricultural labour. Kent has had eastern Europeans picking fruit in recent years, but we’ll all starve if the labour issue is not sorted after Brexit.”

Tons of fruit have been left to rot in farms across the country – including in Kent, Scotland and Herefordshire – because of problems recruiting European pickers. According to the National Farmers’ Union, the horticulture industry had a 29% shortfall of seasonal workers in September.
food  uk  eu  Brexit  agriculture 
december 2017 by juliusbeezer
Wednesday briefing: Location inflation – Britain's homes worth £6tn | World news | The Guardian
The total value of all the houses in the UK has passed the £6tn mark for the first time, according to research by Halifax. If you are into hypothetical comparisons, we could pay off Britain’s national debt four times over if everyone sold up.

In 2007 Halifax estimated the UK’s housing stock was worth £4tn. The value of homes in London is now more than all the houses in Scotland, Wales and the north of England combined. In the south, the biggest gainers have been the buy-to-let set of landlords and second home owners. The average rate of owner-occupation across the UK is 63%, but it is just 48% in London.

The report highlights the struggle of younger people to get on the property ladder. Under 35-year-olds own just 3.3% of the UK’s net property wealth, while the over-55s hold 63.3%.
land  uk  housing 
november 2017 by juliusbeezer
Cytech Cycle Courses delivered by ATG Training
At ATG Training we have highly acclaimed training centres in London, Aylesbury and Stafford (Junction 14, M6) set up specifically to provide facilities and equipment to serve the Cycle Industry.

Over the years the Cytech course programme we created with the ACT has been developed and enhanced in line with the industry requirements. This is a particular point of difference that ATG Training specialises in, given our long history of being an employer and demand led training provider.

Our Cytech technical trainers and assessors are all cycling enthusiasts with years of experience, delivering training that meets the industry’s highest standards.
cycling  tech  education  uk 
november 2017 by juliusbeezer
The consensus is clear: there is no upside to a nuclear Brexit | Clare Moody | Opinion | The Guardian
how much is at risk by leaving Euratom, and how complex this process is, given the government’s unnecessary, self-imposed deadline. This government must start listening.

Euratom, among other things, provides safeguarding inspections for all civil nuclear sites in the UK. Inspectors are employed by Euratom and many are EU nationals. It takes five years to train a nuclear inspector and there is currently a limited pool of qualified inspectors from which to recruit. As Sue Ferns, deputy general secretary of Prospect, said in her evidence to the nuclear safeguards bill committee, “this is a highly skilled, very specialist area, which is why there is such a premium on this source of labour” and this is why we must question the wisdom of the government’s actions so far.

The government plans for the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) to take over the role that Euratom currently carries out, but the ONR and the NIA have made clear that new arrangements will not be in place by the time we are due to leave Euratom in March 2019.
nukes  uk  Brexit 
november 2017 by juliusbeezer
Sorry Paul, Spycops Haven't Stopped - Campaign Opposing Police Surveillance
Where does he get this idea from? The Human Rights Act was passed in 1998 and the Macpherson report was published in 1999. Far from ending the era of political policing, they came just as it began a period of expansion.

The second major political policing unit, the National Public Order Intelligence Unit, was founded in 1999 to deploy the likes of Mark Kennedy and extend the worst of the spycops’ abuses. More spycops units were established in the 2000s.

Political policing has not ended. In 2013 HM Inspectorate of Constabulary explained that the old spycops units have been subsumed into the Met’s Counter-Terrorism Command (known as SO15)
police  politics  uk  journalism 
november 2017 by juliusbeezer
LSE BREXIT – If the UK wants to cut immigration, it must change its model of capitalism
the UK displays features that make it especially dependent on migrant labour. The UK combines the features of a so-called Liberal Market Economy (with low employment protection, a lightly regulated labour market, and a large low-wage sector) and a consumption-led growth model (which depends heavily on domestic household consumption and population growth rather than exports). These institutional features have strengthened demand for migrant workers to compensate for mismatches and imbalances in the socio-economic regime.
uk  work  politics  migrant  immigration 
october 2017 by juliusbeezer
Government's Brexit Repeal Bill 'Power Grab' Threatens UK Environment Regulations | DeSmog UK
The reasoning behind this is that currently Britain, as part of the EU, adheres to the Lisbon Treaty which entered into force in 2009 and was signed by all EU member states. The Lisbon Treaty is based on “the precautionary principle and on the principles that preventive action should be taken, that environmental damage should as a priority be rectified at source and that the polluter should pay.” But once Brexit happens, it’s likely that this constraint will no longer apply unless specifically retained by new UK law.
airpollution  uk  environment  eu 
october 2017 by juliusbeezer
Outrageous good fortune smiles once again on Theresa May | Andrew Rawnsley | Opinion | The Guardian
For the most exquisitely apposite metaphor for what has happened to her premiership, you couldn’t beat the spectacle of Mrs May gulping water as the stage set fell apart. Yet I contend that she was rather lucky. She was fortunate because everyone focused on the presentational disasters rather than the content of the speech. This was devoid of what her demoralised party required from their leader. She answered the demand for a transformative vision that revived their prospects with a tired idea about the “British Dream”, a tangle of confused arguments and uninspiring, small-bore policy announcements.
politics  uk  attention  spectacle  funny 
october 2017 by juliusbeezer
Britain announces 15 years in prison for reading banned literature
British lawmakers have announced 15 years in prison for taking part of banned literature. However, the threat of prison only covers new story formats that lawmakers think don’t deserve the same kind of protection as old-fashioned books: it’s only people who watch video on the Internet who will be put in prison, and only when they watch something that promotes terrorism, whatever that means this week.
censorship  law  uk 
october 2017 by juliusbeezer
UK's foremost libel lawyer sets his sights on Israel's enemies | The Times of Israel
“There’s a Jewish choice in life,” he continues. “You can either be the Jew that people want to pick on — or they can say, oh, typical Jews, so belligerent. I always think, well, if people don’t like me, at least I’ve hit them.”

Lewis takes a ruthless approach, believing that it’s necessary to be aggressive against anti-Semites on social media.

“Someone can be a Nazi, but at least [if they are taken to court] they can be a homeless Nazi,” he says. “I’m quite happy to take their homes off them. If these people would have rational debate, I would do that [instead], but they are nutters who have conspiratorial theories and I will never change their outlook.”
uk  law  journalism  freedom 
october 2017 by juliusbeezer
The Brexit Blog: The German car industry and Brexit
Whilst the main Brexiter fantasy about the German car industry is that it will enforce a good trade deal, it also figures along with the car industries of other countries in the fantasy that Brexit will not impede inward investment. So, unsurprisingly, they greeted the news that BMW are going to build the electric Mini in the UK with great glee. But that glee was misplaced for several reasons. First, the investment is relatively small in car industry terms, involves no new production line and the main components will be built in Germany. The key issue is where car companies decide to build all-new models. Second, it does not negate the fact that car industry investment has collapsed catastrophically as a result of Brexit, from £1.66billion in 2016 to just £332M in the first half of 2017.

The real point, however, is this. No one ever claimed that Brexit would put an end to investment in the UK, just that it would reduce it. But Brexiters disparaged these and other warnings by a kind of reductio ad absurdum.
uk  politics  Brexit  driving 
october 2017 by juliusbeezer
NHS drug spending rises by 8% to £15.5bn in England | News | Pharmaceutical Journal
The costs of NHS medicines prescribed in hospital and in the community in England rose by 7.8% between 2013–2014 and 2014–2015, according to figures released by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) on 12 November 2015.

The biggest rise occurred in hospitals where the net ingredient cost of medicines went up 15.4%. The figure means that the sector’s medicines’ bill has risen by 59.8% over the past four years.

Overall the NHS in England spent £15.5bn on medicines in 2014–2015 — a rise of 19.4% since 2010–2011, the figures reveal.
drugs  healthcare  uk  finance  economics 
october 2017 by juliusbeezer
Scottish independence: the Queen makes rare comment on referendum | Politics | The Guardian
As David Cameron prepares to issue a warning in Scotland that a vote for independence will lead to a permanent split from the UK, campaigners for the union welcomed the Queen's remarks as a reminder of the monumental decision facing voters in Scotland.

The comments by the Queen came as she left Crathie Kirk near her Balmoral estate in Aberdeenshire after the Sunday morning service. The Queen told a well-wisher: "Well, I hope people will think very carefully about the future."

The Queen's remarks were interpreted by no campaigners as helpful to their cause. They were seen to tally with a warning the prime minister will deliver in Scotland on Monday, on his final visit north of the border before Thursday's vote, that a vote for independence would lead to an irrevocable break with the UK.
IndyRef  law  politics  uk 
october 2017 by juliusbeezer
You're nicked: most common motoring offences revealed - Read Cars
One in three (34%) of drivers admitted to doing something illegal on the road in the last 14 days, while two out of three (64%) confessed to committing as many as five illegal acts in their vehicle a month – and of these, 72% were men.
road_safety  law  uk  driving 
october 2017 by juliusbeezer
Huge boost for renewables as offshore windfarm costs fall to record low | Environment | The Guardian
the “exceptionally low” results of a government auction on Monday for subsidy contracts show two offshore windfarms will be built for £57.50 per MWh, way below even the most extreme predictions. The price is half of what new offshore windfarms were being awarded just two years ago.
energy  renewables  uk 
september 2017 by juliusbeezer
GPs in England 'unconfident' discussing physical activity with patients – report | Society | The Guardian
Set out in July 2011 by the Chief Medical Office, national guidelines recommend that adults aged between 19 and 64 undertake 75 minutes of intense activity or 150 minutes of moderate physical activity a week.

But in 2015-16 more than a quarter of adults in England were deemed “inactive”, undertaking physical activity for less than half an hour a week.

Now a nationwide study [published in BrJGP] has revealed that 80% of GPs in England say they are unfamiliar with the national guidelines, and more than one in seven doctors say they are not confident raising the issue of physical activity with their patients.

“Many people have described [physical activity] as the most cost-effective drug we have, yet we are not implementing it properly,” said Justin Varney, co-author of the research from Public Health England (PHE). “This is as appropriate as having a conversation about smoking,” he added.
medicine  uk  exercise 
september 2017 by juliusbeezer
Margaret McCartney: Why GPs are always running late | The BMJ
As a colleague puts it, general practice is based on a lie—a lie that we can do this safely and well in 10 minutes. I reckon that acceptably safe practice would take double that, and excellent practice would need more again to ensure that everything’s in place for proper, shared decision making.
medicine  uk  attention 
september 2017 by juliusbeezer
If UK Media wrote about the UK like it does Latin America | Brasil Wire
As the May regime collapses into economic chaos and repression, what hope now for the British people?

Following a disastrous and disputed General election in which she could not secure a democratic mandate, the United Kingdom’s increasingly unpopular authoritarian leader, Theresa May, has resorted to side-stepping the constitution to protect her deeply corrupt and weakened regime.

A massive bribery scheme to buy the loyalty of Far-Right Northern Irish lawmakers and the support of pariah state Saudi Arabia are now all that keep the embattled Autocrat in her Downing Street base.
journalism  politics  uk 
august 2017 by juliusbeezer
LSE BREXIT – EU migrants: going home with skills, acumen and higher expectations
The UK is no longer as attractive to European nationals thinking of coming to live and work here. The latest quarterly figures published by the Office for National Statistics show there is a 36% increase in the number of EU citizens leaving the UK to return home permanently (to 117,000) and a 14% decrease in first-time EU entrants to the UK job market (to 247,000) compared to 2015. This negative trend is particularly pronounced for Central Europeans, who have stopped relocating to the UK. The UK’s loss is Europe’s gain: students and workers will look for opportunities at home or in other European economies. This trend increases the long-term growth prospects for Europe, to the detriment of the United Kingdom.
eu  Brexit  uk 
august 2017 by juliusbeezer
Mistake to declare this a 'war' | London Evening Standard
"In the intricate game of skill played between terrorists and the authorities, as we discovered in both Palestine and Ireland, the terrorists have already won an important battle if they can provoke the authorities into using overt armed force against them. They will then be in a win-win situation. Either they will escape to fight another day, or they will be defeated and celebrated as martyrs. In the process of fighting them a lot of innocent civilians will certainly be hurt, which will further erode the moral authority of the government.

"Who here will ever forget Black Sunday in Northern Ireland , when a few salvos of small-arms fire by the British Army gave the IRA a propaganda victory from which the British government was never to recover ? And if so much harm can be done by rifle fire, what is one to say about bombing ? I can only suggest that it is like trying to eradicate cancer cells with a blow-torch. Whatever its military justification, the bombing of Afghanistan, with the inevitable 'collateral damage' it causes, will gradually whittle away the immense moral ascendancythat we enjoyed as a result of the bombing of the World Trade Center.
war  politics  uk  ireland  iraq  afghanistan  spectacle 
august 2017 by juliusbeezer
Perhaps those involved in the study did the classic thing of saying seven because that’s deemed the least embarrassing number these days. It’s not too many that a prospective new partner feel like you got around, but not so little you might seem inexperienced or underwhelming.

After a survey of 2,000 people from across the world, they found that 17.5% of men had lied about the amount of people they had slept with and increased the number (with only 8% of women doing the same) and 18.6% of the women lying to decrease their number (with 13.7% men doing the same).
sex  uk  us  eu 
august 2017 by juliusbeezer
What judge said to motorcyclist who caused cyclist's death - Leicester Mercury
Mr Wigoder said Mr Payne, cycling his regular route, heading towards Melton, was 50cm away from the verge when he was struck from behind by the motorbike and “never had a chance”.

He added: “The reason for this accident was this defendant taking a bend at speed which reduced his reaction time.

“This led to panicked braking whilst leaning his bike over at a greater angle and then believing the best course of action was to lay the bike down with disastrous consequences, laying his motorbike down to the nearside.”

The road conditions were clear and dry and the defendant should have had a clear view of Mr Payne when he came round the bend.
crash_report  uk  cycling  driving 
august 2017 by juliusbeezer
Britain has built a national myth on winning the Second World War, but it’s distorting our politics
The centrality of the Second World War to the national myth warps our view of history and our place in the world in all sorts of ways. For starters, it means we’ve never had to take an honest account of the consequences of empire. In a tale about British heroes defeating Nazi villains, British mistakes or British atrocities just don’t fit. (Winston Churchill’s role in the 1943 Bengal famine – death toll: three million – by ordering the export of Indian grain to Britain rarely comes up in biopics.) In this dominant version of the national story, the end of empire is just the price we pay to defeat fascism.

More than that, our obsession with the Second World War creates the bizarre impression that failure is not just heroic, but a necessary precursor to success. Two of the most discussed elements of Britain’s war – the evacuation of Dunkirk, and the Blitz – are not about victory at all, but about survival against the odds. The lesson we take is that, with a touch of British grit and an ability to improvise, we can accomplish anything. It’s hard not to see this reflected in Brexit secretary David Davis’s lack of notes, but it’s nonsense: had the Russians and Americans not arrived to bail us out, Britain would have been stuffed.
history  uk  eu  war 
august 2017 by juliusbeezer
There May be a Huge Flaw in UK Fracking Hopes – The Geology | DeSmog UK
In short, even where a shale source in the UK may have high organic content and thick and favourable mineralogy, the complex structure of the basins will be detrimental to ultimate recovery. Yet the only question that has been addressed to date is how large the shale resource could be in the UK. The inherent geological complexity of the sedimentary basins has not been fully appreciated or articulated. As a result, the opportunity has been overhyped and reserve estimates remain unknown.

At the very least, there is a need to factor this considerable and fundamental geological uncertainty into the economic equation. It would be extremely unwise to rely on shale gas to ride to the rescue of the UK’s gas needs only to discover it is 55m years too late.
fossil-fuel  oil  uk 
august 2017 by juliusbeezer
What to Do if You are Hit by an Uninsured or Untraced Driver
Being in an accident with an uninsured or untraceable driver is understandably frustrating. According to one survey, there were approximately 1.2 million uninsured drivers on the road in 2013 so it’s no wonder accidents involving uninsured drivers are so common. In the UK, third party insurance is the legal minimum insurance required and this covers injuries or damages to other people and vehicles if you’re in an accident.
driving  law  uk 
august 2017 by juliusbeezer
The collapse of the local press: A disaster facing local democracy | David Hencke
The local residents association – the Grenfell Action Group – had been warning of fire safety issues in Grenfell Tower and other blocks of flats as long ago as 2013.

But they had been ignored and when their blogs got too critical they were threatened by the solicitor to the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea with defamation proceedings unless they took down the critical posts.

The reason why their concerns went unreported was entirely due to the state of the local press. As Grant Feller, a former reporter, wrote in Press Gazette
In 1990 there would have been two rival papers the Chelsea News and the Kensington News and a team of ten reporters looking at everything in the borough.
“But today there is no-one there. There is a newspaper that cares for Londoners, reflects London and does its bit for London – and that’s the Evening Standard. But it doesn’t do these types of stories.”
journalism  news  uk 
august 2017 by juliusbeezer
Hate-filled abuse is poisoning Britain. I fought it, and ask you to do the same | Gina Miller | Opinion | The Guardian
Some of the worst threats I received were from Rhodri Philipps, the 4th Viscount St Davids. He posted on Facebook, “£5,000 for the first person to ‘accidentally’ run over this bloody troublesome first generation immigrant”.
driving  crime  uk 
july 2017 by juliusbeezer
Will Corbyn’s Decision to back Hard Brexit in Parliament Hurt Labour at the Next Election?
Evidence suggests that the increase in Labour’s vote share at the last election was driven by disgruntled Remainers, that a large fraction of Labour supporters oppose hard Brexit, and that many of these people identify more with Remain than with Labour

The pro-Remain Labour MP Chuka Umunna tabled an amendment to the Queen’s Speech that called for Britain to remain in the Single Market and the Customs Union after Brexit. However, Jeremy Corbyn ordered Labour MPs to abstain on the motion by imposing a three-line whip, thereby effectively backing May’s hard Brexit agenda. The amendment was defeated by 322 votes to 101, despite 49 Labour MPs rebelling.

Several lines of evidence suggest that Corbyn’s decision to back hard Brexit in Parliament could hurt Labour at the next election.
Brexit  politics  uk  eu  dccomment 
july 2017 by juliusbeezer
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