Monday, May 01, 2006

Falling Down

I’m told we made an appearance on the BBC’s “Match of the Day” last night, although by then sleep had caught up with me and try as I might, I couldn’t stay awake long enough to see how big the banner looked from a Spur’s fan’s perspective.

Flicking through today’s papers after a lie-in, I’m once again left with the impression that the world is collapsing around me and it’s not just the footballers.

There’s Wayne Rooney’s Metatarsal for starters. My own theory is that the present generation of footballers are the first to demonstrate calcium deficiency, growing-up after the end of free school milk. As a consequence, their bones may be more brittle than their predecessors. If I’m right, then it’s the young women of today who will really suffer once they pass the menopause into old age, and the strain on the health service in forty years to deal with broken bones, if we have one, will be even worse than it is today.

Staying with the theme of things falling apart today, we have the story in The Times, of a grandmother who spent a night in a police cell after a scuffle with a group of children in which she was threatened with a piece of wood.

The Times reports that Brenda Robinson, 66, a church volunteer in Bournemouth, said that she was given only a glass of water by police before being interviewed the next morning.

She was arrested for assault after challenging the youngsters, one of whom had kicked a football against a family car.

She said she had given the boy, 11, “a clip around the ear” after he called her a “f****** bitch”. Mrs Robinson was then threatened in her garden by a teenage boy carrying a lump of wood, and two 13-year-old girls, one of whom starting pushing her. She said that she pulled one of the teenage girls by the hair and threw her out of the garden. Shortly afterwards the police arrived and arrested the grandmother for assault.

Mrs Robinson, who said her daughter-in-law’s partner had been killed by a gang of youths five years ago, told The Times that “the dice were loaded against law-abiding people”.

So we have literally thousands of foreign prisoners running amok in our society, kids committing vandalism and violent assault with impunity and grandmothers ‘banged-up’ with bread and water, overnight in a cell, for reportedly slapping an aggressive foul-mouthed little thug. No wonder so many of us express despair as our society continues its spiral down the plughole of social history.

Meanwhile you’ll be encouraged to read, also in The Times, that under the rules that replace the scheme by which employers were encouraged to give their staff personal computers to use in order to boost computer literacy, office computers used in part for non-business purposes are now treated as a benefit in kind, meaning that employees will have to pay income tax on them, and employers will have to pay national insurance contributions for them as well.

This means, in principle at least, that I will now have to pay tax for writing this weblog.

On a computer bought for £2,000, an employee paying higher-rate tax would face a £160 bill each year and an employer would have to pay an extra £51.20.

The Chartered Institute of Taxation said the result could be “a new bureaucratic burden” on employers to make sure that private use of computers was kept to an insignificant level.


tony flaig said...

Well its tough about Wayne's metatarsal, but no doubt the British press will keep us updated on an hourly basis up until the end of the World Cup.

I would imagine that Mrs Robinsons has fallen foul of the new all-encompassing hate crime phenomenon which the police now use with increasing regularity when arresting old-age pensioners.

As to having to pay for writing your (as per example) Web blog I am not entirely sure why the taxpayer should subsidise a higher-rate taxpayer on a top-of-the-range pc. I am fairly sure that the Inland Revenue are quite reasonable and give tax relief proportionate to your business use on your pc. In fact as you frequently refer to your business in this web blog then I would assume you would be entitled to claim any expenditure on this site.

DrMoores said...

A good point on the business use application but it's not really that that I'm on about as a business. What the Times is pointing out is the level of bureacracy that will be imposed on employers in determining the national insurance payments on PCs used by employees after several years of encouraging them to give the same to their workforce to boost productivity and computer awareness. In other words the revenue are looking for a new way to raise tax, rather like the BBC with televisions and personal computers look to be an easy target now they have become a necessary consumer commodity, like petrol, cars but not yet air!

Lucy Mail said...

Are we quite sure that Brenda Robinson, 66, a church volunteer in Bournemouth, has 'hit' upon the answer of how to deal with bad language from a child?
Instead of locking her up, do we think that the police should have just maced her instead? And then, as retribution, perhaps the home office could have chastised the officers involved with a quick public flogging followed by the Queen having said members of the home office excecuted?
The child kicked a football. How on Earth, these days, could the ball have missed a car? The child used an expletive when approached (what did Mrs Robinson say to the child?) and was rewarded with a clump on the head.
Words from a child followed by violence from an adult.
Perhaps a week sitting in a cell to mull things over would have helped to provide an answer?

DrMoores said...

I guess we don't know the full story but placeing a 66 year old in a cell overnight for clipping a mouthy 11 year old may seem excessive to most readers!?

Lucy Mail said...

It may well seem excessive to most readers and isn't that a shame.
Still, as long as the readers are getting what they want (something to moan about) rather than what they need (answers to a problem), I suppose that's ok.

Lucy Mail said...

Well actually, on reflection, no, it's not ok!
You use the word 'clipping' as though it's not really an act of violence, which it is. Unprovoked, to boot. Did the child offer violence?
I would suppose that, using that kind of justification, it would be acceptable to clip a child with your car if the language got too bad!

DrMoores said...

Answers are welcome here.. They are just hard to find sometimes!

DrMoores said...

By all accounts the child was carrying an offensive weapon and used threatening behaviour.. you judge whether "clipping" was an appropriate or even justifiable human response in the circumstances.

Anonymous said...

anon again!
Now, we know that *not* all 66 grans are nice people, but we do know that *most* 11-12-13 year old kids are the nastiest most obnoxious bunch of bunch of little shirtheads that ever walked (girls as well as boys). You see it all along your favourite corners of Marine Terrace daily. I know it's *not* all of them, but, *it is* the majority. Now, to be fair, they should have arrested the kids with her. Then had them all up before the Local Magistrate, and let him/her decide what is to be done.

Anonymous said...

By "locking up" the 66 year old grandma and doing or saying "nothing" to the children gives a signal to all children that whatever they do they are unpunishable. By clipping the youngster round the ear she was only doing what policemen were once allowed to do before our "politically correct" society took over good common sense.

James Maskell said...

Im afraid Im in the minority here. Its a prima facie case of assault (battery) here. Swearing at someone wont hold up in court as provocation. The defence of self defence wont work as the article makes it clear she hit the child who was swearing, not the one holding the wood.

I would reckon she got angry, gave the kids a mouthful (not swearing but angry...Im sure you can imagine it), the kids swore back, so she snapped, as her upbringing would have taught her that you dont backchat someone, let alone swear at them. She hit the kid and the others fought back, as kids like that tend to do when in groups. Of course the kids shouldnt have threatened her with a piece of wood, but they wouldnt have done it without at least a good reason.

As for the majority of kids being like that, I dont agree. The way the media operates is that it finds a handful of cases of something, like in this case and makes it appear that this happens everywhere and that all kids in that age group are a threat, which I find very unfair.

Lucy Mail said...

Keeps the moaners (people that are succumbing to this manipulation) happy and the paper sales up though. Unfair on the moaners by keeping their environment artificially unjust. Unfair on the kids because it makes all of them out as monsters, whereas, i'd guess that they are probably in equal proportion to monsterous adults (only the adults really should know better).
Unfair on the authorities because it gives them impossible avenues of 'getting it just right'.
Unfair on me because it gives me a headache.

DrMoores said...

Prima Facie, James is quite correct but it's interesting to observe that what was once right and enjoyed wide public support as acceptable is now wrong, although I suspect the wider public would still support the same. Without the fear of "Charlie" our own beat constable catching up with my own obnoxious little gang of mischief-seeking terrors in the late sixties, their would be parallels with today I suspect.

Lucy Mail should start her own weblog. I'll put in a link if she does!

Anonymous said...

The telling thing about this incident is Mrs. Robinson's comment that "the dice is loaded against the law-abiding citizen". This statement is true whether it is fiddling taxes and social security, illegal immigration, vandalism, assault, death by "careless driving" or damage to property. The emphasis is on why the criminal did it, and how can we help them, not on justice for the victim and proportionate punishment for the offender. I suspect that if serious damage had been done to the car, Mrs. Robinson would have been left to pick up the bill. I bet the police would not have been interested, nor the parents willing to pay, assuming they could be traced. This lack of basic morality is being fostered by a soft justice system, and leads to people taking matters into their own hands in desperation. Though wrong, this is understandable. I sincerely hope that neither Lucy Mail or James Maskell gets mugged for their phone. If they do, I hope that the police apprehend the criminal. If they do, I hope that the court hands out a just sentence. Dr. Moores, beware of flying pigs next time you are cruising along the Thanet coast. - Birchington Moaner!!

Old Codger said...

Well, Lucy Mail and James !

If you read the account in the Times you might have noticed that 66 year old Mrs Robinson was firstly involved in intervening to stop an 11 year old repeatedly kicking a ball against a car that was not his (criminal damage to property)Surely, she is to be commended for doing her civic duty and if she was then verbally abused I'm not surprised she clipped the child around the ear.

She was then confronted shortly afterwards with 3 teenagers in her garden (trespass) one carrying a plank of wood (an offensive weapon) I would have laid about with a handy cricket bat straight away on the grounds of their threatening behaviour and that I feared for my safety. She just pulled hair and evicted them from her property.

I suspect Mrs Robinson's life will now be made hell by these local yobs for a long time to come. The police need to charge her because she has admitted to a common assault on a minor.

How can you both seriously view this from the yobs perspective? Are you so blind to how behaviour of this nature is ruining thousands of law abiding citizens lives? These children were behaving dreadfully and what appears worst of all to me that they were behaving in such a manner because they 'knew they could' and would pay no consequence for it.
Mrs Robinson has already been, by family connection, a victim of yobbish street crime resulting in death. I have the greatest of sympathy for her.

I am so worried that two intelligent and clearly educated people like yourselves have expressed the views you have. It just goes to show how the insidious views trundled out in our schools and in the media have blinded a generation to reality.

I know begin to understand how the Nazi Party, Stalin's Communist Party and Mao managed to get children to report their own parents for politically incorrect behaviour or talk.

James Maskell said...

A clip round the ear, if I recall correctly, is a hit round the back of the head with an open hand. Thats a battery, illegal under statute law. She broke the law. The provocation isnt strong enough to mitigate her case. She was right to be arrested. She assaulted a small child, which had no threat to her apart from swearing at her.

We assume so much from what the papers say. We automatically know when we read bs. As with all newspapers, we need to read this and ask questions about the information contained within. Is there more to this than whatr we read here. Are there any vague comments which could vary according to how you interpret it?

shernus said...

if the story is factually correct
we have,a weak,elderly woman who has seen a death in her family from a gang of youths, threatened whilst on her own property,heavily out numbered ,1 of carrying a weapon with intent,using threatening language,and actually pushing her.
The answers are easy,you side with the person with the moral highground, in this case it's brenda robertson,regardless of age those kids were in the wrong,and one "clip round the ear" seemed to save her from a possible serious assault , and saving a teenage boy from a sentence to a youth offenders prison.
There is 1 crime statistic that is rarely heard, 44% of all crime is committed against 4% of the population,empowering people to stand up and protect themselves is a great step to solving the problem of crime

Anonymous said...

James, usual rubbish I see! If you think that swearing at someone will not see you end up in court, then I suggest you find a nice policeman, and have a good swear at him and see what happens! Twit!!
Chaz Jones

James Maskell said...

How do we know she is weak? She had enough umph in her to grab a young girl by the hair and pull her out ouf the garden...

How do we know the wood was picked up with malicious intent to attack her and wasnt picked up to protect their friend? As for heavily outnumbered, two of them had nothing to do with it apart from being there at the time and only one of them had anything that could be interpreted to be threatening.

The problem is no one reading this article has any idea whether the story written by the Times correspondent is actually true or whether parts of it were amended to make it seem a better and more juicy story. No one does. If you look at the story, there is a LOT of leeway in what the true story is.

DrMoores said...

I think young James is playing Devil's advocate here or perhaps taking a page from philospher Alfred North Whitehead: "For any argument, the opposite can be maintained, regardless of factual error or logical mistake."

Best make a quick exit and head for bed I think and leave James to defend his criminal justice argument with a metaphysical baseball bat!

James Maskell said...

Im not entirely sure where the factual error of logical mistake is. Perhaps someone could point it out because clearly Im missing the point here.

shernus said...

ok,lets put aside whether the article is factually correct and use this as a hypothetical,which you still defend there position.

A 66 year old persons body is in decline and has been for many years,as much fire they believe they have,one fall can see a downward spiral of health and thats a fact.
How do we know the wood was picked up for malicious intent to attack her?.
Did mrs robinson have a similar weapon? no,could they have easily out run mrs robinson? yes
did they ask a grown up for help?no
And as your so picky on the law protecting a friend with a piece of wood is not (self) defence and therefore against the law.
Not outnumbered ?
Please james for your sake dont ever aproach a large gang of youths if 1 of them is abusive and the rest seem like bystanders you may have a nasty shock.
Your defence of these young persons is admirable but very misplaced.
People must stand up for themselves even in this case it is morrally objectional to some, to hit a child.
Plus i think you will find that if she were to plead not guilty there probarbly isn't a jury in the land that will convict her let alone a judge