Tag Archives: Birmingham

NHS medical records handed to O2 to predict mental breakdowns – isn’t this against the law?

How many NHS record files have been handed over to a private firm by the Tories, in breach of Data Protection laws and the General Data Protection Regulations?

This looks like a huge data protection breach.

The Tory government, which runs the NHS in England, should have sought permission from patients before handing over their records to a commercial organisation – anonymised or not.

The fact that this information only became public knowledge via a Freedom of Information request makes it even worse because the Tories have been hiding what they have done.

Are you a patient of Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust?

If so, I strongly suggest that you get together with other patients, find out if your information was handed over, and take legal action. Get in touch with Citizens Advice to find out how.

The telecoms giant O2 has been given access to a cache of NHS medical records to develop an algorithm aimed at predicting when mental health crises might occur.

Patients’ consent was not sought before Telefonica, the Spanish group that trades as O2 in the UK, was given free access to the trove of records from Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust, according to documents, published last month under freedom of information laws.

The data includes five years’ of anonymised records belonging to current and former patients. In the document, the NHS trust said that “25,000 people experience a mental health crisis every year” in Birmingham and Solihull, suggesting that data on tens of thousands of patients could have been shared.

Source: NHS medical records given to telecoms group to predict mental breakdowns | News | The Sunday Times

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Trigger ballots to decide if Phillips has to fight to remain an MP

Jess Phillips: It’s time for her to go.

Labour Party members in the Birmingham Yardley constituency are to vote on the future of MP Jess Phillips.

She is facing a ‘trigger’ vote to decide whether she should face a challenge to her right to be their Parliamentary candidate in the next general election.

According to Skwawkbox, “Yardley reportedly only has some five hundred Labour members… Ms Phillips is said to have been working hard trying to cultivate their favour.

“Phillips’ neighbour, Roger Godsiff, was ‘triggered‘ earlier this week, with Barking MP Margaret Hodge suffering the same result the week before.”

Ms Phillips is highly controversial. This Site published an article earlier this week, sympathetic with staff at her office after they were targeted by a man banging on the windows and shouting “fascist”.

He seemed unhappy that she had made a speech about the un-Parliamentary language used by Boris Johnson regarding his aborted prorogation.

But I have little sympathy for Ms Phillips as a person and neither do readers of This Site, as evidenced by comments on that previous article.

“Jess Phillips is a fine one to bemoan the violent language currently being used in Parliament,” stated ‘TimFrom’. “She made an early contribution to the trend in 2015 when, in response to talk of Labour MPs back-stabbing Jeremy Corbyn, she proudly proclaimed she’d oh-so-bravely knife him ‘in the front’.”

Mark C added: “I really have very little time for Jess Phillips and her ‘I’m just a working class woman made good bab’ persona. I found myself in an unimpressed minority in regards to her recent impassioned speech at the fate of those expelled from the Tory party – why so het up about the Tories when many within the Labour party have been expelled on trumped up charges that she has often supported?

“And I feel her ‘I don’t understand parliamentary process’ comment is, at worst a wilful and calculated part of that ‘ordinary woman’ act and, at best, pure unadulterated ignorance at the job she is elected to perform.”

Others have criticised her for supporting Ruth Smeeth at the hearing of Labour’s National Constitutional Committee that led to the entirely inappropriate expulsion of anti-racism campaign Marc Wadsworth on a charge relating to anti-Semitic racism. Ms Smeeth had lied about him.

And This Writer came under fire for calling her “mouthy” – with critics claiming I was using sexist language, even though I and others apply that term freely to men, women and groups.

So, while Ms Phillips’s place as a candidate may now be in doubt, This Writer certainly hopes that members of Yardley CLP remove her from the list in the very near future.

There should be no place in the Parliamentary Labour Party for her.

Source: Phillips facing trigger ballots on Monday | The SKWAWKBOX

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Is G4S really the right choice to run sexual assault referral centres?

G4S Forensic and Medical Services already provides similar services in Essex, Worcester and Telford [Image: David Jones/PA].

Let’s get one thing straight – G4S promises us that Theresa May’s husband Phillip has nothing to do with the company.

Fine – so why does this inept and dangerous organisation keep winning plum contracts from the Conservative Government?

Only today (December 16), the Prison Service had to take over Birmingham Prison because of what appears to be a riot – that this security-based company cannot control.

If G4S can’t control rioting prisoners, why is it running a prison?

This is the latest in a series of cock-ups that go back through the years.

Can anybody forget the fact that G4S completely messed up its contract to run security at the 2012 London Olympics, forcing the Tories to bring in the Army at extremely short notice?

Now this mob has won a contract providing medical exams and counselling for rape and sexual assault victims – who deserve far better.

Considering the way the benefits system has been perverted to put people off claiming, one has to wonder whether this choice is to put people off reporting these serious offences.

G4S, the controversial private security company, is to run services providing medical examinations and counselling for victims of rape and sexual assault in the West Midlands.

The company has been awarded a three-year contract to take over two sexual assault referral centres (Sarcs) in Birmingham and Walsall. The national network of 33 centres across England which have developed over the past decade also allow rape and sexual assault victims to report attacks without going to the police first.

The decision to award the contract for such sensitive services to the company, despite widespread criticism over its failings in the Olympics security contract, was made by local NHS commissioners who have recently taken over responsibility for the network of Sarcs from the police.

Union leaders and violence against women campaigners sharply criticised the “sell-off” of such sensitive services to a private company with such a chequered record.

Source: G4S contract to run sexual assault referral centres damned | Business | The Guardian

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Fox News announces Birmingham is a ‘no-go zone’ for non-Muslims

The man on the right stated, on Rupert Murdoch's Fox News, that Birmingham is a 'no-go' zone for non-Muslims.

The man on the right stated, on Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News, that Birmingham is a ‘no-go’ zone for non-Muslims.

If anybody on Twitter hasn’t been alerted to #foxnewsfacts, type it in and improve your life.

Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News TV channel kicked off the trend with the following sensational revelation:

For clarity, the man said: “And in Britain, it’s not just no-go zones, there are actual cities like Birmingham that are totally Muslim where non-Muslims just simply don’t go in. And parts of London, there are actually Muslim religious police that actually beat and actually wound seriously anyone who doesn’t dress according to Muslim, religious Muslim attire.”

Inevitably, the presentation of this information as fact led to the proliferation of more #foxnewsfacts, some of which follow:

Fans of Birmingham City Football Club worship at the Blues Mosque. (Clive Peedell)

English real ale is bottled upside down so crowncork top can be banged on workhouse floor to check seal and create some bubbles. (Julian Bray UK)

The English City of Ba’ath is dedicated to the overthrow of the state of Israel. (Bernie Banter)

150111foxnewsfacts1

Fox News reports people taking to the streets of Birmingham, holding signs reading JE SUIS BENNY. (Neil Mossey)

150111foxnewsfacts2

The south west is the only place white people live now. (Goddessdeeva)

150111foxnewsfacts3

Mullah Jasper El Carrot. He has ruled Birmingham for decades. (Craig Chez)

Jules R pointed out: “Just you lot wait until Fox News find out there’s a place called The Black Country.”

A particular favourite of this writer was the claim that Bristol is entirely submerged, which led Yr Obdt Srvt to tweet that his own parents are turning into dolphins.

There is already a petition asking the Mayor of Birmingham to let non-Muslims back into the city. It reads:

“Today international ‘terrorism’ expert Steven Emerson astoundingly revealed to Fox News the literally incredible information that, ‘in Britain, it’s not just no-go zones – there are actual cities like Birmingham that are totally muslim, where non-muslims just simply don’t go in’.

“Most people in Britain had no idea that non-muslims no longer ‘just simply go in’ to Birmingham and other cities in the UK (Emerson did not yet state which other cities he is referring to). Birmingham had loads of non-muslims in the last time I was there, so this is a real shock.

“We call upon the city of Birmingham and other non-specified British cities to once again allow non-muslims to roam their streets.

“[edit: it’s a shame to have to add this bit, because it spoils the joke a bit – but for the avoidance of doubt, this is a satirical petition. I know that Birmingham is a diverse city and that everyone is welcome there as in all other cities in the UK. Fox News’ so-called ‘expert’ apparently does not.]”

There is a more sinister aspect to this. It could be suggested that, by making these claims on a major news channel, the Murdoch media is trying to stir up internecine unrest in the United Kingdom. This is, of course, illegal.

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Government should face corporate manslaughter charge after suicide verdict on Stephanie Bottrill

Victim of government persecution: A coroner has agreed that government pressure drove Stephanie Bottrill to suicide.

Victim of government persecution: A coroner has agreed that government pressure drove Stephanie Bottrill to suicide.

It’s official – stress and pressure caused by the Bedroom Tax pushed grandmother Stephanie Bottrill into taking her own life.

Zafar Siddique, coroner for Birmingham and Solihull, said he was “satisfied she intended to take her own life” after hearing evidence that Mrs Bottrill had blamed the government’s Bedroom Tax policy for pushing her to suicide in a note she left at her Meriden Drive, Kingshurst, home before walking across the M6 motorway into a collision with a lorry early on May 4, 2013.

The coroner also heard evidence from Dr Bindu Nair, who saw the former postal worker the day before her death after Mrs Bottrill’s daughter-in-law, concerned for her safety, made an appointment.

Dr Nair said Mrs Bottrill had “expressed unhappiness at being pushed by the housing department to make a decision, in half an hour, in reference to being made to move into a smaller property”.

He added that Ms Bottrill was “happy to move but it was the way in which she was forced to make a decision” which had caused her “considerable anxiety and stress”.

Unmentioned in the report is the fact that Mrs Bottrill was found to be exempt from the Bedroom Tax (also called the State Under-Occupation Charge) under the Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit (Consequential Provisions) Regulations 2006, because she had been living at her address since before January 1996.

The implications for the government are enormous.

A British court has accepted that a government policy pushed a UK citizen into ending her life.

Organisations including government departments are guilty of corporate manslaughter if the way in which their activities are managed or organised causes a person’s death, and amounts to a gross breach of a relevant duty of care owed by the organisation to the deceased.

An organisation is guilty of an offence if the way in which its activities are managed or organised by its senior management is a substantial element in the breach.

The pressure placed on Mrs Bottrill, according to the evidence of her own doctor, caused “considerable anxiety and stress” that contributed to her decision to commit suicide.

It seems clear that the Department for Work and Pensions – as the organisation responsible for both the Bedroom Tax and the pressure placed on Mrs Bottrill by housing officers – must now face criminal charges under the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007.

As far as this blog is concerned, responsibility for this woman’s death lies firmly with Iain Duncan Smith.

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Why are we giving UKIP’s Hitler speech plan the bum’s rush?

Charismatic? It seems unlikely that UKIP's Bill Etheridge could successfully emulate Hitler's speech delivery, let alone any of his students [Image: Mirror Online].

Charismatic? It seems unlikely that UKIP’s Bill Etheridge could successfully emulate Hitler’s speech delivery, let alone any of his students [Image: Mirror Online].

It is with great disappointment that this blog acknowledges reports of a UKIP member who – we are told – advised prospective party candidates to learn from the speaking style of Adolf Hitler.

Let there be no mistake, though – my disappointment originates not in the fact that Bill Etheridge MEP allegedly made the remarks in the first place, but in the universal disparagement of this as a Bad Thing.

According to the Mail on Sunday (so take this with a pinch of salt), Mr Etheridge told UKIP Youth Conference members in Birmingham: “Look back to the most magnetic and forceful public speaker possibly in history.

“When Hitler gave speeches, and many of the famous ones were at rallies, at the start he walks, back and forth, looked at people – there was a silence, he waited minutes just looking out at people, fixing them with his gaze.”

It is true that I enjoy criticising UKIP and its members’ crazy ideas very much and take as many opportunities as possible to do so.

I also enjoy a good laugh.

The prospect of Kippers strutting about like demented chickens, giving the evil eye to all and sundry, has been welcomed with hilarity at VP Towers – as has the possibility that this behaviour may scare off potential voters before the candidates have uttered a single word.

It seems Mr Etheridge has failed to grasp the fact that this speech style worked for Hitler because – like it or not – he was immensely charismatic and could make it work for him, and his speeches were tailored to reinforce the effect. With the best will in the world, it is hard to imagine Brummie Kippers achieving the same feats of mesmerism.

Notice also that Mr Etheridge did not mention the other notable characteristic of Hitler’s speeches – flatulence.

As above, so below; when Hitler started to speak, slowly and quietly, he would begin delivering short gassy messages from the rear, in similar tempo and at similar volume. As his speech became louder and faster, so did his sphincter.

How surprising that Mr Etheridge omitted to mention this!

Did he not realise it would bring the house down if one of his students, finishing a speech, accompanied his final line of something like “We need breathing-room!” with a 21-bum salute?

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Is it wise to combat Islamic extremism in schools by sending in Tory extremists Theresa May and Michael Gove?

Extremists: Theresa May (left) and Michael Gove. [Image: BBC.]

Extremists: Theresa May (left) and Michael Gove. [Image: BBC.]

The alleged rift between Michael Gove and Theresa May over claims that Muslim extremists have taken over 25 Birmingham schools is bizarre.

These are government ministers who most closely share the extremist attitudes that the ‘Trojan Horse’ school governors are said to have; their methods are the same, even if their aims are different.

Consider this. The claims made about the Birmingham school are that:

  • A ‘Trojan Horse’ (stealth) takeover of schools in Birmingham, by Islamic extremists, has taken place.
  • Governors were installed who undermined and then replaced school leaders with staff who would be more sympathetic to their agenda.
  • Boys and girls have been separated.
  • Assemblies put forward extremist Islamic views.
  • Other religions are downgraded.

Now let’s look at Theresa May, who:

  • Took part in a backdoor (stealth) takeover of the UK government after the Conservative Party failed to win a majority in the 2010 general election.
  • Wants to repeal the Human Rights Act as it protects UK citizens against some of her favourite policies:

The duty to refrain from unlawful killing, investigate suspicious deaths and prevent foreseeable loss of life runs against the results of the Coalition’s changes to incapacity/disability benefit assessment which led to the unnecessary deaths of 73 people per week between January and November 2011.

The prohibition of slavery, servitude and forced labour is contrary to the government’s mandatory work activity schemes.

The right to a fair trial contradicts the changes the government has been making to Legal Aid.

The right to respect for one’s privacy, family life, home and correspondence runs against the “snooper’s charter” that Mrs May wished to impose.

And so on. The Tories would dearly love to remove your rights to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly and association, as that means they could outlaw this blog and abolish trade unions.

  • Authorised a plan to use a fleet of advertising vans telling illegal immigrants to “go home”, which split the London communities in which they were used and led to false accusations against British citizens.
  • The phrase “go home” on the vans attracted criticism from the Advertising Standards Authority as it was a reminder of an extremist racist slogan.

And Michael Gove:

  • Took part in the backdoor (stealth) takeover of the UK government.
  • Has imposed an army of independent advisors on his education department, to overrule the opinions of expert civil servants, grind down their morale and force them out of their jobs.
  • Planned to give a Bible to every state school in the country, clearly implying an intention to assert the supremacy of Christianity over every other religion practised in the UK, with others downgraded.

They’re all as bad as each other.

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Woolly mammoth to be new leader of Conservatives?

The police welcome David Cameron to the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham. His austerity cuts are expected to cripple forces across the country, with part-privatisation already an unwanted reality for some.

So is everyone having fun atmaking fun of the Conservative Party Conference?

The event has been unfortunately-timed, as it turns out a mammoth has been found, frozen in Russia, after 30,000 years. Inevitably it will be the subject of much scientific study and debate, but really, if they wanted to look at a species of woolly monsters long overdue for extinction, they need only go to Birmingham.

Further evidence of unfortunate timing can be found in the International Monetary Fund’s latest report, which shows that the Conservative-led austerity policy has utterly failed to restore confidence and there is “considerable” risk of further deterioration in the economy. Its forecast for the UK in 2013, which stood at 0.2 per cent growth, has now been downgraded by 0.6 per cent to minus 0.4 per cent. That’s a lot, in economic terms.

UK Prime Minister – and Conservative leader – David Cameron, said the UK economy is “slowly healing”.

It is comments like this, along with the general direction of his – let’s try to call it – ‘leadership’ that probably prompted polling organisation YouGov to headline its latest press release ‘Cameron needs a miracle to win’. The poll of voting intentions shows that the Conservative share has slipped to 31 or 32 per cent – the same as in their “crushing” defeats of 1997 and 2001. Any question comparing Labour leader Ed Miliband with Mr Cameron shows significant advances for the Labour leader.

Other poll results are confirmed by comments on the Conservative conference (which I have lifted from Twitter. I don’t intend to give attributions – is yours among those below?).

Fewer than 30 per cent think [the Conservatives] have done a good job on health, education, transport or reforming welfare benefits: “‘We’ll end something for nothing culture’- Tory rich boys who inherited wealth and claimed disability benefits they didnt need”; “I could save 10bn by cutting MPs’ expenses, grace and favour housing, government contracts, offices that are never used etc etc”; “Labeling those on welfare as lazy layabouts is defamation of character and those responsible should face the full force of the law”.

71 per cent think the gap between the richest and poorest has widened since the Tories came to power; and by two-to-one, people think the north-south gap has also widened (Northerners themselves agree by three-to-one): “Misery to those without whilst ensuring prosperity for those who have. They don’t even try to hide it!”.

Just 13 per cent say the government has met their expectations that Britain would be governed well; far more – 34 per cent – say ‘I expected them to do well, but they have been a disappointment’.  Half of those who voted Conservative in 2010 share this sense of disappointment. Most people think they have made no progress at all to get Britain out of recession, reduce immigration, clean up politics, or fulfil their pledge to make theirs ‘the greenest government ever’: “This government should have come with a public health warning the size of a trillion fag packets.”

Let’s look at some of the speeches. I am grateful to the Tweeter who labelled his comments on the Chancellor’s speech ‘Osborne porkies’, pointing out some of the inconsistencies between Gideon’s words and the facts. So: “Attacks Ed M for not mentioning deficit when Labour leader mentioned the debt. ‘We were straight with voters before election’ – Except about NHS, VAT increase, child benefit. ‘Blair achieved nothing in a decade’ – Except minimum wage, devolution, academies, Northern Ireland agreement etc”.

Osborne’s big idea – the plan to offer employees shares in the company where they work, if they give up their rights to, for example unfair dismissal tribunals, came under bitter attack: “‘We’re all in it together’ – unless you’re an employee”; “Osborne’s shares for rights plan shows he’s never employed people. If first thing you say is ‘I want the right to sack you’, people will go”; ” So you get shares in a company… Lose your rights… get sacked with no comeback and paid pence for your shares”.

(This last comment is the nub of the matter. Osborne says the amount of shares on offer could be worth between £2,000 and £50,000, therefore it is possible that employers will try to get workers to barter away their benefits for what is, in the current economic climate, peanuts. Do these people really think we are monkeys?)

Today (Tuesday) Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, made a speech in which he tried to appear to be supporting Mr Cameron while in fact setting out his credentials as a possible future leader. His comments about the Conservatives being the tools to clean up the national mess drew scorn: “Boris the mop, Dave the broom, Osborne the dust pan, Gove the Jay cloth and Hague the sponge – the cabinet according to Boris!”

His self-congratulation about London’s bus conductors attracted this: “Doesn’t mention they will cost £38 million a year and won’t be able to collect fares”; and on his comments about Labour spending: “Yes, Boris, Labour was so excessive in its spending that your party pledged to back its […] plans right up until 2008”.

Final comment on the conference so far: “Tories laugh at Boris being an incompetent buffoon… Clearly the required skills to lead a country!”

Back in the 1980s, on the best radio panel show in the world (I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue), Tim Brooke-Taylor once defined ‘politician’ as “A liar, cheat, double-crossing two-timing scoundrel and lover of nude women. Oh, it’s also a snub-nosed toad.”

All I can say about that is, bring on the snub-nosed toad. I’ll let the nude women pass. They might be Theresa May and Nadine Dorries. Or Maria Miller (that would be REALLY grisly, wouldn’t it?)

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