Tag Archives: youngster

Are we ignoring the dangerous effects of Long Covid?

Rampant: the Covid-19 virus is once again on the loose across the UK because the Tories haven’t just lost control; they’ve deliberately thrown it away.

Apparently we should be concerned about excess mortality and declining life expectancy, in young people, that is attributable to Covid-19.

This is to do with Long Covid; apparently there may be a large number of youngsters disabled by Covid, or suffering vascular disease, or dying, in the months after suffering acute Covid.

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Here’s epidemiologist Colin Furness:

It’s an interesting question because This Writer doesn’t think it has been asked: what is Covid-19 doing to us now?

And will we be able to find out?


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How will an ‘Online Harms’ law help if judges won’t recognise the tactics?

Kate Winslet: accepting her BAFTA for I Am Ruth, she pleaded for legislation to tackle the online abuses to which young people are subjected. But what good will any law do, if judges refuse to acknowledge the methods of online abuse?

When Kate Winslet won a BAFTA for I Am Ruth, she pleaded for legislation to battle the online harms to which young people are now constantly subjected.

It was a powerful speech, and the panellists on the BBC’s Politics Live on May 15 (Danny Kruger, Shami Chakrabarti, Alastair Campbell and ConservativeHome’s Henry Hill) discussed what could be done. You can hear their salient points here:

https://youtu.be/ectWDks3Y0Q

But is it possible to legislate against the tactics that are used to mentally and emotionally attack young people? Would the courts even recognise such methods if a case reached them?

I don’t think so, based on my experience in Rachel Riley’s libel case against me.

I put forward evidence about several different forms of abuse that are commonly used in the social media but the judge refused to recognise any of them.

That was her prerogative, and I’m sure she had her reasons.

But it sets a precedent that means it may now be much harder for anybody trying to win a case under forthcoming “online harms” laws to succeed.

Actions have consequences. I fear the consequences for young people in this age of anti-social media may be severe.

I will try to make our MPs aware of my concerns. It would be welcome if you would do the same.

In the meantime, I am still trying to raise money to pay my legal team, whose members were also concerned about the effect of online abuse on young people.

Please – and only if you are able to spare it – donate to my CrowdJustice fund, or contribute in any of the following ways:

Make a donation via the CrowdJustice page. Keep donating regularly until you see the total pass the amount I need.

Email your friends, asking them to pledge to the CrowdJustice site.

Post a link to Facebook, asking readers to pledge.

On Twitter, tweet in support, quoting the address of the appeal.

And don’t forget that if you’re having trouble, or simply don’t like donating via CrowdJustice, you can always donate direct to me via the Vox Political PayPal button, where it appears on that website. But please remember to include a message telling me it’s for the crowdfund!

Online harm continues to be an urgent, current issue and my court case was all about that.

It is possible that my actions in defence of a vulnerable teenager may eventually be vindicated, whether a High Court judge approves of them or not.


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An import we DON’T need: homeless ‘selfies’

Homeless selfie: How long will it be before the man we can 'RTU' (Returned To Unit) appears in a REAL 'homeless selfie'?

Homeless selfie: How long will it be before the man we can ‘RTU’ (Returned To Unit) appears in a REAL version of this mock-up?

There is a new fashion craze sweeping America’s rich, bored and – let’s face it – stupid kids, and it’s one that is sure to hit these shores at any time.

It involves – as the Addicting Info website puts it – “finding a homeless person and snapping an oh so outrageous selfie to post on Tumblr or Instagram.  Then other youngsters come along to laugh and heap scorn on the mostly sleeping, ragged, destitute stranger”.

Oh how clever. How witty. How socially conscious.

The trouble is, as the site rightly pegs it, “the kids are reflecting the value our society places on homeless people.  All it takes is a person to become dirty, smelly, and unkempt – and they become detritus, vermin – of no more note or merit than a rat or a pigeon”.

Isn’t that exactly what is being done to the poor, the unemployed and the homeless, here in Blighty?

Iain Duncan Smith has four children, some of whom are already in their mid-teens. How long will it be before one of them appears in an image that could only be described as “unforgiveable”?

In fact, considering his astonishing lapses of judgement over the past four-plus years, how long before their father appears in one?

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‘Barefoot banking’ to support people on the edge

usury

This is a piece I wrote for the local credit union in my part of Powys, following on from the Archbishop of Canterbury’s vow that the Church of England would fight payday lenders. Quite right – usury is an evil that religious organisations traditionally oppose. I’m publishing it here because the main information is relevant nationwide (and also because today appears to be quite slow for political news).

Credit unions must rise to the challenge created by the Archbishop of Canterbury’s stand against payday lenders, according to a leading figure in a Mid Wales organisation.

Richard Bramhall of Red Kite Credit Union said the main issue facing credit unions was how to bring affordable credit to “people on the edge”.

Last month, the Most Reverend Justin Welby announced that he planned to help community-based credit unions by allowing them to use Church of England premises as bases, to put firms like Wonga.com, which charge huge amounts of interest for their loans, out of business.

“His idea is very constructive,” said Mr Bramhall.

“Instant credit is a difficult sector to service because of high rates of defaulting. Payday lenders, door-step lenders and loan sharks – and to a lesser extent banks and credit card companies – answer the threat of bad debt by charging monstrous interest rates.

The Credit Union approach is responsible lending, careful interviews, getting guarantors where possible and working with the member to develop financial competence.

“The ethos always was to save; build a relationship with the credit union through saving – becoming a shareholder – and borrowing using the shareholding as security. They pay low interest and benefit by keeping and growing their shares.

“We do not want to lend at high rates,” he said. “Our standard rate is 12.68 per cent, or one per cent per month. If you borrowed £100 over a year and paid it back without interruptions, it would cost you £6.60 in interest, with no extra charges and no penalty for early repayment.”

But he warned: “The population density here is so low and the conceivable number of members so small that, even if everyone joined, our income from loan interest would not be enough to pay for bank-type premises or employees.”

The Credit Union’s solution is what Mr Bramhall calls ‘barefoot banking’. He said “The Herb Garden Café, in Llandrindod Wells, is an example. You can access credit union services six days a week, 12 hours a day – not just when we’re open but any time we’re in the building. People can pick up leaflets, ask about the credit union, leave messages, make payments and collect cheques. It costs the café nothing.

“If people want to help, they could develop the sort of access point we have here. Our greatest need is for self-motivating volunteers and casual drop-in service points in shops, churches, cafes and even private homes all over Radnorshire and north Brecknock.”

He added that credit unions also needed to establish themselves in schools, teaching responsible money management to youngsters.