Trouble finding a home to rent in Britain?

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The illegality of British government actions

Time to reblog this.

Angelina Souren: "We need to talk about this"

A pattern is starting to emerge. The British government does not display a lot of respect for the law.

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Stalking and criminal harassment

This morning, Laura Richard’s newsletter dropped into my e-mail box. Laura founded Paladin National Stalking Advocacy Service.

The current approach, namely that stalking is a regular police matter, does not work. In my opinion, assessing and investigating stalking should become the domain of specialized task forces containing specialized psychologists, psychiatrists and IT specialists. They’d be much more efficient and effective.

  • Police now waste a lot of time and resources on “stupid shit” that is not actually stalking. It leads to police fatigue, the assumption that any new reported incidence of stalking is bound to be more time-wasting “stupid shit”. (Many police officers prefer to investigate issues like money-laundering.)
  • Police do not have the required psychology and psychiatry knowledge. It is fair to say that the stalking knowledge of the average police officer is similar to that of the average homeless meth addict. Police officers are not able to distinguish between cases that are merely “stupid shit” and cases that contain a serious threat to someone’s safety.
  • Currently, going to the police is often the worst thing to do when you are being stalked in a worrisome manner. It enrages the stalker but also confirms that he is in control and untouchable.
  • Police do not have the required IT knowledge. It is a persistent myth that stalkers always only use their own public name in digital stalking and never use advanced IT knowledge. And, unfortunately, police take any kind of printed digital matter at face value. (I could easily fake printed evidence that anyone – even, say, Barack Obama or Donald Trump – sent me an e-mail stating that he is going to kill me. If I use the name of any random local individual and print that faked e-mail to me, police are likely to accept it as evidence. Police prefer printed matters as they can be scanned into the computer system whereas any kind of other evidence “would likely get lost”.)

Specific examples?

Police clearly failed Shana Grice who was fined for wasting police time when she reported stalking, then was killed by her stalker.

Police may actually have precipitated the murder of Molly McLaren but, in any case, could and should have foreseen the attack on her, hence should have acted to prevent it, in theory. The murder of Bijan Ebrahimi could have been prevented too.

This is not the fault of the police. It is the result of police being unequipped to deal with stalking cases.

Shana Grice’s, Bijan Ebrahimi’s and Molly McLaren’s are examples of sad cases that make it into the limelight. Most don’t, yet happen anyway.

On the other hand, cases of stalking can also involve people with, for example, certain intellectual deficiencies whose behaviour puzzles other people so much that they don’t know how to deal with it and feel stalked. Police do not know how to deal with that either. Criminalizing such people (with learning difficulties or intellectual disabilities) serves no purpose whatsoever, and only does harm. It is a matter of educating the public. (I once spotted a poster about this at my local police station, from a foundation or charity.)

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/shana-grice-murdered-stalking-fined-for-wasting-police-time-michael-lane-trial-lewes-crown-court-a7637196.html

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/bijan-ebrahami-refugee-murdered-iran-killed-paedophile-bristol-avon-somerset-police-council-gang-a8116341.html

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/molly-mclaren-death-trial-boyfriend-tinder-kent-university-whatsapp-messages-a8175281.html

 

Theresa May’s hostility in practice

While the Home Office’s illegal practice to force medical staff to report migrants to them as if they were hounds pointing out foxes in the field has recently been terminated, if I recall correctly, the hostility policy that Theresa May started against foreigners (though it was touted as a measure to flush out illegal immigrants) continues.

The irony of it all is that for most legal immigrants in Britain, there is no official paperwork that states that they’re here legally. Leave to remain should be automatic for those who have it automatically, on the basis of the law. On paper, I have already had the same rights as British people for about nine years, but in practice, that is not quite the case.

Every time I leave the UK, I don’t know whether I will be let back into the country again (also because the UK government has been changing its definition of who is allowed to live here and who is not so many times). Dutch people tell me that of course I will be allowed back into the UK, as I am an EU citizen, but they are not familiar with what happens in practice. Last time I returned, the customs officer held back my passport teasingly for a few seconds when he handed it to me, before he let go of it. To remind me that I am nothing but a rotted banana peel in the eyes of people like Theresa May? Because he was bored? Or because I am a female?

Anyway, last year MPs reported foreigners to the Home Office 68 times and “since 2012, MPs have contacted Immigration Enforcement to raise concerns about constituents’ immigration status 723 times”.

I’d like to see a list with the names of those MPs. One of them is Conservative MP Christopher Chope.

Thankfully, 107 MPs have signed up to the pledge that they will not inform the Home Office on their constituents within this hostile climate context. These MPs include for example Diane Abbott, Jon Ashworth and Richard Burgon, yet apparently only one Conservative MP, namely Heidi Allen.

Even at some universities, I read on Twitter earlier this year, the situation has turned into a situation eerily reminiscent of what happened 100 years ago, when Jews in Germany were challenged on every occasion and eventually were forced to wear a band on their arm, with professors who’ve been working in the UK for a long time suddenly being challenged on their eligibility to for example serve on a PhD student’s graduation committee and being asked to show their passports.

Theresa May’s hostility policy remains a highly worrisome development.

“Law change threatens rights of 300,000 people with learning disabilities”

Campaigners in the UK fear that new legislation may result in the erosion of rights of people with learning disabilities, autism and dementia, as it may take away many of their rights to make decisions for themselves, including how and where they are cared for.

This would be outrageous.

It makes me recall one case in which someone was moved 200 miles (off the top of my head, because the person turned 18) and the parents successfully took a human rights approach to reverse that. That is only one example of what could go wrong.

Legislation drawn up for the right reasons but drawn up badly can do a lot of harm.

Read more: https://rightsinfo.org/law-change-threatens-rights-of-300000-people-with-learning-disabilities/

The world in terms of flowers – kind of

A large part of my book “We need to talk about this” was an effort in logical reasoning to find a practically applicable guideline, something that would hold up within a legal framework and provide clarity, a way forward instead of remaining gridlocked.

One or two people have said that they do not agree with my views. As none of them were specific, I can only guess what they meant. Were they in favour of encouraging discrimination of those who aren’t mainstream? Were they in favour of locking up people in institutions because they are autistic and putting people in chains attached to walls because of “mental” illness? Surely not.

I suspect that what they want is to see new technologies being used to rid the world of diseases and conditions closest to their heart. I do not believe that that would be just. Cancer runs rampant in my family, for example, but focusing all attention on the prevention of the development of cancer is wrong when cancer is mostly developed later in life and can be tied to the way we live. (By contrast, sickle cell anaemia does not occur in my family and I am not familiar with what it entails whereas I have seen the pain and suffering related to advanced cancer from up close.)

I have no personal ties to childhood cancer, but it seems to me that preventing the development of childhood cancers should take priority over preventing the development of cancers that occur later in life. (But note that I am not saying at all that no attention should ever go to the prevention of cancers that occur later in life!)

In my book, I came up with a guideline according to which more attention should first go to the prevention (or treatment) of conditions that lead to lives considered not worth living. Because it is just and fair, also in view of the fact that it is a generally accepted view that allowing people to have been born in itself does not constitute harm.

Once we have those figured out, we could move on to progressively less serious illnesses and conditions if people with those conditions perceive them as so problematic that they would like to see them prevented. Progressive multiple sclerosis is an example that comes to mind.

This is the opposite of the approach currently generally taken in medicine, in which those with the worst lives and most serious conditions get the lowest priorities. That is like ignoring the ship that is still miles away from the shore (sinking or not) but focusing all your attention on the ships that are closer and sure to make it to the harbour or that are already in the harbour.

Both approaches contain their own logic. Both approaches make sense. I don’t think that one is wrong and the other is right.

But if I put it in terms of another metaphor, then I have no choice but to say that it is wrong to provide water and nutrition only to roses and withhold them from geraniums.

Then the question becomes: Who am I to say that geraniums or sunflowers aren’t worthy of life or that the people on the ship farthest away from the shore aren’t worth saving? In a world full of roses and only roses, roses will soon become boring and plain.

I believe that it is a mistake to put the onus exclusively on medicine when so much more can also still be done by society to make people’s lives better and enable everyone to flourish, roses, begonias, sunflowers, tulips, orchids, daffodils and geraniums alike.

England still stands outside Europe

That’s what British economist John Maynard Keynes wrote at the end of the First World War, one hundred years ago (in The Economic Consequences of the Peace).

“England still stands outside Europe. Europe’s voiceless tremors do not reach her. Europe is apart and England is not of her flesh and body. But Europe is solid with herself. France, Germany, Italy, Austria, and Holland, Russia and Roumania and Poland throb together, and their structure and civilisation are essentially one.”

Now, one hundred years later, Britain’s inequality is staggering, so bad that it pulls down the measure for equality for the entire EU, yet Brits have been told that the EU is to blame for their misery, along with lots of other lies.

One hundred years ago, Keynes wrote about how odd it was for him, an Englishman based in Paris for a while, to go back to London for quick visits and find it so distant.

“But it is under the influence of Paris, not London, that this book has been written by one who, though an Englishman, feels himself a European also, and, because of too vivid recent experience, cannot disinterest himself – as opposed to the people in Britain at the time, AS – from the further unfolding of the great historic drama of these days which will destroy great institutions, but may also create a new world.”

Is England, one hundred years later, still as aloof, and still as deaf and blind to what is going on in the world?

And does the EU, in order to flourish, really need a Britain that loves to be proud of how it isolates itself from the rest of the world and how it milks its poor to balance its books?

I worry more about the negative influence that this may have on other countries than that I “worry” about the boost foreigners provide to the British economy year after year after year and what they do for people’s outlook on life.

When you hear Brits in southern England say, angrily, “What’s he got to be smiling about?” – and perhaps even with suspicion – about a young Polish man with a positive outlook on life, meaning that he won’t let the rain in his life bring him down, and when you literally hear Brits curse all day long you realise that Britain’s problem isn’t the EU.

Britain is the fifth richest nation in the world. This means that it could do so much better for its own people, but its government refuses to, and fights its own people, the EU and UN on these points, spending quite a bit of money on it, too:

https://angelinasouren.com/2018/01/31/the-illegality-of-british-government-actions/

Yes, I too feel that some European regulations are getting out of hand. It seems ridiculous that you literally can’t serve coffee or tea with cookies without needing to go on a course first. But if I then think of the two recent deaths that occurred in Britain because two young women with severe allergies were served food (in a commercial setting) that was supposed to be free from allergens but wasn’t, I see the point.

Takes herself to night school to understand the law

 

Why did they all lay down? To sleeheep?

 

 

The other America
You can find her Sunday
Sitting by a stream
On her own
All alone
The other America
Might show up on Tuesday
At your kitchen door
She will ask politely
“Is anybody home?
Or did they all lay down
To sleep through the now?
And if they all lay down
I’ll be waiting for them
At the river bed
Once they wake from their rest”
The other America
Takes herself to night school
To understand the law
She may bring you questions
When she finds the flaw
“Why did they all lay down
To sleep through the now?
And if they all lay down
I’ll be waiting for them
At the river bed
Once they wake from their rest”
We could be opening a doorway
Globally but that’s okay
Once upon a time you had faith
You would not be swayed
By fools untouched by clairvoyance
And you swore that we’d be brave
Well, not today
No, not today
Because we all lay down
To sleep through the now
And if we all lay down
She’ll be waiting for us
Where the rivers cross
Once we wake from our rest
“All the best,” the Other America

 

Where is the other Britain?

RISE!

Something you may want to watch

It may also shatter your illusions, however, if you still believe that police are the good ones, the ones (that you pay for through your council tax, in Britain) to help keep you safe and secure and protect your basic rights.

This morning, this caught my eye:

(Scottish) Police Pause Rollout Of Device That Hacks Into Phones After Fears ‘It Is Unlawful’

I suspect that police in England and Wales already are using these “kiosks” that hack into people’s phones and laptops, overriding passwords.

I am sure it can be great fun for some officers to play with these “kiosks”. You can almost hear them talk. “I knew it! She’s a lesbian!” and “Does he really think he stands a chance with that woman?” and “Oh my god! Trying to lose weight? Fat chance!”

Yep, very useful.</end of sarcasm>

We need an alternative to police. Because going to or contacting the police has become one of the worst things to do in almost any situation. (Unless your insurance company wants a copy of a report after a burglary or theft, but leave it at that and do not ask police to do anything else other than give you a copy of the report.) How it got to this point? It’s immaterial. It’s what we have in the here and the now.

As Michael Doherty (a former aircraft engineer who made the mistake of reporting something to police and expecting police to follow up on it) says in the video below, you do have the right to investigate on your own, to try to detect and stop crime on your own. If your investigation is successful, you can also prosecute on your own. (I am talking about England and Wales.)

But before you choose this path, as I have stated several times before, look into the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 because police and others can use this against you, assuming that you are unaware of 1(3)(a), which most people probably are. That means that, before you know it, you can already have confessed to a crime that you didn’t actually commit. To prevent this, you need to know what the law says.

I repeat and highlight:

(3) Subsection (1) [F4 or (1A)] does not apply to a course of conduct if the person who pursued it shows—

(a) that it was pursued for the purpose of preventing or detecting crime,

(b) that it was pursued under any enactment or rule of law or to comply with any condition or requirement imposed by any person under any enactment, or

(c) that in the particular circumstances the pursuit of the course of conduct was reasonable.

(Whether it says “and” or “or” makes a difference. It means that each of these conditions on its own applies, that they do not have to apply all at once.)

The video below dates back to 2015, is rather academic and particularly in the beginning lacks a logical thread, in my opinion, but does contain useful information.

You may want to read this as well:
The Human Rights Act Can Transform Lives Without Going To Court

(Also, if you want to protect yourself from police with a camera, you need to have one that does not have wifi or bluetooth.)

It is possible to resolve many situations or at least make them somewhat liveable without going to police, and much more successfully and/or peacefully. If you try this after you’ve been to police, however, police officers are likely to hold it against you. (This is mean because most people who contacted the police in the past decade will have been told that police wouldn’t investigate and would do nothing with what they told the police owing to a lack of resources and/or will have been referred to their GP and the local civic offices.)

Unfortunately, most of us learn these things the hard way – and you can’t undo having contacted the police.

Punitive, mean-spirited and often callous

That is what the United Nations have called the British government’s treatment of the country’s poorest and most vulnerable.

You can read more on the site of The Independent and on the site of the BBC.

You can also read this pdf: 1 Statement on Visit to the United Kingdom, by Professor Philip Alston, United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights London, 16 November 2018

I discussed that in my book too (and I believe that it is linked to a British-designed approach to life called utilitarianism):

 

What’s being said in the BBC article about the, well, delusional focus of the ministers is excellently depicted by this photo I took on 29 October. The text in this government poster at a local bus stop contains not a promise but a threat, as wages in Britain aren’t particularly high (to put in an understatement). Universal credit is the new benefits system, by the way.

I found the tone of this poster mean-spirited. That’s why I took the photo.

Entertainment

But not just entertainment. This documentary certainly stands out because of the number of female experts in it. That is still rare.

(I seem to remember that North Korea as behind the Sony hack was later disputed or doubted, however. Either North Korean hackers got careless at one point by skipping encryption at some point, I seem to remember, or someone made it look that way.)

Also, the information given about Tor in this documentary is not complete. Your internet provider can still see what you do.

In the earlier days of the internet, there used to be a site where you could track which transatlantic cable your e-mail was using or something like that. I also remember an instance when e-mail broke down for a day or so because there was a problem with one of those cables. In those days, a lot of services were still based in the US, so your message to someone in Germany might even have to go through a server in the US, stuff like that.

The one that got away

I just ran into an injured wood pigeon (Columba palumbus, also known as “culver” in southeast England, apparently). I suspect that it had been in some kind of altercation as a nearby magpie and crow were upset, though I didn’t see a cat in the area. Maybe it had been in a collision with a car. Or hey, the crow? Crows do occasionally attack pigeons, and also magpies. The magpie was chattering quite loudly so had presumably witnessed something that worried it (which is why I first looked for a cat).

The pigeon had an injured foot (no visible bleeding), so I decided to grab it and take it home so it could get some rest and heal.

But as I am currently in terrible shape, I wasn’t quick and agile enough, though I almost got it. (I did actually touch it, when I tried to towel it.) It flew off then, clearly knowing where it wanted to go to, which was a reassuring change from its behaviour when I spotted it, so I am hoping that it had been in shock, that I helped it snap out of it and that the injury is not too bad and able to heal.

(Also, I  had forgotten that I was wearing a long RED silk scarf at the time. This can alarm birds as they recognize it as the colour of blood, I have learned. With pet birds, you can teach them that not all blood red is actually blood for example by taking a red marker and scribbling on your hands. It may depend on the bird species, obviously.)

I will keep an eye out for the poor thing. Around here, wood pigeons are quite shy. I was amazed to see them scurry around seated people’s feet in Amsterdam a few months ago.

Yes, birds can be in shock.

In Tierra Verde in Florida, I once found a bird sitting in the middle of the road, stunned. I scooped it up and put it in my bike basket, and it stayed there for the duration of my remaining bike ride. Ten minutes or so. But when it was time to examine the bird, it flew off before we got the chance, leaving a few healthy-looking droppings behind.

And Lee Fox, who founded and ran the wild-bird hospital at which I was volunteering at the time, once stopped a guy from killing a pelican, just in time. He’d hit the bird with his car and wanted to put it out of its misery, not realizing that the bird was probably mainly stunned. Lee Fox happened to be passing in her car, stopped and rescued the bird.

Fingers crossed.

 

Avoiding food-bank dependency

By giving people what they need.

By definition, you make people dependent if you don’t always give them what they need (because you don’t want them to become dependent on you). If they can count on you, they don’t become dependent on you and their whole life not longer has to revolve on how to get food, the way most wildlife lives.

Instead, they can start to focus on on how to get out of poverty.

Give people the experience of abundance and prosperity. Teach them that prosperity and abundance exist and also possible for them.

The need for food is part of biology. People do not decide to become “dependent on food”. We all are dependent on food.

So either give them enough food or give them enough income.

Democrats, apologists and neoliberals

Read this comment below, on a YouTube video about two girls with Treacher-Collins syndrome (which means that they have healthy bodies and brains, but have no hearing and some facial bones are lacking):

That baffled me. I also hear the phrase “neoliberals” from time these days within this context. I wasn’t familiar with it, but it seems to be associated with a lack of tolerance for human diversity and a lack of inclusive solidarity (while I associate the latter with conservatives, libertarians and republicans). When I looked into it, I found that “neoliberal” may be more or less the same as “conservatives” or  “neoconservatives”, in practice.

So, does all of this make me a republican in other people’s views, then?

It is time to stop labelling people. Sigh. So easy for me to say. I do it too, I am sure.

Turns out that I am a “guilt-ridden apologist”, apparently, as that is what I was called a few days ago after I pointed out that cave bears actually went extinct a long time ago. It went with “you crack me up”, so I am happy that the person was happy, for whatever reason. I have no idea what on earth a guilt-ridden apologist is, so I have no idea whether I am one or not. It makes no difference to me.

“Should have been euthanized.” Did that come from a democrat then, or from a neoliberal?

It is a screenshot from part of a USA Today story, about how their environment responded after a daughter with Treacher-Collins syndrome was born to the parents in this story, Thom and Tami Wetmore. They later adopted a girl with the same syndrome from Ukraine where she was in an orphanage.

She is very artistic, it turns out. Her name is Danica.

Both girls use sign language. And Juliana has a hearing aid, which apparently allows her to “hear perfectly”. I don’t know whether Danica has a hearing aid.

The family is from Texas and living in Florida – or the other way around – and Christian. So what does that make them?

Human!

In addition to Danica, they adopted three more children.

You can see how hard the topic of having a non-mainstream child is for people and how great the need to talk about this in this thread: http://www.actuarialoutpost.com/actuarial_discussion_forum/archive/index.php/t-251806.html

Living with autism

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… playing with autism

Need your faith in humans restored?

This will help a lot.

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(Police later showed up to scoop them up and take them to safety, in case you notice that they’re still stuck after having traversed all these lanes.)