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Showing posts from April, 2014

Mark and Kerry McDougall (and family)

Mark and Kerry's story has been told in various places. They are now living in Scotland having left Fife because the local authority said Kerry did not have the capacity to marry Mark and look after their son. They now have two children.

Council Candidates 2014

What I find interesting about the 2014 candidates is that only three parties have a full slate. Even though UKIP have quite a high poll share, they are not fighting all 40 wards. The Greens have gone down in terms of numbers of candidates. There are two "anti austerity" parties the Trades Union and Socialist Coalition and the Communities against Cuts, that a fighting a small number of seats.

The full details are on the council website. Respect are not fighting anything. There are very few BNP and no NF candidates.

I think the UKIP issue is probably related to the de-selection of Mike Natrass - which seemed an odd decision to me as he was one of the more sane members of UKIP. The big issue of the local elections is the Labour Party incompetence in terms of managing the authority within the context of limited resources. They like to blame the government, but if Labour were in government there would still be further cuts in future years.

Costs awarded against volunteer advisors

This story in the Sunday Telegraph is a very important issue. Basically for voluntarily assisting someone to challenge the state some advisors have been hit with a costs bill. It has been done on a sneaky way which allowed them to challenge the award of costs, but only at the risk of paying more costs if they lose. In fact I believe this is against the practise direction in respect of costs which requires someone to be given notice and allowed to challenge it at the hearing where the decision is made. I had a similar thing happen to me when I tried to find out what had happened to Matthew Hawkesworth. An application had been made for judicial review through a limited company (Justice for Families Limited), but they awarded some costs against me personally. That was also done not in accordance with the practise direction. I do now have the french copy of a court order which confirms that the french (as well as the Italian) judiciary see the actions in the UK as being unlawful. …

Trojan Horse and Today's Arrests

There are a number of people who believe (on the balance of probabilities) that it is likely the Trojan Horse document is fabricated. I am one of them. At least today's arrests will give some opportunity of working out whether it is or isn't. My own view is that it has been fabricated for a particular purpose, but discussion of that purpose is potentially sub judice so I won't comment.

It remains, however, that Khalid Mahmood MP has made allegations and some 200 other people have made allegations. There are also press reports which seem to me to be at times unfair. However, I am continuing to do research where it affects schools in my constituency. Clearly there are also some issues to look at.

It is right to have investigations. However, it also appears that Ofsted are inclined to a "shoot first and ask questions later" policy. I don't think that is helpful. Then again I am not a great fan of how Ofsted operate. It also wasn't sensible to bri…

Cinderella Act is seriously flawed

This is an article I wrote in the Sunday Express which is published today.

By this it does not mean banning girls from marrying princes but is talking about criminalising “emotional abuse”.  We are told it is a contender for the forthcoming Queen’s Speech. There is no question that there can be situations where children are traumatised by the way they have been treated but the Government does need to think through the details before enacting this law because this is one of the most complex subjects we face. Where and how do we draw the line and on to whom should we place responsibility? Let me assure you of this: you would not want your family sucked into the murky and sometimes nightmare social care system based on vague definitions.  I have spent many years campaigning in this area with Justice for Families.  I have seen appalling miscarriages of justice where troubled families are ripped apart by social workers and court-appointed experts claiming that children have been emotional…