Farage: Cameron is as bad as Blair when it comes to our politicised civil service (5)

THE CONSERVATIVE Party has been as bad as Tony Blair’s New Labour in terms of politicising Britain’s civil service.

It has become increasingly clear since the Rochester by-election that the party is willing to do away with the rulebook in its quest for power.

Things have changed a lot since 1853, when Prime Minister William Gladstone instructed Sir Stafford Northcote and Charles Trevelyan to established a Civil Service for the United Kingdom based on the following principles: open, competitive recruitment; for hires to be made by the Civil Service, not specific departments; and that recruits were placed into hierarchies.

But arguably the biggest change to the Civil Service has been on point four: that promotion would be based on merit, not on the grounds of preferment, patronage, or purchase.

Today, this couldn’t be further from the truth, as politicised civil servants, i.e. taxpayer-funded party activists, take the most senior jobs, and undermine Britain’s public sector with their transience and ideologies.


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#3 — French plans for airport sale to China spark unease

#4 — It’s Not Oil That Is Causing The Slump, It’s The End Of QE

#5 — Political upheaval sharpens after bribe claims with threats and insinuations

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A Sikh Principal, Too English for a Largely Muslim School

BIRMINGHAM, England — As a Sikh and second-generation Briton running a public school made up mostly of Muslim students, Balwant Bains was at the center of the issues facing multicultural Britain, including the perennial question of balancing religious precepts and cultural identity against assimilation.

But in January, Mr. Bains stepped down as the principal of the Saltley School and Specialist Science College, saying he could no longer do the job in the face of relentless criticism from the Muslim-dominated school board. It had pressed him, unsuccessfully, to replace some courses with Islamic and Arabic studies, segregate girls and boys and drop a citizenship class on tolerance and democracy in Britain.

“I suppose I was a threat, giving these children more British values, for them to be integrated into society,” Mr. Bains said in his first interview since the controversy over his departure.

His experience has helped bring to life the often deeply emotional and highly contentious conflicts unearthed by a British government investigation this year into whether organized groups of conservative Muslims were having undue influence on public schools.


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Md. mayor: Scrutiny may be affecting cops’ ability to act (1)

BALTIMORE — Nationwide protests after the deaths of two unarmed black men by police in Missouri and New York might cause officers to hesitate to use deadly force for fear of becoming the “next Darren Wilson,” Baltimore’s mayor said Wednesday.

Meanwhile, police unions say departments across the country are battling anxiety that could compromise officers’ safety. They called upon more police chiefs and elected leaders to vocally back officers, who have felt their public support erode even as they continue to do dangerous jobs protecting communities.

In the latest flash point in Baltimore, a city officer drew a Taser on a man concealing a gun who shot him Sunday night. The investigation into the shooting continues.

During a weekly news briefing Wednesday, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said intense public scrutiny and four months of protests against police brutality in Baltimore may be affecting officers’ ability to act at critical moments.

“A lot of officers I’ve heard — not just in Baltimore but nationally when I talk to other mayors — said they want to make sure that they get it right,” she said. “It’s understandable if they feel at greater risk. We are, for our generation, for many of those who are active on the street, in uncharted territory. There is a lot of unease.”

“They don’t want to be the next Darren Wilson,” she said, referring to the Ferguson, Mo., police officer who shot an unarmed man.


See Also:

#1 — ‘Blood on Many Hands': Police union president slams De Blasio after cops’ killing

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Mother facing seventh deportation granted bail

TORONTO – The mother of a Toronto-area woman whose allegedly unruly behaviour forced a Cuba-bound Sunwing flight back to Toronto is free on bail despite the fact she’s facing her seventh deportation from Canada, QMI Agency has learned.

Irena Ratmanski, who turned 57 on Thursday, has been deported or removed from Canada on six earlier occasions. She was granted her freedom on a $50,000 cash bond deposited by her ex-husband Evgeny Ratmanski on Dec. 11.

She must report daily to immigration, have a one-way ticket to either Israel or Ukraine and has surrendered her passport. It will be returned to Ratmanski once she boards a plane.

Immigration officials vigorously opposed Ratmanski’s release.


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Manitoba chief says fire inspections would condemn reserve homes

WINNIPEG – The chief of a northern Manitoba reserve where a baby girl died in a house fire said his band can’t afford to have its homes inspected for fire hazards.

Chief David McDougall of St. Theresa Point First Nation told an inquest into the girl’s death that the band essentially has to choose between turning a blind eye to frayed wires and outdated space heaters or have the homes inspected and risk mass evictions.

“We’d end up condemning all the homes because of poor maintenance, poor workmanship,” McDougall told the inquest Tuesday. “To inspect those units would mean removing everyone from their homes. We don’t have the money to accommodate them.”

Many homes still rely on wood stoves and others aren’t built to handle electrical heaters, he said. New homes are built with hard-wired smoke detectors and central heating, but there is a chronic shortage of housing on the reserve, McDougall said.

The band doesn’t have the money to upgrade older houses, so many people are afraid to have them inspected.

“To do it or not to do it — it’s a tough call.”


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Brodbeck: Secrecy a “right”?

So much for Canada’s new “rights” museum being the champion of open and accountable government.

The Canadian Museum for Human Rights — which boasted last week about higher than expected attendance since opening its doors in September — is refusing to make public how many of those visitors were actually paying customers. Apparently that’s a state secret and museum officials say they have no intention of making it public.

The federal Crown corporation announced Dec. 10 that visits to the museum had “surpassed initial projections” since the museum’s opening ceremony held on Sept. 19. Government officials boasted that 58,360 visitors came through the doors of the taxpayer-funded museum during the months of October and November through “ticketed admission, booked events and customized programs, memberships, museum public programming, and visits to the Boutique and ERA Bistro.”

However, when asked repeatedly over the past week for information on how many paying customers visited the museum during that time, museum officials refused to say.


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Lifson: Anti-Scott Walker prosecutorial skullduggery in Wisconsin exposed

A huge political scandal is slowly coming to light in Wisconsin, as information comes to light about the conduct of that state’s Government Accountability Board (GAB) as it persecuted supporters of Governor Scott Walker, who bravely took on the public employee unions of that state. The outrageous tactics used included midnight SWAT team raids on Walker’s political supporters. Ten days ago, I wrote about some of the potential law-breaking and document-alteration engaged in by the prosecutors. But new evidence has just come to light.

Yesterday, Judge Lee S. Dreyfus of the Waukesha County Court unsealed a trove of documents in the civil lawsuit being brought by the Wisconsin Club for Growth against the GAB. As revealed by the Wisconsin Reporter (that owns this story and that ought to be in line for a Pulitzer Prize if the Columbia University School of Journalism is able to overcome its reflexive leftism) they:

show that the GAB considered using the state’s John Doe law to investigate key state conservatives and even national figures, including Fox News’ Sean Hannity and WTMJ Milwaukee host Charlie Sykes.

SWAT team raids on one of the state’s most prominent talk show hosts (and, by the way, AT contributor)? How about Sean Hannity? Were they going to fly to New York?


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Den Tandt: Alberta premier’s coup will come at a cost (2)

Can there be anyone as superbly fantastic as Alberta Premier Jim Prentice, except perhaps for, on a good day, Chris Hadfield? Prentice is the multi-talented global space-walking superstar of Canadian politics. It’s a matter of time until he too starts warbling David Bowie, better than the original.

And unlike Prime Minister Stephen Harper, whose arias often land just a bit flat, Prentice has to have perfect pitch. Why wouldn’t he? It’s just how he rolls. And this is why, it has to be why, Prentice is in the full throes of becoming Alberta, with opponents gagging and tying each other and trussing themselves to the train tracks rather than face him.

It’s a matter of time, one would think, until Danielle Smith and her eight former rebel angels are joined by the five remaining Wildrosers, poor saps, and the bedraggled Liberals and New Democrats also, and perhaps entire other provinces. Brad Wall, begin drafting your articles of union. Against Jim Prentice, resistance is futile. You will be assimilated.

That this episode is shameful, bad for Alberta democracy and ultimately bad for the province’s Progressive Conservatives, is quickly becoming apparent, as grassroots shock turns to anger and scorn. What is truly amazing is that a politician of Prentice’s manifest talents would not have known enough to duck.

[Good Read]

See Also:

#1 — Wildrose Party’s remaining 5 MLAs vow to stay put


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Morning Update December 21st, 2014 (10)


#1 — CNews | Attempt murder charge in violent home invasion of WWII veteran

Ottawa Police have laid multiple charges, including attempted murder, against a suspect in Thursday’s despicable home invasion which targeted a Second World War veteran. Cops announced Saturday morning a 59- year-old man was arrested Friday night. He name has yet to be released, but he is expected to appear in court Saturday. The man was arrested “without incident” after a tip from the public.


#2 — CTV | Canadian and British reservists, troops head to Sierra Leone to join Ebola fight

LONDON – Reservists and troops from Britain and Canada have left for Sierra Leone to help in the battle to contain the Ebola virus outbreak.


#3 — Globe | Three species of bats added to Ottawa’s endangered animals list

The federal government has listed three species of bats whose populations have been decimated by a highly contagious fungal disease as endangered animals under the Species at Risk Act, but some scientists worry that extensive bureaucratic delays may have already sealed their fate, as well as the dozens that wait for the same legal protection.


#4 — Postmedia | Appeal of Toronto Liberal nomination launched over robocalls to party members

The fairness of another Liberal nomination has been called into question amid allegations the winning candidate used automated robocalls that discouraged a rival’s supporters from voting.


#5 — Sun | Man let off of drug trafficking charges because of racial profiling

OTTAWA ─ A traveller described as a “Middle Eastern male” had Ottawa airport staff on edge in September 2012.

Mohammad Neyazi wasn’t packing explosives ─ just 4,500 oxycodone pills that led to a drug trafficking charge.



#6 — BBC | UN asks Israel to pay Lebanon $850m over oil spill

The UN General Assembly has passed a resolution asking Israel to pay Lebanon more than $850m (£544m) for a major oil spill during Israel’s 2006 war with Hezbollah.


#7 — CNS | Pakistan executes militants and bombards tribal areas

ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistan hanged two convicted militants Friday in the country’s first executions in years, while warplanes and ground forces pounded insurgent hideouts in a northwest region bordering Afghanistan — part of a stepped-up response to the Taliban slaughter of scores of schoolchildren.


#8 — Fox | Obama says Keystone pipeline mostly helps Canadian oil companies, not Americans

WASHINGTON – President Obama on Friday downplayed the potential benefits of the Keystone pipeline, claiming it would not lower gas prices much for Americans — but instead would boost Canadian oil companies.


#9 — DM | Entrance to King Herod the Great’s palace unearthed

Excavations of a colossal fortress built by King Herod the Great have uncovered the palace’s dramatic entrance way.

The arched entrance and corridor, built around 20 years before the birth of Christ, leads to a vestibule or lobby covered with coloured frescoes.


#10 — WT | Bowe Bergdahl investigation ends; Chuck Hagel and top leaders briefed

WASHINGTON — The Army has finished its investigation into how and why Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl disappeared from his base in Afghanistan and senior Pentagon leaders have been briefed, including Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, officials said Friday.


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