Tag Archives: UK

Raising a generation of snowflakes: British headmaster bans students from touching snow on school grounds

snowball fight

From Yahoo: A British headmaster is defending his controversial decision to ban students from touching snow on school grounds, the Telegraph reports.

“The rules are don’t touch the snow,” Ges Smith of the Jo Richardson Community School in Dagenham, England, explained during an appearance on the Good Morning Britain talk show. “If you don’t touch the snow, you’re not going to throw [a snowball].”

Smith claimed that the ban protected the school from potential lawsuits, citing a “duty of care issue.”

“It only takes one student, one piece of grit, one stone in a snowball in an eye, with an injury and we change our view,” he insisted as hosts Susanna Reid and Piers Morgan accused him of being overprotective.

Smith added that playing in the snow — which has blanketed much of the U.K. in a winter storm dubbed “The Beast From the East” — made children wet and “unfit for school.”

Viewers have blasted the ban as an extreme effort to spoil children’s fun, with one commenter calling Smith a “snowflake.”

Read the original Telegraph story here.



How is this possible? Over the last three years there has been a significant rise of gun crime in London

The UK has some of the strictest gun control laws in the world. Do tell, #GunControlNow crowd, how do you propose to make criminals obey gun laws?

From the Mayor of London web site (23 Jan 2018):

The term ‘gun crime’ covers both lethal weapons, such as shotguns and handguns, and non-lethal weapons, such as air weapons and stun guns. Over the last few years, gun crime has been on the rise in London. The number of offences is small compared with other types of crime, but nonetheless it is a crime with devastating consequences for victims, families and communities.

Key facts

  • In the last three years, the number of offences has risen. In the 12 months to October 2017, there were 2,500 offences involving guns: a 16 per cent increase on the previous year and a 44 per cent increase on 2014.
  • In the year to October 2017, out of 2,542 gun crimes, 770 guns were fired, of which 318 were classed as lethal weapons.
  • The number of lethal guns fired has increased by around 20 percent since 2012.
  • In the year to October 2017, gangs accounted for 10 per cent of all gun crime offences, 18 per cent of the offences where a gun was fired and 41 per cent of the offences where a lethal gun was fired.
  • In the year to October 2017, 59 per cent of gun crime offenders were aged 25 or younger.


  • The supply of guns into the UK from abroad is a growing concern, with a small but increasing number of weapons originating from Eastern Europe, particularly de-commissioned guns, which are easily converted.
  • The use of technology is changing the way people access guns, in particular with the use of the ‘dark web’.
  • Gangs account for nearly half of all offences where a lethal gun is fired.
  • However, gun use appears to be spreading outside of gang disputes.

The Mayor of London needs to ensure that he is focused on stopping guns from entering the capital, and making sure young people are aware of the consequences of carrying a gun.

More information the full report which you can read here:

  • Data shows most instances that involve a gun are violence against the person offences. The use of guns in this type of crime—which includes offences such as harassment, Grievous Bodily Harm, and assault with injury—has risen since 2012.
  • The Met said that “surprisingly low numbers” of legally owned firearms are stolen in London.
  • It is less clear how much fear for safety drives gun use, but given that much gun crime is linked to drugs and gangs, it is more likely to be an adjunct to other crime, in which the criminal needs to adopt an aggressive, controlling stance, and which elicits the need for a different response.
  • The Deputy Commissioner has said that while surrenders tend to result in “‘trophy’ weapons” being handed in, rather than guns used in crime, it contributes to a reduction in weapons that could potentially be used in criminal activity.


Court rules sick UK toddler’s life support can be shut off, despite parents wishes

alfie evans liverpool Echo photo

Alfie Evans/Liverpool Echo photo

I told you about Alfie last December. The UK hospital desires to take him off life support and would not allow the parents to take him to seek alternative treatment at a Rome hospital, which they believed could help Alfie. The court ruled in favor of the hospital.

Guess it’s “my body, my choice” until the baby is born. After that, the government can decide what to do with your child.

From Fox News: Doctors treating a sick British toddler can shut off the child’s life support despite his parents’ wishes to seek alternative treatment, London’s High Court ruled on Tuesday.

The decision on Alfie Evans’ condition renewed the contentious debate about who should make life-and-death health care decisions for children.

Evans, a 21-month-old child who has been in a coma for a year, is expected to be taken off life support on Friday, the BBC reported. Alfie’s parents, Tom Evans and Kate James, lost a legal battle after Justice Hayden said the child need “peace, quiet and privacy.”

The parents began their case against Alder Hey Children’s Hospital when they said they wanted to take their son to a medical center in Rome for treatment. Alfie suffers from a mystery degenerative brain condition that has left him hospitalized. The parents maintained that the doctors in Rome could give their son a diagnosis and proper treatment.

Doctors at the Liverpool hospital, however, believed it was “unkind, unfair and inhumane” to keep the child alive. The toddler was determined to be in a “semi-vegetative state.”

“Alfie’s need now is for good quality palliative care,” the judge said during Tuesday’s ruling. The Evans family is considering an appeal.

“Unfortunately there are sometimes rare situations such as this where agreement cannot be reached and the treating team believe that continued active treatment is not in a child’s best interests,” the hospital said in a statement.

Alfie’s father said outside the courthouse: “I’m not giving up, my son isn’t giving up. No one — I repeat, no one — is taking my boy away from me, and they’re not violating his rights or mine.”

The case follows at least two more similar sagas that have gripped Britain in recent months.

The parents of 11-month-old Isaiah Haastrup lost their court battle earlier this year to continue his care despite the child having brain damage that doctors categorized as “catastrophic.”

Charlie Gard, who suffered from a rare genetic disorder called mitochondrial depletion syndrome, was embroiled in a heated court battle until his death in late July. Gard’s parents wanted to bring their son to the United States for an experimental treatment they believed could help him.

But the doctors at the Great Ormond Street Hospital argued that the treatment would be ineffective and only cause more suffering.

British courts and the European Court of Human Rights all sided with the hospital in its bid to remove life support and allow Charlie Gard to die naturally.


US schools to pick up on the UK trend to ban the term “best friends?”


From Daily Mail: Schools around the world are banning the term ‘best friends,’ stopping children from naming their favorite buddy in a bid to ensure classmates don’t feel left out. A New York psychologist says the trend that started in London is now spreading across the US.

‘The idea of banning the phrase “best friends” is a very intriguing social experiment,’ clinical psychologist Dr. Barbara Greenberg tells CBS in New York.

‘Let’s face it, you can’t ban somebody from having a close relationship, and you can’t really ban somebody from having a best friend but what the schools are trying to do is foster the idea of kids having more than a single friend,’ Greenberg says.

The movement, which is believed to have started in Prince George‘s school in South London, isn’t intended to discourage intimate friendships, but rather encourage more inclusivity, Greenberg says.

The idea is to increase the number of interactions a student may have with different members of his or her peer group.

It’s now garnered support from educators in America, Greenberg says, who is licensed to practice psychology in both Connecticut and New York, and personally believes the rationale behind the notion is strong.

‘I see kids come in all week long who are feeling dreadful because they are excluded and because they are either nobody’s best friend or their best friend has moved on,’ Greenberg says.

Jay Jacobs, who operates Timber Lake Camp in New York, stresses the downside of not fostering multiple relationships at a young age, for exactly that reason. ‘I think that there are pitfalls in just having one friend,’ Jacobs says. ‘Remember as you grow up, interests change, children go in different directions.’

Jacobs adds that counselors at Timber Lake, which alternates in location between Glen Cove in Winter and Shandake in Summer, have made it a point to promote a more inclusive environment for years.

His philosophy is that children will be better set up for success later in life if they get used to having a wider friend group at a young age.  ‘You can’t be on the soccer field and just be dealing with one child, they’re going to be interacting with a team,’ Jacobs says.

‘It’s about promoting kindness, looking to children to be kind to one another and to be aware of what it looks like when you’re not.’


Feminists rejoice: UK determines that sandwiches should be replaced with more “environmentally-friendly” lunches


From The Independent UK: The UK’s annual consumption of sandwiches has a greater impact on the environment than the use of eight million cars, scientists have claimed.

Researchers at the University of Manchester calculated the carbon footprint of 40 different types of sandwiches – both home-made and pre-packaged – taking account how the ingredients were produced, the packaging, as well as food waste discarded at home and elsewhere in the supply chain.

About 11.5 billion sandwiches a year are eaten in the UK, according to the British Sandwich Association (BSA).

The study found ready-made “all-day breakfast” sandwich containing egg, bacon and sausage to have the highest carbon footprint, generating 1,441g of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2 eq) – the same as driving an average car for 12 miles.

Professor Adisa Azapagic, from the university’s School of Chemical Engineering and Analytical Sciences, said: “Given that sandwiches are a staple of the British diet as well as their significant market share in the food sector, it is important to understand the contribution from this sector to the emissions of greenhouse gases. For example, consuming 11.5 billion sandwiches annually in the UK generates, on average, 9.5 million tonnes of CO2 eq, equivalent to the annual use of 8.6 million cars.”

Those containing pork meat, cheese, tomato or prawns were also deemed carbon-intensive by the researchers but home-made favourite ham and cheese was found to have the lowest CO2 eq.

The study, published in the journal Sustainable Production and Consumption, found the estimated impact of ready-made sandwiches ranged from 739g CO2 eq for egg and cress to 1,441g CO eq bacon, sausage and egg. The carbon footprint of the most popular home-made sandwich, ham and cheese, varied from 399g to 843g CO2 eq depending on the recipe.

Agricultural production and processing of ingredients were found to be the largest contributor to a sandwich’s carbon footprint, accounting for around 37 per cent to 67 per cent of CO2 eq for ready-made sandwiches. Packaging material contributed 8.5 per cent of CO2 eq and transporting and refrigerating adding a further four per cent.

Keeping sandwiches chilled in supermarkets and shops accounts for up to a quarter of their greenhouse gas emissions, researchers said, adding that making them at home using the same ingredients could cut emissions in half.

The team concluded that a combination of changes to the recipes, packaging and waste disposal could halve the carbon footprint of the sandwiches.

The BSA estimates that extending the shelf life of sandwiches could reduce waste by more than 2,000 tonnes a year. Prof Azapagic said: “We need to change the labelling of food to increase the use-by date as these are usually quite conservative. Commercial sandwiches undergo rigorous shelf-life testing and are normally safe for consumption beyond the use-by date stated on the label.”

Responding to the research, Friends of the Earth called for retailers to stock more environmentally friendly lunch options.

Clare Oxborrow, food campaigner for the green lobbying group, said: “The meat and dairy industry is one of the biggest causes of climate change, so cutting back on meat and cheese fillings will be good for the planet – as well as our health. But supermarkets need to step up to the plate and make sure their sandwiches aren’t toasting the planet. It’s almost impossible to find a plant-based filling among the meaty and cheesy offerings.”

h/t Moonbattery


Due to delaying work and marriage, scientists say adulthood now begins at 24

pajama boy

From The Telegraph: Adulthood does not begin until 24, scientists have concluded because young people are continuing their education for longer and delaying marriage and parenthood.

The traditional definition for adolescence is currently between and the ages of 10 and 19, which marked the beginnings of puberty and the perceived end of biological growth.

But, writing in the Lancet Child & Adolescent Health, scientists from the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne argue the timings needs to be changed.

They point to the fact that the brain continues to mature beyond the age of 20, and many people’s wisdom teeth do not come through until the age of 25.

And people are also getting married and having children later, with the average man entering their first marriage aged 32.5 and women 30.6, an increase of eight years since the 1970s.

Lead author Prof Susan Sawyer, said delays in young people leaving education, settling down and becoming parents, showed adolescence was now longer and argued that policies that support youth should be extended beyond teenage years.

Countries such as New Zealand already treat children who have been in care as vulnerable until they are 25, allowing them the same rights as youngsters. “Age definitions are always arbitrary,” she said, but “our current definition of adolescence is overly restricted.”

“The ages of 10-24 years are a better fit with the development of adolescents nowadays.”

However other academics argued that just because young people were unmarried or still in education did not mean they were not fully functioning adults.

But Dr. Jan Macvarish, a parenting sociologist at the University of Kent, told the BBC: “There is nothing inevitably infantilising about spending your early 20s in higher education or experimenting in the world of work. Society should maintain the highest possible expectations of the next generation.”

Prof. Sawyer also admits there could be downsides to the plan, particularly if youngsters were no longer seen as responsible or capable of full engagement in society until they were 24. “Such a view would risk disenfranchising adolescents and undermines their rights to fully participate in society,” she added.


UK appoints “minister for loneliness” to help people cope with “sad reality” of modern life

government solve all problems

From MSN: Britain appointed a “minister for loneliness” on Wednesday to tackle what Prime Minister Theresa May described as “the sad reality of modern life” affecting millions of people.

Tracey Crouch, a junior minister for sport and civil society, will take on the role as part of a broader strategy to combat loneliness in Britain. “For far too many people, loneliness is the sad reality of modern life,” May said.

“I want to confront this challenge for our society and for all of us to take action to address the loneliness endured by the elderly, by carers, by those who have lost loved ones — people who have no one to talk to or share their thoughts and experiences with,” the prime minister added.

More than nine million people say they are always or often lonely, out of a population of 65.6 million, according to the British Red Cross.

The charity describes loneliness and isolation as a “hidden epidemic” affecting people across all ages at various moments in their life, such as retirement, bereavement or separation.

The ministerial appointment follows a recommendation from a committee in memory of Jo Cox, a lawmaker for the opposition Labour party who was murdered by a far-right extremist.

“Jo experienced and witnessed loneliness throughout her life especially as a new student at Cambridge University and separated from her sister Kim for (the) first time,” the Jo Cox Foundation wrote on Twitter.

“She would be delighted by Tracey Crouch’s new job as minister for loneliness and would be saying ‘let’s get to work!'” the Foundation added.

The prime minister was to host a reception on Wednesday to celebrate the legacy left by Cox, whose killing just days ahead of the 2016 Brexit referendum shocked the nation.

Britain’s loneliness initiative will see a strategy published later this year, with input from national and local government, public services, the voluntary sector and businesses.