Bookie Fancies Rebecca’s Chances At The Ballot

REBECCA HARRIS has the best odds of any Castle Point general election candidate  – making her more favoured to win the seat than any other candidate.

With odds of 16/5 from website Betfair, Dr Spink has been judged as likely as the BNP candidate to win.

Betfair puts the Conservatives on 30/100; the Lib Dem candidate on 21/1 and Labour at 39/1.

UKIP’s chances are rated at 59/1.

Now compare those peculiar facts with Sarah Calkin’s spin-piece in the Echo

Handyman Injured After Chopping Down Branch He Leaned His Ladder Against

(Telegraph) – A HANDYMAN who was injured in a “Laurel and Hardy moment” after propping his ladder against the tree branch he then sawed off is suing his employers.

Peter Aspinall, 64, had been asked to prune a sycamore tree in the grounds of a hotel, but instead of leaning his ladder against the trunk he placed it against the branch he was hacking down.

When the branch fell it took Mr Aspinall with it, 14ft to the ground below. He broke his heel, damaged his ligaments and had to spend ten days in hospital recovering from surgery on his injuries.

Now Mr Aspinall, who had worked at the Egerton House Hotel near Bolton, Lancashire, for just two weeks, is suing them for compensation.

He took the action after health and safety inspectors concluded the hotel failed to carry out a risk assessment on the dangers of pruning.

They also said that his employer should have given him training on where to place the ladder.

The hotel owners have now been fined £1,000 and ordered to pay £1,000 council costs and a £15 victim surcharge by magistrates in Bolton after pleading guilty to health and safety breaches.

Nicola Raby, prosecuting for Bolton Council, told the court that the accident happened on July 18, 2008 when Mr Aspinall was helping gardener Alan Ashworth remove the branch because it was shading the lawn.

The men placed their ladder against the branch and Mr Ashworth held the bottom of it while Mr Aspinall climbed up with a bow saw to chop it down.

They did not realise their mistake until the branch finally snapped and Mr Aspinall fell to the ground.

David Walton, mitigating, said the hotel owner, Jan Hampton, was not on the premises at the time and would have ensured the task was carried out by specialist tree surgeons if she had been.

”They proceeded to cut the branch that the ladder was leaning against. It is an unusual accident. Laurel and Hardy do this sort of thing,” he said.

He added that Mr Ashworth was embarrassed and sorry that the accident had happened.

”He knows he ought to have tied the ladder to the trunk of the tree and not the branch to be cut,” said Mr Walton.

The court also heard that Mr Aspinall is now pursuing a civil claim for his injuries.

Ms Hampton, said she was proud of the hotel’s health and safety record and standards of customer care.

”Action has been taken to ensure that this could not happen again,” she said.

Poor Isabella…

(Quentin Letts) – WOMAN OF THE WEEK: Isabella Fiore Brown, secretary to Bob Spink MP.

Owing to a foul-up at directory enquiries, Mr Spink’s office number was given to hundreds of people seeking the main number for Parliament.

Poor Isabella. Every time she prepared to type a letter, rrrrrring. Every time she sat down to have a cuppa, or open the mail, or tried to step outside to go to the loo, rrrrrring. From morning to night, the blower blew incessantly. Officials said there was nothing they could do.

Kafkaesque.

I am told that Isabella has remained polite throughout. She simply says life has been ‘a little frustrating’.

She deserves a large gin and Dubonnet.

Spot The Signature

Dave Blackwell - alias 'bob'

THE BLOG FORMAT, with its rolling pages, does not lend itself easily to providing readers with a ‘puzzle page’ like traditional newspapers. But this particular brain-teaser might prove to be an exception.

Consider the following three comments. Do you think they are written by the same person? If so, how do you prove it? Is there a common ‘signature’ in all three?

Readers are invited to contribute their thoughts in the comments section, where I will post the answer at 8:00pm this evening.

This is not a game. The skill you gain here could help you determine just who is trying to manipulate your opinion when you join those online threads…

first time i have been on this site as a resident on canvey island the people canvey have voted for canvey island independent party because they dont trust the others .the torys are just in it for there selves and the likes of owners of thorney bay and every other developer who wants to rape canvey. labour have just lost the plot .without a good oppisition canvey would of been finnished victims of corruption and greed . ted its seems you must be a tory at heart as you give the most disgaced tory coucillor bill sharp lots of space

Dave Blackwell's comment

hi, well colin mc tory mclean says his website is a community website why does he stop anyone who is not a tory from making a comment .it is just a properganda website funded by rebbeca harris tory candidate for the genaral election ,with tory boy mclean and tory boy parkin the front men ,canvey people will see through them like a clear glass window .

i think the whole tory party localy are running scared you just cant trust anything they say .they say they beleive in high standards in local goverment took 3 months to suspend one of there councillors who was found gulity of bullying .then rebbeca harris is seen socialsing with the councillor at one of theses secrect society function .if rebeca harris wants people to trust her she going a funny way about it

… I think we can all agree who the actual correspondent is; but the question is: ‘Can I produce sufficient evidence to prevent a libel claim (without relying on ISP servers)?’

CLUE: It will all be revealed in the end .

… (27/03/2010) – Silly Season Is Here

Somali Woman With No Right To Live In The UK Must Be Given A Council House, According To EU Judges

Nimco Hassan Ibrahim - with her 36" TV

(Telegraph) – A SOMALI WOMAN WITH CHILDREN IN UK SCHOOLS is entitled to state benefits, even if she is “a burden on the social assistance system”, EU judges ruled yesterday.

Nimco Hassan Ibrahim, who has four children, was told she must be given a council house because she was once married to a Danish citizen who briefly worked in Britain.

A verdict in Luxembourg said parents caring for the children of migrant workers, and resident in EU countries are covered under EU rules on freedom of movement – including those who cannot support themselves.

Ms Ibrahim, a Somali national who separated from her Danish husband and is entirely dependent on UK welfare payments, was initially turned down for housing assistance – a decision which she then appealed.

Ms Ibrahim, who is currently living in temporary accommodation in Harrow, told the Daily Mail: “I deserve to be given a proper house. This one is too small for all of us.

“I don’t think it’s fair that the council has put us up in temporary accommodation. All these threats of eviction have made me feel very ill. The law says that I can get a better house so I’m looking forward to a better life.”

Ms Ibrahim arrived in the UK in 2003 to join her husband, named in court as Mr Yusuf.

The couple have four children of Danish nationality, the fourth of whom was born in the UK. Two are in UK state schools.

After working in the UK for five months, Mr Yusuf claimed incapacity benefit, and left the country after being declared fit for work in March 2004. He then “ceased to satisfy the conditions for lawful residence” in the UK, said the judgment.

Ms Ibrahim remained in the UK, separated from her husband, and, said the court, “was never self-sufficient, and depends entirely on social assistance”.

“She does not have comprehensive sickness insurance cover and relies on the National Health Service,” the judgment added.

Her application for housing assistance for herself and her children was rejected on the ground that only people with a right of residence under EU law could apply, and neither she not Mr Yusuf were by then considered resident in the UK under EU law.

Today’s judgment said: “A parent caring for the child of a migrant worker who is in education in the host Member State has a right of residence in that State.

“That right is not conditional on the parent having sufficient resources not to become a burden on the social assistance system.”

EU rules say that members of the family of a migrant worker who is a national of one EU country and employed in another have residency rights with that worker, whatever their nationality – a right that continues even if the migrant worker no longer lives or works there.

The Home Office said it was studying the potential impact of the judgment this afternoon.

A UK Border Agency spokesman said: “We are disappointed with today’s ruling. We will now consider closely the European Court judgments and their implications.”

Harrow Council, the local authority to which Ms Ibrahim applied for housing benefit, slammed the verdict as a potential “floodgates judgment” opening the way for state support for people who had put nothing into the country.

Councillor Barry Macleod-Cullinane said: “We are now seeing a European Court determining British immigration policy.”

He said: “We are very concerned with this outcome, as it appears to establish a major new legal precedent over benefit claims.

“Harrow Council is studying the full implications of the ruling, but it could well prove to be a floodgates judgment in that people who have not yet contributed to this country or who do not have the means to sustain themselves can now seek immediate help from state welfare services.”

£7,000 A Month Rent For Mansion Paid For By The Taxpayer

Essma Marjam with one of six children

(Daily Mail) – A SINGLE MOTHER OF SIX is getting more than £80,000 a year from the taxpayer to live in a £2million mansion in an exclusive London suburb.

Essma Marjam, 34, is given almost £7,000 a month in housing benefits to pay the rent on the five-bedroom villa just yards from Sir Paul McCartney’s house and Lord’s cricket ground.

She also receives an estimated £15,000 a year in other payouts, such as child benefit, to help look after her children, aged from five months to 14.

The four-storey house in Maida Vale has five bedrooms, two bathrooms, a double living room, large fitted kitchen-diner with French doors on to the landscaped garden and a state-of-the art buzzer entry system.

Astonishingly, it is understood Miss Marjam found the house on the internet through a private letting agency, rather than waiting for Westminster council to give her a vacant property on their books.

She then applied to the council for the £1,600-a-week benefit – the maximum amount the council allows.

Miss Marjam said: ‘I moved here at the beginning of the month as I’m entitled to a five-bedroom house.

‘I was in a three-bedroom council house but I needed a bigger place once my new baby came along. So the council agreed to pay the £1,600 a week to a private landlord as they didn’t have any houses big enough.

‘I’m separated from my husband. He’s a solicitor in Derby, but I don’t know if he’s working at the moment. He doesn’t pay anything towards the kids. Things are quite difficult between us.

Mrs Marjam's new home is yards from Sir Paul McCartney's house

‘The house is lovely and very big, but I don’t have enough furniture to fill it.’

She does, however, have two large flat-screen televisions and several leather sofas, plus a large amount of children’s toys scattered over the wooden floorboards.

During the week, vans from Argos and other home stores dropped off large purchases.

Miss Marjam does not work, as she spends all day looking after her children – Zekia, 14, Abdulhakim, 13, Jihad, 11, Hamza, ten, Ayman, two, and five-month-old Nasir.

The four eldest have the surname Benjamin, while the two youngest have the surname Khan.

Labour’s controversial Local Housing Allowance enables council tenants to receive such high benefits to pay private landlords.

The maximum that can be claimed is set by central government and the allowances can be huge, leaving the taxpayer to foot the bill.

The Daily Mail has highlighted other outrageous examples, such as the single mother of eight receiving £90,000 a year to live in a £2.6million Notting Hill mansion.

Taxpayers are also picking up the £6,400-a-month bill to house Nasra Warsame, her seven children and her elderly mother in central London, with Westminster council also providing Mrs Warsame’s husband and their eighth child with a two-bedroom flat nearby.

In total, 16 families are living in million-pound-plus London properties funded by the Local Housing Allowance.

Phillipa Roe, a Westminster councillor, said: ‘We would like to see the entire system changed as the current rules are wrong and do not offer taxpayers value for money.

‘We want to have more control to limit the amount of money which is paid out. Local councils are far better placed to determine benefit levels than ministers in Whitehall who won’t know the facts on the ground.

‘The Government has repeatedly pledged to reform housing benefit but failed to do so. The whole system needs a radical review and ministers should stop dragging their heels and get on and do it.’

A Department for Work and Pensions spokesman said: ‘It is not right that in London high rents have been able to distort the system, resulting in a small number of people getting excessively high payments.

‘We took immediate action and capped the Local Housing Allowance in April. The plans we published in December go even further and will exclude high rents from LHA rate calculations.

‘Only a very small minority of people receive such high rates of housing benefit. The average payment is £81 a week.’

Pheasant Terrorises North Yorkshire Village

(Telegraph) – A PHEASANT is terrorising a village – trapping people in their homes and attacking people in the street.

The vicious bird has launched several unprovoked attacks on villagers in recent weeks.

Men, women, children, prams, bikes, dogs and cars are said to have have fallen foul of the bird in Newsham, near Richmond, North Yorkshire.

There are tales of the plucky cock lying in wait for children to get off the school bus, before chasing them screaming to the village green.

A woman was left with a scar on her leg after being attacked by a pheasant that has been terrorising her village.

Sonia Hall was attacked by the creature while she was out for a walk with her two-and-a-half-year-old grandson Jacob.

Her son Charles Hall, 34, who runs the A66 Hotel near the village, said: “She was really shaken up by it.

“She was out walking when the pheasant went for her and started pecking her legs.

“She tried to beat it off with her handbag but from what she said it is quite vicious.

“The local postman had to save her from it by kicking it.

“People think it is getting its revenge on people from some of its family being shot.

“We had no reported sightings on Wednesday so maybe it’s had its comeuppance.”

Mrs Hall’s partner, Robin Leonard, a retired glass fitter, aged in his 70s, said: “The pheasant’s attack left her with a scar on her leg.

“She was hitting it with her bag but it wouldn’t give up.

“The postman was passing by and saw the attack so ran over to help.

“The postman is scared to come into the village now in case the pheasant attacks him.”

Another villager Joanne Metcalfe, a 31-year-old vet said: “The pheasant followed me for three days running when I was out walking the dog.

“I didn’t take too much notice and I think it was spooked by the dog so it didn’t go for me.

“But I have heard about the attacks which sound terrible.”

Residents Kate and Harry Collingwood say the pheasant is often spotted in their back garden.

Mrs Collingwood said: “It frequents our garden. Whereas most of them will fly away, but this one comes right at you.

“It even tried to get in the house once.”

The bird’s harem of hens are often in the Collingwood’s back garden.

Bob De’Ath, chairman of Newsham Parish Council says: “Although it seems humorous, there is a serious concern that this pheasant could injure young children if it goes for their face.

“You can push it away, but it continues going for you.

“It is terrorising the whole village.

“We are now starting to get official complaints about it, so I have written to the RSPCA and the RSPB to ask for advice on the matter.”

Lyndsey Waddell, chairman of the National Gamekeepers Organisation, said: “You get a similar thing in a variety of other birds as spring approaches and the breeding season begins.

“All the bird is doing is protecting what it considers to be its territory.”

Mr Waddell, of Upper Teessdale, suggested the best way to deal with the bird would be to humanely capture it and relocate it away from the village.

Jillianne James, 52, who lives in the centre of the village, said: “He’s been in our garden for over a year now and seems to be there quite a bit. We think he may roost under one of our holly bushes.

“He was there on Christmas day this year trying to join in the festivities.

“My son, Peter, 13, got some quite good pictures of him.

“At first we thought he was a friendly bird because he would always like to come out and make his presence felt when anyone called round.

“But he’s actually quite an unpleasant bird, not very nice at all. He jumps up at the kids’ school bags. It’s worrying how he’s gone on to attack people.

“We are happy enough for him to stay for the time being but if the attacks go on I’m sure he won’t be around for long.

“We haven’t seen him for a couple of days which is a bit worrying.”

… (BBC, 05/02/2010) – Newsham residents terrorised by rogue pheasant