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By ATWadmin On February 19th, 2007 at 10:02 am

I was shocked, but not surprised, to read that kids as young as 12 are being diagnosed as alcoholics, amid warnings that a generation could be permanently scarred by binge drinking. Every day, 15 boys and girls under the age of 16 drink themselves into A&E wards, with some downing more than a bottle of vodka in a single session, health service figures have revealed.


In 2005, hospitals treated 5,717 under-16s for alcohol poisoning and other drink-related illnesses – nearly 20 per cent more than in the previous year. Girls outnumbered boys in every part of the country, heightening concern about the spread of the ‘ladette’ culture. The North West of England has the worst underage drinking problem, with 25 drunken youngsters admitted to hospital each week. Most of these are girls.


Well, I guess we have true equality of the sexes nowadays, with girls and boys equally destroying their bodies with excess alcohol. I wonder to what factors can we attribute this appalling situation?

My own feeling is that it is a reflection on the breakdown of the traditional family unit in Britain and the eradication of the idea of moral values. When the central anchor of a family is uprooted, kids can drift into every imaginable peril. It is also an indication of a more general societal acceptance of drunk teenagers littering our high streets each week, after a good night out on the tiles. In the land of no moral absolutes, Absolut vodka is what goes.

I believe that responsibility has to lie with PARENTS, not Government. It is all too easy to shift the blame in this situation to Nanny State – not that SHE is of any assistance. In the old days, it used to be that any really bad behaviour from a child could be obviated with the threat by the parent of a visit from the local policeman. Nowadays it is the child who threatens the parent with a visit from the Human Rights Lawyer if discipline is raised by the parent.

And so we raise up a generation of 12 year old alcoholics whose knowledge of their human rights is only matched by their ignorance of their reponsibilities- not least towards their own bodies. It’s a sad affair, enough to drive you to drink.


By ATWadmin On February 19th, 2007 at 9:53 am

This story bubbled up a little while ago, but now it is back, and this time our worst fears are confirmed.

Our caring Government seeks to impose additional taxation on those whose properties enjoy "a pleasant view" or "good security" and is now recruiting a battalion of inspectors who will make it their business to track down those whose properties sinfully benefit from these advantages. 

New kitchens, conservatories, central heating and gardens will also be assessed under this new scheme and it could see homeowners in prosperous areas with good schools, low crime rates and clean streets pay far more than those with similar – or even larger – properties in more rundown locations.

This is entirely in-line with NuLabour policy of punishing people who do not yet live in inner city deprivation. The class-envy hatred that drives socialists is manifest in this plan – and unless we throw off the oppression of NuLabour then we will indeed be taxed on the very view from our front window.


By ATWadmin On February 19th, 2007 at 9:24 am

nhs23bt.gifHave you been following PM Blair’s latest pronouncement that "round-the-clock" surgery could be introduced in England to help cut NHS waiting times to a maximum of 18 weeks?

He is suggesting the idea of keeping operating theatres open "out of hours" during a visit to a London hospital. The government wants the 18-week limit between GP referral and treatment to be met by the end of 2008 – 13 trusts hope to meet it a year early.

Naturally the Conservatives attack him, questioning WHY with all the £Billions of investment poured into the NHS black hole by Chancellor Prudence Brown, NHS waiting lists have not fallen further.

OK – this is my non-party political point. You see it doesn’t really matter WHICH bunch of politicians are running the NHS, the fundamental problem is that THEY are running Health, setting health priorities, scoring political brownie points. Politicians are a menace to our well being. They interfere, they skew clinical priorities, they demotivate staff, they encourage inefficiency, in short they are a danger to us because everything they do is driven with at least half-an-eye on short term media headlines.

As we have discussed here before, the real message is that until we free Health Provision from political control, it will never meet patients or indeed staff expectations. That is an announcement you can be sure Tony Blair WON’T  be making anytime soon!


By ATWadmin On February 18th, 2007 at 1:15 pm

795151-605926-thumbnail.jpgOK everyone – I’ve been planning our next Tangled Web TalkRadio show and here is the new topic line-up I’ve settled upon;

1. GLOBAL WARMING – is it a load of hot air? Is mankind to blame? What do we need to do to put things right, if anything? Who are the REAL deniers?

2. IRAN – do we wait for the Mullahs to get nukes? Is it time to give war a chance? Is diplomacy the way forward? Would Israel be right to take pre-emptive action? Should we sacrifice Israel in the name of peace?

3. AFTER BLAIR;  UK PM Tony Blair steps down in May/June. What are the consequences nationally and internationally? Looking forward to PM Brown? What does this mean for US/UK solidarity?  

This week I’m expanding the programme length to 60 minutes, commencing at 8pm GMT. This gives us 20mins per topic.  20 minutes is a LOOOOOOOG time if you don’t get in touch with me since this is a dialogue, not a monologue. So – hit the dial on Thursday night and phone 001 646 652 2582!

I understand people may wish to comment but are a little shy of going on-air so this week I’m going to open up a thread 30 minutes before the programme commences – you can ask questions, make points in advance, or you can comment during the show and I will read out your opinions for you.

I also want to make sure that everyone who wants to comment gets a chance to do so therefore I would ask contributors to keep comments to the point and to forgive me should they be cut off – but the system only allows five live callers on air at a time!

oscar? nope, it’s an atw!

By ATWadmin On February 18th, 2007 at 11:57 am

Okay folks, having studied all the entries, I can now announce the winners!

In a small series of categories,, I would now award the following:-

The Sense-of-Humour bypass award to Alan McDonald for his “beheading” comment!

The Truly-off-the-wall Award to Chris Gaskin for his
 An Phoblacht    "David Vance: Story of a Republican Revolutionary"    

The ‘Ingenious-but-Unlikely’ Award to Mahons for
“Prime Minsiter John Cleese attends Adams-Paisley nuptials"

And the winner, for a really acid and apposite contribution is

Aileen, for her truly funny:-


50 years on – surgeon who circumcised Hain admits – wrong bit discarded!   




By ATWadmin On February 18th, 2007 at 11:25 am

Just back from being on the BBC Radio Ulster programme "Sunday Sequence"discussing "a simple life"!

I enjoy taking part in this early Sunday Morning programme – mostly because the host, William Crawley is a pleasant and thoughtful host, and the topics covered are not the traditional local political ones that I deal with elsewhere. The pace of the programme is quite intense although the style is reflective, all in all I think it’s well done and so being able to contribute is fun. So I have linked William’s "Last Will & Testament" blog to ATW and look forward to William recripocating the favour!

steeplejack? no; imam!

By ATWadmin On February 18th, 2007 at 9:19 am

Browsing through a piece about travel in Spain is not, I would contend, the place where you would find more than slightly disturbing news of the insidious onslaught of Islam; but that is exactly where I did find further proof that we aren’t the only country to feel the slide of the invader!

The correspondent writes, during his lyrical description of the Mezquita, the Mosque converted into a place of Christian worship, that “Muslims have been pressing for some time to be allowed to pray alongside them. On Christmas Day, the Spanish Islamic Board, composed mainly of Spanish converts, appealed by letter to the Pope to open the Mezquita to prayer by people of all faiths. He has yet to answer, though the Bishop of Cordoba has already refused.”. He also writes of “Spanish Islamic groups to build on land close to the Madinat, with money from Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries, what would be the second biggest mosque in the world, turning Cordoba into a European Mecca, or, as the Spanish daily ABC, which disclosed the plan put it, ‘Al-Andalus con petrodólares’.”

Readers may remember the plans put forward for a huge mosque to be placed slap-bang (perhaps an unfortunate choice of adverb?) next to the Olympic Park in Stratford, and while any change in the hideous architecture at present lolling around that unfortunate suburb of Greater London may be welcome, I really do not believe we need another bloody mosque! Planning permission has been sought, but I believe things are on hold for the moment. Bu my point is that the relentless surge to bring the earthly domination of the believers of this strange and savage religion forward is always present. I am heartened by the attitude of the Bishop of Cordoba, who has blithely replied to this muslim request with a very firm negative. Compare, if you would, the supine attitudes of some of our native Anglican clerics if a similar demand was made in Great Britain? They’d be asking if ‘one line to give a true bearing to Mecca would be enough?’ or even, ‘can we move the pews so you can have more space to lay out the bloody carpets?’

The muslim call is for expansion and obedience! Are we to tamely give in, or should we resist at all costs?



By ATWadmin On February 18th, 2007 at 8:06 am

I wonder if you agree with "Big Issue" founder John Bird when he argues that the present homeless policy is utterly useless and the only ‘cure’ for most is compulsory treatment in mental hospitals?

Bird writes…

What nobody wants to acknowledge is that 90 per cent of people in and around homelessness have drink and drug problems. And 90 per cent of that figure are people who cannot control it. It is addictive behaviour and the only way to tackle it and stand any chance of ‘curing’ the homeless is to treat it as the mental problem it is. Addiction doesn’t fall under the remit of the 1983 Mental Health Act. But it should.

The people who are homeless through addiction are feckless, unstable, unreliable, incapable of holding down a job, feeding themselves or cleaning themselves. You take them into a hostel, patch them up and put them in State housing on benefits and they continue to kill themselves at the State’s expense. They are ill and should be ‘sectioned’ – lifted from the streets and confined in the care of the mental health system, behind bars if necessary. It sounds drastic – and I expect a lot of outraged criticism – but it is the only realistic solution.


 I have to admit that I find this is a refreshingly direct approach to the issue. I think Bird is right to speak of a "homelessness industry", just as there is a "poverty industry" and liberals would do well to reflect on Bird’s core argument. Do we really care about those who are homeless, or do we care more about feeling good with ourselves?


By ATWadmin On February 18th, 2007 at 7:52 am

So, what do you reckon is the loneliest job in Britain?

Perhaps being a Lifehouse maintenance engineer?

Maybe being an ecumenical-minded Imam?

Nope – the loneliest job in Britain is being a conservative at the BBC.

Working at the BBC can be a strange experience. On occasions during my 25 years as a journalist with the corporation it was jaw-dropping. In 1984 I returned to BBC Scotland after covering the Tory conference in Brighton. The IRA had come close to assassinating Margaret Thatcher with a bomb and the country was in shock. Apart, that is, from some of my BBC colleagues. "Pity they missed the bitch," one confided to me.

For three decades I was that rare breed – a Conservative at the BBC. In my time working on programmes such as Today and Breakfast News I couldn’t have formed a cricket team from Tory sympathisers. As one producer put it, you feel almost part of an ethnic minority.


Robin Aitken reveals what is was like to work for the profoundly biased BBC in a new book "Can we trust the BBC?" (A rhetorical question) and if you click the link you get a fair impression of what that must have been like!


By ATWadmin On February 17th, 2007 at 8:20 pm

Hey Ho – let’s go…! This one gets the adrenalin flowing….