Government

Why should good people suffer?

So is anyone going to slap the likes of Toby Young and Julia Hartley Brewer on the wrist for the violence they have incited against Symonds’ neighbours? Domestic abusers and apologists must have been chomping at the bit to teach them a lesson. Not forgetting the far right who took the Stasi bait. Always tell on perpetrators of gendered violence, it is your moral duty.

The mainstream media have focused on the political affiliations of Tom Penn and Eve Leigh (The Daily Express, The Sun etc) with every sentence they’ve spewed in outrage at the couple’s act of kindness and decency, they are culpable for the death threats that have pushed them out of their home. This is Britain, where they pretend to care about abuse but only if they can use it to make a racist point. Britain hates women, it hates people who would help women. It consistently confirms my prejudices against white men for their entitlement and toxic masculinity. They have the power to write narratives that betray the reality, meanwhile society slips further down the slope, impacting on all of our lives. I have witnessed this descent into hell, as we all have and just when we think it can’t possibly get any worse it has.

There must be repercussions for this, as there have been unjustly for Tom Penn and Eve Leigh. As a society we must stop punishing people for doing the right thing and rewarding the scheming cowards who know how to manipulate situations. I’m afraid there are more people than we know, who are willing to act the part and pretend to care about what is right and just than actually genuinely do. It only ever becomes a serious concern when they are personally targeted.

Tom and Eve should sue.

Advertisements

Twitter Enables Gendered Violence

It might just be me but there’s something strange about the way I was booted off Twitter (for as long as it usually takes to become yesterday’s news) on the very day two violent rich white men were splashed all over the news for gendered violence. I mean, it’s always a bit weird when I am ticked off for promoting bigoted hatred or inciting violence by a company that has actively fanned the flames of white supremacy and enabled Nazis when apparently they are not subject to the same rigorous vetting process opponents of white supremacy appear to be, but to silence me as an expert in gendered violence, at such a crucial time?

Tom Sleigh, a councillor for Bishopsgate in the City of London, was doing his utmost to protect his aggressive colleague and friend Mark Field, giving impassioned speeches about how threatened they all were, when a cursory glance at his TL the night before revealed how unfazed he had been by it all.

tomsleighcharmertomsleighfragilitytomsleighcharmertomsleighbankertomsleigh

Perhaps he took umbrage at my daring, that I would forget my place and not fear their wrath. A 7 day ban for a hyperbolic tweet in which I was fairly measured compared to all the other responses it had garnered (a trophy hunting monster, unrepentant, threatening to kill more giraffes) is a bit excessive. Especially given the way they could not chastise me for my tweets on the matter in hand, so went trawling through my history, looking for the slightest thing they could twist to their advantage.

cuntsbergfartleysewer

It might have been Tom, then again it could have been ‘Aunt Lydias’ Laura Kuenssberg or Julia Fartley Sewer. It might have been Iain Martin or even Charlotte Gill of The Times. Whoever it was, they defended violence against women in order to maintain their power. They keep dropping the bar, lowering standards for us all.

iain martincharlotte gill

markfield

The following day we had the likes of Toby Young claiming the Stasi had it in for domestic abuser Boris Johnson. I’m well aware that the law exists only to punish the poorest in society whereas the upper classes are given carte blanche to behave as criminally as they like. Violence against a domestic partner is illegal and an arrestable offence, even if the victim doesn’t want to press charges. We have decades of experience telling us that victims often won’t press charges because there is a threat of further violence for going against the perpetrator. The worst incidents of violence usually occur after a woman leaves an abusive partner, 76% face a repeat incident post separation. It was decided that courts can enforce justice in cases where victims could be manipulated into withdrawing their allegations. The burden is placed on the authorities not the victim. In this way, we were able to hold more perpetrators to account. This is why it is crucial that neighbours report violence. In the absence of a doctor’s report or other professional testimonies, reports from witnesses suffice in a court of law. Imagine how loud they must have been for their neighbours to actually record it. They’re not living in a council building made of breeze blocks, the walls aren’t paper thin and from what I’ve seen it’s completely detached? They might have saved her life, those neighbours. I am grateful to them for their bravery and moral compass. We all have a duty to call out gendered violence wherever we see/hear it.

Carrie Symonds is probably never going to report her abuser. It takes on average 33 attempts for a victim/survivor to finally work up the courage to leave. For many victims, to have that abuse acknowledged when they cannot speak up, is a relief. I can’t say for sure whether she has tried to leave but I do know the neighbours reporting it on her behalf may have significantly cut the length of this process for her. She is no longer suffering in silence, the truth is out. Not that we ever thought that differently of notorious misogynist Johnson.

One of the first things Boris Johnson did in his role as mayor was to axe the role of Women’s Advisor at City Hall and five posts from the London Domestic Violence Strategy Team. He also removed £90,000 from the budget almost immediately. Given that this project had contributed to a 57% reduction in domestic abuse murders, one can only come to the natural conclusion that Boris hates women, and engages in gendered violence not only on a personal level but is actually a danger to us all. The Safer Travel at Night Board also got the chop, regardless of the fact it had ensured a 46% reduction in cab related sexual offences. The London Childcare Unit which provided support for low income families, 90% of them women, was also abolished.

At every turn, Boris has demonstrated his contempt for women. Perhaps this is why I was suspended, because I would have reminded you of his track record, and I was doing such a great job of shaming the defenders of Mark Field’s vaw, they feared I’d be in my element with Boris. I’ve tried to search for and so far failed to find the footage of Johnson actually making a joke about domestic violence on, I believe it was, Newsnight, with Paxman calling him out. Of course there is a footnote on Google explaining how some results have been removed under EU law.

What kind of person would defend such a monster? A nithing like Toby Billy No Mates Young of course. It suddenly makes sense why he has no friends, you are the company you keep after all, and I wouldn’t want to be judged for him.

Beware the Violent Rich White Men™, they have the power to deny everything and make it all your fault. Twitter is clearly in cahoots.

Hampshire Police in Racism Shocker

Hampshire constabulary is under investigation for institutional racism, with a staggering 19 members of staff alleged to have used prejudiced and inappropriate language. The complaint was filed by another one of their employees. Given the structural racism minorities are acutely aware of, this whistleblower deserves to be commended and supported through this trying time.When there are so many offenders concentrated in one place, we have to ask whether this case will be treated with the impartiality it requires, or whether it speaks to a culture in the workplace.

In all honesty I was surprised to find it was Hampshire constabulary they were referring to. My thoughts immediately went to West Midlands Police, or even The Met, given my personal experiences of their non existent race relations. Having been on the receiving end of racist abuse, from individual officers, to the inadequate response I was given when I reported nazi forums stacked with fascists threatening to rape and kill me, I can categorically state, the cops are the fascists, more often than not. They hate women, and minorities, we put ourselves at further risk whenever we interact with them, especially when we are seeking help.

The police force attracts a certain type of individual. Someone who is looking to settle scores, someone who wants the power to act with impunity. Very rarely you meet someone who genuinely wants to better their community, or a minority who wants to bridge the gap between the authorities and their marginalised group but these people, if they manage to hold on to their principles, usually leave and move on to teaching or social services. They realise they cannot change the system from within, it is too white, too patriarchal, too violent to contend with.

Consider this piece, in which the head of the national police chief’s council is quoted as saying hate crimes distract from the police’s core role (protecting her majesty’s estates?) which apparently involves responding to emergencies (how many of those are hate crimes?) and investigating burglaries (I’ve been burgled twice, prior to austerity cuts, and the cops were useless).

In actual fact, I agree with Ms Thornton. I don’t think the cops should be the ones to solve hate crimes, I don’t think they have the range of feeling you need to provide care and protection to vulnerable victims. I don’t think they are capable of treating rape and sexual violence with the sensitivity it requires. When we consider that cops are 5 times more likely to commit domestic abuse, and probably sexual violence too (not forgetting racism), when we pay attention to the sheer number of cops popping up in the mainstream media, for sexual abuse, for neglect of victims, and other hate crimes, case in point, then it is absurd that we expect these exceptionally troubled people to empathise with us when we are at our most vulnerable.

There has to be a better way.

Welwyn-Hatfield Council’s Appalling Taxi Team, James Vaughan and Councillor Fiona Thomson

Last month I reported on a disgraceful case in Welwyn-Hatfield where, according to Matthew Hopkins News a taxi driver was guilty of a minor offence of overcharging but during an offical PACE interview the Hackney Carriage Officer invented allegations that the driver was targeting the vulnerable and charging on a sliding scale based on the vulnerability of the passenger –

“So the more vulnerable the customer is the more you can charge them, is that how it works?”

According to the original article, after various complaints the driver served the council with a letter of claim in damages. I sought to find out how the story ended. Happily, Left at the Lights has learned that the Hackney Carriage Committee was held on 30 April 2019 and the driver was only given a warning.

I sought comment from the council, and received a lengthy statement from Margaret Martinus, Head of Law and Administration. The essence of it was, “Whilst the Council treats any allegations of racism with the utmost seriousness, on the basis of the information disclosed so far, the Council could find no evidential basis at all to support these allegations”.

This makes no sense. The MHN article said that there were two witnesses who complained of racism, aside from the driver. Even if those allegations were mistaken or false, they are evidence and unless the statements literally do not exist the council cannot say there is, “no evidentiary basis”. Furthermore, if a driver overcharged an elderly old man whilst using a sliding scale of charges based on the perceived vulnerability AND THEN made up wholly baseless allegations of racism AND THEN had a significant blogger publish the supposedly entirely false allegations naming all those concerned, how has said driver got off with a warning?

The answer is of course, that he would not have got off at all. The reasonable conclusion is that most likely the driver did have some evidence, then dropped matters once the decision was made to allow the council to save face.

To an outsider, it looks very like the council conceded. I asked Sam Smith, the author of MHN for comment and he said as follows –

“I can confirm that at a Hackney Carriage Committee meeting on 30 April 2019 the taxi driver only received a warning, which was fair in all the circumstances and what I had proposed on his behalf. As this matter is at an end, I have nothing more to say on it.

However as you live in Birmingham you might enjoy my recent article about your local Labour MP Jess Phillips. Before election Ms Phillips promised hardworking constituents and Party members she would take no outside jobs but last year declared around £45K in external earnings from TV appearances and writing.”

Whilst Smith and the Muslim driver are apparently willing to move on, I understand that local taxi drivers in Welwyn-Hatfield were already angry and had been demonstrating about the council. This cannot have helped matters and I hear that there may be a further petition and even an Owen Jones style unseat campaign. It would certainly be a slap in the face for the local Muslim community if Councillor Fiona Thomas, who is responsible for the taxi functions of the council, retained her cabinet role and I am sure that her leader Councillor Tony Kingsbury will bear it in mind carefully. He would not want to provoke community activism against Grant Shapps, the local MP. Turning to the council officers, they will doubtless be very careful about their future behaviour to avoid further media scrutiny.

West Midlands Police don’t care about rape threats against women of colour

West Midlands police have launched an investigation into UKIP candidate Carl Benjamin aka Sargon of Akkad (a persistent and odious troll rooted in Gamergate, he was a champion for that other misogynist Elevatorgate) for saying he’d rape Jess Phillips if he were under pressure. He had previously said he wouldn’t even rape her, in 2016 when Jess discussed men threatening rape on social media.

Prior to this, in 2014, I had approached West Midlands police with a dossier of tweets aimed at me threatening to rape me, in sick detail, and death threats, suggestions to kill myself, a calculated effort on the part of gamergaters and various chan types to silence the most vocal social justice activists. They were sicced on us by the liberal leftie media (led by Helen Lewis) when we challenged their outrageously bigoted takes on minorities whilst excluding us from the conversation. At the time there was a surge in radical feminists taking a stand and ‘kill all men’ was a hyperbolic retort to the escalating harassment and stalking of women activists online. This phrase caused more of a ripple at my local plod office than the reams of threats and attempts to dox me. They said they could not prove rape threats were outside the realms of taste and decency in the context of international law and if I was so threatened I should log off the internet. Furthermore I was advised I could face criminal prosecution for my use of said phrase. I was victimised again by the very people who are supposed to keep us safe. I wasn’t going to make the same mistake again.

westmids

I said as much on social media, and challenged West Midlands police on their Twitter account for failing to do even the most basic of their duties and they blocked me. So self assured were they, that someone as insignificant as me would go unheard, they just turned their backs. I approached Jess about it on Twitter and she told me to talk to my own MP, but only after a slanging match. I tweeted Stella Creasy as well and she just ignored me. Now we’ve got everyone bending over backwards to condemn the nazi rapists who went largely ignored by the authorities for YEARS until someone ‘important’ was targeted.

I will reiterate what I said then, as pertinent as it is now; you might have more in common with them, they may share your political leanings, your skin colour, or your mutual dislike of opponents but you let them brutalise even one of us and you’ve allowed for society to take a nosedive in standards and made the world a little colder and crueller with your indifference. Doing the right thing isn’t a commendable thing really, not when we find it so easy to help the people we like. To stand for people who can do nothing for you, against injustices that have a knock on effect on us all, that’s a true measure of one’s character; to be principled in complex scenarios, and sadly we just haven’t had the leaders in place to ensure this.

It has allowed for perpetrators of ‘unpleasant comments’ to legally stand for public office.

electroal

Consider the way in which Bahar Mustafa was targeted amid calls for her to lose her job for saying “kill all white men”. Or the way Sarah Jeong was mercilessly harangued, for remarks such as “dumbass white people” by the very same Gamergate incels who no doubt informed her opinions. It’s very easy to mount campaigns to uproot and destroy the lives of women of colour yet white men can LEGALLY make threats to rape serving women MPs and the electoral commission just shrugs, minimises criminal intent and says “what can you do?”

As a society we have rewarded the worst in human traits. In the pursuit of white supremacy, a thing all white people even the ‘not racist’ ones must protect, it was easier to pretend we didn’t exist perhaps in the hopes we would succumb to threats. We haven’t and the abusers have only been empowered by the authorities’ tacit approval, so much so that they can threaten rape and stand for public office.

5 years on we haven’t killed all the men or even one, but the number of women targeted by rapists and the far right has grown out of control. Our free speech came under question but the criminal activities of rapist nazis were enabled because they are actually all on the same side.

This country has gone to shit and it isn’t because of immigrants, it’s raping paedophile nazis platformed by the mainstream media and government. Jess is perhaps best placed to change this.. FOR ALL WOMEN.. but will she?

James Vaughan, Nick Long, Joanna Harding and Councillor Fiona Thomson: Welwyn-Hatfield’s Appalling Taxi Team

This post was originally blogged here.

Click to read about the way immigrant Muslim taxi drivers are treated, giving a negative impression of the council as a whole as being Islamophobic.

We must address racism where it arises and challenge those who would discriminate based on pre-conceived notions of race. The grooming gang propaganda has clearly had an effect here, with unfounded accusations of predation and subsequent mishandling of complaints.

No wonder the Conservative Party are known as the Islamophobic party. They sure do act like it.

UPDATE: following the council committee meeting the driver was issued with a warning.

One man’s terrorist

A “new breed of terrorists” is emerging according to Detective Superintendent Jason Murphy, in the wake of the murder of journalist Lyra McKee who was shot in the head whilst covering the disturbances on the Creggan estate in Londonderry. He followed with terrorists were “lurking in the shadows”. A new breed suggests an enemy not previously known by the authorities, as though we haven’t seen this happen before, as though the troubles were a thing of folklore and we haven’t ever known a threat like it but this is patently untrue. We are experiencing a resurgence of Irish resistance off the back of the Brexit debacle. This is what Brexiteers wanted but in a complete split from reality they will not take responsibility for it.

In a month where we looked back at incidents of British terrorism inflicted on the colonies, the Jallianwalla Bagh massacre in Amritsar where British forces opened fire on peaceful protesters, the majority of whom were women and children and the trial of Soldier F, the only soldier to be held accountable for the Bloody Sunday massacre, a fact that saw bikers demonstrating in their thousands because they don’t think anyone should be punished for the terrorist murder of peaceful civilians, this “new breed” comment is its own kind of violence. The British high commissioner to India said Britain regrets the Amritsar massacre but stopped short of a full apology.

Time and time again the British have brutalised colonised communities and have many years later acknowledged the barbarity with which the empire operated yet they remain elusive, because admitting you did something wrong and actually feeling sorry about it are two different things. They admit to their actions but they really don’t believe they put a foot wrong. It made them who they are. They cannot apologise for bringing the world to its knees because then we would be seen as equals and reparations would have to be made, and they do not actually see a problem with the subjugation of non white non English subjects. The British empire used brutal military force the world over and somehow managed to capture the hearts and minds of its public as a force for good but this sits completely at odds with the way they are viewed by the rest of the us.

We have Muslim terrorists and Irish terrorists but we seem to have completely bypassed the worst of them all, the English terrorist. Even when they are committing acts of terrorism and planning them for weeks, drawing up manifestos like the calculated cold blooded murdering terrorists they are, Britain pities them with labels like ‘lone wolf’ and ‘mental health’ added on for good measure. No, what English terrorists need is sympathy because it is completely understandable that an historic oppressor would crack a whip to remind the colonised of their lowly position. Ireland and India have suffered terribly under British rule and this many years after independence continue to be mired by the devastation left behind, and deliberately. Both nations continue to struggle over borders, like a self sustaining colony that needs little interference from the architects to turn in on itself. The Israel Palestine conflict is another example of this.

Lyra McKee should not have lost her life on Thursday night. She was a bystander in this fight between historic enemies. To feel her death was unnecessary and to share the pain of her loved ones is not to align with the PSNI, this is not and never has been so clear cut. For them to use her murder as a sign that they are justified is typically gratuitous behaviour on the part of British authorities. To use her death as a springboard for the insidious agenda of an empire on its last legs, to utilise the terrorist moniker as an attack against anyone who objects to coercive power and refuse to label actual murderous terrorists as such shows just how little they actually care for public safety and the loss of precious life, unless it helps them to maintain existing structures of power and control. I cannot be the only one to feel so vehemently intolerant of it all.