If a father who is suffering the worst pain imaginable can still respect his son’s views and separate his personal feelings towards his son’s killer from the wider implications of legal reform, then everyone else can fall in line and respect his wishes.
Boris Johnson said he was heartbroken in reaction to the news some members of the public had succumbed to their injuries. I thought it was an odd choice of words, devastated perhaps, despairing even but heartbroken? One must be in possession of a heart for it to break. When we are heartbroken we do not have the energy to threaten punitive action, vengeance is the last thing on our minds. The heartbroken are defeated not emboldened. Johnson was inspired by this event and sprang into action, prompting many to consider this incident a false flag operation, especially given he was already known to security services and was being monitored.
How does a brown chap (considering the ways in which beige and brown people are frequently accosted in the street even when they’re minding their own business doing the shopping, for eg) with a bomb vest (nobody knew it was fake) and a knife taped to his hand manage to evade the cameras that are dotted every few yards in London (never mind London Bridge which is set up to withstand terrorist attacks with increased security; blast guards around the tube station, including additional CCTV)? He had an electronic tag which I presume means he was in constant contact with the probation service who would surely have noticed a change in his behaviour? There are too many holes in this story.
David Merritt’s words are particularly poignant because he has proved himself to be a man of principal, who cannot be swayed even when it personally impacts on him. He is a true hero who thinks about others, even to his own detriment. His son was a credit to him and I share a small part of his pain, to lose someone who was intrinsically good and protected the underdog (in his dad’s own words) in a world where such qualities are in short supply is a tragedy, and I grieve for him.
When Nigel Farage revealed his fascist party would not be challenging any of the Tory’s seats it was as though a line had been drawn in the sand, placing all of the fascists both in and out of parliament firmly on one side. This was an unwelcome development when I had laughed just days earlier at Boris Johnson’s response to Trump and Farage’s proposal they form a pact to push Brexit through. He said no, which was actually quite surprising but it seems as though Farage just won’t be deterred.
It was heartwarming then, to see Tim Walker the Liberal Democrat candidate for Canterbury announce he would be stepping aside because he did not want to split the Remain vote. Reassuring is also how I would describe it, because it seems as though he has an accurate grasp of the political climate and isn’t so arrogant to assume his party has any chance of competing with Labour. He has realised party politics is second to the potentially catastrophic effects of a fascist run brexit and his conscience is literally not letting him sleep at night. Ironically I want him to be an MP because he is not ruled by his ego but his humanity. He knows that Jeremy Corbyn is essentially a decent man and whilst he would not vote for him, he could live under his rule. He has chosen humanity over more of the same divisive and life threatening policies inflicted on the British people by the Tories and their radically entitled counterparts UKIP and co. He could not live under a fascist leadership and so took a stand. He chose love not hate and he will probably sleep more soundly for it. I wish him the sweetest and most pleasant of dreams and send my best to him and his loved ones.
Sadly we cannot trust the Liberal Democrats as a party. Following Tim’s news they released a statement suggesting they would field a candidate against Rosie Duffield because power is more important to these weasels. They actively want a hung parliament because they know they have no other chance of being voted in, it’s what they do best, pretending to stand for something, proving time and time again they’re just Tories who expect a thank you. Do people still not understand what is at stake here? I guess when you’re not personally affected by austerity or fascism, there’s no drive to prevent it.
How you vote in this election will define you for the rest of your life. it will have an effect on your children and your grandchildren; from healthcare to early years provision, consequences for tax dodging billionaires and free education for all, these policies will impact on each and every one of us. Aren’t you done with austerity and the deluge of hate that hasn’t let up at all?
Tell the Lib Dems you care for more than just Brexit, that’s just one of our many problems. What happens when they’ve achieved Remain, if they do at all with their shoddy election promises?
Vote for peace. Vote for equity and equality. Or instead vote for more death.
This decision DEFINES you.
(PS: It must be very comforting for people who have political theory to fall back on, and a comfortable job they got because of their elite education, which affords them the time to sit around reading books and judging people who have nothing, for daring to vote at all. If you can seriously hold on to your radical principles at a time when most people are mobilised and ready to vote because their very lives depend on it, I’d suggest you take a long hard look at your privilege and accept you’re just not desperate enough to do whatever it takes.)
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.
You’re in a relationship with a powerful man, so powerful he is in the running for prime minister. It was all a bit of a whirlwind, the foundations for your relationship are rocky, not least because of his track record as a womaniser. He left another woman to be with you. He left another woman to be with her. He might eventually do the same to you so you have to really go that extra mile to keep him interested. He might push you about a bit, but then men do don’t they? You’ve grown up in world where toxic masculinity thrives, where secrets and lies bind you together instead of pushing you apart.
The violence is escalating, he doesn’t care as much as he used to about keeping it under wraps. Who would believe you anyway? Your neighbours might even have recorded evidence of an alleged assault, a thing they were pushed to do because they feared for your life. Yet still, you can’t quite name the problem because the gravity of the situation is overwhelming, the whole world knows your name and regardless of the facts or evidence, people have already made up their minds. So you consider damage control, and stage a photo opportunity where you seem engrossed in each other and oblivious to the assessments people are making of your intimate relationship, a scene entirely reminiscent of another case of gendered domestic violence, whether purposely or inadvertently, which leads to people questioning the authenticity of a such a spectacle, so soon after the incident, which had resulted in a safe and well check by the police.
Imagine you are Carrie Symonds and the privileged world you live in turns on you. You’re the reason he might not become prime minister, if you had just listened or done what it is you were told, he’d still be in the running. The 1% maintain their power with a polished veneer we rarely see past. If we knew the truth, how domestic abuse is rampant in the upper classes, much like child sex abuse, the whole sorry facade of British stoicism and civility would dissipate, and Britain would be just as bad as those Asian and African nations it loves to point fingers at.
Having supported 100s of victims of domestic abuse, I can say for certain the one thing that made my job easier and that of other agencies involved in the process, was the goodwill and bravery of witnesses who came to the rescue. The likes of Toby Young and Telegraph and Spiked columnists shamelessly refer to these acts of kindness as somehow being akin to the Stasi, in their typically hysterical and duplicitous way. These fragile snowflakes who demanded that milkshake throwers face the full arm of the law rushed to minimise gendered domestic abuse because violence against women is just a feature of their developmentally stunted lives. Toby Young can jizz to his dead heart’s content over underage girls and promote eugenics, safe in the knowledge that nepotism will save his mediocre arse. Is that the sort of person we believe in this country?
Friends of Boris at The Torygraph have suggested that Carrie Symonds may have staged these photos after the incident. It’s more like Johnson gave her the telling to of her life and issued an ultimatum to fix it. She may well have called the photographer, and paid them, but he’s still pulling the strings. Apparently they are in love, and this goes against the stories The Left are allegedly telling themselves. I repeat: it takes 33 attempts to leave an abuser, during which time you might still love them, and hope they will change. Perhaps Carrie thinks this sharp shock to the system might affect Boris’ behaviour, to think and act more carefully, even behind closed doors. This might just make Boris even more secretive and controlling, to avoid exposure like this again.
This relationship is doomed. It may take her many years to come to grips with it and shake herself free from its grasp.
If we’re looking at ‘evidence’, Julia, let’s consider the fact that non violent, non controlling relationships don’t usually result in a visit from the police. The people who made the report had sufficient concerns for her safety and well-being, if there was no evidence of an altercation the police would have said so and reprimanded the callers. To my knowledge, this did not occur.
The first response to Julia’s comment came right out of ‘the perpetrator’s guide to getting the police on side’. I can’t tell you how many times prolific perps, that is to say those who’ve had enough experience of the system to know how to play it, have said these exact words and used defensive wounds inflicted by the victim as evidence she initiated the attack. Luckily there are specialist domestic violence courts and professionals who’ve been trained to recognise these tactics, myself included (but this doesn’t help anyone when I am banned from social media).
Furthermore, we cannot advise people ignore violence if they are in the vicinity and can hear it loud and clear, ‘because it is none of their business’, that is how domestic abusers were able to run rings around the authorities as recently as the 90s. Not only that but this typically silencing behaviour is usually the purview of perpetrators. Non violent people who oppose violence do not ignore violence. This speaks to the decades of historic abuse where they all knew about it and nobody did a thing. Now we have a crisis as a nation of survivors and victims, authorities are ill equipped to deal with the fall out and senior officers of the law are even making unthinkable suggestions to let the past lie, because the present is all consuming.
There are two types of people in this world; those who abhor violence and are committed to calling it out and those who thrive on it, because it feels like home. We’re all telling on ourselves, one way or another.
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.
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.
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.
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.