We are at a crossroads. Our economies were broken in 2008 by a reckless banking elite, who have never been brought to account. Our neoliberal governments capitalised on the economic crash to force through the standard model of what Naomi Klein labels ‘disaster capitalism’, forcing through (with the right wing media’s help) economic and social changes which would have made Thatcher or Reagan blanche. We have a situation where the poor are being made to pay the price for the abuses of the rich, who are being allowed to pay themselves outrageous bonuses with our tax money. The Occupy movement is taking a stand against this calamity, and are under regular attack by the police in whichever Western country demonstrations begin. Everyone needs to watch this video and to learn how vital it is that we hold our leaders to account. ‘Yes we can’ said Barack Obama that very year – now beholden to the very interests he said he would hold to account (and then didn’t), the US President, British PM and others need to be shown how true that tagline is (and has to be).
Oops I swore. Boris wouldn’t like that:
Action will be taken so that police can arrest members of the public for swearing at them, Boris Johnson has promised.
The London mayor attacked police guidance advising officers not to try to arrest those who verbally attacked them on the basis that police should have thicker skins.
“I reckon we need to get back to where we were before some judge given law of 1988 and be clear that if people swear at the police, they must understand they will be arrested,” Mr Johnson said.
“If people feel that there are no comebacks and no boundaries for the small stuff, I’m afraid they will go on to commit more crimes.”
What a complete load of shit. He and the police can…FUCK OFF. Such poor, timid things. There are so many things wrong with London, and all this Tory moron can do is collude with the new Commissioner Hogan-Howe to protect his own interests. It’s pathetic; it’s even more pathetic though that he’s likely to be returned to office next year.
What bullshit to say that more serious crimes are perpetrated by people who swear at the police. What about reforming the fucking police, Boris?! You know, the organisation which in the last month decided it could attack the freedom of the press itself? And people wonder why I resent Tories…
So much of the controversy which the Right likes to exploit about human rights rests on complete bullshit. Prisoners and others making claims under the Human Rights Act which don’t have a chance of success are regularly jumped on by those determined to undermine the rights and diversity agenda. Here’s the latest:
A schoolboy is missing lessons after his father refused to cut off his three-inch ponytail.
Geoff Wallwork told teachers that school rules breached his son Connor’s human rights.
The 11-year-old has sported the hairstyle since he was a toddler, according to the family.
But the hairstyle does not comply with the uniform code at Westhoughton High in Bolton, Lancs, and Connor has been told the ponytail has to go.
Mr Wallwork said the rules infringe his son’s human rights as girls are allowed ponytails but not his son.
Anyone want to quote me which protected right this idiot is invoking, and from what domestic legislation or international treaty? No, I thought not. The Human Rights Act is possibly the greatest success of the NuLabour government, but it remains fragile because Jack Straw failed to have a proper discussion with the British public about it; a disturbingly large number of people don’t understand its benefits or even its purpose. If it’s going to be properly defended from the Tories (who’d really rather love to kill it), someone needs to start. Nick Clegg’s promise to defend it clearly can’t be trusted.
Piers Morgan gets an amusing rise out of homophobic presidential candidate Rick Santorum, when he calls his attitudes out for what they are. Santorum then instantaneously suggests that 2K+ moral codes are by definition not bigoted, yet conflates ethics and bigotry. The former involves judging people for what they do, the latter involves judging people for who they are; he claims he’s doing the former whilst wilfully engaging in the latter. It’s entirely consistent to say that the Catholic Church is bigoted for its viewpoint on homosexuality – it self evidently is. Morgan did well to provoke the diatribe which punches a hole very cleanly through his protestations of being able to keep his religious viewpoints outside of his potential job as leader of the free world.
Santorum: “I don’t think the truth changes.”
Oh no? Truth I might remind everyone is determined by evidence, not Bronze Age ignorance and superstition. Apparently his theory of ‘unchanging truths’ is dictated by reason, but of course this is deluded nonsense. A viable president of the United States can’t be going around picking and choosing which social changes he’s prepared to accept and which not. Of course it’s an issue which the Senator confronts directly, but in the most appalling fashion. Earlier on in the clip he says that allowing same-sex marriage would open the floodgates to “a long list of consensual activities that most people would find rather unappealing.” I know the subtext he’s toying with – suggesting it would allow legalisation of bestiality or paedophilia (I’ve had a bewildering argument with another Christian about just this today – also making no rational sense). But of course those acts aren’t consensual. Surely there’s no problem with legalising consensual, harmless adult relationships? No wonder this idiot is getting hammered in the US. Check out his tantrum afterwards, in a school of all places:
It was never going to be long before the Tories noticed NuLabour were trying to outflank them on law & order from the right and decided to do something about it. The ConDems have decided to ‘anonymise’ DNA samples the authorities hold of people who have been arrested but never convicted of a crime:
One of its key features of the Protection of Freedoms Bill, we were assured by Nick Clegg in January, would be an end to the “indefinite storage of innocent people’s DNA”.
That seemed to be an unambiguous promise, and a welcome one. Unfortunately, as The Daily Telegraph reveals today, the Government has decided not to keep this promise, bringing the number of policy U-turns to at least 14.
Instead of clearly and simply wiping out the DNA of more than one million people who have been arrested but not convicted, the authorities will retain the samples, but in an “anonymised” state.
This means that the names and other identifying features will be removed from the police database but kept elsewhere, enabling agencies with the right expertise to join the pieces of data together again and identify the DNA.
In the clumsy but revealing phrase of James Brokenshire, a Home Office minister, the genetic information will “be considered to have been deleted”.
Considered by whom? Certainly not by civil liberties groups, which have accused the Government of betraying an explicit commitment in the Coalition Agreement and ignoring a judgment of the Court of Human Rights.
Back we trot to the database state, which would always reform under different guises, with different agendas in play. The motive here seems to be straightforward party political – splitting Ed Miliband from his authoritarian underlings, whilst snubbing the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) to please the right wing of the Tories. We deserve better politics than this, but there seem to be very few politicians in the British parliament who have any interest whatsoever with the rule of law. You’d think with the influence of Murdoch waning that you’d have one or two MPs shrieking with outrage at the injustice of it, no longer that worried about a NOTW campaign against them, but no – the cowardice lives on.
Absolutely priceless. This had me laughing at work (which is a difficult thing to do)!
A select committee-style inquiry on Christianity is to be held in order to clarify how the law affects believers, amid increasing claims of religious discrimination and persecution.
The public hearings, scheduled to last for about three months this autumn, will invite peers and politicians to examine legislation on hate crime and equality and evaluate whether changes are needed.
The inquiry is the idea of Gary Streeter MP, a Christian who chairs the cross-party group Christians in Parliament. He said that, while there was religious freedom in Britain, some groups were “whipping up an alternative view and generating fear” where there did not need to be any. He said: “That fear is growing, that voice is growing. There is a particular problem. In the last 12 months, we have had legal cases that provoked concern. These now need to be tackled.”
We have an Equality and Human Rights Commission. We have an Equality Act. We have the courts, who are well aware that in an age of competing rights claims they will have to determine, case-by-case, winners and losers. There is no need whatsoever to look at this again institutionally. What we have is a group of ultra-devout zealots, who believe they should still have the right to discriminate because of their religion, or to proselytise in the world of work.
Christians (as well as theists in general) need to grow up. I don’t care one iota if their freedom (which has never been a ‘right’) to discriminate on religious grounds has trashed by equality under the law for me. Noone has suggested for a minute that they should be prohibited in some Minority Report stylee from thinking less of me because I’m gay; they have the right to believe in pink unicorns for all I care. But they don’t have the right to discriminate against me because of the crazy ideas they have; noone does and noone should. There is nothing more to discuss.
Answer: when James Delingpole says:
Can we clear something up: there’s not a person in the land, left- or right-wing, pro- or anti-Murdoch who felt anything other than the deepest horror, grief and outrage over Milly Dowler or the Soham murderers. Yet to listen to the way these tragedies are now being invoked by the liberal-left to support its pet causes you’d imagine feeling and emotion and sensitivity were the sole preserve of Guardian-reading bien-pensants.
And it doesn’t just happen on this issue but on so many others too. Consider how, for example, the left-liberal bully mob exploited the story about the snogging gay couple turned away from a London pub, or the one about the other gay couple who – quite by accident I’m sure –booked themselves into a Cornish hotel run by ardent Christians who insisted rooms should be shared by married couples only. In both those cases important issues of genuine concern to the wellbeing of our country – how far should minority “rights” be allowed to trump property rights and freedom of choice, for example? – were drowned in a sea of Twitterish name-calling. Anyone who tried putting the counterargument – even someone like me with almost as many gay friends as straight ones – was blithely written off as a homophobe.
We are back in the realm where nasty people with nasty ideas insist, shouting and stamping their feet, that their ideas have equal validity and merit purely because they have them. What utter garbage. The ‘liberal-left’ ‘pet causes’? WHAT? Does this idiot really think the outrage over those phone hacking stories is related to anything other than fury over the immorality of News International’s behaviour?
For that matter discrimination law says that people providing goods and services aren’t allowed to discriminate against gay people for any reason. Since when is holding people to the law a ‘bully mob’? Pathetic. I note Delingpole resorts to the ‘I have gay friends’ argument, as if that legitimises his homophobic rhetoric. And it is homophobic – he’s not had the courage to risk saying he opposes the Equality Act. But goes on:
No one has a less deserving claim to the moral high ground than the liberal-left, for in the name of making our “society” kinder and fairer it is actually eroding our freedoms, stealing our livelihoods, stoking resentment and social division, destroying our economic future. Yet daily we go on letting these disingenuous bleeding heart scuzzballs get away with it. Why?
So equality, in his eyes, doesn’t make society kinder. In his eyes you should show kindness to people who discriminate against people for who they are – stopping them from doing that erodes their freedom and causes resentment! It makes you a scuzzball! I can think of a few other choice words I’d call him, but he’d no doubt, missing out the irony altogether, call it Twitterish name-calling.
Brian Sewell, whom noone could ever accuse of being too gay *snigger* offers this deep analysis in the HateMail:
Is it true that the lives of heterosexual Mancunians are haplessly intertwined with transvestites, transsexuals, teenage lesbians and a horde of homosexuals across the age range? Is Manchester now the Sodom of the North?
Coronation Street has a gay scriptwriter, Damon Rochefort. Fine. Nothing wrong with that. Indeed, its very first writer, its inventor in 1959, Tony Warren, was gay and open about it when homosexuality was still illegal and the penalties dire — and had a tough time with homophobia.
But the pendulum has swung to the other extreme, and where once we had no gaiety at all, we now, perhaps, have rather too much.
So a man who isn’t at all ‘too gay’ says it’s ok for the country’s premier soap opera to depict homosexuality, but not beyond a certain level. Gosh. Does he not understand what a soap opera is? For that matter does he not know Manchester?! But he goes on:
We have constructed a society that surrenders to the will of minorities that shout. We see it among ethnic minorities and sexual minorities, in the disabled lobby and in the funding, patronage and promotion of the arts.
And giving these minorities a huge voice is fundamental to the philosophy of those in charge of TV. As a result, TV is far too politically correct. It fosters all minorities and gives them a disproportionate amount of airtime.
In every kind of programme — be it drama, news, debate or for children — in this land of equal opportunities, minorities are given the opportunity to punch above their weight.
This is an art critic writing, who clearly doesn’t understand what art is about. Unsurprisingly perhaps, given that he’s writing in the HateMail, he’s ascribing a negative agenda to the proper and fair depiction of social diversity – a mean spirited agenda not born out by the facts. Charlie Condou points out:
There are only four regular gay characters in Coronation Street – I play Marcus Dent, who’s in a relationship with Sean Tully (played by Antony Cotton), and there’s also the young lesbian couple Sophie Webster and Sian Powers. That’s it. Hayley Cropper was once a man, but she’s been one of the show’s most popular characters since she joined 13 years ago, the first transsexual ever in a British soap. There is a cross-dresser in Marc Selby, but he is straight and in fact has two women fighting over him. Gail’s father, Ted, was gay – but he hasn’t been in it for years. I wouldn’t have thought four characters out of a cast of about 65 regulars was excessive.
Sewell seems to suggest there’s something morally reprehensible in being gay, and that there’s some kind of promotion of a gay agenda at work (led by a sinister-sounding “mafia”). But in fact you barely see a kiss from the gay characters, just like our heterosexual counterparts. It’s not a “sexy” show.
It’s not about ‘sexy’ of course, it’s about Sewell suggesting he’ll put up with homosexuality (and the HateMail’s readership should too), as long as ‘we’ don’t rub ‘their’ noses in it. That couldn’t be more of a homophobic stance to take. Soap operas may not be high art, but they have traditionally blazed trails worldwide in confronting issues and pushing boundaries, and most viewers have always understood this. Sewell says:
If the audience responds to the proselytising and is happy for the street to swarm with gloomy lesbians and happy homosexuals engaged in relationships ranging from intensely monogamous to brief, shallow and promiscuous, then it must be broadcast after the watershed.
But I don’t think the viewers agree. The days where the pro-Section 28 argument, that we ‘recruit’, could wash with the general public have long since come to an end. Why on earth should non-sexual same-sex relationships only be shown after 9pm? What era does this camp art critic think we’re living in? This argument isn’t really about somehow ‘purifying’ our culture from a homosexual excess – by using language such as ‘Sodom of the North’, Sewell has demonstrated it’s about his promotion of naked bigotry. He’s trying to gain legitimacy by pretending to stand up for a working class which is being misrepresented, but of course the working class in this country has traditionally stood up for proper gay representation better than almost anyone else. And of course he wouldn’t dare try to publish this hatchet job in the Morning Star or Socialist Worker – he and his sponsor Paul Dacre know just who they’re really aiming at. They can both fuck off.
I couldn’t agree with Hugh Grant more. I think it’s remarkable that he’s playing an even better PM in real life than he did in ‘Love Actually’. How is that possible?
For the record, the story that he broke for the New Statesman is here. Andy Coulson has now been arrested, and it remains to be seen who the alleged second arrestee will be. Interestingly Rebekah Brooks was going to face a no confidence motion against her from the News of the World staff, except of course she then fired every last one of them before they had the chance. Expect the Sunday Sun or Sun on Sunday, and for Murdoch to use every weapon he has available in his arsenal to win full control of BSkyB. It’s a step beyond machiavellian – it’s a megalomaniacal act I’d say, to fire an entire newspaper’s worth of people – some of whom won’t be the scum of the earth – purely to win the biggest possible prize.
News International’s friend David Cameron, the man who had no problem with Andy Coulson as his Communications Director, really should think long and hard about allowing the takeover. Murdoch may have played a little trick yesterday, to ensure questions aren’t asked about plurality, but he also needs to assure his other friend Jeremy Hunt that he and his cronies are ‘fit and proper’ to run the Sky show alone. I think we’ve had it conclusively proven that that couldn’t be further from the case. How many MPs will have the guts to stand against the NI empire?
For that matter who buys James Murdoch’s argument that Brooks’ ethics are ‘very good’? Stephen Glover at the Independent argues:
My belief is that Rebekah Brooks will have to go, and that James and even Rupert Murdoch may not be safe. Temporarily closing a newspaper – for that is what this announcement amounts to – should not divert our attention from the main culprits. This is a desperate ploy by a dysfunctional company.
I still hear Christians and other theists across the Internet insisting on a daily basis that being gay is a ‘choice’ (one I don’t remember making). This video is a sublime antidote to that well-worn misrepresentation:
Governments change, the outrageous homophobic behaviour by the UK Border Agency stays the same:
Edson ‘Eddy’ Cosmas has lived and studied in London for several years. As a child, he spent time in Manchester whilst his father studied there. Eddy, a young, black, gay man from Tanzania, in east Africa, has built up a circle of friends and fellow students, and is determined to succeed in life. He has strong political beliefs, and never misses an opportunity to speak out in support of gay rights, immigrant rights and anti-racism campaigns.
On Monday 9th May, Eddy went to the Home Office in Croydon to submit an initial claim for asylum, and to take a screening interview. Long gone were the days of British immigration officials telling gay people seeking asylum to just ‘stay in the closet’, or to ‘act straight’; a ruling from the Supreme Court in July 2010 ordered that gay people could not be sent back to countries where they would face persecution for their sexuality. With this in mind, Eddy was understandably shocked when, at the end of his interview, he was detained and put into the back of a van.
Only then was he told that he was being taken to Harmondsworth detention centre. When I spoke to Edson in his cell at Harmondsworth on Thursday evening, via mobile phone, he sounds tired and frustrated, but determined to resist deportation.
“I’ve been here for ten days,” Eddy tells me. “They call it a ‘detention centre’, but really it is like a jail. We are locked up, and followed everywhere by security.”
The Supreme Court ruling was designed to end years of discriminatory, anti-gay immigration policies, but instead, it has had the opposite effect. Openly gay activists such as Eddy, who should be automatically granted asylum under the landmark ruling, are being ‘fast-tracked’; held without their right to access to a lawyer of their choice, and scheduled for hastily-arranged hearings, and quick deportations.
“If I am sent back to Tanzania,” Eddy says on the phone, “I am facing being beaten, or death. The immigration officials told me that they didn’t believe me; I said to them, I am the one that has lived in Tanzania, not you, so how can you tell me whether this is true or not?”
The UK Border Agency has long shown itself to be disinterested in basic human decency, let alone holding to the rule of law. Sign this petition right now to send Theresa May a signal. How appalling that a Home Office which trumpets how well it treats its own gay staff, should continue to treat the most vulnerable gay people it’s responsible for in this way.
The UK Border Agency is yet again trying to deport asylum seekers who are gay or who are thought to be gay back to Uganda. Uganda remember is the country which until very recently was debating passing a bill in their parliament which would punish homosexuality by death. Imagine what sort of attitudes are fuelling that level of hatred, and imagine what effects such mainstream views would have on how people treat gay people or people who are thought to be gay. How can the Home Office, allegedly a champion of gay rights for its staff, still be indifferent to the consequences of homophobia abroad? Others agree:
Emma Ginn, co-ordinator of Medical Justice, said: “Despite compelling medical evidence, the UK Border Agency disbelieves Ms Tibikawa’s story. UKBA do not dispute that Ms Tibikawa has scars caused by a hot flat iron, but conclude that she did not suffer any ill-treatment in Uganda. We condemn the fact that they intend to deport Ms Tibakawa to a country where being gay is illegal and puts your life at risk.”
Human Rights Watch spokeswoman Gauri van Gulik said: “Our research has shown that many cases of women like Betty are not taken seriously by the UK Border Agency. Unfortunately women who suffer this kind of violence have serious difficulty claiming asylum.”
Betty Tibakawa, a young lesbian living in Uganda, had gone for a walk on the beach when she was approached by three men she did not know, but who knew her by reputation, who began taunting her about her sexuality.
They took her to a disused building where she was violently assaulted. The men kicked her in the stomach, pinned her down and branded her inner thighs with hot irons. She lost consciousness and when she woke up, the men were gone. Her injuries were so severe that she could not leave her home for two months.
In February, Ugandan magazine Red Pepper outed Betty as a lesbian, publishing an article about her illustrated with photos, and the claim that she is ‘wanted’ for being a lesbian.
It has become incredibly dangerous for her to return to Uganda, where she has been disowned by her family and faces the risk of violent persecution for being gay.
Betty Tibakawa has had her asylum application turned down and is facing deportation back to Uganda, where homosexuality is illegal. Gay women who are deported to Uganda risk being raped and assaulted whilst they are in custody.
We are petitioning the Home Office to overrule this decision from the UK Border Agency, to give Betty the chance to live a life free from violence and fear. No one should be deported to country where they will be persecuted for their sexuality. We owe those seeking asylum in this country better than this.
Please sign the petition from this page.
Petition put together by Betty Tibakawa’s Campaign Group.
A man who attended Tracy Morgan’s recent show in Nashville claims the comedian launched an anti-gay tirade during which he said he’d “pull out a knife and stab” his son if he were gay.
In a Facebook post titled “Why I No Longer ‘Like’ Tracy Morgan — A Must Read,” Kevin Rogerswrote that he’d been a big fan of Morgan’s since he was a cast member on Saturday Night Live.Rogers, who is gay, wrote that he was prepared for “a good ribbing of straight gay humor” but was surprised at what he claims the 30 Rock star said onstage. GLAAD responds to Morgan’s anti-gay jokes.
“I have very thick skin when it comes to humor; I can dish and I can take,” Rogers wrote. “What I can’t take is when Mr. Morgan took it upon himself to mention about how he feels all this gay shit was crazy and that women are a gift from God and that ‘Born this Way’ is bulls-it, gay is a choice, and the reason he knows this is exactly because ‘God don’t make no mistakes’ (referring to God not making someone gay cause that would be a mistake). He said that there is no way a woman could love and have sexual desire for another woman, that’s just a woman pretending because she hates a f–king man. He took time to visit the bullshit of this bullying stuff and informed us that the gays needed to quit being pussies and not be whining about something as insignificant as bullying.”
Morgan allegedly added that “gay was something kids learn from the media and programming” (Rogers’ words).
Continued Rogers: “He said if his son that was gay he better come home and talk to him like a man and not [he mimicked a gay, high pitched voice] or he would pull out a knife and stab that little N (one word I refuse to use) to death. … Tracy then said he didn’t f–king care if he pissed off some gays, because if they can take a f–king d-ck up their a–… they can take a f–king joke.”
Rogers claims that “none of this rant was a joke. His entire demeanor changed during that portion of the night. He was truly filled with some hate towards us.”
(from Hollywood Reporter)
If this is exactly what happened (I can’t imagine how the comments could possibly have been misconstrued), Morgan needs to lose his job in ’30 Rock’, it’s very simple. Homophobia like this needs to be stamped on and stamped on fast. I doubt anything will happen though, because of course Charlie Sheen had to lose his dignity entirely (and repeatedly) and trash his bosses in public for that to happen to him – why should Tracy Morgan face any significant consequences for naked anti-gay hate? He’s since apologised:
“I want to apologize to my fans and the gay & lesbian community for my choice of words at my recent stand-up act in Nashville. I’m not a hateful person and don’t condone any kind of violence against others. While I am an equal opportunity jokester, and my friends know what is in my heart, even in a comedy club this clearly went too far and was not funny in any context.”
But I don’t think his apology should be accepted – it’s abundantly clear what’s ‘in his heart’. He clearly meant what he said (it wasn’t the first time – read the whole article) and only apologised to get out of trouble. This being the Internet, I’m bound to get a number of Americans bleating about the First Amendment, and it’s a worthwhile point to raise. Firstly my country has no such thing – freedom of speech isn’t absolute here (as it isn’t in America), but secondly by all means let the homophobe say what he likes. Hate speech should have social consequences and he should lose his job anyway. Also there may not be legal consequences to hate speech like this in America, but in the UK what Morgan said would be enough to (rightly) generate criminal charges.