JESUS WEPT. Some people are dim aren’t they? Take for example, the two fellas who have been pictured carrying a pair of unexploded bombs in a park.
The Ministry of Defence has launched an urgent appeal to find two men photographed ambling through Dorset with two ‘unexploded bombs’ on their shoulders.
HONG Kong resident Mirinna Chan looks at the deflated rubber duck and speaks for her people: “The sky looks like it is crying for me – I took time off from work just to see the duck, now it is just a blob.”
ON March 23, the skies over Los Angeles were lit up with Kurt Braunohler’s question: “HOW DO I LAND”. Skywriting just got better:
Here’s a comp of the actual letters from the Cloud Project! The actual day had a very high winds, and the letters appeared and disappeared quite quickly. But if you watched the sky for 20 minutes you could probably piece it together. BUT STILL WE DID IT!!!
THE Oxford gang who abused girls as young as 11 and no older than 15 are:
Kamar Jamil (27): raped children and arranged child prostitution.
Akhtar Dogar (32): rape children, arranged child prostitution and trafficking a child within the UK for sexual exploitation.
Anjum Dogar (31): as above.
Bassam Karrar (33. as above.
Assad Hussain (32): sexual activity with a child.
Zeeshan Ahmed (27): sexual activity with a child (2).
Mohammed Karrar (38): raped children, arranged child prostitution, trafficked a child within the UK for sexual exploitation, supplied heroin and assaulted a child by penetration, using an instrument to procure a miscarriage, supplying heroin.
Of the seven men, five are of Pakistani origin; two are of North African origin.
The abuse occurred between 2004 and 2011.
Joanna Simons is the head of Oxfordshire County Council. She says members of her staff “take enormous responsibility for what’s happened”. She has refused to resign. She says he asked herself some “very hard questions”. But whatever answers she found, none told her to leave her job:
“There is going to be an independent serious case review which will look at the actions of all the agencies concerned. My gut feeling is that I’m not going to resign because my determination is that we need to do all that we can to take action to stamp this out… This is the worst thing I’ve come across in 30 years of local government. It’s absolutely horrendous. We’re all incredibly sad, all of us, that we weren’t able to stop this any sooner.”
How did the officials fail the victims, all of whom are British?
One child lived at a children’s home. Over a 15 month period she disappeared 126 times in 15 months.
A staff member at an Oxford children’s home branded a 13-year-old victim as “sexualised and dangerous”. No, not in danger. Dangerous.
Of the six girls brave enough to give testimony to the court, five were being looked after by Oxfordshire County Council’s social services department. One girl, who was 12 in 2007, told the court:
“I am here to tell my story and see the people who abused me found guilty. “
The police only began in investigating in May 2011. That same girl added:
“Any self-respecting police officer would have seen something was wrong. If you pick up a child who is covered in cigarette burns and bruises, something is fundamentally wrong. Adults should be doing their jobs, it’s not down to a child.”
Poor white girls get ignored.
One girl told the court:
“The council put out a press release claiming they had offered wraparound care to all the girls and their families, but the first we heard from them in five years was a letter on 13 April from Jim Leivers [director for children, education and families at the council], where he says he’s been ‘closely involved in providing support’ to me. That’s a complete lie. My family have had no support or offers of help at all from Oxfordshire. Nothing. Not at any point. Not even a phone call. The last contact we had with the council was five whole years ago, when my mum was begging them to help her stop me go off the rails. They ignored her then and they’ve ignored us since.”
Detective Chief Superintendent Rob Mason said:
“Thames Valley Police and Oxfordshire County Council social services deeply regret that this activity wasn’t identified sooner and that we were too reliant on victims supporting criminal proceedings, and that they suffered a terrible ordeal.”
It was identified sooner. The police failed to investigate.
The police don’t listen. They never do. They only tell.
Some of the victims reported their treatment at the hands of the men to police, but their complaints were ignored. One was threatened with arrest if she persisted with her claims.
Julie Siddiqi, of the Islamic Society of Britain, notices how many of thee men who form gangs to attack young white girls are of Pakistani origin:
“Child exploitation is a crime which affects all communities but the number of street-grooming convictions in the past few years involving Omars, Ahmeds and Faisals means the time has come for action.”
One victim’s voice rings out:
“She said she’d never been loved and this was the way they showed her she was loved.”
Right now the police are hunting instances of historical sex abuse under Operation Yewtree. They are arresting the rich and famous. It’s a high-profile investigation. It is driven by the police’s PR unit.
HOW was the weather for you on the May Bank Holiday?
On April 29, the Express’ Nathan Rao wrote:
Rain and Arctic gales will bring Bank Holiday chaos
Any hopes of a reprieve for the Bank Holiday were dashed as experts warned wind, rain and bitter temperatures will dampen spirits for much of the UK.
On May 4, the Daily Express had news:
WHO are Syria’s Freedom fighters? And should we back them? The internet is alive with a video of a Syrian rebel cutting out the heart and liver of a Government soldier. Having removed the organs the rebel looks as if he is about to eat them.
The Syrian opposition National Coalition says it is “a horrific and inhumane act”. Who is the National Coalition? Is it the same as the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces? The Syrian National Council? The National Co-ordination Committee? Is it in control of the Free Syrian Army? It’s all a bit murky.
Human Rights Watch says the video appears to have been made by a rebel brigade in Homs. It is alleged that the man in the video is Abu Sakkar, the alleged leader of Omar al-Farouq al-Mustakila brigade. The man says:
“We swear to God we will eat your hearts and livers, you soldiers of Bashar the dog. We are the heroes of Baba Amr.”
You wonder what the purpose of the video is? When Syrian president Bashar al-Assad used some sort of chemical weapon against rebels, the West did nothing. Will a grisly video of one man’s mutilation prick the West into action where 70,000 other deaths in the war have failed? Is the one hideous wrong worse than the big faceless number?
Barack Obama thinks so. He said:
‘There would be enormous consequences if we start seeing movement on the chemical-weapons front or the use of chemical weapons. That would change my calculations significantly.”
Being shot in the face is not as demanding of enormous consequences as being gassed oor chopped up is. We like our murders to be neat.
The Guardian’s editorial agreed:
‘The use of chemical weapons is a war crime. It is a war crime even if it is committed by a state which, like Syria (or North Korea), is not a signatory to the international chemical weapons convention… [B]ut the evidence needs to be examined. There undoubtedly needs to be a proper investigation, authorised by the international community, of the sarin allegations.”
Use chemical weapons and the righteous will get you. Guns. Meh.
Now what? Do we support the rebels, who look a lot like the jihadis the US has been fighting in Iraq? Does the US send in the big guns that would allow the rebels to win? Or does it just allow the rebels to get enough weapons to keep the civil war going?
The West has already taken sides. NATO plonked Patriot anti-missile batteries along its member Turkey’s border with Syria. Then US secretary of state Hillary Clinton said this showed that “Turkey is backed by its allies.” No. It showed that the West is against the Syrian Government.
Turkey’s prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan made his views clear:
“The massacres in Syria that gain strength from the international community’s indifference are continuing to increase. The regime in Syria has now become a terrorist state. We do not have the luxury to be indifferent to what is happening there.”
He is demanding intervention. Turkey could do with a more Sunni-slanted Islamist ally in Syria.
CNN say Obama has agreed to supply the Free Syrian Army (FSA). Although the US doesn’t know all that much about the FSA. It’s the latest group the West has decided to back. The people – the Syrians on the ground – had no say in their representatives. The West just told them who was in charge.
William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, said Britain was supplying the rebels because it was acting as “the conscience of humanity“. The rebellion is no longer a local affair. The rebels leaders been picked by the West and interested foreigners.
Meanwhile, the rebels are fighting for their place on the world stage. The FT reported on one incident:
A statement posted on the internet in the name of the militant Islamist group the Al-Nasra Front said they carried out Wednesday’s assault, using two waves of suicide attackers. The group has claimed responsibility for several attacks in Damascus but has also denied one claim issued in its name in May. Shortly after explosions rocked the capital on Wednesday, the Free Syrian Army (FSA), which is trying to act as an umbrella group for the various units fighting on the ground, claimed responsibility for them. A group called Tajamo Ansar al-Islam also claimed responsibility. The group’s relationship with the FSA is not clear.
The West is trying to create the official face of the rebellion. They are the good who will take over when the bad are routed.
And then we see the video of a man having his heart removed, you realise that Syria is complicated. There is no coherent rebellion. There is sectarianism, vengeance, and religionism mixed into that struggle to defeat Assad’s out-of-date regime…
STUART Hazell, 37, will very likely die in prison. Tia Sharp’s killer has been sent down for a minimum of 38 years. But he didn’t get a whole life tariff. Why not? Mr Justice Nicol said there was lack of “absolutely conclusive evidence” that the murder was sexually motivated. He said:
“It is an aggravating feature that your victim was so young. So too is your abuse of trust. Tia’s mother allowed her to come and stay with you because she trusted you to look after her. Christine [Bicknell, Tia’s grandmother] was at work that night, she trusted you to look after her. By first sexually assaulting and then killing Tia you betrayed that trust in the most grievous way possible.”
“The records of your internet searching on your mobile phone make abundantly clear that you were looking out for pornographic pictures of pre-teen girls, which Tia was; pornographic pictures of girls who wore glasses, which Tia did; even pictures involving incest. Tia was not your blood relation, but there was the bond between you because of your relationship with Christine, and from time to time you referred to yourself as Tia’s grandfather.
“You took pictures of Tia while she was asleep. In other contexts they would have been of no interest, but your internet activity included searches for pornographic pictures of young girls sleeping.”
TO Tennessee , where a woman has noticed that the two men she’s having sex with are videotaping the caper. She is shocked and dimayed that footage of the threesome ended up on the internet. Murfreesboro Police Department’s Officer Albert Miles says:
“I was dispatched to the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office in reference to an unlawful photography call. (The woman) advised that sometime around March 10 she had sexual intercourse with two men during which one of the men began videotaping the encounter without her permission. The men (allegedly) posted the video on a pornography website and are possibly making money off the video,.”
IRELAND: 11 snapshots of life in the Emerald Isle:
JULIAN Assange remins in the Ecuadorean Embassy, London. He’s been speaking with Russia Today:
RT: You are making a bid for the Australian Senate. Why?
Julian Assange: In order to promote our values within Australia. We face a very interesting situation, as an organization and me personally, with the Australian government, in response to pressure by the United States, starting to investigate our organization. It formed what it called a whole of government task force against WikiLeaks. Whole of government involved in the internal security service ASIO, the external security service ASIS, the department of defense, the Australian federal police equivalent of the FBI and the attorney general’s office. Publically announced that the Australian government would try and work out how to cancel my passport. It is an extremely rare procedure, last done to an Australian journalist in the ’60s-’70s – Wilfred Burchett. What was WikiLeaks’ connection to Australia? Was WikiLeaks publishing Australian secrets? No. Was WikiLeaks having its publishing service in Australia? No!
IN the early 1990s, the world was in peril. Telephones were falling into pies, to the floor from desks and very possibly being mistaken for carrots. But help was at hand. The Phone Relief Ultimate Hands-Free Headset was here.
IN the 1950s, the powers that be created a comic book to tell kids what hideous fates could befall them if they took risks and failed to spot danger signs. The safety manual as called It’s Great to Be Alive! – aka Never Ride A Bike.
In this scene the motorist has run over the armed juvenile delinquent on a shooting spree.
SKYSCRAPERS are pretty phallic at the best of times, but a new building in China is really taking the biscuit, as it looks like a gigantic penis.
Make your own ‘wang’ jokes here.
MELANIE Phillips dips her toe into the Barbara Hewson ‘scandal’ (the barrister called for the age of consent to be reduced to 13 and offered non-mainstream views on Operation Yewtree, the Met’s investigation into historical sex abuse sparked by Jimmy Savile post-death revelations). She writes:
…in any event, the age of consent has been progressively eroded. Irresponsible teenage magazines — which are read by much younger children — endlessly promote a bordello menu of sexual activity.
Schools dish out contraception and abortion advice to pubescent children — advice blessed by paediatricians, who claim that if a child is old enough to ask for it, she is old enough to give her meaningful consent.
Wonder what per cent of paedophiles read the Mail?
The Daily Mail’s staff meetings must be wonderful…
FOR nine months Stuart Hazell denied murdering 12-year-old Tia Sharp. Then he changed his mind. He says he did this to save the family any more anguish. Bollocks, of course. The evidence against him is overwhelming. He sexually assaulted Tia and took a picture of her dead body. He then stuffed the body into bin bags and pushed her into the loft of her grandmother’s home in New Addington. It took police four visits to the small home to find the body.
ONE only the very young and the very old will be employable as anything other than strippers. Right now thousands of prospective MPs, Senators, doctors, priests, police, editors, judges and Royals are posting saucy photos of themselves on the internet. We mention this in light of news that Olivia Sprauer, 26, has been sacked from her Florida teaching job for modelling under the name Victoria Valentine James. THe principal at Martin County High School got possession of one image and summoned Sprauer for a dressing down. Who sent the head the image, we don’t know? But in case the school governors or concerned mums and dads want to check out Miss’s CV, Sprauer notes: “I don’t make pornography. I don’t open my legs on camera.” Standards. It’s all about standards…
“I WAS recently walking my affenpinscher (a toy breed of dog) around the Hanover area of Brighton when I noticed that a wormhole or vortex has opened up on Montreal Road. On closer inspection it seems to be some kind of portal to other times, places and dimensions.
“I would have investigated further but I was concerned my little dog would be sucked into it. Is this meant to be there? At first I believed it might be part of the Brighton Festival but I believe it could be a hazard to the general public. I look forward to your response.
DANIEL Boffey tells readers of The Observer, names of wealthy donors to the Hacked Off campaign.
He lists a few of the names: Arpad Busson, Guy Chambers and Simon Singh. Singh donated £1000. He said:
“It is about getting the balance right between free speech and a responsible press.”
Sections of the press behaved badly. They were dealt with by the law. Free Speech has no buts. It is either free or it isn’t. You can’t get to the truth if you’re shackled.
IN 1925, the Swastika was the symbol of go-ahead, thrusting futurism. Coca Cola tapped into the feel-good factor with its Swastika watch fob bearing the legend: “Drink Coca Cola five cents in bottles.” The fob was 4cm squared and made in brass.
IN 1881, the London St James’s Gazette reported on the end of life on Earth. The news was picked up by Australia’s Bendigo Advertiser:
The London St James’s Gazette writes :—
” This planet, it seems, is threatened with serious changes by the extension of the telegraphic system. A timely note of warning to this effect is given by one of the American papers. Polarity, it observes, depends upon a current of electricity passing at right angles to the direction of the poles. The polarity of the earth depends upon the electric or heat currents of the sun, and it is highly probable that the earth’s inclination to the ecliptic is governed by its polarity. If, therefore, there were instantly established sufficient electrical connection by wires around the earth, with the earth itself, to instantly equalize the current and produce a complete reduction of all electrical excitement, what would be the effect on the polarity, and secondly on the inclination to the ecliptic ? May there not be a sudden change of polarities — the Arctic region becoming equatorial, and the tropics suddenly changed to polar temperature? The sudden melting of the vast ice fields would produce another glacial flood ; the present race would disappear, and the man of the quaternary would begin life ever again at the antipodes. All this is to be accomplished by the continuation of complete circuits for telegraphing around the globe. Of course tremendous earthquakes would follow, as the polar diameter is twenty-six miles too short and the equatorial twenty-six miles too long. Whether this theory prove correct or not, there cannot be a doubt that something has of late gone wrong with atmospherical arrangements, and perhaps the telegraph wires are not wholly blameless in the matter.”
Carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere have broken through a symbolic mark.
Daily measurements of CO2 at a US government agency lab on Hawaii have topped 400 parts per million for the first time.
The station, which sits on the Mauna Loa volcano, feeds its numbers into a continuous record of the concentration of the gas stretching back to 1958.
The Washington Post:
…scientists say it may have been 10 million years ago that Earth last encountered this much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The first modern humans only appeared in Africa about 200,000 years ago.
BARBARA Hewson is a barrister. She was awarded an honorary fellowship of the University of Westminster for services to law. On the website of her employers, Hardwicke, we learn:
Amongst her many achievements, her citation referred to her work for equality for women at the Bar and in helping found the Association of Women Barristers; her championing of the rights of pregnant women to refuse medical treatment (R(S) v Collins, St George’s Health Care NHS Trust & Anr  Fam 26); and her work defending home birth midwives’ right to practise, in both Ireland and England.
She fought to prove that Gareth Oates, an autistic 18-year-old who killed himself in front of a train, “had been neglected by many agencies”. She has written about family courts and how the State can abuse to vulnerable.
She has a particular interest in reproductive rights, and was the first member of the Bar to receive the Lawyer’s ‘Barrister of the Year’ Award, for her pioneering work opposing court-ordered treatment of pregnant women.
Hewson has a record of speaking truth to power. So. What do we make of her views on Operation Yewtree, the Met’s investigation of historical sex abuse sparked by revelations on Sir Jimmy Savile?
Hewson writes in Spiked:
I do not support the persecution of old men. The manipulation of the rule of law by the Savile Inquisition – otherwise known as Operation Yewtree – and its attendant zealots poses a far graver threat to society than anything Jimmy Savile ever did.
And with that a media shitstorm erupted:
Now even a deputy speaker of the House of Commons is accused of male rape. This is an unfortunate consequence of the present mania for policing all aspects of personal life under the mantra of ‘child protection’.
We have been here before. England has a long history of do-gooders seeking to stamp out their version of sexual misconduct by force of the criminal law. In the eighteenth century, the quaintly named Society for the Reformation of Manners funded prosecutions of brothels, playwrights and gay men.
In the 1880s, the Social Purity movement repeatedly tried to increase the age of consent for girls from 13 to 16, despite parliament’s resistance. At that time, puberty for girls was at age 15 (now it is 10). The movement’s supporters portrayed women as fragile creatures needing protection from men’s animal impulses. Their efforts were finally rewarded after the maverick editor of the Pall Mall Gazette, WT Stead, set up his own secret commission to expose the sins of those in high places.
After procuring a 13-year-old girl, Stead ran a lurid exposé of the sex industry, memorably entitled ‘The Maiden Tribute of Modern Babylon’. His voyeuristic accounts under such titles as ‘Strapping girls down’ and ‘Why the cries of the victims are not heard’ electrified the Victorian public. The ensuing moral panic resulted in the age of consent being raised in 1885, as well as the criminalisation of gross indecency between men.
By contrast, the goings-on at the BBC in past decades are not a patch on what Stead exposed. Taking girls to one’s dressing room, bottom pinching and groping in cars hardly rank in the annals of depravity with flogging and rape in padded rooms. Yet the Victorian narrative of innocents despoiled by nasty men endures.
What is strikingly different today is how Britain’s law-enforcement apparatus has been infiltrated by moral crusaders, like the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) and the National Association for People Abused in Childhood (NAPAC). Both groups take part in Operation Yewtree, which looks into alleged offences both by and not by Savile.
These pressure groups have a vested interest in universalising the notion of abuse, making it almost as prevalent as original sin, but with the modern complication that it carries no possibility of redemption, only ‘survival’. The problem with this approach is that it makes abuse banal, and reduces the sympathy that we should feel for victims of really serious assaults (1).
But the most remarkable facet of the Savile scandal is how adult complainants are invited to act like children. Hence we have witnessed the strange spectacle of mature adults calling a children’s charity to complain about the distant past.
The NSPCC and the Metropolitan Police Force produced a joint report into Savile’s alleged offending in January 2013, called Giving Victims a Voice. It states: ‘The volume of the allegations that have been made, most of them dating back many years, has made this an unusual and complex inquiry. On the whole victims are not known to each other [sic] and taken together their accounts paint a compelling picture of widespread sexual abuse by a predatory sex offender. We are therefore referring to them as “victims” rather than “complainants” and are not presenting the evidence they have provided as unproven allegations [italics added].’ The report also states that ‘more work still needs to be done to ensure that the vulnerable feel that the scales of justice have been rebalanced’.
Note how the police and NSPCC assume the roles of judge and jury. What neither acknowledges is that this national trawl for historical victims was an open invitation to all manner of folk to reinterpret their experience of the past as one of victimisation (2).
The acute problems of proof which stale allegations entail also generates a demand that criminal courts should afford accusers therapy, by giving them ‘a voice’. This function is far removed from the courts’ traditional role, in which the state must prove defendants guilty beyond reasonable doubt.
What this infantilising of adult complainants ultimately requires is that we re-model our criminal-justice system on child-welfare courts. These courts (as I have written in spiked previously) have for some decades now applied a model of therapeutic jurisprudence, in which ‘the best interests of the child’ are paramount.
It is depressing, but true, that many reforms introduced in the name of child protection involve sweeping attacks on fundamental Anglo-American legal rights and safeguards, such as the presumption of innocence. This has ominous consequences for the rule of law, as US judge Arthur Christean pointed out: ‘Therapeutic jurisprudence marks a major and in many ways a truly radical shift in the historic function of courts of law and the basic purpose for which they have been established under our form of government. It also marks a fundamental shift in judges’ loyalty away from principles of due process and toward particular social policies. These policies are less concerned with judicial impartiality and fair hearings and more concerned with achieving particular results…’
The therapeutic model has certain analogies with a Soviet-style conception of justice, which emphasises outcomes over processes. It’s not difficult, then, to see why some celebrity elderly defendants, thrust into the glare of hostile publicity, including Dalek-style utterances from the police (‘offenders have nowhere to hide’), may conclude that resistance is useless. But the low-level misdemeanours with which Stuart Hall was charged are nothing like serious crime.
Touching a 17-year-old’s breast, kissing a 13-year-old, or putting one’s hand up a 16-year-old’s skirt, are not remotely comparable to the horrors of the Ealing Vicarage assaults and gang rape, or the Fordingbridge gang rape and murders, both dating from 1986. Anyone suggesting otherwise has lost touch with reality.
Ordinarily, Hall’s misdemeanors would not be prosecuted, and certainly not decades after the event. What we have here is the manipulation of the British criminal-justice system to produce scapegoats on demand. It is a grotesque spectacle.
It’s interesting that two complainants who waived anonymity have told how they rebuffed Hall’s advances. That is, they dealt with it at the time. Re-framing such experiences, as one solicitor did, as a ‘horrible personal tragedy’ is ironic, given that tragoidia means the fall of an honourable, worthy and important protagonist.
It’s time to end this prurient charade, which has nothing to do with justice or the public interest. Adults and law-enforcement agencies must stop fetishising victimhood. Instead, we should focus on arming today’s youngsters with the savoir-faire and social skills to avoid drifting into compromising situations, and prosecute modern crime. As for law reform, now regrettably necessary, my recommendations are: remove complainant anonymity; introduce a strict statute of limitations for criminal prosecutions and civil actions; and reduce the age of consent to 13.
Right, then. What reactions did that get?
Daily Mail: “Outrage at barrister who called Stuart Hall’s crimes ‘low level’”
Miss Hewson, who is an abortion rights specialist, said the arrests of Rolf Harris, Dave Lee Travis, Jim Davidson and Max Clifford were driven by the need to produce ‘scapegoats on demand’.
But Susan Harrison, 61, who was indecently assaulted by Hall when she was 16, said it was wrong to make light of his crimes.
‘To call them low-level misdemeanours is not only incredibly hurtful to all the victims it is also utterly ridiculous,’ she said. ‘I don’t think Miss Hewson understands what it is like to be on the receiving end of this kind of abuse from a man who is trusted by your family and by society as a whole. What he did to me went on to ruin my life and I am still dealing with the aftermath now and to call it low level is just offensive.’
Alan Collins, of Pannone Solicitors, which represents many of Savile’s and 83-year-old Hall’s victims, called her comments ‘crazy’ and ‘ignorant’.
And worse still:
Hardwicke Chambers, where she is a junior barrister, expressed shock and said they were investigating.
The Mail then ads for reason not entirely clear:
Miss Hewson, 52, lives in a £1million home in Islington, North London…
I care, actually. I am uncomfortable with people’s names being bandied about before they are charged, and uncomfortable with the McCarthyite vigour with which those names are offered up to the public’s slavering maws, though, of course, the counter-argument is that naming names helps other victims come forward. I am also uncomfortable with the question of proof decades after an alleged event. But I care a lot.
Last week a high-profile barrister called Barbara Hewson wrote an article that called for the age of consent to be lowered to 13, on the basis that some of the Yewtree crimes were “low-level” and led only to “the persecution of old men”. What this amounted to, she wrote, was “the manipulation of the British criminal justice system to produce scapegoats on demand. It is a grotesque spectacle.”
Hewson got both barrels for her article (which you can read at spiked-online.com), but the piece put forward a reasoned and intelligent argument. I know from conversations I’ve had that many people agree with her on the “low-level” front, if not the age of consent part; and I know that many people think that some of the women coming forward are opportunistic, in it for the money and possibly either exaggerating or lying outright.
I strongly disagree with Hewson, though I can understand why she makes some of the points that she does. And despite the outrage her remarks have provoked, she speaks for more people than her detractors imagine (I’m ignoring the age of consent part because it’s just mad — a rapist’s charter).
Peter Watt, director of the NSPCC helpline:
“These outdated and simply ill-informed views would be shocking to hear from anyone but to hear them from a highly experienced barrister simply beggars belief. Stuart Hall has pleaded guilty to abusing children as young as nine years old, we think most people would agree that crimes of this nature are incredibly serious. Thankfully the law, and most people, are very clear on this matter. To minimise and trivialise the impact of these offences for victims in this way is all but denying that they have in fact suffered abuse at all. Any suggestion of lowering the age of consent could put more young people at risk from those who prey on vulnerable young people.”
We are shocked by the views expressed in Barbara Hewson’s article in Spiked (8 May 2013).
We did not see or approve the article pre-publication and we completely dissociate ourselves from its content and any related views she may have expressed via social media or any other media outlets.
But there is a third option if we want to rid the world of paedophiles. It would be easier, and quicker, but it would take a bit of selling to the voters.
We could legalise it.
She quotes Hewson. Then:
We could do all that, but we probably won’t on the basis that it’s ABSOLUTELY BARKING MAD. If we have a time limit on some of the most serious crimes it’s possible to commit, we’ll need one on everything. Nazi war criminals? Oh, forget them. Genocidal Serbs? Too long ago. Fred West? Look, it was the 1970s, things were different then.
If we lower the age of consent we’ll be making adulthood happen faster. Sex at 13, driving at 14, let ‘em vote and marry and pay taxes and leave school and oh look at that, it’s the 19th century again. And anyone who goes to the police or their teacher with a complaint of sexual abuse will have their name and face plastered on posters all over the neighbourhood under the phrase ‘STUPID CHILD’.
There would be no rapists, no paedophiles, no victims, and the police could get back to the important business of arresting journalists who’ve embarrassed the rich and powerful.
The long-term effect would be that the TV presenters, dirty old men, perverts, and local oddballs of the future would be the only people to go unmolested…
When I was 13 I had thick NHS specs, braces, acne and a mullet. I communicated by slamming doors and overdoing the eyeliner.
Sex was not only the last thing on my mind, it was terrifying and utterly impossible. I couldn’t consent to being looked at, never mind anything more.
Yet as bonkers as all this sounds someone has suggested it.
Barrister Barbara Hewson says Operation Yewtree is akin to the Spanish Inquisition, that do-gooders tackling child abuse is similar to making homosexuality illegal, and that ‘low-level misdemeanours’ such as those Stuart Hall confessed to last week should not be prosecuted.
Except no-one is burning paedophiles alive, paedophilia is nowhere near the same as sexual activity between consenting adults, and Stuart Hall did not just touch someone’s bum.
He confessed to assaulting girls aged nine to 17 in a variety of ways, some minor and some more serious. Not a single one of them consented to it, regardless of whether they were legally able to.
One told how ‘ I was never aroused, so there was a lot of blood’ .
There must have been people who felt uneasy as Operation Yewtree, set up initially to investigate crimes committed by the late paedophile Jimmy Savile, transmuted into a sort of big-game hunt, with TV stars instead of elephants as targets – but they said nothing, because to show any doubts about the conduct of the investigation is to invite accusations of belittling child abuse…
…the vehemence of the reaction against Barbara Hewson demonstrates that she was certainly right to compare the public mood around this issue to a witch-hunt, since it is in the nature of witch-hunts to not only shout down opposition, but also to attack what you think someone said, or what you wish they’d said, rather than what they did say.
Some of the more hysterical reactions to Hewson’s Spiked article even said that she was trying to protect child abusers from prosecution, or that she was blaming victims for not being streetwise enough to resist rapists, which is crazy.
All she said was that it is important to draw distinctions between acts we morally disapprove of and those which are actually criminal.
Rape Crisis England & Wales:
Rape Crisis (England and Wales) is shocked and deeply concerned by the offensive, ill-informed and damaging on-line article from barrister Barbara Hewson regarding Operation Yewtree.
Her opening assertion – that ongoing legal investigations pose a ‘far graver threat to society’ than a prominent public figure who raped and sexually assaulted women and children across decades – suggests a cynical attempt to self-publicise by generating controversy for its own sake. This impression is supported by all the comments that follow in the rest of the article.
From the range of objectionable points Ms Hewson makes, Rape Crisis is particularly concerned by her apparent attack on and dismissal of the experiences of adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse. This betrays not only a complete lack of empathy but also an ignorance of the long-term impacts of sexual violence that is particularly dangerous in a legal professional.
Of the 60,000 women and girls our Rape Crisis Centres provide specialist support to each year, over 60% have come to us because of an incident of sexual violence that happened more than three years ago and we know that around a third of those sexually abused as children reach adulthood without having told anyone about it. The women we work with tell us that prominent amongst the numerous reasons for this, as well as the power and control wielded by their abusers, are shame, self-blame and a fear of not being believed, all of which are perpetuated and reinforced by the kinds of views Ms Hewson so aggressively presents in her article.
In this context, Rape Crisis (England and Wales) also finds it incomprehensible that a legal professional would call for the removal of sexual violence victims’ right to lifelong anonymity. When we know that only around 15% of the estimated 85,000 women who are raped and 400,000 who are sexually assaulted in England and Wales every year ever report to the police, it is unjustifiable to suggest that adding to the stress and trauma of the experience for victims can do anything to improve levels of justice.
Let me tell you, Ms Hewson, victimhood is not something to be fetished or enjoyed. As many have already said your remarks represent the fear that all victims have of being disbelieved and the accusations of being attention seeking liars who enjoy victimhood. Abuse is something that haunts and damages you for the rest of your life, effects all the decisions you make, the friends and relationships you choose, the relationships with your family and how you feel about yourself. It will have you awake screaming & crying in the middle of the night, make you afraid of your own shadow and make you hate yourself and the body you live in. It can make you want to hurt yourself, cause resentment and anger towards others and makes it hard to trust anyone. Your remarks show just how much you, as a supposedly impartial party, know nothing about the experience of a victim.
I am one of the victims you seem to know so much about. I have twice been subjected to the selfish actions of a man, a family friend, in a position of power who wanted to rape a trusting little girl, initially aged just 11 and then 13, who didn’t understand what was going on…
I am still living with extreme feelings of worthlessness and the urge to hurt myself because of the damage sexual abuse has done to me…
Ms Hewson, the fact that you as an esteemed barrister in a position of authority see it fit to perpetuate the rape apologism and victim blaming that is already so prevalent in our society and prevents victims coming forward, speaks volumes about how out of touch you are and how little you understand about sexual abuse. It’s all very well from your privileged position to fire off soundbites about “fetishing victimhood” and “persecuting old men”, but you cannot even begin to understand how damaging, disrespectful and false those statements are.
I no longer work in the field of law enforcement but I believe that it is still the case that in order for charges to be brought the CPS must consider that they have a reasonable chance of obtaining a conviction. I agree that the media’s habit of gleefully naming every individual arrested as part of Yewtree is unpleasant and unnecessary, and perhaps gives credence to the suggestion that those accused of rape should also be granted anonymity. However this is no reason for stripping rape complainants of their right to anonymity.
Ms Hewson continues “It’s time to end this prurient charade, which has nothing to do with justice or the public interest. Adults and law-enforcement agencies must stop fetishising victimhood. Instead, we should focus on arming today’s youngsters with the savoir-faire and social skills to avoid drifting into compromising situations, and prosecute modern crime.”. It’s almost as though she’s claiming that with the right skills and knowledge sexual predators can be avoided – a common theme of victim-blaming. But as a barrister surely Ms Hewson knows that rape and sexual assault is never the fault of the victim? I agree that young people should be taught what is and isn’t acceptable in terms of sexual behaviour but that in no way means that assault can be avoided if one has the appropriate “social skills”.
Although Ms Hewson’s article has moments where it is interesting and thought-provoking it is also ill-considered and her employers, Hardwicke Chambers, have been quick to distance themselves from it. It is a shame that this article seems likely to overshadow her reputation as a passionate advocate for abortion rights and her opposition to the court-ordered treatment of pregnant women. I hope that Ms Hewson’s views aren’t widely shared among her fellow legal professionals; meanwhile I imagine there are few victims of sexual assault or rape who would want her in their courtroom.
Hewson says critics have called for her to be raped.
To illustrate that:
One critic demands Hewson be made unemployed:
Others agree with her:
ONCE upon a time, we are always told, the FA Cup Final was one of only two games shown live on television each year. (The other being the England v Scotland fixture in the late and unlamented Home International tournament.)
And in the days before video recorders, there were few opportunities to relive those magical moments.
You could look at your rosette, with its odd-looking cup.
You could read your official match programme, with its pages of Double Diamond ads (and in the case of the 1946 final, the news that, along with their “stockings”, Charlton Athletic wore white knickers, and Derby black).
You could watch a goal again and again by flicking the pages of a flip-book.
You could buy Super-8 films – if you had a projector, and weren’t too bothered about burning the living room curtains as the celluloid caught light.
Or more timid souls might have opted for a souvenir LP of the match commentary.
For most, however, the gift that kept giving was the Cup Final Song, usually sung by the lads themselves and carefully mixed to hide the vocal shortcomings therein. Some made the pop charts; others disappeared into oblivion. Here’s ten of the best.
The Anfield Rap came from left-field before the 1988 FA Cup final against Wimbledon and the only fond memory of that occasion for Reds fans.
9. Stoke City
The Potters’ ponderous We’ll Be With You was the soundtrack for their far-from-ponderous League Cup victory in 1972.
Good Old Arsenal is a strange hybrid. The tune is ‘Rule Britannia’ and the lyrics (such as they are) were penned by Jimmy Hill – a man with no connection to the club.
Plenty of club songs in their locker, including this effort from the sixties.
But their representative here is Here We Go – an interesting take on the theme song from the miners’ strike. In another interesting twist, it was recorded after their 1984 FA Cup win.
6. Leeds United
A-side Leeds United made the charts, but like a Beatles single, it was the B-side (Leeds! Leeds! Leeds! commonly known as Marching On Together) that endured.
The Pensioners’ anthem Blue Is The Colour was recorded not for the famous 1970 FA Cup Final, but for the 1972 League Cup Final, which they lost to Stoke. This video shows the recording session, including a very drunk Alan Hudson, who probably hadn’t recovered in time for the final.
4. West Ham United
A valiant, if somewhat dated, reggae version of the Hammers standard, performed by Bonzo, Sir Trev and pals for the 1975 FA Cup Final against Fulham.
3 Crystal Palace
The Dave Clark Five’s Glad All Over became the Palace anthem during the 1960s, so it was the obvious choice for the team to record for the Wembley debut in the 1990 FA Cup Final.
2 Tottenham Hotspur
Spurs had plenty of cup form in the studio. The Cockerel Chorus hit the carts in the early 1970s with Nice One Cyril, and a decade later came Ossie’s Dream, recorded by Chas & Dave with the ‘Tottingham’ squad. The duo would go on to pen two more cup final tunes: Hot Shot Tottenham in 1987 and, best of the lot, Tottenham, Tottenham in 1982. Here it is on Top of the Pops.
Not an obvious choice, perhaps, but a classic nonetheless. Recorded decades before the club’s first FA Cup Final in 2004, Let ’Em Come was the theme tune for the road to Wembley. A rousing tune with pleasingly menacing undertones.