Friday, August 08, 2003

A Cautionary Tale of Gullibility and Hypocrisy

"Hi" - says the mail, from 'Leanne', "I was checking your profile on the Web and you sounded kinda interesting. Would you like to chat with me ? I'm 23 and blonde with green eyes, really enjoy sex and I have a webcam. I'm on cam most days 8-10 p.m. at ....".

Most people who've built a website with an email address on it will have received mail like that. Every day, robotic programs trawl the Web, automatically grabbing the address from sites and building vast mailing databases which are available for sale. I get fifteen or twenty unsolicited mails a day, currently mainly for online pharmacies ('Fentamine, Viagra, Valium'), Human Growth Hormone ('Look Younger Feel Younger') and drugs to enlarge the penis ('She Will Love You For It' is one of the printable sales pitches). But there are usually a few porn site mails as well as 'Leanne's' more sophisticated approach.

I don't ever click the links or go to the site. You know that there is no 'Leanne', lonely sex goddess with a webcam, surfing for her dream cyberlover, who just happens to be lucky old overweight fortysomething you.

Instead there's an operation to relieve you of your money, perhaps with a girl and webcam involved somewhere along the line. And anyway, there are a host of sites (many of them French, for some reason) where girls, often of a certain age, webcams and chat are free. For those who like that sort of thing, that is the sort of thing they like.

But then I'm a cynical old Hector. When (according to the BBC News site – from which the story has now disappeared, some time between 5 and 10.30 p.m. on 8th August) a Tory councillor received an unsolicited email from a 'Julie Masters', stating that she was looking for an older man for some online rudity, no alarm bells rang. And he was right, there was no commercial rip-off. It was much, much, worse.

He replied. ‘She’ replied. The mails became more explicit over a period of months, ending in the sending of photographs of the councillor in suspenders and little else.

Next thing was that copies of the mails and photographs arrived in the inbox of every council member ….. it appeared the councillor had been set up – and stitched up.

We are told how to guide our children, to lessen the ‘stranger danger’ of the chatroom. Perhaps grown-ups need lessons, too.

Now for the hypocrisy. While it may be distressing to inadvertantly, through the action of a third party, be exposed to the sexual fantasies of a colleague, you’d think a Labour council would be a little more grown up about such things. After all, we’ve left that kind of Victorian reticence way behind. Labour-controlled health authorities encourage children to role-play a married man caught ‘cottaging’, or to discuss "dressing and tying up", use of "sexual toys" and "multiple partners". Not like those buttoned-up Tories. Labour are cool and open about sex.

Not in Bracknell they’re not. Councillor Anne Shillcock in particular takes the biscuit.

Labour borough councillors have written about Cllr Grayson's behaviour to the Standards Board of England and have called for his resignation from the council.

They also issued a press release which said: "The charge is that Cllr Grayson has brought the council and council members into disrepute. This follows information which has recently been brought to the attention of fellow councillors and several members of the public by the publication of sexually explicit material."
Labour leader Cllr Anne Shilcock said: "The Labour Group calls upon Cllr Grayson to formally apologise to all members and members of the public who have received this disgusting material."”

Why on earth should he apologise ? He didn't disseminate this material. If only the councillor had been a self-professed member of some deviant minority these left-wing hypocrites wouldn't have uttered a word, other than to sympathise with him as the victim of a 'whatever'-phobic campaign.

The best bet for the Tory councillor is to say he’s at the start of his transgender journey and sue for harassment !

Thursday, August 07, 2003

Welcome Back ....

To revolutionary socialist blogger Dave Dudley, late of Sectarian Worker and Dave's Dialectical Diary, now at Harry's Place and on cracking form discussing the difficulties of choosing a politically correct holiday.

His blogging will bring the memories flooding back to anyone who has spent time on the far left .

How he combined his revolutionary activity with his career in Country'n'Western I don't know. But songs like Truck Drivin' Man or Six Days On The Road show the working-class ethic at its finest. I can't wait for his rumoured 9/11 album to be released.

Wednesday, August 06, 2003

Aaronovitch is at it again ...

Thanks to Ian Murray for spotting David Aaronovitch's latest attack, ostensibly on Liam Fox, but actually on Migrationwatch and Anthony Browne, Times Environment correspondent.

His attack is two-pronged, like the Green Manalishi's crown. First, Browne supports the Migrationwatch view, and his 'big mate' Professor David Coleman is a member of a society called the Galton Society. Four years ago the society was addressed by a speaker who has written a preface to a book by American (very) far-right-winger David Duke.

As Telemachus writes, 'degrees of separation'. I'm pretty sure someone playing the same game with David Aaronovitch could come up with some pretty nasty people too.

The other thing he's got against Migrationwatch is the
"melange of questionable statistics, assertions dressed as facts and straightforward scapegoating cranked out by Migration Watch UK and its main scribbler, Anthony Browne. You know the sort of thing. Housing shortages are caused by immigrants (and not by long-term changes in British family structures), Britain is twice as crowded as France, the British people don't like multi-culturalism ...."

We've been here before. In a January 2003 Observer article he attacked the 'lies, damned lies' over asylum and immigration, and asked to see us 'equipping ourselves with argument and standing to the defences of the country we also love'.

All good stuff. Only one problem. In neither article does he actually equip himself with any arguments other than the cry of 'racist !'.

Perhaps Britain is not twice as densely populated than France (though surely England is, and that is what's important as few migrants or asylum seekers go anywhere else). Perhaps no asylum seekers have any relation to terrorist activities. I'm sure there must be research in the public domain on the question of family breakdown vs immigration as a driver of housing shortage.

Perhaps ... come on, David. Everything you argue for may be true. Why are you so leery of actually producing evidence in support of it ?

Tuesday, August 05, 2003

Disappearing Scots

The Scottish population is declining, while England grows more crowded each year.

Magnus Linklater in the Times notes the decline in the Scottish population compared to its southern neighbour, but fails to point out that but for immigration, England would be in the same situation. Only the influx of migrants, and their generally higher birth-rate once arrived, keeps the population rising, keeps pressure on house prices, and keeps the Native Brits fleeing to the suburbs and country towns.

The English, left to their own devices, would also be in numerical decline. And no bad thing either, say the newly-formed Optimum Population Trust.

"In countries where there is only one race," said Churchill, "broad and lofty views are taken of the colour problem". He was speaking of 1940s England, where the locals were shocked by the segregation of the U.S. armed forces, but the same could be said of Scotland today, where views on race and immigration can be as broad as the Silvery Tay - because few immigrants or asylum seekers venture outside England.

If you were an asylum seeker headed for the UK, where would you like to go ? To Scotland or Wales, with their strong Nationalist parties ? To Ulster, where Sinn Fein/IRA are still killing people because their forebears were immigrants four hundred years ago ? Or to a country whose national flag should really be emblazoned with the word 'Sorry !'. No choice, really, is it ?

None take a more broad and lofty view than Charles Kennedy. He attacked William Hague every time the latter opened his mouth on asylum.

On one occasion he implied in Parliament that Hague's rhetoric on asylum was encouraging racist attacks, and cited an incident where a young black man was set on fire.
To the best of my knowledge he didn't retract this when it emerged that the man in question had suffered burns while setting a car ablaze.

Charles Kennedy, a crofter's son, comes from the Highlands and is MP for Ross, Cromarty and Skye.

A couple of years ago, staying on Speyside, I wondered idly about the ethnic diversity of the area, and picked up the phone book, which covers everywhere north of Aviemore as far as Shetland. Patels ? None. Singhs ? Two - both doctors. The famous Mohammed clan of Lewis, there for over forty years and subjects of a fascinating Radio 4 documentary a few years back.

And that's about it. Different world. Easy to forget, if you represent Slough, for example, that the 1st Battalion, Scots Guards are likely to be as monocultural a bunch as ever Trooped the Colour.

Monday, August 04, 2003

How BBC 'Impartiality' Operates

Two stories on immigration and asylum.

One - the Tory proposal that all immigrants to the UK should be screened for infectious diseases.

Two - an Industrial Society proposal that it should be made easier for asylum seekers to find work in the UK, as they are "skilled, willing and keen to work".

Both of these stories could be seen as controversial. Pro-refugee and asylum groups would consider the first a disgraceful proposal. Organisations like Migrationwatch or journalists like Anthony Browne would take issue with the second.

But on the BBC, one story is considered so controversial that the reaction to it is played more prominently than the proposal itself. On Radio 4 the story is trailed - "the Conservatives have been defending their proposals". On the BBC News web page there are four different reactions - all critical. I'm particularly impressed with the way Evan Harris remarks are inserted into a description of the report - as below.

Immigrants would have to pay for the tests and asylum seekers would be detained until it was clear the tests had been met, it said.

" This is an unnecessary, extremist, unethical and unworkable policy "
Evan Harris
Liberal Democrat health spokesman

The document said more than 50% of TB in the UK now occurs in people born abroad, the majority of whom arrived in Britain within the last 10 years.

The other proposal ? Obviously entirely uncontroversial - no critical voices are present. And no mention of the fact that the report's author, one Gill Sargeant, is a Labour councillor (in Barnet), nor that the Industrial Society, now rebranded as the Workplace Foundation, is headed up by one Will Hutton, Guardian journalist and New Labour guru.