Posts Tagged ‘Girls’

Mad Right-Wing YouTuber Alex Belfield Banned by YouTube for Two Weeks

February 13, 2022

A day or two ago Alex Jones, the right-wing host of the Voice of Reason channel on YouTube, was handed a temporary ban for two weeks. At first it was thought that he’d been banned for three months, but Andy the Gabby Cabby, another YouTuber sympathetic to Belfield, has cleared that up. He’s been in communication with him, and apparently he’s only been suspended for a fortnight, but it was because he had already had two strikes against him within a three month period before suffering the third complaint resulting in his suspension. The Blackbelt Barrister, a YouTube legal expert, has also weighed in on the case. Citing expert legal opinion on the 2003 Information Act, the Barrister states that, in the opinion of the judicial authorities, the Act should only be used against communications that physically threaten a person’s safety or which stir up racial hatred. They should not be used to chill personal opinion or censor offensive views, even if those views make someone feel uncomfortable.

This is fine, but I don’t think Belfield has actually been charged with anything under the Act. Belfield has been banned from YouTube because it’s a private company, as are the other internet platforms. As private companies they are quite within their rights to set their own terms and conditions and restrict what may be said on them. The right got very upset about all this a few years ago when they started being censored for issues like misogyny, homophobia, racism, transphobia and so on. Left-wingers, however, pointed out that this was simply private industry acting as a private company and not in the public interest. They also pointed out how ironic it was this had happened to the right, who are staunch supporters of private companies against state-owned industries. There were even demands from some that the government should set up a nationalised internet platform to allow a proper exchange of views without censorship. Which would be really ironic considering that the right is worried about government censorship and attacks on free speech rather than that by powerful corporations.

So what brought about Belfield’s ban? Well, it seems from another post by the Gabby Cabby that it was a complaint against Belfield by Carol Vorderman because of his comments about her ‘assets’. The Cabby stated it was unclear whether this was about her property, or something rather more personal. Quite.

Belfield has regularly criticised the former Countdown star along with a number of other celebrities including Katie Price and Philip Schofield. This includes comments on her home or homes as well as more personal remarks about how she has apparently enhanced her bosom to retain the attention of the jaded public. He’s satirised her as a character ‘Carol Vordernorks’ in drag with fake breasts and a thick Brummie accent. I’ve never found this to be funny and it’s really just personal abuse. My sympathies in this instance are very firmly with Vorderman. I don’t know her, but she’s always come across as perfectly genial and polite on TV, and is herself an extremely intelligent woman. Not only does she have a degree in engineering from Oxford, but she’s also a pilot and a patron of the air cadets. She’s also active trying to get more people, especially girls, into science and flight, and has done her bit supporting the RAF. I really don’t know what Belfield has against her, as it doesn’t seem like there’s the same kind of personal feud he apparently has with the BBC and its producers, and the presenter Jeremy Vine, which have seen him involved in a legal battle over the past few years.

Belfield himself has thanked YouTube for paying for his house and giving him a livelihood, and claims his shows about the country are now sold out. He states that he will come back, but is going to launch a ‘secret VOR channel’ on the 28th of this month. This seems to confirm rumours that he’s about to vanish behind a paywall.

Belfield has some very right-wing views, some of which I regard as particularly dangerous. Like his demands that the NHS should be privatised, although in a video he made shortly before he was banned he urged people not to give to the NHS, because this would tell Johnson that we can be charged, ‘and then we’re all f***ed’. I wonder what he thinks will happen if he gets his way and the NHS is privatised. I am well aware that there are members of this blog who heartily despise Belfield. I watch some of his videos because he says openly what the rest of the right doesn’t, but who share his attitudes. And I do share his opposition to the transgender craze, but not trans people, which is causing real suffering to mentally and emotionally vulnerable young people. I firmly believe that some youngster are being misdiagnosed and put on a long course of medical treatment and physical transformation predominantly for ideological reasons and against their best interests. Some of the children now identified as transgender seem to be gay and come from extremely homophobic backgrounds, so it looks like a form of gay conversion therapy. This can be compared to the situation in Iran, where gays are given the choice of transitioning to the opposite sex or execution. I realise that such gender critical views are controversial, but the science behind them, to this layman’s eyes, seems solid. There is considerable censorship of such views, including threats and personal violence. Therefore, on this score, I support Belfield for posting against the transgender craze even if I find some of his other views mistaken, offensive and dangerous.

And rather than seeing anyone banned, I would prefer that people instead showed their opposition by blogging against them and winning arguments. I would rather have this done to make their views unpopular rather than censorship.

Because there are too many attempts already to censor what we can say with the Tories doing their best to outlaw public demonstrations against their monstrous policies.

Anti-Trans Rights Activist Kellie-Jay Keen Asks Why We Aren’t Kneeling for Women

January 10, 2022

This is probably going to be a very controversial post, as it is about a highly controversial woman, Kellie-Jay Keen, and a very controversial issue, Asian grooming gangs. Kellie-Jay Keen is a woman’s rights activist, who contends that transpeople aren’t the members of the sex they transition to, and should be excluded from biologically natural women’s spaces, changing rooms, toilets, bathrooms and women’s sports, because of the dangers they pose, Last week she posted this video asking why people weren’t kneeling for abused girls and women, as they have kneeled and marched for issues like Black Lives Matter. She talks about someone she can’t name making a video about the abused girls in Rotherham, whose abusers were allowed to continue assaulting and exploiting them for twenty years because they were Pakistani and the authorities were afraid of starting race riots and destroying community cohesion. She states that someone she can’t name is making a film about this, in which the abused girls and women present their own stories and testimony. Despite the film-maker being an unperson, subject to cancellation, she has no time for any kind of purity considerations and urges people, whatever their ideological and political alignment, to watch the film. From the hints and information elsewhere, it looks like this film is being made by Tommy Robinson, aka Stephen Yaxley Lennon, former leader of the English Defence League, Pegida UK and someone, who could be fairly described as a racist, islamophobic thug.

Robinson is a formerly member of the BNP. He has, I believe, been jailed for assault and convicted of mortgage fraud. He has intimidated his critics by turning up on their doorstep or that of their close relatives in the middle of the night with his fellow thugs demanding a word. He did this to Mike Stuchbery, an Australian academic and teacher, whom he falsely claimed was a paedophile. As a result Mike has lost his job and is now working on the continent. He also falsely claimed that the Syrian victim of racist bullying in school was really the perpetrator, for which he was sued for libel. He has posted a series of videos commenting on the trials of various Asian men accused of grooming and rape outside the courthouses were they were being tried, making it very clear he believed the men were guilty. This is against the strict rules governing the reporting of such trials. It may even assist the guilty to get off, as they may claim that they were subjected to a mistrial due to Robinson’s biased videos.

Keen herself, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to be racist at all. She talks freely about White paedophiles and abusers such as clergy and scout leaders. She also describes how, when she was studying theology at university, she was sent to interview a White family where the mother and eldest daughter were prostitutes and the youngest was being pressured into it. The eldest daughter was 15, the youngest 13. The husband and father told her that they were all ‘on the game’, but she was too naive and ignorant at the time to know what this meant. And so she let this abuse get past her unstopped.

The issue of Pakistani grooming gangs preying on White girls is a real one, and despite recent revelations and action it seems there is still cause for concern. The Lotus Eaters mentioned on one of their videos about ‘Diversity Failing Girls’, that the police in certain cities are not recording the ethnicity of the abusers in many cases. The issue is being played down, almost certainly because of racial sensibilities.

I fully appreciate the reasons why. Crime by Blacks and Asians has been subject to considerably biased reporting in the past by the racist, right-wing press in order to stoke up hostility and resentment. And the danger that the real far right, apart from Robinson, will use anti-White hate crime to boost their own popularity is very real. Way back at the turn of the century racial incidents against Whites formed the majority of such crimes. Independent and I journo Yasmin Alibhai-Brown were a report about this for the-then Committee for Racial Equality and the issue was being discussed in the press and media. However, Nick Griffin and his storm troopers in the BNP also turned up and launched a campaign to encourage White schoolchildren to imagine they were the victims of racial abuse and discrimination. The BNP became much more popular, winning seats on local councils, culminating in an infamous edition of Newsnight which included Griffin as a panel guest. The wretched party and its fortunes plummeted following a massive backlash by severely normal Brits, and I think the BNP is now more or less extinct, along with other similar parties. There is a real danger that the exploitation of the issue of Pakistani grooming gangs and other anti-White racism by people like Robinson could lead to a resurgence of real Fascism in this country.

But I also believe that part of the problem is the institutional attitude towards racism in this country. The various anti-racist organisations in this country were set up to deal with the real, vicious racism and discrimination directed against people of colour. I think they therefore find it extremely difficult to tackle anti-White racism. Thus a few years ago three BAME racists, two Asian and one Black, objected to anti-White incidents being recorded as hate crimes. One of them said explicitly that he didn’t think it was right, because anti-racism was created to protect Blacks and Asians. And there was a furore in 2017 when Labour MP, Naz Shah, liked and retweeted a message stating that the Rotherham victims should shut up in the interests of diversity. Shah later deleted her tweet and disliked the post. Nevertheless, I think her actions show the reluctance some members of the Black and Asian communities feel about acknowledging such crimes. Another of these is Diane Abbott. She was asked about the issue of racism by other ethnic groups apart from Whites by, if I remember rightly, an Asian gent. He was told that it shouldn’t be tackled because ‘they’ would use it to divide and rule.

This is the wrong approach. I believe anti-White racism can and should be integrated into the general, mainstream anti-racism movement, and that people would be as willing to march for the White victims of racism as they would for Black, Asian and other ethnic minorities. There’s little doubt that one of the most powerful motives behind the Brexit vote was anti-immigrant sentiment, but not all Brexiteers were racists. Many of them were left-wing anti-racists, and one of the complaints they made was that the media ignored pro-Brexit marches which included Black and Asian demonstrators. I also remember reading an article in the Independent years ago in which one of their reporters went to see if UKIP really was as racist as it was claimed. He found a small shop selling anti-EU merchandise, including T-shirts showing a British bulldog with a torn EU flag in its mouth. But to his surprise the couple running the shop weren’t White skinheads, but a pair of Ugandan Asians, who were grateful to this country for taking them in.

I believe that the size of the historical Black population in Britain has been exaggerated, but it was there. There were Black and Asian MPs before the election of Diane Abbott, Bernie Grant and Paul Boateng in the 1980s. And even if the majority of the Black and Asian community has only been here since Windrush, this is still three generations. They’re British, and deserve to be treated as such. Which in my view means that as well as being protected from racism and discrimination, it should also be exposed without fear or prejudice when it occurs in their communities. I realise that this won’t be easy and will require tact and sensitivity, but I do believe that Blacks and Asians will march in support of White victims just as Whites have marched to support Blacks and Asians. The slogan ‘Black and White, unite and fight’ must cover everyone, including Whites, subject to racist abuse, violence, and injustice.

In my view it is only by doing so that we can truly combat racism as a whole and keep it from being exploited by people like Robinson.

Teaser Trailer for ‘Return to Hogwarts’ Harry Potter Documentary

December 8, 2021

I found this video on the ‘Moviegasm’ channel on YouTube. It’s the trailers for the forthcoming documentary on HBO Max celebrating 20 years since the first Harry Potter movie. Entitled Return to Hogwarts, it naturally includes the films’ stars. Unfortunately, it won’t include J.K. Rowling herself. This is apparently because she’s too controversial, having been attacked as a transphobe because she does not regard transwomen as women, and has been accused of hating transpeople and wishing them dead. This is wrong.

I don’t believe Rowling hates transpeople by any stretch of the imagination. The accusation began when she issued a tweet backing another person, who had been attacked for stating that they didn’t believe transwomen were women. But in that tweet Rowling stated that transpeople should dress how they want, sleep with anyone who would have them and live their best lives before concluding with her statement about transwomen. For gender critical feminists and others who hold this view, this is just a statement of fact which must be lived with. I realise that it contradicts the desire most transpeople have to be regarded as proper members of the sex to which they have transitioned, although there are some transpeople like Debbie Hayton and Blair White, who don’t regard themselves as women. Rowling has further gone on to say that she doesn’t hate transpeople and has trans friends. She is, however, worried about the massive expansion of gender dysphoria amongst girls and young women, and believes that they are being harmed by a diagnosis being pushed on people, who are really suffering from various types of psychological disorder or anxiety. And unfortunately I think she’s right. While I’m aware that her views are controversial and if applied would stop transwomen getting certain sensitive jobs or sharing spaces with born women, such as prisons, Rowling has never expressed any hatred towards transpeople. Yet she has been grotesquely accused of hating them and wanting them dead.

However controversial her views are, Rowling is nevertheless the creator of the Harry Potter phenomenon. Her books were not only massively popular, but they encouraged children to read and crossed generations. Adults enjoyed reading them as much as children, which is a very rare gift confined to the greatest children’s writers. The Pope praised her for having given children the joy of using their imaginations. At the same time, American fundamentalists accused her of luring children into real magic and witchcraft with her books, which is just pure nonsense. As the books’ writer and the creator of the character, she should rightly have been included in the documentary.

Aside from that, while the documentary itself looks great, it’s on HBO Max so I wonder how many people will actually watch it.

‘Kill Whitey’ Joker Sophie Druker Wins Comedy Award Despite Outrage

October 14, 2021

In one of his videos yesterday, right-wing YouTuber Alex Belfield expressed his strong disapproval of Sophie Druker, who has won the Comedy Award, it seems, for her joke on a show with Frankie Boyle about Blacks wanting to kill Whites. She made the joke last year as a guest with other Black personalities on the show talking about Black Lives Matter and its protests. Boyle had opened the programme with a joke about asking his guests why they wanted to kill Whitey. Druker, a comedienne, replied, saying ‘We don’t want to kill Whitey’, then adding ‘Yes, we do.’ Okay, it’s obviously a joke. Druker clearly doesn’t want to kill Whites. It was obviously intended as a throw-away line. But it left a large number of people annoyed, including Belfield himself. And it’s quite understandable why. Belfield states in his video that he’s upset about the double standard. It would clearly be unacceptable for him, as a White man, to tell jokes about killing Black people. But it should also be unacceptable for Blacks to joke about the racist killing of Whites. But the Beeb and the judges of the Comedy Award don’t share that view. The Beeb brushed off the complaints they received about Druker’s comment, while the judges have apparently awarded Druker the award because of it. No doubt they thought it was challenging, edgy, and anti-racist, and so was pushing the boundaries of comedy in a blow against White racism. But it only shows instead the Beeb’s and the judges’ complete complacency and ignorance about anti-White racism.

It would clearly be unacceptable to joke about the racist murder of Blacks because of the real racism and racist violence experienced by Blacks and other ethnic minorities. But there’s also a high level of racial violence and abuse of Whites. This has, at times, been at the almost the same level as that against non-Whites, and sometimes above it, but has not received nearly the same media attention. For example, in 2006 the Guardian ran an article reporting that between 1998 and 2004 Whites accounted nearly half of all murder victims in which race was a factor in the killing. In this period there were 58 murders, with Whites making up 24 of the victims. At about the same time I remember there were reports that for the first time, Whites formed the majority of victims of racist crime, though looking through the internet it seems it was a report by the Committee for Racial Equality published in 1999. I found an article in the Independent that claimed, if I recall correctly, that Whites now formed 60 per cent of victims. And the amount of anti-White abuse and violence still forms a significance percentage of racist crimes. The right-wing Lotus Eaters in a video posted on 26th March 2021, quoted official stats from the government’s own Hate Crimes Unit, which stated that in the year from 2019 to 2020, Whites constituted 41 per cent of all victims in England and Wales. However the amount of anti-White racist crime is not reflected in the media, which exclusively concentrates, with very few exceptions, on abuse and attacks on non-Whites.

Some of this may come from the fact that a relatively small proportion of the White population is affected as opposed to Blacks and Asians. The Lotus Eaters quote the same stats, which show that nearly all of England and Wales’ Black population have experienced some kind of racial offence. But the proportion of Whites who have experienced it is much smaller, undoubtedly due to the greater size of the White population compared to that of Blacks and Asians. At the last census, Whites constituted 85 per cent of the population, while Blacks and Asians were about 15 per cent. The Beeb and other media bosses can be complacent about it, because quite simply they may never have experienced it.

But another factor is that the police and media don’t like talking about it because they are afraid of being accused of racism. The Guardian article quoted Peter Fahy, the Chief Constable of Cheshire and the Association of Chief Police Officer’s spokesman on race, who said ‘The political correctness and reluctance to discuss these things absolutely does play a factor. A lot of police officers and other professions feel almost the best thing to do is try and avoid it for fear of being criticised. We probably have got ourselves into a bit of a state about this. The difficulty in the police service is that the whole thing is being closed down because we are all afraid of discussing any of it in case we say the wrong thing – and that is not healthy.’ It is this attitude that meant the Muslim grooming gangs in Rotherham and elsewhere were left to abuse young White girls horrifically for nearly two decades completely unpunished, despite the police and authorities knowing exactly what was going on.

Some of this reluctance also comes from the fear that anti-White racism will be exploited by the Fascists. This is absolutely reasonable. I remember a report in one of the papers that the BNP did exactly that following reports such as those in the Groan. The BNP organised a competition for children in which they were supposed to imagine themselves as the victims of racism. This was White children, and imagine the racists were Black. Clearly nobody wants to hand Nazis like the BNP a real weapon to justify their race hate and violence.

There is also opposition by Black activists to anything other forms of racism except White from being discussed and condemned. Or even reported. A few years ago Diane Abbott told an Asian colleague, who was worried about racism within the BAME community, that she didn’t want it discussed because ‘they’ would use it to divide and rule. Black activists have also tried to redefine racism, so that something is only racist if it involves institutional oppression. This would mean that a racial assault by a White person on a Black victim would be officially racist, because Blacks are generally more disadvantaged and thus institutionally oppressed. But the reverse, a Black man assaulting a White victim, isn’t seen as racist as the White victim would be held not suffer such oppression. A little while ago there was a stir when three non-White activists, one Black and two Asian, made this argument against the inclusion of anti-White crimes in the statistics of racist offences.

Belfield is a terrible right-winger, who’d like to privatise the Health Service. But in this case, he is absolutely right: Druker shouldn’t be rewarded for her tasteless and inappropriate joke and the Beeb should get down of its corporate high horse and apologise for it. As should Druker. And the Comedy Award has been a non-event for years. I have the impression that way back in the ’90s it used to be the Perrier Award. This was in the heady days when comedy was expanding as the ‘new rock ‘n’ roll’. It even, for a brief period, had its own magazine. That was when the Award was given to up and coming comedians who were actually funny, and who went on to become household names. Now no longer. Perrier have stopped sponsoring it, as has, it seemed, the corporation that stepped in to replace them. And the Award is now reduced to promoting people like Sophie Druker for their tasteless and, some would say, racist jokes.

I was so annoyed by this that I drew this cartoon of Druker and Diane Abbott about it. I have to say, I have mixed feelings about Abbott. I agree with much of what she says, but some of her comments on race drive me up the wall and have me wishing she’d resign. As when she ignored the police’s strong advice for people not to speculate on the identity of the attempted murderer of Sasha Johnson. Abbott jumped to the conclusion that the murderer must have been a White supremacist, although the men actually accused are all Black. Abbott’s comments could easily have provoked a race riot. Instead of apologising for being too hasty, Abbott played the victim and made comments implying that the media instead were being racist for criticising her, because she was a woman of colour.

This is nowhere near good enough. Years ago opponents of anti-Black racism chanted that ‘Silence Violence’. If you didn’t speak up about anti-Black racism, you were also culpable.

But this should also apply to those who remain silent about anti-White racism or seek to close down any discussion of it.

https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2006/oct/22/ukcrime.race

The Lotus Eater’s video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wi4pDOjpC1c&t=309s

Vile! Priti Patel Withdraws Funding to Britain’s Only Centre Against Female Genital Mutilation

August 3, 2020

Yesterday, Mike over at Vox Political put up a very telling piece, which reveals precisely how low on their priorities is protecting vulnerable British girls from FGM. Priti Patel, the smirking minister, who believes it’s perfectly acceptable to conduct her own foreign policy for states such as Israel behind her own government’s back, and thinks that British workers should suffer the same horrendous wages and working conditions as the exploited masses of the developing world, because they’re too lazy, has decided to cut the funding to this country’s National FGM Centre. This was set up five years ago to combat Female Genital Mutilation, otherwise known as female circumcision. Feminists have also described it as ‘female castration’ because of its truly horrific nature. It’s the only centre protecting girls from communities across the UK from it. The centre’s head, Letheen Bartholomew, warned that FGM will not end if it is forced to close because of the cuts. Mike quotes her as saying:

“We will not be there to protect the girls who need us. We know that FGM is still being practised in communities across England.

“There are still girls who are being cut and so will face a lifetime of physical and emotional pain. It is a hidden form of child abuse.”

Mike connects this to the sadism in the Tory party generally, and their need to inflict pain and suffering on innocents. He also points out that Patel herself wanted to deport a girl so that she could undergo this truly horrific practise. There’s no way it can be decently described in a family blog, and it does seem to vary in severity. At its worst it leads to a lifetime of agonizing medical problems and health issues, including childbirth.

One of the communities in which girls are at risk is my own city of Bristol. A few years ago the local Beeb news propgramme, Points West, carried an item about girls of African heritage, who left vulnerable to it, and the courageous efforts of campaigners from these communities to combat it. This was when it was a pressing issue and voices were being raised across the country demanding that it should be fought and outlawed. And now that we find that the outrage has calmed down and it is no longer in the public consciousness, the Tories are doing what they have always done in these circumstances: they’re quietly ending it, hoping that nobody will notice. It’s served its purpose, which was to convince the public, or the chattering classes or some section thereof that the Tories really do hold some kind of liberal values, and are prepared to defend women and people of colour. But like everything they do in that direction, it’s always essentially propagandistic. It is there to garner them votes and plaudits in the press and media. And once it’s done that, these and similar initiatives are always abandoned.

Patel’s decision also shows you how seriously Johnson takes the general issue of racism and racial equality after the Black Lives Matter protests: he doesn’t. Not remotely. Remember he was going to set up an inquiry to deal with the issue, just like the last one the Tories set up under May when the issue raised its ugly head a few years ago. I admit that FGM is only one of a number of issues affecting Britain’s Black and BAME communities. It may not the most common, but it is certainly one of the most severe to those affected and there should be absolutely no question of the Centre continuing to receive funding. Young lives are being ruined. But Boris, Patel and the rest really can’t care less.

Part of the motive behind the Black Lives Matter protests, it seems to me, is that Britain’s Black communities have been particularly badly affected by austerity and neoliberalism. They aren’t alone – there are plenty of Whites and Asians that have similarly suffered. But as generally the poorest, or one of the poorest, sections of British society, which has suffered from structural racism, the Tories attacks on jobs, wages and welfare benefits has been particularly acute for them. It has contributed to the anger and alienation that led to the protests a few weeks ago and such symbolic acts as the tearing down of the statue of Edward Colston in Bristol.

But now that the protests seem to be fading, the Tories are showing their real lack of concern despite the appointment of BAME politicos like Patel to the government.

And underneath this there’s also a very hypocritical attitude to the whole issue of FGM on the political right. Islamophobes like Tommy Robinson and the EDL use it to tarnish Islam as a whole. It’s supposed to show that the religion as a whole is dangerously misogynist, anti-feminist and fundamentally opposed to modern western conceptions of human rights. In fact the impression I have is that FGM isn’t unique to Islam, but practised by various African and other cultures around the world. Islamic scholars have said that it has no basis in Islam itself, but is a pre-Islamic practice that was taken over as the religion expanded. There have also been attempts by campaigners in this country and the European Union to pass legislation very firmly outlawing it. A few years ago there was even a bill passing through the European Parliament. But UKIP, whose storm troopers had been making such a noise about FGM and the fundamental incompatibility of Islam and western society, did not rouse themselves from their habitual idleness to support the motion. And this was noticed at the time.

There seems to be a racist backlash coming on after the Black Lives Matter protests. The Tories are trying to recruit members on the internet by stirring up concerns about the waves of illegal immigration. Over the past few days there have also been pieces stuck up on YouTube about this, and related issues from the usual offenders at TalkRadio, Julia Hartley-Brewer, and ‘Celebrity Radio’ Alex Belfield. My guess is that if we wait long enough, FGM will be revived once again by the right as another metaphorical stick to attack Muslims and brown people.

But all the while it should be remembered that the Tories wanted to tell us they were serious about tackling it. They weren’t, and aren’t.

And that tells you all you need to know about their attitudes to race, women and the poorest members of society generally, regardless of gender and ethnicity.

See: https://voxpoliticalonline.com/2020/08/02/tory-cut-killing-uks-only-centre-to-stop-female-genital-mutilation-is-in-line-with-priti-patels-behaviour/

 

‘I’ Newspaper: Tories Selling Off Mental Health care to Americans

December 3, 2019

And it’s a disaster.

This is another story from yesterday’s I, this time written by Ian Birrell. It’s titled ‘NHYS for sale? Our mental health services are’ with the subtitle ‘Fatcat US operators already have their claws into our psychiatric services’. It’s a comprehensive discussion how big American private medical companies are acquiring British healthcare companies and NHS contracts, and how patients are suffering through the deplorably bad care they provide.

Birrell begins with Jeremy Corbyn’s statement last week that the documents of the negotiations between Trump and Johnson showed that the NHS were being sold off to private American companies. Birrell denied this, and instead stated that not even Boris would dare sell off the NHS went it is so highly valued by the British public. He then moved on to the strenuous denials by the Tories that they were planning any such thing, before attacking them in turn as lies when it came to mental health. He wrote

Yet hang on a second. One key slice of the NHS is already lying in a distressed state on the operating table, where it has been chopped up for profit-hungry private firms. And giant US health corporations, along with hedge funds and private equity firms, are already here and bleeding dry this profitable of the corner of the NHS – with often disastrous consequences for some of our most desperate patients. Sadly, no one seems to care much since it is “only” the mental health sector – for so long the neglected Cinderella service.

Yet in recent years a small cluster of fatcats have got their claws into Britain’s psychiatric services, exploiting the struggles of the health service to cope with surging demand. These operators have grabbed nearly £2bn of business, providing almost one quarter of NHS mental health beds and soaking up close to half the total spend on child and adolescent mental health services.

This means they own many NHS-funded units holding people, such as teenage girls who self-harm and adults with suicidal thoughts, along with hundreds of people with autism and learning disabilities scandalously locked up due to lack of support in their local communities. These firms benefit as overloaded mental health services and risk-averse officials send more and more troubled citizens into secure units. It is a lucrative business when it costs up to £730,000 per patient a year. Bosses can pocket millions – but many frontline workers earn little more than minimum wage and the use of agency staff is routine, despite the need to develop patient relationships.

Acadia, a Tennessee-based health giant, spent £1.3bn buying the Priory Group and now boasts of earning more than £188m in just three months from British public services. “Demand for independent-sector beds has grown significantly as a result of the NHS reducing its bed capacity and increasing hospitalisation rates,” said its last annual report.

Operating profits at Cygnet, owned by another huge US firm, have surged to £45.2m due to deals with 228 NHS purchasing bodies after it bought a rival group last year. Another outfit called Elysium, backed by private equity through a Luxembourg firm, only launched three years ago, but is already earning revenues of £62.2m from at least 55 units.

But a study by the Rightful Lives campaign group has found these three firms alone own 13 of the 16 mental health settings judged “inadequate” by the Care Quality Commission watchdog, since it found some teeth after the furore over abusive detention of people with autism and learning disabilities exploded a year ago. Cygnet runs eight of these “inadequate” units, although its US boss is reportedly the richest chief executive in the hospital industry, who collected more than £39m in one year from pay, bonuses and stock. Priory and Cygnet also owned hospitals exposed by disturbing undercover television documentaries over the past year.

I have heard a stream of horror stories from despairing families and former patients involving solitary confinement, forcible injections, abuse and overuse of restraint, during investigations into this area. Some were detained in NHS psychiatric units. But most involve privately run units. People such as Megan, who was sectioned for self-harm, suicidal thoughts and later found to be suffering post-traumatic stress from childhood traumas. She was in four clinics – but in one run by the Priory, aged just 16, she was even held stark naked for one month to prevent self-harm until her parents delivered a “safe suit”. “It was the most degrading time of my life,” she told me. The firm was fined £300,000 earlier this year for failings after the suicide of a 14-year-old girl at the same unit.

Despite the ample demonstration that private healthcare doesn’t work and is just simple profiteering, Birrell is at pains to say that he has nothing against the involvement of the private sector in state healthcare. He just wants it to be better regulated. He ends his piece with these two paragraphs

Unlike many voters, I have no problems with private providers in healthcare if the service remains free at the point of use, especially after seeing their role in European systems with superior patient outcomes to our own health service. But seeing these mental-health firms has shaken my faith.

Clearly all private operators need to be effectively regulated, especially when providing sensitive frontline services. Sadly, it seems our politicians on all sides prefer to posture over whether the NHS is really for sale to “mega-corporations” while ignoring those that have already arrived and are pocketing vast sums while offering inadequate services to so many despairing citizens. Once again, we see how little Westminster really cares.

Actually, I think these paragraphs say much about the I and the political ‘centrism’ it supports. The NHS has been privatised piecemeal since the days of Thatcher, who was prevented from privatising it outright by a cabinet revolt. Blair’s government did much to hand it over to private firms, though much had already been done in this direction by the Private Finance Initiative introduced by the Tories and Peter Lilley. The Conservatives haven’t reversed the policy of privatisation, and are instead ramping it up even further.

The result is massively poor performance. Jacky Davis and Ray Tallis argue very strongly in their book on the privatisation of the NHS, NHS-SOS, that on their own private healthcare can’t compete with state. The service provided will always be inferior, as the profit-motive doesn’t work when it comes to the long-term sick or those with acute conditions. Private hospitals have fewer beds than state hospitals. And those who cannot afford healthcare are simply left to sicken and die. A few years ago the private healthcare system in America nearly collapsed. It’s why the American healthcare giants are so keen to acquire pieces of ours.

Yes, continental healthcare which often does involve the private sector can perform better than ours. But that’s because our National Health Service has always received comparatively less funding than theirs. It’s been the case, sadly, since the NHS was set up. On the other hand, our healthcare results are far, far better than Americas and were comparable to those on the continent. Until the Tories took over, and decided to cut things back and privatise even more.

But Birrell cannot criticise private medicine, because privatisation is still part of ‘Centrist’ political dogma. Moreover, the press is now owned by immensely rich men, often with commercial interests in other sectors of the economy. As a result, the supposedly liberal I and Guardian continue to flog Centrist economics even though these are so well-past their sale-by date that they’ve been dubbed ‘zombie economics’.

As for Corbyn, I believe very strong that rather than playing political football with the issue of NHS privatisation, he’s very aware of what’s going on and how it is failing Britain’s sick and ill. That’s why he wants to end it and renationalise the NHS. Birrell tries desperately to avoid that conclusion, because like all Centrists he wants the NHS privatisation to continue thanks to the Thatcherite dogma he’s imbibed and promotes.

But Thatcherism has had its day. It is bringing nothing but misery, deprivation and death. It’s time the Tories were out, Jeremy Corbyn was in, and the NHS renationalised. 

Now!

Conservative MP to Attend Misogynist Men’s Rights Conference

April 28, 2019

Yesterday, Saturday 27th April 2019, the I carried a piece on page 11 reporting that the Tory MP Philip Davies was planning to attend a men’s rights conference in the US, alongside other far right notables like Mark ‘Nazi pug’ Meechan and Carl ‘Sargon of Akkad’ Benjamin. But he denied it was a misogynist event. The article, entitled ‘MP to attend ‘misogynist’ gathering, by Andrew Woodcock, ran

A Conservative MP has defended his decision to speak at a men’s rights conference in the US on the same platform as controversial figures.

Philip Davies said he intends to raise issues such as male suicides, boys’ performance in school, and the treatment of fathers in family break-ups at the Chicago conference in August. Other speakers listed for the International Conference on Men’s Issues include the Ukip MEP candidates Carl Benjamin and Mark Meechan, as well as Paul Elam, leader of the US group A Voice for Men.

Mr Benjamin has refused to apologise for tweeting “I wouldn’t even rape you” to Labour MP Jess Phillips. Mr Elam’s group, which once announced an “Annual Bash a Violent Bitch Month”, has been branded migosynist and male supremacist.

Confirming his plans to speak at the conference, Mr Davies said it was “nonsense” to suggest that his presence amounted to an endorsement of other participants’ opinions.

“I’m responsible for what I say. I’m not there to defend what anyone else says,” he said. “I’ve never heard of many of these people and I’m not responsible for their views.”

Philip Davies has been accused of misogyny himself. Apart from being a bog-standard, anti-welfare, tax the poor for the benefit of the rich Conservative, I seem to remember that a little while ago he caused controversy himself for his antics in parliament. If memory serves me correctly, he talked out a piece of legislation intended to protect women either from rape or FGM. Or both. As for the Men’s Rights Conference, one of them was held over here a couple of years ago, and was extensively critiqued by Kevin Logan. Logan’s a male feminist with a degree in 20th century history and politics, and puts up a series of videos attacking the denizens of the men’s rights movement, ‘The Descent of the Manosphere’. He states that the people – some of them are women, surprisingly – are attempting to reverse evolution and drag us all back into the sea. And it’s hard to dispute the fact.

These conferences aren’t really about men’s rights. Despite the accusations of activists like Paul Elam that men’s issues aren’t discussed by mainstream politicians, male suicide, boys’ performance in schools and so on have been debated in parliament. Logan even put up on one of his videos excerpts from the parliamentary journal, Hansard, to show that they were. He has also refuted Sargon’s claim that he sent his infamous tweet to Jess Philips because she was laughing at male suicide. She wasn’t. She was laughing at the claim that it wasn’t debated in the House, and replied to him informing him that she is consulting m’learned friends. Moreover, some of these issues could actually be solved by introducing left wing policies, that would benefit working people across the board. One of the issues is the low pay earned by certain types of male worker. But this could, as Logan states, be solved by strengthening trade unions and employees’ rights. But the people attending these conferences and those, who comprise the ‘manosphere’ generally, are on the right, very often the far right. And the mens’ rights movement itself will ignore these issues when it suits them. These conferences really are all about attacking feminism and trying to preserve the traditional male domination of society. Which can very clearly be seen by the hashtags used by Sargon when he sent his infamous tweet to Philips: #feminismiscancer.

Logan has also pointed out that some of the mens’ issues that Davies intends to present have even been discussed by feminists, citing a number of academic articles in feminist and gender-studies journals. I think part of the problem here is that most people have no contact with academic feminism, and depend for what they know about it from the press and public figures, some of whom are unsympathetic. I can remember reading a newspaper article a decade or so ago, where one of the female politicos – I think it may have been Baroness Blackstone or someone like her, but I’m not sure – was asked about boys’ declining performance in school. I can’t remember what her precise words were, but she more or less said that it was all the boys’ own fault. She simply wasn’t interested. Now it was probably unfair to expect the good lady to be concerned about this, as she had been talking about her campaign to improve girls’ performance in school and career prospects. But it and other comments like it leaves the deep impression that avowedly feminist politicians are deeply hostile to men.

Quite apart from changes in gender roles, and the demands for greater equality and opportunities for women in society, jobs and politics, the economic structure of society has changed so that traditionally male jobs in heavy industry and manufacturing have declined. The result has been an increased sense of threat and insecurity among some men, who have burned to the ultra-traditional, misogynist far right. The core support for the Republican party in America is angry White men, who feel under attack from women and ethnic minorities. This is the electoral base that turned to Trump and other politicos like him.

Issues like male suicide, the decline in boys’ performance in schools and greater access to children for fathers in marital break-up do need to be addressed. And there are some extremely violent women out there, as well. But the men’s rights movement and its members and activists behind this and similar gatherings aren’t interested in these issues so much as keeping women firmly in their places as subordinates to men. They are deeply misogynist, and deserve to be attacked and criticised. Just like Davies and the other politicos, who attend them.

Here are a few videos by Kevin Logan attacking the men’s rights conferences and some of the individuals mentioned above.

Carl Benjamin, alias Sargon of Akkad.

Paul Elam

The 2018 International Conference on Men’s Issues

Be warned that some of the views of these men’s rights activists are extremely unpleasant. Some of them do justify rape, or at least try to excuse it, and they also hold very racist views.

Secular Talk on Iran’s Execution of Children as Young as 9

February 1, 2016

I’ve made it clear on this blog that I’m neither an atheist nor a secularist. I’ve reblogged quite a bit of material from the atheist news show, Secular Talk, because I’ve agreed with their political comments. This is another such piece about the judicial murder of children in Iran. And I agree absolutely.

Kyle Kulinski reports that Amnesty International have said that Iran has executed about 160 children this year. This includes girls as young as 9 and boys as young as 15. In one case, a thirteen year old boy was sentenced to death for raping two other boys. In court, however, he retracted his confession, stating he had been coerced into giving it by the police. Two of his victims also retracted their statements, saying they two had been forced to make them by the cops. Children have been executed by the state because of drug smuggling. Many were denied legal representation during their trials. He recognises that while this is horrific and wrong, other countries also apply the death penalty, including Yemen and Saudi Arabia, where they use beheading, a particularly horrific method.

Kulinski states he believes there should be a global ban on the death penalty, because of the dangers of executing the wrong people. He states that there are some people, who are so heinous that he doesn’t feel there’s anything wrong in executing them. I’m sure most people understand the sentiments. Looking at the monsters tried a Nuremberg, most people would probably say they deserved to dance Jack Ketch’s jig. But too many other people, who were innocent, or whose crime did not warrant the severity of the death penalty, have also been sent to the gallows.

And children should not be executed, as they’re still growing and developing. It’s still possible to rehabilitate them. There’s also the argument that some young offenders may genuinely not know what they’ve done, or be as responsible for their actions as a grown adult.

Kulinski makes it clear that he includes America in this global ban. And he is clearly appalled at the horrific botched executions in his homeland, which have taken place when the new ‘humane’ poison has not worked. He describes instances where men have died in agony, frothing at the mouth, after living on for about half an hour, long enough for their hangmen to have called the execution off. And he makes it very clear that he regards the executions for sorcery and witchcraft stupid.