Monthly Archives: January 2011

The ‘Thought Police’

A lot has been written about the sacking of Andy Gray and the forced resignation of Richard Keys, with some papers printing articles suggesting that men are the real victims of sexism, punished for being the perpetrators of it whilst no-one has sacked the Loose Women team. You can read an excellent blog post here on why that is not an argument, but this post is going to try and unravel the latest Peter Hitchen column which as usual takes a rather unique view of the situation.

The headline pretty much sums up his argument: ‘Think it was right to sack Andy Gray? See how you feel when the Thought Police come for you’. Peter is adamant that ‘Mr Gray and Mr Keys should not have been sacked, or disciplined in any way’. His reasoning is that:

The things they said were not intended for broadcast and they were not transmitted. They were private conversations. I don’t care that those conversations were leaked. Any remotely public figure has to assume this will happen nowadays. But if Mr Gray and Mr Keys didn’t intend their remarks to be broadcast, they shouldn’t be judged professionally as if they had intended it.

It is quite simply unjust to condemn a man for having his private conversation transmitted to the world by someone else.

In your own time, amongst your own friends you can say what you like. If you hate blacks / gays / whites / women / Coronation Street / the Daily Mail / the Guardian or whatever you will normally end up with a group of friends who share the same values as you do. Conversation amongst your social can cover whatever topics you want because you know they will not be offended because you know they think / feel the same way. The world might not like racists, but it makes no attempt to ban their thoughts, stop their congregation or conversations and it allows them to form groups such as the BNP or EDL. There is no such thing as the thought police, and no barriers to private conversation – or indeed public expression, just visit Youtube, message boards, blogs and comment threads for evidence. If you want to publicly be a misogynist, you can be and you will not be alone.

However, sometimes in life you will be forced into situations in which you must sacrifice your personal opinions. Every single person who has a job must for the hours they are in work comply with the ethos of that company and the company must conform to set standards of behaviour – yes, specifically with regards to equality (be it race, religion, sex or sexuality etc). This is not about having a ‘thought police’ or preventing said employee from holding private conversations with friends about how they would love to ‘hang out the back of that bird from HR’ or ‘smash that bitch from the call centre’ or whatever the hell they want to say amongst friends. No, it is simply the acknowledgment that when in work you are not amongst your friends. Instead you will be forced to work with people who may not share your values, who have no desire to be your friend or even like you. Likewise, you might not like them or share their values and you would never consider being friendly with them outside work. That is their right and that is your right.

This is why a company must have policies in place to let every employee know what is and isn’t acceptable behaviour in the work place – after all, you are being paid to perform a role and to represent a company, as soon as you accept a contract of employment you give up your right to be yourself to some extent for the period of time when you are in work. When you are in work you change your behaviour because the people around you are likely to be far more diverse in thoughts / feelings / beliefs than your social group. Every individual reserves the right to choose their friends, media (newspapers, TV news, entertainment, websites etc) to suit their own tastes. All an employer asks in return is that when in work people just switch off their strong views and instead just treat everyone with a neutral respect. If you wouldn’t choose to go drinking with a misogynist, why should you be forced to listen to one whilst you are in work? If you don’t choose to read the Guardian in your spare time, why should you be forced to be constantly heckled by a Guardian reader in work?

It is called ‘being professional’. Andy Gray and Richard Keys can meet up whenever they want outside of work and privately discuss who they’d love to smash, or what jobs women are not suited to and so on. However, when they are in work they cannot, it is that simple. In reality, when you are a public figure, paid handsomely to be the front-men for Sky Sports you do give up some rights to even do this, as your job involves you having a public profile I’m sure Sky would want them to represent the corporation positively outside of work. Much-maligned public sector workers have to conduct themselves responsibly in their private lives for this reason.

If you are in work it is just common sense to restrain from making racist comments, or grinning at a female member of staff picking something off the floor before greeting her with the line ‘while you’re down their love’. It is not acceptable behaviour, it is that simple. It is obvious that the kind of comments made by Gray and Keys are repeated all across the country because a lot of men are still in the grip of a deep-rooted misogyny, but no-one is interested in stopping these conversations taking place. There is no thought police. All that this story represents is that this behaviour is totally unacceptable in a professional environment, which should be apparent should anyone spend a few minutes reading their contract of employment. You wouldn’t turn up to work in Bermuda shorts swigging lager, so why should you reserve the right to turn up to work and be racist, sexist or whatever else.

Peter Hitchens – as always – is just utterly wrong. The fact that the recordings were never meant to be broadcast is completely irrelevant because they were still in work, they should have been acting professionally at all times – colleagues could be just as offended as the potential viewers. It is that simple. We would have no sympathy had they been drinking on the job, or if they had been berating an assistant referee for being black and therefore incapable of grasping the civilised rules of football. All most people want is the freedom to go to work and not face verbal mocking for their sex, sexuality, race, religion and so on. To me, this really doesn’t sound like such a bad thing, but sadly – thanks to the twisted arguments of the right-wing media – equality has become just as evil a word as liberalism.

Daily Mail deals with domestic abuse

The Supreme Court has ruled that courts should recognise psychological domestic abuse as well as just physical violence:

Lady Hale said that ‘violence’ can also include ‘strength or intensity of emotion, fervour and passion’.

She said the legal understanding of domestic violence had moved on ‘from a narrow focus upon battered wives and physical contact’.

The Justice of the Supreme Court said the meaning of ‘violence’ under the 1996 Act should be brought up to date in line with modern thinking.

Lady Hale added: ‘The essential question is whether an updated meaning is consistent with the statutory purpose.

‘In this case the purpose (of the Act) is to ensure that a person is not obliged to remain living in a home where she, her children or other members of her household are at risk of harm.’

The Daily Mail hack covering this story has hidden behind the ubiquitous ‘Daily Mail Reporter’ and the headline writer decided that this headline was appropriate: ‘Women entitled to a council house if they move out because their partner shouts at them, top judges rule’. Yes, that really is the headline. It goes without saying that the hack puts inverted commas around ‘violence’, ‘abused’ and ‘homeless’ because clearly if a women isn’t physically beaten then they are not victims of violence or abuse and they should stay at home to be psychologically abused.

Incidentally the female victim in the case that led to the ruling described her treatment as:

Mrs Yemshaw had told the housing officers that her husband, who rented the property in his sole name, shouted in front of the children and did not treat her ‘like a human’.

Still, she should be grateful that she wasn’t really a victim of ‘violence’ or ‘abuse’, eh?

Winterval Myth & Islamophobia to be covered by Radio 4

Tomorrow at 12.30 on BBC Radio 4, Face the Factswill be covering the Winterval Myth during a programme examining how the British press is contributing to Islamophobia. I was interviewed for the programme because of my essay on the Winterval Myth and the fact that the EDL (supposedly a peaceful organisation protesting against extreme Islam) threatened to march on and close down any town in which the local council attempted to ‘ban Christmas’. You can find out more about the programme here, and you can read my essay here for a full examination of how the myth started and how it has contributed to the growing problem of Islamophobia in Britain.

The programme should also be available on the Iplayer for a while after broadcast. I tried to get across my points as articulately and concisely as possible, but please bear in mind it was my first (and probably last) appearance on the radio and I left feeling that I hadn’t quite hit the nail on the head.

Bias

According to his website – currently not operational for some reason – Richard Littlejohn:

has no party political affiliations and believes journalists should be in a state of permanent opposition and scepticism, opposed to vested interests of all political persuasions and fiercely protective of civil liberties.

His job is to sit at the back and throw bottles.

But as I have pointed out before, this clearly isn’t the case and today’s column is no exception. Today Richard has a few words to say about sexism, more specifically the trouble that Andy Gray and Richard Keys have got themselves into for their off-air comments about a female assistant referee and West Ham vice-chairman Karen Brady. Not surprisingly – given that Richard habitually and patronisingly refers to women as ‘pet’ in his column (he does so again today) – Richard asks for mercy for the two men, claiming that ‘their considered view that women have no business running the line at Premier League football matches would be considered utterly uncontroversial by most gentlemen of a certain age’ – not to mention that ‘most women of a certain age would probably agree, too’.

All pretty standard fare for Richard, but more interesting and amusing is Richard’s opening gambit: ‘Why on earth should Sky presenters Andy Gray and Richard Keys be pilloried for something they said off-air?’ Cast your mind back to Gordon Brown’s ‘off-air’, private comments about Gillian Duffy that were leaked to the press, did he stand by Brown? Not quite, he wrote a lead column on it titled: ‘Gordon hates everybody – Labour voters included‘. Indeed, he claimed the ‘deranged outburst’ (that was muttered quietly, in private and sounded tired rather than ‘deranged’) provided him with all the evidence that he needed to support and justify his earlier claim that Brown was a ‘sociopath’.

Clearly, Richard ‘permanent opposition’ Littlejohn is biased towards the Conservative Party and only ever attacks Labour – whether they are in power or not. He is inherently biased towards Conservative ideology, even though he claims that ‘has no party political affiliations’. It is therefore even more hypocritical that he attacks the BBC for their supposed left-wing bias just because Peter Sissons (a person who presumably holds right-wing values and someone the BBC obviously forgot to sack to maintain its left-wing bias for a number of years) said so and Littlejohn agrees with him.

Let’s face it, when you are as far-right as Littlejohn that you attract fan mail from racists, compliments from BNP leader Nick Griffin and you’re one of the highest-paid columnists writing for a notoriously right-wing (i.e. supporting Facism in the UK and Hitler during the 1930s and the editorial stance has got worse under Paul Dacre) newspaper, you probably view most other news sources as ‘left-wing’. The BBC has to adhere to strict impartial standards, if it had a systematic bias then action can be taken to correct this. The BBC has to report fact and not get involved in the business of opinion in its news pieces. Often these facts are uncomfortable for writers like Littlejohn because truth to the tabloid press is whatever they wish to print, truth is a construct, not an absolute. Anything that dare contradict this outlook must be smeared, which is why the BBC gets so much stick for being ‘left-wing’, when it is clear that what the newspapers really mean is that they hate the BBC because it is a source of truth that has enough influence to actually resist the world view that the tabloids have tried so hard to create. Why do you think Murdoch hates it so much?

As for Littlejohn, his claims of impartiality, opposition and integrity are not just laughable, they are indicative of just how far from reality most tabloid visions of the world actually are. If you are being criticised by the Daily Mail or the tabloid press in general, then you should – as Stephen Fry does – treat it as a badge of honour for you must be doing something right.

The Daily Mail and the Gay Agenda

/* This post originally appeared on my old blog on 30 April 2009. As part of the migration of content from my old blog I may occasionally post them here as a current post if I feel they are relevant. Due the the constant themes / narratives in the Daily Mail old posts often cover ‘new’ Mail articles. */

‘If you’re not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.’
Malcolm X

The Daily Mail has contained quite a few articles on ‘gays’ recently and the tone, content and spin of the articles is uniformly depressing – whilst the comments underneath the offending articles are shameful. Today’s effort skewers an incident so once again the ‘homosexual’ or ‘gay’ lobby are the aggressors, and the intolerant and bigoted are the victims of some kind of ‘gay agenda’.

It is an idea fomented by – amongst others – Richard Littlejohn; who sees teaching diversity in schools as a mission to ‘peddle’ or ‘force-feed’ ‘gay propaganda’ to children. So, in the world of the Daily Mail the very act of reaching for equality is seen as an act of aggression – in simple terms the gay agenda is not seeking equality but is actually intent on banishing heterosexuality and converting us all to homosexuality.

This article, like many others, pitches a god-fearing Christian teacher against an evil homosexual preaching ‘diversity’ and ‘tolerance’. The headline, naturally, is designed to raise the blood pressure of any Daily Mail reader: ‘What makes you think it’s natural to be heterosexual?': Christian teacher suspended over gay rights promotion row.

The basic story is:

A senior teacher has been suspended from his £50,000-a-year job after he complained that a training day for staff was used to promote gay rights. Kwabena Peat, 54, was one of several Christian staff who walked out of the compulsory session at a North London school after an invited speaker questioned why people thought heterosexuality was natural.

Now, this is essentially the crux of the ‘gay rights promotion row’, Sue Sanders appears to have asked a philosophical question: ‘what makes you think it’s natural to be heterosexual?’. Now, without context this does seem to be an odd question, but consider for a moment the question being used as a discussion point, which as this was training, seems likely.

The question seems to be designed to get participants questioning what is ‘natural’ – what does the concept mean and does the concept of natural differ based upon individual perception? The point probably being made is that for a gay person, to them being gay is perfectly natural; consequently, from the perception of a gay person, heterosexuality – for them – would be unnatural.

The important thing to remember is that this is a question, it is not a statement decreeing that heterosexuality is abnormal and homosexuality is normal. However, to properly engage with the question a person needs to be free of the common misconceptions about homosexuality. This is the difficult part for a Daily Mail reader as they are constantly being told that homosexuality is a perversion, a choice made by perverted people (hence the fear of education in schools, tell more people, more will choose to be gay).

Richard Littlejohn – as just one example – has grouped homosexuality with fetishes, and as I said at the time:

He… does not seem to understand that being gay isn’t really a choice. ‘Why a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender month, anyway?’ he argues, ‘Why not a Foot Fetishists, Spankers, Sadists and Masochists History Month?’. Littlejohn lists these fetishes for two main reasons: one; to make Gay, Bisexual or Transgender people sound as perverted as Mail readers assume those who practice those fetishes to be, and two; to make it seem as if being Gay is a behaviour that one can choose not to indulge in – with the implicit assumption that to indulge in such a behaviour is a perversion.

Littlejohn clearly wants to ferment the idea that homosexuality is a perversion and as we all know, a perversion is something considered outside of ‘natural’ or ‘normal’ sexual practice. Therefore, when the notion of what is ‘natural’ is placed in front of a Mail reader, they already harbour a strong prejudice against homosexuality.

Therefore the question allegedly asked by Sue Sanders will be met with horror, as homosexuality has already been labeled unnatural, so in the eyes of the Mail reader the perversion in this instance is the philosophical questioning of why heterosexuality is considered natural.

This is not the only problem with the. The article is also constructed to make the Christian teacher the victim, yet in many ways he seems to be the aggressor:

According to Mr Peat, Ms Sanders, herself a lesbian, said that staff who did not accept that being gay was normal had ‘issues’ they had to deal with.Mr Peat, a history teacher who is also a head of year, said he was upset that people who disagreed on religious grounds had no chance to respond.

He wrote privately to the three staff members who organised the session, complaining about Ms Sanders’ ‘aggressive’ presentation. In his letter, he cited the Bible and warned that practising homosexuals risked God’s ‘wrath’.

But the staff complained to the school’s principal that they felt ‘harassed and intimidated’ by the letter and, after an investigation, Mr Peat was placed on paid leave.

It does not seem unreasonable to state that staff who do not accept homosexuality as normal have issues they need to deal with. As we have already discussed the question asked by Sue Sanders seems a perfectly valid discussion point – that if properly considered by an adult mind helps to tease out why the concept of normality can apply to both heterosexuality and homosexuality. What does seem unreasonable is the response of Mr Peat, the supposed Christian.

You’d have thought a devout Christian would turn the other cheek, be tolerant or do unto others, but instead he preaches violence and intolerance as a perfectly acceptable solution to a problem he has. It seems to be significant that although the Mail claims that Kwabena Peat ‘was one of several Christian staff who walked out of the compulsory session’ this is never elaborated on; whilst what is a fact is that Mr Peat has been suspended after the complaints made against him by staff.

The Daily Mail sets Mr Peat up as the victim, yet the truth seems to show that he is an intolerant Christian being wheeled out as a martyr to the ‘gay agenda’. Not that this seems to have been realised by the majority of commentators on the article:

In answer to Ms Sanders, “What makes you all think that to be heterosexual is natural?” It’s bloody obvious, you’re here on the planet! If it wasn’t normal then the human race would have become extinct as it had failed to reproduce. Or would you even twist science and history around?

Again,the public are being force fed left wing political correctness, just to keep so called minorities ‘happy and in control,’ The scarey part is that they are allowed to be in schools to preach their views!!!!!

– David ex-pat, Perth, Australia, 26/4/2009 4:39

David – he is not alone, but I dare not copy and paste reams and reams of ignorant Mail commentators for the sake of some brevity – again, thinks that normal cannot ever apply to a homosexual. His argument is a biological one: homosexuality doesn’t allow for reproduction, therefore it is not natural. Yet, what he hasn’t the intelligence to consider, is that people are born gay.

It isn’t – as Littlejohn likes to believe – something we can be forced into or converted to by interacting with gay people, or by attending diversity or awareness sessions. Therefore, can it be concluded that as sexual preference is not a result of nurture, it must be the result of nature? This conclusion would mean that homosexuality is perfectly natural and must be biologically determined – making David ex-pat’s argument as bad as his spelling.

The point I am trying to make is that gay people are not making a choice about their sexuality anymore than a straight person is. What equality is trying to achieve is the freedom for a person to be comfortable with whatever biological attraction they are born with. The message that being a homosexual is normal is being delivered because as a society we do not want people wandering around suppressing their nature in fear that they will be victimised or ostracised for simply being who they are.

In particular the issue is important in schools because we want to let children know that whatever they are feeling is OK. If they have an attraction to the same sex they should not feel like a freak, and they should not feel scared. Instead they should be given the opportunity to understand and embrace their biology, embrace what is for them natural and normal. The insidious implications in recent Daily Mail articles that ‘promoting homosexuality’ in schools is damaging children is to deny them their biological right to be happy.

It is assumed by bigots that children would all be happy heterosexuals if they didn’t hear about homosexuality through the ‘gay agenda lobby’, when in fact if they deny their basic urges or desires because they feel uncomfortable expressing them, is surely a recipe for unhappiness.

There is no such thing as a ‘gay agenda’ or ‘gay lobby’ that works on behalf of all gay people. To give gay people one voice is to homogenise, judge and dehumanise them. We are all individuals doing our best to make some sense of the world around us and our own emotions, it makes no difference whether an individual is gay, straight or bisexual.

Unless of course, you read the Daily Mail and other tabloid newspapers.

Richard Littlejohn’s Obsessions

The excellent Five Chinese Crackers – the man brave enough to write a detailed review of Littlejohn’s novel ‘To Hell in a Handcart‘ – has now gone and read all of his part-fiction books and has part 1 of his musings online now. Anyway, he wanted to find something I posted a couple of years back on Littlejohn and I realised it had been lost from the old blog which is now falling apart somewhat, so I am going to repost it in full here. Enjoy.

Littlejohn’s 2008: Year of the Nazi

Summary

I’ve read through every article that Richard Littlejohn wrote in 2008 in order to assess how many times he repeated inane catchphrases, how many times he used certain words and just what bizarre phrases or arguments he came up with in 2008.

I have concluded that 2008 for Richard was very much the year of the ‘Nazi’. Littlejohn gave us the: ‘elf ‘n’ safety nazi’, ‘road safety nazi’, ‘anti-smoking nazi’, ‘eco-nazis’, ‘dustbin nazis’, ‘recycling nazis’, ‘diversity nazis’, ‘tinpot nazis’, ‘condiment nazis’, ‘nail-varnish nazis’, ‘noise abatement nazis’ and ‘City of London Corporation safety nazis’.

Furthermore he also railed against: ‘health fascists’, ‘eco-fascists’, ‘five-a-day fascists’, ‘diversity fascists’, ‘”global warming” fascists’, ‘elf ‘n’ safety stormtroopers’, ‘condiments communists’, ‘sandwich stasis’, ‘weights and measures gestapo’, ‘equality and diversity commissars’,’condom commandos’ and the ‘fascist left’.

In general terms I didn’t count the amount of times he referred to a woman as ‘pet’ or ‘dear’ as if somehow that was all he need do to defeat their argument or belittle them. I lost count of the amount of times he referred to climate change as a ‘scam’, or the amount of times he confused the weather outside with long term climate change. However, I did count the amount of times he used the word ‘muslim’ or ‘muslims’ in his columns (70), I also counted how man of his articles (97 in total) referred to homosexuality: 40.

Awards

Confession of the year:I’m a libertarian‘.

Article Titles of the year:

5 – Elf ‘n’ safety stormtroopers raid Teddy Bears’ picnic

4 – Now they want to ban mums and dads

3 – We’re mad as hell and we DON’T have to take it any more!

2 – Condiment nazis? Send them to the salt mines!

1 – LITTLEJOHN: The sinister secrets of the dustbin Nazis

Word of the Year: Muslims (with 70 mentions in 97 articles)

Phrase of the Year: Elf ‘n’ safety (with 51 mentions in 97 articles)

Gay article count 2008: 40 (out of 97 articles found space to bash gays)

Catchphrases

In 2008 Richard Littlejohn managed to write 97 articles. He is reported to be earning around £800,000 a year writing for the Mail so that means he was been paid around £8247 for each article.

Richard Littlejohn likes to repeat catchphrases because he thinks there is something intrinsically clever or funny in doing so. ‘Elf ‘n’ safety’ was the most popular catchphrase of 2008 with 51 uses (mentioned another 11 times as part of the phrase ‘elf ‘n’ safety nazis’) whilst the second favourite phrase was the ingenious ‘Call Me Dave’ – wasn’t funny the first time, nor the 34th time it was used. ‘You couldn’t make it up’ was used a respectable 30 times but surprisingly ‘yuman rites’ was only used a sparing 28 times – with ‘Mind how you go’ only being used 16 times.

When it comes to single words, which represent a particular bugbear for Littlejohn, ‘Muslim/s’ scored highest with 70 uses, surprisingly scoring higher than the word ‘gay’ which comes up the rear (yes, this Littlejohnism is intentional) with a pitiful 39 uses. The next most popular word is ‘diversity’ (which Littlejohn tends to use as a swearword) with 31 uses, 6 more than ‘terrorist/s’ got over the course of the year, but I failed to count ‘terrorism’.

2008 Littlejohn word / catchphrase leaderboard

Muslim/s 70
Elf ‘n’ safety 51
Gay 39
Call Me Dave 34
Diversity 31
You couldn’t make it up 30
Yuman rites 28
Terrorist/s 25
Guardianistas 21
Illegal immigrants 17
Mind how you go 16
Speed cameras 15
Elf ‘n’ safety nazis 11
Com-pen-say-shun* 9
Multiculturalism 6
Aids 6
Traffic Taliban 5
Fascist Left 5
Eco-loonies 5
Liberal ‘media’ 2

* Littlejohn puts the phonetic dashes for this word in a variety of ways, largely, I suspect, because he is a moron.

His opinions

On Gordon Brown, he has an ‘unnerving kiddiefiddler grin‘ and in an article around three weeks later he uses the following headline to subtlety reinforce this opinion: Hey, Gordon, leave them kids alone!.

On the Scottish:

Lack of sunshine is said to be the real reason behind Scotland’s poor record on health. A new report identifies a deficiency of Vitamin D as responsible for everything from diabetes and cancer to high blood pressure and strokes. So nothing to do with chain-smoking, binge drinking and deep-fried Mars Bars, then.

On traffic wardens:

Traffic wardens  –  sorry, civil enforcement officers  –  are the stormtroopers of New Labour

On PCSOs:

The ranks of PCSOs are comprised of people who are too stupid to pass the entrance exam for the real police.

On climate change:

As I keep insisting, ‘climate change’ is the new catch-all excuse for bullying, fining and inconveniencing us.

On President-to-be Obama:

not a President-in-Waiting but an uppity kid with delusions of grandeur

On internet banking:

I’m… highly suspicious of any kind of financial transactions that involve the internet.Three or four times a week, I get invited by someone in Nigeria to allow him to deposit several million pounds in my bank account overnight. For my trouble, he promises there will be a nice little drink in it for me. It is an invitation I have no difficulty declining.

Same with internet banking. I’m sure it was all perfectly legitimate at the time, but there would be no more chance of me investing in an online Icelandic bank than responding to one of those emails offering me a bigger penis.

On how terrible the Daily Mail and his column is:

And if you need to be reminded of the awfulness of modern Britain as you relax in a sun-drenched foreign resort, there’s always the Daily Mail, printed around the globe, available from your friendly beach-side newsagent and online.

On dwarfs:

There’s something intrinsically funny about dwarfs.

On wearing make-up:

Talented make-up artists have tried the lot on me over the years to try to disguise my natural hideousness from the cameras  –  blusher, concealer, foundation, tinted moisturisers.Trust me, chaps, it’s uncomfortable. And I’ve always drawn the line at lipstick.

But, I’ll admit, there have been times when I’ve rushed away to a dinner after the show and forgotten to wipe it off.

It’s only when you’re standing in the gents looking like an off-duty drag queen that you realise you’ve made a horrible mistake.

On boys:

the feminisation of Britain… starts in school, where barking-mad women teachers label boisterous behaviour as ‘attention deficit disorder’ and ‘hyperactivity’.Boys being boys is now considered an illness which needs treating. Ritalin has replaced discipline.

Men are constantly encouraged to get in touch with their feminine side and confront their ‘issues’.

On bureaucrats:

For two decades, this column has made a career out of exposing the unbending lunacy and sheer bloody-mindedness of British bureaucrats, but the monster marches ravenously on.At a time when we can least afford it, we are being bled white to finance the Sandwich Stasi and hundreds of thousands of index-linked, spiteful, self-righteous parasites.

In another life, these are the very people who would have been loading the cattle trucks to the concentration camps.

To the scaffold with the lot of them

On Goths:

My Geordie mate, Black Mike, would take one look at her in her absurd “Goth” outfit and remark: “Gi’ us a stick and I’ll kill it.”…When her owner – er, fiancé – Addams Family lookalike Dani Graves tried to take her on to a bus, the driver stopped them, saying: “We don’t let freaks and dogs like you on.”

The couple complained that it was a “hate crime”… They should be neutered.

Peculiar

It seems to be a week in which Daily Mail headline writers are competing with each other to create the most offensive headline. Earlier in the week we had that headline on depression, yesterday we had Jan Moir giving her message to students in receipt of EMA:

EMA

And today we have a story about how Jonathan Ross’ family are ‘peculiar’ and ‘bizzarre’ as a follow up to him outing one of his daughters as gay:

Ross

Maybe I am being oversensitive or reading too much into that headline, but it just sounds as if the writer is taking one ‘peculiar’ behaviour – being gay (in the eyes of the Mail, this is not me speaking) – and then digging deeper to expose the rest of the family as also leading an odd lifestyle – because being gay is a lifestyle choice as far as the Mail is concerned. The full headline is not any better: ‘They talk to each other at home on Twitter, keep sheep and pigs in the garden and have a remote-controlled loo seat. After Jonathan Ross outs his daughter as gay, the bizarre truth about a very peculiar family…’.

Sure, write about the family life of the Ross’ if you want, but why do you feel the need to build it around his gay daughter, as if she was the tip of the ‘peculiar’ iceberg?

Why police have not named latest suspect

The Daily Mail have published this explanation on their website, I have highlighted the most humorous, hypocritical pieces:

Police today took the unusual step of refusing to reveal the name of a suspect in Jo Yeates’s murder investigation.

It is common practise for people to be named on arrest but the investigating team have refused to do so following controversial media coverage of a previous arrest.

When Jo Yeates’s neighbour Chris Jefferies, 65, was arrested, police felt the ensuing media coverage overstepped the bounds of what is legally acceptable.

There are strict rules on what media outlets can and cannot report under the Contempt of Court Act, which seeks to ensure a fair trial in any subsequent court proceedings.

Following Mr Jefferies’s release without charge the Attorney General, Dominic Grieve, warned newspaper editors about the dangers of publishing ‘irrelevant or improper material’.

The government’s senior law officer stressed that there was ‘freedom of the press’, but said newspapers had to comply with the Contempt of Court Act.

‘We need to avoid a situation where trials cannot take place or are prejudiced as a result of irrelevant or improper material being published, whether in print form or on the internet, in such a way that a trial becomes impossible,’ Mr Grieve said.

‘I don’t want to comment on the precise coverage, but I think it’s important to understand that the contempt of court rules are there to protect the rule of law and the fair trial process and they require newspapers, and indeed anyone who is covering material, to do that in a way that doesn’t prejudice the possibility of a fair trial taking place at a later date.’

The Attorney General added that newspapers were ‘pretty familiar’ with the contempt of court rules and asked them to make responsible judgement calls.

‘I would simply ask them to reflect carefully on how they provide proper coverage on a matter of public importance while at the same time, mindful of how our legal system works, they can also ensure that a trial process – if one were ever to happen – would not be prejudiced by material being published that may be irrelevant to any case that comes before the court but could be seriously prejudicial to an individual who is standing trial.’

However, while more traditional media outlets have obeyed the letter of the law on this latest arrest, within hours of the arrest the internet was awash with rumours of a suspect’s identity, including micro-blogging site Twitter.

Mr Jefferies is now said to be considering suing police for wrongful arrest after his reputation was arguably damaged by press coverage.

Police are keen to avoid the same happening with any current or future suspect, hence their warnings to the press.

As part of the statement released to confirm the arrest this morning, police gave a firm instruction to media outlets covering the case.

It read: ‘Proceedings are active and everyone is reminded of the Contempt of Court Act and therefore you will understand that we cannot discuss any more details at this stage.’

The 10 O’Clock show

A new live show starring a ‘supergroup‘ of talent – David Mitchell, Charlie Brooker, Jimmy Carr and Lauren Laverne – is being launched tonight on Channel 4 at 10pm (obviously). It is supposed to be a serious satirical news / politics show and is live to encourage people to get involved via Twitter – you can follow the show here – and amusing / intelligent tweets may get featured on the show.

I just thought this show might appeal to you, so thought I would point it out in case you had missed it. I shall be watching it and tweeting the odd thing, you can follow me on Twitter here.

Spot the swastika

Compare and the contrast the two images below. The first is a picture of the gay couple turned away from a hotel, who recently won a discrimination case against the owners. The second is the Daily Mail cartoon by Mac, who is covering the story in his own unique style. See if you can spot the swastika in the Mac cartoon and then challenge yourself to try and come up with an innocent explanation for why he decided to add it.