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Does genderswapping fictional characters really advance women?

This isn’t a Ghostbusters rant. I need to mansplain that out of the way at the start because some on both sides of that particular argument may expect it to be. But that remake is part of something I’ve been wondering about, which is whether remaking old established stories with male protagonists changed into female ones actually helps.

Something else this isn’t is a denial that fiction is another area where there’s a long standing gender imbalance or that it’s worth trying to even that up. However, I am going to question whether or not gender swapping existing characters is the best way to go about it.

Right now I’m looking at an article about Gillian Anderson’s Jane Bond tweets by Clem Bastow titled 6 Other Iconic Characters It’s Time to Genderswap in which she suggests another half dozen candidates. So here are some thoughts on those examples before gender swapping and remakes in general.
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A tale of two, no, make that three Aussies

First, via an Ambushy Predatory tweet, the case of Geoff Stephens, a UK based Australian whose feelings were hurt by colleagues making Australian jokes, as I blogged in passing last year.

An Australian community warden called Geoff Stephens suing his council employer because people keep saying things like “G’day, sport” to him and making kangaroo jokes.

Look, folks, this must stop. It is wholly inappropriate to call Mr Stephens “sport”. The correct term is “yer big sooky la-la” and must be used from now on.

Well, it seems that Geoff – be careful not to call him Geoff-o or anything else that might sound a bit Australian in case the poor guy can’t take it – must have lost because he’s now in the news again. Yes (said with a sense of depressing inevitability), he’s taking his case to Europe.

An Australian community warden who claimed he was racially abused by colleagues who constantly greeted him with ‘G’day Sport’ is taking his case to the European Court of Human Rights.

Geoff Stephens, who has been in the UK for 27 years after coming over from Australia when he was 22 years old, claimed he suffered a barrage of abuse from co-workers for being Australian.

Anyone interested in how many times I’ve been called a pom? Anyone? No? Funny that, and maybe it’s because nobody, least of all me, thinks it’s that big a deal. With Western society having become so litigation prone I’d obviously be lying if I said it had never occurred to me to try to sue anyone over it, but I would be lying if I said it really bothered me and doubt I could do so with a straight face.

He claimed that the ‘racism’ and bullying’ he suffered at work ‘would eventually have killed him’ and that he constantly asked colleagues to stop making jokes about him being an Aussie.

Racism? Geoff, you idiot, Australian – except when referring to indigenous Australians – is no more a race than Islam is. I’d like to think that this is a subtle move to destroy the ability to play the race card by rendering it a bad joke with members of non-existent races making ludicrous claims about racism by people who look exactly like them, but sadly I suspect it’s just silliness.

He said that fellow wardens constantly greeted him with ‘G’day Sport’, ‘Is your girlfriend called Sheila?’ and made jokes about kangaroos and asked him to ‘Throw another shrimp on the barbie’.

Which is almost as lame as some of the attempts to mimic an English accent while I’m around. You know when David Cameron tried to do Julia Gillard?* Like that but even worse. My response has not been to run off crying for compo but to try to teach them how to do it properly using references to appropriate study material. This usually means films with Michael Caine in, and so if you happen to ever meet an Australian who, upon realising that you’re English, shouts “Dan’t throh those bladdy spears at me” you’ll know whose fault it is and how successful I haven’t been.

He said: ‘I’m totally disappointed with the tribunal outcome but am really hopeful about Europe.

‘The last few months have been a nightmare and my whole life has been turned upside down.

That’s because you’re from Austr… oh, forget it.

‘I have transcripts which prove they listened to my private conversations, including one with my doctor to see if I was telling the truth about my health.

‘I thought ‘Strewth’, and couldn’t believe it when I realised.

“Strewth”? Geoff, did you seriously just say that word? Come on, after spending more than half your life in Britain you must realise that that panders to every stereotype Brits hold about Australians. I think you should sue yourself for every penny you’ve got. I also think that you should, as they say here occasionally, harden the fuck up.

Something similar could be said about the unnamed police officer in this case from Plymouth (I think also via JuliaM).

A man abused a police officer from Australia saying: ‘We speak English in this country’.

Oh, that Wilde-ian West Country wit. The poor Aussie copper must have been mentally devastated, coming as he does from a country where everyone speaks, er, English as well.

Eoin McCarthy, for the Crown Prosecution Service, said police were called to a report of an incident in Wyndham Street East in Stonehouse.

He added officers questioned a group of men and wanted to search Morrison.

Mr McCarthy said: “The defendant was not particularly impressed by that, saying: ‘We speak English in this country’.

“The officer took offence in view of his nationality, which is Australian.”

The court heard Morrison continued to abuse the officer, despite being warned to stop.

Now it’s not said what the form of the continued abuse was and for all I know there was something arrestable at some stage (he ended up in court, after all), but it’s that penultimate line that got me. He took offence in view of his nationality. Aw, bless, although how this delicate soul was considered the right material for a job where being called a pig is an occupational hazard when he’s clearly so thin skinned that a pathetic gibe at his country of birth stung so much is quite beyond me. I’d have suggested a less confrontational line of work, such as a librarian. Yes, people could still take the piss but at least they’d have to do it in a whisper. On the other hand, if the officer wants to carry on with his chosen career I suggest he ponder the words of his fellow Aussie, Steve Hughes.

Finally, we have an example of an increasing trend that’s even more annoying than taking offence over trivialities – taking offence on behalf of a third party over trivialities that aren’t even aimed at you. In this instance the offended-on-behalf-of mob included half the media, and they really did make the whole thing look particularly ludicrous because far from being of a delicate flower like disposition the person at whom the comments were aimed is a serious contender for the title of Hardest Australian Alive, which he could put alongside his SAS beret, his Medal for Gallantry and his absolutely-shitting-you-not Victoria Cross.

Oh, and at more than six and a half feet tall he’s also fucking massive.

Harden the fu... oh, er, sorry mate, didn't mean you

This is Corporal Ben Roberts-Smith, who was awarded the VC for an incident in Afghanistan in 2010 in which his patrol was under fire from three machine gunners. Cpl Roberts-Smith deliberately left cover, killing at point blank range an enemy grenadier who got in the way, in order to draw fire away from his team, and since his patrol commander’s grenade only took out one of the machine gunners he stopped screwing around and killed the remaining pair himself. He must be pretty damn quick on his feet too because those three machine guns that stopped firing at his patrol in order to concentrate their fire on him managed to miss despite him being, as I think I mentioned, fucking massive.

That or the bullets were frightened of getting hurt when they bounced off him.

What can anyone possibly say about a guy like Ben Roberts-Smith that he’d need protecting from? That maybe he’s not the sharpest knife in the drawer or much good at sex, apparently.

The co-host of Channel Ten program The Circle has publicly apologised for making a sexist and disrespectful comment about Victoria Cross recipient Ben Roberts-Smith, saying she had never met the Australian war hero and “felt sick” at the angry backlash she had received after branding him brainless.

Yumi Stynes admitted she did not know much about Corporal Roberts-Smith when she commented on a photograph of the shirtless war hero in a swimming pool yesterday, saying: “He’s going to dive down to the bottom of the pool to see if his brain is there.”

Stynes’s guest, co-host and veteran journalist George Negus had then quipped: “I’m sure he’s a really good guy, nothing about poor old Ben. But that sort of bloke, and what if they’re not up to it in the sack?”

Another host questioned whether Negus was suggesting “that he could be a dud root”, to laughter from the audience.

Yes, the mind does indeed boggle. Offensive? This kind of thing is so lame that if it had hooves someone would shoot it behind a tarpaulin. I could shrug that off and I’m not worthy of standing in temporarily for one of Ben Robert-Smith’s lower legs. Addressing such witless and puerile remarks to such a highly decorated soldier is certainly tasteless and may be embarrassing for the rest of us to have heard or read, but whether it’s offensive to Ben Roberts-Smith is solely for Ben Roberts-Smith to decide. Nonetheless…

The Circle’s Facebook page was flooded with angry comments, while a relative of another decorated war veteran contacted The Age to call for the Stynes and Negus to be sacked.

[…]

Opposition defence personnel spokesman Stuart Robert condemned the comments made by Negus and Stynes.

Nothing quite like the faux outrage of an opposition politician to make me take something less seriously.

“The irony is that the freedom of speech these journalists exercise is a freedom neither of them have fought for -but which both enjoy.”

Wrong, Stu. I’d argue that we don’t actually have freedom of speech when there are things that simply may not be said, but also that anyone may fight for freedom of speech just by saying anything that someone disapproves of and refusing to be kowtowed into retracting it. Not that I’m suggesting Yumi Stynes and George Negus were doing anything so noble rather than just talking the kind of schoolyard bollocks which both of them, and Negus especially, should have outgrown. Still, the content of their comments is not the point. The point is that the only person who can say whether Cpl Roberts-Smith is offended is Ben Roberts-Smith himself. And, perhaps not all that surprisingly for the Hardest Living Thing in Australia (Counting Some of the Crocs), he wasn’t really.

Victoria Cross recipient Ben Roberts-Smith has dismissed sexist and disrespectful comments aimed at him by the Channel Ten program The Circle as “surprising” but not malicious.

[…]

Both personally apologised to Corporal Roberts-Smith for their comments before appearing on The Project to explain their actions.

Stynes said that she was “humbled” and “sorry” for her comments.

“I did speak to the winner of the Victoria Cross on the phone and said to him ‘look, I’m really about this’ and he was like ‘I’ve got a pretty thick skin’ and he kind of went ‘you know this stuff happens, you say stuff, don’t sweat it, let’s move on.’

She added that it was “uncool to make fun of him” yet she was “relieved” to speak with Corporal Roberts-Smith.

[…]

Negus, who also spoke with the decorated soldier, added: “It was very difficult to get him to accept my apology because he didn’t sound as though he thought I needed to make one.”

Perhaps because for some people not even sticks and stones, or bullets and grenades for that matter, seem able to break their bones. Some words might be able to hurt them, but for damned sure words like ‘brainless’ and ‘dud root’ won’t be among them. Most people are made of strong enough stuff to deal with that, and those like Roberts-Smith are made of sterner stuff still.

So if you want to make some remark about mad hair, guy-liner and 80s Goth/New Wave music I’d go right ahead, because the chances are that nest to nothing you can say or do to the guy is going to be significant enough to warrant much of his attention.

* I mean her accent, you dirty minded sods.

Breast zealots vs Facebook

Ah, those breast zealots – I think I may have invented a word when I called them brealots a while back – again, proving that you can’t keep a good woman down and you can’t keep her breasts off the interwebs if she’s using them for their primary purpose of feeding infants. Now as an adult I appreciate breasts as much as the next heterosexual man and as a baby, or so I’m told, I appreciated them as a food source as much as the next unstoppable screaming shit fountain, so I have no objection at all to them being on the web with hungry babies attached to them. Well, actually just one small objection, which is when their owners demand the right to show their sweater puppies in all their au naturel lactating glory on part of the web they don’t own and have been given access to for free. Something  this opinion piece in The Age doesn’t mention.

‘Shares that contain nudity, pornography, or sexual content are not permitted on Facebook … refrain from posting abusive material in the future.”

This is the standard response hundreds of women have received from Facebook, when photos of them breastfeeding their children were found to be offensive. And it has caused much ado, with a large number of women writing to chief executive Mark Zuckerberg to protest and others staging ”nurse-ins” outside Facebook offices from Tokyo to Dallas to Sydney.

Yes, it’s that again, prompted by the removal last week of a photo of a young woman on her kitchen floor with a baby on one boob and a breast pump on the other. I’d object if you called me old fashioned about breast feeding because I’m perfectly fine with it, but you certainly can call me old fashioned when it comes to property rights as I’m firmly of the opinion that s/he who owns it should get to decide how it’s used. When ‘it’ is a service that’s being provided then that means the owner gets to set whatever terms and conditions they like, and if you don’t like any of those conditions the answer is breathtakingly simple: do not buy that service. Encourage your friends and even complete strangers not to use it either if you like, but if you pay up you accept the terms, end of.

And when it’s a service like Facebook – which incidentally I don’t use and can’t see the point of – that’s being provided to you for free, asking no more than registration and agreement to the conditions of service, I’d say that goes double. It’s like being given free food at the best restaurant in town on the condition you don’t use mayonnaise and then whining that your plate was whisked away when you got a small jar of Hellman’s out of your pocket – yes, sure, it’s a stupid condition but if you didn’t like it you shouldn’t bloody be in there.

Despite the legal right to breastfeed any time, any place, nursing children in public remains inexplicably controversial. Breastfeeding mothers are still being humiliated, asked to leave stores or to feed in toilets.

All true, but since Facebook don’t own these stores it’s irrelevant. Take it up with the store owners, though I’d still say the same thing. Their place, their rules apply – boycott the place by all means, and I’d be inclined to join in, but don’t insist that they change their values to accommodate yours. Let them be prudes and hope they go bust (for the second post in a row, boob pun very much intended).

By definition, the nipple is covered by the mouth of a child when a child is breastfeeding. Every magazine stand in the Westernised world and rafts of advertising images feature a sea of exposed female upper body flesh. See that Vogue cover with the plunging gown? Is it offensive? Now imagine that a baby’s head is covering the nipple, instead of designer silk. Now is the image offensive? Why?

Hey, don’t ask me. I can absolutely see where you’re coming from and don’t find it at all offensive, but if you pushed me on whether breast feeding is offensive I’d say that even though it doesn’t offend me, yes, it is offensive. It must be because the Righteous have seen to it that for something to be deemed offensive it’s only necessary for one person to actually take offence. Not my rule, but if it’s true for all the other examples of ridiculous offence seeking then it must also be true for anything else, breastfeeding included.

It’s not the skin we have a problem with, but the act of breastfeeding itself. And that response has been taught to us.

[…]

Children do not find breasts offensive or sexual until we teach them to, and the complaints of people like Dorman, or those who report breastfeeding images on Facebook, reveal a learnt bias that may ultimately be damaging. What is the signal being transmitted here about breastfeeding? Since when did the natural way of feeding your child come to be seen as offensive or controversial?

I get what the author is saying, though I’m not at all convinced that boys who aren’t bothered by breasts grow up to be men who find them sexually appealing do so only because they’re taught. Are you telling me that any boys who grow up raised only by their mothers find breasts meaningless through puberty and are shocked by their first porno, or even by their first girlfriend, involving breasts in the fun? I really, really doubt it.*

Look, as I wrote before, there’s simply no getting away from the fact that as well as being where babies’ earliest food comes from breasts also have a sexual function.

Obviously in an ideal world everyone would just be able to look at breasts very functionally and mothers could simply feed whenever and wherever they needed to without anyone being bothered, but the world is not ideal and breasts do have a sexual significance. Sorry, sisters, but they do, and denying it is not dealing with it. And so prudes will complain about the dreaded breast while most of us men will either try to sneak a peek or look in absolutely every direction but the breast feeding mother unless forced to, and even then we’ll try to look at a point at least twenty feet above her head. Yes, I am one of those, and yes, I realise that while it’s a lot less embarrassing for her than staring straight at them and going, ‘Phwoar’ it’s still going to make the poor girl feel self concious. It’s often embarrassing for the mum and for men around her doing their best to respect both her privacy and her right to do one of the most natural things she ever will. We all know it shouldn’t be, but it is.

Decry it by all means, bemoan the fact that our species isn’t as high as we’d like to think, but the bottom line is that breasts are not simply for milk production alone. The sight of a nice pair of breasts occasionally leads on to the creation of the baby that will end up being fed by them, though I’d like to think that their owner usually gets taken out to dinner and given flowers first.

Needless to say the brealots are calling victory as Facebook ‘clarify’ their policy…

Thankfully Facebook has updated its policy to directly respond to the breastfeeding issue: ”Yes. We agree that breastfeeding is natural and beautiful, and we’re very glad to know that it is important for mothers to share their experiences with others on Facebook. The vast majority of these photos are compliant with our policies, and we will not take action on them.”

… and I agree that that is something to be thankful for as far as breastfeeding goes, but I’m not so sure about being thankful that a huge sense of entitlement is all it takes these days to forget other people’s property rights even exist. Facebook have come around without governments leaping on the bandwagon and forcing them to host breastfeeding photos – which is something we should all be genuinely grateful for – though people are now pointing out that users aren’t Facebook’s customers but Facebook’s product and so I suppose alienating a large group of them is akin to a potter smashing up his stock with a hammer. But it bothers me that are so many brealots – no doubt right-on men as well as breastfeeding mums – who think Facebook’s right to set whatever terms it likes on the use of its absolutely free to use service should be subordinate to a nursing mum’s right to put up photos of her breastfeeding her kid.

Keep it up, ladies, and when your child grows up they’ll have even fewer property rights of their own.

*Certainly don’t remember anyone having to tell me that breasts are sexy, I just became gradually aware that they are. I have a Y chromosome – sue me.

Right-on Dave strikes again

Cameramong’s latest brain spasm, it seems, is to force companies to appoint women, showing once again that he has absolutely no understanding of the concept of freedom.

David Cameron warned that the UK’s inability to exploit women’s full potential as entrepreneurs was “failing our whole economy”.

Okay, this may be true, and I think we can take it as read that in an economy the size of Britain’s there will inevitably be a number of positions occupied by men which could have been done better by one of the female applicants for the job. However, that doesn’t mean that the answer is quotas because it’s just as certain that some of those positions could have been done better by one of the male candidates. Or someone who didn’t apply for the job at all because they were happy where they were. You see, Dave, companies try to get the best person for every job but if they were always successful then nobody would ever be fired, would they? Sometimes they get it wrong and very often the best person isn’t available anyway, but in any case if someone isn’t free to screw up then they’re not free full stop. Why not just let those companies run by misogynistic morons who insist on hiring less capable males over women because of the CEO’s rampant vagina-phobia carry on doing so, and let those who aren’t fussy about applicants’ sex hire those more capable women who were rejected by the vagina-phobes? In the long run the latter should become more successful and the former are more likely to go tits up (pun very much intended).

The Prime Minister is attending a summit in Stockholm to learn from countries such as Norway and Iceland, which have successfully introduced quotas to increase the number of women in boardrooms.

The wording of this sentence is extremely interesting. It says that they’ve successfully introduced quotas, not that the introduction of quotas has been an economic success, and since on a list of countries ranked by recent growth Norway and Iceland are both well behind even the poor performing UK I’m interested to hear what evidence there is that it’s made any bloody difference at all. If it was me, Dave, I’d be thinking of going to summits to learn from, oh, I don’t know, maybe the top four or five growing economies – Qatar, Singapore, Paraguay, India (yeah, that’s right, India which the DFID insist still need UK aid) and Taiwan – rather than countries ranked at 159 and 180. Out of 183. Christ’s sakes, Norway and Iceland aren’t even in the top five for Europe, though to be fair neither is the UK or anyone in the Eurozone, and the only EU member in the top 5 is Bulgaria – draw your own conclusions.

Government figures suggested that Britain’s slow progress was costing the economy more than £40 billion in lost potential each year, roughly equal to the defence budget.

Ah, and more corporate red tape will help, will it, Dave? Ideological state interference with the actual running of a business will do  more than clearing the way for the ones with the best business models, which I’d anticipate would probably include not giving a rip either way about the contents of senior employees’ underpants, to become successful? It’ll help more than reducing the tax burden on both businesses and their customers so that turnovers and profits can go up, businesses can expand and more jobs can be created? It’ll help more than doing something about the estimated £65 billion annual cost to the economy of Britain’s continued EU membership?

Mr Cameron said the Nordic-Baltic Summit would generate ideas for how Britain can “help women become entrepreneurs and take up leading positions in business”.

Electing a government that stopped screwing up the economy would be a terrific start. Just my 2¢.

A government policy paper, presented to the summit, estimated that if female entrepreneurship reached the same levels as in the US, “there would be 600,000 extra women-owned businesses, contributing an extra £42 billion to the economy”.

And ignoring the possibility, which I’m sure is vanishingly remote, that this figure of £42 billion (wasn’t it £40 billion a minute ago and what made it increase by 5% in a few paragraphs?) wasn’t just pulled out of someone’s arse at the Treasury, is the extra rate of female entrepreneurship in the United States because businesses there have federally imposed quotas for hiring females in senior positions along the lines you’re thinking of, Dave? Because if it’s not and the Obamarised US has no such law – which this 10 week old Forbes article suggests is the case – then it’s all pretty irrelevant, don’t you think?

Dave, you really are the most clueless twat Britain’s had for Prime Mentalist since… erm, well, since the last one.

Doomed. We’re all doooomed.

Squirrel wisdom

He’s got a point.

Easily confused

Via the Ranting Kingpenguin, a story of breathtaking offence seeking to the Nth degree. A persons who is a living, black woman with a lack of facial hair consistent with her gender claiming offence over the similarity she has with a scale model of a dead white guy with a beard you could insulate your roof with.

Yes, really.

For a poster advertising a primary school parents’ meeting, it is certainly unusual.
Using models, it depicts scientist Charles Darwin surrounded by an angry mob wielding flaming torches and makeshift weapons.
According to the school governor who created it, City executive David Moyle, it is a satirical joke about pushy middle-class parents demanding higher standards.

But…?

Yet when black headmistress Shirley Patterson saw it, she believed it represented her surrounded by white parents.

Do fucking what? What, did she think it was supposed to represent?

She reportedly compared it to a scene from Mississippi Burning, a film about the Ku Klux Klan’s racist lynchings…

Starring Morgan Freeman as Charles Darwin? Oh, wait, no.

… saying it left her ‘fearing for her and her family’s safety’.

Oh, please. Anyone with a torch is evocative of Deep South Klansmen lynchings? Really? Indiana Jones? The Statue of Liberty? The Fellowship of the Ring? Shall we go on?

Torch and a scale model. Also bearded.
RAAACIST!

Needless to say the constabularists were called in although they said there was no law against it, which is slightly surprisingly since the definition of racism seems to have been broadened to include anything that anyone anywhere might perceive as racist even if it’s not aimed at their own race. But you just know that’s not going to be the end of it, don’t you?

Although the police realised Darwin was white, and said no crime had been committed, Southwark council insisted it had ‘appropriately’ investigated the ‘deeply disturbing’ poster.

Seriously, guys, the only thing that’s deeply disturbing is how quickly some people are able to see a race issue in something so patently unrelated to anything to do with race, and even a fairly cursory investigation should have found that out simply by asking David Moyle.

He found the image on a website mocking ‘creationists’ angered by Darwin’s theory of evolution…

And a few minutes googling backs this up since I’ve found the same scene photographed from a different angle in a piece dated March 2009 about Darwin and the creationist/evolution argument. So you’d imagine the investigation would be over pretty quickly, eh?

I’m kidding. Of course you wouldn’t. Not only is it a local council and almost certainly shot through with political correctness, but it’s a Labour run council and likely more prone to PC bullshit anyway. And so inevitably…

‘A two-week investigation was carried out into the toy Charles Darwin’s ethnicity, before it was ruled “indeterminable”.
[…]
The Labour authority refused to reveal details of its inquiry – which involved half a dozen officers at a time when 500 jobs are set to be cut.
And it will not discuss how a model of a white, bearded, Victorian scientist could be confused with a black 21st century headmistress.

I doubt it’s justifying its assessment of the image as disturbing either. Oh, sorry, not just disturbing but

“deeply disturbing and damaging to children”

Altogether now: Won’t someone think of the chiiiiiiildren?

Fucking twats.

And the poor sod painted as a racist by this collection of idiot offence seekers, self righteous arsewipes, and bullying pricks? What of him? Well, having been suspended as a school governor over this lunatic claim he’s not surprisingly thinking of taking his kids out of there and sending them to another school. Personally I think he has another lesson to learn.

“[…] as an ardent supporter of local government, I was taken aback by the reaction of the council, who not only fully endorsed the disproportionate reaction of the school management, but also contrived additional charges about the poster that had no relation at all to the original complaint.

An ardent supporter of local government, eh? Mr Moyle, I think I’ve just spotted your mistake.

Veil fail

Well, we all knew the French were going to go ahead with their plan to liberate women by ordering them about what they should wear, and predictably enough the tiny minority who do go veiled are a bit pissed off about it.

Kenza Drider, a 32-year-old, travelled to Paris from her home in Provence to force a confrontation with police, and was one of those arrested.
There were minor scuffles as officers apprehended her outside Notre Dame Cathedral together with another niqab-wearer staging an illegal demonstration against the new law.

So not just dictating to women over their choice of clothing but also telling them they may not protest and arresting them if they don’t comply. Yep, that’s women’s lib alright. I’d recognise it anywhere.

/facepalm

Although Belgium has approved a ban in principle, France is the first to introduce a full ban on a garment which immigration minister Eric Besson has called a “walking coffin”.
While French women face fines and “civic duty” guidance if they break the law, men who force their wives or daughters to wear burkas will face up to a year in prison, and fines of up to £25,000.

Don’t get me wrong, I think it looks daft as well, though I’ve always described it as looking like a Ninja version of Demis Roussos, and it should go without saying that I have no problem with the law going after men who force females in their family to wear veils when they’d rather not. But if a woman wants to then for fuck’s sake let her. I haven’t hit my head and come over all PC here. I just feel that it’s her life, her choice, and respecting her wishes even if we don’t like them or view them as archaic is what’s truly liberal. Forcing her to dress as we’d prefer is anything but.

Still, in the spirit of compromise I’ve had a look through the interwebs and found that someone has already created an ensemble outfit which should be an acceptable middle ground. Or at least offensive to everybody.

"Restorative" justice

Click for linky

Oh FFS.

The woman officer had visited Purbeck School in Wareham, Dorset, last month to talk to the boys about a playground scrap as her role as a school liaison officer.
It is understood she was called the names ‘PC Nipples’ and ‘PC Ball Sack’ while she was out of the room and was told of the remarks moments later.
The boys were sent home and their parents were informed about the incident that night and asked to attend the restorative justice conference which took place last week.

And what happens in one of those, then?

In this instance the woman PC, a sergeant and two other officers met with the boys to make them aware of the consequences their behavior had on the victim.

Victim? Oh, Jesus. I’d explain how ridiculous this is except that one of the parents already has.

“I presume this woman officer will be called other names during her policing career, is she going to hold a restorative justice conference with all of those who do it?”

Quite. I can be contacted by email if PC Thin-Skinned Fragile Chinwobbling Timewaster wants to talk to me about what I’ve just called her, and in that unlikely event rather than apologise I’ll suggest that she could do herself, her sex, her career and her profession some favours in the image department by learning how and when to put down a couple of pretty pathetic comments by teenage boys who, stolen wank mags aside, probably haven’t caught sight of a nipple since they were weaned and whose own ball sacks contain little of interest to anyone. You ought to have been able to walk in there and reduce them all to about an inch high each in front of their entire peer group, but instead you chose victimhood. How’s that going to play with your colleagues? Are they going to wonder if someone who can’t take the pressure of duty at a school without becoming a victim of a few puerile comments can be relied on when the chips are down? Are some of them going to think that PC Delicate might be best off behind a desk in an interior office or even, dare I say it, in front of an oven while the boys and girls who can take the stick that goes with the job go out and get on with it?*

Frankly you’d do everyone a favour if you just came out and said that you were just being officious because the kids gave you an opportunity to do so and you thought ‘fuck it, why not’.

* I freely admit that I couldn’t take the stick and would probably have quit or been sacked or jailed inside a year if I’d joined the police. Which is why I, you know, didn’t. Just a thought.

What did you learn in school today, hon?

Unusually for me I can’t make my mind up about this one.

[Smithereens,] a book of gruesome short stories, which includes a task asking students to write two suicide notes, is being taught to 13-year-olds at some schools, prompting adolescent health experts to warn it could encourage vulnerable teens to self harm.

Australian Childhood Foundation chief executive Joe Tucci said schools should not be asking students to rehearse potentially harmful behaviour. ”When you encourage adolescents to undertake activities that blur the line between fantasy and reality … it might tip them into undertaking that activity,” he said.
Childhood pyschologist Michael Carr-Gregg said Smithereens should be immediately removed from schools.
”It could give them ideas about self harm and potentially lead them to believe the world is a bleaker, darker, more miserable place than it actually is,” Dr Carr-Gregg said.

Well, actually I’m settled on one or two things, chief of which is this paranoia that children and adolescents are so fucking fragile these days that almost anything is seen as liable to tip them over the edge in some way, is probably a bit over the top. Newsflash: at school we did Lord of the Flies without becoming savages (well, more savage than teenagers are naturally), To Kill A Mockingbird without instantly becoming racists, lawyers or Gregory Peck, and a couple of Shakespeare romance comedies without anyone expressing a desire get into any item of female attire except in the sense that teenage boys normally want to. My teenage years are not so far behind me that I don’t recall them quite well, and I can say without any hesitation that we were able to tell the bloody difference between the written word and the real world. Teenagers don’t shatter when they read something depressing. No, probably not even the emos.

On the other hand it does seem like the kind of book I’d have hated to get in English class. Lord of the Flies was depressing and bored my arse off so thoroughly that I used to fall over sitting down. Part of its educational effect on me was that I didn’t learn what a good book it is until school was a few years behind me, but at the time I had to read it I did not actually read it at all. I read just enough of it to get the homework done without too many really crap marks, and not a single sentence more. What I’d like to have read would have been some Tom Clancy or something. Or perhaps Alastair MacClean or Ian Fleming if it had to be something a bit older.* Something with some bloody excitement in, for Christ’s sake. So if at the start of a new term the English teacher had plopped a copy of Smithereens on my desk it might have induced feelings of suicide, though not for the reasons that have been suggested, but they would quickly have given way to narcolepsy and catatonia.** And that’s it.

Maybe it’s different if you’re a parent. Maybe I’d also send my offspring off each day with a little part of my mind gibbering and fretting about their safety and their wellbeing until I saw them again each evening. Actually I’m sure I would, but I hope I’d also recognise that they’re likely to be little different from the rest of us at the same age. So despite the headline that made me think it’d be more of this or this the thing I’m really unsure about is just the appeal to kids of that age and wether it can tear them away from fluffy and non-violent things like World of Modern Zombie Warfare Combatcraft 2. And Facebook.

So why the hell are they actually bothering? Ah, silly me, the answer has been staring me in the face all the time. Looks like they’re afraid of someone suing for compo.

If a student harmed themselves after reading it, the school could be in breach of its duty of care.

And they’re worried about the stuff in the book making people depressed? What the fuck do they think their reaction to it is doing?

* Just about everyone read Lord of the Rings themselves. Boys’ school. I imagine it’s normal.
** The thought of Cerys Matthews might have woken everyone up again. Boys’ school. Probably normal as well.

Un expected news: the BBC caves in.

Twice in quick succession, in fact. Most recently to Mexico, of course, because a proud nation can so easily be brought to its knees by jibes about its cuisine from some shortarse Brummie TV presenter with a famous dislike of any food that looks like it comes from further than Kent, along with some old stereotypes that nobody takes seriously anymore.

The BBC said it had now written to the ambassador to say it was sorry if the programme caused offence.

And also to Japan because of the A-bomb comments on QI, because sixty-five years is too soon even for what were very light hearted remarks.

We are very sorry for any offence caused.

The usual format non-apology apologies again, you’ll have noticed. Why can’t a ‘spokesperson’ just be fucking honest one day and say that they’re not bloody sorry and that this culture of offence seeking is the worst kind of one-sided, passive-aggressive, bullshit control freakery, and it says far more about the people who practise it than those whom they seek to silence. For Christ’s fucking sake, Stephen Fry has had to cancel plans to go to Japan because of this! Watch the fucking clip – the poor bastard is being nailed to a fucking cross despite the fact he barely said anything beyond Yamaguchi being either the luckiest or unluckiest man ever depending on how you looked at it. And what the fuck’s wrong with that? Yamaguchi was unarguably very unlucky to have been present and on the receiving end for both hostile uses of a nuclear weapon, yet he was also incredibly lucky to have survived both. An entirely factual remark delivered with no hint of disrespect (a word I don’t like to use because it’s one of the favourite verbal whores of the professionally offended). Is it because Fry hosts the show and sits in the middle that some Japanese are blaming him for the less sensitive (but still very lightweight) comments of other panelists, or does the translation into Japanese imply something beyond Fry’s fairly neutral and factual remark? Could be the latter.

Roland Kelts, a half-Japanese author who had been due to work on the parts of the production due to be filmed in the country, suggested the reaction to the QI comments had been over the top.

“In video footage, one can easily see, if one speaks and understands English fluently, that the hosts are tiptoeing around the obvious offence, trying to strike a balance between humour and respect.”

He added: “In this age of instantaneous visual language, all subtlety was lost, especially on reactionary right-wing Japanese folks keen to kick up a fight.”

Maybe, but I also worry that the 21st Century is becoming the age of the professional offence seeker and the professional apologiser (usually know as an unnamed spokesperson for the offending organisation).

Well I’m offended too. I’m offended by the way these constant apologies make my native country look like a bunch of weak-kneed, insecure, spineless, contemptible softcocks who are so pathetically worried about what other people think that they don’t dare have an opinion or a thought of their own in case someone else doesn’t agree, takes it the wrong way or finds it even vaguely upsetting for almost any reason whatsoever. It reflects poorly on… ancient nation… noble… proud history… national pride… particularly disappointed that apparent admission makes Britons look guilty of accusations made… implies we are ignorant and xenophobic savages… deeply hurtful…  cultural values…  etc, etc, etc.
Fill in the fucking blanks and send me a cheque.*

Alternatively just harden the fuck up next time and explain to whoever complains that the right to free speech means accepting that in return for being able to say what you wish you must accept that you may not always like what you hear, that there is not and cannot be a right not to be offended, that how one person chooses to interpret and react to the remarks and opinions of another is their own choice, and above all that if any of this might lead to problems then not watching the TV, or indeed not ever even leaving the fucking house, is the only practical course of action.

And if that offends anyone, that’s too fucking bad. I try to be honest enough to let you know that I’d be lying if I said I was sorry.

* Actually I will think seriously about drafting a letter taking offence at the constant capitulation to offence seekers. It might be interesting to see what sort of response it gets.

Useful idiot wants thought police to get money for her.

Oh for fuck’s sake.

A Mexican has instructed lawyers to bring a test case against Top Gear after her countrymen were branded ‘lazy, feckless and flatulent’ on the hit show.
Iris de la Torre, a jewellery design student in London, is bringing the claim under a new equality law. Her lawyers claim it could cost the BBC £1million in damages.
They have demanded the hit BBC1 motoring show is taken off the air and an investigation made into the comments.

For holding a fucking opinion, even if it is a bit of a childish one?! And only the other day they were saying how things had apparently now reached the heresy by thought stage.

On Sunday night’s show, Richard Hammond was discussing a Mexican sports car and suggested that vehicles reflect the national characteristics of the country they are from.
He added: ‘Mexican cars are just going to be lazy, feckless, flatulent, leaning against a fence asleep looking at a cactus with a blanket with a hole in the middle on as a coat.’

Oh, dear, poor poor Iris. God, being a Mexican in England and dealing with that must be like, oh I don’t know, maybe being English and living in Australia where everyone calls you a pom and jokes that you’re from a nation of people who can’t cook and won’t wash properly. Oh, hey, that’s… that’s awful. Where’s my cheque? Who do I sue? C’mon, Iris, help me out here. We’re in this together, you and me and other folk oppressed by the hurtful thoughts of other people.

Or we could just, y’know, grow the fuck up and laugh it off. You are, if reports are to be believed, thirty years old. Thirty! You’re not a child anymore, Iris. You’re a grown woman, for fuck’s sake. Isn’t it time to act like an adult instead of a kid whining about what someone else said in the fucking playground? Or is there a possibility that a big fat cheque for basically doing nothing at all other than holding an opinion and taking umbrage that not everyone shares it just too big a fucking lure? For what it’s worth I’d agree that Hammond’s comments are probably ignorant in a literal sense, especially about the food – just watch the show for a while and you’ll see how his laughable unadventurous and picky eating is a running joke whenever they go abroad. And the whole idea that cars reflect national character is silly anyway. Aussie cars don’t chuck a sickie when the cricket’s on and British made cars come with a satnav that doesn’t know anything about anywhere beyond the end of your own road.

‘I was shocked at what the BBC allowed to be broadcast. I have never had a bad experience in the UK due to my nationality.’

Well you can probably fucking expect a few now, though not because of your nationality so much as your character. It took me less than ten minutes online to find both your website and that of a gallery where you’ve worked or exhibited your work, plus your rough CV and your photograph. And if I can then what’s to stop someone else? So don’t be surprised if some “grow the fuck up” type messages appear (though not from me – I’ve better things to do).

And you want to know what the really sad thing is for Mexicans? British perceptions of their national character probably will change as a result of this, and not for the better. Because the two Mexicans who had more newsprint used to write about them in the UK than probably any of their countrymen in the last decade or more (with the possible exception of Alfonso Cuarón – directing a Harry Potter film will do that) are acting like whiny little children with angstrom thin skins, fragile egos, low self-esteem and absolutely no sense of humour. Which I’m sure is unrepresentative of most Mexicans, and is certainly unedifying even by comparison with what was said on Top Gear. Fat, feckless and flatulent actually sounds like much better company to be with than pathetic, attention-seeking, whinging crybaby.

Oh, and a special nod to Harridan Harperson, without whose work this woman might have had to act like everyone else does when they hear something they don’t like and just fucking deal with it.

If it goes to court, the case could be the first to be brought under the Equality Act which came into force last year.

Well done, Harriet, you’ve made thought crime even more of a reality than it was before. Thanks for fucking everything, you hateful bitch. Now do the human race a favour and disappear up your own arse before you deal any more harm to personal liberty.

H/T Down With That Sort Of Thing.

Scoring own goals.

Now that I’ve got the sexist humour out of the way, seriously fellas, women, eh? What do they know about sport?

Actually I’d say that many of them know quite a lot, and not just about sports that are played mostly by women and not just because Mrs Exile is standing behind me with a double barrelled Beretta. And it should be obvious even to a couple of chauvinistic middle-aged soccer players turned commentators that a woman who’s a qualified professional match official probably knows a great deal about it, and if she’s got any sense she’ll make it her business to be particularly knowledgable about the rule which middle-aged chauvinist ex-soccer players are going to say she can’t understand.

So what should be done when middle-aged chauvinist soccer players turned commentators gob off about a female match official, her looks and that incredibly tired old line about the offside rule, as Andy Gray and Richard Keys did to linesman (lineswoman?) Sian Massey at the Wolves vs Liverpool match last weekend? One option is to throw a few names and sexist jokes right back at them and another is to accept that everyone can have their opinion but to rise above, ignore it and let Massey get on with her job. Either is fine by me, but one course of action that does nobody any favours is to get all offended on her behalf, cry foul and demand that they be silenced and punished and to nod approval when they’re fired. Aside from how incredibly patronising it is to take offence on behalf of another as if they lack the ability to decide for themselves if they’re offended, that road leads to a worse destination that having to put up with the sexist opinions of middle-aged ex-soccer players. That destination is thought crime.

I’m not exaggerating by playing the Orwell card here – what else can we call it when someone is punished for holding an opinion? Yes, it’s an opinion that many find unpleasant and disagreeable and it’s probably an opinion that these days is probably not shared by the majority. But that’s kind of the point: it’s a minority opinion, and what do we now think of minorities and their rights and views? Yes, exactly, they must be respected. Except that this shows that the implementation of this noble (or possibly ignoble) aim has gone a bit wrong. Minority views that align with those the establishment likes are fine, especially if they run counter to majority views that are frowned upon or if they go some way to making up for rather embarrassing and illiberal majority acts in the past. So for example, it was once considered to be wrong for a homosexual to hold the opinion that their sexuality was just how they were and what they did in the bedroom was their own business (not to mention illegal for them to act on it – that still had the fucking death penalty less than 150 years ago), and to make up for it now anyone who says they don’t like homosexuals risks being accused of hate speech or convicted of discrimination.

The same goes for changing sexuality for gender, skin colour etc. All we’ve done is swapped the oppression of some minority groups for the oppression of others and called it anti-discrimination, forgetting among all the self congratulatory circle jerking that after all that effort we still have people prevented by law from being themselves. So it is if we punish people for being middle-aged chauvinist ex-soccer players turned commentators and making about the oldest and lamest joke about women and football. We might not like their opinion and we certainly don’t have to agree with it, but it does less harm to take the position of hating what they say while defending their right to say it. Punishing and criminalising people for their views doesn’t make disagreeable opinions vanish in a puff of love and understanding, it’s just imposing our own views on them by force.

And along the way we can lose the opportunity to let the facts speak for themselves to show just how misinformed those opinions can be, which is what’s happening to poor Sian Massey right now. Despite having reportedly performed her job faultlessly during that Wolverhampton-Liverpool match she found herself withdrawn from the next game.

Meanwhile, Professional Games Match Officials confirmed that Massey had been withdrawn from the League Two game between Crewe and Bradford where she was due to act as an assistant referee.
PGMO general manager Mike Riley admitted the 25-year-old did not deserve to be subjected to further scrutiny at this time.
“PGMO and Sian believe that, with any football match, the focus should not be on the officials but on the players and the game itself,” Riley said.
“Sian is an excellent professional who has unwittingly found herself in the middle of a story that has nothing to do with her competence as a match official.

And the one after and the one after that.

Referees’ chiefs have again withdrawn Sian Massey from the spotlight following the Sky sexism row.
Massey was due to referee Corby’s Blue Square Bet North game against Eastwood on Saturday after also being due to run the line on Tuesday at Crewe’s League Two game against Bradford City.
She was withdrawn hours before kick-off then and was not awarded an FA Cup fourth-round tie this weekend.
She will also not be involved in any of next week’s Premier League matches.

The Premier League, who speak for the PGMO, refused to comment on whether there would be any financial loss for the official.

A PGMO spokesman said: ‘The focus needs to be on the football match, not the officials. It would be unfair on the clubs involved.’
But both managers appeared to have no issue with Massey taking charge of their match. Corby boss Graham Drury said this week: ‘We’ve had Sian before and she had a fantastic game.
‘She stamps her authority on the game and she interacts with players well. We’ve got a top referee for this game.
‘I don’t mind if it’s a man, woman or even an elephant refereeing as long as they do it properly.’

Dennis Strudwick, general manager of the Football Conference, said the FA, who appoint officials, had given them no reason for Massey’s withdrawal.

So unless it was simply an opportunistic move by someone who simply disliked Gray and/or Keys to get one or both of them into trouble and hopefully fired, which would be selfish, manipulative and pretty shitty, nobody wins. But if whoever blew the whistle on Gray and Keys’ conversation and their boorish and frankly boring comments thought they helping society in general or Sian Massey in particular then it’s backfired in just about every way possible. As a result of the exposure she’s not getting the chance to do a job that she clearly enjoys and is apparently good at, and might be out of pocket as well.

So well done to whoever leaked it. I hope you’re pleased with yourself, you complete and utter dickhead, but everyone would be better off if you’d just go fuck a mains wall socket next time.
That’s just my opinion of course.

Strange sort of maths lesson.

I have no idea what sort of questions will be asked in lessons as a result of this.

Children are to be taught about homosexuality in maths, geography and science lessons as part of a Government-backed drive to “celebrate the gay community”.

Lesson plans have been drawn up for pupils as young as four, in a scheme funded with a £35,000 grant from an education quango, the Training and Development Agency for Schools.

Among the suggestions are:
Maths – teaching statistics through census findings about the number of homosexuals in the population, and using gay characters in scenarios for maths problems;

“If Alan is being spit roasted by Brian and Charlie but all three change places every time and go at it twice a day how long will it take for them to get through a 12 pack of condoms? There is certainly no need to show how you arrived at your answer.”

This is for kids as young as four, yes? An age at which homo-, hetero-, bi- or anything-sexual is meaningless. Oh, sure, kids that young might use gay epithets but without any real understanding of what it is they’re saying. At that age just fucking tell them how to add up and subtract for Christ’s fucking sake. You can leave it ’til they hit puberty to tell them not to beat each other up because someone thinks someone else is gay.

‘Kinell.

Cultural understanding goes only so far.

Shortly before Christmas, which readers of a sandal wearing Guardian subscribing disposition may prefer to think of as that corrupt display of decadence and materialism based on an outmoded religious festival that happens around Diwali time, or sometimes Ramadan (not Channukah, though), I blogged on the story of one of the young actresses in the Harry Potter films who was experiencing what some might like to think of as culturally related domestic issues.

A young Muslim actress who appeared in the Harry Potter films was beaten by her brother and told by her father that he would kill her after she began a relationship with a Hindu man, a court heard yesterday.
Afshan Azad, 22, who played Padma Patil, a classmate of the boy wizard, was called a “slag” and a “prostitute” in a violent confrontation at her family home which left her so scared she fled through a window, Manchester Crown Court heard.

Every time I read something like this my jaw drops, but in this instance what the fuck were they thinking? Nobody would notice or something? She’s not A-list and hasn’t had anything like the exposure of the three big names but it’s a relatively safe bet that someone would ask questions. The mind boggl… wait, no it doesn’t.

Abul Azad, 53, and his son Ashraf, 28, were charged with making threats to kill following the incident in Longsight, Manchester, on May 21. Both were cleared of the charge yesterday after a judge heard that Miss Azad had refused to give evidence despite “expensive and time-consuming” attempts to encourage her to attend court. After going to the police, she “made it plain” that she did not want any action taken against her family, saying that the arrest of her father or brother would put her in “genuine danger”, the court heard.

Now the mind boggles. You had to do a runner through a window, kid. It sounds like you were in genuine danger already.

And now I see this:

The 35-year-old woman had accused her 34-year-old husband – a convicted sex offender – of raping her twice and was due to testify against him at a trial earlier this week.
But prosecutors were forced to offer no evidence and the case collapsed when the women suddenly decided to retract the allegations.
Judge Simon Newell said he was concerned ‘sections of the community’ were ‘exerting influences’ and ‘inhibiting the police’ from carrying out their duties. He implied justice was being interfered with by those close to the woman who wanted her to drop the charges.
The husband, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has two previous convictions – one for assault causing actual bodily harm against his wife and another for a sexual offence against another woman.
He has already been ordered to sign the sex offenders register until September 2014.
Despite expressing concern that the woman had been pressurised into withdrawing the rape claims, Judge Newell allowed the husband to walk free from court.

And what else could he do?

‘It seems to me there are persons who have an interest in this case, who are minded to express opinions and exert influences which are possibly inhibiting the police, the prosecuting authorities and the courts in carrying out their proper functions,’ the judge said.
‘This will not be tolerated.’

And there I think I see part of the problem, because to an extent it is tolerated. Yes, reporting and then withdrawing a complaint is self-defeating and does a victim no favours but we shouldn’t ignore the fact that certain people are so concerned about offending someone’s culture or religion and so determined that all of us should bend over backwards to be accommodating that they forget that individual people are getting fucking hurt.

Respect someone else’s culture or beliefs by all means, but spouting shit about awareness and understanding as you stand by and ignore the violence and abuse is shows neither respect, awareness or understanding of what individual people are going through. If someone refuses help then there’s little that can be done, but all this effort to be understanding sends a message that you’re inclined to tolerate certain violent acts if committed by certain ethnicities. And that’s not avoiding inadvertently oppressing them with our white anglo views, it’s just being a fuckwit.

Leopards and spots.

Ali D in da Big House

I sometimes wonder if it’s there are suit-friendly laws that are encouraging it or if it’s possible to actually become addicted to playing the race card. If it is possible then surely Ali “Is It Coz I Iz Black?”* Dizaei should be checked because he’s at it again.

Disgraced police chief Ali Dizaei plans to sue the prison service for failing to protect him from a brawl in which he allegedly attacked another cellmate.

Wait, what? He’s suing the prison service for not protecting him from a fight he initiated?

Pffffft.

The corrupt former Metropolitan Police commander is demanding damages from prison authorities – even though he is being investigated by police for allegedly assaulting another inmate.
The 47-year-old, who is serving a four-year sentence for misconduct in a public office and perverting the course of justice, is accused of lashing out after a family photograph in his cell was apparently defaced by a cellmate.

He claims that he was the victim of a racist attack. And he has complained about a spate of racist and violent abuse by his assailant, saying not enough has been done to protect him.
He claims the inmate made threats to his wife and children in June, culminating in a heated row last Sunday when the prisoner allegedly attacked him.
The fight at HMP Prescoed, an open prison in south Wales left both prisoners with minor injuries.

Gwent Police are investigating after both men blamed each other. Dizaei’s lawyers claim he was taken to hospital following the assault, which is denied by prison officials.

Odd. Shouldn’t be difficult to prove one way or the other so it sounds like one side or other is being very stupid.

The former officer, who has been attacked a number of times in prison…

There’s a shock. Were they all racially motivated too? Or were some because he was a new prisoner or a bent copper? With multiple reasons – not, I should emphasise, justifications – for hitting him it’s hard to say which, if any, were racially motivated or why the racial ones are somehow more worthy of reparation than if someone just thought he was a prick who deserved a shoeing.

… has now been moved to another jail for his own safety. But his possessions, including clothes and photographs of his wife and children, were smeared in excrement before he arrived at his new cell, it is claimed.

I’m prepared to believe he’s been on the receiving end of racist abuse, though being both a Muslim and a bent copper I do wonder if he’d choose to view any pig related remarks to be racist (even though Islam isn’t a race) even if they were meant to refer to his old job. Prisons are unlikely to be full of nice race-aware Guardian reading types who’ll pick over their words with extreme care so as not to cause offence so it’d be surprising if someone hasn’t called him names and resorted to his ancestry in the process. But sticks and stones, Ali, sticks and stones. Yes, smearing crap over your possessions and in particular your  photographs was completely out of order, but the actual motivation for it might simply be that the person involved thinks of you as an unbearable cunt or hates police officers – yes, I know, cop haters in prison, of all places. Look, the prison authorities should certainly investigate it and, if possible, punish the person responsible, but they should do that anyway. It’s not necessarily race related and it certainly isn’t racist of the prison staff to allow the other to put his face in the way of your fists. I’d call that a personal self control problem of yours rather than a racism problem of theirs.

* Since he’s Iranian born and therefore, I presume, ethnically Aryan (oh, the irony) whatever “it” is because of it certainly isn’t because he’s black. I’ve never quite got how not being ethnically British qualified him to be President of the National Black Police Association, but since they’re careful to point out that they are all inclusive and have no colour bar on membership presumably we can expect a white police officer to lead it at some stage, right?