Thursday, 19 March 2015

Joining the Green Party

Today I joined the Green Party of England and Wales. Why? In the past few days I have been suffering from an unidentifiable fatigue. I've felt short of breath and had headaches and joint pain. The explanation came when I read that a cloud of smog and pollution has blanketed across Britain, causing significant health effects for asthmatics, the elderly and sufferers of other chronic illnesses. Also in the past few days a hurricane has caused death and destruction in Vanuatu, with the president of that country attributing it to the effects of climate change. These epiphanies of anger and literal sickness have spurred me into finally joining the political party, the Greens, whose values I have agreed with ever since my interest in political began in my early adolescence. There are few human rights more fundamental than the rights to clean air and water, yet they seem to be a non-issue to our mainstream politicians and commentators.

It is bewildering that the crises of environmental derogation and climate change - which according to the overwhelming scientific evidence will pose a massive and existential risk to humanity in the upcoming century unless they are counteracted - are seemingly trivial or niche concerns among the left, even when they are integral  to socioeconomic exploitation and injustice across the world. 

Yet the Green Party's commitment to environmentalism, the motivation of its founding, is not the primary reason why I have been inspired and impressed by it. The Green Party, unlike Labour, opposes ideological austerity and has a party platform, motivated by fundamentally humanistic values, for a just, healthy and free society, including a universal basic income and the abolition of workfare, and NHS free at the point of use and free from privatisation, the right to secure housing, an education system centered around the individual abilities and needs of all children, the abolition of tuition fees and an expansion of investment into science and technology, and an social unconditional support for elderly, disabled and vulnerable people. As Jack Monroe has stated, a Labour Party which apes and Tories and UKIP on scapegoating of immigrants and benefit claimants has no right to claim to stand for social justice. For its conformity to the ideological austerity agenda, Labour are known as the Red Tories in Scotland for a good reason. 

Yes, I remember standards in the NHS, and the state schools I attended, improving when Labour were in power in my youth. But I also remember the frighteningly oppressive nature of state bureaucracy and surveillance that expanded under Labour. I remember the Iraq War. I remember the beginnings of state-sanctioned cruelty against social security claimants, such as workfare, sanctions and outsourced disability benefit assessments, that was the genesis of the barbarism and cruelty imposed against them by David Cameron's government. 

"But if you don't vote Labour the Tories will get in". I hope not; I would be happy to see a Labour government tempered by the Greens and perhaps SNP, hopefully abolishing the bedroom tax and protecting the NHS from privatisation, but also one less likely to exactly coopt the rhetoric of the Tory Party on taking "tough decisions" to deal with the "inherited" deficit, caused by the very Thatcherite ideology that Labour aligned to resulting in the economic crisis, as the Labour leadership currently does. An electoral and political system built on blackmail and moral mediocrity is not a democratic one. And the Red Tories seem to rely on it. If Labour supporters have a problem with this supposition then they shouldn't shoot the messengers.

I am one tens of thousands who have joined a Green Party that has massively surged in membership and popularity in recent months. It should consider itself in league with parties like Syriza and Podemos that are part in the Europe-wide movement against austerity. Syriza, relegating the New Labour-like PASOK to minor party status and now govern Greece, and Podemos are leading in the national opinions polls in Spain only a year after its formation. On a concluding note I would advocate that our party defects to the European United Left–Nordic Green Left grouping in the European Parliament so we can work with what should be our natural allies.

Is Israel the most racist country on Earth?

Benjamin Netanyahu has been reelected for a fourth term as Prime Minister of Israel. He has done so by expressing an overt and racially charged contempt for democracy. Netanyahu warned that Israeli Arabs, who make up around twenty percent of the Israeli population, would vote for opposition parties that advocate two-state settlement with Palestine. This Fifth Column, as a Netanyahu portrays it, merely advocates that Israel complies with obligations with a consensus in international diplomacy and law: to give the Palestinians the right to a state representation and to end illegal settlements in the Palestinian territories.

The surge in support for Netanyahu and Likud was driven by Netanyahu's promise to oppose any recognition or possible establishment of a State of Palestine. This State would provide a diplomatic representation of the Palestinian people, and would give the Palestinian authorities an administration with which to hold the Israeli state accountable for its violations of international law, including its war crimes, therefore making the possibility of an ICC prosecution of Israeli war crimes more likely. So perhaps Netanyahu, as the one of the main conspirators in the perpetration of war crimes, does have a vested interest to oppose Palestinian statehood in order to decide his own fate. But these war crimes themselves are motivated by a racism that is encapsulated in calls for genocide, or even a Holocaust, of the Palestinians among the Israeli intelligentsia; and given his reelection it is clear that Netanyahu has ruthlessly calculated to ferment this hatred to remain in power. His opposition to the Palestinian fate is not only driven by a fear of democracy and justice, but also a mainstream desire among the Israeli right-wing to eradicate the people symbolized by a political entity in Palestine.

There are few societies on Earth, if any, where racism is more acceptable or ubiquitous than in Israel.

Monday, 9 March 2015

Was Margaret Thatcher the head of child sex abuse, rape and murder cover-up?

The mounting historical evidence is revealing Margaret Thatcher as having been complicit in the abuse of children by establishment paedophiles when she was Prime Minster of the United Kingdom. The Daily Mirror reported in July 2014 that Thatcher "personally covered up" child abuse by a "rising star" paedophile in the Conservative Party, whom she demanded "clean up" his sexual activity. Apparently no police action was taken against this paedophile when he was caught preying on boys at Victoria railway station in London.

It would appear that child abuse by paedophile allies was primarily a political liability to Thatcher, not criminality to be intercepted or punished. The victims were collateral damage. This is the defining attitude of the corrupt, covering up authorities in high-profile mass child abuse cases of today like in Rotherham and Oxfordshire. After his death last year, Thatcher's Home Secretary Leon Brittan was named as a serial abuser of children involved in the Westminster paedophile ring, now subject to ongoing police investigations, that abused children at Elm Guest House and Dolphin Square, where children were reportedly abused, raped, and murdered by Members of Parliament and other paedophile elites. The same Brittan was handed a dossier by Geoffrey Dickens MP detailing child abuse by Westminster paedophiles (which, conveniently, has gone missing since).

Now declassified Cabinet Office documents reveal that Thatcher was aware of multiple police reports of child abuse against paedophile Cyril Smith MP - a prolific, serial, sadistic abuser of children in the Rochdale residential homes he presided over as a governor - and despite this insisted that he be conferred a knighthood. The police did conduct criminal investigations into Smith's abuses when he was still alive and yet, somehow, prosecution of him was always obstructed. Another serial abuser and rapist of children, who Thatcher also lobbied for the knighting of, was paedophile Jimmy Savile, who was feted on multiple occasions by Thatcher at Chequers. Both Savile and Smith, whose combined victim tallies likely reaches four figures, were never prosecuted for their crimes despite the overwhelming, corroborating evidence proving their guilt. It is well documented that both men's crimes were systematically facilitated, not only by their maleficent, influential and manipulative natures, but by the complicity, victim blaming and cover-up of the institutions they offended in: including local councils, police forces and prosecuting authorities. Only after their deaths did the majority of survivors feel secure to speak out.

Police believe that Smith and Savile attended "sex parties" where children (many procured from the social care system) were abused at Elm Guest House, the same believed to have been attended by Leon Brittan and other Thatcher Cabinet paedophiles, that were organised by paedophile Sidney Cooke. Cooke is a serial rapist and torturer of children who is serving two life sentences for the killing of two young boys (one of which was a manslaughter as the boy died from his injuries after a gang rape by Smith and his paedophile ring, and another was murdered).

It logically figures that Thatcher, at the apex of political power and influence, with a mindset permeated with ruthless self-advancement - as seen in her underhanded and brutal repression of opponents like trade unions, and unwavering sympathy towards corrupt and abusive police - was both directly and indirectly integral to the cover-up of establishment paedophilia.  Her friends and political allies were involved in paedophile rings that raped and murdered children. And, more broadly, paedophiles like Jimmy Savile pathologically exploited corrupt public institutions that adhered to the same culture of silence and intimidation and disbelief of the victims. A related exemplar of Thatcher's mentality and moral compass was her avowed allegiance to General Augusto Pinochet, a mass murdering war criminal who sanctioned rape and sexual assault by his men as a method of torturing imprisoned political dissidents, and who Thatcher publicly defended after his indictment and arrest in London for crimes against humanity in 1998. Perhaps new evidence on Thatcher's role in the UK's child abuse cover-ups will reveal why her associates were able evade justice and continue perpetrating their own atrocities so easily. It is already evident that covering up child abuse was a defining feature of Thatcherism; for the sake of child welfare today, this conservative icon should be remembered for it.

Thursday, 5 March 2015

More on the Goole mafia (recommended reading)

James Forrest of the Comment Isn't Free blog has written an enlightening blog post covering corruption in Humberside Police, as previously described in my own blog post on the subject, including 1) its connection to the Ian Huntley murders and 2) the Goole mafia involving criminally convicted CS Colin Andrews, and the Chief Constable Patrick Geenty under investigation for gross misconduct in handling of  child abuse cases; who was involved in formulating the child protection policy of the East Riding of Yorkshire Council retaining staff involved in the Rotherham child abuse cover-up and obstructing investigations into historical child abuse.

Friday, 27 February 2015

Reflections on gender identity

Following the lead of my friend latentexistence bravely coming out about their non-binary gender identity, I have decided to openly reflect in this medium about thoughts and experiences I have very much reserved to myself until now. More than ever, particularly thanks to the internet and social media, there is a heightened awareness of non-binary gender identities and sexual orientations including and beyond lesbian, gay and bisexual. The term cisgender, in reference to people with a gender identity matching their assigned gender at birth according to social norm and biology (the oppose of transgender), is quickly becoming part of the common vernacular. And orientations such as asexuality, and gender identities beyond the conventional "male and "female", are also significantly more in the public consciousness.

At the beginning of this year broke the tragic story of Leelah Alcorn, a transgender teenage girl who was driven to suicide by the abuse and "conversion therapy" (psychological torture) inflicted on her by remorseless Christian fundamentalist parents. I naturally found Leelah's death devastating, but it made me deeply reflect my own gender identity. Growing up with high-functioning autism and suffering through years of clinical depression and anxiety caused by posttraumatic stress disorder, I began to consider the extent to which the social elements of gender identity and sexuality influenced, phenomenologically, my mental health and sense of self generally. I only fully realised that I was bisexual at the age of twenty and my autism, atypically, was not formally diagnosed until the same age. Unsurprisingly, the stressful uncertainty of the former and neglect of care and support in the latter, and the insecurity and social difficulties caused by both which targeted me for the years of abuse and victimisation that caused the PTSD, will have had a profound impact on me developmentally and psychologically. latentexistence describes, in a way I can totally relate to, how autism contributes to an introverted personality type that reacts severely to social pressurisation. The thought tormented me: what affect could the all-imposing gender binary have had on me?

On Tumblr I saw photo timelines of trans women (beautiful, extraordinary women) who had transitioned through hormone replacement therapy. When confronted with transgender people's issues and personal insights, as well as the happiness of their transitioning, I began to experience increasingly overwhelming feelings of anger and bitterness. I regret that expressing this in conversation led to me upsetting one of my close friends. But this was not because of prejudice towards trans people, of which I hold none. This caused me to seriously and existentially consider, in one of the most difficult mental health episodes of my life, the extent to which my cisgendereness has always had on my mental health; and I realised that what I was experiencing was gender dysphoria.

But, after this soul searching, I understand that I am not a trans woman and have no intention of transitioning. I am perfectly comfortable having the pronoun 'he', which I opt for, but nor do I feel very strongly about adhering to it or my "male" identity. I instead prefer to be me, and embrace the multidimensional emotional and interpersonal sensations I have with other people, not just the broad gender labels that accompany them. The popular phrase for this orientation is genderqueer, I prefer to simply call myself non-binary. It may seem paradoxical to some, but I am happy to state that I am non-binary whilst adhering to a masculine, but simultaneously feminine, gender identity that presents as regularly cisgender. I am transfeminine: while cisgender and nominally male I identify with both masculinity and femininity but don't possess the desire to alter myself bodily or in personal presentation or pronouns to reflect this. I am even satisfied with being conveniently "male", but wouldn't object to being described differently, as this is how I feel internally.

I am certain that probably innumerable people occupy this grey area of gender and sexuality, and believe that the individuation its facilitates would be beneficial to society and the mental health of all, particularly transgender people who, as presenting as such, are the most vulnerable to discrimination, violence and prejudice.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

East Riding of Yorkshire Council shields former Rotherham officials

The East Riding of Yorkshire Council has "investigated" - emphasis on the quote on quote - the integrity of its Child Protection procedures and standards, publicly incited to do so in the aftermath of the Rotherham abuse case; it reports no concerns, other than an increase in child sexual exploitation cases which it attributes to an increased awareness among professionals and the public, which is indeed a positive. But the ERYC, as noted by Councillor Paul Hogan, has failed to investigate cases of historical child sex abuse; an approach highly out of touch with Britain's advent in seeking to investigate abuses from the past, pioneered by the bravery of survivors and their advocates, and to address the institutional failures and injustices which facilitated them.

The full extent of the abuse in Rotherham became apparent following the publication of the Jay report in 2014, which described the widespread, organised rape, sexual slavery, trafficking and torture of hundreds of children and young people (1,400 as a reserved estimation) in the town by paedophile gangs. The Casey report published this January detailed a culture of institutional bullying and willful ignorance in Rotherham Council that reached the highest levels of the corrupt authority, that was deliberately orchestrated to cover-up its failures in protecting the victims and preventing further abuses, an approach which functionally aided and abetted the perpetrators. Whistleblowers were harassed and intimidated. Computers with research detailing the abuse and council failures had their hard drives wiped. Offices with documents documenting the same were stolen, presumably to be destroyed. South Yorkshire Police and the National Crime Agency are making inquiries into the conduct of Rotherham Council staff. One of those named in the Jay report was Pam Allen, who since 2009 has been the head of children and young people's support in the East Riding of Yorkshire Council; two other staff members working under Allen also worked at Rotherham.

Despite all of these comprehensively documented malpractices, the East Riding of Yorkshire Council has refused to make any inquiries staff members that worked at Rotherham Council, including Pam Allen. Councillor Kerri Harold, the chairperson of the East Riding's CSE investigation, argued that would be "wrong" to make any inquiries into the former Rotherham staff; Councillor Stephen Lane accused the media focus on them as being a "distraction". It would therefore appear that to the East Riding of Yorkshire Council, the ruination of innumerable lives in Rotherham by mass child abuse, and the involvement of their staff members in the authority that covered it up, is a trivial irrelevancy; the only liability being journalistic and public criticism and concerns about institutional accountability and the welfare of children. It reflects that they would prefer it to be buried in the past.

How can the people of the East Riding of Yorkshire possibly trust their council to protect children and young people from harm if it takes such an apathetic and self-serving approach to considering the legitimacy and competence of its senior child protection staff? This should be a cause for massive concern.