Friday, 26 October 2012

"first they came..." another extradition controversy

The latest controversy revolving around extradition to the US comes hot on the heels of the resolution of another two.

First came the extradition of Abu Hamza and four associates – the convicted terrorist’s sermons inspired 9/11 plotter Zacarias Moussaoui as well as would-be shoe-bomber Richard Reid. Lawyers defended the eight-year long process by saying it shows Britain’s determination to be fair.

Gary McKinnon hacked into 97 American defence and Nasa computers, including one at the Pentagon, potentially endangering the country’s defence capability. Home Secretary Theresa May personally blocked the extradition because of the effect it might have on his health.

The third controversy concerns Tommy Robinson, co-founder and leader of the English Defence League, who has been arrested for allegedly entering the US illegally, having been invited to speak on the anniversary of 9/11.

While Abu Qatada was often free to roam and preach hate-sermons during his extradition process and Gary MacKinnon lived at home, Robinson is being held alongside Muslim prisoners. British Freedom leader Paul Weston was also detained, when he refused to leave the reception area of Wormwood Scrubs prison without news of Tommy’s whereabouts and safety. (Can anybody now doubt that habeas corpus no longer exists?)

And in what probably represents the point of the whole exercise Kevin Carroll, British Freedom candidate for the post of Police and Crime Commissioner in Bedfordshire, was arrested as well.

Tommy Robinson neither preaches hate sermons nor encourages others to be violent. He has never compromised another country’s defence. So if you are reading this I hope you will find his arrest sinister and disturbing, regardless of your views on the English Defence League. At the very least follow his case and, if his extradition should be placed on the fast track, ask yourself how you'll fare when it's your turn to stand up against the British Establishment.

Gerry Dorrian
300 words

Tommy Robinson has been denied legal aid and has had his funds frozen - please click here to find out how you can donate to his fighting fund!


Darkness descending in England by Pamela Geller

Update BF/EDL arrests - British Freedom

A Statement from Kev Carroll - English Defence League

Read First they Came by Pastor Martin Niemöller, from which I took part of the title of this post

Thursday, 25 October 2012

public outcry confirms age of consent in UK remains 16

Before 1875, the age of consent to sexual activity in England was 12 in those cases where officials could be bothered to investigate a complaint. Ten years later, crusading editor W.T. Stead (right) pointed out in a series of articles that "the moment a child is thirteen she is a woman in the eye of the law, with absolute right to dispose of her person to any one who by force or fraud can bully or cajole her". The age of consent was raised to 16 and, ever since, politicians and academics – predominantly from the left/liberal axis – have chipped away at the ruling.

That’s why the Savile child-abuse controversy is so significant. Peter Rippon, it is alleged, dropped Newsnight’s exposé on Savile because he considered the bulk of victims were "teenagers, not too young".

We plebs recognise sexual crimes by adults against under-16s as paedophilia. On our side is the UN definition of children in its Convention on the Rights of the Child: "every human being below the age of 18". Underpinning the UN’s assumption is a view of childhood as not just a biological stage but a social construct, extending through the changes of adolescence, a time when the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune can be lethal, as in the case of 15-year-old Claire McAlpine (left).

We cannot lose this momentum, both for Savile’s victims, and for those of child grooming gangs – for example the burgeoning bands of beasts in Rochdale, whose supporters insist that puberty renders a girl a woman.

Nevertheless, authorities still seem to see abuse as a foregone conclusion for a child from a troubled family. Let us hope those authorities see the danger of the outcry against the BBC spreading to all who think it is their right to bully and cajole our children for adult pleasures.

Gerry Dorrian
300 words


UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

W.T. Stead Resource Site

Monday, 22 October 2012

Savile and the BBC: let's stay focussed

Have you ever met a paedophile? If you’re fortunate enough not to have been sexually abused as a child, there are only two answers to this: yes, or I don’t know.

I was unfortunate enough to have had to work with beasts in a "therapeutic" environment, and have seen first-hand how extraordinarily manipulative many can be, so much so that even outside the sexual arena they can make the most outrageous propositions seem like perfect sense. Until, that is, they’ve got what they wanted and you’re left wondering how on earth you were fooled.

So in a sense I can empathise with Edwina Currie (right) who, when Health Minister in 1988, put Jimmy Savile at the head of a task force running Broadmoor Hospital, where he abused residents. Her decision must of course be investigated, but hopefully by a team staffed by people with experience of the persuasive and chameleon-like qualities of intelligent abusers.

Whether the same latitude should be shown to the BBC is in the balance. While I’m sure that many of its foot-soldiers are devastated by what the Corporation’s enabled Savile to do, senior people at the Beeb knew precisely what that was. At best they washed their hands of his victims, at worst persuading families not to pursue action because the fans wouldn’t understand.

What we have to do is stay focussed on how the BBC buried reports of Savile’s tendency and not get distracted by minutiae. Yes, Savile looked odd; he acted bizarrely; many thought him weird; he didn’t have a life partner. Yet these are not indications of predatory intent, either singly or in combination. We need to cast light on how ratings matter more than lives in the BBC’s shadowy corridors of power, not let our rage dissipate heatedly and ineffectively on our own straw men.

Gerry Dorrian
300 words


Exposure: The other Side of Jimmy Savile - ITV documentary that started the ball rolling

Jimmy Savile - what the BBC Knew - Panorama documentary due to be broadcast 10:35 on BBC1: follow link for i-Player

Newsnight and Jimmy Savile - blog by Newsnight editor Peter Rippon on why the Savile investigation piece was dropped

End of the license-fee for post-Savile BBC? - 300 words

BBC abd Savile: remind you of anything? - 300 words

Thursday, 18 October 2012

open letter to the Christian faith leaders of Norwich

Open letter in response to Norwich Christian faith leaders' statement opposing a demonstration by the English Defence League. Click here to go straight to the letter.


  • Fr David Bagstaff, diocesan administrator of the Diocese of East Anglia (Roman Catholic)
  • Major David Jackson, divisional commander of the Eastern Region, Salvation Army
  • The Rt Rev Graham James, Bishop of Norwich (Church of England)
  • The Rev Richard Lewis, regional minister of the Eastern Baptist Association
  • John Myhill, on behalf of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)
  • The Very Rev Graham Smith, Dean of Norwich (Church of England)
  • The Rev Graham Thompson, chairman of the East Anglian District of the Methodist Church
  • Fr James Walsh, Dean of the Cathedral Church of John the Baptist (Roman Catholic)
  • The Rev Paul Whittle, moderator of the Eastern Synod of the United Reformed Church

Dear Christian faith leaders of Norwich,

I am writing to voice my disappointment at your statement regarding the English Defence League’s proposed march in Norwich, which is lacking in charity just as much as in knowledge about the EDL.

We are a diverse and inclusive group with supporters from many backgrounds, including Islam. We value the cohesion that comes from integration of different groups.

Our aim is a society where every man, woman and child is equal under the law of the land – a goal the patriot and martyr Benazir Bhutto, amongst others, soundly agreed with.

You wish us to refrain from raising awareness of the muzzling of one of your co-religionists, Pastor Alan Clifford of the Norwich Reformed Church, who was accused of spreading hate with his leaflet Why Not Islam. Are you sure it is us and not free speech you oppose?

I note that you align yourself with a group called We are Norwich. This has echoes of We are Walthamstow, an unelected group of 200 people who threw bricks and bottles at us in the name of the 250,000 residents of this area. Norwich has 140,000 residents – how many are members of We are Norwich? Who elected them? Who gave them a mandate not merely to say "we represent Norwich" but "we are Norwich"?

I wonder how many of you have experienced an EDL demonstration from our side. I invite those of you who haven’t to come to one of our demos to see us bear witness to radical equality. (You might be offended by the language, but that’s how we plebs talk sometimes.)

I also invite those of you who have no experience of us to ask yourselves: wasn’t it presumptious to put your name to a statement that judges us in a way your Founder would have considered intolerable?

Yours faithfully
Gerry Dorrian
300 words

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Frankie Boyle: "antifascist" and racist

Frankie Boyle’s "racist" libel action against the Daily Mirror continues. Unable to conceive of any context in which a white person can use the “n-word” to describe black people in a non-racist context, I will welcome his defeat.

Frankie Boyle in BBC's Mock the Week
Boyle has long been a darling of the left for his scathing misrepresentations of working-class attitudes and values, so it’s significant that he was taken to task by the left-leaning Mirror – followed closely by none other than the Guardian. Perhaps the Savile scandal has reminded them that celebrity does not coat bigots in Teflon, in which case the mighty will fall in such numbers that we’ll need brollies.

The Guardian’s Bim Adewunmi – a bystander in Diane Abbott’s racism scandal – points out that "racist" has become a problematic word. It was once applied to people and behaviours that made, for example, the lives of many black people a misery.

But it’s problematic because of its misappropriation to be applied to whoever the politically correct disapprove of. So-called antifascist movements call, for example, the English Defence League racist, when all we demand is equality under one law for everybody: as the British Freedom slogan goes, it’s about culture, not colour.

All the more reason for Boyle to react with fury and fear at the appellation of "racist". As a self-confessed so-called antifascist, he helped torture the term into its present meaning, and knows well that in his circles if somebody is called "racist", the speaker means "fascist", ie "not one of us".

I make no apologies for talking about an ongoing case, because the BBC made none for appointing itself judge and jury on Question Time, 9 February 2012, over John Terry while his (unproven) case for allegedly using racist language was ongoing. As institutions and individuals are relearning, what’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

Gerry Dorrian
300 words


Comedian Frankie Boyle sues Daily Mirror for libel over 'racist comedian' line - Daily Mirror, 15 October 2012

I hate racism, Frankie Boyle tells libel case - Daily Mirror, 16 October 2012

The Frankie Boyle 'racism' case makes me question the language we use - The Guardian - Bim Adewunmi, 16 October 2012

Click to go to Question Time (9 February 2012) to see a discussion of the John Terry racism case when the case was ongoing and adjourned - discussion begins 43m 05s.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

BBC and Savile: remind you of anything?

Is the developing story of Jimmy Savile’s abuse and suppression of same sounding familiar? Let’s look at some relevant points, from a Daily Mail report into the affair:

  • A [BBC Newsnight] report into Savile shelved, and conclusions not passed on to police;
  • Individuals gagged by [BBC] authorities;
  • Reports from rank-and-file police officers in several police forces ignored.
  • Savile rendered ‘untouchable’.

Psychiatry defines "perseveration" as the continuation of a learned behaviour in response to new stimuli. This matters because individuals who managed the BBC’s studied denial of Muslim child-grooming will have moved onto different jobs, including reputation management. Upon hearing of the charges against Savile, they will have reacted to the new situation according to the old rules: oppose, obfuscate and obstruct.

Malala Yousafzai: click to find out more
I’m not using Savile‘s crimes to have a cheap shot at Muslims, many of whom are as much victims of Islamism as the rest of us are. Take Malala Yousafzai (right), the Pakistani schoolgirl shot for her brave stand against Taliban opposition to girls’ education. She’s a hero, like the women who found the strength to stand up and testify in The Other Side of Jimmy Savile, the ITV documentary that started all the furore. And all of them are victims of systemic ways of thinking that put abusive males at the top of the tree then maintain their position.

In February 2011, English Defence League founder Tommy Robinson told Newsnight’s Jeremy Paxman about a series of issues relating to Islam in Britain, ending with 15-year-olds being "raped and pimped". Paxman’s response to this was "these are all personal issues of yours".

My contention is that such an automatic denial on the part of BBC apparatchiks to Islamist abuses became a learned behaviour that was then directed towards the victims of Savile and his accomplices. It’s time to shine some democratic light upon these reflex responses so that justice can start to be done upon the monsters who have enjoyed the BBC’s protection.

Gerry Dorrian
300 words


Click to watch The Other Side of Jimmy Savile on ITV

Click to watch Jeremy Paxman interview Tommy Robinson for Newsnight on Feb 2011. The exchange ending with Paxman's comment "these are all personal issues of yours" begins at 5min 45sec.

Click to find out more about Malala Yousafzai on the Provoking Thoughts blog

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

end of the licence fee for post-Savile BBC?

The BBC’s chickens are coming home to roost like never before, with allegations of Jimmy Saville’s abuse of children being followed by indications of decades-long cover-ups of his and others’ activities. So is it entirely coincidental that YouTube has announced its drive to lure TV viewers with 60 new channels right now?

The idea isn’t new: YouTube launched a similar initiative in the US last year, and doubtless the UK additions have been on the drawing board for some time. But surely it would be commercial stupidity not to act just as millions of licence-fee payers wonder whether their money has been used to gag witnesses and even victims of child abuse?

I’ve had big problems with the BBC; for instance, refusing to apologise to Christians for airing Jerry Springer: the Opera despite over 60,000 complaints. And after airing the infamous pre-recorded Ross and Brand show, its first reaction was to smear its own customers by saying we hadn’t reacted until an article by Melanie Phillips alerted us to the fiasco.

Now, however, I see that the BBC itself isn’t the problem. The licence fee is the problem.

Celebrity Big Brother Series 5 logo
Remember Celebrity Big Brother Series 5 on Channel 4 where Jade Goody racially abused Shilpa Shetty? The broadcaster stuck to its guns in not removing Goody: although the controversy raised viewing figures to astronomical levels, Carphone Warehouse withdrew its sponsorship of the programme and anything Goody-related, for example her perfumes and her autobiography, were considered too toxic for high-street shelves. Millions were lost, and C4 lost the series.

Had Channel 4 been funded by licence-fee, it would have carried on regardless, much as the BBC does. The Saville child abuse row, and all the related rows waiting to explode, constitute the BBC’s Big Brother experience. After all this, don’t let "the unique way the BBC is funded" become their get-out-of-jail-free card.

Gerry Dorrian
300 words


Esther Rantzen: I believe interviewees - This is Gloucestershire

Gloating cruelty, foul vulgarity and a BBC that has lost all sense of shame - Melanie Phillips on the Ross and Brand broadcast

Monday, 8 October 2012

ecstasy trial: a silenced voice breaks through

In 1997, the Independent launched a protracted campaign to legalise cannabis. Ten years later, an avalanche of evidence about the damaging effects of cannabis upon mental health forced the paper into making an apology for their previous stance. The latest fallout from Channel 4’s two-part documentary on Ecstasy shows that the station has not applied the Independent’s lesson to itself.

Professor Andy Parott from Swansea University’s Department of Psychology has said in a letter to the Telegraph that he agreed to take part in the programmes "with the proviso that I would be given time to summarise the scientific evidence on the damaging effects of the drug on the human brain. Unfortunately this did not occur."

Certainly, a couple of indications of sinister side-effects of the "hug-drug" in the first part of the documentary could have been explored but were left hanging. Firstly, one member of the audience who said he takes ecstasy regularly shared that he’d seen people die in front of him due to having taken the drug.

Secondly, a tendency to form good impressions of people while under the influence of E was found to linger a week later, after all traces of the drug would have left the body – indicative of a lasting effect upon the way users think, possibly even arising from changes in the connections between cells in the executive frontal cortex of the brain.

There’s a popular view, expressed by an anonymous commenter on my post on the first documentary, that "there's absolutely no evidence that legalizing drugs will create more harm". In a limited amount of cases it might not be possible to falsify this statement, but "drugs" covers a colossal range of substances and issues, and to make a blanket statement about even one led the Independent into an apology. Channel 4, take note.

Gerry Dorrian
300 words


Click to read Professor Andy C. Parrott's letter to the Daily Telegraph (last letter on the page

Drug Live: The Ecstasy Trial Channel 4 - Part 1

Drug Live: The Ecstasy Trial Channel 4 - Part 1

Cannabis: an Apology - The Independent 18 March 2007

Why Channel 4's Ecstasy trail left me depressed - 300 words

Thursday, 4 October 2012

HIV treatment: let's learn from medicine's history

Imagine: you’re healthy, and your GP prescribes you antibiotics, telling you that if you take them for the foreseeable future you won’t get a chest infection.

Imagine further that you start taking the antibiotics and find that they give you diorrhoea (a not uncommon side effect). So you reduce the dose in order to mitigate the runs and everything goes swimmingly – until you contract an infection that has become antibiotic-tolerant because you weren’t taking enough to kill it, and end up with pneumonia.

It sounds far-fetched, but once older people were prescribed antibiotics prophylactically for a whole winter to stop them catching bacterial infections, which is partially the reason we have hordes of bacteria tolerant to antibiotics today.

And it’s about to happen again, in the field of viruses: HIV, to be precise.

It’s been announced that HIV treatment and care is now free for all undocumented migrants and non-UK citizens who wish to access it. And that’s only right: viruses don’t care about whether or not their carriers have passports.

What’s worrying, though, is that a head of steam continues to build for prevention of HIV transmission via Prep: pre exposure prophylaxis, meaning that antiretrovirals would be given to somebody who was liable to have unprotected sex with HIV-positive partners. Just like bacteria, viruses can become tolerant to medications, and antiretrovirals require over 90% compliance to prevent tolerance.

If Prep becomes recognised as HIV treatment, undocumented migrants will be able to access it as of right. It sounds sinister to wish to deny them this, but rolling it out would mean we create a reservoir of treatment-resistant HIV within our communities. And it would buy into the racist lie that men of certain ethnicities have trouble keeping it in their trousers.

Let’s learn from medicine’s recent past.

Gerry Dorrian
Former BBV worker
300 words


From today, HIV treatment is free for all who need it in England - nam-aidsmap

Large study suggests that more African people are acquiring HIV in the UK than previously thought - nam-aidsmap

HIV risk factors common in Central and Eastern European gay men who have migrated to the UK - nam-aidsmap