Nadine Dorries: If Only Child Sex Victims Had Said No, They Might Not Have Been Molested

While wingnuttia’s never gotten a real foothold in Britain, it raises its ugly head often enough to remind us it exists. Nadine Dorries proves she’s just as stupid, and just as cruel as her counterparts across the pond by actually suggesting child abuse victims could have prevented their own molestation:

All is not well on Planet Dorries. Two weeks after the Mid Bedfordshire MP introduced a sexist private member’s bill which would teach only girls the virtue of sexual abstinence and “how to say no”, Nadine has helped to advance the myth that child sexual abuse is linked to the behaviour of children.

On Channel 5′s Vanessa show on Monday she opined:

“If a stronger ‘just say no’ message was given to children in school then there might be an impact on sex abuse … if we imbued this message in school we’d probably have less sex abuse.”

We see victim-blaming sadly far too often when it comes to sexual crimes, but blaming child victims of sexual assault has got to be an all time low. This makes my gorge rise, it’s so loathsome. Do I really need to point out that adults are EASILY, EASILY able to overpower and/or emotionally manipulate kids into being abused? That there is a reason society feels a particularly intense revulsion towards those who commit child rape?

And as a survivor of abuse myself (I guess I didn’t say no loudly enough!) I not-so-cordially invite Nadine Dorries to go fuck herself. To hear this from one of my elected representatives makes incredibly angry, revolted and not a little depressed.

House of Lords Reform: Another Better Chance For PR?

Though I’m pessimistic that this will pass the House of Commons, let alone the House of Lords who will naturally be opposed to any shake up, the current plans to reform the upper chamber, though sketchy and vague at present, seem to me to be an ideal way to pilot proportional representation.

A joint committee of 13 MPs and 13 peers to be set up in the next few months will consider plans for members of the new legislature to be elected for 15-year terms under the single transferable vote system.

Under the government’s plans, members would be elected on a staged basis – a third every five years – with the first elections for the new chamber to take place in 2015 – on the same day as the next general election.

By introducing an advanced form of PR (AV was really the least worst option) to vote in elections which have never been held before, thus requiring no messy, difficult switch, and for the subordinate House of Parliament, would be more likely to gain public support for the system. The other positive is that while backbenchers on both sides are making rather a lot of noise, this time the Tories and Lib Dems are in agreement that the House of Lords should be at least partly elected, so we are also likely to be spared the bitter infighting which marred the AV campaign.

The arguments for reform vastly outnumber the ones against. We are the only Western democracy which has an unelected chamber of government.  Given the fact the vast majority of the Lords are there not on merit but by various Prime Ministers rewarding cronies and seeking to stack the Lords in their party’s favour, the House of Lords as it is laughs in the face of democratic and meritocratic principles. Furthermore ,while I definitely would not want the Lords to become a replica of the US Senate – where the members can literally block everything passed by the House – neither am I comfortable with the current system in which the Lords are almost powerless to prevent laws eventually being passed, thanks to the Parliament Act. We need, to use the American description of its system of government, checks and balances. It would be great if Britain were to find a way to stake out a middle ground, and planning reform of the Lords provides us with a great opportunity to do so.

I Hope Either The 21 Mayers Or Mayans Are Right

Because there is absolutely no fucking hope for humanity.

An Israeli couple have named their baby daughter Like, taking inspiration from the Facebook social networking site, Israeli media say.

Lior Adler and his wife Vardit said they were looking for a name that was “modern and innovative”.

The First Rule Of Sirota’s Holier Than Thou Club (UPDATED)

UPDATE: As the subject of this post has dropped by for a visit, I am going to clarify: I am not defending, and did not defend, the deliberate targeting of minority-dominated neighbourhoods for frisking, drug swoops etc. Nowhere did I even mention those in this post. I was responding to Sirota’s criticisms of the increase in the number of arrests and the money and time Bloomberg is choosing to spend on it. I think that’s pretty obvious when you read the actual paragraph in question. But then, I’m not chronically intellectually dishonest.

….is the rules must be constantly changed to deny all but David Sirota membership.

A theme you will often see with Salon’s twin beacons of supreme self-righteousness, David Sirota and Glenn Greenwald, is that they are ‘courageous’ for holding the opinions they do, for Evil Obama Cultists or Imaginary Evil Authority Figures are, as we speak, threatening to throw them in the gulag for daring to speak out against what most people see as sanity and common sense, but they see as the creeping onslaught of fascism.

Now Sirota goes even further in this narcissistic hogwash in his latest screed about a NYT’s reporter’s tweet on NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s legacy. This tweet, in fact (which I will agree is too deferential in tone for my liking too, but otherwise has valid points):

So what? Bloomberg shouldn’t be given any kudos at all for championing gay rights. He’s mayor of fucking New York City! The only place safer to support gay rights is a gay bar…in San Francisco! So yeah, big deal Bloomie. Or so says David Sirota, for whom being right (ie being of the same mind as Sirota) is now no longer enough to get you that Scooby Snack. No, now you have to be right while locked inside an asylum filled with lunatics, screeching howler monkeys and rabid dogs infested with fleas carrying the Black Death.

As mayor of the Big Apple, Bloomberg is a national political figure — and his positions supporting dissident Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, backing gay marriage and defending the right of an Islamic center to be built in Lower Manhattan are certainly of national interest, laudable and pro-freedom. However, two of those three positions (Ai Weiwei and gay marriage) are hardly politically courageous in a socially progressive city like New York. More important, citing these three isolated examples to declare Bloomberg “The Freedom Mayor” who represents a “full-throated defense of liberty” is a propagandistic whitewashing of his larger anti-freedom record — and such hagiographic sloganeering is particularly disturbing coming from an allegedly objective meme-shaper like Barbaro.

Being a pragmatist, I’m not one to look a gift horse in the mouth. Given that New York State’s last attempt to legalise gay marriage failed in the  Senate, and Governor Andrew Cuomo says the votes still aren’t there, the support of an independent, powerful political figure and former Republican could prove extremely useful. But there I go again, bringing common sense into the argument. And standing up for the 1st Amendment, the cornerstone of freedom in the Constitution,during the ridiculous fuss over the Park51 project,  is what I’d call a ‘full throated defence’ of liberty.

While there are many valid criticisms to be levelled at Bloomberg, the other criticisms Sirota offers are, to put it mildly, laughable. His chief concerns are the NYPD arresting people for possession of pot and ‘Big Brother’ surveillance cameras. Whether you think pot should be criminalised or not, the fact remains it is currently against the law and will be until the law is changed. What exactly are the police supposed to do – not enforce a law because some people don’t agree with it? You know, believing pot leads to people taking harder drugs is a perfectly legitimate position to have, and Bloomberg has every right to get tough on it if that is his position.

As for this ‘ZOMG Big Brother is watching us!!11eleventy!!” reaction to surveillance cameras, what these hysterical morons seem to forget is that the the cameras are recording to tape so they can be closely examined later in the event of a crime occurring, and people in the observation rooms are on the lookout for antisocial and criminal behaviour. They are not interested in watching you, Mr Par. A. Noid, adjust your tin foil hat every 5 seconds.

Mark Sanford: Because America MUST Hear From EVERY Adulterous Politician

America’s most famous hiker apparently got tired of Ensign and Gingrich hogging the headlines and decided to pipe up:

ThinkProgress recently spoke with former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford about what effect the Republican plan to end Medicare will have. Sanford singled out the upcoming New York 26th congressional district special election as one that Republicans may lose because of the Ryan budget, and conceded that his party would likely take “some losses” elsewhere as well. Still, the former governor argued that Ryan’s budget was “pioneering,” which necessarily “will involve losses”.

This would suggest to me that the American people really DO NOT WANT the Ryan plan, while Sanford and the other inhabitants of GOP Bizarro World see losing as winning. As the Republicans are hellbent on sticking with this extremist, deeply unpopular nonsense, so when they lose seats as a result…don’t cry for them, Argentina.

Interview With A Mental Patient

I’m not entirely sure what the Independent’s Robert Chalmers was hoping to achieve by sitting down with “racistislamophoberepublicantimuslimbigot” Pamela Geller (she forgot “starkravingmadlyinsanelunatic”). If he was doing a study on mental illness, I could have seen the point, because if we knew exactly what afflicts Geller’s mind we might be able to stop it spreading to normal human beings.

But treating this woman as a person to be seriously interviewed and to have her delusions held up to “is it x or y” scrutiny?

It kinda pisses me off that she gets an interview in a national newspaper while millions of sane, politically aware people willing to share their opinions are ignored because a freak show makes better copy than actual insightful analysis on any given topic.

Arsenal’s Shitty, Awful, No-Good Season Crawling To An Ignominious End

Apparently too much Carling causes hangovers that last for months.

It's ironic that my NFL team's owner is a profligate idiot while my soccer team's manager is an equally stupid tightwad.

Our title bid went out with the wimpiest of whimpers, and instead of ending the season on some kind of high, the team seems to be determined to have us all reaching for the bottle by season’s end. Yeah, we were on the receiving end of some really appalling refereeing decisions, but refereeing decisions don’t use up every 90 minutes of 38 games. Ultimately, the team has no one to blame but themselves.

Between Squillaci proving to be by far the worst buy Arsene Wenger’s ever made, Cesc making it clear he’d rather be pulling Barca’s midfield strings, and Wenger’s fucking idiotic stubbornness in refusing to buy at all, not even the badly needed goalkeeper, or experienced players for the defence, this season has stretched my faith to the limit and broken it. So much so, that I now firmly believe that Wenger has taken this club as far as he can go, and he needs to pass the management on to new blood before we actually start going backwards.

And Arsenal: how about winning some silverware before deciding to jack season ticket prices up by 6%? People are already struggling to pay for these tickets, they don’t want to spend precious money on a team that serves up the kind of spineless, heartless football we’ve seen all too often this season. Or cut the wages overpaid primadonnas who play like they don’t give a shit if you need extra money. Except Robin van Persie, that man deserves a pay raise for the way he’s played this season. One goal every 97 minutes of Premiership football is simply amazing. He deserves better than this.

Everyone who loves Arsenal deserves better than this.

In Which I Tackle Clegg Derangement Syndrome

I’m very much in the minority of liberals in that I believe Nick Clegg is not even guilty of treason, much less deserving of being hung, drawn and quartered (and there are many people on the left who would volunteer for the job of executioner). Here is a chronological explanation of why Clegg has not actively betrayed Lib Dem supporters, but simply muddled along as best he could during the coalition and actually showing responsible leadership in the aftermath of the election in May 2010.

The results of the election meant Clegg had only one choice.  While no party ended up with a clear majority, the message sent was still clear: the British public did not want Labour in power any longer. Therefore, as the leader of the party holding the balance of power, Clegg was honour and duty bound to come to terms with the Tories, the party who received the largest share of seats in the House of Commons. Had he come to terms with Labour, he would have been rightly accused of propping up a moribund government against the clear wishes of the people (as understood under the FPTP system). He did the right thing.

Now, on to the coalition agreement. In their haste to make Clegg a hate figure, many people forget that the entire Lib Dem party voted on whether to approve the terms of the agreement and form a coalition with the Tories. They have been accused of settling for a pathetic number of concessions, but let us not forget that the Lib Dems actually lost seats in the election, and were fortunate to be in the position of having any clout at all. Striking a deal for the non-taxable allowance to be raised to £7500 was pretty good for half a loaf etting the Tories to agree to a referendum for AV was not mere breadcrumbs from their table; it was an impressive concession considering just how deeply opposed the Tories are to PR. As for the tuition fees fiasco – well, in that case Clegg and the Lib Dems’s sin was promising something they knew they could never deliver in making the wholly unrealistic ‘free tuition fees’ pledge part of their manifesto, and later pledging to fight any increases. The criticism they received on this issue was well deserved – if they had to do a U-turn on this, they should have at least demanded £6000 be the absolute cap and not allowed the £9000 loophole, which as anyone could and did predict, became the rule instead of the exception.

Plenty of Lib Dems have made screw ups and done unethical things (Chris Huhne being the latest), yet they have never received the opprobrium Clegg receives. Take David Laws, who, inexplicably, Lib Dem supporters fought a desperate rearguard action for despite the fact he was guilty of outrageous abuse of expenses.  His plea that he was desperate to keep his sexuality a secret was not only a poor excuse for his actions, but I felt it was also insulting to his partner. The whole distasteful affair seemed to me to suggest that Laws put his political career at the expense of his personal relationships, sadly typical behaviour for a politician. And then we have Vince Cable, who might very well have put the kibosh on the awful planned takeover of BSkyB by Rupert Murdoch if he had only kept his mouth shut. Whatever you think of the Telegraph’s sting – and I found it dishonest and a danger to constituents’ relationship with their MPs, and the PCC rapped it over the knuckles – it does not alter the fact that what Cable said was unforgivably stupid, and has now made the BSkyB takeover a near certainty.  So where were the torches and pitchforks? Where were the baying mobs screaming abuse at Cable for letting them down?

Blaming Clegg for the defeat of AV, while easy and no doubt satisfying, as it removes the need for introspection, is wrong.  The real reasons for AV’s defeat are gone over here, by myself and Paperback Rioter. It was hard not to pity the man, as he tried to fight for what he believed in only to be told “Go the fuck away! You’re not wanted here!” by almost the whole of liberaldom. Clegg can’t win – he gets pilloried for allegedly not fighting hard enough for Lib Dem policies by people who fail to grasp the realities and limitations of his position, and he gets pilloried for fighting for the Lib Dem’s Holy Grail – electoral reform.

Prior to the election, a popular Twitter hashtag was #nickcleggsfault. It was created in irony, after the right-wing media led by the Telegraph launched a blatant campaign to smear him when his popularity exploded after the 1st US-style debate. It seems now, that everything still is Nick Clegg’s fault, it’s just the people leading the attack have changed.

Chris Huhne Has Been A Bit Of A Twit

Points on your licence for driving like a wally is one thing. Trying to fob them off on someone else is another, being ever so slightly against the law and all. And then trying to cover it up is, well, something that has generally not worked out well for politicians.

Paperback Rioter can exclusively reveal the transcript of a call from the Sunday Times to Chris Huhne after they published the details of the cover-up phone call.

Adding…Dear Lib Dems, if you must get caught with your pants down, can you try and not do it when you are in a strong position to do good (I’m looking at you, Vince and David) or have just managed to secure a rare victory for the left, like the carbon emission reduction agreement?

Cameron Adviser Sees NHS As Enemy To Be Destroyed

The ‘friendly neighbourhood Tory’ masks always come off in the end. Under that velvet glove of  ‘fairness’ is an iron fist of ideology:

A senior adviser to David Cameron says the NHS could be improved by charging patients and will be transformed into a “state insurance provider, not a state deliverer” of care.

Mark Britnell, who was appointed to a “kitchen cabinet” advising the prime minister on reforming the NHS, told a conference of executives from the private sector that future reforms would show “no mercy” to the NHS and offer a “big opportunity” to the for-profit sector.

Our friends across the pond spent generations desperately trying to move away from the kind of system Britnell wants, and have since taken a big step in the direction of achieving that goal with the passage of the Affordable Care Act last year. One state in America, Vermont, is actually about to introduce single-payer healthcare of the kind we in Britain enjoy, and unfortunately take for granted. The American people didn’t like their for-profit system, where health care was based on ability to be insured and ability to pay. Yet senior Tories would take reverse over 60 years of progress and drag Britain’s healthcare system in the opposite direction to which every other Western country is going.  Britnell suggesting  “no mercy” should be given to the NHS is the conservative id laid bare – anything they don’t like must be utterly destroyed.

Note that Britnell is talking about ‘future reforms‘. This is irrefutable proof that despite Cameron’s insistence that he loves the NHS and his promises to preserve it, these odious ‘reforms’ are intended to be a stepping stone to eventual privatisation of the NHS. And as for said current ‘reforms’, no one in the Government has managed to satisfactorily explain why handing GPs the responsibility of running and allocating funding for health services would improve the current system. Even my own parents, who are dyed-in-the-wool Tories, don’t understand it and think it’s a stupid idea. Doctors are not substitutes for bureaucrats, and I have no doubt that giving them these additional powers would adversely affect the job they were trained and are meant to do – namely treat their patients. Indeed, one of the actual problems the NHS has is an excess of bureaucracy, and this plan would actually exacerbate it by creating a whole new pile of red tape.

As touched on above, the NHS is not perfect. Indeed, the length of waiting times have been and remain a serious problem, many hospitals are not up to the standards of efficiency, care and hygiene that they should be, and health costs are only going to increase with an aging population. So let NHS reforms be targeted at fixing those real, tangible problems, and not at transforming the institution because it doesn’t mesh with conservative ideology. Our system treats healthcare as a right, which is as it should be. Healthcare should be first and foremost universally available and free so that people do not have to bear what would be disastrous financial burdens for something they cannot help – getting sick or being injured.  And naturally, should people desire an alternative, the option should be there – as it is now with private health insurance providers such as BUPA. Because health care is a matter of life and death to people, it should not be turned into a money-making machine;  the idea that companies should be allowed to make money on the backs of the sick and injured is morally repugnant.

I could write an entirely separate blog post on the flaws of privatisation, but suffice to say anyone who has used private services that were once public will tell you it has not improved services, but merely made them more expensive. It has been proven over and over again to be a failed policy, and so it would be the definition of insanity to extend it to our healthcare system. We love our NHS the way it is, and if the Tories succeeded in turning into a soulless machine where human beings come a poor second to the pursuit of profit, they would be doomed to a much longer spell in the wilderness than the one following Tony Blair’s victory in 1997.