The Derek Walcott Scandal 59

I remember sitting under Caribbean skies at the Preparatory Committee for the UN Law of the Sea Convention. As we discussed thorny compromises over the regime to govern extraction of minerals from the bed of the deep sea, my friend Dolliver Nelson would break into flights of poetry. As many Jamaican weeks were passed, Dolliver introduced me to the extraordinary passion for the English language of Caribbean intellectuals of his generation. It was through Dolliver that I started avid reading of CLR James and Derek Walcott.

Walcott is a great poet. It is appalling that the politically correct brigade have drummed him out of the election for Oxford Professor of Poetry.

We live in a society in which any expression of male heterosexuality seems to be anathematised. It appears sex is supposed to happen nowadays without the male ever suggesting it, either verbally or by caress.

Nothing has ever been proven against Walcott. The accusations, even if true, do not amount to anything near rape or forced physical abuse. It is alleged that he came on rather strongly, decades ago, and was rebuffed. It is alleged he was petulant after being rebuffed.

It would be difficult to find, for example, great visual artists who did not sleep with their models. Should we empty the National Gallery? Pretty well all the Pre-Raphaelites and Impressionists would have to go, for a start.

Burne Jones and Rosetti. Picasso, Degas, Gauguin? All appalling sexual harassers! Burn their paintings!

Ruth Padel comes out of this very badly. If she had any honour, she should resign. It is plain by her website she is a desperate self-promoter. Her latest poem centres on a fantasy of dominating the male:

He brandishes

his pair of ring-ridged horns, arcing back

like sabres. But mine are one metre fifty.

I force him down, rough him up

and suddenly as he came he is gone

If Padel’s talent only matched her ambition, she truly would be great. She is already Chair of the Poetry Society, and very much at the centre of the London clique of man-haters who were spreading the word against Walcott. Her protests now against the hate campaign are late and unconvincing.

59 thoughts on “The Derek Walcott Scandal

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  • rullko

    JimmyGiro: “There are male feminists; as there were Jewish special SS commandos.”

    Ha ha! Do you mind if I steal that one for my next Fathers4Justice meeting?

  • Gerard Mulholland

    Jimmy Riddle –

    It is you who utterly confuse feminists with nutters.

    You appear to assume that all people who believe in equal rights for women are at the best nuts and at the worst (your clear preference) evil.

    The defence of women against sexual monsters and predators faces a perenniel uphill struggle against male chauvinists like you.

    When did you last express sympathy for a woman who had been embarassed, humiliated or otherwise sexually threatened by a man?

    Are you so sexually inadequate that you have to pretend that your genitalia make you intellectually, morally and socially superior?

    You’re not a man.

    You’re an arsehole.

  • Derek P

    “My proposers are devastated because they have bent over backwards to run a clean campaign. On the one hand sexual harassment is horrible…”

    If a person wanted to give a verbal backhander (especially after ‘winning’)then those are pretty effective weasel words.

  • Jason

    Jimmy Giro – you’re spouting crap.

    You moan about fascism, then relativism, and you do it all in this absolutist tone, convinced of your own superiority and ability to see clearly where nobody else can.

    You need to pull your head out of your arse, you usually make more sense than you do here.

  • JimmyGiro

    Fisking Gerard:

    “It is you who utterly confuse feminists with nutters.”


    “You appear to assume that all people who believe in equal rights for women are at the best nuts and at the worst (your clear preference) evil.”

    Have you heard of Harriet Harman? She’s the minister for women, and she has just terminated equality with her latest bill.

    “The defence of women against sexual monsters and predators faces a perenniel uphill struggle against male chauvinists like you.”

    The only uphill struggle here is between you and your boyfriends last meal of lentils and humus. And your delusional assessment of women’s perpetual struggle against sex monsters guarantees that you will perpetually confuse all critic by men, as chauvinism. How can a special feminist commando like you, ever develop a meaningful notion of equality with such a strident schizophrenic sexual mentality: ‘two tits good; two balls bad’? Feminists like you are not only the enemy of equality between the sexes, but promoters of heterosexual discord; vis Harriet Harman et al.

    “When did you last express sympathy for a woman who had been embarassed, humiliated or otherwise sexually threatened by a man?”

    Your melding of embarrassment and sexual threat, indicates a neurotic association born of repetitive propaganda from your feminist training manual; and I can only remember witnessing a few instances of male chauvinism, in contrast to the daily deluge of feminist misandry from state sponsored organs.

    “Are you so sexually inadequate that you have to pretend that your genitalia make you intellectually, morally and socially superior?

    You’re not a man.

    You’re an arsehole.”

    And presumably you’re made of ‘sugar and spice, and all things nice’?

  • eddie

    Ladies, please!

    Derek P – that’s quite a shocking quote. I think Padel should either admit that she was behind the dossier or launch a concerted and public campaign to find out who was. Otherwise her tenure will be forever tainted. On the scale of conspiracies it is fairly small beer, but someone in Oxford knows who is responsible.

  • rullko

    JG – why would you suspect that someone who claims to attend Fathers4Justice meetings might be taking the piss?

  • JimmyGiro

    rullko @ 11:18,

    I regard F4J as being at the front line of a very vicious struggle for truth and justice; as such, their enemies will need to use dirty tactics to oppose F4J. It is therefore not beyond feminists to deploy false witness, disguise, and other subterfuge, on the near anonymous stage of the internet.

    I am not a father myself, as I cannot afford a wife; but I support F4J in my own way, and regard their cause as one of the most important struggles in our modern society.

  • Gerard Mulholland

    Jimmy Riddle – Thankyou for your response on May 18 at 9:25 AM confirming in excruciating detail everything I wrote about you.

    Boy, I really flushed you out, didn’t I?

    And your crass assumptions about me further confirm that you seriously need to consult a shrink.


  • Jon

    @Jimmy – we’ve discussed feminism before, and we’ve witnessed one rather overbearing male feminist here too. So I take the general point that feminism can go too far. I am male and call myself a feminist, though I am not an activist on the issue. But your regarding all feminism as a form of fascism is surely ridiculous – would that go for my ideology too?

    My world-view on this topic is fairly simple, and it is based on the same premise of the existence of discrimination as anti-racism. Since women are often paid substantially less than men for the same employment, and are sometimes under-represented in elected and company positions, it is only reasonable in my view that a movement forms naturally to try to correct it.

    Another feminist issue is the existence of Western culture that determines that women need to define themselves by their looks. This is not to suggest that a basic cultural definition of attractiveness is wrong, or that attraction in itself is immoral. But the hyperactive, pervasive and intrusive level of the female beauty ideal has caused a rise in eating disorders, body dysmorphia, harmful plastic surgery, premature sexualisation, depression, anxiety and other mental illnesses. Should all these issues be left unchallenged, do you think?

    I don’t believe my version of feminism has anything in common with the mantra you allege: “two tits good, two balls bad”. In fact, feminists in my view should criticise women who buy media that excessively perpetuate the beauty myth. Precisely what is criticised depends on the individual, but for my money I criticise celebrity magazines because they perpetuate this ideal aggressively without otherwise providing redeeming content. I also criticise (predominantly female) purchasers of said magazines since they are burdening themselves (and other women) with the emotional insecurity the magazines pretend to solve.

    I think the above ideas are fairly moderate, and they outline the existence of a set of definite problems. Is my feminism such a bad response, and if so, what would you do about them? If you would do something about them, what would you call that collection of beliefs, if not “feminism”?

    I agree with you on rape convictions though (and male on female domestic abuse too). There is a worrying strand of modern thinking on both that says “the more convictions the better”, which seems to forget that convictions need to be just in order to stand for anything positive.

  • JimmyGiro


    Your views are fair and just in my opinion, and I agree with a lot of what you say; I think the answer was there all along within liberalism.

    Feminism is about women; therefore it is the divisive nature of sexism; just as making legislation based on colour would be the divisive nature of racism.

    Even though different cultures have a tendency to self segregation, racism is bad as it forces excessive segregation, and enmity. Men, however, do not have a natural propensity to segregate from women; therefore feminism which induces segregation and enmity between the sexes, is worse than racism, as it betrays the natural love that has evolved over millions of years between the sexes.

    If feminism was natural, then why does it rely on misandry?

    I think Jon, that you are a fair minded liberal, and not a feminist.

  • JimmyGiro

    And as for feminists being fascists: consider the story of Erin Pizzey; she created the first women’s refuge in the 70’s.

    The feminists hijacked the women’s groups and ostracised Erin, after she had discovered that women and men were equal contributors to domestic violence; which naturally contradicted the feminist agenda of single minded misandry, which would only recognise men as sole perpetrators.

    The feminist insistence, which included death threats to Erin, is typical of a cult; and I regard all cults as fascist: the absolute adherence by the individual to the group; the enemy of individual liberalism.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Mr Giro clearly is obsessed with the most extreme people in those organisations and movements against which he has set himself. One can pick anything from anywhere and make it align with your view of thr world. ‘Fascist’ has become a term of abuse akin to ‘fatso’; call anything you don’t like, ‘fascist’ and that makes you 100% politically correct. And if someone tries to make reasonable comments, well then they simply cannot be one of thesoe nasty ‘fascists’, they must be… something else, ’cause everyone knows, don’t they, that everyone one doesn’t like must be a fascist! What a wonderful world in which to exist. One can never be wrong! Not even half-wrong. Not even 1% worng.

  • JimmyGiro

    Suhayl Saadi,

    Have you ever argued with a feminist, without them accusing you of being a misogynist?

    Calling feminists fascist is only fair and right.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    I know lots of women – and men – who ARE feminist even if they don’t claim to be, partly because of the negative reaction of people with views similar to your own; commonly, they’ll say, “I’m not a feminist, but…” Yet these people, most of whom do not live in monosexual communes – it really is no longer 1972, you know – don’t at all match the caricature you’ve drawn of them. Yeah, I know some that do reinforce the stereotype and who act like the thought-police, it’s comical, dumb, predictable and irritating (the ‘herstory’ bunch of etymologically-challenged chorus-singers), just as one gets guys who painfully reinforce the chauvinist male stereotype – but you know, that’s true of any population sample, you’ll get a range, it’s not a static monolith.

    You do sound most illiberal in your argumentation this respect, the tone and attitude – and it’s important you realise this – is much more redolent of the proletarian vanguard of the Spartacist League, or the Revolutionary Communist Group, spitting !Fascist! at all and sundry.

  • JimmyGiro

    But Suhayl,

    You are down playing the feminist threat to society by saying there are only a few minority extremists.

    You could say that Hitler’s Germany had only a minority of extremists; but it was the ‘moderates’ that implemented the fascist machine.

    I would also add that feminist legislation is no myth; there are lots more ways to throw a man in prison now that ‘women’s ministers’ have been given power. And surely Harriet Harman’s latest bill has exploded the myth of feminist equality.

  • Derek Neighbors

    Sadly, we are more preoccupied with social pleasantries and correctness than providing the best people in the right positions to allow things to thrive.

    Chalk up another one for the minority movement. Best to have the minority heard than do the right thing.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    With respect, women are the majority in this country and in the world. While there are people of both genders who will abuse the system and work the system and as is the case with ethnicity, there is reverse discimination, too, but most of the progress over the past 40 years has been a consequence of the women’s movement in its various forms. Yet it remains the case that women continue to be discriminated against, in pay, domestic violence and a whole raft of other areas. Yes, there are men who get beaten-up at home and who are reluctant to come forward about it, but the vast majority of domestic violence is directed at women. This is the fact on the ground as anyone who has worked in the community will know. These are the bare realities, we are not dealing with politesse or pleasantries here. This is not even to mention the various patriarchies at play in some minority ethnic communities. I would have that anyone who claims to be liberal would be railing against such things, rather than calling all those involved in addressing such endemic and often structural issues, ‘fascists’.

  • JimmyGiro


    Read up on Erin Pizzey; she is the authority on domestic violence; and feminists hate her.

    And as for the ‘progress’ of the last 40 years, what planet are you on? We have an education system that has become dominated by feminists; and it is the worst education system in Europe.

    Feminists, and their ‘male’ sonderkommandos, have made marriage and Fathers a rare thing for children to witness, with all the associated social decay that has brought.

    And thanks to anti-patriarch feminism, we have child support agencies like the NSPCC, spouting all their vile selected statistics to dupe the public that fathers are the biggest threat to children. But if these British agencies were to publish all the statistics on child abuse, they would show that mothers kill their offspring more than twice as much as fathers; and a similar proportion of non-fatal abuse:

    The link shows the score for America, which I have to use because this country allows the feminists to hide the truth!

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Thanks, I’ll check out the links.

    On another, perhaps not entirely unrelated note, I do think that it is sad that in this country over the past few years it has become impossible for adult (even female) primary school teachers and other similar workers to reciprocate hugs from young children. Instead, the kids are gently but firmly pushed away and thereby learn that such human communication is to be frowned upon. This behaviour – I don’t blame the teachers – seems quite specific to ‘northern countries’, one doesn’t find the same level of engineered paranoia (because teachers are afraid of being accused of abuse) in southern Continental Europe, the Middle East, South Asia, etc. I know there are pre-existing cultural differences, etc. However, the authorities, obsessed with risk aversion and danger, and some very silly parents don’t seem to understand the universe of difference between abuse and displaying appropriate affection in the context of young children. As a guy on his own, unless one is with a female or a child, one cannot even smile at a young child now without immediately being regarded as suspicious. This latter observation was not always the case. It certainly was not the case when I was growing up in England/ Scotland. Sad.

  • JimmyGiro

    Interestingly, Esther Rantzen, founder of ChildLine, fell foul of cuddling or kissing on the forehead, a distressed child, and has since developed reservations as to the direction of child protection.

  • Derek P

    An update:

    “It has now emerged, however, that Padel sent e-mails to at least two newspapers, drawing attention to Walcott’s past. He was her strongest challenger for the 300-year-old post. Days later, the harassment allegations appeared in the press and Walcott withdrew.”

    And a brief true story:

    Several months ago as I was on my way to get lunch I was approached by a young girl, who could have been anywhere from 11 to 15 years old, asking for change to use the nearby public ‘phone as she needed to contact her mother. She appeared to me to be somewhat distressed but holding herself together and not crying or pleading. Anyway, I gave her the one 20p piece I had but dropped it into her hand, didn’t say anything to her and quickly moved on, fighting an inclination to make sure she was ok. The reason for being so remote and uncaring? Well, just seconds before being asked I had seen her approach a well-dressed middle-aged woman who had been brusquely dismissive, yet was still ‘interested’ enough that she decided to watch my interaction with the young girl.

    Despite how I was raised I no longer blindly expect good from women; now that they have some of the power they were once denied they simply enact their true natures though they still try to maintain the sugar-n-spice image. Judge people by the good and the bad they actually do, not their gender.

  • David B

    I don’t understand your point of view.

    If D. Walcott did what it is alleged that

    he did then he is a base kind of fellow and not a person I think should be hired

    to represent any university in a prominent position. Your argument that other artists may have slept with their models is baseless, I think. First maybe the models were willing, Walcott’s students allege they were not and in any case the standards of hundreds of years back are not today’s standards. Finally if i’m competing ,fairly, for a positionI would never drop out of competition because one of my competitors had dropped out of the race. Do marathon runners stop because one of the race competitors cannot continue? I don’t understand your views or your mindset about normal competitiveness

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Now it has become clear that in essence Craig was quite correct on this one. Walcott should have got the position. He didn’t get it basically because he is black and was therefore an easy target for a smear campaign undertaken by a power-group of white women. This is reminiscent of the spin which has infected politics over recent years – let us call it, the Alastair Campbell Syndrome, a rapidly denegerative disease which simultaneously attacks all areas of the brain. Nonetheless, I think that Yasmin Alibhai-Brown also has a point – almost a corollary – in her recent Independent piece on the matter.–derek-walcott-the-clinton-vs-obama-of-poetry

    Now, perhaps an Indian poet will get the position. Unless, of course, he’s done something wrong, anything wrong in fact, sometime in his life (or in any one of his previous lives). Unlike the rest of us, of course, who have never, ever done anything wrong and have never even thought a wrong thought. Perish the thought.

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