Political Rape 209


Nigel Evans is fully entitled to the presumption of innocence; and the media seem more inclined to give it to him than they did to Malcolm Blackman, linked to Anonymous. In this particularly disgusting piece of journalism by Paul Cheston of the Evening Standard, the vicious liar who brought false accusations against Blackman is referred to as “the victim” – not even the alleged victim, but “the victim” – even after Blackman was found not guilty.

The victim, who cannot be named, had lived at home in south London during the week, and slept in the Occupy tent at weekends.

Having been at the Occupy site, where every tent touched at least three others, the idea that repeated rape could be carried out amongst a packed group of people who were particularly certain not to condone it, was always highly implausible. Compelling evidence was given in court that Blackman was not even at the site on one of the two named occasions.

It is particularly sickening that Blackman’s name and photograph has been published everywhere in relation to horrifying and untrue accusations of binding someone against their will with cable ties and raping them. This terrible publicity will follow him everywhere for the rest of his life. The deranged or malicious person who fabricated this story in court continues to have their identity protected.

Blackman’s role within both Anonymous and Occupy has been exaggerated by the media. He was nonetheless associated with the internet and street resistance to the increasingly authoritarian state. The parallels to the Assange case are inescapable.

Returning to Nigel Evans, on the Jeremy Thorpe precedent there is no reason for him to resign his seat before a trial, presuming that he maintains his innocence. Should he resign, this could be one of those small historical chances that has great effects. UKIP will have a great chance of winning Ribble Valley, and the resulting momentum could contribute to a genuine political convulsion in the UK.

Nigel Farage and I were due to have lunch a couple of years ago, but couldn’t get our diaries to match up at the time. Unfortunately, while admiring UKIP’s insurgent spirit, I find myself the polar opposite of their major policies. Distrust and dislike of the political establishment that has failed this country and allowed inconceivable amounts of wealth to be creamed off by the heads of the financial services industry, while ordinary people struggle to get any work at all, is perfectly understandable. The three main parties in England all retail the same neo-con policies, with different packaging. It is inevitable this system must break. That is should break in the direction of right wing populism, is perhaps predictable. But there are worse people than Mr Farage inside all the main parties.

I remain entirely confident that the UKIP surge in England will convince a great many more people in Scotland that they need to break free of the United Kingdom.


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209 thoughts on “Political Rape

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  • April Showers

    Mr Evans is making a statement within the hour apparently.

    Separately, I agree with you that political change is in the air. People are thinking more as the effects of the financial crash and the ConDems’ AUSTERITY package hit home. I read somewhere this morning that families are borrowing to buy food to put on the table.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    The key question, it seems to me, is this. How precisely will an independent Scotland be able to plough a furrow different from the neoliberal one? And what might the actions – U-turns – of the SNP so far indicate wrt the likelihood of that happening? Is the SNP not just as subservient as (the parties of) Westminster to the diktats of neoliberal power centres? Is this not becoming clear? It’s all very well ameliorating, in the regional context, the impact of neoliberal policies; obviously, I agree with trying to protect services for people, etc. Nonetheless, cuts and much else is happening on the ground in Scotland too, and to essential services and this will worsen over the next 1-3 years. But it seems to me that there would be no point in gaining independence unless it is real independence.

    What a pity, too that it is right-wing populism. But that is a reflection of the definitive selling-out of the Labour Party, around 23 years ago, and more broadly, the failure and marginalisation of the (real) Left in the UK, both as a whole and regionally.

  • craig Post author

    Suhayl,

    Both among the “intelligentsia” and the general population, ideas of social justice are much more widely held in Scotland than in England. This has been much quantified. It is a mistake to think that in an independent Scotland the configuration of the political parties would in the medium term remain as is. I strongly suspect that the splitting off of Scotland would be a huge kick to the English and Welsh political kaleidoscope as well.

  • rouge

    Yes, the Blackman case does have a striking similarity with the accusations against Assange: the attempt to bring a man down who has upset the authorities – with two accusations of rape, including one of rape of a sleeping victim.

    Looks like someone wanted him sent down: the jury comprised nine women and three men.

    And the police appear not to have believed the verdict:

    “Detective Sergeant Marcos Gilson, the officer who led the investigation, said: ‘Today’s outcome is obviously a disappointing one for both myself and the victim.

    ‘The bravery and tenacity of the victim has been key to bringing this matter to trial and I can only commend her on doing it with such strength and integrity under what were, and have been, very difficult circumstances.'”

    http://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/anonymous-uk-leader-malcolm-blackman-cleared-of-raping-woman-at-occupy-london-camp-8601264.html

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2318373/St-Pauls-protest-camp-leader-Malcolm-Blackman-cleared-rape.html#ixzz2SPKYM3Ay

    The BBC states in their report (though neither of the above sources mention it):
    “But the defendant said he was at a different protest venue at the time of the alleged rape.”

    Presumably, this fact would have been proven in court, so rendering the police officer’s remarks superfluous. (Though the jury still took 11 hours to reach their verdict!)

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-22386191

  • Herbie

    Now that Keir Starmer is standing down as DPP, this chap Nazir Afzals is considered front runner to succeed him, given the high profile north eastern cases he’s been involved in recently.

    I’d imagine he’s involved in the Nigel Evans case too. It’s in his area.

    “The Crown Prosecution Service’s Nazir Afzal hogged the TV cameras yesterday talking about the Stuart Hall case. A crusader against child abuse – he masterminded the Rochdale sex grooming trial – Afzal is also involved in the prosecution of Coronation Street star William Roache. ‘This might give him an edge in the race to succeed retiring Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer,’ says my source. Certainly he’s now higher profile than immediate rivals, deputy DPP Alison Levitt and prosecutor Alison Saunders.”

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2318594/Nazir-Afzals-recent-hogging-TV-cameras-edge-Director-Public-Prosecutions-race.html

    I know it’s quite common in the US for prosecutors to make a public name for themselves in high profile cases. I hadn’t realised we were going that way here too.

  • Herbie

    I should add that there were some concerns in the Stuart Hall case that suggested plea-bargaining at work.

    Another American import.

    I do hope they won’t be importing the prosecutorial overreach thing too…

  • Dick the Prick

    The UKIP thing is a bit of a perfect storm created by Cleggy and the Libbers absolutely crazy decision to go into co-alition. Also, young Cameron thinking that voters were just an irrelevance to be used every 5 years shows him up as the weak, indolent and arrogant guy that I guess we all saw anyway. UKIP aren’t ideal, they’re not the bees knees but being quite a senior ex Tory who’s spent the last year helping my chum out as a UKIP chair for Cameron to call them fritcakes, loons and closet racists is manifestly mendacious. The Tory party is full of closet racists and yeah fruitcakes and loons do apply but there are a load more ex socialists in UKIP than I would have thought possible.

    As per the rape thing, these high profile ones are all well and good but i’m sure we all know teachers who have been utterly screwed by such allegations and they certainly don’t get prime time rebuttal opportunities.

  • Herbie

    Looks like eyebrows have already been raised. And it does look very American.

    “Only three of 11 men arrested in Savile inquiry will be charged

    Earlier this month, one of Britain’s top prosecution lawyers was accused of hyping up the investigation as if it were a “box office event” when he told the public to expect a dramatic new wave of celebrity arrests.

    Nazir Afzal, chief crown prosecutor in the North West, said detectives will soon arrest a number of “very high profile” figures suspected of child sex abuse and described child-sex abuse investigations as a “growing industry”, according to the Daily Mail.”

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/jimmy-savile/9956308/Only-three-of-11-men-arrested-in-Savile-inquiry-will-be-charged.html

  • Daniel

    As an Englishman living in London, I’ll be moving up to Scotland pronto whereupon I will vote for a pro-Independent Scotland within the EU. I’m sick to the teeth of the imbecility of many of my fellow countrymen and women.

  • Herbie

    Hmmm. Now this is interesting:

    “Mike Doherty investigates the recent claims by Chief Crown Prosecutor; Mr Nazir Azfhal, that there are “massive issues of forced marriage in the Traveller community””

    “The story starts back in May earlier this year, when Mr Nazir Afzal, Chief Crown Prosecutor for the North-West and the guy who banged up the Rochdale pedophile gang, told the Independent and the Daily Mail that; “I have become aware of massive issues of forced marriage in the Traveller community. It is widespread.””

    “When the ITMB approached Nazir Afzal asking for his evidence, he replied that he had seen a presentation on forced marriage by a domestic violence worker who works in Traveller communities. Nazir Afzal also revealed another research method; “A quick search of the internet via my search engine will bring up other articles and case studies in Traveller communities,” he said. In other words he googled it.”

    “When pressed by the many Irish Traveller women present at the ITMB conference during a workshop on women’s issues at the conference, the domestic violence worker claimed to have been misrepresented and misquoted and was not happy with how her presentation at the Liverpool conference had been used by Mr Azfhal.”

    http://www.travellerstimes.org.uk/blog.aspx?c=f1b1c82c-0f3c-4edf-98cd-502ea80ed8fa&n=2d829939-71bb-4de1-9d8d-dc9e1e97926e

    These Irish travellers also seem to have noticed that Mr Azfhal has been courting publicity.

  • Giles

    “Right wing populism” is a lazy and patronizing way to dismiss what people actually want. It makes you a part of the political establishment you say you are against.

    The British have been tolerant, but the levels of immigration into this country have been far above what any country should be expected to tolerate. The three main parties all stand for mass-immigration, and you agree with them.

    The British like Europe, but do not want to be run by Europe, a system even more unaccountable, undemocratic and corrupt than our own. If the three main parties will not reflect what people want, then the people will vote for a party that will, and the establishment class will call it “populism” because they want to tell the people what’s best for them. They are all for Europe, and you agree with them.

    You wrote previously that Farage would bomb more foreigners, but I don’t see that as consistent with his politics. Of course, I would expect from him a major strenghthening of the armed forces, but no further foreign adventures a la Blair and Cameron. Those were neo-con/neo-liberal wars, but Farage is not of that mould. Do you really see him demanding regime changes and ‘humanitarian’ interventions?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9BmwrvypU_U

  • Techno

    Evans has said that the two people who have made these allegations were his friends and he socialised with one of them last week.

    It is very odd. What is the motive here? Is it just a couple of twisted gays who enjoy the thrill of bringing down a powerful person? Or is there a bigger motive? I struggle to believe that it is a plot by UKIP to win Ribble Valley. UKIP simply aren’t organised enough, cynical enough or forward thinking enough to have pulled that off.

  • Herbie

    “The British have been tolerant, but the levels of immigration into this country have been far above what any country should be expected to tolerate.”

    I wonder have there been any studies looking at this issue in terms of numbers and comparisons with immigration into other western countries.

    That aside, immigration has always been an economic issue, both in terms of keeping up the younger age demographic relative to retirees and also increasing the supply of labour, boosting the service sector and adding as well to the entrepreneurial pool.

    I don’t have the numbers but I’d be very very surprised if Britain hadn’t benefitted financially from immigration. That is the point of it, after all.

    I’d imagine too that people don’t much notice it when times are good and tend to focus more upon it as the economy declines. And of course that’s very much where we’re going.

  • Lord Palmerston

    Craig (and anyone who wants to answer), do you ever wonder whether
    there is a tension between these two things?

    (a) the awful crimes and failing of goverment that you (correctly)
    point out

    (b) your firm upholding of Democracy

    Since (b) has brought about (a) I would have thought that, by now,
    thinking people would notice that democracy isn’t such a great idea
    after all.

  • Giles

    Herbie, I think you’ll find that those opposed to mass-immigration were every bit as opposed to it when the times were good. It’s another attempt at deflection to claim that people want to blame our economic woes on Johnny foreigner, which is what you are doing. What you should be doing is asking yourself whether it is right that people should have a say in one of the most profound and unprcedented changes to society to have ever taken place.

    As for the economic benefits of immigration, possibly yes with regard to Eastern Europeans, in terms of providing cheap labour (and it is Eastern Europeans whom the mainstream media wants us to think the debate is all about), but in terms of Bangladeshis, Pakistanis, Somalis, etc., then very little benefit, as they consistently score lowest in the employment figures, and are therefore a drain on the economy. That and the fact that, by and large, they form closed communites, and want nothing to do with the society that has received them. Why invite them if they are of little economic benefit and do not want to integrate? Is it to rub our noses in diversity? Is it to make the country more fragmented and therefore ripe for more state interference? Is it part of globalization? Ask your friends in the establishment class. And Craig, because he’s all for it too.

  • Jemand

    As a pedant, I should point out that the press used to refer to accused and aquitted people using their normal title such as “Mr Blackman”. Dropping the title upon conviction, I suppose, is a way of expressing contempt on behalf of society (or the MSM).

    As for the political ramifications flowing from this unseemly matter, it’s not who you vote for, but how you vote for them.

    Why Democracy is Always Unfair –
    http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20627581.400-electoral-dysfunction-why-democracy-is-always-unfair.html?page=2

  • technicolour

    “Both among the “intelligentsia” and the general population, ideas of social justice are much more widely held in Scotland than in England”

    yet, curiously, Occupy London was the first to emerge as a long-term protest out of the wider UK movement. UK Uncut started in London. I wonder which ‘intelligentsia’ are being referred to here? And which generation is doing the ‘quantifying’?

    ‘Admiring UKIP’s insurgent spirit’ – what does that mean, exactly? What, precisely,is there to admire?

    The ‘general political convulsion’ you refer to will certainly be supported by this man:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/04/04/edls-tommy-robinson-endorses-ukip-_n_3014019.html

    Giles: “The British like Europe, but do not want to be run by Europe, a system even more unaccountable, undemocratic and corrupt than our own”

    How strange not to mention, as balance, that it not only brought in the Human Rights Act (which this government are trying to dispose of) but, and with the vast majority of the people’s backing, is bringing in the neonicotinoid ban, while this government was actively lobbying against it.

  • technicolour

    “but in terms of Bangladeshis, Pakistanis, Somalis, etc., then very little benefit, as they consistently score lowest in the employment figures, and are therefore a drain on the economy.”

    Are ‘they’ indeed.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/2936992/Top-20-richest-Asians.html

    As for the Somali population here, this kind of dismissal of people like Mo Farah etc etc etc and ignorance of the problems Somali people initially face on entering the UK can only be wilful. Sorry, Giles.

  • Herbie

    Giles

    I was under the impression that Bangladeshis and Pakistanis were quite entrepreneurial. No?

    I still think that it’s in an economic downturn that the focus shifts to immigrant communities. This also happens when newer immigrants make a better fist of economic opportunities than locals and there has been a history of that in Britain going all the way back to at least the 1980s as the manufacturing base was dismantled by Thatcher. Somalis may well be a different case since they’re refugees.

    I don’t disagree that immigration causes problems to locals in terms of adjustment etc but I’d still argue it’s mostly for economic reasons. You don’t see these problems in the better off parts of London where all manner of people mix quite amicably.

    The point ultimately is that those who believe that immigration is the source of their woes will be led down the road to nowhere.

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella)

    @Giles at 12h29 :

    “You wrote previously that Farage would bomb more foreigners, but I don’t see that as consistent with his politics. Of course, I would expect from him a major strenghthening of the armed forces,..”

    —–

    I9’m not up to speed with UKIP and its policies but feel I should know more about them (at least up to the next general election. Hence two questions :

    1/. where does this thing about “bombing more foreigners come from?

    2/. idem that he would go for a major strengthening of the armed forces?

    My feeling (and it’s no more than that) is that neither of these propositions seem likely, but I’ve probably missed something.

    Thanks in advance.

  • nevermind

    Giles, would you say it being profound that you have left out Americans and Australians off your little list.

    why is that? are they walking around cloaked?

  • April Showers

    Doug Scorgie I see that you never had a response to your question asking for evidence for a sweeping statement that there is mass fraud in the postal voting in constituencies with high incidences of people from the Indian sub-continent.

    http://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2013/05/we-earned-them-votes-tonight-in-south-sields/#comment-406456

    This article on Salon is interesting.
    http://www.salon.com/2013/04/14/how_conservatives_invented_voter_fraud_to_attack_civil_rights/

    Slow to load on my m/c anyway.

  • Giles

    Technicolour, you are reminding me of Glenn_UK, who, when asked why he supported the EU, came up with the argument that thanks to Brussels, there were now less turds floating around off Blackpool beach. It doesn’t, of course, require external control to ensure that the seas are free of our effluent, though I doubt, as a committed seditionist, you will admit to the fact. And I remain absolutely adamant that you should not be allowed near school-children, as I can well imagine the kind of poison you feed them on a daily basis. Today, children is Diversity Awareness Week, in which we will explore ways in which the British screwed over your ancestors…

    Daniel, I have no argument against immigration, but I believe large parts of the country have become unrecognisable thanks to mass-immigration. I want to know why that is a good thing, why it is a “progressive” step. I also want to know why you want millions of immigrants to move into Japan, good globalist that you are.

    Herbie, I think it is fair to say that some of those opposed to mass-immigration pin the blame on immigrants for an awful lot more than is warranted, but I believe they are in an insignificant minority. It should be noted that support for the UKIP has increased drastically as succesive governments have deliberately failed to tackle the issue of mass-immigration, while support for the BNP has stayed roughly the same. That is because UKIP supporters are for the most part decent people who hold no grudge against foreigners, but who do want their country to, you know, be their country, laugh and scoff at that notion as you may.

    Technicolour (again), Mo Farah? Really, is “he”, indeed, the reason why Somalis are such a benefit to the UK?. I appreciate that Mo Farah is something of a hero for the left, for being black and having won a race, much as Obama was before the scales dropped, but really, are Mo Farah and a bunch of filthy rich Asian businessmen the best you can do in support of what has happened to our cities?(I should add, it was wonderful to hear the distortions some went through to make Mo Farah British. I heard one commentator say, “Unbelievable, Mo Farah has beaten the North Africans at their own game!”!!!).

  • LastBlueBell

    @Herbie, @Giles

    If I should dare comment upon such a delicate issue, I would like to draw attention to some arguments build on evidence from cognitive psycology and neuroscience.

    a.) Young children are born increadibly self centered and “racist” (discriminating), but these traits normally recedes during childhood and adolescence, and our sphere of compassion widens.

    b.) Over the last centuries, our sphere of compassion (human beings that we mentally identify with, and group as “we”), has expanded dramatically, to the situation we have today, were we at least theoretically (and culturally) encompass all humans into this group.

    c.) But there also exist a tension built into this perspective, since we are evolved to be highly discriminate against people who are “them”, i.e. not “us”, since “them” have over the ages been a deadly threat to your life, and the life of your relatives and children that constitutes “we/us”.

    d.) We can intelletucally consiously have the opinion that all are us, but our brains are subconsiously working according to build in rules, that, constantly tries to group and categorize strangers (or them that are different) into schemes of us and them.

    e.) A consequence of this “battle” is that it requires a consious effort to uphold, and that we are always at risk to slide back towards the (evolutionary) default sitution, which is your close family, relatives and friends, society, against “them”

    The “limits” of this grouping is not fixed but varies according to context and situation.

    f.) But during periods of change, crisis or hardship in a society, I think there is a huge risk that the circles are reduced, and you will become more concerned about the wellbeing of your children, your family, your neighbours and others that you identify more closely with.

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