Category Archives: Equality

Unpacking Michael Fabricant

Zero Tolerance of Violence Against Women

At 9am on Friday 20th June, Michael Fabricant tweeted

“I could never appear on a discussion programme with Yasmin Alibhai-Brown. I would either end up with a brain haemorrhage or by punching her in the throat.”

Michael Fabricant has been the Conservative MP for Mid-Staffordshire and then Lichfield since 1992. He’s been urging a pact between the Tories and UKIP since 2012.

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown is a Ugandan-born British journalist.
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Assange: Not in jail

Yesterday, Channel 4 News ran an anniversary programme, of sorts:

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange – hiding for two years in the Ecuadorian embassy – is in “a prison cell with internet access” and “yearns to walk in the fresh air,” says a close friend.

Today, Slavoj Žižek, writing in the Guardian, seems to think that Julian Assange is hiding out in the Ecuador embassy because of something to do with Wikileaks and whistleblowing.

In August 2010, Julian Assange had sex with two women in Sweden. He was, so they both report, aggressive and unpleasant, and very unwilling to use a condom. When they talked to each other and realised he had had unprotected sex against their will with both of them, they went to the police to discover if they could force Assange to take an HIV test – and the police, listening to their account, realised that Assange had by their testimony committed sexual assault and rape.

Until Julian Assange stepped into the Ecuadorean Embassy, nearly two years after the legal due process began in Sweden, he had every element of the justice system due him. He was even on house arrest rather than in prison, in the confidence that he could be trusted with the large amount of money his friends would lose if he skipped bail.
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Filed under Human Rights, Justice, Uncategorized, Women

Hieroglyph in White

This is what Egyptians looked like three thousand years ago:

Here we see a depiction of a well-to- do Egyptian family and the clothes they wore. The family was from of Thebes during the 20th Dynasty (1184-1078 BC) according Ikram-Dodson
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Filed under Racism, TV reviews

The deaths at Tuam: a voiceless testimony

Tuam Babies unmarked graveThere is an unmarked mass grave in Galway which has become briefly famous by the work of historian Catherine Corless, who spent years tracing the death records of each child whose remains may have been buried there. (You can hear her being interviewed about her work on the mass grave here.)

Timothy Stanley, a Telegraph blogger who converted to Catholicism from the Anglican church, argues that the mass grave is “a human tragedy, not a Catholic one”. At more length, Caroline Farrow, a spokesperson for Catholic Voice, explains that first of all, this wasn’t really so bad, and anyway, everyone except the Catholic Church is probably lying. (I note for the record: the sheer quantity of misinformation and distortion provided by both Stanley and Farrow is quite astonishing.)
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Filed under Children, Human Rights, Poverty, Women

What would your name have been?

My given name is the seventh most popular for girls in the 1960s. In classes through primary and secondary school, there were never less than two other girls with the same name, and one term there were five.

Stephen - from Us&ThemIf I had been a boy, the seventh most popular name for boys in the 1960s was Stephen. (Curiously enough, throughout primary school there were always at least two Stephens in the class – varying spellings – and in adulthood, though I know only a few women with the same given name as me, every other man seems to be called Steve.
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Filed under Unanswerable Questions, Women

ConDem bad arguments for #indyref

The Tories have produced a buzzfeed-style page for the indyref.

Cake WorldThey take their assertion that Scots are better off by £1200 per year each in the UK than we would be if independent (their figures don’t make sense, but frankly the SNP’s arguments that we’d be better off by x amount per year each don’t make sense either) and they’ve done a series of images of the things that £1200 could buy.

Both sides have tried this argument, and both sides made a hash of it, because it is a frankly silly argument. The wealth of the UK is not a cake to be sliced up and everyone given a bit. Even if Scotland were to become actually independent in March 2016, or enter a devomax arrangement set up between the Tories and the SNP as planned in the White Paper, or remains part of the UK as at present, Scotland will still have a very few very rich people, a proportion of wealthy people, and a lot of people who are horrifyingly poor.
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Filed under Cake, Poverty, Scottish Politics, Tax Avoidance

Not All M&Ms Are Poisoned

I wrote some time ago about the massive sense of entitlement that men have that lies behind every rape story I ever heard.

Toilet outdoors Around 7pm on Tuesday 27th May, two young girls of the Dalit caste (the lowest-rank caste in India) were grabbed by men of a higher caste who were lying in wait for them – or other girls – to go to the fields after dark to have a pee and a crap. (The girls had been required to hold it in all day because they had no access to an indoor toilet, and modesty ruled they were not allowed to go out for this purpose in daylight.) The men raped the girls – they were fourteen and fifteen – and then murdered them.

Men in India often do take advantage of the near-universal practice of requiring girls and women to be “modest” and only go to the fields after dark, to lie in wait for a girl or two and rape them. (In areas where Hindu women practice chaupadi – isolation during menstruation and after childbirth – men find the isolated huts where menstruating girls and women sleep and rape them there.) The government and the police do not regard men raping women as a serious crime, nor do they regard it as a problem that the men who rape have found that the simplest way of disposing of the evidence is to kill the girls or women whom they raped.

Now what kind of person, hearing that story, reacts with: they should have had indoor plumbing! Lack of indoor sanitation killed them!
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Cyril Smith and Rochdale

Cyril SmithIn 1962, when Cambridge House in Rochdale was opened to give young men a clean safe place to stay, Cyril Smith was 34, already an important man in the local community, and he seems to have regarded it as his private pleasure centre. The hostel ran from 1962 to 1965, Cyril Smith had keys and could come and go at any time, and was responsible for bringing in several boys to live there who’d been in difficult home situations, often then to work for the local authority, so that Smith would have control both over their jobs and over their home. Continue reading

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Filed under Bread, Children, Corruption, Justice, Police

Cheese and whine

The Official Twitter account of Président Cheese is @PresidentCheese. They’ve been on Twitter since 21st March, and in two months they’ve managed to acquire 125 followers.

Discover inspiration, celebrate creativity, reimagine recipes, and fall in love with the art of cheese.

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Filed under Cheese, In The Media

Labour vote surges in English local elections

The Council elections so far in England and Wales Looking ahead to 2015, the polls say (and the bookies agree) the next general election is likely to be a Labour victory.

The results in so far from the local English council elections support that (full results won’t be out til later today): despite a low turnout (estimated at 36%) Labour has maintained or gained control in 27 local councils (up 2 – there were 161 local authority elections yesterday) and won 617 council seats (up by 101). Including – as I found out via Twitter – David Cameron’s favourite Tory council Hammersmith & Fulham.

The Conservatives have lost control in 8 councils (they’ve kept control in 27) and are down 99 council seats. The Liberal Democrats have lost control in one council (kept control in two) and are down 93 council seats. None of this looks good for their general election prospects.

The Green Party have four seats so far, up by one.

None of this, however, is the headlining news.
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Filed under Elections, In The Media, Politics