This was first posted on Facebook on 17th September 2020, with support from my Ko-Fi network.
Just as a squib to start with:
Chris Grayling has been quietly replaced on the Security Committee, chaired by formerly-Tory MP Julian Lewis, and has taken on a part-time job, 7 hours a week “advising” Hutchison Ports Europe, for which he is to be paid £100,000 a year. Given Grayling’s track record it is just as well it’s only 7 hours a week, or it could cost Hutchison Ports Europe a lot more than a hundred grand.
And Robert Jenrick, the Secretary of State for Housing, has chosen to inform the nation of a regional lockdown via the Peston show on ITV, not via the House of Commons or even the daily coronacvirus briefing. (And Chris Whitty says it needs to be a national full lockdown for at least two weeks, but that of course that wouldn’t suit Johnson’s donors.) Lindsay Hoyle scolded the government for that breach last time it’s happened: now it’s happened again.
But this is politics as usual: it’s deadly, during a global pandemic, but it’s normal Tory stuff.
On 31st May 2014, a Sunday Mirror journalist set up a Twitter account. For the profile pic, he used a Swedish model’s, Malin Sahlén. He did not ask her permission. Men who pretend to be women online rarely do.
[As I discovered later, the journalist, Alex Wickham, did not work directly for the Sunday Mirror when he posed as Sophie Wittams: Alex Wickham works for the Guido Fawkes political blog.]
Last year Markus Frind, founder of the world’s biggest dating site “Plenty of Fish” , shut down the PoF’s casual sex section because though 3.3 million people in the UK were using it daily to find a casual hookup, only 6,041 of those users were “women” – and most of those, the site had worked out, were actually men. Frind told users
the “Intimate Encounters” section “can be summed up as a bunch of horny men talking to a bunch of horny men pretending to be women.”
The Sunday Mirror journalist used the name “Sophie Wittams” and described himself as a “twenty-something Tory PR girl”. He used the Twitter account to compliment and flirt with Tory politicians. Jim Waterson on Buzzfeed outlines the process and published two of the photos that the Sunday Mirror journalist had used – the journalist had found a snapshot posted on Twitter as a #sunbathingselfie by Charlene Tyler, and sent it to Brooks Newmark pretending he was the woman in the picture.
Jim Waterson didn’t ask the permission of the women whose photos he published on Buzzfeed, either.