The current Westminster "scandals"

So for those of you actually interested in real news, you may have missed the various shit-flinging that has been going on around Westminster pertaining to varying degrees of historical sexual misconduct by various politicians, culminating in todays BBC headline news: "Minister denies computer porn allegations".

Theresa May's most senior minister has denied a claim that police found pornography on his computer during a raid on his Westminster office in 2008.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-41874026

Now, some of the accusations this week have been pretty serious and worthy of investigation. The accusation that some dodgy old man happened to have porn on his computer nine years ago is not one of them. The whole thing is kind of devolving to farcical levels and risking the actual serious offenders getting lost in the farce.

On the bright side, we could shortly be looking at the first world government to be toppled on the grounds that they watched porn in the past...

Catnip1024:
The whole thing is kind of devolving to farcical levels and risking the actual serious offenders getting lost in the farce.

If there's one thing we know (or should know) from these scandals, it's that a lot of people in the right circles know enough about what's going on. About 40 Tory MPs have been alleged via a leak to a political blog of various indiscretions. There's a reason only three have been gone for so far: because the other 37 are already being ignored for inadequate evidence or triviality. Let's bear in mind a few days ago it was suggested all Fallon had done was make a lewd comment to Andrea Leadsom. Except it turns out he's been doing a lot of inappropriate comments and touching. Everyone knew it, and that's why he was focused on.

Likewise, in media, there are undoubtedly a welter of accusations against a lot of of celebs. But far fewer are really taking the punishment. Weinstein, Spacey and others who have been taken down, and others like Bryan Singer under a lot of suspicion, have been targetted because they have histories and dodgy links which are well known and/or more serious.

I think we all need to be very careful before deciding it's nothing, because I seriously doubt anyone would give a shit if he had some ordinary, boring old porn on his computer. Maybe it's actually very unpleasant porn, maybe it's a porn tip of an indiscretion iceberg. And maybe it is all just a smear, but let's not complain about checking these people out to be on the safe side.

Or let's do it your way, complain about people speaking out it and complain about investigating potential wrongdoing. All the better if it's easy to brush things under the carpet, then you don't have to be irritiated by all these bloody people complaining about being harassed and assaulted.

Agema:
I think we all need to be very careful before deciding it's nothing, because I seriously doubt anyone would give a shit if he had some ordinary, boring old porn on his computer. Maybe it's actually very unpleasant porn, maybe it's a porn tip of an indiscretion iceberg. And maybe it is all just a smear, but let's not complain about checking these people out to be on the safe side.

Or let's do it your way, complain about people speaking out it and complain about investigating potential wrongdoing. All the better if it's easy to brush things under the carpet, then you don't have to be irritiated by all these bloody people complaining about being harassed and assaulted.

As I said, there are some legitimate, serious accusations being put forwards. But an allegation that some dude watched an unspecified type of porn (coming from the ex-police chief who was in charge of the force at the time, who would have the further details if any crimes had been committed) is not deserving of being headline news. This is not the worlds most important story on Sunday.

If there are serious accusations about this chap, that's another thing.

Yes, let's have a go at me again based on remarks in one thread taken completely out of context. It's a lot harder to make claims as a minor aide when you are attempting to accuse the government, in a country where the police have a tendency to be quite good at toeing the line, than it is to make claims as a successful actress. Maybe if you stop re-iterating the same garbage so that you can "win" discussions we can have a civil conversation.

Catnip1024:
Maybe if you stop re-iterating the same garbage so that you can "win" discussions we can have a civil conversation.

Maybe when you stop spouting garbage akin to the average Daily Mail editorial.

Are the allegations against Green serious or not? I don't know. But I certainly know that trivialising them advance with no clear idea of what they are is hardly serving good practice. It matters because that sort of thing is a stock line of everyone who wants us to put our heads back in the sand and stop complaining about powerful people groping young men and women with far less power. That's what talk about "witch hunts", "conflating" or complaining about "#metoo" largely is. It's denigrating people talking about what they claim to have endured, which is only ever likely to reduce transparency and thus increase the likelihood of people getting away with it. What we are seeing is people speaking up because they see others speaking up, and if you want them to shut their traps you can lose the baby with the bathwater.

The term used with regard to Green was "extreme porn". This is sometimes a euphemism for child pornography, more usually highly degrading sexual imagery which can also be illegal under UK law. There are also accusations against him of inappropriate touching.

If it's all nothing, he'll get over it. There's no need to pre-judge currently, so let's not.

Agema:
The term used with regard to Green was "extreme porn". This is sometimes a euphemism for child pornography, more usually highly degrading sexual imagery which can also be illegal under UK law. There are also accusations against him of inappropriate touching.

If there was child pornography on his computer when the police raided it nine years ago, do you not think something would have been done then? And do you not think the term to use is "child pornography"?

None of this is denigrating anybody or talking down complainants, you understand. Any implication that it is is completely dishonest. This is not someone accusing him of harassment. This is an accusation that he had material on his computer, raised in an interview by a former police chief nine years after the event. Which has apparently been upgraded from "pornography" to "extreme pornography" since I last looked. I'm guessing that's whilst skydiving...

The other accusations may be completely legitimate, and should be investigated properly. But the fact was, this was the headline article. This is my problem. Compared to the actual harassment items, this is nothing.

And also, regarding your above points - what happened to innocent until proven guilty? A number of these people have had there names tarred without any proper investigative process being undertaken. Regardless of the outcome, it will be a significant impact on their career. Naming and shaming with no evidence is hardly "good practice".

Catnip1024:
And also, regarding your above points - what happened to innocent until proven guilty?

I think I covered that when I said there was no need to pre-judge.

A number of these people have had there names tarred without any proper investigative process being undertaken. Regardless of the outcome, it will be a significant impact on their career. Naming and shaming with no evidence is hardly "good practice".

Firstly, the average politician can oversee wasting #200 million on an IT fuckup, double NHS waiting times, meet Israeli politicians in gross contravention of the ministerial code, reap stupid expenses for basically nothing and some can even get away with compulsive lying and gaffes as the country's representative to foreign nations. They'll survive a rumour or two that they made a drunken pass at a parliamentary researcher.

Secondly, this is exactly the sort of thing people exploit to get away with their scumbaggery. I'm not at all unsympathetic to the problems posed by trial by social media. But I'm also highly aware that people who do very dodgy things are keen to talk about "witch-hunts" and the unfairness of rumour mills, precisely because they're a way of deflecting attention and reducing hostility. And I'm painfully aware of things going to trial, with Oxford graduates who stab their boyfriends or rapists from nice middle class backgrounds that juries and judges go soft on basically because we wouldn't want to damage their career, would we? And it's not just the people themselves, it's all sorts of other people with political and ideological investment in protecting people who probably shouldn't be protected according to stricter adherence to justice alone.

If there was child pornography on his computer when the police raided it nine years ago, do you not think something would have been done then? And do you not think the term to use is "child pornography"?

I'd agree, child pornography is very unlikely. But it's not me who calls it that, I'm just aware others can and do.

None of this is denigrating anybody or talking down complainants, you understand.

I am prepared to believe you don't intend to do so and that you don't believe you are. However, what you're saying is very much like what people who do want denigrate and talk down complainants say. They're saying those sorts of things because they can act to suppress complainants being taken seriously.

Compared to the actual harassment items, this is nothing.

It's nice and salacious for the press to amuse themselves. But if it's not got any substance, it'll fade to nothing in the long run.

Put it this way, Green's still got his job. Fair chance that's because there isn't enough (yet?) to see him lose it.

Catnip1024:

The other accusations may be completely legitimate, and should be investigated properly. But the fact was, this was the headline article. This is my problem. Compared to the actual harassment items, this is nothing.

That's the UK press for you. Google search for "sun/ express/ star/ mirror headlines", and you'll come across such gems as;

"Save our bacon!" -- in reference to Ed Miliband eating a bacon sandwich in a messy fashion.

"Queen backs brexit" -- based on total hearsay.

"From Russia with gloves" -- headline referencing more snow than usual in the UK.

"Wham bam! Sam Cam to be mam" -- Samantha Cameron will have a baby.

"Prem plonker" -- premier league player drives badly.

...All front page, I shit you not. By which I hope to demonstrate that the UK papers are routinely obsessed with utter triviality, and that this Damian Green issue is probably in the better 50% of all British headlines, because over half are even bloody worse.

Silvanus:

Catnip1024:

The other accusations may be completely legitimate, and should be investigated properly. But the fact was, this was the headline article. This is my problem. Compared to the actual harassment items, this is nothing.

That's the UK press for you. Google search for "sun/ express/ star/ mirror headlines", and you'll come across such gems as;

"Save our bacon!" -- in reference to Ed Miliband eating a bacon sandwich in a messy fashion.

"Queen backs brexit" -- based on total hearsay.

"From Russia with gloves" -- headline referencing more snow than usual in the UK.

"Wham bam! Sam Cam to be mam" -- Samantha Cameron will have a baby.

"Prem plonker" -- premier league player drives badly.

...All front page, I shit you not. By which I hope to demonstrate that the UK papers are routinely obsessed with utter triviality, and that this Damian Green issue is probably in the better 50% of all British headlines, because over half are even bloody worse.

Yeah, I thought The Daily Telegraph was awful as a kid. 'Til I saw British tabloids. Is there people who actually read The Daily Mail and agree with it? If there is, is there a necessary purge being planned to quarantine these people for their dangerous stupidity?

One article I read effectively stated "Corbyn is a Maoist, just check out the bike he rides to work!"

Or how; "He couldn't be trusted, look at his pedestrian apartment covered in vines..." Yeah. Becsuse when I think of politics, horticultural pursuits comes to mind.

Agema:
They'll survive a rumour or two that they made a drunken pass at a parliamentary researcher.

Well, that was a spectacularly poorly timed comment. Unintentionally on your part, but still...

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-politics-41904161

Because unfounded accusations do shatter lives, particularly if you are a family person. I have no idea whether he was guilty or not, but this is why things should be investigated prior to public shaming.

Silvanus:
That's the UK press for you. Google search for "sun/ express/ star/ mirror headlines", and you'll come across such gems as;

The thing is, despite all evidence to the contrary of late, I do still cling onto slightly higher standards for the BBC.

A guy can dream.

Catnip1024:
The thing is, despite all evidence to the contrary of late, I do still cling onto slightly higher standards for the BBC.

A guy can dream.

The BBC maintains higher standards than the printed press, certainly (including formerly not-so-bad newspapers like The Independent and The Times).

However, as much as we might find little to speculate about, this event is news. It concerns allegations made by an ex-police chief, and had a dramatic impact on the career of a cabinet minister. The veracity of the allegation aside, that should be reported.

Silvanus:
The BBC maintains higher standards than the printed press, certainly (including formerly not-so-bad newspapers like The Independent and The Times).

However, as much as we might find little to speculate about, this event is news. It concerns allegations made by an ex-police chief, and had a dramatic impact on the career of a cabinet minister. The veracity of the allegation aside, that should be reported.

It's not a binary choice. My issue is where it ranked on the news. BBC homepage, fine. Headline story? Probably not. I'm pretty sure more significant things happened over the weekend.

Catnip1024:
It's not a binary choice. My issue is where it ranked on the news. BBC homepage, fine. Headline story? Probably not. I'm pretty sure more significant things happened over the weekend.

I would probably agree, but I tend to think that overseas news-- ongoing humanitarian disasters, relief efforts, etcetera-- are routinely underrepresented in the news cycle.

Catnip1024:

Agema:
They'll survive a rumour or two that they made a drunken pass at a parliamentary researcher.

Well, that was a spectacularly poorly timed comment. Unintentionally on your part, but still...

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-politics-41904161

Because unfounded accusations do shatter lives, particularly if you are a family person. I have no idea whether he was guilty or not, but this is why things should be investigated prior to public shaming.

Screw that.

1) If serious allegations of misconduct come in, it is appropriate and responsible to remove someone from certain positions of authority and trust. There's no problem there. After that, the removal of government ministers can hardly be hidden from the press.

2) And let's be quite clear, the allegations were unknown pending investigation. Isn't that what should be done - by your own words?

3) Let's be quite honest, well balanced people don't commit suicide because of unfounded accusations.

Agema:

3) Let's be quite honest, well balanced people don't commit suicide because of unfounded accusations.

I can't nope this enough.

Agema:
1) If serious allegations of misconduct come in, it is appropriate and responsible to remove someone from certain positions of authority and trust. There's no problem there. After that, the removal of government ministers can hardly be hidden from the press.

Just for allegations? No evidence required? Awesome, just give me a moment to topple the government then...

2) And let's be quite clear, the allegations were unknown pending investigation. Isn't that what should be done - by your own words?

Investigation? Yes. Prior to mass hysteria and abandonment of the chap, preferably. Apparently he was still unaware of what he was actually accused of.

3) Let's be quite honest, well balanced people don't commit suicide because of unfounded accusations.

Yes, because seeing everybody you thought you trusted and who you thought trusted you distance themselves from you and abandon you based purely on what is at this stage rumour (unspecified at that) isn't likely to negatively affect anybodies mental state. And everyone knows that politicians are all essentially stormtroopers and have no feelings at all.

Seriously, the lack of any kind of empathy that that comment belies is ridiculous.

Catnip1024:
Just for allegations? No evidence required?

If someone makes an allegation, the allegation itself is a form of evidence. But yes, some baseline of credibility is assumed.

Investigation? Yes. Prior to mass hysteria and abandonment of the chap, preferably. Apparently he was still unaware of what he was actually accused of.

So your complaint is actually the lack of pastoral and collegiate support given by the Welsh Parliament / Welsh Labour Party and its members?

Yes, because seeing everybody you thought you trusted and who you thought trusted you distance themselves from you and abandon you based purely on what is at this stage rumour (unspecified at that) isn't likely to negatively affect anybodies mental state. And everyone knows that politicians are all essentially stormtroopers and have no feelings at all.

Seriously, the lack of any kind of empathy that that comment belies is ridiculous.

In a way. Processes can be defensible for the greater good that may be harmful to some individuals. Indeed, arguments over how that principle applies is the core of most political debate. Exploiting outliers and exceptions is often not good for determining general best practice.

I don't know why he killed himself. It might have been genuine despair and distress at unfairness. It might have been selfish pride to "cheat the hangman", because people can commit suicide for that sort of cynical reason. I can also feel empathy for his alleged victims and to an extent wider society, as by his death any investigation is pretty much quashed thus meaning justice and truth is denied - indeed his accusers may even get guilt or blame (which is pretty awful if they were honest).

Incidentally, I don't think belies is quite the right word you're looking for there: belie means to give a false impression of.

Agema:
...meet Israeli politicians in gross contravention of the ministerial code...

Although apparently don't keep their job after repeatedly lying about it having been caught out. Let's also take the time to cheer some good news for once, because she's awful and it's great she's been given a red card.

 

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