We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Grooming gangs in Rochdale and Rotherham raped with impunity and you won’t believe why!

I really should not have laughed out loud when reading an article by regular Times columnist Jenni Russell entitled “Women victims still can’t get a fair hearing”. These are serious matters. Judge me not; this bit would get a laugh out of a stone:

Even men without high standing tend to be seen as more credible than the women they attack. That’s why grooming gangs in Rochdale, Rotherham and many other towns could rape girls with impunity over years, as police and social services dismissed it. “Believe the men,” has always been the instinctive, effective, protective response of the male-dominated power structure.

The grooming gangs in Rochdale and Rotherham had an “identity” trump card all right, one that sent the police and social services scurrying away with their tails between their legs. And it did begin with M. Perhaps Ms Russell could ask her Times colleague Andrew Norfolk what the following letters were?

The rest of the article is about US Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, recently accused of attempting to rape Christine Blasey Ford thirty-six years ago when he was seventeen and she was fifteen. She made this claim a couple of months ago in a letter to Senator Dianne Feinstein (D). However it seems to have slipped Senator Feinstein’s mind to bring the issue up during the weeks of nomination hearings convened for the express purpose of assessing Kavanaugh’s suitability to be a Supreme Court judge. As this letter (Hat tip: Instapundit) from the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Senator Chuck Grassley, says,

There were numerous opportunities to raise the serious allegations made in the letter during the course of this nomination process.They could have been raised in your closed-door meeting with Judge Kavanaugh on August 20.Sixty-four other senators also met with Judge Kavanaugh prior to his confirmation hearing. These senators could have asked Judge Kavanaugh about these allegations if you had shared the letter.

Your staff could have raised these allegations during routine background investigation phone calls in late-August. Questions about these allegations could have been asked of Judge Kavanaugh during his more than 32 hours of testimony before the Committee over the course of three days. You could have asked him about these allegations during the closed session of his confirmation hearing, where sensitive material can be discussed. But you did not attend the closed session. Finally, these allegations could have been addressed in one of the nearly 1,300 written questions issued to him after the hearing-more written questions to any Supreme Court nominee than all prior Supreme Court nominees combined.

Fortunately Senator Feinstein did eventually remember to bring up this allegation, just in time. Funny how that happens, isn’t it? It’s like the way I only just remembered to tell you about the rest of Jenni Russell’s article in the Times for the benefit of those who don’t have a subscription. It did make one point with which all should agree. Professor Ford has been subjected to harassment and threats. These should be treated like the crimes they are. Apart from that, well, let us say that the evidence for Jenni Russell’s instinctive, effective, protective response being “Believe the women” is a great deal stronger than the evidence that the Muslim grooming gangs in Rochdale and Rotherham raped with impunity because they were men. Russell writes,

Dr Ford’s life has been shipwrecked. She has had so many death threats that she has had to go into hiding, take leave of absence from work, send her children away and employ security guards. No such danger has troubled Kavanaugh, who has a security detail provided by the state and whose wife has been giving out cupcakes to the camera crews outside their house.

No such danger has troubled Kavaugh? Given how close left winger James T. Hodgkinson came to killing House Majority Whip Steve Scalise in his attempt to massacre as many Republicans as he could at a charity baseball game between politicians, I would not dismiss the danger so lightly. And of course, Kavanaugh’s wife handing out cupcakes shows how untroubled she is at having her husband accused of rape. Why should that trouble her? Why should it trouble him? How can they be treated unjustly? They’re Republicans!

“The European Commission only has to win once”

Following on from Johnathan Pearce’s recent post about the EU Copyright Directive, I found this comment by a user called Ask_Me_Who in Reddit Europe. It dates from the first turn of the ratchet, back in June, but in the light of what has happened since it is more relevant than ever:

MEP’s can not create, amend, or reject proposals. They can act as a method of slowing them, requesting changes or rethinks of proposed policies, but if the other (unelected) parts of the EU want to force through a proposal they can just keep pushing it until it gets through in the knowledge that elected MEP’s will not have the power to propose future updates, changes, or abolition of legislation.

The European Commission only has to win once and it can never be repealed without the European Commission wishing it so. The people, as represented by elected MEP officials, have to win every time as they do not even have the option to vote in representatives to reverse a decision. This is the ‘democratic deficit’ that even pro-EU supporters widely acknowledge when they call for democratic reforms to the MEP system.

If you want to bring up the UK, the European Parliament works similarly to the House of Lords. The difference being that the Lord’s have been deliberately striped of much of their power specifically because they do not represent the people, while the MEP’s have never been given the power needed to actually represent the people.

EDIT- And if you think that’s depressing, since the Treaty of Lisbon (2007) lobbying has been an officially recognised and encouraged part of MEP’s decision process under the re-brand “European interest representation”. 30% of former MEP’s go on to work as lobbyists for major industries. Yeah, the people who only have to slip up once can accept weekly fancy dinners and then go on to make €€€ working for companies who give zero shits about what general public’s well-being.

Another example of the EU ratchet in action. No wonder they adopted the use of the neverendum so readily.

In order of priority

“Comicsgate is the latest front in the ongoing culture wars”, writes J A Micheline in the… I don’t really need to say it, do I?

The results of both the Brexit referendum and the 2016 US presidential election relied heavily (if not, solely) on the narrative of white loss and the tears of the white working class – while conveniently eliding the needs of working-class people of colour and what they stood to lose.

How can such events be combated? How can they be undone? But these are the wrong questions. Merely combating or undoing Comicsgate, Brexit, and the flourishing of American fascism is not enough.

The great battles of our time.

A Labour MP who won’t let Theresa May beat her on authoritarianism

Lucy Powell MP has taken to the pages of the Guardian to tell us “Why I am seeking to stamp out online echo chambers of hate”.

She writes,

Closed forums on Facebook allow hateful views to spread unchallenged among terrifyingly large groups. My bill would change that.

and

Because these closed forums can be given a “secret” setting, they can be hidden away from everyone but their members. This locks out the police, intelligence services and charities that could otherwise engage with the groups and correct disinformation. This could be particularly crucial with groups where parents are told not to vaccinate their children against diseases.

Here is a video of Powell talking about her proposal.

Her Private Member’s Bill, like all Private Member’s Bills, has very little chance of passing. But it has cross-party support. Nicky Morgan, Anna Soubry and David Lammy all count as members of the permanent ruling coalition, but I had thought better of Jacob Rees-Mogg.

If it did pass, I can see no logical reason not to extend its provisions to ban private face-to-face conversations. Why should the mere fact that the hate speech is conveyed by sound rather than text make any difference? Dangerous physical proximity allows the doings of these groups to be even more effectively hidden away from anyone but their members. These groups meeting in people’s living rooms literally lock out the police, intelligence services and charities that could otherwise engage with them and correct disinformation.

Do not read this!

The BBC reports:

European Parliament backs copyright changes

Controversial new copyright laws have been approved by members of the European Parliament.

The laws had been changed since July when the first version of the copyright directive was voted down. Critics say they remain problematic.

Many musicians and creators claim the reforms are necessary to fairly compensate artists.

But opponents fear that the plans could destroy user-generated content, memes and parodies.

Leaders of the EU’s member states still need to sign off on the rule changes before the individual countries have to draft local laws to put them into effect.

The vote in Strasbourg was 438 in favour of the measures, 226 against and 39 abstentions.

MEPs voted on a series of changes to the original directive, the most controversial parts are known as Article 13 and Article 11.

Article 13 puts the onus on web giants to take measures to ensure that agreements with rights-holders for the use of their work are working.

Critics say that would require all internet platforms to filter content put online by users, which many believe would be an excessive restriction on free speech.

Article 11 is also controversial because it forces online platforms to pay news organisations before linking to their stories, something critics refer to a “link tax”.

Julia Reda MEP, who has fought hard against this, says,

Catastrophic Article 11 vote: The European Parliament just endorsed a #linktax that would make using the title of a news article in a link to it require a license. #SaveYourInternet #SaveTheLink

and

Article 13 vote: The European Parliament endorses #uploadfilters for all but the smallest sites and apps. Anything you want to publish will need to first be approved by these filters, perfectly legal content like parodies & memes will be caught in the crosshairs #SaveYourInternet

A small silver lining to the cloud is that this move by the EU is particularly unpopular with just that crowd who usually love the EU most.

South Yorkshire Police hard at work

“In addition to reporting hate crime, please report non-crime hate incidents, which can include things like offensive or insulting comments, online, in person or in writing. Hate will not be tolerated in South Yorkshire. Report it and put a stop to it.#HateHurtsSY”

– a tweet from South Yorkshire Police yesterday, as reported by Westmonster.

Well, what are you waiting for? Here is the South Yorkshire Police contact form. It is interesting to see the sort of wrongdoing that has finally prompted South Yorkshire Police to take action. Lesser crimes such as these did not merit such proactive treatment.

Strange companions on the boat to Canada

ITV’s Political Editor Robert Peston says,

David Davis may win his Canada-style Brexit deal

David Davis may have won.

What do I mean?

Well I am hearing from multiple sources that the only trade deal the EU’s lead negotiator Michel Barnier will countenance is Davis’s cherished Free Trade Agreement, what he called Canada Plus, rather than any version of May’s Chequers plan.

Here for example is the debrief of an MP on the Brexit select committee chaired by Hilary Benn, who met Barnier yesterday in Brussels:

“Remarkable how dismissive Barnier was of the two central pillars of Chequers – customs and common rule book for goods. It’s not a matter of how it will fare in Parliament. It won’t be agreed by the EU. We are back to Canada-style FTA”.

The Brexiters on the select committee are ecstatic; the Remainers are in abject despair. And to be clear, Barnier was not putting on a special act for British MPs. I am hearing exactly the same about him from Brussels and EU sources.

Now when he was Brexit secretary, Davis came in for a lot of stick, not least from his own ministerial and civil-servant colleagues, for not being ambitious or diligent enough when negotiating with Barnier – and in the end May and her senior Whitehall adviser on Brexit Olly Robbins went round the back of him and came up with their own Brexit plan. Which prompted David to quit.

But for more than two years he told me a Canada-style arrangement was the only realistic proposition. And it looks as though he was right.

Another well-placed source sees what is happening as an extraordinary but powerful alliance between the EU purists and zealots represented by Barnier and the Tories’ True Brexiters of Davis, Boris Johnson, Jacob Rees-Mogg and the European Research Group.

Odd bedfellows and strange alliances have always fascinated me. Tell me your tales of them, from history, fiction, politics or your own lives. Oh, and if you want to, talk about how or if Brexit is gonna happen, too.

On This Day

On 3 September 1939 the United Kingdom and France declared war on Germany. But we are in no danger of forgetting that.

When did you last think about Beslan?

Is there any reason I should not sign this EU petition?

I refer to this petition: Permanent European Union Citizenship.

Main objectives
EU citizens elect the European Parliament and participate in its work, thus exercising treaty rights, enhancing Union democracy, and reinforcing its citizenship. Noting the ECJ’s view of Union citizenship as a ‘fundamental status’ of nationals of Member States, and that Brexit will strip millions of EU citizens of this status and their vote in European elections, requests the Commission propose means to avoid risk of collective loss of EU citizenship and rights, and assure all EU citizens that, once attained, such status is permanent and their rights acquired.

This petition runs under the aegis of a European Union scheme called The European Citizens’ Initiative. As Wikipedia says,

The European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) is a European Union mechanism aimed at increasing direct democracy by enabling “EU citizens to participate directly in the development of EU policies”, introduced with the Treaty of Lisbon in 2007. The initiative enables one million citizens of the European Union, who are nationals of at least one quarter of the member states, to call directly on the European Commission to propose a legal act in an area where the Member States have conferred powers onto the EU level.

In other words, like its British equivalent, a petition will be considered if it crosses a certain threshold. Not enacted into law, obviously – don’t hold your breath waiting for any government to give up that monopoly – but it will have passed the first milestone on the long road to becoming law. The EU scheme does seem a tad more meaningful than the UK one.

Turning to this specific petition, I do not see anything that I, as someone who happily voted Leave, should object to. The petition does not seek to stop the United Kingdom from leaving the control of the European Union. If this became law it would mean that Remainers currently angry at losing their automatic right to work in the EU and their vote in EU elections would not lose out from Brexit at all. Although on every website on which I have seen this petition promoted everyone seems to assume that it will be opposed by Leavers, my instinct is to say “A solution that leaves both sides happy – Great!”

I do have some qualms about voting to change the character of the EU when I don’t want to be part of the it. I also worry that I may have missed some Trojan Horse in the wording of the petition. It worries me that so many supporters of this petition seem to think of it as part of their campaign against Brexit. It looks to me as if it would help reconcile many people to Brexit by removing the aspects of Brexit that they most disliked, but have all those die-hard Remainers seen something I missed?

I should say that I think the chance of this petition cutting much ice with the EU are remote. Its supporters in the UK may not have spotted that it makes Brexit less painful and hence more likely, and more likely to be imitated, but the officials and politicians of the EU are not so naive. This proposal would allow a British person an unrestricted right to work in the 27 remaining countries of the EU, but would not allow citizens of the 27 an unrestricted right to work in the UK. Ain’t gonna happen. However I have signed many a petition that had very little chance of passing.

What do you think? Brits and other current EU citizens, will you sign it? UK citizens, if by some strange concatenation of events this became EU law, would you take up the offer of keeping your EU citizenship?

To avoid confrontation

The Daily Mail reports,

Ex-wife of top chef Albert Roux is forced out of her £5m Chelsea home after scammers change the locks and start renting it out for £835-a-night online

The former wife of Michellin star chef Albert Roux has been advised to move out of her house after being tricked into renting out part of her £5million home.

A fake letting agency managed to convince Cheryl Roux, 61, to rent out the top two storeys of her mews house to a bogus tenant.

Since June, the three-bedroom property in Knightsbridge, west London, has been sub-let to as many as eight tenants at a time for a cost of £835 a night – with Ms Roux not getting a penny.

The locks have been changed on her £5million home and the rental scheme, which has been advertised on Airbnb and Zoopla, has forced Ms Roux to move out of the ground floor of her property.

Ms Roux said: ‘I’m clearly a victim of crime but the police do nothing and these crooks are still renting out my home.

‘They changed the locks so I couldn’t get in and nailed shut the garage doors. I’m at my wits’ end.’

Police told The Sun: ‘Once a property is let and there is a contract between two parties it is a matter for the civil court not the police if a dispute arises.’

And

Ms Roux said: ‘I’m clearly a victim of crime but the police do nothing and these crooks are still renting out my home.

‘They changed the locks so I couldn’t get in and nailed shut the garage doors. I’m at my wits’ end.’

Police told The Sun: ‘Once a property is let and there is a contract between two parties it is a matter for the civil court not the police if a dispute arises.’

I can envisage a libertarian legal system in which all disputes were civil disputes between the parties and the state had little or no role. That might be a fine thing, in Libertopia. But in the real UK of 2018 it looks to me like the police have failed once again to live up to their side of the bargain in which the people grant the police the right to to take the lead in enforcing the law and then don’t enforce the law.

Meanwhile, at the other end of the social scale, I cannot put it better than this post by Instapundit quoting another Daily Mail story:

YOU’LL SEE MORE OF THIS SORT OF THING IN LONDON, WHERE THE DULY CONSTITUTED AUTHORITIES ARE TOO BUSY POLICING MEMES ON TWITTERS TO DO THEIR ACTUAL JOBS: ‘That’s what happens when you bring ACID!’: Shocking moment ‘vigilantes’ beat man with a bat then pour milk on him while he cowers on London street after ‘spotting he had corrosive liquid.’

The system will be brought down by its internal contradictions

“Mr Corbyn also suggested a series of proposals for the BBC, including publishing the social class of ‘all creators of BBC content, whether in-house or external'”, reports the BBC, trembling.

That would be fun to watch, but what is to stop the Beebourgeoisie, middle class to the tips of their Shiatsu-massaged toes, from foiling the plan by self-identifying as proletarians?

Watching the debate on self-identification within the Left is like watching a long fuse slowly burning down towards a time-bomb. Though nicer. As things stand this week:

Gender – completely a matter of choice and how dare you say chromosomes. Voluntary efforts to eradicate sexism having failed, compulsory quotas for females must be imposed by the power of the State. But anyone who wants to be included in the quota only has to ask.

Race – is nothing but an oppressive social construct. To cease participating in this oppressive and delusionary social construct is forbidden.

Class – They called it “Catch BBC”. You started working class, worked like mad, finally got a soft job, which made you middle class, so in the interests of social mobility they won’t hire you again. Edit: Or your kids. But their re-impoverished kids will be favoured. Social oscillation, the wave (geddit?) of the future!

What side do I take on all these controversies? None. I’m for freedom of association. It is so restful.

Jeremy Corbyn, cultural appropriator

As all should know, cultural appropriation is Not OK. It is particularly offensive when white westerners imitate the religious practices of others despite having no belief in that religion.

So I was shocked to see pictures of Mr Corbyn assuming the characteristic posture of Islamic prayer on this solemn occasion:

Jeremy Corbyn is seen posing with a wreath under a distinctive red canopy as other politicians look on. This canopy runs alongside the graves of Salah Khalaf, Hayel Abdel-Hamid, Fakhri al-Omari and Atef Bseiso, three of whom have been linked to Black September, the group behind the 1972 atrocity at the Munich Olympic Games

hands held in the characteristic posture of Islamic prayer

That picture comes from this Daily Mail story, third picture down. The caption reads:

Jeremy Corbyn raises his hands in what appears to be an Islamic prayer position as he stands beside other politicians. A source said he was not praying but ‘copying the others out of respect’

One must also question the culturally insensitive way in which Corbyn referred to a convicted Hamas terrorist as a “brother”. From the Evening Standard:

In August 2012, Corbyn (right) appeared on Iran’s Press TV with a convicted Hamas terrorist named Dr Abdul Aziz Umar. “He got seven life sentences for helping to organise a Hamas suicide bombing in Jerusalem in 2003 that killed seven people,” Rich points out. The bombing at the Café Hillel took place during the second intifada. Among the victims were Dr David Applebaum, head of the emergency room at Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center, and his daughter Nava, who was due to be married the next day.

Umar was charged with providing a safe house for the terrorists and guarding the property as they fitted the bomber with a suicide belt. He was released a year before his Press TV appearance as part of the prisoner swap arranged to release Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

“You have to ask the question why they are in prison in the first place,” said the now Labour leader. “I’m glad that those who were released were released.”

Umar was appearing on the show by video link but Corbyn pointed out the pair had met before.

“I met many of the brothers, including the brother who’s been speaking here when they came out of prison, when I was in Doha earlier this year,” he said.Rich also notes that this appearance on Press TV took place seven months after the channel lost its Ofcom licence. This followed a £100,000 fine for broadcasting the forced interrogation of a Newsweek journalist held prisoner in Iran.

You can hear Mr Corbyn saying those words at 15:55 – 16:05 in this video clip from The Muslim TV.net: [12 Aug 2012] Israeli prisons increase repression during Ramadan – English

As everyone ought to know, the use of the terms “brother” and “sister” among Muslims implies that the speaker and the person being addressed or described are both Muslims. Surah 49:10 “Al-Hujarat” says, “The believers are nothing else than brothers. So make reconciliation between your brothers, and fear Allah, that you may receive mercy.” How shocking that Mr Corbyn would crassly insert himself, a non-Muslim, into this expression of shared Muslim faith.