Showing posts with label transgender. Show all posts
Showing posts with label transgender. Show all posts

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

The plan to 'scrap' the use of Mr and Mrs...

In October 2012, many column inches were devoted to claims that Brighton and Hove City Council was planning to 'scrap' the terms Mr and Mrs.

The Mirror went with:

The Mail:

The Telegraph:

The Sun's print version carried a photo of Mr and Mrs host Phillip Schofield with a speech bubble saying: 'Welcome to Non Gender and Non Gender', under the headline 'Ban Mr & Mrs!'. Online, the headline was:

There were many other websites that repeated the same claims.

But the story wasn't correct - the Council had not made any recommendations or published any plans at this time. The Council's Trans Equality Scrutiny Panel, who were looking into a range of issues, suggested there was a problem with a set-list of honorifics on online forms - that if you don't select one of the set options, and some trans people do not feel that the titles Mr or Mrs are suitable for them, it could prevent completion of the form. So people could still call themselves Mr or Mrs, but they would have the freedom to choose a title with which they felt most comfortable. 

Jane Fae wrote in the Guardian:

They don't identify as male or female, prefer "Mx" (pronounced "Mix") as title of choice, and feel positively excluded by forms that demand they pick from a limited list of gender-specific titles. It's a small exclusion, but why should they have to put up with such when a remedy is so easily implemented?

The Trans Equality Scrutiny Panel's final report was published in January. Unsurprisingly, it does not recommend scrapping Mr and Mrs, as it explains on page 65:

Given recent press coverage of the subject of honorifics, the Panel would like to make clear that they never had any intention of recommending that the use of honorifics should be removed. The recommendation of this report is aimed at giving more choice to those who do not want to identify as Mr/Ms/Mrs/Dr. It is worth noting that this may not just apply to trans people: others may not choose to use a honorific if given the option.

Recommendation 35: The Panel welcome the addition of the honorific Mx by council benefits staff as giving an alternative option. The Panel recommend that all on-line forms are examined to look at the possibility of additional options, leaving blank or entering the title the individual feels is appropriate to them.

Three weeks on, and neither the Sun, Mirror, Mail nor Telegraph appear to have informed their readers of what has actually been recommended by the Panel. A search of all four websites using terms 'brighton mx' and 'brighton trans' reveals no new articles on this subject since October.  

As the Panel said following the original articles:

We acknowledge and regret that the tone and content of much of the on-line debate over the last week has caused distress and may have damaged the trust we have sought to build up. We condemn the offensive and discriminatory tone of much of that comment, and reiterate that all members of the panel remain committed to transgender equality. We also recognise the need for balanced, fair and accurate media reporting and will be working proactively to encourage this regarding the scrutiny going forward.

(hat-tip to Jane Fae)

Friday, 30 November 2012

Leveson on the 'discriminatory, sensational or unbalanced' reporting of minority groups

One interesting but overlooked section of the Leveson Report has been about the representation of minorities.

On the treatment of the trans community, for example, Leveson writes (p.668):

On the basis of the evidence seen by the Inquiry, it is clear that there is a marked tendency in a section of the press to fail to treat members of the transgender and intersex communities with sufficient dignity and respect; and in instances where individuals are identified either expressly or by necessary implication perpetrate breaches of clause 12 of the Code. Parts of the tabloid press continue to seek to ‘out’ transgender people notwithstanding its prohibition in the Editors’ Code. And parts of the tabloid press continue to refer to the transgender community in derogatory terms, holding transgender people up for ridicule, or denying the legitimacy of their condition. Although the Inquiry heard evidence that parts of the tabloid press had “raised [its] game in terms of transgender reporting”,[393] the examples provided by TMW of stories from the last year demonstrate that the game needs to be raised significantly higher.

The section on ethnic minorities, asylum seekers and immigrants is also critical of parts of the press. Leveson states (p.668) that:

the identification of Muslims, migrants, asylum seekers and gypsies/travellers as the targets of press hostility and/or xenophobia in the press, was supported by the evidence seen by the Inquiry.

For example:

the following headlines, which appeared to have little factual basis but which may have contributed to a negative perception of Muslims in the UK: ‘Muslim Schools Ban Our Culture’; ‘BBC Puts Muslims Before You!’; ‘Christmas is Banned: It Offends Muslims’; ‘Brit Kids Forced to Eat Halal School Dinners!’; ‘Muslims Tell Us How To Run Our Schools’.  

The report outlines several other examples (there are lots to choose from) such as 'Muslim Only Public Loos', 'Terror Target Sugar', 'Brave Heroes Hounded Out' and 'Muslim Plot To Kill Pope'. 

Leveson concludes (p.671):

The evidence demonstrates that sections of the press betray a tendency, which is far from being universal or even preponderant, to portray Muslims in a negative light.

Moving on to reporting of immigration issues, Leveson begins by saying (p.671):

The tendency identified in the preceding paragraph is not limited to the representation of Muslims and applies in a similar way to some other minority ethnic groups.

He then outlines some examples of poor journalism, including 'Swan Bake', 'Asylum Seekers Eat Our Donkeys' and 'Failed asylum seeker who has dodged deportation for a decade told he can stay...because he goes to the GYM' all of which were untrue.

Leveson found (p.673):

evidence suggested that, in relation to reporting on Muslims, immigrants and asylum seekers, there was a tendency for some titles to adopt a sensationalist mode of reporting intended to support a world-view rather than to report a story. The evidence given by the Irish Traveller Movement in Britain suggested a similar approach to gypsy and traveller issues.

And (p.672): 

It is one thing for a newspaper to take the view that immigration should be reduced, or that the asylum and/or human rights system should be reformed, and to report on true stories which support those political views. It is another thing to misreport stories either wilfully or reckless as to their truth or accuracy, in order to ensure that they support those political views. And it does appear that certain parts of the press do, on occasion, prioritise the political stance of the title over the accuracy of the story.

His conclusion is damning (p.673):

Nonetheless, when assessed as a whole, the evidence of discriminatory, sensational or unbalanced reporting in relation to ethnic minorities, immigrants and/or asylum seekers, is concerning. The press can have significant influence over community relations and the way in which parts of society perceive other parts. While newspapers are entitled to express strong views on minority issues, immigration and asylum, it is important that stories on those issues are accurate, and are not calculated to exacerbate community divisions or increase resentment. Although the majority of the press appear to discharge this responsibility with care, there are enough examples of careless or reckless reporting to conclude that discriminatory, sensational or unbalanced reporting in relation to ethnic minorities, immigrants and/or asylum seekers is a feature of journalistic practice in parts of the press, rather than an aberration.

Monday, 22 October 2012

A murder in Turkey

The following borrows heavily from a blogost by Jane Fae.

Jane looked at the coverage of Chris Collier and his conviction, in Turkey, for the murder of his wife.

The headlines in the UK media included:

Two things stand out from these headlines from the Sun, Mail and Metro. First, it is stated as fact that Julia Collier 'was born a man'. Second, the use of 'after he discovered' implies that there is a link between the murder and this 'discovery'.

But are either of these things true? After all, the Sentinel in Staffordshire (where Collier lived before emigrating) and an English-language newspaper in Turkey reported the conviction without reference to Julia being 'born a man'.

Jane Fae suggests this angle may have come to prominence in 2010 in an article in the Daily Star by Jerry Lawton. It said:

Police are examining postings in an internet forum used by expat Brits from someone claiming to be Collier.

One said: “I paid for my wife and then moved to Kusadasi in my rented apartment.”

The blogger added that Julia “used to be a bloke”.

Police are trying to establish if Collier himself posted the message or was being taunted by someone posing as him.

The forum in question is the Kusadasi Fans Forum. There, in 2006, someone using the screen-name 'chriscollier' wrote:

I paid for my wife, and then moved to kusadasi in my rented appartment, my wife julia who may i add used to be a bloke sings in the koramar and she brings me hours of happenis. What you all reckon then. I want your views.

In their replies, the forum moderators pointed out that this person was posting from an IP in Leeds. Not from Kusadasi, Turkey. The user was banned after posting only 11 comments.

It is very difficult - maybe impossible - to know who posted this comment and yet this appears to be the origin of, and only piece of evidence for, the 'she used to be a man' claim.

If we imagine that Collier did actually write that comment in 2006 and the murder took place in 2010, the way the headlines have linked both events appears problematic.

But the possibility that he 'was being taunted by someone posing as him' in this comment certainly raises questions about the recent coverage. 

Moreover, the claim he 'bought' his wife and 'then moved to Kusadasi' is at odds with the statement from a friend quoted in most of the articles, who says:

"Julia was just the nicest girl you could ever meet. She was a singer, and she used to perform at the Korumar Hotel in Kusadasi. That is where they met."

It is not clear if the trans claim is true and, even if it is, whether it was the motive. It appears that all the articles making these claims - which the local paper in Staffs, and a paper in Turkey did not repeat - are relying on a six-year-old comment on a forum that could have been written by anyone.

(Hat-tip to Jane for her detective work)

Friday, 24 August 2012

The People corrects article on trans police officers

The PCC has published details of a resolved complaint which will see The People admit:

In an article of 3 June reporting on transsexual police officers, we stated that transsexual officers were exempt from body searches and officers could take a year's paid leave for gender reassignment. In fact, transsexual officers, are able to perform the full range of duties performed by any other police officer and there are currently no police forces where officers can take a year's paid leave for gender re-assignment.

It seems there were further problems with Nick Dorman's article, which were outlined at the time by Jane Fae. For example, Dorman wrote:

Suspects can only be searched by ­officers of the same sex and transsexuals cannot change theirs on birth certificates.

The claim about birth certificates is not accurate, and hasn't been since the Gender Recognition Act came into effect in 2005.

Jane also reveals some of how the paper responded to the complaint.   

At time of writing, the original article remains uncorrected on the People's website.

Monday, 13 September 2010

Will the PCC act over Daily Star Sunday's 'needless abbreviation'?

Primly Stable has looked at a story in yesterday's Daily Star Sunday which carried the headline 'Behind bras: Tranny strip-search fury'.

As Primly Stable points out, there's no evidence produced that anyone is actually 'furious' and in any case these are draft proposals that have yet to be approved.

But what of the language used by the paper?

In January 2010, the PCC made what it called a 'landmark ruling on the use of terminology in this area' by saying:

Taking into account the full context of the piece, the Commission considered that the use of the word ‘tranny' - which was a needless abbreviation, held by many to be offensive - was pejorative. The complaint was upheld on this point.

So how have the Star felt able to run this headline in the print edition? The online headline is different but not much better: 'Prisons: Female guards may be forced to search male trannies'. And it's not the case that the word has been abbreviated to fit the headline space as Rick Lyons' article also refers to 'tranny prisoners'.

Trans Media Watch have a list of terms they consider derogatory and say the media should avoid. The list includes three terms the Star uses: 'tranny', 'sex-change' and 'any 'comedy' reference to genitalia'. Press For Change also say the terms are 'inappropriate'.

So if the PCC's ruling that 'tranny' is 'perjorative' and 'needless' is really a 'landmark' decision, they should have no problem holding the Daily Star Sunday to account for using it.

Thursday, 26 August 2010

You wouldn't be able to tell that Littlejohn is a highly-paid journalist

This blog has avoided detailed mention of Richard Littlejohn for a while, but his column on Tuesday was too bone-headed and obnoxious to ignore.

Here's one of his absolutely side-splitting attempts at humour:

Coalition is the new majority. In Australia, where neither of the two main parties won enough seats to form a government, the next Prime Minister is going to have to rely on the support on a handful of eccentrics from the Outback.

The future of Upside Down Land appears to depend on a swagman, Crocodile Dundee and Skippy the Bush Kangaroo.

Makes the Lib Dems seem almost sensible, doesn't it?

'Upside Down Land' and decades-old cultural references? Cutting edge satire, isn't it?

But his main focus was on a HM Revenue and Customs booklet called 'Taxes and Benefits: Information for our lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender customers'. It's not hard to work out why he'd be writing about this.

So which of his (alleged) journalistic skills did he use to find out about this publication? A Freedom of Information request? Hours of detailed research? Err, not quite:

My copy was forwarded by an Essex-based, Daily Mail-reading accountant, who was lost for words when he received it.


Littlejohn links the publication of this booklet to the case of Christine Timbrell, thus managing to crowbar in the obligatory use of 'yuman rights'.

He writes:

This was a landmark case, which could affect several hundred people every year and cost taxpayers millions of pounds. It has prompted the Government to overhaul the services it provides not just to transsexuals but also other sexual minorities.

Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs, in conjunction with the Department of Work and Pensions, has published a glossy guide containing 'information for our lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender customers'.

In fact, that ruling and this booklet are not related. If he'd bothered to turn to the back page, he would see it says:

Issued by HM Revenue & Customs
June 2009

Ah. It's not the only time this week the Mail has been writing about year-old 'stories' as if they're new.

Somewhat bizarrely, he admits that such a publication might be necessary:

I can understand the Revenue might want to publish a pamphlet on the tax implications of civil partnerships. That is only right and proper.

It's a strange admission, given he's written over 800 words belittling the booklet, the organisations that produced it and everyone who might find the information useful.

Indeed, only one sentence later he asks:

...why go to all this trouble? what other ways do the tax affairs of gays, lesbians, bisexuals and the transgendered differ from anyone else?

Because there are 'tax implications of civil partnerships', maybe?

If Littlejohn had bothered to actually read the six relevant pages of the book he'd been sent, he'd see information mainly for people in civil partnerships and same sex relationships about tax credits, capital gains tax, pensions, inheritance tax, National Insurance and income tax.

The booklet is doing exactly what Littlejohn thinks is 'right and proper'. So what's the problem?

Well, it's all diversity and political correctness gone mad, innit:

The job of HMRC is to collect taxes. Full stop. It doesn't exist to further the cause of social engineering and 'diversity'.

Actually, the job of HMRC isn't just to collect taxes.

But quite how telling people about inheritance tax thresholds amounts to 'social engineering' isn't clear. Presumably he doesn't think it's 'social engineering' when the same information is giving to people in heterosexual relationships.

Last week, there was an actual new news story about the treatment of minority groups by some staff at HMRC:

Seven Revenue and Customs staff have been sacked for deliberately under-paying benefits to ethnic minorities.

It follows an internal investigation into nine men based at the HM Revenue and Customs call centre in Belfast.

Two resigned after it began and seven were dismissed on Tuesday.

They are believed to have tampered with computer records to ensure ethnic minorities living across the UK did not receive the benefits they were entitled to. All have now been fully reimbursed.

He would have seen this story in the Mail, where 'ethnic minorities' became the rather more inflammatory 'non-nationals' (the Mail's article was churned from PA). But he wouldn't want to talk about that, would he?

He goes on:

Of course, all taxpayers should be treated courteously and efficiently, regardless of their race, gender, religion or sexual proclivity. But that's no excuse for this kind of expensive, time-wasting gesture politics...

So it's gone from 'right and proper' to 'expensive, time-wasting gesture politics' within a few paragraphs. And he's not done yet:

Try to imagine all the time and money wasted - not just in Whitehall but throughout local government, the police and the NHS - on this type of fatuous nonsense...

HMRC had no need to produce this glossy brochure simply to address the sensibilities of transssexuals.

As he well knows, this wasn't 'simply' produced for transsexuals, but by targeting them it makes easier for Littlejohn to rile up his readers.

But his reason for making that last statement was just so he could show what a 'wit' he is with this nasty little gibe:

HMRC had no need to produce this glossy brochure simply to address the sensibilities of transssexuals. All it had to do was ensure that all letters sent out by inspectors continue to be addressed: 'Dear Sir/Madam...'

And it's not just transsexuals he's desperately trying to belittle:

There is also a picture of someone who may or may not be a transsexual. Difficult to tell. Could be bisexual, I suppose. Who knows? It's just been revealed that the actress Vivien Leigh was bisexual, though you wouldn't have been able to tell just from looking at her.

It's also been claimed that Richard Littlejohn is a 'journalist', though you wouldn't be able to tell just from reading the drivel he writes.

You wouldn't know she was bisexual just from looking at her. What an enlightening remark that is.

When he wrote about Chris Huhne's affair with Carina Trimingham in June, he said:

I recognised her from the days we both used to work for Sky News.

Funny, I thought to myself, I always had her marked down as a lesbian....

If you asked a cartoonist to draw a comedy lesbian from central casting, Carina Trimingham is what you'd get - all spiky haircut and Doc Martens.

And he's got another group he wants to use his national newspaper column to pick on too:

Intersex? Nope. Me neither.

Littlejohn clearly thinks this is funny. As he did when he said much the same thing in 2009:

...intersexuals (whatever the hell they are)...

And in July 2010:

...intersexuals - whatever they are...

We know Littlejohn rarely does research, but it's extremely doubtful he doesn't know what an intersexual is.

But, as Angry Mob has written, it's his need to dehumanise people that makes it easier for him to insult them.

Deriding people who aren't like him is Littlejohn's default position. On Tuesday, it was the LGBT community that bore the brunt of his snide remarks, on the basis of a fourteen-month old leaflet he thought was 'right and proper'. Who will it be next time?

(Hat-tip to 5CC)

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Sun falls for April Fool, and other mistakes

April did not begin well for the Sun.

On 2 April, it ran an 'exclusive' story under the headline Cambridge to strip BNP boss of degree. It said:

BNP leader Nick Griffin is set to be stripped of his degree by Cambridge.

It would be the first time EVER an ex-student's qualification has been revoked.

Bigot Griffin, 51, graduated from the university's Downing College in 1980 with a 2:2 honours in law. But chiefs want to cut all ties with the extremist.

The BNP rushed out an angry press release blaming not Cambridge University but (surprise) them Muslims:

Bosses at Cambridge University are trying to take away the 2:2 honours degree in law gained there by the British National Party’s Chairman Nick Griffin because they believe it might be losing them fees from foreign Muslim students who could be put off coming to the university.

But, as Matthew Weaver revealed in the Guardian, the story was an April Fool put out by Cambridge student paper The Tab.

Both the Sun and the BNP removed the story from their websites once they realised it was a joke.

But it raises two points. Firstly, the lack of fact-checking from journalists who re-heat stories (which they label 'exclusive'...) without bothering to find out if it's true or not, and secondly, the ease with which the BNP will blame anything - even things that aren't happening - on Muslims.

Also on 2 April, the Press Complaints Commission upheld (in part) a complaint against the newspaper:

A married couple complained to the Press Complaints Commission through the charity Mermaids that two articles headlined "Boy, 12, turns into girl" and "Now boy, 9, is girl", published in The Sun on 18 September 2009 and 19 September 2009 respectively, contained inaccuracies in breach of Clause 1 (Accuracy) and intruded into their daughter's private life in breach of Clause 3 (Privacy) of the Editors' Code of Practice.

The complaint was upheld.

Separate complaints under Clauses 3 (Privacy), 4 (Harassment), 6 (Children) and 12 (Discrimination) were not upheld.

In explaining its decision, the PCC said:

The Commission agreed that the cumulative effect of the inaccuracies served to give a misleading impression of the girl's appearance and behaviour at the school. This was unacceptable and the newspaper should have taken greater care when publishing details of such a vulnerable child. This raised a breach of Clause 1 of the Code.

In addition, the newspaper had passed on the family's details to a third party - therefore identifying the child - at a time when it had been specifically informed that further contact from the media was unwelcome. Given that the newspaper had recognised the need to avoid naming the child publicly, the decision to identify her to a third party (who would not otherwise have known who she was) was clearly an error.

The paper had shown a failure to respect her private and family life in breach of Clause 3 of the Code.

The Sun has printed this part of the adjudication on its website but it hasn't had to apologise and, strangely, it hasn't removed the original article either, which also appears on Mail's website.

And although the original stories were published on the front page, the adjudication did not. So it buries that, doesn't apologise and doesn't remove the originals.

That's what an upheld complaint amounts to.

Two days later, the Sun was forced to print an article about Mohammed George's libel victory against the paper - which it had conveniently forgotten to mention. It blamed an:

unfortunate internal communications breakdown.

Yeh. Right.

Their lack of interest in correcting the record is reflected in their grudging language:

Former Eastenders star Mo George has been awarded £75,000 libel damages over a Sun article which a jury ruled wrongly branded him a woman beater.

The actor's lawyer, Ronald Thwaites, QC, told the High Court the article left Mr George depressed and unwilling to go out.

After the case, Mr George, 26, said: "I want to thank all my friends and family who have supported me through all of this."

Publishers News Group Newspapers had denied libel, claiming justification and maintained the article was true.

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Did the PCC just transform coverage of trans issues?

The first full adjudication of 2010 from the Press Complaints Commission was encouraging.

A complaint about a Sunday Life article headlined 'Tranny worked in rape centre' was upheld in what the PCC called:

a landmark ruling on the use of terminology in this area.

They ruled:

Taking into account the full context of the piece, the Commission considered that the use of the word ‘tranny' - which was a needless abbreviation, held by many to be offensive - was pejorative. The complaint was upheld on this point.

If the PCC regard 'tranny' as 'needless', 'offensive to many' and 'pejorative' - as they should - then context should not matter.

The PCC added that this was the first ruling under a change to the Code which occurred in 2005 after representations from community organisations:

Individuals who are undergoing or have undergone treatment for gender reassignment will be included in the categories offered protection from prejudicial or pejorative references.

All of which should mean that the word 'tranny' is effectively banned, along with other offensive slang terms on race and homosexuality.

But if this change has been in effect for over four years, how has the Sun published stories such as:
And those are just ones where 'tranny' is used in the headline in the last year.

In all, there appear to be over 50 results found for 'tranny' on the Sun website, although a couple of these are about transisitor radios.

Press for Change, a lobbying and educational organisation for 'equal civil rights and liberties for all transgendered people in the United Kingdom' produced Transsexual People and the Press in 2004, which said:

Expressions such as 'gender-bender', 'sex change', 'tranny' or 'she-male' are considered inappropriate ways to describe persons experiencing a medically recognised condition.

And, unsurprisingly, there are several references to 'gender-benders' in the Sun archives too (for example, here, here and here).

The Sun isn't the only one - the Star also uses 'tranny' needlessly, and the Mail seems to have a policy that has renamed Trinny and Susannah 'Trinny and Tranny'.

But if the PCC thinks the word 'tranny' is pejorative and offensive, why has it taken four-and-a-half years for them to issue a ruling against the use of the word? Why has it ignored the repeated use of it by the Sun, and others, for so long?

And can we expect the PCC to challenge any future use of the term?

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Littlejohn ignores critical reader emails

If it's Tuesday it must be Littlejohn.

After last Friday's column, where he claimed to only report facts, a reader emailed Littlejohn asking where he got his 'fact' about most robberies being done by Eastern Europeans from. He didn't get a reply.

How strange then, that today's column is full of emails from readers who have all supported the points Littlejohn made last week, including on airport security, and on (yet again) the National Trans Police Association.

The latter are mesages from serving or retired policemen who also say how ridiculous these groups are. I wonder if Littlejohn, who made a documentary about anti-Semitism, would think the Jewish Police Association is a problem?

The sub-head on that bit of the article is 'Real cops neutered by trangender lobby', which is another unpleasant bit of prejudice. For one, why are trans cops not 'real' cops? It also completely fails to make clear why the existence of this group stops cops doing their jobs. And the use of the word 'neuter' is just juvenile.

His elf 'n'safety story of the day is about a Richmond housing association banning 'hanging baskets and window boxes'. One of the comments left was by Elizabeth in Richmond:

As a local resident, I could not remember seeing the hanging baskets story so I looked it up on the website of our local paper, from which I noted that it was published 18 months ago. If that's the most up to date health and safety story around, it looks like we haven't got much to worry about.

Really? Yes, the story is indeed from February 2008. It shows one tenant was using a communal area to put plants and other personal items and was told to remove them. Big deal. Elizabeth looks to have it spot on (and is rated negative for her efforts). It's not the first time his 'elf'n'safety' story is rather old either.

As for the rest, there are, of course, several references to homosexuality - a Littlejohn column wouldn't be complete without one. Several are in his main essay on Peter Mandelson, an essay about how the media are obsessed with covering everything said and done by, ummm, Peter Mandelson. Didn't he do the same with Michael Jackson? Not that you'd get the Mail putting non-news stories about Mandelson on its front page.


Anyway, Mandelson is repeatedly called 'Screaming Lord Mandy'. Would a straight man ever be referred to as 'Screaming'? He adds in such tell tale words as 'flaunts' and refers to a 'fairy story'.

And then we have his 'fact' of the day, from the Mandelson article. Here's the quote:

He cosies up to Colonel Gaddafi's son in Corfu and the next thing you know the Lockerbie bomber is about to walk free.

Which may be true, but are the two events related? In case news hasn't reached Florida yet, the decision about the Lockerbie bombers release is made soley by the Justice Secretary of the Socttish Parliament, Kenny MacAskill. Moreover, the Scottish government is currently run the the Scottish National Party, not Labour. Does Littlejohn really think Mandelson is influencing them?

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Express front page inspired by Littlejohn

The Express has plumbed many depths since Richard Desmond has been in charge, but today's front page must rank among its lowest points. Because, believe it or not, it has been inspired by yesterday's Richard Littlejohn column.


Sex swap police scandal is a story about the National Trans Police Association and it begins:

Police chiefs were last night accused of a scandalous misuse of taxpayers’ money after helping to set up a special support group for sex-change staff.

Except, the story doesn't produce any evidence that the NTPA has received a penny of 'taxpayers' money'. Indeed, the second paragraph proves as much:

The National Trans Police Association is in line to pocket thousands of pounds of public money after winning the backing of senior officers.

'In line to'? So it hasn't yet, and may not? Deep in the story, it reveals:

The Home Office said: “We have not provided any funding for the National Trans Police Association.”

And although there is no direct quote, the Express states:

NTPA’s communications co-ordinator Martha Hand ...said the organisation would be applying for public funds to promote its work.

Given that the group has 50 members, it's unlikely to be coining it in, even if any funding application is successful.

But a story about the possible use of public funds...your starter for ten is: who do you think is called on for an 'outrage' quote?

TaxPayers Alliance, you say?

'This is totally absurd and a scandalous waste of money'.

You could almost think the TPA think it's inappropriate? Who else? Yes, it's Tory MP Philip Davies:

'I don’t care if a police officer is gay, straight, trans-gender or whatever, I just want them to catch criminals'.

But Davies doesn't explain how this support organisation - along with the many, many others that are within the police - stops them 'catching criminals'.

Then up pops the Campaign Against Political Correctness, a group with a horribly amateurish website, to add:

'We don’t need organisations like this. It’s just madness'.

It's an interesting use of the word 'we'. Obviously the 50 members of the National Trans Police Association feel they do need it. Compare that with the, umm, 11 people who follow the Campaign Against Political Correctness on Twitter. So who is this 'we' they claim to speak for?

They say on their website that among the problems with political correctness is that tries to:

bully people into conforming with a certain point of view...It undermines personal responsibility and freedom.

But isn't the CAPC bullying people to conform to its point of view, and undermining personal freedom, by saying this group should not exist?

The Express reiterates the idea that the establishment of this group somehow stops them:

concentrating on fighting crime.

But as Jonathan pointed out yesterday, why is there no such article or outrage about the Christian Police Association? Or the Jewish Police Association?

And can anyone explain how the existence of any of these associations stops officers fighting crime?

The Express has now added some poisonous anti-trans sentiment to that spread by Littlejohn yesterday by putting on its front page a total non-story designed to do nothing but stir up animosity towards this minority group.

Friday, 14 August 2009

Littlejohn discusses immigration, Muslims, gays and Gypsies for a change

Jonathan at No Sleep Til Brooklands has done a great job at picking apart Littlejohn's latest useless, dispiriting column.

Today, he's written about the National Trans Police Association (which includes his obligatory reference to homosexuality) and complained about how divisive they, and their Black, Pagan and Gay Police Association colleagues are, without, Jonathan points out, mentioning the Christian Police Association. Funny that.

He's also written about Travellers (twice in four days!) and claims he doesn't 'do' 'gippophobia', a term which surely is as - ahem - 'gippophobic' as the term 'pikey' he used on Tuesday.

He goes on to have a go at Muslims, immigration control and foreign criminials.

Stop me if you've heard it before.

But he includes three particularly startling statements:

1. 'I merely report the facts'.

Hmmm. The 'facts' as they have been reported in the Mail and fit your agenda, you mean? Remember this 'fact' from Tuesday:

£4.7million of Lottery money has been spent helping travellers to subvert the planning laws.

Wasn't a 'fact' then, isn't a fact now.

Or how about the 'fact' he said Judge Trigger was telling the 'truth'. Not to mention all those 'facts' about Gypsies and the NHS. And others, if I could be bothered to find them.

2. 'I only ever criticise people for what they DO, not what they are'.

No comment really, except he seems to think that what people are is a general indicator of what they do (Muslims = terrorists, gays = perverts and brainwashers of children, asylum seekers = scroungers).

3. 'Most of the robberies in this country have been carried out by Eastern European gangs'.

What, ever? Is this one of those 'facts' he only ever reports. We all know how unreliable these 'foreigners are responsible for this amount of crime' claims are. So where does this little gem come from?

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Latest 'news' from the Mail

The Mail website is running a 'story' about the 'first' pictures of Chaz Bono. Chaz used to be Chastity, daughter of Cher, but has had gender realignment surgery.

The Mail prefers to use the term 'sex change' in its headline, although this is regarded as an inappropriate phrase by some trans campaigners such as Press for Change (although not as bad as Sun favourite 'tranny')

What's baffling about the story, given that is all about Chaz being a man, is this line:
Chaz, who now refers to himself as a 'he', was spotted enjoying a massage in West Hollywood yesterday.
And later: Referring to his client as 'he', publicist Howard Bragman said last week...

Well he is a man. Why wouldn't he now refer to himself as he? Although he probably refers to himself as he, not 'he'.