Category Archives: Media

Our response to Panorama: The VIP Paedophile Ring: What’s The Truth?

Four years ago, the BBC buried its own Newsnight investigation into Sir Jimmy Savile. In the time since, it has pushed the BBC whistleblowers who helped to expose Savile out of its ranks, while at the same time apparently concealing the alleged deep-rooted cover-up that took place within the corporation regarding Britain’s most notorious sex offender. You’d think the Beeb would be wary, then, of drifting once again into the murky waters of child abuse and alleged institutional whitewashing. But on Tuesday night, by choosing to air a new episode of Panorama, the BBC not only waded back into those waters, it made active steps towards hampering a very serious, wide-ranging police inquiry.

Panorama’s The VIP Paedophile Ring: What’s The Truth?, presented by Daniel Foggo, did not get to the bottom of its own question. The irony in that subheading – What’s the Truth? – is that this was a show that deliberately omitted numerous key details. Ignoring the various accounts of ex-police officers and other credible witnesses, the show focused solely on the shakier aspects of the nationwide investigation into VIP child abuse, electing to paint the case against as much stronger than the one for. Foggo called Leon Brittan a “poor man”, while the programme itself depicted victims as liars, and hinted that new Labour deputy Tom Watson was no more than an opportunist using the scandal for political gains. There was an attempt to discredit Exaro, the investigative news organisation that has brought the VIP paedophile scandal to public – and police – attention. This was, to anyone in the know, obviously nothing more than a hatchet job.

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Labour has the ammunition to win in 2020 – will it use it this time?

Which news item did you hear about this week – the fact that the NHS has been brought to its knees so severely that a third of UK GPs expect to quit in the next five years, or the fact that Jeremy Corbyn had help writing his Labour conference speech? The fact that the World Economic Forum has placed our ‘big picture’ economy 108th in the world table, below Haiti and Zimbabwe, or the proposal that Corbyn is a threat to what is claimed to be the fastest growing economy in the developed world? The fact that David Cameron’s government has been doing deals with human rights violator Saudi Arabia in secret, or that Corbyn borrowed a tie for Monday’s conference? Most likely, you heard the second story over the first in each case.

It’s obviously no accident: as we’ve highlighted before, the UK press predominantly supports the Conservatives, meaning news that reflects badly on David Cameron’s party isn’t as widely reported as that which affects Jeremy Corbyn’s. Increasingly, people are turning away from the mainstream media to alternative sources for their news, but not quite enough for the public opinion-at-large to change. The Tories wouldn’t have returned to power in 2015 otherwise, and the Labour party wouldn’t now be going through a crisis in search of lost votes. Unfortunately for fans of impartial news coverage, the right-wing control the conversation in this country. On Monday, Jeremy Corbyn made reference to that in his conference speech. Simply pointing out the bias against himself and his party, though, isn’t enough.

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Why do people like Jeremy Corbyn? Because he’s telling a damned good story

Well, what a week it’s been. Britain’s shiny new bus pass-wielding Karl Marx has already stolen food from war veterans, spat in the face of the Queen (aka Victoria WHO?), destroyed the sanctity of PMQs by daring to ask questions and offended every woman in the universe by giving only 16 of them well-paid, respectable positions in his cabinet. And yet, somehow people aren’t baying for his head on a pike – why? Because anyone who doesn’t get that a sizeable part of Jeremy Corbyn’s appeal is his uniquely mild version of not giving a shit what you think, isn’t fully tuned in to the fact that the new Labour leader is telling the best damned story British politics has seen for decades.

Whether we like it or not, politics today (particularly large scale elections) is far less about board rooms or seminar rooms, and far more about living rooms. Without an engaged populace at the base of a campaign to fervently scream and flag wave for your corner, without people who truly believe in what you’re selling, you’re not a politician. You may be an intellectual, but not a politician.

How then do you engage people in a topic as frequently dry and tedious as political debate? The answer (unfortunately), for the most part, is you don’t. For we, the proud proletariat, are far more likely to engage our minds using straightforward narrative rather than prolonged discussion. Most of us prefer a sitcom to PM’s questions, a soap opera over a live party election hustings. That’s because these stories offer us a satisfyingly easy choice: one side is good, one side is bad. It’s clear, it’s simple, it’s easy to know who to root for. It’s not, say, Ed Miliband’s confusing stance on immigration.

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What a difference a month makes

First they ignore you,
then they laugh at you,
then they fight you,
then you win.

– Mahatma Ghandi

On the 15th July, the Telegraph comment desk published an article encouraging its readers to register as Labour supporters and vote for Jeremy Corbyn in the Labour leadership election. The idea was that a Corbyn win would surely spell disaster for the Labour party, as the Overton window has shifted too far to the right to accommodate Corbyn’s socialist policies.

Well, what a difference a month makes: far from appearing confident that Corbyn would “destroy the Labour Party”, The Telegraph now appears to be encouraging tactical voting to knock Corbyn out of the Labour leadership battle. Ben Riley-Smith, Telegraph political correspondent, writes how the other candidates are calling for second and third preferences to be shared between them in an effort to out-maneuver Corbyn, while another Telegraph article reports on Tory calculations that Corbyn’s policies would cost British households £2,400 a year (which apparently is worse than the £24,000 per household the Tories have already given to the banks.)

Perhaps it is the recent polls which show cross-party support for Corbyn that have the Establishment trembling, and that the usual tactics of character assassination and mockery seem so petty they only serve make him stronger. Corbyn represents a movement the Establishment were perhaps blind to see coming, and one that they aren’t quite sure how to handle.

Update: The Torygraph has since published an editorial calling for Jeremy Corbyn to be stopped, with brilliant one liners like “He would end austerity in the public finances, which would put Britain well outside the mainstream of economic thinking.” We aren’t sure which mainstream the Telegraph is looking at, but it sure isn’t the one where two thirds of economists said austerity harmed the economy.

 

Featured image: Bob Peters (via Flickr)

Seeing the plight of Britain in Carol Ann Duffy’s Everyman

He spends the majority of the play with one shoe on and one shoe off. He is Everyman, eponymous character of the classic English morality play, updated by the Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy, whose production is currently on show at the National Theatre. The main theme of the late 15th century text has always been overtly religious, a play about salvation in the eyes of God – literally in his eyes, in front of him, as Everyman tries to save himself and prove that his life merits an extension as God’s minion, Death, stalks behind. Along the way, various virtues (Kindred, Fellowship) appear, none of which can save the doomed Everyman from paying the ultimate price for a life of turpitude. Consider this angle the bare foot (well, Everyman wears a sock, but that’s no matter); the foot that Everyman will crush glass with as a demonstration of his worth; the foot that will forever be rooted in the play’s piety.

But it’s the other foot that interests me more, the one clad for the majority of the show in a fancy designer shoe. This is the foot, the aspect of this new adaptation, if you will, which has seen me seek out Shamocracy again, this time to ask them to put straight politics aside for an article and allow me to try and shine a light on one of the great art works of the 21st century, one which speaks to the site’s core principals by way of scathing attacks on late-capitalism, vanity, greed, materialism and the narcissistic nature of The Self.

The story of the play has remained the same since its inception: Everyman, in his final hours on Earth, must give God an account of what his life amounted to. This modern-day Everyman just happens to be a wealthy banker, though, a self-righteous prick, prat and cunt; a man who welcomes in his 40th birthday with a table-line (of Last Supper length) of coke while his eclectic friends cheer him on. He is a bastion of rich excess: a high-flying, city-slicking playboy; a London elite; a man interested in only his own pleasure, in only pleasuring himself, in only the own pleasure of The Self.

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Defenders of Ted Heath beware: you and I know nothing

Just over six months ago, I began researching an almost unbelievable-sounding story. I hadn’t heard anything about it prior to a January episode of The Trews, entitled ‘Is The Establishment Riddled With Paedophiles?’; but after reading the title alone, the curious journalist in me naturally wanted to dig. Still, I assumed reading up on this so-called Westminster child abuse scandal, or ‘VIP abuse scandal’ as it’s also known, wouldn’t lead to much. Surely the idea that powerful figures – a network of high-ranking politicians, civil servants and prominent celebrities – had been committing child abuse on an industrial scale and going unpunished for it over decades was just some Icke-ian conspiracy theory.

At the end of a long weekend of research, I emerged numbed with an article dense with allegations of rape, torture and murder of children by British establishment figures, the facts all drawn from reputable sources. This wasn’t investigative journalism – I simply trawled the internet and found articles from the Guardian, Independent, Daily Mail, Sky News, the Mirror, Telegraph, all detailing chilling tales from alleged victims and witnesses, from ex-police and crusading MPs. It was information that had been largely kept quiet, and that for the most part hadn’t been pushed as a big story.

Now it’s six months later, and it appears the mainstream media and public-at-large are finally taking notice of whatever you want to call this horrible affair. And the name that’s changed it all is undoubtedly Sir Edward Heath’s. During my research, I found Heath’s name kept coming up, even if none of the accusations could be verified. So, was I surprised when it was announced this week that Heath was included in the ongoing police investigation into child sex abuse, an investigation which includes 76 politicians both living and dead? No.

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The Westminster child sex abuse scandal: How deep does the rot go?

In the True Detective season one finale, an ex-cop confesses something to his former partner: “I was aware I might have lost my mind.” After poring over years of evidence, he’s discovered – to his own disbelief – that there may be a child sex ring at the heart of the Louisiana establishment; to those reading up on the Westminster paedophile scandal, that feeling of uncertainty when faced with the enormity of the crime probably rings true. Take a step back, and it still reads like fiction. What some tin hat conspiracy theorists have been saying for years – that amongst those holding power is a dangerous cabal of child rapists and killers – is now being reported by the mainstream media as news.

Or, it is at least more so than the last time we wrote about the Westminster child abuse scandal here at Shamocracy. In the two months since, there’s been a flood of new information regarding what Exaro News has called the “biggest political scandal in Britain’s post-war history”. Readers, viewers, listeners are beginning to take notice. Whilst a shrinking band of media deniers persists with dismissing allegations of a Westminster paedophile ring as false, the number of accusations continues to grow.

Quietly, mind. Because while the Westminster child abuse scandal has made the headlines in media reports abroad, news of allegations that an organised group of VIPs – including British politicians, diplomats, musicians and TV personalities – raped and murdered vulnerable children throughout the 1970s, 80s and 90s has yet to truly reach the UK public at large. (Compare it to the media coverage of, say, Jeremy Clarkson being fired from Top Gear.) Much of the press relegates the story to the sidelines, while some, including the BBC, still refer vaguely to a “VIP abuse scandal” and focus on the failures of the police rather than the abusers themselves. Though it seems like Scotland Yard and MI5 did indeed for decades cover up this systemic abuse, what’s still less reported is who was giving the orders.

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Jeremy Clarkson: don’t be fooled

Skewed is the nation’s awareness when we believe an Old Reptonian millionaire to be the Ordinary Man’s representative against the Elite. But that’s the way it goes, and in the last few days I’ve read more tweets, heard more dialogue, and seen more pictures of Jeremy Clarkson’s piss-nettle face than I ever did for anything relating to Ebola, ISIS, Boko Haram or the NHS. If it seems hypocritical that I’m now adding to that dialogue by writing this, then rest assured that I am indeed a hypocrite. Also rest assured that I’m exasperated, to the point where I’m now typing furiously about a man I previously never had an opinion of. (Clarkson was always just there, on BBC2 or in The Sun causing the type of ‘havoc’ that only a middle-class, jean-clad, dad-rocker can: mild.)

Yes I winced at his racist comments – and winced even more at the apology – and yes I chuckled when I was 17 and he blew up a caravan on Top Gear or something, but each wince and chuckle was an infinitesimal part of my day, a sub-second of emotion followed by the rest of my life. I thought that’s how most people saw Clarkson; as an uncle at the wedding you loved to disapprove of; a family fixture you saw once a week but didn’t think much about otherwise. Turns out I was wrong. Boy, was I wrong.

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New media reports on climate change and abuses of power hint at something in the air

This was a positive weekend not just for us, but for everyone. Climate change and unchecked abuses of power are probably two of the biggest threats to the people of this world right now, whether they realise it or not, and the lack of reporting on both in the media has been an enduring issue for us at Shamocracy. It certainly never helps if the press, that bridge between the general public and awareness of current events, restricts what information crosses over. Happily, two items that we’ve made into priorities have started making the headlines.

There was increasing coverage of the Westminster abuse scandal over the weekend, with even Conservative outlets Sky News and the Mail on Sunday opting to end the silence and take the systemic rape and murder of children by members of Parliament to the front page. Additionally, a feature focusing on the threat of climate change appeared on the Guardian’s front page on Friday, and with it came the promise from outgoing editor-in-chief Alan Rusbridger that “it will be there again next week and the week after”. That the media has shown some uncharacteristic responsibility by making big deals out of these stories provides hope: maybe we’re in the midst of a shift.

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The Westminster sex abuse scandal we should all be talking about, but aren’t

In December of last year, Scotland Yard was handed a dossier by MPs containing the names of 22 high profile figures, including three current MPs and three members of the House of Lords, who it alleged were involved in a Westminster paedophile ring that operated in locations throughout the country in the 1970s and 80s. Labour MP John Mann, who spent months going through public reports about historic sex abuse cases, has said he expects the number of victims to come forward to total “many tens of thousands of people across the country”. The National Association for People Abused in Childhood, meanwhile, says politicians have been named by victims “again and again” on calls to a sex abuse helpline.

Police have also called a witness’s claims that the so-called ‘VIP sex abuse ring’ murdered three boys in front of him in the early 80s “credible and true”. ‘Nick’ told Exaro News how “he saw a former Conservative MP – before he left Parliament – strangle a boy to death during a sexual assault”, while a second child was killed “during a savage physical attack in front of a separate MP, a former Conservative cabinet minister”. A third boy was deliberately run over and killed in broad daylight as a “warning” to Nick, he says.

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