Tag Archives: believe

The double-standards behind the way we investigate allegations of sex abuse

David Eatock is the latest footballer to come forward with allegations about his coach [Image: David Eatock].

David Eatock is the latest footballer to come forward with allegations about his coach [Image: David Eatock].

The media feeding-frenzy over allegations of sex abuse against footballers by their coaches just shows the hypocrisy of investigators, according to Mrs Mike.

She says what happened doesn’t matter anything like as much as who is making the complaint – and This Writer can see her point.

High-profile people like professional footballers benefit from the trust of the media – and, presumably, investigators.

But if the allegation is made by an ordinary member of the public – against a public figure – then the story is different.

The recent collapse of the Operation Midland inquiry due to questions over the credibility of its key witness has led to claims that victims should no longer be automatically believed.

That may seem like common sense to you – anybody’s allegations should be tested, right?

But it also means that it will be easier for those with something to hide to attack the credibility of people who are naturally likely to be highly nervous of authority figures and under extreme stress, simply from coming forward.

And of course, if you are making a historic child sex abuse claim against another member of the public, your chances of being believed have always been low – especially if the allegation is against somebody who has a good relationship with the police.

Mrs Mike has personal experience of that, which means that This Writer has first-hand experience of it as well.

For that matter, how many allegations of sexual abuse and/or rape carried out against adult women actually end in a successful prosecution? I’ll tell you: one-fifteenth – and that’s one-fifteenth of the three-seventeenths of rapes that are actually reported (according to figures that are – I’m sorry to say – several years old).

Don’t mistake me – any investigation that puts a paedophile in jail is welcome.

It’s just a shame our society refuses to apply the same standards to everybody.

A former Newcastle United footballer has become the latest to say he was abused by coach George Ormond.

David Eatock told the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show he had been groomed by Ormond, later to be jailed for six years, between the ages of 18 and 21.

Mr Eatock, now 40, was not part of the court case that saw Ormond convicted in 2002 for assaulting seven boys, but has now filed a complaint to the police.

He said he had left the club “a shell” of his former self.

It comes as the NSPCC said its hotline – set up to offer support to victims of child sex abuse within football – had received 860 calls in its first week.

Within the first three days of it launching, the organisation made more than 60 referrals to a range of agencies across the UK.

Source: Football child sex abuse: Ex-Newcastle player David Eatock latest to speak out – BBC News

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Now the SNP is even lying to itself

This is a real press release from the Scottish National Party:

“The SNP has today challenged Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy on whether he agrees with Labour Lord Lewis Moonie, who has said that he would prefer a coalition with the Tories to a deal with the SNP.

“Baron Moonie, a Labour MP between 1987 and 2005, and a former Defence Minister, tweeted that a coalition with the Tories ‘would be better than one with the SNP’.

“This follows Robert James McNeill, who at the time of posting was a member of Labour’s Scottish Policy Forum and Vice-Chair of East Lothian Constituency Labour Party, promoting on Twitter that Labour voters in 16 Scottish constituencies should vote for the Tories or Lib Dems.

Commenting, SNP MP Pete Wishart said: ‘This pro-Tory attitude seems to be pervasive throughout the Labour Party in Scotland – having been hand in glove with the Tories for two-and-a-half years in No campaign.'”

What a lot of (to use the SNP-adherent’s favourite word) pish!

McNeill was clearly a loose cannon making unwise use of his personal Twitter account. There is no indication anywhere in what he said that he was acting on behalf of Labour and Labour has certainly not endorsed what he said.

As for Lord Moonie, well, the first thing this writer thought on seeing the claim, was “He might just as easily have said, ‘The moon is more likely to crash into Venus than Labour have a coalition with the SNP!'” He was clearly discussing the impossibility of such a decision, in his opinion.

How does Lord Moonie describe the circumstances behind his comment and what happened afterwards? Here he is:

150224MoonieTweet

The SNP looks very silly now, for suggesting that this should be taken seriously.

Of course, that party and its supporters will never accept that they were wrong – they have a narrative to uphold – that Labour and the Conservatives are all cosy since they were flung into each other’s arms during the ‘Better Together’ campaign.

“Both at Westminster and in Scotland, senior Labour figures are cuddling up to the Tories and suggesting working with them,” states Mr Wishart, without a trace of irony, further down the SNP press release.

It’s hogwash, of course. Everybody knows it is – apart, it seems, from the SNP.

Jim Murphy doesn’t have much opportunity for mirth these days – as leader of Scottish Labour he has to fight an uphill struggle to convince Scottish voters that the SNP isn’t the panacea it claims to be.

That job will be much easier if the SNP finds more ways – like this – to turn itself into a laughing stock.

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Iain Duncan Smith – the Musical!

When he realises we’ve started making satirical music videos about him, Iain Duncan Smith will probably think he’s hit the big time.

Sad, deluded little man.

This is a project that has been developing for a while, after RTU himself went around the media, denying all the factual evidence that said his benefit cap had not put 12,000 people into work, as he was then claiming.

(A previous claim that 8,000 had gone into employment to avoid the effect of the benefit cap had been disproved by polling organisation Ipsos Mori, who surveyed 500 of those 8,000 people and found that only 45 had started work because of the cap. That’s nine per cent of the total claimed by the Secretary-in-a-State).

On this particular media junket, he refused to countenance the factual evidence that was put in front of him, saying he “believed” the anecdotal evidence provided to him by a few members of staff at Job Centre Plus.

That is now worthy of comment in itself, as he has been quick to dismiss the findings of the United Nations special rapporteur on adequate housing, Raquel Rolnik, as “anecdotal” – and she has spoken to far more people than he did!

Inevitably, Vox Political published an article on the subject and – because the SoS had made it a matter of belief, prefaced the story with a few verses that could be sung to the old Not The Nine o’clock News/Rowan Atkinson song ‘I Believe‘.

That would have been the end of it – but then it became clear that Mr … Smith was delaying a meeting with the Commons Work and Pensions committee, convened to make him account for his manipulation of the statistics.

It seems clear that he has been waiting for the fuss to die down.

Dear reader, you can probably work out the rest for yourself. The lyrics and music were available and, with the addition of a few more words, Vox Political went into the recording studio.

The audio track that resulted is rudimentary but does the job. Yes, that is Vox founder Mike Sivier’s voice, for which he apologises. He played all the instruments as well, so he supposes he should be doubly apologetic.

The video was put together with photographs trawled from the Internet, interspersed with specially-written captions, and is intended only to give YouTube viewers something visual to enjoy while they’re listening to the song. All the images are copyright their respective creators and were freely stolen for humorous use – for which, again, we apologise.

We think the result is a lot of fun – amateurish, haphazard and slapdash though it is.

It gets the point across.

Please feel free to copy the code and embed the YouTube video anywhere you see fit. This was made to be seen, to be enjoyed, and to get across a message about Iain Duncan Smith and his beliefs.

We hope you all enjoy it!

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If we’re talking about evil, did someone mention Iain Duncan Smith?

Double standard man: Iain Duncan Smith reckons its all right for him to fake claims about the efficacy of his policies, in the belief that nobody can disprove them. What would he do if his opponents made extravagant claims about their HARMFUL effects, and used the same argument on him?

Double standard man: Iain Duncan Smith reckons its all right for him to make extravagant claims about the efficacy of his policies, in the belief that nobody can disprove them. What would he do if his opponents made extravagant claims about their HARMFUL effects, and used the same argument on him?

I did – several times in the previous article.

We can’t seem to get away from LieDS, if we’re discussing falsehood, perversion of the facts, pretending to do one thing and then doing another. He is an archetypal Tory, it seems.

Yesterday he was the subject of an article on the esteemed Another Angry Voice blog, which is heartily recommended.

This was an entry in the Angry Yorkshireman’s series – number 16, no less – on ‘Feeble Right-Wing Fallacies’. The phenomenon it describes is described as the “no, you disprove it fallacy” or the “libelling the evidence fallacy”.

This is a tactic most recently used by Mr Dishonest Smith on Radio 4’s Today Programme, when he defended his misuse of statistics in support of the benefit cap (the claim that 8,000 people had quit benefits because they had been told about the cap) by saying “you can’t disprove what I said either” (this has since been proved inaccurate – 500 of the 8,000 were tracked down by Ipsos MORI and asked why they got off benefits; only 45 said it had anything to do with the benefit cap). He went on to make his “I believe” speech that Vox Political ridiculed (rather well) last week.

The article states: “His position is that there is no onus upon him to provide any kind of empirical evidence to back his assertions, that a proclamation of belief is all that he needs in order to say something, and that the burden of proof actually falls on anyone that wants to criticise his unsubstantiated claims.

“If we boil it down to even simpler terms, this is the Iain Duncan Smith stance:

  • I can say whatever I like without providing any evidence, as long as I say that I have faith that it is true.
  • If you want to criticise what I said, then you must provide evidence that it is false.

“The hypocrisy in this stance is appalling. Iain believes that he can just make up evidence as he sees fit, but he is immune from criticism for having made up evidence, as long as he claims that he believes it to be true and unless his critic does what he doesn’t feel the need to do and (actually develop some coherent evidence in order to) prove the opposite.”

The article goes on to draw the obvious comparison with libel cases. In court cases concerning libel, it doesn’t matter whether the allegation is true or not – the onus is on the defendent to prove there was sufficient evidence to support the claim. If there was not, then the defendant is guilty and must be punished. In commenting contrary to his own department’s official statistics, it could therefore be claimed that IDS committed libel.

There’s more about the Secretary-in-a-State’s beliefs, but it is to be found on Another Angry Voice, not here. We have other fish to fry.

There is a phrase: ‘Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander’. It means, ‘If something is wrong (or right) for people on one side of an argument, it’s wrong (or right) for both sides.

In other words, if Iain Duncan Smith thinks it’s okay to present unsupported comments as fact, in the way he did on the Today Programme, justifying it by repeatedly saying he believes he is right and challenging his detractors to disprove it (as we have), then what would he do…

What would he do if we all told him the available evidence suggests that he, his ministers and his department, having knowingly imposed a policy that has led to the deaths of many thousands of people who may otherwise have survived for an unknown period of time, have conspired to hide evidence that the same policy is responsible for many more such deaths, in ever-increasing number, in order to avoid any public outcry that might force the government to halt this policy, and therefore stop the deaths?

What would he do if we said we believe this to be right, and pointed out that we have already seen evidence that people have died after incorrect decisions were made about their health, and that we believe this indicates the continued refusal to provide any further evidence about the current death rate proves that it is much worse. What would he do if we said we believe this because he hasn’t disproved it?

I’m not saying it now.

I’m just wondering what he would do if I did.

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Iain Duncan Smith: Big on belief – lacking in truth

Strong beliefs: But is Iain Duncan Smith about to say a prayer - or is he eyeing up his next victim?

Strong beliefs: But is Iain Duncan Smith about to say a prayer, or eyeing up his next victim?

I believe that Chris Huhne really wasn’t a crook
I believe Britannia Unchained is a readable book
I’m prepared to believe that the government isn’t leaking
And that Boris Johnson sometimes thinks before speaking
Yes I believe J Hunt is clever
Norman Tebbit will live forever
And that GM foods will make us healthier
And there were WMDs out in the desert.

I believe that Cameron means what he says.
And that Michael Gove got good ‘O’ Level grades.
And I believe our courts are great;
That the NHS is safe:
And the economy’s professionally-run…
And that George Osborne knows how to do his sums.

And I believe that the Devil is ready to repent
But I don’t believe IDS should be in government.
(With apologies to Rowan Atkinson)

Early to bed and early to rise… means you have a chance to hear the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions put his foot down his own throat on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

Needless to say, I missed it. It’s a shame, because the letter of complaint I was to write to Andrew Dilnot of the UK Statistics Authority would have been slightly different if I had.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

In yesterday’s article, I mentioned the need to query a claim attributed by the BBC News website to the Department for Work and Pensions. True to my word, I wrote – and sent – the following:

A report on the BBC website has stated, ‘More than 12,000 people have moved into work after being told about the benefits cap, the government says.’

“It continues: ‘The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) said that 12,000 claimants have found jobs over the last year, after being contacted by job centres. The job centres warned them they might have their benefits capped if they did not find employment.’

“I am writing to ask you to investigate this claim, as I believe it may have its origins in a previous statement that you have already shown to be false – relating to a claim that 8,000 people had found jobs because of the benefit cap.”

I went on to quote Andrew Dilnot’s letter containing his verdict on the ‘8,000’ claim – that it was “unsupported by the official statistics” in two documents, one of which “explicitly” stated that the figures were “‘not intended to show the additional numbers entering work as a direct result of the contact’”, while the other noted “Once policy changes and methodological improvements have been accounted for, this figure has been no behavioural change.’”

I also drew attention to the comments made by John Shield, the DWP’s Director of Communications, at a meeting with the Commons Work and Pensions Committee last Wednesday (July 10) when he seemed to be saying that Mr… Smith ignored his officers’ advice and went ahead with a false statement.

I now dearly wish I had known about the part of the Today interview in which Mr… Smith discussed his own opinion of the affair.

The Huffington Post reported it as follows: “Challenged over the fact his statement was not supported by officials statistics published by his own department, Duncan Smith said: ‘Yes, but by the way, you can’t disprove what I said either.'” We’ll come back to that in a moment!

“‘I believe this to be right, I believe that we are already seeing people going back to work who were not going to go back to work,’ he said.

“‘I believe that this will show, as we move forward ,that people who were not seeking work are now seeking work.'”

“The work and pension’s secretary was mocked by Labour’s shadow minister for disabled people, Anne McGuire, who tweeted that ‘I believe’ was ‘a substitute for facts in IDS world’.”

Well, maybe his Roman Catholic upbringing makes him a creature of strong beliefs.

Unfortunately, his beliefs don’t hold a candle to the facts – and yes, we can disprove what he said!

The blog alittleecon takes up the story: “Ipsos Mori undertook telephone interviews with 500 of the 8,000 people who had found work since the announcement of the benefit cap to try to show that people had been motivated by the cap to find work.

“The problem is that they did not find that. Remember, IDS originally tried to claim that all 8,000 had moved into work because of the benefit cap. The survey found though that 15% of them hadn’t even heard of the benefit cap, and another 31% only knew a little about it. Only 57% remembered being informed that the cap would affect them, and of these, 71% were already looking for work.

“About half of those who remembered getting a letter about the cap took action afterwards. For 31%, this meant looking for work (although half of these were already looking). This means of the 500 surveyed, only around 45 people started looking for work because of the cap that weren’t doing so before. 45!!

“Looking at the results then, and if we assume the survey was representative of all 8,000 people, far from being able to say all 8,000 found work as a direct result of the cap, the best that can be said in reality is that about 720 people started looking for work and found it after hearing of the cap that weren’t looking before. Not a particularly impressive behavioural change.”

There can be no doubt about this. Ipsos Mori is a reputable polling agency and its figures are trustworthy.

It doesn’t matter what Iain Duncan Smith believes, his figures were wrong – plainly wrong.

He has no business peddling them around the TV and radio studios as though they’re set in stone.

He has no business mentioning them at all.

And, if he is determined to keep pushing his falsehoods on us, claiming they aren’t lies because he believes in them, then he has no business being a Cabinet Minister.