Rhondda AM benefits from ‘female privilege’ at South Wales Police

The Welsh Assembly member for Rhondda, Leanne Wood, has benefited from the proven benevolent sexism at South Wales Police, amounting to what an expert calls ‘female privilege.’

Plaid Cymru’s Leanne Wood became one of the many women in South Wales who benefit from police attention for Internet trolling just because they are women.

A freedom of information request by Crocels News has found up to 5 times as many men are arrested and charged for Internet trolling as women.

Leanne Wood’s victim, popular DJ Dave Begley, sent a spur of the moment tweet to Leanne Wood’s Twitter account, which she was not manning due to being on the television at the time. The tweet conveyed a non-credible threat that Begley wished Leanne Wood was “gang raped by immigrants,” when it was in the moment and not intended to be perceived as Mr Begley’s actual opinion.

Popular DJ Dave Begley becomes the latest victim of the female privilege at South Wales Police whre more men are being charged for Internet trolling than women.
VICTIM: Popular DJ Dave Begley becomes the latest victim of the female privilege at South Wales Police where more men are being charged for Internet trolling than women. Courtesy: Encore Communications Inc

Internet trolling and cyberstalking expert Councillor Jonathan Bishop, of Action on Digital Addiction and Cyberstalking, says he is not surprised by the situation. “My research has found that South Wales Police are up to five times more likely to take action where the person accused of trolling is a man and the accuser is woman,” he said. “This female privilege at the heart of South Wales Police is totally unacceptable as everyone should have equal access to justice regardless of their sex.
The legal case of Calver v The Adjudication Panel for Wales found that politicians are expected to have a thicker skin and the case of DPP v Chambers found that someone has to feel apprehension to be a victim of trolling.
Rape threats are common online and most are non-credible threats.
If the leader of Plaid Cymru feels apprehension from receiving a non-credible threat on Twitter, one should ask whether she is in the right job.

Councillor Bishop said that most trolling laws focus on the rights of the victim as opposed to the rights of the public in general, and he did not think police time should be focussed on public figures like Leanne Wood. “I might have had a different opinion on the prosecution of Mr Begley if the focus had not been on Leanne Wood’s feelings, but if he had been prosecuted under the Public Order Act for making threatening statements that could offend members of the public,” he said. “We should question why the police are spending time on rape threats rather than focusing on actual victims of rape of all sexes who all too often are blamed, disbelieved or otherwise fobbed off by the police for what is usually a planned attack against them.

District Judge Neil Thomas of Swansea Magistrates Court sentenced Dave Begley to 12 weeks in prison. Leanne Wood remains the Welsh Assembly Member for Rhondda.

Jonathan Bishop’s research paper on South Wales Police, “The Thin-Blue Web: Police Crime Records of Internet Trolling Show Chivalrous Attitudes That Can Be Resolved through Transfer of Powers,” was published in the Handbook of Research on Cultural and Economic Impacts of the Information Society by IGI Global in 2015. His research paper on rape threats, ‘Cyber-stalking or just plain talking?: Linguistic properties of rape-threat messages reflect underlying compulsive behaviours” was published in the book  Psychological and Social Issues Surrounding Internet and Gaming Addiction also by IGI Global in 2015.

Campaign against ‘biased’ BBC reporter “sexist”

Laura Kuenssberg has been accused of bias and overdramatising political news at the BBC.
BIASED OR DRAMATICAL? Laura Kuenssberg has been accused of bias and overdramatising political news at the BBC. Courtesy: Policy Exchange

A campaign calling for the sacking of BBC political editor, Laura Kuenssberg, for her “biased” reporting of Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party has been called “sexist.

Jane Merrick is a former Independent on Sunday political editor said those campaigning against Laura Kuenssberg are sexist. “She has been called a whore and a bitch on Twitter,” she said about Laura Kuenssberg. “Nick Robinson used to be accused of Tory bias but he never experienced this level of nastiness.

Such allegations of sexism have been denied by the person who started the campaign. “I have been accused of sexist trolling on Twitter,” he said. “I would like to reassure everyone that I am a passionate advocate for equality in all areas, not just gender equality.
This petition has precisely zero to do with Kuenssberg’s gender.
“Regardless of the gender you identify with, there is no excuse for biased reporting and misrepresentation of facts when you represent an organisation that has been famed for its impartiality and balanced approach.

Councillor Jonathan Bishop is a member of the National Union of Journalists and the Chartered Institute of Journalists. “It would appear that Laura Kuenssberg is biased against Labour, but with her reporting of the Conservative divisions on the same day as the Queen Speech shows it goes deeper than that,” he said. “Laura Kuenssberg has a record going back to 2009 of trying to create drama out of politics when in reality it is boring stuff that does not interest most people.
If Laura Kuenssberg wants to dramatise politics then she should not be working for an organisation like the BBC which is meant to be objective and impartial, but should instead work for the tabloids where her style of reporting is the accepted norm.”

Metropolitan Police ‘sexist’ and ‘racist’ for ‘trolling’ claim

The London Metropolitan Police have been criticised for being institutionally sexist and racist, following being forced to drop a prosecution against a Caucasian man, who was arrested and charged following being outspoken on Twitter against a muslim woman.

In an embarrassing climb-down, the Metropolitan Police were forced to drop charges against the man, who was arrested and charged under Section 19 of the Public Order Act 1986, following heated exchanges with a Muslim woman on Twitter.

The man, aged 46, was arrested and charged by the Metropolitan Police following using Twitter to ask a muslim woman to “explain Brussels,” but the prosecution was halted following the intervention of the Crown Prosecution Service.

The Metropolitan Police confirmed that the man had been “charged under section 19 of the Public Order Act 1986; publishing or distributing written material which is threatening, abusive or insulting, likely or intended to stir up racial hatred,” adding that, “This follows an investigation by officers at Croydon police community safety unit.

Internet trolling and cyberstalking expert Jonathan Bishop criticised the police, saying that the arrest and prosecution of the man sadly comes as no surprise. “The Metropolitan Police still have not learned the lessons from the time of Stephen Lawrence,” he said. “They feel they have to respond to certain enquiries based on the protected characteristics of the alleged victim, in this case a woman that is a muslim, but this amounts simply to benevolent sexism against men and institutional racism against Caucasians.
My research has found that crime recording by South Wales Police is sexist against men when it comes to Internet trolling, and in fact I have found that there are often more than double the amount of arrests and prosecutions of men for Internet trolling than women.
This goes against my other research that finds that most breakdowns in relationships online involve women and their interactions with other women, and the lack of replication of this fact in crime recording seems to be an endemic problem across police forces.

Investigatory Powers Bill has mixed reception

The UK Government introduced the Investigatory Powers Bill to Parliament today. The Bill has had a mixed reception.

The Investigatory Powers Bill sets out the powers available to the police, security and intelligence services to gather and access communications and communications data in the digital age, subject to strict safeguards and world-leading oversight arrangements.

Theresa May is the Home Secretary for the United Kingdom.
AT HOME: Theresa May is the Home Secretary for the United Kingdom. Courtesy: Originally posted to Flickr by the Home Office.

Home Secretary Theresa May introduced the Bill. “This is vital legislation and we are determined to get it right,” she said. “Our proposals have been studied in detail by a Joint Committee of both Houses of Parliament established to provide rigorous scrutiny, and 2 further committees.
The revised Bill we introduced today reflects the majority of the committees’ recommendations – we have strengthened safeguards, enhanced privacy protections and bolstered oversight arrangements – and will now be examined by Parliament before passing into law by the end of 2016.
This timetable was agreed by Parliament when we introduced the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act in summer 2014.

Andy Burnham is the Shadow Home Secretary.
HOME ALONE: Andy Burnham is the Shadow Home Secretary. Courtesy: NHS Confederation

Shadow Home Secretary Andy Burnham was more critical. “Labour has taken a responsible and constructive approach to working with the Government on this important legislation and we will continue to do so,” he said. “However, it has major implications for privacy and how we are governed and policed.
We will therefore take time to get this legislation right and will not be rushed into reaching our judgement on it.

Home Secretary Theresa May disagreed. “[T]he Government has also published an operational case for bulk powers as set out by the security and intelligence agencies – giving unprecedented detail on why they need their existing powers and how they are used,” she said. “Terrorists and criminals are operating online and we need to ensure the police and security services can keep pace with the modern world and continue to protect the British public from the many serious threats we face.

Shadow Home Secretary Andy Burnham conceded the Bill was an improvement on the Draft Bill. “It is clear that the Government has made a number of changes to their original proposals,” he said. “We welcome that and the stronger safeguards they have incorporated into the Bill.

A spokesperson for the The Worker Revolutionary Party UK added: “May’s bill is nothing more than an attempt to put this illegal mass surveillance on a legal footing – to put into law the right of the state to monitor and hack into every phone, tablet and computer in the country. It will legalise the use of already existing facilities on these devices that enable them to be hacked and taken over.

The Investigatory Powers Bill is scheduled to pass into law before the end of 2016, addressing themes which were the focus of the Joint Committee, Intelligence and Security Committee and Science and Technology Committee reports.

Call for changes in CCTV guidance on fly tippers

Calls have been made for the UK Government to review its policy on not allowing CCTV cameras to be used to catch fly tippers.

Although the Government introduced fixed penalty notices for small scale fly-tipping, the problem persists across the country, particularly on farmland.

Fly-tipping in London
TOP TIP: CCTV use for detecting fly-tipping was restricted by the Coalition Government. Courtesy: Alan Stanton (originally posted to Flickr as ‘Scales Road Mattress Mountain’)
Due to changes to the Law under the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012, installing security cameras on land to catch fly tippers is not permitted, making catching those responsible for causing damage to the land extremely difficult.

Gavin Williamson is the MP for South Staffordshire. “I was particularly concerned to hear about the fact that as a result of changes to the Law it is not possible to position cameras in order to crack down on fly tippers,” he said. “We are extremely fortunate to live in a very beautiful part of the country.
Incidents such as this are not only visually abhorrent, but can also be extremely damaging to our environment.
I have urged Ministers to review these measures so that these acts of vandalism can be stopped and prevent our green spaces from becoming a permanent eyesore in our picturesque countryside.

Councillor Jonathan Bishop is a privacy expert. “In my point of view preventing crime is more important than punishing it,” he said. “Once word spreads that sites at risk of fly tipping are being monitored with CCTV the amount of fly tipping will go down because people will not want to be caught.

Jack Straw ‘peerage block’ is ‘disgusting’ says ex-Labour councillor

A former Labour Party councillor who documented New Labour’s reforms to data misuse laws says he is disgusted that former Home Secretary Jack Straw is to be denied a peerage by Jeremy Corbyn.

Independent councillor, Jonathan Bishop, wrote the research paper, “Tough on data misuse, tough on the causes of data misuse: A review of New Labour’s approach to information security and regulating the misuse of digital information (1997-2010)” says that Jack Straw’s contribution to legal reform should not go unrecognised.

Jack Straw introduced the Human Rights Act, Data Protection Act and Freedom of Information Act, all within the space of two years.
JACK OF ALL TRADES: Jack Straw introduced the Human Rights Act, Data Protection Act and Freedom of Information Act, all within the space of two years. Courtesy: Obtained from Wikipedia

Claims in The Guardian that Jeremy Corbyn is to deny Jack Straw elevation to the House of Lords was criticised by Councillor Bishop. “It was Jack Straw who introduced the Human Rights Act, the Freedom of Information Act, and the Data Protection Act,” he said. “These were the biggest reforms to data, information and privacy rights in the space of two years that the UK has ever seen.
So what if Jack Straw made some mistakes. It is my view that if Jeremy Corbyn does block his elevation to the House of Lords that he should apply to be a cross-bencher, as having seen in recent weeks the poor quality of the Human Rights Committee in the House of Lords scrutinising Justice Secretary Michael Gove, someone of Jack Straw’s caliber is desperately needed.

Calls to ban ‘fascist’ Donald Trump from the UK

US Presidential candidate hopeful, Donald Trump, is facing calls to be banned from the UK, as claims of fascist behaviour at his rallies dog his campaign.

A petition, calling for Donald Trump to face a ban from entry to the UK on the same basis as others preaching hate, has over half a million signatures, and was considered by the UK Parliament at Westminster Hall on 18 January 2016.

Donald Trump has protesters thrown out of his rallies amid calls he should be banned from the UK.
FASCIST?: Donald Trump has protesters thrown out of his rallies amid calls he should be banned from the UK. Courtesy: Reuters / L.E. Baskow / Las Vegas Sun.

The debate comes as reports of fascist behaviour at Donald Trump’s rallies in the United States become even more severe. Donald Trump has been captured on camera at the Flynn Theater in Burlington, Vermont, throwing out dissident voices, and others, from among those attending. “We will get more and more angry as we go along,” Donald Trump was heard saying as protesters were escorted out. “And by the end I will say, ‘get the hell out of here,’” he continued. “And then by the way, by that time, security will be so tough and so nasty, and you know what is going to happen when that happens?” he asked. “You’re not going to have any more problems, you’re not going to have not going to have any problems,” he concluded.

Paul Flynn MP, who lead the debate in the UK Parliament, described the sort of people banned from the UK in the past. “A leader of a violent gang that beat migrants and posted films of the attacks on the internet,” was one person who was banned because they were “considered to be engaging in unacceptable behaviour by fomenting serious criminal activity and seeking to provoke others to serious criminal acts.” Another was banned because they were considered to “be engaging in unacceptable behaviour by fomenting terrorist violence in furtherance of his political beliefs.” A further person was banned because they were considered to be engaged in “unacceptable behaviour by seeking to provoke others to serious criminal acts.

Councillor Jonathan Bishop is the parish councillor for Lower Cam in England, and a prospective candidate in this year’s Welsh Assembly elections. As an Internet trolling expert, he has long argued for free speech over censorship, but says he believes Donald Trump is over-stepping the mark. “It is one thing to call someone offensive names, or to post threats that lack any credibility to Twitter,” he said. “It is a totally different thing to be relying on others’ stupidity to further fascist behaviour that destroys free speech,” he continued. “The sort of behaviour Donald Trump shows at his rallies is not that one might expect to see from someone who wants to be the leader of the so-called free world,” he concluded.

Prime Minister David Cameron has made clear that he completely disagrees with Donald Trump’s hate speech and Home Secretary Theresa May has said that Donald Trump’s remarks in relation to Muslims are divisive, unhelpful and wrong. “The Government recognises the strength of feeling against the remarks and will continue to speak out against comments which have the potential to divide our communities, regardless of who makes them,” a UK Government statement said. “We reject any attempts to create division and marginalisation amongst those we endeavour to protect.

Stella Creasy in troll-calling fury

A Labour MP has criticised the feedback they have received on social media following voting in the UK Parliamentary debate on taking military action in Syria.

Stella Creasy, an alternate MP elected to UK Parliament following an all-women-shortlist that prevented Labour men from standing, criticised members of the public for holding her to account on Twitter for voting in favour of military action in Syria.

TROLL CALLER: Stella Creasy is upset that members of the public have held her to account for voting for military action in Syria. Courtesy: Susannah Ireland / The Independent
TROLL CALLER: Stella Creasy is upset that members of the public have held her to account for voting for military action in Syria. Courtesy: Susannah Ireland / The Independent

The MP has already had other members of the public sent to jail for trolling her, including Peter Nunn of Bristol.

Calls have been made by some of her colleagues for Stella Creasy to resign, but the alternate MP remains defiant. “The one thing I will not do is be bullied by a sitting Walthamstow Labour councillor with the threat of deselection,” she fumed.

Ann Coffey is the Labour MP for Stockport and believes it is inappropriate to target members of the public when their behaviour is little different to those of MPs. “I think that some of the remarks made by my parliamentary colleagues have been very unfortunate,” she said. “For example, remarks made about blood on your hands, that you’ve got nowhere to hide, and I think that if you have that at the top of party what you have is permission to target MPs.

‘Defamation’ victim’s Google and Facebook bid dismissed

A woman who tried to sue Facebook and Google in January over claims she was defamed on the platforms has lost her legal battle.

Camille Saskia Richardson sued the UK divisions of Google and Facebook for the defamation, but her bid was blocked by High Court Master Jervis Kay QC in June, who said that as the subsidiaries were not directly responsible they could not be liable for the actions of the parent company.

Camille Saskia Richardson’s bid to appeal the decision when Justice Warby ruled the decision of Jervis Kay QC.

Fiona Mactaggart’s rallying cry to Labour women MPs

A woman MP, elected via an all-women-shortlist, has spoken up for another woman MP who was equally not elected on merit, because she was the target of what some call Internet trolling.

Fiona Mactaggart, an alternate woman MP who only got into the UK Parliament through affirmative action, said the abuse of fellow alternate woman MP, Jess Phillips, was something that all other Labour women MPs, whether alternates or elected on merit, should take a stand on.

Alternate MP, Fiona Mactaggart, says the fellow alternate Jess Phillips and other women MPs should not be expected to tolerate abuse from members of the public. Courtesy: Obtained from Fiona Mactaggart's website.
SPOKEN IN JESS: Alternate MP, Fiona Mactaggart, says the fellow alternate Jess Phillips and other women MPs should not be expected to tolerate abuse from members of the public. Courtesy: Obtained from Fiona Mactaggart’s website.

After Jess Phillips MP was sent death and rape threats online, Slough MP Fiona Mactaggart joined her and called upon other Labour women MPs to stand up against online abuse. “I know how terrifying this kind of violent threat can be,” Fiona Mactaggart said. “When I was a student a university newspaper published my photograph with the caption ‘would you rape this woman?’

Despite this early exposure to what would be expected of public life, Fiona Mactaggart did not change, going on to become an alternate parliamentarian. “The internet and Twitter has given more people a platform from which to launch such threats and too often they target women,” she said. “I am happy to engage in constructive debates on issues but abuse isn’t a part of the job and nobody in public life should ever expect abhorrent death and rape threats from people who don’t like things they have said,” she concluded.

As both Jess Philips MP and Fiona Mactaggart MP were selected to Labour Party seats via all-women-shortlists, they share a lot in common as alternates. “Jess said that she didn’t think parliament needed to debate discrimination against men until the discrimination against women was tackled,” Fiona Mactaggart said in defence of Jess Phillips not being able to cope with the realities of being a Member of Parliament.

The position of Jess Phillips and Fiona Mactaggart is out of tune with the law. In 2012, Paul Chambers, in what became known as the Twitter joke trial, was acquitted of sending a threatening message because it was found by the court to be unlikely to cause apprehension. Whilst Jess Phillips admits she did not experience any apprehension, her view is contrary to the judgement in both this case (i.e. DPP v Chambers) and Calver v The Adjudication Panel for Wales, which say that politicians need a thicker skin and that abuse from the public is a normal part of being an MP.