My apologies for the small break in service last weekend – I do hope that nobody is suffering from withdrawal after failing to get their weekly ‘fix’ of Mad-Mobi and his trials and tribulations.
The reasons for the absence of a blog were mainly due to my preoccupation with my novel. Not only have been struggling a little to complete Part Three (as is evidenced by the lack of any new chapters of late) but I also decided to go back and do some more revision work on the first five chapters of Part One – ‘Na’.
The revisions were all of a superficial nature and concerned the structure of sentences rather than any wholesale re-writing of text or any change in the story lines, so for those who have already read it, I would say it would not be worth your while to re-read it.
There were several reasons why I decided to do some more work on the early chapters, but ultimately, it was no more than I plan to do through the whole novel, if and when it is finished. The novel you guys read on this blog is still essentially a novel in draft form, which i will continue to be worked on until the day – who knows when – that I say, ‘OK. That’s it! Enough is enough!’, and move on to something else.
The final chapters of Part Three have been particularly difficult to write as they contain a large amount of autobiographical material, mixed in with a fair dose of fiction, and as you will see when I publish, it was a period of my life that is not easy to write about.
Anyhow, I am now happy to report the final two chapters, containing 10,000 odd words are now down on my computer, and will be published just as soon as I lick them into better shape, but the hard work is done and form here on it should be downhill.
I am hopeful that I will be publishing these chapters within the next week or so, and then I can turn my full attention to Part Four. This should be easier going as it will be very largely a work of fiction although – as always – the content still will still be based on personal experiences and my knowledge of Thailand and its people.
Since then I have detected a reduction in my pain overnight although it still causes me considerable discomfort, and my fitness levels are getting better, but still not back to where they were before my bronchitis. I guess I just have to be patient; when all’s said and done it is still only 16 weeks since I underwent a very serious, open heart operation.
There’s ‘grooming’ and ‘grooming’ and I’m not talking horses…
Earlier this year, nine men, eight of Pakistani ethnic origin, and one an Afghan, were jailed for periods ranging from 4 to 19 years for offences including rape and conspiracy to engage in sexual activity with girls under the age of 16. Girls, as young as 13, were plied with drink and drugs and “passed around” for sex. They were abused at two takeaway restaurants in the Heywood area of Rochdale by the men aged between 24 and 59.
One of the convicted men had ordered a 15-year-old girl to have sex with a takeaway worker as a birthday “treat”. A taxi driver was convicted of trafficking for sexual exploitation. A religious studies teacher at a local mosque asked a 15-year-victim if she had any younger friends and would drive some of the girls to other men who would use them for sex. Yet another fathered the child of a 13-year-old victim.
Although only five girls were cited during the trial, it is thought that as many as 50 young girls, all of them white, had been abused by the gang during the past few years.
The former Home Secretary, Jack Straw, has claimed that members of the British Asian community are in “denial” about the issue of men of Pakistani origin grooming white girls for sex. This followed a damning report into the handling of abuse allegations in Rochdale by social workers, police and the Crown Prosecution Service which highlighted a catalogue of failing and “missed opportunities”.
The study, by the Rochdale Borough Safeguarding Children’s Board, found that social workers repeatedly failed to take action in response to complaints from under-age girls who had fallen into the grip of a paedophile ring.
Rather than being treated as victims, they were viewed as “problematic” and “wilful” and thought to be “making their own choices”. The report states that vulnerable young girls, some as young as 10, were systematically targeted for sexual abuse but then ignored when it was brought to the attention of multiple agencies which believed that they were “making their own choices”.
Publication of the review follows newspaper reports alleging that agencies in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, were aware of a similar pattern of extensive and coordinated abuse of white girls by some Asian men for which no one has been prosecuted.
And so it goes on and on and on…..
I am a fan of the British TV series ‘Silent Witness which follows the adventures of a team of forensic scientists as they carry out post mortem examinations and investigate the forensic evidence to try and establish what had happened. It is well acted, well scripted and exciting hokum, and provides excellent entertainment, all be it occasionally a bit grisly and often disturbing.
A while ago I surprised to read that two episodes of the current series had been pulled as it may compromise a criminal trial that was currently being held. I subsequently discovered that these two episodes were a two part story based on the grooming of under-age white girls by a gang of Pakistanis, in a very similar manner to the real life gang involved in the Rochdale scandal.
Once the trial was over and the men convicted, the BBC broadcast the previously ‘pulled’ episodes and they made for riveting and disquieting viewing. If any of my readers wishes to understand how it is possible for such girls to be groomed, then I urge you to watch the programmes, which are episodes 11 & 12 of Series 15, entitled, ‘And then I fell in love’.
What is so shocking about this whole grooming business, is the cavalier manner in which the social services and police have treated these girls, effectively writing off these under-age girls as ‘prostitutes’ even though the law clearly states that it is statutory rape for any man to engage in sex with a girl under the age of 16.
Contrast these terrible crimes with the recent massive furore concerning a 15 year old girl who ran away with her 30 year old teacher to France. This incident has given rise thousands of column inches of headlines, dominated the broadcast media and resulted in a massive Europe-wide police hunt to track down the couple. You can come to no other conclusion than a the well-being of a middle class girl from a good middle-class background in the well-off south of England is far more important than the fates of poor dozens, quite possibly hundreds, of white kids in the poorer areas of working class neighbourhoods such as Rochdale, in the North West of England.
Don’t’ get me wrong; the crimes that were committed against the 15 year old – presumably by the teacher engaging in under-age sex and absconding with her – is not in any way to be condoned. The teacher, who was in a position trust, will no doubt be jailed for his crimes and the girl might have suffered some emotional scars and may need counselling.
At the time of writing, the couple have been located and the man has been arrested. And there must be few who expected any other outcome. Nobody seriously imagined that anything really bad would befall the girl; we all understood she was suffering from a ‘school girl crush’ that had been taken a bit too far, but as far as we were aware, the teacher was no monster and he wasn’t about to ply the young lady with drink and drugs and pass her around for sex with his mates.
Why is it that some crimes are more newsworthy than others? Why is it that the police seem to ignore or offer a shrug of indifference towards certain crimes in working class areas, yet seem to pull out all the stops if the crime involves someone from one of the more upwardly mobile classes?
Maybe J K Rowling’s grim novel, which has almost universally slammed by the critics, about the depressing class wars that still exist in provincial England, is not as far from the truth as some would have us believe.
The ‘Anointed One’ vs The ‘Awkward One’
The newspapers, broadcast media and internet is jammed full of articles on the US Presidential election, so I will refrain from saying too much on this well-worn subject.
Digressing for a moment; depending on who you listen to – or read – you will have been told that David Cameron’s recent late night session with David Letterman was either a total embarrassment, a total success, or maybe something in between. (A bit like the wide ranging opinions following Clint Eastwood’s off the cuff speech at the GOP convention).
But one item in Cameron’s’ interview that stood out in my mind was his comment, when trying to explain some of the differences between American and British elections, was the fact that in the UK you are not allowed to advertise on television, and that his budget for the last election was restricted to 150,000 dollars. I haven’t bothered to find it on You Tube, or wherever, but apparently this struck a chord with his audience and attracted the largest applause of the night.
This is the same point I made in my blog of 9 September, where I stated that the total cost of the current US General election is expected to exceed 6 billions dollars. Crazy, ain’t it?
If a majority of polls are to be believed, including Gallup and Fox, then it is probably all over for Mit the Nit, although Rasmussen, who was the most accurate pollster in the 2008 election, indicates that the race is much closer.
I am inclined to think that at this stage of the game, there is every indication that Obama will be re-elected. Things could change – if he is caught with his pants down, screwing a cleaner in the White House, or maybe if he has a bad day at the office next Wednesday during the first Presidential debate. But that’s a bit like saying that Jesus Christ will have a bad day at the office when he gives his ‘sermon on the mount.’
I suspect that Barack will inspire the faithful to ever greater heights of love and devotion, and that Mit the Nit will stumble and fall in his inimitable, awkward and unapproachable manner, although he has always shown himself to better at these ‘question and answer sessions’ than in churning out pre-prepared speeches or out on the stump.
Either way, it will be fascinating to watch.
Assange back-stabs his backers
As a follow up to my article in my recent Blog when I discussed Assange’s decision to seek asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy, I can now report that his celebrity backers are all about to be made substantially out of pocket and many of them are not at all happy.
A collection of the ‘great and Good’ put up the dosh for dear Julian’s bail, and he didn’t even have the decency to advise them in advance of his intentions – when he dived into the embassy and breached the conditions of his bail – thus costing these unfortunates their bail money.
The likes of socialite Jemima Khan, journalist John Pilger, film director Ken Loach and publisher Felix Dennis stand to lose sums exceeding 200,000 pounds, and nine further high profile backers including two members of the British aristocracy, a Nobel Prize winner and an academic stand to lose 140,000 pounds between them.
Jemima Khan has already stated that his alleged victims deserved justice too and that he should respond to the allegations. “I personally would like to see Assange confront the rape allegations in Sweden and the two women at the centre have a right to a response, ” she said.
With friends like Julian, you certainly don’t need too many enemies.
You couldn’t make it up, could you?
We often hear news stories about injuries and even deaths from accidents concerning firearms, and the whole subject of gun control, is to say the least highly controversial.
But in a world jammed packed with thousands of serious shooting accidents, two recent incidents particularly caught my attention.
The first concerns a Thai senator for Mae Hong Son who accidentally shot and killed his personal secretary with a sub-machine gun in a restaurant in Phrae province. The shooting occurred at a restaurant in Wang Chin district of the Northern Province when the Senator and his personal assistant were travelling to Bangkok in the senator’s car and they stopped for dinner at a restaurant on a local road.
While waiting for food, The Senator took out a 9 mm Uzi sub-machine gun and he told police that the gun accidentally discharged and his secretary was shot in the stomach. The secretary, who was the Senator’s ex-wife, was rushed to hospital where she succumbed to her gunshot wound.
Police have yet to arrest the senator as he is protected by parliamentary privilege.
You have to wonder what the sweet f.ck was this guy doing with a 9 mm Uzi sub-machine gun???
The second incident is even more bizarre.
It concerns a French man who was shot by his dog during a hunt in his local region of the Dordogne. Apparently, the man’s Blue Gascony Basset hound dog caught the trigger of his gun after leaping up while the huntsman was taking part in a deer shoot. The bullet shattered a part of the huntsman’s right hand which has since been amputated.
The victim said he only had himself to blame for not applying the safety catch and did not hold the incident against his dog “at all”, he said, “It wasn’t the dog’s fault – and he’s adorable!” he told France Bleu radio.
Any further comment from me would be superfluous.
Butt…Butt…Butt… I Don’t give a Hoot!