Wednesday, October 24, 2007 

Scum-watch: More page 3 idol and hysteria over projections.

One of the few things I forgot to mention in yesterday's meandering post about the return of the Scum's depressing, soft-pornographic, vile page 3 idol competition (nudity) is that as with all the other little boy wank mags that encourage their readers to send in photographs of themselves or their girlfriends, there are little to no safeguards involved in determining the actual age of those who send in the semi-naked images. The Press Complaints Commission recently found that FHM had published an image of a 14-year-old girl topless, sent in by someone other than herself. Despite the Scum's righteous anger against the hidden scourge of paedophilia, it failed to report the ruling, probably because it is leaving itself wide open to the same thing happening to it. The only two criteria for submitting your image in to the Scum's compo are that you're over 18 and haven't had your breasts enhanced by plastic. It really would be a tragedy of the Scum were to fall victim to history repeating, wouldn't it?

Elsewhere in today's Scum, it comments on the Office for National Statistics' projection that by 2016 the population of the UK will have increased to 65 million and by 2031 to 71 million, mainly due to the effects of immigration:

FIVE million more people will be crammed into Britain in less than TEN years, official figures showed last night.

The UK’s population will hit a staggering 65million by 2016. And the explosion will be driven by immigrants.

The growth will be the equivalent of half the population of Greater London.

The Government’s own prediction shows our overcrowded island swelling by at least 2.1million immigrants.

Within the first four sentences the article has abandoned any pretense of attempting to approach what are projections based on the current data available in a calm manner. Our island is "overcrowded" and the new arrivals will be "crammed" in. It gets even more alarmist:

It could mean London ending up having Third World-style shanty towns springing up in the shadows of the City’s gleaming skyscrapers.

Where do you go from such obviously offensive, insensitive and ridiculous claims? To contradicting the report on immigration from last week that showed that on the whole, the public services have been coping admirably with the rise in immigration from eastern Europe:

Britain’s NHS and education systems are already under huge pressure.

The words "prediction" and "projection" only feature twice in the entire report, the latter only in relation to Liam Byrne's comments. Nowhere is it made clear that this entire report could turn out to be complete hogwash: it's an extrapolation of what the population will be if the exact same level of immigration continues over the coming decades. The figure of 190,000 comes from the ONS' corrected figure (PDF) of the level of immigration in 2004 and 2005, when the numbers of those coming from Poland etc were at their height. The last two years, especially the figures from so far this year, suggest that the levels have already peaked. The political and economic factors that have led to so many coming to the UK also may have already started to turn: the defeat of Poland's Law and Justice party in the election on Sunday, widely loathed by the young Poles who disproportionately make up the numbers that have came here over the last couple of years, might help to signal a return.

The ONS' figures are really only any help as a guide to what might happen, and judging by the government's reaction, crackdowns on immigration are only likely to heighten thanks to the current turning of opinion against those whom other reports have already made clear have helped enormously with our continuing economic growth. It's quite true that we can't just constantly mention the economic argument when defending the current levels of immigration; while the reports have mostly showed that cohesion has not been affected, such a continued rise in immigration certainly does risk a rise both in frustration and tension between the communities. The answer though is not to play the fear and anxiety card, as the tabloids continuously have, or to pretend that there is nothing to worry about, but to set out the reasons why too harsh a response to the current levels of migration will if anything only bring even worse problems, both economically and socially.

The Scum's leader column is slightly calmer, but only just. Quoting from it is pretty pointless, as the only thing worth responding to is it's argument that the government are doing nothing to prepare for the consequences, which is absurd, as the response of Liam Byrne has already showed. It too only notes that the ONS' figures are a "forecast" once, before going on to treat its predictions as gospel. After years of fanning the flames of fear of outsiders and in some cases preaching open prejudice, it's ever so slightly rich for the Sun now to be so concerned about social cohesion. If it really was, it would be calm instead of the diametric opposite. Its constant hysterical stance only does damage to its at times more than legitimate arguments.

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Tuesday, October 23, 2007 

Scum-watch: Thoughts on the return of page 3 idol and reoffending.

The Scum's vile page 3 "idol" competition (warning: nudity) has started up again, with the same pathetic prize as last year - a one-year contract with Page 3, as many teenage wank mag shoots as you can agree to, a holiday with added photoshoot and £5,000 - after which you'll be unceremoniously dumped back into obscurity.

As usual, my faith in humanity upon seeing the legions of young women willingly send in photographs of themselves semi-naked in the forlorn hope that they'll be selected to at least go through into the finals has plummeted through the floor. Why do they do it? Is it hubris on their part, or is it the exact opposite, the search for affirmation and acceptance through the exposing of their body parts? Is it simple pride, showing off what they have because they themselves adore how they look and want to share it with others, or again the apparently increasing belief, amongst younger teenagers especially, that glamour modeling is something to aspire towards?

I don't pretend to have any answers, mainly because I'm a butt ugly young male who consequently has never felt the need to shove a JPEG version of his pathetically average penis into anyone's face. It is amazing however what can constitute something sexually arousing to someone, as any quick trip into the cesspool of the internet will quickly alert you to. That's the other thing though - the internet has in effect flooded the market. Once the avid masturbator interested in the equivalent of readers' wives and girlfriends, which is what the page 3 idol competition in essence is, would have had to turn to the pages of the likes of Razzle and Escort, available from your local friendly corner shop, along with brown paper bag and the recommendations of the owner, who would invariably offer you something "harder" from under the counter. Now those women who would have once had pride of place in the centre pages of those crusty magazines, and as any peruser of older issues of such publications will be able to tell you, they were mostly the older, overweight lady, often outdoors and subsequently showing admirable contempt for the public decency laws, are left with desperately trying to gain attention on the plethora of websites dedicated to submissions from the public. They sink without trace.

I have nothing against exhibitionism, which is also what the page 3 idol contest adds up to. The main question ought to be however how many of those who are submitting their photographs to the Scum would have done if there was not a cash prize, the chance of national recognition and sort of fame, however faint, through doing so. The defenders of pornography, and while I dislike it intensely, I'm not ashamed to admit I use it, often point out that the women involved aren't necessarily the ones being exploited - although disproportionately those who have been abused, come from low income backgrounds or had generally what we'd define as miserable lives make up the numbers of those involved in it, as the tragic recent death of Haley Paige, a well-known US porn performer showed - they're exploiting those that are paying for the privilege of watching them au-naturelle. This clearly doesn't apply in the page 3 idol case, as they're making nothing out of it while the one-handed hordes of Sun readers and browsers sneer and jerk in equal measure at the collection of today's unlucky 25.

Disregarding the faux-philosophy and psychology behind why women involve themselves in pornography, if anything the page 3 idol contest does bring a whole new meaning to the idea of selling your soul to Rupert Murdoch. Getting your "tits out for the lads" while drunk is one thing; doing it more than happily for a national newspaper for nothing in return is quite another. It ought to show that the Sun, a publication which is nothing more than a propaganda vehicle for Murdoch which pretends to care what its readers' think and like ought to be thought of no better than the semen-splattered pages of Zoo or Nuts are. Instead, prime ministers and politicians bend over backwards to appeal to the base instincts of a pornographer who just happens to have acquired himself a media empire. The Scum is currently harrying Gordon Brown incessantly about the EU reform treaty - he ought to throw the Scum's exploitation of young women back in their faces. Murdoch isn't afraid to play dirty, as the constant lies printed in the Sun show, so why should those accused of selling this country down the river not respond like for like?

Take its response to the release of yesterday's figures from the Ministry of Justice (I shudder every time I write that Orwellian term) which while showing a 36% rise in those under the highest Mappa regime of supervision committing a serious offence actually recorded no real statistical increase, the numbers increasing year-on-year from 61 to 83, a rise of 22. It also doesn't note that as well as defining a serious offence as "any murder, manslaughter, attempted homicide, rape or attempted rape" it also includes arson, kidnap or armed robbery, as the Guardian makes clear. The Sun leader also erroneously claims that "almost 1,700 serious sex offenders committed more assaults while supposedly being monitored". The figures show nothing of the sort, instead showing that almost 1,700 were charged or cautioned for not keeping up with their requirements under their signing of the sex offenders register.

While statistics are never going to be any comfort to those who are the victims of those crimes, if anything it shows that Mappa is doing the best job it probably can. The fallibility of such organisations is never taken into consideration - some of those who reoffend simply could never have been stopped from doing so or showed no signs of being about to do so. The numbers committing a second serious offence could probably be brought down further, but unless we completely re-evaulate the criminal justice system as it stands, and start locking away those who pose such a serious threat indefinitely and disregard the possibility that they can reform, such recidivism is always going to occur. The question has to be whether we are prepared to lock away even more people than we currently do for even longer, when all the evidence suggests that doing so simply doesn't work.

The recent Guardian poll that suggested that the views of the public have now polarised between the two poles, to describe them crudely as the "harsher" and "softer" positions, ought to tell us that there is now the chance to change course completely. No matter how many times the Sun argues in its leader that the "only answer to swelling prison numbers is ... more prisons", it doesn't alter the fact we simply cannot build our way out of this problem. Polly Toynbee in one of her occasional decent pieces today made clear the way that even good figures that show crime is falling are spun to make them look the opposite.

To change this, Labour, whose policies as the Sun says have been appalling, although for entirely different reasons to why they think they've been, has to take the fight to those in favour of ever increasing draconian responses. Crime has dropped dramatically over the last ten years, and one of the reasons why despite that it continues to be such an issue of concern is that rehabilitation in overcrowded prisons simply isn't possible. To make them more effective, less people have to be imprisoned. This means more treatment for those addicted to drugs, and not inside prisons, but outside them. It means that the mentally ill who are stagnating in jails and only getting sicker need to be taken out of the system. Prison should return to what they were designed for: to protect the public from those who are a genuine danger to society, not as the dumping ground for the misfits and broken. It seems so obvious, but in the face of such hostility from the "popular" press has meant this has been impossible. Sadly, the time for this to happen, when the government had the support which such a move would be possible, has likely passed. This ought to be standard Liberal Democrat territory, but instead they were some of those most outraged by the tiny relative increase. Martin Kettle reckons there is a real choice (a theme I might return to when I have more time) but on crime and punishment, there certainly doesn't seem to be one.

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Wednesday, January 10, 2007 

Scum-watch: They're asking for it.

I'm not one to normally defend the Dear Leader, but the Sun have again ascribed views to him which he clearly does not hold. They last did this before Christmas, claiming that he had voiced support for their campaign against "killjoys", when he did nothing of the sort, instead questioning whether the stories were based in fact. Today they're claiming that Blair said Saddam "deserved to die", when he instead went off on a tangent, trying not to be too hard on the botched execution:

TONY Blair said last night that the way Saddam Hussein was executed was wrong — but that the tyrant deserved to die.

The Prime Minister reminded the world the former Iraqi dictator was a mass murderer responsible for millions of deaths.

He condemned the chaotic scenes around Saddam’s hanging — but urged everyone to remember he was to blame for his own downfall.

He said: “The manner of the execution of Saddam was completely wrong. But that should not blind us to the crimes he committed against his own people. That includes the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis.

“One million casualties of the Iran-Iraq war and the use of chemical weapons against his own people, wiping out entire villages.

“The crimes Saddam committed do not excuse the manner of his execution, but that does not excuse the crimes. We should bear in mind while saying ‘it’s wrong’ that we should not lurch into a position in forgetting the victims of Saddam.

“Of course any sensible, moderate person makes these points about the scenes we have seen.

“But it should not be then translated into some sort of excuse for the crimes he committed against his own people.”

What the Sun has done is edited together two separate answers to separate questions, and even then he still doesn't say anything that even comes close to supporting the death penalty or the execution, simply repeating the true enough but age old justification for the war which has now been taken up since the WMD excuse fell apart. Here are the two answers he gave in full, from the 10 Downing Street website:

In relation to the death penalty let me just say this. As you know the practice is different in the UK and Japan, but I don't think that is really the issue here. As has been very obvious from the comments of other Ministers and indeed from my own official spokesman, the manner of the execution of Saddam was completely wrong, but that should not blind us to the crimes he committed against his own people, including the death of hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis, one million casualties in the Iran-Iraq war, and the use of chemical weapons against his own people, wiping out entire villages of people. So the crimes that Saddam committed does not excuse the manner of his execution, and the manner of his execution does not excuse the crimes. Now I think that is a perfectly sensible position that most people would reasonably accept.

Well I can't add a great deal to what I said earlier. The fact is that as everybody saw, the manner of the execution is unacceptable and it is wrong, but we should bear in mind and not allow that, while saying it is wrong, then to lurch into a position of forgetting the victims of Saddam, the people that he killed deliberately as an act of policy, hundreds of thousands of them in Iraq, the villages and towns that were wiped out by the use of chemical weapons deliberately as an act of government policy. So of course any sensible moderate person makes those points about the scenes that we have seen about the execution, but it should not be then translated into some sort of excuse for the crimes that he committed against his own people, of which you have heard testimony again today.

Blair's bringing up of Saddam's crimes is of course not the point at all; the first images which were broadcast of Saddam's execution were of a dignified, low-key affair, which although brutal and with the hallmarks of a general lack of humanity, did not give the impression of victor's justice, or the sectarianism that emerged once the unofficial mobile phone videos were presented on the web. Even the most brutal of men, if condemned to death, deserve to be treated with something approaching respect as their life is taken from them. That Saddam was not says much about the contemporary Iraq that the US/UK invasion has helped to create.

Elsewhere, the Sun really is asking for it:

Send us web's sickest sites

THE Sun today launches a crackdown on the web's most disturbing websites - and you can help!

From today, if you're shocked by a site and reckon it should be shut down contact us.

Email with the details and our web team will get on the case.

We want you to shop sites that are doing anything illegal, just like the body parts website exposed in The Sun this week.

Our investigators revealed how Brits were selling organs over the net via a twisted site.

The story told how crime gangs and crooked doctors were among those cashing in on the organs black market.

And with your tips, we can track down and expose more horrifying sites just like that.

So if you want us to investigate a web page email Your email will be treated in strictest confidence.

I've since sent the following email:

I've been shocked by the horrifying exploitation of young women by one site in particular. Ladies as young as 18 are encouraged to send in photographs of themselves semi-naked, all for the puny prize of £5,000, while an elderly, leering gentleman profits from their ignorance, and a flame-haired woman fills the pages of her newspaper with their frontal lobes, without having to pay them for the privilege.

Can you possibly help close down (warning: nudity)?


I await their reply.

Related posts:
Scum-watch: Various bits and bobs.

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Monday, December 04, 2006 

Scum-watch: Maniacs and hypocrisy.

The Sun is back to its old trick of speculating on and sensationalising serious crimes again today:

COPS are probing whether a deranged maniac may have used his BARE HANDS to batter tragic Laila Rezk to death.

Tests failed to show a weapon was used on the mum of two — suggesting the beast used his FISTS.

The actual meaning of "tests" in this article seems rather ambiguous, for later on the report makes clear:

Cops were sickened by the attack and assumed a weapon was used. But a search found nothing near the house in Kingston Vale, South West London.

Tests are being done to see if Egyptian-born Laila was sexually assaulted.

Presumably both tests would have been conducted at the same time, if they had taken place, although any forensic examiners are more than welcome to correct me if I'm wrong. Rather more probable is the fact that since the plod have failed to find a weapon, they've either briefed/been paid by the Scum that the murderer was unarmed. Seeing as both the Mail and Sun have referred to the murderer of Laila Rezk as "a deranged, stalking maniac," when it's unclear whether the actual assailant is any of those things, the leak that he used his fists is very helpful towards the story they've already weaved.

Elsewhere today in the Scum:

A WOMAN cop off sick with “stress” is topping up her salary as a soft porn photographer.

WPC Gillian Mooney, 49, took the saucy snap of professional model Emma.

Ho-hum, typical Scum story. Or so you think. Until...

The Sun booked Emma for a photo-shoot with Mooney.

Emma paid the £150 fee and posed for the WPC in a studio built into the living room of her semi. Emma was asked to sign a form allowing the snaps to be sold on.

Emma, 23, said: “I got the impression she wanted me to do some artistic nude shots. She did say most of her work was weddings and children.”

Right, so a WPC on the sick happens to be a part-time photographer as well. Big deal, plenty of police officers and firefighters do other jobs on the side. Obviously it raises the question of whether she is actually still stressed or not, but having a national newspaper splash on it is bound to do wonders for her nerves.

More interesting however is that the Sun describes what she does as soft pornography. The photograph from the shoot the Sun booked, but notice didn't pay for, so they can't be accused of adding to her bank balance (although I'd almost be prepared to wager a small sum that the Sun provided the money) is quite clearly a glamour shot, but not one containing nudity. According to "Emma", whose word we have to take at face value, she got the "impression" she wanted to do some artistic nude shots. Impression suggests that Mooney didn't actually infer that she could additionally do full glamour shots, if Emma so wanted.

All of which is beside the point however. If what Mooney is doing is soft pornography, then what, pray tell, is Page 3 Idol (warning: nudity) and Page 3 itself? Not only are those submitting their photographs not being paid for the privilege, they're competing for the wonderful prize of a whole £5,000. The Sun has always and continues to justify page 3 as a "bit of fun". What's the difference between Mooney's "soft porn" shoots and the Sun's bits of fun? Nothing, except for the Sun's contempt and disdain for its own readers. When it comes to smearing and booting people when they're down, ala "Lady Mucca", pornography is distasteful and even shameful, but when they're doing the same thing it's quite different. As I've stated before, I'm no puritan and certainly wouldn't ban page 3 given the chance; I just think it has no place in a publication that calls itself a "newspaper".

P.S. Just to be fair and balanced (® Fox News), here's David Cox on Comment is Free telling us why Murdoch is actually the greatest thing to ever happen to Britain.

P.P.S Here's Five Chinese Crackers taking apart another of today's Sun's stories, this one on the scandal of a school having a Carribbean theme Christmas.

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Wednesday, November 22, 2006 

Scum-watch: Various bits and bobs.

Warning: Hardly any of the links on this post are safe for work, or in some cases, life itself.

Looks like Murdoch forgot to tell Wade that the deal with OJ Simpson was off. Despite two puff-pieces about the show and book appearing in the Scum, one of which has a lot of what looks highly like exclusive material, there's been no report of Murdoch's statement on Monday, cancelling both.

More stupidity occurred when the Sun, splashing on the setting up of a website naming those who are being sought for failing to comply with notification requirements under the 2003 Sexual Offences act, used the headline "PERVHUNT.COM". It never crossed their minds to actually buy that domain and link it to the actual page, so one of the wags on did instead. They then directed it to, where 3 barely legal 18-year-old ladies profile themselves. Says Danni:

Do you have a tattoo?
Yes, I have the Chinese symbol for angel on my lower back

Aww! How sweet! does now actually point to the proper page, and with listing 4 changes to its history since the 17th, it seems likely that some hard cash was exchanged in order for Wade's blushes to be spared, although they quickly changed the rookies page URL.

Keeping with the theme of sickening exploitation, the Sun currently has an advert for its pervtastic page 3 idol competition alongside the "news" that Rose West has been err, eating some food in prison.

On the page itself:
GIRLS! Don't forget to enter our Page 3 Idol contest.

The winner nets a Sun modelling deal, exotic photoshoot and £5,000.

To enter, post a pic of yourself topless or in bikini to Page 3 Idol, The Sun, 1 Virginia St, London E98 1SN. Or email to

Give your name, age and daytime number. You must be 18 or over and silicone-free. Every usable entry will be posted on our website.

To see our new contestants visit

Welcome then to the sleaziest and cheapest leering lads competition in Britain. And they can't only view pages and pages (I count 40, with more yet to come) of young women undressing for a national newspaper with the distant prospect of winning a paltry £5,000, you can also go and see them do it live, in a Miss World type competition where the swimsuit contest turns into one involving wet t-shirts instead:

In addition to this, far be it from me to suggest that some of the girls might lie about their age, but there doesn't seem to be much of a safeguard against under-age teenagers sending in photographs of themselves in a state of undress. That would be awful, wouldn't it, the self-proclaimed scourge of paedophiles everywhere hosting photographs of under-age girls on her newspaper's website. Let's hope to God that doesn't happen.

Not content with giving over their page 3 site to all and sundry who wish to send in out of focus photographs of their sacks of fat, the page also encourages women everywhere to sign up to MySun, and get them out there too!

We want YOU to appear on MY Sun!

IF you're a Page 3 wannabe then you can post your profile online right now.

Publish your picture on our superb community site MY Sun and get other readers to read your blog, comment on you and spark debates about whatever you fancy.

To join in now, all you have to do is click here.

Ah yes, MySun. This is the Scum's attempt to build a MySpace style community around its newspaper. Like the newspaper (and, like MySpace) it's a collection of the banal, the bullshit and the bastards. Today's profile of the day is "Jennerotic", whose photograph seems to show the 23-year-old laying very close to her webcam. Naked. Her latest blog post, which will no doubt soon be a rival to Comment is Free for well-developed and involved political argument, is titled, Shall I have more cake........?

NOW.... After a nice long hot, soapy bath I've come to a decision of either having some cake or not? I know it (sic) late but it just tastes sooooooo great. So I'd thought I'll celerbrate (sic) ....

Faced with a photograph of Jennerotic coming out of the shower, her modesty protected by a towel, the salivating one-handed hordes on MySun get stuck in:

Hi Jennerotic, can I borrow that towel for a minute? ;)

You look well fit. Please, please, please post more piccies. Are you on Page 3 Idol?

Posted by: Badboy on November 22, 2006 at 11:35:48 AM

Ambassador, with this towel pic you are really teasing us! Can we have the pictures without the towel now?

Posted by: chucky on November 22, 2006 at 04:57:08 PM

Get back in the shower, I'll be there in 5 minutes :))

Posted by: MikeyMouse on November 22, 2006 at 07:50:50 PM

Away from the delights of Jennerotic, the current top discussion on MySun is the deeply thoughtful:
Who is the fittest soap babe on telly?

And as for the blog of the week:

Cornishcream is another of our Page 3 Idol contestants hoping to get a Sun modelling deal. Will she get your vote?

Maybe not, but she might get her fair share of wads, judging by her posted photographs. Badboy puts in another appearance, commenting on cornishcream's baps:

I am officially in love with you. You are so sexy and gorgeous! Where are the pics of your bum I asked for!? You've got to keep your public entertained, you know? ;) Very nice...

Posted by: Badboy on November 22, 2006 at 11:46:23 AM

Finally then, it's time for another of the Sun's favourite rituals, apart from the one alluded to above. Yes, it's BBC bashing time!

The bent BBC

THE BBC parades itself as a bastion of impartial news broadcasting.

Indeed this dubious claim forms part of its bid for a giant rise in funding.

Now we know better.

The Beeb is offering staff cash-for-questions to embarrass the government.

Staff can earn a £100 bounty for new angles on the honours saga.

What an insult. It’s not even enough to pay the new licence fee.

Well, err, yeah, they were, for oh, a whole couple of hours, before they withdrew the offer, realising that it was in their words, inappropriate. How completely unlike the Sun, which on its own website urges readers to text, phone and send in their own pictures of the day's news, with the illustrative mobile flashing the £ just to get the message across. We could also mention Rebekah Wade's confession to a parliamentary committee that she had paid police officers for information, but that would be unfair. Similarly, it would be entirely uncalled for to point out that the Sun was the newspaper which most echoed the government's line on the Iraq war. Or, for instance, how Fox News is about as fair and balanced as a banana. That the Sun still gets away with its shameless attacks on the BBC when BSkyB just cynically scuppered attempts by NTL to take control of ITV, further enhancing Murdoch's grip on the British media, shows just how much power we've already given away to this unelected, unaccountable Australian-American megalomaniac.

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