"Have you ever tried to explain to a 14-year-old girl that she does not have to have sex with all her boyfriend’s friends to show that she loves him? That she has, in fact, been raped? Have you taken her on the bus to get her contraception, only to watch her throw the pills out of the window on the way back?

I had to do this, when young myself and working as a residential care worker. It was my duty to report a child missing if he or she did not come back to the home at night. For some girls, that was most nights. The police and my co-workers cheerily referred to these girls as “being on the game”.

If you want to know about ethnicity – as everyone appears to think this is key – these girls were of Caribbean descent, as were their pimps. The men who paid to rape these children, they said, were mostly white.

That was London in the 80s, so the whole “child protection is in tatters” number is not news. Child protection services have not worn down: they have been torn apart. Care has never been a place of safety, and anyone who wanted to know that could do so. Just look at who is in prison, who is homeless, who is an addict and ask how good our care system has ever been.

I had wanted to stay in social work, but after a placement answering calls on what was known as the frontline I realised that most of my work would be sorting out emergency payments for food and heating. People needed money, not cod psychoanalysis. It was also obvious that social work systems were not only failing, but under attack. First they came for the social workers (bearded do-gooders), then they came for the teachers (the blob) … this is how neoliberal ideology has been so effective in running down the public sector.

Now we are to feign suprise that the victims of this failure emerge, and they turn out to be girls of the underclass. Slags, skets, skanks, hos: every day I hear a new word for them.

The report on Rotherham is clear-eyed about who targeted the girls: men of Pakistani and Kashmiri descent, working in gangs to rape and torture girls. The men called the girls “white trash”, but white girls were not their only victims. They also abused women in their own community who had pressure put on them never to name names.

Certain journalists, including Julie Bindel, have been covering this story for years and have never shied away from describing the men’s ethnic origin. Ethnicity is a factor but there is also a shared assumption beneath the police inaction and the council workers’ negligence: all of them deemed the girls worthless. The police described them as “undesirables” while knowing they were indeed “desired” by both Pakistani and white men for sex. They were never seen as children at all, but as somehow unrapeable, capable of consensual sex with five men at the age of 11.

Heroin use, self-harm, attempted suicide, unwanted pregnancies, all of this was reported to the authorities. Meanwhile, “care” was being outsourced and some of these girls were moved to homes outside the area. This just meant the rapists’ taxis had to go a bit further.

The running down of children’s services to a skeletal organisation in an already deprived area is spelled out in the report, which talks of “the dramatic reduction of resources available … By 2016 Rotherham will have lost 33% of its spending power” compared with 2010. Buckinghamshire, by contrast, will have suffered a 4.5% reduction.

It is as if everyone has agreed who is worthless and who isn’t; who can be saved and who can’t. The police, the local authority, the government, and indeed the grooming gangs, appear to share the same ideology about sexual purity – and its value.

The rightwing likes the cheap thrill of an underclass woman, drunk and showing her knickers, and now blames rape on political correctness gone mad, as though a bit of robust racism is the answer to misogyny.

OK. So let’s join the dots to Savile and the other recent sex-abuse scandals. We have the police in on the case; we have institutions basically offering up the most vulnerable as victims; we have a protection racket centred around fame rather than ethnicity. At the top we have abusive men, at the bottom powerless young girls and boys. So the bigger picture is the systematic rape of poor children by men. Not all men – I have to say this to be politically correct, don’t I?

The right can make it only about race. I have no problem in calling certain attitudes of certain Muslims appalling. I just can’t see them in isolation from class and gender."

suzanne moore, the guardian, "poor children are seen as worthless" (via mswyrr)

the solution is not in baying for resignations 

exactly…. !

exactly…. !

(Source: alittlenightcap)

My garden is alive with fledglings this morning. This is just 2mins worth!


Lubna Azabal & Andrew Buchan,The Honourable Woman

I glad we got his thumbs…. :D

… but imagine his eyes … and smile :)

Promise me!

What happened next? 

My latest fic is here :)

chough, stonechat, whinchat, willow warbler

- looking forward to seeing all these birds, and more, on Islay in a few weeks time


(Source: moysiesbirdtrips.blogspot.co.uk)

Why did you tell her?

Are you trying to ruin my marriage?

No, you can’t go.

       It was all my fault.

       I took her to Gaza….

       I’ve kept so many lies.

       You and I.

       We are one.


Preview trailer for ep7

The Honourable Woman - The signs are ominous

Urgh… I’ve been so depressed since the ep6 discoveries and revelations - it’s just not going to end well… :(

The Guardian ep6 The Mother Line recap is excellent, as usual, with probably 400+ interesting comments. I particularly agree with these:


[XI’ve got to say that Andrew Buchan really won me over this week. Ephra hasn’t been the most sympathetic character thus far, he’s had the air of a blunderer or a guy wading into things he can’t control because he wants to play at being a spy (or, as Nessa skewered him with last night, their father), but his dual showdowns with Nessa and Rachel were fantastic to watch and did bring me around to his way of thinking. “I got them out” is going to be his epitaph, because the certainty that doing so was the right thing to do is basically all he has left now, and despite everything that pushing over that domino has led to - he is right, he did get them out (both the soldier and Nessa/Atika) and nobody else was coming for them. Last week you got the sense of him doing what he did with the Israeli soldier because he wanted to sit at the grown-up’s table, but last night’s sequence in the garden, interrupting him just playing with his girls, spoke to a far more human motivation. Short-sighted, yes, but ultimately the right thing to do?

I agree that Atika is in this, deep, but I can’t put my finger on how or why. She just seems too central to be merely incidental, which is how she’s come off in the ‘present-day’ stuff - just on the sidelines, a shoulder to cry on and the archetypal grieving mother (or surrogate mother), especially after the flashback sequences and how everything ties back to 8 years ago I just don’t buy it.


[YAny thoughts on Atika’s role in all this? I don’t see how she could have burned and tried to kill her own brother, but I do think she is involved. At least in the kidnapping. Why else would we hear her say, every week, at the beginning : “If this is the price … for a nation”. I think she is involved in the kidnapping. She tells Kassim “don’t be afraid” before going to the concert. There is no good reason for that, even Ephra thinks it’s weird. It’s a classical music concert. Also, Kassim spots the guy who is going to kidnap him across the room, like he knows it’s going to happen and recognises him. Then he fails to follow Ephra and the girls. Nor does he try to run away to Nessa after Nathaniel shoots the kidnapper. I think he was told by his “mum” this was going to happen and to go with it. And as the episode finishes, the camera zooms in on Atika, her face grim and determined, who just like that decided to stay in that night. And just like that completely vacuums Kassim’s room and changes his toothbrush. 

Something. Is. Effy !


Andrew Buchan in The Honourable Woman S01 E06

It’s all unravelling…

(Source: izzyhuett)

Meet the cat with a cat on its back.

Meet the cat with a cat on its back.

(Source: twitter.com)

Tags: cat !