I thought I'd give the swearing a rest today, seeing as it's 7.56am and no-one should be a pottymouth at such a ridiculously early moment in the day. So today's look at the Mail will be reasonable, polite and dignified, as opposed to the usual ranting invective of Anglo-Saxon.
The story I'd like to point you in the direction of the Government's latest plan to reduce the charge for an abused spouse who kills their long-term abuser from murder to manslaughter, and the removal of the 'nagging defence'. It might be predictable to know which way the scream-sheets are going to go on this one, but you might be surprised. I say "might".
Now I'm not going to reveal where this comment comes from, but see if you can guess:
I defy any right-thinking person to read the horrendous accounts of the women who are tortured and abused by their partners for years and think they deserve a murder conviction.
Guardian? Indy? No, it's actually the Sun's women's editor Sally Brook.
The Sun's article tells the story of Kiranjit Ahluwalia, who suffered years of torture and abuse but who was still convicted of murder - though that decision was later quashed on appeal. It's a difficult story to read:
One night, when she had gone to sleep, he woke her up and demanded money. When she refused, he tried to break her ankles by twisting them. He then picked up a hot iron and held it to her face.
There's only one comment about the story so far, from a "Spotteddickpopadum":
Sadly, the Asian community both in the UK and in India has not come to terms with the magnitude of domestic violence that exists. For every dead abusive husband there are a thousand dead abused wives. Why exactly is Asian society so secretive about its darker side?? After all, aren't we are all dying to know??
And I don't know what to make of that. So let's move on to more predictable territory. The Sun has surprised us with a thoughtful piece and a comment from its Woman editor that praises the Government's new legislation. What do we think the Mail's going to do?
GO SOFT ON THE WIVES WHO KILL IN COLD BLOOD
Er no, that's not it at all. But then looking at that handsome chap in the photo byline I can see it's, let me see, ah yes, James "My relationship with journalism is, to be honest, rather" Slack - who spends most of his time writing complete fiction about immigration. Nice to see his 'home affairs' brief being extended to domestic violence - what a shame his journalistic skills have remained as pathetically weak as they always were.
Women who kill abusive partners in cold blood could escape a murder conviction if they prove they feared more violence.
I think it's the use of 'in cold blood' that's particularly misleading - the implication being that if you've been abused and tortured, you really ought to wait until you're actively being abused at that exact moment you retaliate, otherwise it's murder.
Oh and it should (but doesn't) go without saying that we're not just talking about 'wives' here, but when Slack says 'wives' he doesn't mean 'wives', he means 'partners, male or female, in a co-habiting and long-term relationship in which the other partner is abusive and violent' - I hope that clears it up. I mean, I know that's a few more words than Slack would have liked, so you can forgive him for not putting them in and saying just 'wives', even though 'wives' doesn't mean 'wives', obviously.
Under a major government review, they will be punished for the lesser offence of manslaughter, sparing them a mandatory life sentence.
A conviction for manslaughter isn't a picnic, by the way - though Slack seems to suggest it's a rather aggreable affair.
There are other suggestions about making it manslaughter if someone kills a neighbour who has seriously wronged them, or someone who has raped or attacked them in the past and taunts them about it, and so on. You must remember this is Harriet Harman and this is New Labour under Jock McBroon, so you just know which way the readers are going to go:
What about men who murder abusive wives-this is gender based justice.
- B, Toronto, Canada, 29/7/2008 1:18
Yes, B, you've fallen into the trap of believing James Slack. It's not just wives at all, but victims of abuse. Hope this helps.
Then what's to stop a woman from murdering her husband or boyfriend and just claiming abuse? Also let's not forget abuse goes both ways. Men may not report it as much because of the social stigma associated with it. I see this here in the States all the time now, its called the "abuse excuse" and it works. Even if there is no history of abuse it works. Not saying that abuse doesn't happen, but the law should be applied for both men and women.
- John, NJ, USA, 29/7/2008 1:33
Again, I think I've dealt with this one above. What you should do in future, John, is to remember that James Slack isn't to be trusted when it comes to telling you things. Listen to what he says, by all means, and then find out what's actually going on from someone else - that's a pretty good rule of thumb. Anyway, here comes the first racist dog-whistle:
This is utter madness. How long will it be before somebody uses the 'seriously wronged by an insult' condition to justify an honour killing?
Murder is murder, no excuse. I don't care if you are an abused woman, a wronged husband, a brassed off father, a stressed rape victim, a frustrated neighbour or a stupid gang member. Killing a person when your life is not in immediate danger is absolutely wrong, and must be punished accordingly.
- GW, London, UK, 29/7/2008 1:34
I had my suspicions about the comment on the Sun's page, though I'm prepared to think that may possibly have been written by a member of the Asian community who is speaking out about the matter. This, on the other hand, uses the codeword 'honour killing', which cowards use when they don't want to sound racist but want to be racist nonetheless - the idea being that 'honour killings' are only committed by Asian people and are, therefore, deserving of special attention.
I love the "I don't care if you are an abused woman... a stressed rape victim..." - I really do believe this person doesn't care. At all. And yes, isn't rape stressful? A bit like taking your driving test.
A man who kills his wife after she has had an affair and taunted him about it, is to be tried for murder, probably rightly so. However if she claims her husband has abused her, and then kills him, then she is to be tried for manslaughter. This seems unfair to men, as it may be hard to prove or disprove the abuse, especially when the so called abuser is dead.
- Simon, Bradford, 29/7/2008 2:22
Er no, Simon, that's not it at all. You can't just 'claim' something for the CPS to say "Oh all right then, we agree, it's not muder then". That's not quite how it's going to work - though of course Slack didn't say that, did he.
We have enough women making false rape and false domestic violence allegations as it is. Now every single woman who kills her husband is going to claim she was abused (and it will be pretty hard to prove otherwise as the only other person knowing the truth will be dead).
Harman certainly is right about men needing to flee the country if she becomes Prime Minister. I guess she better get adding a few more terminals to Heathrow.
- John Kimble, Southampton, 29/7/2008 3:03
Here's another Mailite myth - that there's somehow an enormous problem with women who claim they were raped but are just making it up. Where does John get these ideas from? Are the police really swamped with fake rape and abuse claims?
How can this apply to only women? In these days of equality, which is increasingly eroded by 'positive discrimination' bias, why should it be allowed to be even considered without a properly balanced basis.
What happened to the justice system? That is where we should be looking for an improvement. The scales should tip both ways...
- Peter Fairless, Middlesbrough, UK, 29/7/2008 3:09
Hello Peter. See above, please. It doesn't just apply to women. Unfortunately, the reporter, James Slack, was a bit naughty and implied it did, even though it doesn't. Of course he didn't mean to make you jump to a completely false conclusion by not being specific enough; he just decided to talk about 'wives' when he meant 'partners'. A simple slip of the pen, I'm sure, so try not to worry.
Harman is a dangerous fruitcake. Why not extend this further and just strangle all males at birth?
- David Bourke, Rochester, Kent., 29/7/2008 3:32
Yes, why not. In fact I think that legislation could be saved over until the next Queen's Speech, David.
1. What does "seriously offended" mean?
2. Are honour killings now legal?
3. Does "seriously offended" include euthanasia or "humane" killings too?
4. Surely one cannot *plan* to kill someone?
5. Can one kill (instead of an expensive divorce), if *seriously* aggrieved?
6. Can husband kill in self-defence, if wife tries to kill an "abusive" husband but fails?
7. What happens if the wife makes *repeated* attempts?
8. Does the wife have to personally deliver fatal-blow, or can she pay some one else?
Families that are failing *need support*, not encouragement to murder each other!
- Chris, Oxford, England, 29/7/2008 3:59
1. I imagine there will be some legal framing of this in the legislation.
4. The degree of premeditation hasn't been made public yet as far as I'm aware.
5. Not instead of divorce, dear, no.
6. Yes. I think you're confusing "charged with manslaughter" with "being let off with a cheery wave and a 'mind how you go!'" Manslaughter really is a crime, just to make that clear.
7. Then she should have been charged with a crime after the first one.
8. It depends on 4.
And men in the same position go to jail!
- Peter, Montreal, Canada, 29/7/2008 4:11
No Peter, no. See above, please.
So a woman only has to say that she was in "fear of violence" and she can kill her husband. Oh, so that's OK then.
- Martin, Newmarket, Suffolk, 29/7/2008 5:24
Ever done a stretch for manslaughter, Martin? Nor have I, but I doubt you'd think that was 'OK' if you had.
I agree that victims of domestic crime need to be protected, but why should "victims of domestic crime" apply only to women? It seems Harriet Harman really hates men.
- Liz, Hannover, Germany, 29/7/2008 6:50
Aargh! For FUCK'S SAKE you stupid fucking idiots. It DOESN'T apply to women only. Can't you THINK for yourselves, you brainless fucking chimps? Can't you think with your brains rather than having James Slack pump shit down your throat like Vincent Price stuffing Robert Morley's pet dogs down his neck in Theatre of Blood? Can't you just for once in your tiny, pathetic little lives think to yourselves that maybe the cunting Daily Fucking Hate Fucking Mail isn't the fucking Delphus Oracle about everything in the world, particularly when James Twatting Cuntwad Slack is writing the article, and that possibly, just possibly, you might like to try and read another news source to see if what you've read is true, rather than simply reading the utter slew of bullshit that's there and saying "Oh my god, you couldn'tmakeitup, Littlejohn's right, we're going to hell in a handcart, NuLab hates everyone, isn't the world awful and the liberal fascists are in control, killing our babies and burning us to death just because they hate us"? Couldn't you just do that, for once, please? Just read some other fucking piece of shit rather than the Mail? Even the Sun - yes, the fucking Sun, who are like a tag-nut of toilet paper dangling from a pubic hair on Satan's very own anus - have managed to cover this cunting story with a bit more consideration and an intelligent approach. Even they - loath though they are to say or do anything that might be construed as liberal - can understand that there are complex stories behind each and every case, yet you, a fucking moron who probably thinks the Mail is a bit more highbrow than the Sun, has failed to grasp it, and would rather be drip-fed bullshit from the stinking orifice of James Slack than ever do the hard work to Google some fucking thing and find out whether it's really true or not. Sometimes I think you cunts enjoy being upset and that you'd be disappointed if you looked things up and found out you'd been lied to; you wouldn't be upset with the Mail, oh no, you'd be upset with yourselves for having had your one solitary pleasure in life - the pleasure of fear that comes with reading another bullshit scare-story in the Mail - taken away from you. Motherfuckers. Why can't you just fucking think for your fucking selves for once in your tiny lives? Yes, he said wives but guess what, it's not just wives, but you're too fucking stupid or wilfully ignorant to be able to work that out. You utter, utter, worthless fucking cunts. You're the dregs. The fucking dregs of humanity! If only we were going to hell in a handcart - if only! It'd be the best fucking place for all of you.
Ah. Well I appear not to have been able to have completed this entry without swearing. It was a close-run thing, but I just seemed to crack a little bit at the end. Anyway, there you are. Not just wives. Though of course it said 'wives'. Easy mistake to make.
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