Tuesday 20 February 2018

Matthew Falder - tip of the iceberg, or one off?

The crimes of Matthew Falder make pretty grim reading, and my heart goes out to his victims.  Mostly, because they lacked the confidence and self esteem to tell him to F. off.  The words of my 'mad as a box of frogs' mother, words that have served me well throughout my life.  Some people only understand those two words, she told me, much to my chagrin, as having the gift of the gab, I was certain I could talk them round.  But she was right.  If you  are watching mum, yeh, you win, lol. 
Before the complaints flood in, I know this is not a subject for joviality, but now that I have your attention, if I had my way, I would have assertiveness on the school curriculum, because we have generation after generation of working class kids being indoctrinated to obey without question.  The levels of confidence between public school kids and state school kids is profound.  Public school kids are educated to be leaders. State school kids are educated to be led. 
Forgive my little rant there, but I am using my blog to send a message to anyone vulnerable out there that, they don't have to put up with abuse or blackmail. So many people just need a nudge, a few kind words, or intensive counselling, in order to value and appreciate themselves enough to say no.  That sadly, is a symptom of our selfish, uncaring society. We are loathe to give praise or take a few moments of our time to make anyone else feel good about themselves.  It's as if we have a limited amount of sweetness and light, so we must ration it. 
But let's get back to Matthew Falder.  I'm not nearly as excited as those spamming my inbox.  Is he typical of the 750,000?  I'd say not.  For one thing, he was an academic and a computer whizz kid, so that's got to rule out at least half of them.  He was not atypical of a predator, he didn't exhibit any of the traits criminal profilers would expect, which is why he was able to operate undetected for so long.  Kudos to the police by the way, for tracking him down, it was a difficult job, but they got the creep.
It is easy to stir up fear and hysteria when a monster is uncovered, but we have to remind ourselves that he is a freak of nature and not typical of everyone around us.  Unfortunately, governments and those with agendas, use the aftermath of an horrendous crime to introduce draconian laws that affect the freedom of all of us and would have been useless to detect the latest maniac before he committed his crimes anyway.  
Realistically, what are the chances that the Paedophile Hunters or Jim Gamble's Citizens Army would have tracked him down?  Answer.  None, and they didn't.  He was caught by the police with the full resources of the Law (international) behind them. 
Just to be clear I have never said that random crimes don't happen.  They do, and they make front pages, but they are so few, most of us can name the tragic victims.  The arrest of Falder doesn't mean there are still 749,999 to go.  There are no precedents for monsters of his calibre, just as there are no precedents for the Wests and Fritzle.  Heinous crimes don't run to a formula, each is unique. That's why putting three quarters of a million into a category is ridiculous.  If there were a scale, some would be at the bottom, most would be in the middle, but only one in millions would fly off the scale as Falder has.  Which throws up another anomaly. The police are clearly willing and able to pursue these monsters, so why are headlines like these so rare? 
Turning to the 'Art' argument.  The case of Matthew Falder demolishes the previous debate, because Falder pretended to be an Artist. Well that's it then, shut every art gallery and library, until every artist and writer has been vetted.  And just for good measure, perhaps all art students should be given a CRB check before being allowed to pick up a paintbrush. The images were clearly distinguishable as illegal.  Well, deh, he was the creator of them, the director, producer and blackmailer.  He wasn't purchasing the work of others he was doing it himself, albeit vicariously through the internet. 
Those screaming for censorship grab onto any ship that passes, the more heinous and the more salacious the crime the more outrage they can stir up.  And they always attack the arts, as they see it as the root of all evil.  Every generation of concerned citizens will claim 'this time it's different'. 'these crimes are more horrendous than anything that has gone before'.  But it isn't.  Those trying to connect Falder's monstrous crimes to the art debate, are clutching at the flimsiest of straws.  Falder was highly educated and manipulative.  The cyber Hannibal Lector, he knew exactly how to prey on people's weaknesses.  He posed as an artist, because it is the logical thing to do if you want people to undress and pose. And being an academic, it is more classy than photographer or amateur movie maker.
This case has nothing to do with the Arts, or the freedom of everyone to use the internet, but it will undoubtedly kick off calls for clampdowns on our freedoms and more funding for paedophile hunters.  I practice the philosophy of 'cold light of day'.  That is, I try never to react in the heat of the moment, or reach conclusions while feeling highly emotive, those are the times that we are at our most irrational.  Sadly, some use the shock and horror to rush in new legislation, usually those with a finger in the pie.  Unfortunately, so many have cried 'Wolf' so often, we are being completely misled as to the real dangers. 
For safety's sake, please all parents, lavish your children with praise and attention, they might not want to talk to you, but they will listen if you say nice things about them.  The best gift you can give your child is confidence.  It's like a suit of armour that will protect them for life. Don't scold them for what they have done wrong, praise them for what they do right.  'Any child who is loved enough will not grow up to a be a criminal' (unknown).  To that I would add, 'any child who is loved enough will not grow up to be a victim'.  Mummy tigers teach their cubs to know when to run, hide or fight back, we should teach our 'cubs' the same from the very start.  Self confidence is their best form of protection. Even in our civilised society, predators target the weakest and most vulnerable.  We can never rid the world of predators, but we can ensure that those we love are equipped with all the self esteem, knowledge and skills they need to fend them off.   
And toughening them up, shouldn't just apply to our kids, it should apply to our friends, our neighbours, the stranger who just sat next to us on a park bench and spilled our their life story.  Falden didn't just target kids, he targeted those who were vulnerable.  And many of us are vulnerable at many times of our lives, that's why kind words mean so much.

Finally, I accept there is a dark web, lol, I put the urban legend thing in as a wind up, I felt you lot were running out of material for your proverbial kicking. I also wanted to draw out how many were familiar with it and, err why? Tbh, I'm getting a bit bored with this subject, and might move onto something less controversial, like drugs or the #MeToo campaign. 

Tuesday 13 February 2018


Just to let friends and followers know, my AOL email account was hacked, an I can no longer access it.  Ditto my Facebook page.  If you want to contact me, please email me at Rosalindahutton@gmail.com.

In response to a post on my last blog and the twitter spat between Jim Gamble and 95 year old Harry Leslie Smith (@Harrylaststand). I would just like to point out that I have followed the amazing Harry for a long time.  When he talks, I listen.  He has 95 years of accumulated wisdom and he is in full possession of his marbles.  The man has as much compassion for the human race as his dear friend Jeremy Corbyn, though Lord knows why after all the horrors he has lived through.  Mark his words well, he IS the Warning from History. And besides,  not everything is about GM and KM.  
Of course it is ridiculous to keep ploughing money into this seemingly bottomless pit.  Millions are being spent on, effectively, one child, while so many children desperately need help.  And bless him, he is doing a tour of the Refugee Camps and bringing awareness to their plight. I'm not as old as Harry, but I have never seen the UK in such a terrible state before.  Doesn't Theresa May feel any shame when she meets with other World leaders?  Does she smile and say 'yeh, I ran the country into the ground'.  Doesn't she cringe that she is dragging the UK back, not only to the last century, but to the one before!  How does she sleep knowing that kids are going to bed hungry?  Look around you all those jumping to the defence of ploughing more money into Operation Grange, do you not see the suffering - everywhere?
I was a child of the Sixties, looking back now, a fortunate beneficiary of all the progress made by the Attlee government in the 1940's.  I didn't know it then, but I can see now, what a huge period of growth and prosperity followed.  Even under the (seemingly) grumpy old 'Arold Wilson, England swung like a pendulum do.  Food banks were unheard of.  Now they are on every high street.  Had my father lived, the shock of what's happened to the UK would have killed him. 
As for Jim Gamble, of course he still supports Gerry and Kate, he is one of the main factors in the original investigation being taken off course.  He admits as much in his statement given to Sky TV when they were on a troll hunt where someone actually died.  He refers to the interference of the British police agencies.  CEOP of course, was one of those agencies.  As Head, I think, he wanted to turn CEOP into his own personal quango, a police agency to target pre-crime, that is rounding up all those who are 'likely' to commit a heinous crime, 750,000 of them apparently.  Blair, who was turning into a dictator and literally starting wars could have done much with a police agency like that. 
What reason did CEOP have for getting involved in the Madeleine case?  Child Exploitation and Online Protection - what part of that title relates to a small child going missing abroad?  At 3, Madeleine wasn't being exploited online and searching the vicinity was the immediate need.  JG is more of a computer guy, he has really taken to new technology, and seems to think that is the future of policing. 
I think he and Gerry wanted to replicate the US National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children, that receives billions of dollars each from the US government and even have their own TV show. The host is John Walsh, who's own small son was kidnapped and killed in 1984, and has been actively campaigning every since.  Perhaps Gerry saw himself as the UK equivalent.  Following Madeleine's disappearance, and the 'inadequate' police response, Jim Gamble iirc wanted a National/International task force who could step in every time a (British) child went missing abroad. However, that should be moot now, because there hasn't been another in 11 years.
Of course, none of that would be possible if the parents of Madeleine were involved in her disappearance.  Madeleine was the driving force behind all the new ideas and initiatives - in a nutshell an abduction was boosting everyone's coffers - the police agencies, all the politicians, journalists, celebrities et al, who jumped on the popular bandwagon, and of course the Media. Not thinking badly of the child's parents, was a sign of good character and a compassionate nature. Being suspicious of them 'revealed' the inner chav, the hidden spite. Hater was added to the lexicon to describe those without the good grace to give Gerry and Kate the benefit of the doubt.

Harry is right.  And by heaven he has guts.  No politician dare question the cost, no newspaper columnist or any even any media mogul, because you are still judged as a mean person if you don't believe Gerry and Kate.  Harry doesn't say either way, he is questioning the costs.  And the costs should be questioned.  Who can name any other missing child, or even missing person investigation being funded with £12m for 7 years, without any questions being asked?  Well questions are being asked, but only by the certifiable in the cesspit and those of us crazy enough to put principles before pay.  Not only are we pounced on with great vengeance and furious anger, but we will never get paid work.  And for all those who are regular readers and who enjoy my blog, please consider a small donation, I am typing by candlelight. 
That's why the 'big' names don't comment.  They too are pounced on immediately if they criticise the McCanns, and the backlash is too much.  They even got the usually fearless Sharon Osborne to back track.  And I don't think it's just trolls, I think quiet words are spoken directly into the ear.  Didn't John Redwood, Tory MP,  write an unfortunate blog, and then quiet on the subject thereafter.  Ditto George Galloway, though as a far superior orator, he at least came out with the far more memorable 'mother of all injustices, before he too backed off.  In this case, Jim Gamble himself stepped in, not with one of his usual ferocious attacks, but with his friendly policeman's back off voice. I do hope Harry wasn't perturbed, he didn't seem to be.


Thursday 8 February 2018


Reading Dr. Bonn's article on Moral Panic, reminds me of that moment as a mature student when I found out Ben Hur was a gay film!  Ditto Spartacus and pretty much every sword and sandals film.  Now I have absolutely no problem with it being a gay film, and spotting the titillating lines of Truman Capote make it all the more delicious, but it was a lightbulb moment, an awakening.  And also a great big 'where the hell have I been most of my life?

I make no secret of the fact that I spent my early years as a snooty Dallas extra wannabe looking down on those who didn't work as hard as I did and saying 'ears ears' to Maggie Thatcher simply because she was a woman!  A fling with a trade unionist put me right on most issues, but Germaine's 'Female Eunich' sealed the deal.   I was then a feminist and a Marxist, but pretty enough that the tory men I dated found it cute. Now, not so much, lol. 

I didn't go into higher education until my late 30's, and of course I knew it all (a character flaw).  But I didn't, and I was for a short period of time, truly alarmed at how little I knew!  I was fortunate to have an equally mature compatriot (luv you Sue!) doing the same course by my side, and six months in,  it hit us.  There was no turning back.  Since then I keep finding doors that I have not yet opened and I have to kick myself and say doh!  My own blog, happily, has been one of those doors to enlightenment, that continues to throw up  new and alternate ways of thinking, it is as much an education for me as I hope it is for my readers.

Please forgive the anecdotal stuff, I know how much it winds some readers up, but for most I hope, the subtext gets through.  For some people they reach an age or stage, where they think they know everything, or that is the way they want to be seen by everyone around them.  They think admitting you did not know something is a character flaw.  People like Bennett, Richard Hall and Jim Gamble would never say the words 'well, I did not know that'.  Funnily enough, I like to be proved wrong, I like to be persuaded to look at issues from a different perspective, I'm in awe at the intellect of anyone who has been able to change my mind.  I can actually pinpoint the exact moment I went from tory to socialist, thank you Keith Waterhouse.

I'm trying to explain, not very well, that it is OK to acknowledge you were wrong, that the belief system you were indoctrinated with from childhood might not be the only way.  It's like that moment when Nietzsche's words 'God is dead, there is no God' suddenly hit you, and you begin to understand the meaning of life in a way that you never did before.

I hope by now, those following the last discussion have now read and digested the Dr. Scott Bonn's 'Moral Panic: Who Benefits' article, because it so skilfully and articulately outlines exactly what happened in the Madeleine MCann case. 

However, since the extraordinarily enlightening article of Professor Scott Bonn, those shrieking 'think of the children' have gone abnormally quiet.  The introduction of this article, preceded by the artistically insightful post by Bjorn, has I hope made some of the more moderate 'child defenders' have a rethink as to exactly what it is they are defending.
Unlike many professors, Dr. Bonn explains the phenomenon of Moral Panic in a way that we can all easily understand.  It is of course a concept that should be familiar to every criminologist and every journalist, but they are among the groups that benefit from it, so they play along.
'Moral panic has been defined as a situation in which public fears and state interventions greatly exceed the objective threat posed to society by a particular individual or group who is/are claimed to be responsible for creating the threat in the first place'.
Clarence Mitchell it could be said, was a grandmaster at creating a Moral Panic, 11 years on and the disappearance of Madeleine McCann is still newsworthy.  But the crown should of course go to Jim Gamble, who appears  regularly on television to frighten children, and pile more stress and paranoia on their already fear ridden parents.  There are 700,000 or is it 750,000 potential child molesters in our midst.  All triggered by the sight of naked children or children in their underwear, cartoons and potentially renaissance paintings and sculptures.  They are ordinary people apparently, teachers, police, GPs, writers, etc, all waiting in the wings to  groom a child online and meet them in a car park. 
The disappearance of Madeleine McCann brought the subject of paedophilia to the front of the news.  Parents all over the world now had the added fear that their babies could literally be stolen from their beds.  If it could happen to responsible parents like Kate and Gerry, it could happen to you.  And Madeleine was an appealing toddler, a poster child, who raised awareness for missing peoples charities and those who would seek out and destroy all these hundreds of thousands of perverts in our midst.
For me, one of the saddest aspects of the whole fiasco is the effect these 'scares' have on young parents, as if they didn't have enough to worry about.  Kids now have NO freedom.  They can't go out and make friends not chosen by their parents, and they can't do all the things my generation did, like play out from morning til night.  They will live shorter lives than we will, because their parents think they are safer in front of a PC screen with a pizza. 
It was strange to see two Doctors,  contributing so wholeheartedly to spreading the fear, by exaggerating the risks and extent of the problem by teaming up with Jim Gamble and Mark Williams-Thomas, both media consultants and experts in CSA and both benefiting from the public's belief that paedophiles are all around us. 
As Dr. Bonn explains, the Media are complicit in spreading the fear because they need sensational news to attract readers, viewers and advertisers.  Jim Gamble can be relied on to present the kind of statistics that should grab headlines, but for some reason, rarely do.  The interview he gave with 'Alex' paedophile hunter sat beside him on Good Morning TV was quite bizarre.  He was still selling his idea of a 'Citizens Army' to combat paedophiles online as if the problem were urgent and endemic.  If it is urgent and endemic, shouldn't the first port of call be the children and their parents.  Ie. Telling them what to look out for and how to stay safe?  It is the parents' job to keep their children safe, not child protection officers.  And to all those who gasp at 'Alex's' stories of paedophiles chatting to 9 year olds.  Stop and think for a moment.  Who, if anyone, lets their 9 year old chat to strangers on the net?  Unfortunately, whenever the 'P' word is mentioned, common sense leaves the building.
But let's return to Madeleine, and another way in which her disappearance has been used to create Moral Panic.  This time, trolls on the net.  The lawlessness of the worldwide web gives anyone the freedom to say pretty much anything they like.  Old legislation doesn't work in the cyber age, and secrets cannot remain secret.  Trolls became the new Folk Devils.  Especially those trolls who targeted the parents of Madeleine McCann, whose supporters helpfully, kept a record of every insult they received going back several years.  The case for the prosecution was ready. 
Except, it didn't go to plan.  The target troll was a nice middle aged lady, who was driven to suicide by the sheer horror of what was done to her.  The public were outraged.  Brenda Leyland wasn't a folk devil, she was an ordinary woman, and she could have been any one of them.  Unfortunately, that took the 'trolls are now public enemy No. 1' cause back a few years.  If the harmless Brenda was the face of 'trolls', we could all breathe a huge sigh of relief. 

Gerry and Kate have been actively involved in several situations that create moral panic.  The Algarve is full of paedophiles, child trafficking is prolific (need for harsher border controls), Hacking and calls for new legislation to control the media, internet trolls and calls for harsher laws to imprison them.  They should, by now, be completely aware of what they doing, even if they don't know there is a name for it.  Do they ever wonder about the knock on effects of the fear they stir up? 

They exaggerated the problem of paedophiles whilst campaigning to find Madeleine, how many innocent men were targeted and had their names attached to the child's disappearance?  They exaggerated the problem of internet trolls.  An innocent woman died.  Yes, they have been the subject of discussion more than most victims of crime, but hey, for good reason.  No cause has been discovered for their daughter's disappearance.  I have been a member of many groups, but even as mad as some of them are, there has never been any physical threat towards the family.  Bennett went close with his pamphlet thing and should have been locked up, but by now they  [the McCanns] should be aware that even the raving loons who stalk them online, including a few of their own followers, are cowardly inadequates who will never come near them

Of course it could be that the McCanns too were duped.  Unaware that their plight was being used to usher in new paedophile laws and initiatives to convince the public we need a specially trained branch of law enforcement to police the internet.  Amber alert of course, was all about border controls and calls for all new born babies to have their DNA stored, the beginnings of New Labour's ultimate dream to have a national database on every citizen.  And  what better way to promote that than to plant the idea that babies and young children are in constant danger of being stolen.    

Hacked Off of course was a direct attack on the media.  For a while there the UK went nuts, journalists became the folk devils and all those with lots to hide could breath a big sigh of relief.  I've never been able to figure out why Gerry and Kate went to battle against the media, but I suspect they hoped to regain public sympathy, and perhaps financial reward.  I didn't watch their entire testimonies to Leveson, but I raised an eyebrow when Gerry said they should be paid every time the tabloids used their images as they [the tabloids] were profiting from them.  It was as if you could literally see him gnawing away at the hand that was feeding him. 

In any event, I don't think the McCanns profited or won any new friends with their involvement in the Leveson Inquiry, more likely, they lost a lot of old ones.  But Hacked Off is a good example of a Moral Panic having run it's course.   When all those demonising the press thought about what they were doing, in the cold light of day, they probably (hopefully) realised the stupidity of demanding the free press be censored.  The MSM are now in turmoil, not because of privacy laws, but because they now face so much competition.  Why would followers of a topic bother with heavily censored and blatantly biased reporting, when there are blogs and websites that will tell them the truth? (such as moi :)

The Madeleine case too, has run it's course, that is, its' ability to stir up extreme emotion.  All those fears that the Algarve is filled with paedophiles and child predators have not panned out.  No other child has gone missing, no child traffickers have been uncovered and no stolen children have been rescued.   Happily most of the fears born out of Madeleine's disappearance haven't come to pass, and we can look back with hindsight and understand how most of them were based on the hysteria that existed at the time.  We were led to believe that every cherubic toddler was at risk.  Totally untrue of course, most missing kids are spotty, belligerent teens, not nearly so photogenic as Madeleine.

It could of course blow up again, because the governments of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown were compromised.    Of course Blair and Brown could simply say their orders were 'give them [the McCanns] all the help they need'  and that 'legally' was implied.  They can blame the minions for misinterpreting their instructions.  But in any event, should the full details of this case ever be revealed, they will include top ministers and police chiefs.  All of whom will have to admit they were completely taken in by the abduction story.  Oops for them, and even bigger Oops for those experts in the field, Jim Gamble and Mark Williams-Thomas.  How do these crime experts explain how they couldn't see what thousands of amateurs online have seen for years?