Tag Archives: current-events

Liberal = incontinent


(access to) pornography has changed the landscape of adolescence beyond all recognition

I don’t quite buy that. The (intellectual) stumbling block I’ve always found with critics – mainstream critics, that is – of porn is the notion that it depraves and corrupts. I’ve read/viewed enough porn over my (near) 42 years to realise that it fairly represents my sexuality. Nonetheless, I’ve never felt license to violate human bodies to the extent that the GP in the above article describes. And what is this thing with anal sex anyway…

‘…in-vaginal ejaculation is so novel it occupies its own, minority-interest ‘kink’ category (‘creampie‘, if you’re interested): the converse ubiquity of ejaculation on faces and/or breasts (as far as possible from the vagina, note) and anal sex‘.

Male sexuality is a very simple thing. We find an opening; we insert; we thrust unto orgasm. That’s pretty much the definition of male. Which is not to say we’re not capable of more, or different, simply that this underlies more and different: fires it, motivates it. We simply have to choose better: to choose ways of expressing our sexuality that are less damaging; or not damaging at all.We need to reject the – currently trending – mode of liberalism that promotes ‘anything goes’; that damages both our bodies and our partners’ bodies; our minds and theirs.

Please share this post, or the above article. When we’re hurting others, and diminishing ourselves just to feel/be ‘normal something’s gone badly awry.

We need to choose better, because we can…




What my cat taught me about gender… (from medium.com)

Little if anything, it seems… Hee hee.

‘Lolita, my 16 year-old female cat, emerged from her kitty litter box with a penis.’ On the basis of which you assign her male?

Your cat has a penis ∴ your cat is male. ARRGH! Fucking bigot! How do you know this? Have you not stopped to entertain the possibility that this is the fabled lady-penis? Later in your article you clain to have learned that ‘…gender (is) experienced from within — it’s not something you can (or should) identify from the outside…’ And surely you’re aware most MtF trans folks have intact male genitals? Party line says this is a class issue, that the surgery is prohibitively expensive for most. It is a class issue as it happens; more in the sense that the penis is both symbol and instrument of class oppression (and more fun than a stress ball to knead in times of dysphoria, boredom, horniness…).

Hell, you even go on to say ‘Mr. Lolita, as far as we know, doesn’t have a gender identity. He just has a sex: male.’ As far as you know? You’ve not bothered to take evening classes in cat tongue that you might be able to have the conversation? He/She/Zie/Hir/Miaow might identify as a dog, a wombat or a Russian space station for all you know! Good Lord!

‘Others that met Lolita, would use words like “diva” and “bitch” to describe his personality (“bitch” seems harsh, but he could get a bit hissy with strangers; especially female strangers, if that means anything)…’

Yep, it means they’re (and you’re) sexist. Cos only females get ‘hissy’ with females, right? Never males, no Siree. Male divas? What a ridiculous idea. Jeremy Clarkson, Rob Downey Jr and the drum tutor in Whiplash would be falling over themselves to be the first to scoff at such a suggestion. And you realise a bitch is a female DOG, right? How d’you think Lolita feels about being mis-specied? (assuming that he/she/zie/hir/Lord/Lady/Dr/Pope/Emperor does in fact identify as a cat; and let’s not even get started on race: looks kinda like a long-haired Burmese, but that doesn’t mean a thing: might be thinking in Siamese or Sphynx). How damned inconsiderate of his former owners not to dye his fur blue and teach him to carry an identity card…

And you don’t own him. He owns you. If you’d taken that evening class you’d understand ‘Fuck you! Just feed me! And none of that fucking Iams sawdust! No? Iams it is. Another fucking eviscerated, half-dead mouse on your pillow tomorrow morning, sonny boy.’ when you heard it.

And ‘Lolita‘. Lolita?! ‘Nuff said.

Oh, and the barista thing…

‘…Not only was this formerly female classmate of mine now a male, but — by all appearances — he was a gay male working at a gay coffee shop. (I would later see him out with other gay male friends at a gay bar.)…’ So you assumed he was gay because he appeared gay. Like you assumed your cat was female cos ‘her‘ name was ‘princess‘; and now assume he’s male cos he has a penis? Sheesh! Aand a gay coffee shop? WTF does that even mean? That they only serve super-skinny caramel lattes with rainbow sprinkles? Be sure to wipe the seat before you sit down, then; wouldn’t want you to catch anything nasty, now.

And you know, ‘formerly female’ but now a male? Either he was always male (wrong body yada yada, unlike the 99% of cis-sy folks who just love their perfect physiques) or is still (biologically) female but has busted out of the prison of ‘assignment’ in a cloud of rainbow-coloured confetti) and now identifies as male. Even the most batshit crazy MRA transjacktivist types seem to grasp that a person can’t actually change sex. Though to be fair, any kind of concensus amongst professionals and lobbyists looks to be a ways off.

You got one thing right, though; about gender and sexuality being socially constructed. Who knew?

The elephant


The circumstances around the death of Reeva Steenkamp are shot thru with bitter irony: she was known, amongst other things for her staunch opposition to violence against women and an advocate for self-empowerment. Shortly before her tragic demise, she Tweeted:


In response to South African public outrage over the brutal rape and murder of a 17-year-old: “I woke up in a happy safe home this morning. Not everyone did. Speak out against the rape of individuals in SA (South Africa). RIP Anene Booysen #rape #crime #sayNO.”

On St Valentine’s Day morning Steenkamp had been scheduled to give a motivational speech to school students in Johannesburg. “It was about empowerment and inspiration and what inspires you and how to follow your dreams,” a day that “…should be a day of love for everyone.”

For her, the ‘day of love’, and her life, ended around 4am when she was shot and fatally wounded in a home that, as it turned out wasn’t so ‘happy and safe’. As tragic as that is, the overarching tragedy is that many thousands more incidents of domestic violence, many fatal, never make the news. Despite being an accomplished and respected career woman in her own right, in death she is in danger of being reduced to an appendix to her partner, and killer, Oscar Pistorius. In human terms, his and her ‘celebrity’ changes nothing: a death is a death. But some deaths are more ‘newsworthy’ than others, a fact reflected by the byzantine speculations around cause and effect in the media:

”Roid rage’: why does our desire to triumph blind us to the dangerous side-effects of synthetic androgens?

South African gun culture and the racial divide: why is it “… inconceivable that a hero to so many millions of people would do such a thing.”

And most ludicrous of all, ‘sportsman’s instinct’ (though one can scarcely blame Pistorius‘ father in his attempt to come to terms with the family tragedy)

The simpler explanation is in danger – as so often the case – of getting lost in the mix: Oscar Pistorius is a man. The sad and terrible truth is that we, men, are responsible for the vast majority of crimes, especially crimes of violence. This is not to dismiss the possible significance of Pistorius‘ alleged-steroid use, or of gun-culture; rather to state that whether one is considering the privileged socialization of males, or a much-mooted biological predispostion towards violence, his sex/gender is undoubtedly a factor. Women do employ violence – a fact I can vouch for, having been on the receiving end – but inarguably less frequently towards men, and rarely with such ‘extreme predjudice’. Male violence is such a given, it’s rarely considered remarkable. We rape, we murder, we prosecute wars…

Stories like Savile, and Singh-Pandey, picked up and carried around the world via Twitter remind us that every victim matters, and the public cry of outrage over the latter is heartening: every death, every rape, every beating is deserving of this level of protest. It rarely happens. And in the meantime, the bloodbath continues


The ‘y’ chromosome.

The elephant in the room.

Three Tools


I’ve been concentrating on the political strand of my blog lately, to the detriment of my rock’n’roll persusions. I don’t apologise for that: media stories have been cropping up that have rightly grabbed my attention: I’ve been saddened and angered by by knee-jerk, bigoted responses to timely and perceptive social commentary by Suzanne Moore; and conversely felt psychically-restored by displays of public anger over the Jyoti Singh Pandey rape incident in Delhi: in a world where violence is normalized it’s good to be reminded that people (as Faith No More once sung) care a lot.

So today let there be rock… with a little bit of politics.

Tool were part of the ’90s alternative rock movement in the US – which included the likes of Nirvana, Hole, L7 and Rage Against The Machine – in Amerika. They attempted to kick back against the then-prevalent tide of cock-rock by embracing Feminism, and rejecting racism, homophobia and corporate politics along with the recognizable ‘rock star’ look.

Artistically, they embraced a range of diverse influences including Metal; Prog Rock (notably King Crimson); Punk; anti-capitalism; expressionist theatre and mysticism to create a brand which remains unique in the annals of US hard rock. Singer and lyricist, Maynard James Keenan is, in my mind, one of the all-time great rock vocalists; able to communicate pathos and anger; tenderness and disgust and often in the same song.

Despite Keenan having contributed to some worthy musical endeavors under the Puscifer and A Perfect Circle appelations, I’m personally itching for some new Tool (fnarr, fnarr) and persistent rumors suggest new material is on the way, albeit slowly…

The Pot and Hooker With a Penis are songs about hypocrisy; Wings for Marie/10,000 Days is both tribute and lament, inspired by Keenan‘s mother who died in 2003 after a prolonged illness. It’s one of my all time favourite songs by anyone: Keenan‘s puts in his best ever vocal performances and I choke up every time I hear it.

So enjoy…

State of denial


And the revelations continue. Today, comic Jim Davidson is identified as the latest in a succession of celebrities to be questioned as part of the ongoing Yewtree investigation into the culture of sexual crime and misdemeanor within the media.

Like Max Clifford‘s ‘…birth certificate…’ interview, Davidson‘s blog comments (apparently now deleted, see extract below) could be read as a cynical disclaimer in advance of his impending questioning. Was he one of the ‘dirty dozen’ who contacted Clifford? Did he know he was in the firing line? Pure speculation, of course…


‘The Jimmy Savile witch hunt is going a bit silly now. We all are starting to speculate and accuse… even in jest. So no I don’t know who’s next. Well, if I was in the pub with the lads it would be a different story.

‘Everyone has had the nod. Everyone is now an expert. Just pick someone you don’t like and say it’s them. So I’ll be the first one to knock it on the head and belt up. How’s about that then?’


‘Front page eh?……Well I was only stating the obvious (Jim’s Newspaper). It just goes to show how much interest this Saville (sic) thing is having. I read a thing today (in The Express) some one saw Jimmy Saville (sic) pinch some girl’s bum . Apparently that is a sexual assault. Where will all this end. As odd as he was, Saville (sic) can’t defend himself.The bloke’s dead for Godsake (sic).

‘Let’s move on and get some important stories in the paper. I haven’t heard anything about Jordan lately. What’s happened?

‘Fund raising for the British Forces foundation tonight. Monday sees me, Bobby Davro, Claire Sweeny and Mike Osman off to entertain the Navy on HMS Dauntless.

‘Spare a thought today for the two British troops KIA. There’s news.

‘Oh and do I really know who the next exposed pervert is?….well, have a guess,because that’s what the press are doing,that’s what we’re all doing!’


‘How come the BBC can make a program blaming the BBC?

‘It’s like having yourself arrested and then being your own prosecuting barrister!

‘The BBC has finaly (sic) gone mental. This hot bed of leftyness has asked itself the question: “Should we have known?” The answer is yes. We all knew didn’t we?

‘A bloke who’s a loner dresses and acts like a nonce and thinks he is the most important person in the world. Hmmm. I knew… and didn’t do anything. Mind you I had no proof. To me he was just another pervert.

‘There are lots of them in Showbiz. There seems to be more gay ones than straight, but that’s because there are probably more gays in showbiz than most professions.

‘Who’s next to be the victim of a media feeding frenzy? I have the answer to that but like Jimmy Savile it’s only rumours… but when these rumours come out… WOW!’

In the comments section from the DM article, ‘Tenerifediver’ added:

‘This overblown witch hunt is a publicity manoeuvre to divert attention from the Asian paedophile gangs. They are alive and active NOW, and are far greater threat. But they’re not so easy to catch or to prosecute are they? … The Asian paedophile gangs have the Human Rights bill to protect them and the spineless lawmakers who allow it to continue. No. Go for dead people! They have no defense (even if they were guilty)…’

 Talk of ‘witch hunts’ and ‘publicity manoevres’ has its consequences, though: it serves to dilute in the public mind, the severity of the implications of the proliferation and sheer mundanity of sexual violence in our societies; and Davidson‘s remarks and Tenerifediver’s message board comments exemplify perfectly most of our misconceptions around violence in general and sex abuse in particular
  • violence/sex abuse are exceptional – far from the truth: under a system of hierarchy violence is inevitable, and the circumstances under which it is condoned are largely a matter of political expediency.
  • specific allegations against – purportedly – ‘soft’ targets are part of a campaign of misdirection from ‘real’ culprits – again, misleading: ‘tip of an iceberg’ would be accurate. One of my major concerns from the outset – the surfacing of allegations against Savile in the wake of his death – was finger-pointing towards specific organizations (e.g. the BBC) at the expense of recognizing (sexual) violence as an inherent feature of hierarchy/patriarchy. The distinction to be made – if any – between ‘legitimate’ violence as perpetrated by soldiers in the ‘theatre of war’ (telling phrase) or by parents under the aegis of ‘discipline’, and ‘abuse’ is, at best, a murky one. Patriarchy inheres a parent/child relationship model between state/authorities and population which tacitly legitimizes a significant proportion of violence in interpersonal/intercultural/inter-class situations (and I admit Dworkin‘s definition of women as a class unto themselves).
  • That the outing of offenders is part of a left wing agenda – if exposing an undercurrent of violence in society is on anyone’s agenda, it’s a feminist one: historically, the left and right demonstrate much of a muchness in their adherence to the patriarchy/hierarchy which gives rise to conflict and abuse.
  • the conflating of gender and race – history is littered with examples of attempts to tie the tendency towards violence onto genes specific to certain ethnic groups. This is troubling and misleading on two counts: that such pronouncements are almost without exception made by majority/oppressor populations against minority/oppressed populations, and, that it locates the cause of violence primarily in nature when, in fact, nurture is overwhelmingly causal. This has implications in gender terms, as well as racial ones. Taboos around violence perpetrated not only against, but also by women remain hugely problematic in today’s societies, as well as historically. Women do commit acts of violence – though to date no women have been implicated in the Yewtree investigation – and find themselves judged not only by the ‘normal’ standards applied to male offenders but additionally as contravenors of ‘natural law’ in societies terms. Patriarchy shafts us all (too often literally) but some more than others.
  • The spurious correlation between homosexuality and sexual abuse – read Guy Kettelhack‘s insightful Dancing Around The Volcano to hear how the Gay community is coming to terms with with ‘deviant’ sexuality (arguably better than their straight counterparts) and foreground the fact that 95% of sexaual violence is male on female, like this
  • perpetuation of the notion of an arbitrary ‘line’ between acceptable behaviour and abuse – of course, no-one would pretend that bum-pinching=rape, or that sexist ‘jokes’ or comments are equivalent to financial sex-discrimination, but – and it’s a big but – they all sit on a continuum of attitudes and behaviours that characterize an inherently unjust, undemocratic society and culture. It was telling that Jamie Kilstein’s ‘rape jokes’ drew abuse from sexist men and approbation from feminists – we all know what’s going on and too many of us would rather it was kept quiet. A sense of entitlement is bred into males and milking that to the max is the gold-standard for climbing the ladder: this certainly appears to be the case with Savile who ascended to ‘untouchable’ status within a plethora of organizations. Who on God‘s earth would think it reasonable having a pop DJ on the board for Broadmoor? If there’s a better example of the failings of the ‘old boys network’ I’ve yet to hear…
What’s becoming clear is that – Yewtree‘s three, Savile, Savile and others and, others categories aside – there are two categories of police witness in the YT investigation: those who allow their names to be published and – in Davidson‘s case, presumably, since he’s yet to issue a formal statement – make public their denial – those who hide behind injunctions. If Harris, and the several thusfar un-named protagonists in the Yewtree investigation are innocent of any wrongdoing they would be well-advised to peek out from behind the curtain of injunction and allow their testimony into the arena of public debate as the likes of Clifford and Starr have done. (Aside: the vast majority of hits on my blog are via search engine terms ‘Rolf Harris‘ + ‘Operation Yewtree’ – none for Clifford/Starr). If they feel they’re being made guilty by implication, or association then let us hear their denial. Harris is, if reports are to be believed suicidal. The fault for this rests with a hierarchy which privately rewards the very abusive, violent and discriminatory behaviour that it purports publicly to find morally repellent. Taboo and fetish are old-accustomed bed-fellows and the ‘high’ inherent in practising taboo behaviour is proportional to the moral indignation and shame of being outed. With such a deep rooted double standard in place is it any wonder men deny allegations of sex crime, well-founded or not. But there’s denial and denial and for all our sakes – especially for our future women and children – we need to know what and who we’re dealing with. If it’s left up to the gossip-mongers, they’ve already been found guilty, whilst our culture walks free and we all lose.

A Bad Call (and Response)


On Thursday before leaving work I played a prank on a colleague…

A little background. He and I, two straight guys, work for an organization that historically has worked with, and within the gay community: as much as I’ve learned about the diversity of the membership of said community, contrary to popular gay stereotypes, there’s a persistent ‘Carry On…’ element within our working environment that on balance, successfully leavens the intrinsic seriousness of the work we do. It renders what might potentially become – and is perhaps inevitably perceived as – unduly morbid, as enjoyable as well as stimulating and psychically rewarding. You can’t beat the clinical environment for gallows humour, vulgar distraction – when you wipe butts, dress wounds and attend to the dying for a living, shock and disgust become relative – and downright silliness. Nowhere else are they more necessary.

It’s one reason (among many) that I love my job and why I’ve dedicated myself to it wholeheartedly for the last ten years.

So when I slipped a gay magazine –  an ’80s softcore porn job that someone had left lying around the office, and which to the modern eye appears more comical than arousing – into my mate’s bag, my main thought was of the inevitable smile that would crease his face when he went to pull out his copy of The Sun for some tit action and copped an eyeful of hairy chests and floppy dicks instead.

It was a silly thing to do, as is the nature of pranks, and in the event he was a little pissed off: not because of the mag itself but because he suspected it of being perpetrated by a different colleague with whom he enjoys a less congenial relationship than with me, and thus misinterpreted its intentions. When he found out I was the culprit – I ‘fessed up the next day during a phone call – he immediately saw the funny side, as I predicted he would. Sadly, as the following story from yesterday’s news shows, sometimes ‘harmless’ pranks can have unintended consequences that are not so easily laughed off:

Tragic death of nurse following 2Day FM stunt

Nurse Jacintha Saldanha, 46, died yesterday in an apparent suicide after she transferred a hoax call from Australian DJs who retrieved sensitive information about Kate Middleton while in hospital

There’s been the predictable, knee jerk condemnation via Twitter, public comments and message boards but is it really fair to blame the DJs? I think not; and I hope not too too much weight will be placed on responses such as (Twitter user) Michael Hird’s ‘I hope you’re happy now.. The receptionist (sic) you rang has COMMITTED SUICIDE! You have blood on your hands now!’

The ‘prank’ and its aftermath are revealing, though, on a number of fronts:

Mental illness remains sadly, seriously misunderstood: nobody with a modicum of knowledge about suicides would believe that the specifics of this situation alone would have led so Saldanha killing herself – supposing that the impending autopsy reveals this to be, indeed, the case. As someone who has grappled with mental health issues both personally and within my social circle I’m well aware that ignorance can prove damaging, and all-too-frequently fatal. Sharing knowledge, connecting sufferers with appropriate support and instilling everybody with a realistic estimation of personal responsibility for our own – and collective – health are key. It’s too early to apportion responsibility – as opposed to blame – for Saldanha‘s death, but one can state with certainty that herself, her family and her employer must shoulder their fair share, before considering 2Day FM‘s role.

The tabloid press, in defiance of possible fallout from Leveson continues to prioritize sensationalism (and sales) over truthful reportage; besides demonstrating a breathtaking lack of insight into its own corporate and civil responsibility . Having interviewed neighbours of Saldanha, the Daily Mail has revealed (and I realise I’m open to accusations of perpetuating similar standards by repeating the details here – but there’s a point to be made)

A neighbour – who said the family have lived in their £130,000 terraced home in Bristol for about eight years – said ‘They’re a lovely family – Ben gives my lad a lift when he goes refereeing at Bristol Rovers with Junal… [s]he must have thought there was no way back, that’s the only thing I can think of.’

Another neighbour (Marianne Homes, 49) said ‘I’ve always known her as the doctor, she was always very smartly dressed… [t]heir son was always really into football, we always saw him with a ball kicking it about with his friends… [s]he was a lovely woman, every time I saw her she would talk to me… I think her kids are secondary school age, she definitely has one boy and one girl.’

Either revealing personal information via the media is acceptable or it isn’t. There’s a facile distinction to be made, I suppose, between information obtained openly (I hesitate to say ‘in good faith’) and under comedic pretense – perfectly lampooned by Chris Morris’ Brass Eye vehicle – but ultimately it serves the same purpose in providing vicarious diversion to a public unhealthily addicted to salacious gossip.  The level and nature of interest – both public and journalistic – directed at The Royals is prurient by any reasonable standards – have we learned nothing from the Diana debacle? The feminization of celebrity, whereby excruciating details of every movement, utterance, wardrobe choice (or malfunction) and bodily function of the rich and famous are assumed to be in the public interest, effectively public property, is a perennial issue and an invasive media is both cause and effect of such. Claiming to be simply ‘following orders’ by capitulating to public demand – a demand the media themselves stoke – is no kind of excuse.

And are the press not irresponsible in announcing her death as suicide prior to an inquest and official announcement providing confirmation? Even if suicide turns out to be the case and, further, one accepts that fear of personal and professional consequences could be shown to be the factor that pushed  Saldanha over the edge, should Greig and Christian be held accountable? As 2Day FM CEO, Rhys Holleran has been quoted as saying:

‘…prank calls as a craft in radio have been going for decades … and are not just part of one radio station or network or country … [n]o-one could have reasonably foreseen what ended up being an incredibly tragic day.’ He added ‘I spoke to both presenters early this morning and it’s fair to say they are completely shattered. ‘These people aren’t machines, they’re human beings. What happened is incredibly tragic and we’re deeply saddened and we’re incredibly affected by that.’ The presenters have been offered counselling by their employer and rightly so – it would be deeply ironic and compound the tragedy if their actions were to rebound on them to similar effect.

I have every sympathy for Saldanha‘s family, friends and colleagues: theirs is a private tragedy that deserves better than to be mined for momentary headlines and ignorant playground-level gossip. I also sympathise with Greig and Christian – they may be guilty of thoughtlessness but they acted without malice, within a media culture that persistently affirms their style of behaviour. I don’t doubt that they are truly sorry.

And whilst I shudder to think of the potential fallout of theirs, mine and others’ innocent actions, I positively quake at the thought of a world where friends, refrain from playing jokes on each other for fear of – the statistically insignificant chance of – unintentional, tragic consequences.

Ace in the house of cards


Max Clifford has ‘…nothing to hide…’ [Sky News]


Irony aside, and with details of the case against him still sketchy at present – he reveals only that one charge dates back to ’77 and another a couple of years later –  it’s almost pointles to speculate on his possible innocence or guilt; suffice it to say that players on all sides will be watching developments with interest. Thru his lofty position in the world of PR, Clifford is undoubtedly privy to a great many potentially damaging untold stories from within the world of politics and media. He’s on record admitting to knowledge of the late Tory MP Alan Clark‘s sexual activities with underage girls ‘…the only slightly serious side is that he’d actually interfered with those girls from the age of fourteen.’

‘…It’s easy for me because I’ve got all the evidence; I’m the one that’s hidden it from the world…’ he says. If his covertly-recorded remarks left him open to accusations of collusion and failing in his legal and civil duty; then I’m equally concerned by his opinion that a middle-aged man soliciting underage girls for sex is ‘only slightly serious’. Sadly, such a view remains all too prevalent; nowhere more so than in the corridors and smoking rooms of the Old Boys Club, whose membership has more need than most for the services of PR from the likes of Max Clifford Associates.

It seems inconceivable then, given his connections and elevated status within the media that Clifford could have been unaware of his own impending arrest. With media nous honed over five decades in the business and – one may reasonably speculate – ample time to prepare his strategy, he’s better positioned than most to respond. In retrospect, his October revelation that  .‘Major stars from the ’60s and ’70s … concerned because of their hedonistic lifestyles’ …  are terrified of being named in connection with … Savile …’ could be interpreted as a forward excercise in damage limitation. Thru it he certainly sought to frame impending revelations in a historical context of ‘innocent times’; simultaneously playing down their seriousness whilst applying a ‘Life On Mars’ spin which (ha, ha!) implied that such things couldn’t happen today. They can and do, of course: Savile and those like him in all walks of life, not just the famous and well-connected, perpetrate their crimes over the course of a lifetime and it’s scarcely inconceivable that some of those major stars are still behaving ‘like it’s the ’60s’ today.

Guilty or not, Clifford is a position as powerful as it is precarious: with a career’s worth of insider information on movers and shakers from the international media and political communities he has a high-scoring hand to play in the game currently unfolding in the world media. Will he play his cards close to his chest as he did regarding Alan Clarke; or will he deal out a few low-scoring names to keep himself in the game? The latter seems unlikely. Nonetheless, there are almost certainly many terrified ‘names’ – not to mention less successful peers in the PR fraternity – who would love to see Clifford leave the table and it’s tempting to conclude he has been ‘shopped’ by some such individual or group. Over the course of his career he’s tangled with both major political parties, for example: is it coincidence that longstanding ‘conspiracies’ suggesting all roads lead back to government in the netherworld of paedophilia, threaten once more to be borne out once and for all, if inquiries promted by Savile and Bryn Estyn are conducted with due diligence and impartiality?  The danger for him then, is that as big a player as he is, there are others with higher stakes and better hands. Could we be looking at another Steven Messham, or even a David Kelly on the verge of his opening bid?

With the revelations concerning Savile, and speculation – following the questioning of Freddy Starr (a former client of MCA), Dave Lee Travis, Rolf Harris and a still-un-named 70-something celebrity – at an all time high, we have an unprecedented opportunity to face up to the scandal of organized sex abuse and institutionalized violence which paradoxically support the civilized facade worn by society whilst rotting its body from the inside. It’s not just parliament that is a ‘house of cards’: pluck out the right one and everything may well come crashing down; and that may turn out to be a very good thing for the safety and wellbeing of generations to come.