Every now and then, campaigners lay themselves open to the wrath of those who are so tribal on certain subjects, it seems necessary to file them under deranged. As British culture and attitudes are closer to 24 carat insanity than most other nations in 2015, I do find myself writing stuff that evokes Believers’ Bile increasingly often now.
I’d love to smile benignly and say that the avalanche of hatred I get as a result of this is a badge of honour I wear with pride as the water glides off my sensitol lubricated duck’s back. But the truth is that the personal attacks one gets purely by asking people to be adult and thus (a) take responsibility and (b) have some compassion are at times crushing.
Anyway, my subject this time is twofold and relates to one man: the Welsh footballer Ched Evans. The two folds in my brain plasticity about this issue are first, the nature of the verdict; and second, the reaction of the progressive tendency since his release from prison.
On 30 May 2011, Wales international and Sheffield United player Ched Evans and another professional footballer Clayton McDonald were arrested on suspicion of the sexual assault of a woman in Rhyl, Denbighshire, following an incident at a Premier Inn in Rhuddlan on the same day. Two months later, they were charged with rape. Both strenuously denied the charge. The following April, they stood trial: Evans was found guilty, but McDonald was acquitted.
The alleged victim, a 19-year-old waitress, testified that she had drunk two glasses of wine, four double vodkas with lemonade, and a shot of sambuca. But she told police she “felt tipsy but not out of control”. She agreed that she had met McDonald casually on the street, and that he took her back to the hotel, where they were joined by Evans.
Later, the woman woke up ‘naked and confused’ in a hotel bed with no memory of anything since leaving a dancing session with friends the previous night. One could argue that after two glasses of wine, four double vodkas with lemonade – and a shot of sambuca – such confusion was less than surprising, but no: the alleged victim “suspected that her memory loss was due to a spiked drink”. Her somewhat cavalier self-diagnosis is still the only evidence we have that such a thing happened.
The only cast-iron chemical evidence we do have is that samples of her blood showed traces of cocaine and cannabis. She denied taking either on the night of the incident…because as we know, she was tipsy but not out of control: but on the other hand, she woke up suspecting a spiked drink. Cocaine and dope are not the drink-spiking substances of choice among date-rapists, I’m told.
The thing I find truly staggering from Judge Merfyn Hughes’s sentencing remarks is this extract:
“The complainant was 19 years of age and was extremely intoxicated. CCTV footage shows, in my view, the extent of her intoxication when she stumbled into your friend..”
Hang on a minute: let’s just get two things straight here. On the one hand, the jury has been told that the alleged victim suspected her drinks “had been spiked”. But on the other, we are told that before either accused had plied her with any drink at all “she was in no condition to have sexual intercourse”. Yet when filmed on that CCTV footage, she“felt tipsy but not out of control”.
I’m sorry, but something has to give here: either the Judge’s assessment of her condition was wrong – or she was wrong.
In the light of what the alleged victim admitted she’d drunk, I would respectfully submit the Judge (and jury, as it happens) were right about her condition, and she was wrong. So I am at a loss to understand why the woman’s suspicions of a spiked drink were taken seriously.
However, where I find the Judge’s legal extrapolation of her condition morally barmy is in this bit: “she was in no condition to have sexual intercourse”. Er, I’m sorry?
I have lost count – indeed, I don’t want to think about – the number of times I have stumbled into sexual and consensual intercourse with ladies who were just as drunk as I was. As Jilly Cooper once famously remarked, “Most sexual voyages sail upon a sea of alcohol”. Now, this doesn’t mean to say I would walk stone cold sober into a Welsh pub, have some pissed-as-a-fart lady fall upon me, and take full advantage of her: in my not entirely superficial experience, on the whole such things give me a case of the droop…..and anyway, the ladies normally fall asleep before anything untoward can happen. So if this is what happened, then quite frankly I do regard these two leather-sphere kickers as lower than vermin.
However, it seems to me that here we are dealing with a classic case of what personal responsibility means these days – regardless of gender. And as my view on the whole is that this is one of the many things our culture lacks, I shall plough on in order to dig myself a deeper and deeper hole of politically incorrect ignominy.
Young girl (but 19 years old, so not naïve) tumbles into semi-famous footballer and, having had quite a few sherberts, agrees to go to Hotel with him and have a few more. Slightly more famous footballer turns up, and more sherberts are imbued. Surprise, surprise – young girl wakes up later naked in bed in same room as aforementioned blokes. Why is she surprised that she’s had sex with them? And her answer is….they spiked my drinks. For which (I repeat) there is no pharmacological evidence whatsoever.
Consider the judges telling remarks to the jury again: “she was in no condition to have sexual intercourse. When you arrived at the hotel, you must have realised that.”
There are a number of disturbing assumptions in that lofty assessment.
1. Are women so completely without any sense of innate intelligence and control over their personal destiny that others must decide for them whether they’re in a state to have sex? I mean, how patronising is that?
2. The Judge is saying here that jerks like Evans and McDonald should be criminalised because they behaved like jerks. I do blame them bigtime for what happened….but one gets off, one gets given five years – and the woman gets to be the accuser. Don’t the three ways of that outcome at least strike the objective observer as eccentric to the point of being odd?
3. Judge Merfyn Hughes allowed for the alleged victim being pissed, but somehow this just isn’t on for the two blokes. How does the judge know that the men hadn’t gradually lost their inhibitions during a day of steady alcohol consumption? Why is a woman devoid of inhibition allowed to shout rape, but guys in the same condition are supposed to keep a clear head and take 200% of the responsibility for good behaviour?
And so to the second Act: the reaction to what masquerades as the aftermath of this case. Unfortunately, this forces me to discuss last Monday’s “article” by Suzanne Moore in the Guardian.
The piece was headed ‘No football club should touch Ched Evans, even if he does ever apologise’ – a view which makes me eternally glad I shall never need Ms Moore’s capacity for forgiveness to see me through. The subhead underneath then added:
‘The argument for rehabilitation and second chances simply don’t wash in such a high-profile case’.
I don’t normally indulge in Grammar Nazism, but I do have to point out here that the subject is ‘argument’ not ‘second chances’ and thus does not take the plural form of the verb. Now read these extracts from her piece and try not to weep with frustration for the casual, neo-fascist bigotry contained in the opinions:
‘I find the idea of this convicted rapist returning to professional football, by signing to Oldham Athletic, sickening….The talk of rehabilitation and second chances simply does not wash in Evans’s case…..This is, after all, a country where the number of rape allegations that end in a conviction on that charge is still shockingly low.’
Note the use of ‘convicted’ there….the same word always applied in any case these days to somehow add force to a flakey argument. Note the use of ‘does not wash’ with no rationale whatsoever to support the conclusion. Note the infantile assumption that low conviction rates for rape must mean that low misogynist cunning has conspired to produce that result.
On and on it goes:
‘The discussion revolves around victim blaming – thus we can have Michael Buerk telling us that the victim comes out of this with no credit, because she was drunk at the time of the attack….To be clear, this is not, as Evans presents it, a miscarriage of justice; his appeal was refused. It is currently being referred to the Criminal Cases Review Commission.’
Note yet again how Moore’s view is that the alleged victim’s shitfaced condition is irrelevant. Note that she proclaims it cannot be a miscarriage of justice. But note also how she is on the verge of hanging herself here by stating without reference to other procedures, “his appeal was refused”.
This is a gross misrepresentation of the truth: as long ago as November 2013, it was revealed that Evans had recruited a new legal team headed by ex-senior detective Russ Whitfield and appeals lawyer David Emanuel. In July 2014, he launched another appeal attempt via the Criminal Cases Review Commission. Following this, he was released from prison on 17 October 2014. And after his release, the Criminal Cases Review Commission announced that they were fast-tracking a review into his conviction.
The core point in all this is the robotic assumption of guilt, and – for me – the worrying bias in reporting by journalists with closed minds who wave half-baked conclusions around at random with only minimal investigation.
Still, those who live the sword must die by it. And so I present you this morning with these recorded facts from Wikipedia. In The Guardian in 1995, Moore falsely stated that Germaine Greer had undergone a hysterectomy at 25. She stood as an independent candidate for the constituency of Hackney North and Stoke Newington in the 2010 U.K General Election, finishing sixth with 0.6% of the vote. She has lived in the area for 20 years, and has three daughters by three different fathers.
I don’t have any right to cast aspersions on the basis of those recorded facts. I could look at her history, note she lives in Hokey Stokey, and think “That figures”. I could smirk at the fact that she’s lived in Stokey for 20 years – yet managed to get less than 1 in 200 of the electorate to vote for her. And of course, I could spot the three-kids-by-three-fathers notation and think, “Ah, right, hmmm”.
I don’t have the right to do any of those things, but I do so now to demonstrate to Suzanne Moore that she has no right to take a few flimsy, ill-considered allegations about Ched Evans, assume guilt on his part, and then present the legal decision as open-and-shut when it quite clearly isn’t. From top to bottom, the rape verdict against this obviously feckless twerp is riddled with holes, uncertainties – and worst of all, a Judge who thought that mouthing politically correct inanities could substitute for solid evidence to suggest guilt beyond any reasonable doubt.
The time will come a few years from now when people currently toddling about while throwing their food around the kitchen will read up on some of the contemporary assumptive tenets of delusional feminism, and wonder what on earth real people were saying about them. Sadly, that seems to me to be a long way off: in 2015 Britain, it seems OK for the progressive press to be judge and jury in the DSK case based on his deserved reputation as a droit de seigneur sex-pest….and also OK to take no cognisance whatsoever of a 19 year old woman’s lifestyle and outlook on casual sex. The liberal press has done both those things: it was proven 100% wrong in the case of DSK, and I suspect it may well be in the case of Ched Evans.
I haven’t named this woman, because the law says I mustn’t – even though others have. She has been the victim, it seems, of harassment: harassment by those determined to prove that their friend, boyfriend, prospective son-in-law and footballer has been the victim of false witness and witch-hunt mores. When campaigners feel that strongly, those they accuse will suffer harassment; Suzanne Moore positions that as mysoginist bullying, but then this is a journalist whose track-record on getting facts straight leaves something to be desired. For example in her Evans piece:
‘I see no need for Ched Evans to stop playing the beautiful game. There are parks and grounds all over the country. He is entitled to use his skills to make a living. He can coach.”
Wrong: as a now listed sex-offender, he can do none of those things.
‘on social media…..men say they would “Ched Evans that bird”. His name is therefore synonymous with – depending on how you see it – rape/forced sex/sex with a woman comatose with drink/a woman unable to consent…’
The idea that Evans should be held responsible for what braindead abusers on Twitter write is beneath contempt. Frankly, it’s just risible, hysterical third-rate journalism.
Everywhere one looks now in the mainstream media, Rolf Harris is referred to as “a convicted paedophile”. Several columnists have used the same descriptor for Dave Lee Travis and Stuart Hall.
All of these slurs are medically inaccurate, and will I think in the fullness of time be proved completely false on every other dimension. Jimmy Savile did not groom a nation, because such an achievement is palpably physically impossible. Cliff Richard was not at Elm House. Paul Gambacinni is not and never has been an abuser of under-ageboys, or a fan of group sex with rough trade. Jim Davis proved in his autobiography that there was illegal press collusion in trying to condemn him as a sex-offender.
Britain is turning into a mob-driven purveyor of disgraceful show trials. Some people are speaking out against this sort of thing, and others are directing traffic to the stoning. Ms Moore falls into the latter category.