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My Complaint to the ASA regarding Anglican Mainstream & Core Issues proposed homophobic campaign

Today many of you may have seen plans for London buses to run an homophobic ad campaign paid for by a couple of Christian fundamentalist organisations. For those of you who missed them you can see them here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/apr/12/christian-anti-gay-ads-buses?newsfeed=true 

The two rather deeply unpleasant organisations are here Core Issues (http://www.core-issues.org/index.php?page=Proposal ) whose mission is to work

‘with local churches to assist in equipping fellowships for ministering to those who have issues of homosexuality, either in their own experieince, or in that of families and friends associated with their fellowships’.

Yes, basically it’s not enough for them to bully gay Christians, now they want christians to bully other gays as well. Vile. 

The other organisation is Anglican Mainstream (http://www.anglican-mainstream.net/). They claim 

Anglican Mainstream is a community within the Anglican Communion committed to promote, teach and maintain the Scriptural truths on which the Anglican Church was founded. These also guarantee its fellowship with Christians down history and throughout the world. Faithfulness to Scripture as God’s Word is essential for sharing the love and purpose of God in Jesus Christ.’

A quick scan of their website will show you that the Scriptural truth seems to be a lot about ‘urgh, botters want to marry and then we’ll all die’. Yep, they want to think about what the Anglican Church was founded on, but wasn’t the Anglican Church founded on someone wanting to change the rules of marriage?  They even feature Ann Widdicomb talking about a privileged elite. Says the woman who worked hard and climbed to TV presenter ladder to earn her own show on Sky Atl… Oh fuck it, I can’t be arsed with her.

Anyway, these organisations are big on quotes about Christianity, light on ‘judge ye not’ and, especially bad at Easter, what with it being JC’s final commandment being ‘Love one another as I have loved you’. Apparently spiky homophobic ads suggesting people should be unhappy within themselves is loving each other. If that’s love then I don’t want to see hate.

Anyway. TFL got involved and blocked the ads, then BoJo said he’d block them but anyway, I have still complained the the ASA. ‘But they’re not going ahead’ you may say, well I think the principle needs to be proven and besides, the CAP code states that it’s for ads which have been ‘submitted’. Below is my complaint for you all to enjoy, use a loo roll, send me death threats foir:

The ad claims:

Not Gay! Ex-Gay Post-Gay! And proud! get Over It!

This breaches CAP 3.7 which states ‘Before distributing or submitting a marketing communication for publication, marketers must hold documentary evidence to prove claims that consumers are likely to regard as objective and that are capable of objective substantiation’

There is no medical or scientific evidence for people being ‘post gay’ or ‘ex-gay’ as suggested in this ad. The Royal College of Psychiatrists states clearly ‘There is no sound scientific evidence that sexual orientation can be changed.’ in their 2010 statement available here: http://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/pdf/PS01_2010x.pdf  . The RCP can be considered to be an objective substantiation against the claim in this ad.

Unless the makers of this ad can provide documentary and objective substantiated evidence of people being ‘ex-gay’ then this ad is clearly in breach of 3.7.

As the ad doesn’t include any speech marks it cannot be argued that this is a verbatim statement from a person or a character speaking. It’s a statement of fact that there are ‘ex-gay’ and ‘post-gay’ people from an organisation that supplies services dealing with ‘issues of homosexuality’ and in direct contradiction with RCP and BMA statements.

Furthermore, this ad contravenes CAP 4.1 which states ‘Marketing communications must not contain anything that is likely to cause serious or widespread offence. Particular care must be taken to avoid causing offence on the grounds of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability or age. Compliance will be judged on the context, medium, audience, product and prevailing standards.’

Clearly this ad will (and already has) cause offence to many based on its homophobic nature. Whilst both the organisations may argue that their religious beliefs that homosexuality is wrong are also covered by this rule, of course they are arguing for the right to offend over the right not to be offended. Simply put, this ad not being allowed does nothing to infringe of the rights of those who believe homosexuality is wrong to hold that belief, but allowing this ad does infringe of the rights of those who are homosexual to go about their day without offence. Therefore in this instance it should be found in favour of avoiding offence against homosexual people and the ads should not be allowed.

I look forward to hearing your response.

Kindest,

Mat Morrisroe

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A copy of my complaint the the PCC regarding Rod Liddle’s prejudicial and inaccurate article on Disability

To know what I’m complaining about, read here: http://politicalscrapbook.net/2012/01/rod-liddle-disabled-the-sun/ 

 

To Whom It May Concern,

I am writing to complain about an article by Rod Liddle in today’s The Sun publication. I believe it at is in breach of point 1 and point 12 of the Editors Code.

1) Accuracy
In his article Liddle claims: “My New Year’s resolution for 2012 was to become disabled. Nothing too serious, maybe just a bit of a bad back or one of those newly invented illnesses which make you a bit peaky for decades – fibromyalgia, or M.E.”

This is completely inaccurate. Firstly, the use of the word ‘invented’ suggests the illness is man-made, he basically is saying it’s a figment of the imagination. However, M.E. is a neurological condition recognised by the World Health Organisation. It is in no way ‘invented’ and though understanding of the condition is still growing, it was discovered. The Sun Newspaper and Liddle must correct this prominently and immediately.

12) Discrimination
By claiming that people who suffer from a medically recognised and debilitating illness are ‘pretend disabled’ he is discriminating against them. This to me, is clearly in breach of point 12 of the editors’ code 

The general crux of the article is completely wrong. I would like The Sun to provide evidence for Liddle’s claim that ‘it is easier than ever to claim disability benefits’ or retract it and apologise. I personally know of several M.E. sufferers unable to claim benefit despite being unable to work, but it’s best not to use anecdotes and instead use data and evidence.  Something foreign to Liddle.

To be frank. I’m appalled that I’m having to complain about Liddle at all, his track-record on issues of prejudice is poor and to continue to employ him is, in a way, a flagrant disregard for point 12 of the editors’ code in itself. 

I would like The Sun to issue a prominent apology and to run an article in place of Liddle’s usual column that talks to the sufferers of M.E. about their experiences. I would also like Liddle to offer a personal apology. These are things I would like but again, I appreciate that the PCC probably has no power to enforce such matters.

Kindest,

Mat

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Peter Tatchell; a secular saint?

Tonight saw Channel 4 broadcast Peter Tatchell’s documentary, The Trouble With The Pope, which was a sober, consider documentary making a strong case as to why Joe Ratzinger isn’t someone who should be welcomed with open arms to the UK this week.  

Many were expecting a vociferous and angry attack, not only on Joe Ratzinger but also on Catholics, but Peter put forward his argument in a quiet, considered way, that let the viewer (those of sound mind at least) develop their own sense of anger towards Ratzinger and toward the Vatican.  He pointed to how Ratzinger had been a reformer and a liberal in his earlier years.  He also put forward what action he would like from the Vatican, rather than simply writing off the Catholic community he asked that the church become more liberal towards sexual inclination, stopped lying about condoms and Aids and gave over all evidence of abuse by priests to secular authorities in the relevant countries (and that’s every country the Vatican’s tendrils stretch across, such is the commonality of the abuse).  

Peter met people who through he was evil due to his homosexuality, who were causing poverty by spreading lies about contraception and he met victims of abuse, without ever losing his temper. I was of course, shouting at the screen.  

I think it’s time that we all paused for a moment and gave Peter a round of applause.  To many he may be seen as an uber-troller, forever getting in faces, getting angry, making uncomfortable scenes.  Sometimes his methods are distasteful, I personally don’t agree with outing (http://www.petertatchell.net/outing/defence.htm).  However, I haven’t had to suffer the horrors of a society that discriminates against me merely because of my sexual inclination.  

However, Peter has always been brave.  For instance, when he went to Moscow’s Gay Pride, knowing full well that not only would the Moscow police not protect him and his fellow marchers (including Richard Fairbrass, quite brilliantly), that they’d actively encourage violence from an ultra-violent skinhead and fascist community of gangs who don’t only rough people up, but frequently cause serious injury and death towards gays, immigrants and well, anyone they consider to be at the ‘fringes’ of society.  

Then there was when he went up against Nick Griffin. Again facing down his  

BNP: a nose for trouble

BNP: a nose for trouble

goons knowing that, even with the cameras there, the BNP have no compunction in using violence against anyone who stands against them as this journalist found out: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article7027047.ece  

Tatchell after Mugabe's goons

Mugabe's batmen left Tatchell bloody, bruised and injured

Then there’s Mugabe who left Tatchell bloody, bruised and injured.  

Tatchell has even suffered more personal abuse closer to home, such as in his bid to become a Labour MP in Southwark in the 80s, in which he was victim of a nasty homophobic campaign by the Lib Dem darling himself, Simon Hughes (who has since issued one of the sincerest apologies in political history to be fair) – http://www.pinknews.co.uk/news/articles/2005-349.html/ 
In tonight’s documentary Peter never spoke negatively about Catholicism, only about the hypocrisy and hatefulness of Joe Ratzinger and of the Vatican. Indeed, Peter’s non-violent protest, often in the face of genuine danger is the kind of thing one reads about the early christians doing.  Maybe catholics should think about that before they accuse him again of attacking their church.  For me, as an atheist* who believes in social justice and the equality of all, Peter Tatchell has a strong case  for being a secular saint.
*I’m actually agnostic but as there’s no evidence whatever of a God of any religion in every meaningful way I am an atheist

 

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A few words about Jerome

I hope nobody minds but I just wanted to share some thoughts about  a friend.  A few days ago I received the awful news that my friend Jerome had passed away, and I just wanted the world to know a few things about him.

I was deeply fond of Jerome and always had a brilliant time when he came over for one of our ‘boys nights’ which consisted of drinking, watching footy (he was of course a fellow Arsenal fan, like all the best), playing PS3 and putting the world to rights.

It’s not hyperbole to say that I had an incredible amount of respect and admiration for Jerome.  He had several brilliant qualities that I most like in others but that are also incredibly uncommon (I certainly can only aspire to them).

Jerome always had time to help people. This wasn’t just the odd bit of advice (but trust me, he was good for that), but he’d actually physically put his shoulder to the wheel when someone needed a hand.  He was incredibly knowledgeable about technology and about  TV and sound production, and he used this knowledge to help others. I’ve lost count of the number of people who had Jerome turn up at their house and help them fix stuff, install stuff, teach them to use software etc. If you needed a hand, he’d just rock up  and help.

In fact, many people will have been guests at the flat that Rory and I lived in on Kilburn High Road, and it was Jerome who helped us find that flat by introducing us to our brilliant former landlady Fran.  I don’t think I know of someone who he didn’t help.

The news that he’d passed on was genuinely devestating.  My heart goes out to Geri and to the others who were closest to him, I just wanted to say a few words to acknowledge the passing of a man I thought was awesome, and who, because of his kindess, a man I’m not ashamed to admit I genuinely looked up to.  I know that there are a large number of people who feel the same way.

I can’t believe he’s no longer with us.  There’ll be a gap in the fridge for champions league games that won’t go unnoticed and speculating about the finale of award winning Sci Fi spectaculars just won’t be the same without him.

So long Jerome x

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Missing In Inaction

Where the hell is the Labour Party?

In the last few days we have seen the following:

1) The Conservative / Libertarian Democrats pull apart our entire system of government finance irreversibly
2) The Con / Lib pact making their pledge to not put children in detention centres get closer to reality by not putting them in detention centres, IN THE UK, but instead sending them to ‘reintegration centres’
3) Our economic record that managed an unprecedented record of 11 years of GDP growth, near full employment and maintained the moral and economic high ground on how we managed to avoid a depression whilst the western economy looked set to go into full on depression being pulled apart by hacks, Tories and those bearded Libertarians without censure
4)  The Conservatives and their clammy-thighed yellow chums gerrymandering our system of government

So where’s the party? These people are changing things, important things, without even a whiff of opposition in the media or probably even in the hearts of many who make up the PLP. Not fighting now doesn’t only prevent us from power, but it means that people have less, people will end up on the streets, people will end up hungry, people will end up sick, people will end up dead.  So, all we can do is talk about activating activists and get some applause at a scones party by a nice group hosted by a nice group of future ac  (who someone have 2 votes if they’re also Labour members).

Our country is being savaged at the moment, but we’re too busy personifying magnolia to help the people who the Tories are really starting to get their teeth into (with their stump-nether-regioned bearded friends), and we’ll not only not be elected, but we’ll also hurt ‘real people’

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A note on coalition

So Labour lost the election. It’s a fact. It’s true. So as the opening act of this blog I need to make a very serious point about the coalition.

I FUCKING TOLD YOU SO

I TOLD YOU CLEGG WAS A TORY

I POINTED OUT HOW THE LIBERALS ALWAYS JUMP INTO BED WITH THE TORIES IN LOCAL GOVERNMENT

I SCREAMED THAT THEIR ECONOMIC POLICY WAS TO MAKE GLEEFUL SWINGEING CUTS.

There, that’s better, I’ve said it now.  I’ll now be leaving that behind and will be focusing on the future.

Now, I only have one remaining question. Where the hell did the word ‘swingeing’ pop up from?

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