The Obscure Death of Dorothy Woolmer

Dorothy Woolmer, an 88 year old widow, was found dead in her home in Waltheof Gardens, Tottenham, north London on the weekend of 3 – 4th August. She had been raped before she was killed.

A spokesman for Scotland Yard said Reece Dempster, 22, from Haringey, north London, had been charged with murder, rape, sexual assault by penetration and burglary. Assault by penetration usually involves penetration by an object. One can only hope that Dorothy Woolmer died quickly.

Today’s television news reports a man repeatedly stabbing a police officer who had stopped his van on a London street. The machete attack seems only to have stopped when the badly injured officer managed to fire his taser and immobilise the attacker. It was an appalling attack, but the officer’s condition is stable.

Unsurprisingly, national television news has covered the second story, but not the first. Equally predictably, Boris Johnson, our Prime Minister has spoken on television about the bravery of police officers and the need for more of them, but not the suffering of this unarmed and vulnerable woman. It seems the violation and killing of vulnerable, unarmed women continues to be of little interest to politicians and the media. Same old, same old.

News today suggests the number of women carrying knives is on the rise. The percentage increase looks alarming, but I suspect the numbers are small. In a way, it is hardly surprising that some young women, many subject to repeated humiliation, harassment and violence, carry knives.

After all, the police officer on the street, who was armed with a taser, survived. The unarmed old woman in her home died.

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It’s a Baby Blogger!

A beaming Brighton Politics Blogger happily announced that his wife Mrs Blogger has been safely delivered of “a healthy baby Blogger” —for months, the most-anticipated birth in the blogosphere, a few days past her due date of Thursday 2nd May.

Bookies are taking bets on the name of the Baby Blogger, with the favourites currently being Nancy, Steve and Phelim.

Mrs. Blogger has made it clear that the easel outside Bloggingham Palace was not bought at Poundland.

Forecasting the results of May’s local elections in Brighton and Hove – a dangerous activity

The local elections are just over two weeks away, and the outcome of these elections is the most difficult to predict in years.

The current state of the parties is:

  • Conservatives 21
  • Labour 19
  • Greens 11
  • Independents 2
  • Vacancy 1

All three parties have high hopes of increasing their representation, and all three have lesser or greater hopes of being the largest party. There is a slim, very slim, chance that there will be a majority administration for the first time in years.

Starting with the Conservatives, they have their eyes set on winning two seats snatched from them by Labour in 2015: Westbourne and Central Hove. They might also hope to hold on to one seat in Moulsecoomb and Bevendean, that of Anne Meadows who recently defected from Labour. They would also hope to pick up both seats in North Portslade, although I can’t see them shifting Labour’s Peter Atkinson. My prediction is that they will see no net change and remain on 21, gaining one seat and losing one.

Labour has high hopes of increasing their reputation from the 23 they won in 2015. This number has decreased to 19 with the defection of Anne Meadows, the recent vacancy caused by the resignation of Caroline Penn, and two councillors becoming independents, former leader Warren Morgan and t, both who joined the Independent Group (although the latter resigned from that Group last week). Labour will be confident of regaining all four of these seats and will be targeting Green-held seats in Hanover (2), Goldsmid (2) and Preston Park (1). The Party is also eying up an additional seat in both Central Hove and Westbourne. In an exceptional year they might fancy their chances of winning back Hangleton and Knoll, but it would require a political earthquake to do so this time. My prediction is Labour will see a net increase of two seats, gaining four and losing two, leaving them equal with the Conservatives on 21.

The Greens lost a large number of seats to Labour last time, taking them from the largest to the smallest group on the City Council. They are hoping to regain many of these including in Hollingdean and Stanmer (3), Queens Park (3), Preston Park (2), and Hanover (1). They have also been active in Moulsecoomb and Bevendean (3), targeting the student vote. And then there is Westbourne where that electoral phenomenon, Christopher Hawtree, is standing. Only a foolish person would write off his chances of winning the Greens first ever seat in that ward. If the Greens were to be successful in all these contests, they would end up with 24 seats, relegating Labour to third place. However, I predict that they will hold their current seats and pick up just one additional one.

The Liberal Democrat’s don’t hold any seats, and I cannot see any area where they will make a breakthrough this time.

All in all, all four parties will be left disappointed. A extra seat here or there will decide whether Labour or the Conservatives are the largest party, with the balance of power being held, once again, by the Greens.

My Political Future: A Personal Statement

Your Humble Blogger has tried to fight for the the principles which first brought me into The Independent Group way back on Tuesday afternoon, but it has become clear to me that The Independent Group is not the Group I joined and to whom I have dedicated the last 24 hours of my life. I have not left the Group. The Group has left me. I will now align myself with The Genuine Independent Group. I am grateful to the supporters of this group (Doris, Momma Grizzly and Biker Dave) who, in the last 17 minutes (since I began agonising about my future) have donated 24 pence towards the cost of running this blog.

The Politics Blogger is ready to serve the nation in its hour of need

It’s been a while ….. hello again to Momma Grizzly, Doris and Biker Dave. I hope you haven’t missed me too much.

I’ve just had a thought. If (when) the government loses the Brexit vote this evening (15th January 2019), imagine what would happen if the Prime Minister said she was going to suspend Article 50. There would be outrage on the Brexit wing of the Tory Party and the Conservatives would fracture terminally (if they haven’t done so already). Some/all would vote for the No Confidence vote as they will have lost all confidence in the Prime Minister and the government.

The consequences would be the collapse of the government, a general election, and …… who knows what. Your Humble Blogger would consider coming out of retirement to come to the service of the nation in its hour of need.

Violent Domestic violence offenders should always be prosecuted, by Jean Calder

Perpetrators of domestic violence in West Sussex are to be offered a 10 month programme to change their behaviour at a time when victims’ services are being slashed.

It concerns me that high-risk abusers will be diverted from the criminal justice system at a time when domestic homicide and other forms of violence against women are on the increase. And that failures in the criminal justice system are being blamed on victims’ reluctance to give evidence. In fact, more women would give evidence if offered the opportunity and better support.

It’s terrifying and exhausting for victims of serial attacks to bear the burden of a prosecution, especially at a time when they may be coping with the threat of further abuse and supporting traumatised children, sometimes in insecure accommodation. They shouldn’t have to, because this isn’t a private matter. Domestic violence is closely associated with homicide, child abuse, sexual assault and other criminal behaviour and social problems. It costs our country billions. It’s in the public interest to pursue prosecution.

Police should be required to pursue prosecutions without relying entirely on adult victims, gathering evidence using every means at their disposal and protecting the victims at all times. The late Ellen Pence, founder of the effective ‘Duluth Model’ in the USA – which by collaborative inter-agency working cut domestic homicides in Duluth to almost none – urged police to investigate every domestic incident, including the first, “as if it were a homicide” and prosecute even ‘minor’ offences. She advocated treatment for perpetrators, but only following prosecution – and after protection and support for victims and child witnesses was in place.

Child sexual abuse: Bishop George Bell and the Diocese of Chichester, by Jean Calder

I’ve been saddened to see so many people rush to defend the reputation of Bishop Bell – and by implication suggest the elderly woman who accused him of child sexual abuse is a liar. The Church of England has accepted that the abuse took place and given its previous determination to keep abuse by its clergy under wraps, I suspect the evidence is compelling. I was pleased that Bishop Warner apologised for the abuse and defended the alleged victim from criticism.

In respect of prominent abusers, the modern Church of England has done better than the Church of Rome. Eric Gill, the famous artist and Roman Catholic adult convert was the son of a Church of England clergyman, also from Chichester. Over many years, Gill sexually abused his sisters, servants and then his daughters, socially isolating the girls while using them as models for semi-erotic religious art. The abuse is catalogued in his own diaries, but if you visit the Roman Catholic Westminster Cathedral, where his famous Stations of the Cross take pride of place and are publicised in the Cathedral shop, there’s no mention of his history or his victims’ exploitation.

The Churches’ responsibility – and our own, whether we have faith or none – must be to protect the living, defend the powerless (especially children) and treat survivors with compassion.  This being the case, Chichester Diocese should, out of respect to all clergy victims, fulfil its promise to change the name of Bishop Bell House – and ensure people understand its past actions and current position regarding child protection and clergy abuse.