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So I joined in the whole Jan Moir thing

Just to get this on record for anyone who is following this, this is the complaint I sent to the PCC earlier on today, using a form which I can't currently get the URL to, given that the site is down. Here is the wording of my complaint (left out the admin type bits)

(No, I don't think I really need to post a link to the article do I? Not now. Not going to either. I think I had to link to the Mail once on here, and I didn't like it then.)


Explanation : 1. Accuracy. The code states:
"The Press must take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or
distorted information".
Even in the headline, which does not take care to suggest any
possibility of problems in the medical examination of Stephen Gately
after his death - it states clearly that the medical result was
inaccurate (and presents no factual evidence to back up this claim)

2. This is repeated during the article, again, with absolutely no
factual evidence to back it up, and yet Ms Moir seems to be determined
to press home her creative and non-factual version of events:
"Whatever the cause of death is, it is not, by any yardstick, a natural
one. Let us be absolutely clear about this."
No evidence given. Clearly Ms Moir is either entirely wrong, or quite
the worst investigative journalist I've ever read, since she doesn't
lay out her case.

3. "Intrusion in to grief or shock".
This terrible article, which is inferring lies, extreme  homophobia  and
insults not only about Stephen Gately, but his civil Partner, less than
a week
(OK! I got that wrong, I don't follow celebrity death that closely) after the young man in question died of natural causes is disgusting.

5. Discrimination: the whole article is permeated with homophobia - fear
of a homosexual lifestyle, or homosexual relationships. Jan Moir infers
that the "ooze" of a gay lifestyle is somehow terrible and awful.

I could have been more specific but I, you know. Was at work n'stuff. So here's the reply from the PCC, from a Mr Yip (points for them though, at least it came from a human being):


Thank you for sending us your complaint about the Daily Mail article on
the subject of the death of Stephen Gately.  We have received numerous
complaints about this matter.

I should first make clear that the Commission generally requires the
involvement of directly affected parties before it can begin an
investigation into an article.  On this occasion, it may be a matter for
the family of Mr Gately to raise a complaint about how his death has
been treated by the Daily Mail.  I can inform you that we have made
ourselves available to the family and Mr Gately's bandmates, in order
that they can use our services if they wish.

We require the direct involvement of affected parties because the PCC
process can have a public outcome and it would be discourteous for the
Commission to publish information relating to individuals without their
knowledge or consent.  Indeed, doing so might unwittingly add to any
intrusion.  Additionally, one of the PCC's roles is dispute resolution,
and we would need contact with the affected party in order to determine
what would be an acceptable means of settling a complaint.

On initial examination, it would appear that you are, therefore, a third
party to the complaint, and we may not be able to pursue your concerns
further.  However, if you feel that your complaint touches on claims
that do not relate directly to Mr Gately or his family, please let us
know, making clear how they raise a breach of the Code of Practice.  If
you feel that the Commission should waive its third party rules, please
make clear why you believe this.


I'm not going to start ranting about how confusing it is that I had a complaint, and I went to the "Complaints" commission, and apparently they don't want to hear it. I'll just put my reply up:



Thank you very much for your email explaining your position.

Whilst I agree with you that on matters of privacy and personal grief,
those aspects of the article should come under the umbrella of you
'Direct involvement' requirement, the complaint also puts equal weight
behind the lack of accuracy with regard to the cause of death, which
is public knowledge, and more importantly, the article makes broad
ranging generalisations with regard to the institution of Civil
Partnership, which are not directly related to Mr Gately. It also
attempts to make a comparison between the death of someone recently
who was battling a drug addiction with this death. The only
similarities in the cases being that the parties happened to be gay
men. This is clearly discriminatory in a  broad, and not personalised
sense. My case then is that this affects me personally, not only as
someone who knows people who have had a civil Partnership, but as a
woman who has had relationships with women, and therefore could be
described as bi-sexual or as having had "gay" relationships.

I hope that given the weight of, and number of justifiable complaints
in this case that you will act upon the more universal aspects of the
complaints, since the only other avenue for those who are horrified by
the homophobia in this article is the courts. My own view would be
that the organisation created to handle "Complaints" should be a more
efficient mode of dealing with the fallout from this?

Thank you for your time,


So very polite, I hope you'll agree. We'll see what they come back with.

It is interesting, all this. I'm not sure anyone really knows how to deal with these crowd situations, and have no idea what the impact is or will be. But those crowds, they keep on coming.

Greenpeace on the house, everybody say Yo

Hmmm. Well it's been a bit of a weekend, really.

First: Kingsnorth new coal powerstation - withdrawn for the moment. Okay, pretty good stuff.

Second: BAA say they're not going to pursue the new Heathrow runway. Bloody hell!

Third: Ayrshire firm has major investor withdraw from new coal fired power station. Ok...

Fourth: Greenpeace are currently up on the roof of parliament waving banners saying Politics has to change. ready for the new Parliamentary term

So it's all good stuff. Here's Greenpeace's 12 point policies for change, which I don't expect will happen now, but will happen purely because they have to - struggling in to being over the next few years, but unfortunately not at a speedy enough rate. you see, you look at that list, and every single one of them says "Government spending". Now I know that, and you know that. Unfortunately for the planet, we live in a democracy where every vote counts, and a large percentage of those votes are predicated on not having vast taxes making your lifestyle a bit more crap than it is right now.

In reality, what we need is a tripartite green governance mini-government a bit like a war cabinet, with a mandate to introduce this stuff Because We Have To. Then the rest of governance could go on as usual, with bitter infighting and sniping and so forth... but no one could blame any one party, and we could still make the changes.

Because we are at war, you see. We are.

Anyway! In other related news, I joined The Green Party, finally, today. I don't agree with some of their long term policies, but looking through their short term ones, it is remarkable how much that rhetoric is bandied around by the powers that be as if it was all their idea. The point is, I vote Green, and I'm, in the end analysis, a political, ideological animal seeking a belief system (it's in my genes) so I'm going to see if it works. I'm not going to stuff envelopes (solely!) though.

Gawd, I've got so much I want to write about atm, but I have gone on a sort of short holiday, which is in fact, fairly indicative of the point that I'm pretty happy right now, and feeling engaged in actions and... er... 'things' instead of staring at the computer thinking "I know I should probably be anxious or active about something, but I just don't feel up to it". That can only be good.

Meanwhile, having blurted, I've got to rush home to see my three lovelies.

Poor old Robert FitzRoy snubbed again

In my capacity as an amateur defender of the great Admiral FitzRoy, it has come to my attention that the BBC has committed an unforgivable sin of omission by talking about The Beagles's logbooks as if they were *Darwin's*, and even going so far as to talk about Captains' logs mere moments before mentioning the great naturalist and international interloper, as if he was the Captain himself! Here's the offending piece:

"Logbooks may yield climate bounty"

It wouldn't be so terrible (although it really is, rather), but what makes it worse is that they really harp on about the Beagle, and much, much worse, the article is about climate change and the weather. It's as if they hadn't bothered researching the point that FitzRoy was *obsessed* with the weather, and indeed, basically founded the Met office! You couldn't get a more apposite person to mention in the same breath as an analysis of climate.

Poor FitzRoy. Ignored so much in death, as he was in life, and so very unjustly. Here's his grave, that I managed eventually to go and see.

Read about him, if you don't know anything about him. He was a fascinating, flawed character with a big heart and a voracious appetite for geographical / meteorological knowledge but also sufferer of acute, and miserable depressive episodes. I've provided the two best book links below:

Evolution's Captain, by Peter Nichols. Really exhaustive but brilliantly readable and exciting history of The Beagle and Mr Fitz, going back to the original Captain and what happened to him (erk). 

This Thing of Darkness, by the late Harry Thompson. Very easy read. A novelisation of the relationship between Fitz and Darwin, but dwelling on FitzRoy, what happened next, more on the Fuegians and all sorts. 

I like to think that the overwhelming weight of evidence in Darwin's favour might have eventually turned Robert Fitzroy's desire for God to exist and everything to be in its place, as a glory unto him (etc) in to something he himself saw as more anachronistic and he might have eventually dropped it, if other events hadn't intervened. After all, he was far from stupid (although he was intensely proud, so it would have meant a huge leap for him to admit he was wrong). In life, he suffered intellectually a great deal, and had the rug pulled from under him several times. I empathise with the man for his frail humanity, and our shared condition of depression (although he suffered voluminously more than I ever have).

Anyway, there you are, Boo, BBC, do your homework and don't mislead people about something, er, admittedly relatively minor but still significant historically!

Ear popping sounds!

The trouble with kevlar tyres is - you just forget how to mend punctures. Easily. Having just spent nearly two hours... well, ok, I spent a large amount of that time also degunking the bike but having just managed to relocate the way the bloody wheel is supposed to go in to the er, wheel slots, with the chain not getting in the way etc, I proceeded to pump up the tyre to the recommended level, thought "ooh, that's a bit hard", then stopped putting it in to its outdoor home when aye aye, I realised the back wheel wasn't moving. Hmmmmm.... er... a bit of air out perhaps? Try that? the breaks didn't appear to be problematic...


Whole damn thing burst, right in my bloody ear.

That was a bit of a surprise.

...and at 23.26 I think I'll call that a night. Sigh.