Thursday, December 04, 2014
Another female false acuser in Britain
It's hard to see why this case made its way into court
A pupil who has accused a married RE teacher of having sex with her is a self-confessed 'liar' who pretended she was in a car accident, a court today heard.
Stuart Kerner, 44, is accused of having sex with the teenager in empty classrooms and cleaning cupboards all over their school during an 18 month affair.
His alleged victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, is a former student at Bexleyheath Academy in south east London.
She was 15 when the affair is said to have begun. But today teachers at the school said the pupil was a 'proven liar'.
Librarian Marion King told Inner London Crown Court: 'As she got older she got very cocky and thought everybody fancied her. 'She went around saying "I can do what I like, I'm special".'
Mrs King told jurors the schoolgirl had pretended to be involved in a car accident to get out of PE classes. She turned up to school with a bandage around her chest in the elaborate charade, the court heard. Teachers eventually discovered from her mother that there had been no accident.
Mrs King said: 'She said doctors found a problem with her heart. I said "Oh my God are you OK?" 'She said she couldn't do PE anymore. She had bandages all around her chest and said she had a tube put inside. She unwrapped her bandage and had a bloody line around three inches long.'
Mrs King said she was moved to tears by the story, but later discovered it was a lie.
She said: 'She came into my office and I said "What is going on?". 'She said: "I lie - that's what I do". 'She couldn't seem to grasp what she had done. It was shocking to me.'
Mrs King said other pupils joked that the schoolgirl 'stalked' Kerner.
She said: 'I thought Mr Kerner ought to be very wary of her. I think she had a crush on him and I said he needed to be careful because I think she has a massive crush on you.
'A couple of students commented on it. They said she is stalking him. I think she is very manipulative. She lied to me.'
When she was contacted by police, Mrs King said she thought the allegations were 'rubbish' and branded the pupil a 'psychopathic liar'.
She said: 'You have got a girl who is a proven liar saying unbelievable lies. 'I think she's a very sick girl. I think there is something wrong with her.'
PE teacher Les Ainsworth said the schoolgirl showed 'no remorse' when she was caught out lying. He said: 'She was an attention seeker. Not only from her peers but from her teachers as well.'
He added: 'When she came into the office I found her manipulative and quite tactile.'
The PE teacher said he was told by two pupils in around May 2012 that the schoolgirl had told people she was having a relationship with Kerner. He chose to have a word with Kerner about the claims, but did not report it higher, jurors heard. Pressed on why he did not take the matter higher, he said: 'My decision at that time was to have a word with Stuart.'
Kerner denies the allegations.
It was a shopping spree, not a zombie apocalypse
The snobs freaking out about Black Friday need to calm down
I wish Britain’s bien pensant press would make its bloody mind up when it comes to the nation’s poor. At the moment, the great and good of the comment pages seem caught between two competing moralisms. In one vision, Britain’s lower orders are foraging for grains in the crags of ‘late capitalism’, struggling to make ends meet and lining up outside food banks in the hope of feeding their malnourished young. In the other, they’re all obese shut-ins, sat in the glow of their flat-screens with discarded Greggs bags stuck to their trackies. So what are they? The pitied or the pitiable? The blessed meek or the brainwashed fat?
Well, this past week, it seemed to be the latter. Black Friday, a discount retail promotion imported from America, set tills ringing and the ground rumbling as Brits jostled for bargains in retail-park superstores across the nation. Worth an estimated £500million in UK sales, Black Friday – and its attendant online version, Cyber Monday – is the perfect marketing combination: a big, attention-grabbing gimmick along with a genuinely good deal. Retailers including Tesco, Asda, Amazon and John Lewis reduced big-ticket items by as much as 40 per cent and – surprise, surprise – people turned out in droves to get in on the action. Simple as.
But if you read the coverage, you’d have got a very different picture. Footage of skirmishes in Glasgow, London and Manchester were plastered over the news. There were reports of biting, punching and kicking and one poor woman having a TV dropped on her head in the mêlée. Then there was the inevitable brow-furrowing. It was ‘a national embarrassment, akin to a retail feeding frenzy’, said Barbara Ellen in the Observer; it was a metaphor for ‘the greedy capitalism that is making us so fat’, said Yasmin Alibhai-Brown in the Independent; it was the ‘dystopian conclusion of a hyper-consumerist pathology’, said James Dyke in the Conversation.
It seems the desire of normal British people to save some cash in the run-up to the festive season has been imbued with a quasi-religious significance. It was, in Ellen’s words, ‘shaming’ – a sign of the shallow, step-over-your-own-grandmother selfishness of our age. But when you look beyond the headlines it all becomes a lot more innocent. Aside from the scarce and unconfirmed reports of violence, it all looked like, well, a bit of fun. People were smiling – enjoying the rough and tumble. It was a Tesco-set mosh pit with the added bonus of a bargain at the end of it.
What these commentators were objecting to was hoi polloi consumer culture itself. For these people, the desire of ordinary Brits to own nice things and make life just that little bit more plush sticks in the craw. It’s soulless, it’s not eco-friendly and it’s shallow, they say. This is anti-‘Essex man’ snobbery taken to grotesque extremes and it’s all too common – especially around Christmas. The Roses tins, the mass-produced presents, the Christmas-themed Stella cans – these are the tacky signs of a slovenly society, apparently. Rather than celebrate the fact that most people no longer wake up on Christmas morning to find a lone orange in their stocking, observers seek political justifications for turning their noses up.
There’s a debate to be had about consumerism. The fact that today people increasingly define themselves by what they buy rather than what they do speaks to an absence of political and moral purpose in society. But Black Friday patrons are hardly the worst offenders. They want to buy nice things, while the well-fed columnists castigating them sing the praises of buying the right kind of things – things that are secondhand, ethical and good for the planet. Since when has the contents of your shopping trolley become a window into the soul? How shallow.
You cannot ‘have it all’ – British government tells women
Women should not believe it is possible to “have it all” combining a successful career, motherhood and beauty, a report published by the Coalition’s Minister for Women and Equalities insists.
Many mothers are also actively damaging their daughters by “foisting” their own thwarted and “entirely unrealistic” ambitions on them, the study commissioned by the Liberal Democrat minister Jo Swinson claims.
It also argues that women unwittingly “transmit” potentially crippling anxieties about their appearance and weight to their own daughters from birth, stunting their career prospects in the process.
In many cases this is done through subtle signals about their bodies which the women “sensed” from their own mothers as babies, it claims.
Parenting groups voiced dismay at the characterisation of young mothers as dangerously “pushy” and bitter. But Ms Swinson, who wrote the foreword to the report, insisted it “shines a welcome light”on the pressures girls face.
The controversy centres on a study drawing together evidence about the effects of body anxiety on girls commissioned by Ms Swinson and compiled by the Centre for Appearance Research at the University of the West of England (UWE) [Wot dat??].
It cites a series of polls suggesting that around one in five girls deliberately avoid putting their hand up to speak in class because they are afraid of drawing attention to their appearance and that one in seven would even avoid school for the same reason.
The report argues that body image and self-esteem are serious barriers to success for many would-be high achieving girls and estimates that Britain’s economy is being deprived of the contributions of an estimated about 200,000 more businesswomen.
It goes on to claim that mothers are subconsciously passing on their own body issues to their daughters in a seemingly endless “circle of appearance anxiety and body distress”.
And it adds: “Today there is a cultural rhetoric of girls and women ‘having it all’ and ‘going out there’. “These exhortations impinge on girls and on mothers in ways that create excitement and anxiety. “They make it sound as though women can have it all at all times. “This is entirely unrealistic and sets up expectations in complex ways within the mother daughter relationship and in women in general.
“It may include a mother’s inadvertent foisting on a daughter, ambitions that, for the mother, remains personally unfulfilled.
“Such ambitions may not sufficiently arm the next generation for the realities of the world and so when young women fail to meet the ambition they can feel shame and confusion, which in turn inhibits their economic activity.”
Siobhan Freegard, co-founder of the parenting website Netmums said: “I honestly don’t recognise that – it is very strong language, it’s not helpful and it’s not realistic.
“All I can say is that I have not seen that - we all know the odd pushy parent, the tiger mother, but the vast majority seem relaxed and do not want to put pressure on their children.
“Of course you want your child to achieve their full potential but nobody wants to push their child beyond – that’s the beauty of being a parent, that you see your child blossom into this individual.”
She added: “If anything this is a generation too late and it is not borne out. “What I’m seeing is that it is today’s mums who were told they could 'have it all' have already realised that they have been fed a lie.
“Femminism was about how you could have it all and we are discovering that we are doing it all instead.”
Ms Swinson said: “This report shines a welcome light on what happens to girls’ aspirations and confidence when they are constantly distracted by how they appear to others.
“There is a lot of focus on the anxiety poor body image causes to young people, but much less attention on how its effects can spill out across all areas of life.
“This report forces us to consider how much creativity, energy and ambition would be unlocked if we could relieve girls from the unwavering, critical scrutiny of a society obsessed with a narrow and unrealistic ideal of beauty.”
The lead author, Dr Emma Halliwell, senior lecturer in psychology at UWE, said: “By ignoring this issue, we all become complicit in reinforcing these damaging messages. “By actively challenging this overemphasis on appearance we can improve the lives of both women and men.”
Christmas shoppers should not buy gender based toys for kids, Australian Greens say
GREENS Senator Larissa Waters has urged Christmas shoppers to rethink buying bright pink jewellery or dolls for little girls, linking gender-stereotyped toys to domestic violence and pay inequality.
The minor party’s gender spokeswoman has endorsed the ‘No Gender December’ campaign, set up by grassroots group Play Unlimited, which calls on retailers to stop using old-fashioned gender stereotypes as marketing ploys this Christmas.
It warns aisles of pink and blue merchandise, while seemingly harmless, can lead to serious social problems including violence against women and children.
The campaign has already come under fire from leading child psychologist Michael Carr-Gregg, who labelled it “a nail in the coffin of common sense” and said there was no research to indicate ‘gender-stereotyped’ toys were unhealthy for children.
But Senator Waters said shoppers should stop and think about how toys are being marketed to children this Christmas.
“While the starkly separate aisles of pink and blue might seem harmless, especially to well-meaning rellies and friends, setting such strong gender stereotypes at early ages can have long-term impacts, including influencing self-perception and career aspirations,” Senator Waters said.
“Out-dated stereotypes about girls and boys and men and women, perpetuate gender inequality, which feeds into very serious problems such as domestic violence and the gender pay gap,” she said.
“While such serious problems seem so far removed from choosing children’s toys, it’s important that we think about this issue, especially when so many children’s toys are being bought.”
The web-based campaign is asking shoppers to sign an online pledge declaring their commitment to boycotting gifts that play to gender stereotypes — which could include Barbie dolls for girls, or monster trucks for boys.
It also wants federal parliamentarians to introduce legislation that would ban retailers from marketing toys to children along gender lines.
It is understood the Greens have not yet formed a position on whether the minor party would support any legislative changes.
One of the campaign’s organisers, Thea Hughes, said while there was nothing wrong with either girls or boys playing with dolls, parents needed to be aware of the dangers of indoctrinating children into thinking about gender in a certain way.
“If you are talking about adults, gender stereotyping is completely unacceptable, it should be the same for kids,” Ms Hughes, a mother of two boys, said.
Play Unlimited has seized on research from Purdue University in the American state of Indiana which found strongly gender-stereotyped toys did not support children’s development as much as gender-neutral toys.
But Dr Carr-Gregg said parents should not start fretting if their son wants a remote control car or their daughter wants a doll.
“These gender differences are hard wired, and while I’m sure socialisation plays a role, to argue that toys in any way relate to domestic violence is, I think, too far a stretch,” he said.
“It’s a nail in the coffin of common sense.”
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.