Wednesday, January 28, 2015
Violent multicultural kidnappers in Britain
A gang of kidnappers who held a man hostage and cut off his little finger when his family could not pay the £60,000 ransom were jailed today for a total of 152 years.
Victim Damien Lowe was abducted on a street in Coventry at gunpoint and bundled into a van where a group of ten masked men kept him without food or water for 31 hours.
When his family initially failed to pay the money his kidnappers demanded, the gang chopped off his finger and left it under a brick on a garden wall for his panicked relatives to find.
The kidnappers were sentenced at Leamington Justice Centre today.
Mr Lowe, 26, from Coventry, West Midlands, said: 'The moment they pulled up next to me in their van in balaclavas and bundled me into the back was the most terrifying experience of my life.
'It was so brutal I don't know how I survived. When it first happened I had no idea what was going on.
'The van was going all over the place I didn't have a chance to try and think where I was.
'When they took my phone and got me to find my brother's number I didn't know what they were going to do.
'I thought I was going to die there and then. When they told me I had to ask for £60,000 ransom I was almost relieved.
'But I knew there was no way my family would be able to pay and I thought I'd never see them again.
'My kidnappers kept disappearing and then coming back, always to beat me, harder and harder.
When they came in and covered my face I knew something bad was going to happen.
'That was when they cut my finger off. The pain was unbelievable and I was just crying out and then they just beat me again.
Mr Lowe was kidnapped from a street near his home on the afternoon of September 30 2014.
His kidnappers kept him bound and gagged in the van, which was parked in a lock-up garage, and beat him with a metal bar before severing his finger.
According to the Birmingham Mail, the gang had threatened to cut off another digit for every hour they didn't receive payment.
Mr Lowe's family scraped together £20,000 to pay the kidnappers, and the 26-year-old was later thrown out of the vehicle on a a suburban street, before being found and rushed to hospital.
Working with intelligence gathered from West Midlands Police’s Serious Organised Crime Unit (SOCU), officers then stormed a house where the kidnappers were staying, and recovered the £20,000.
DCI Simon Wallis, from the force's Criminal Investigation Department, said: 'The family were understandably distraught at the thought of what else could happen to their loved one and immediately paid a ransom of £20,000.
'When I finally got to hospital, the doctors told me that I probably wouldn't have survived if I'd got to them just an hour later because of the amount of blood I'd lost and how dehydrated I was.
'It was like being in a violent film - I'm still scared to go out by myself. You wouldn't wish it on your worst enemy. 'These people deserve to go to jail. I'm just pleased to see justice finally done.'
Kofi Poyser, 23, Kadeem Poyser, 31, Ricardo Grant, 24, Lamar Grant, 26, and Jermaine Campbell, 24, pleaded guilty to kidnap, possession of a firearm whilst committing a schedule one offence, unlawful imprisonment, blackmail and Section 18 wounding and were sentenced to 16 years, 13 years, 15 years, 16 years and 15 years respectively.
Anthony McLeod, 34, and Ismaeel Akbar, 32, pleaded guilty to unlawful imprisonment, blackmail and Section 18 wounding and were sentenced to 15 years and 14 and a half years respectively.
Ralph McLeod, 37, Lewis Poyser, 24, and Yusuf Akbar, aged 33 were found guilty of unlawful imprisonment, blackmail and Section 18 wounding at Leamington Justice Centre on December 8.
They were sentenced to 18 years, 18 years and 12 years respectively.
Four of the defendants, Anthony McLeod, Kofi Poyser, Lewis Poyser and Lemar Grant will also be sentenced for their part in a brutal assault on man outside a Coventry night club which happened on June 30 2013 and was captured on CCTV.
Oscars scandal: stop this racial policing of art
I feel a bit sorry for the Academy. You know, that glorified golf club that hands out Oscars each year. Yes, it’s the creaking, sexagenarian hangover of an old Hollywood that thought Braveheart deserved five gongs and Titanic deserved 11. But the now routine bashing of the Academy each time the nominations are announced borders on the distasteful. Casually labelled troglodytes, sexists and racists, its members are the target for the sort of insults usually reserved for Top Gear viewers and kids who name their kids ‘Sapphire’.
The Oscar noms, once respected as the entertainment-press cannon fodder that they are, have now been imbued with a bizarre socio-political significance. Each year’s list is now a launchpad for pre-packaged polemic on a host of issues. In 2013, it was Zero Dark Thirty’s alleged pro-Bush propaganda; last year, it was Jared Leto’s ‘trans-misogyny’; and this year it’s the ‘whitewash’. That’s right, the announcement of the list revealed that all of the named nominees – from Best Actor to Best Script to Best Prosthetic Nose Technician – were white. Most of them, as it happens, were also male.
It took all of six seconds for the shitstorm to gather. It was a sad reminder, wrote one critic, that ‘the Oscar statuette is a gilded white man’. It was the confirmation, wrote another, of a ‘white backlash’, an ‘unexpressed and not-quite-conscious feeling’ that, after showering prizes on 12 Years A Slave last year, it was time to return to white-cis-heterosexual business as usual.
Given that the Oscars is little more than an annual PR exercise for Team Hollywood, it is, admittedly, incredible that the Academy let this slip through the net. Controversy is not what the Oscars do – at least, not intentionally. This was the blunder to beat Seth MacFarlane-gate. Yet more proof that the committee is painfully out of touch with our twitch-hunting age.
Even so, the reaction was more than a bit overblown. Selma, Ava DuVernay’s portrait of the Selma-to-Montgomery voting-rights marches led by Martin Luther King, was dubbed the biggest loser of the whitewash – but it’s still nominated for Best Picture. And while enraged tweeters are still feeling the need to tweet the bleeding obvious – that white men have long had a bit of a winning streak at the Oscars – the iniquities of the past shouldn’t be used as an indictment of today. Times have changed. To suggest otherwise is to allege some sort of racist conspiracy at the heart of the Academy that the blundering old sods hardly seem capable of.
The only thing ugly about this year’s nominations was the response. It was an all too common attempt to crowbar the issue of race into a cultural sphere that has all but left such petty divides behind; an indictment of the fact that, today, anti-racism seems to rest on a constant re-insistence on the importance of race, on the differences that divide us. The sad irony of it all was hammered home by the fact that it all focused on the alleged ‘Selma snub’ - a film whose subject dreamed about his children living in a nation ‘where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin, but by the content of their character’.
Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs has responded to the furore by calling for more ‘inclusivity’. This is bad news. Art, at its best, is a wholly egalitarian space, in which work can be understood, appreciated and judged on the basis of its richness and its beauty, aside from all other concerns. It is this admirable spirit that has kept The Birth of a Nation and the DWEM-dominated European canon on film-studies syllabuses, even as the society that produced them has moved on. Not because we secretly think the KKK wasn’t all bad. Not because white-male homogeneity in the arts is at all virtuous. But because these films, in their own way, contributed something unique to an unfurling film history that has now, rightfully, opened itself up to voices, perspectives and ideas that previously went unheard.
Sure, the Oscars is hardly the highest forum for artistic judgement. The fact that this year’s noms felt the need to honour the foppish Eddie Redmayne in the category once occupied by the likes of Al Pacino, Sidney Poitier and Daniel Day-Lewis, reflects the Oscars’ less-than-discerning standards. But while the Oscar committee shuffles on in its irrelevance, we need to uphold the idea that art is about so much more than race.
UK: No More Page 3 is no victory for women
This week, the Sun newspaper went to print without its infamous pair on Page 3
Celebrities in lingerie and bikinis take the place of topless models in the print version, while the boobs are still available online. Cue victory cries and tears of joy from the No More Page 3 campaign, which gushed on Twitter: ‘The wall of love coming our way is really powerful this morning! Thank you all. Best Tuesday ever!’
However, not all women are behind this ‘wall of love’. Describing the campaigners as ‘comfy shoe-wearing, no bra-wearing, man-haters’, several Page 3 models spoke out against the Sun’s decision to drop Page 3, and denied feminist tweeters’ claims that Page 3 models were victims.
I see three more reasons, beyond the No More Page 3 campaign being hugely patronising, why the removal of tits from the Sun’s print version is nothing to celebrate. Firstly, in terms of the argument that Page 3 objectifies women, there surely isn’t much difference between a scantily clad woman and a scantily half-clad woman. The Sun is now covering breasts with a few triangles of lycra, and surely that means, according to campaigners’ own logic, that viewers are still objectifying women – unless the secret to women’s liberation lies in concealed nipples.
Secondly, the campaigners behind No More Page 3 are hailing this not only as a victory over the Sun, but also as a victory over Sun readers. This willingness to play the victim while stamping pedicured feet on supposedly grubby tabloid readers is far more disgusting than a morning ogle. The miserable idea that working-class men need to be shielded from bare breasts to save them from a lifetime of misogyny is not only bizarre; it also indicates the deep-seated snobbery of these campaigners.
Lastly, I find myself nodding along to the campaign slogan of the whinge brigade, ‘boobs aren’t news’. This is not because I support No More Page 3; it’s because I am utterly bored by the croc-wearing feminists now clogging up the week’s news bulletins talking about tits.
How many women actually give a toss about topless women in a newspaper? The removal of Page 3 is not progress for womankind. Rather, it treats women like mousey damsels in distress, doomed to be blu-tacked to the garage door or passed around the mini-cab office. The No More Page 3 campaign is an insult to both sexes and, most of all, it shows up feminists today to be little more than nagging, censorious whiners.
Generation Rent, quit your whining!
It’s official: ‘Generation Rent’ is the hot, new, pity-me identity badge for Britain’s disgruntled twentysomethings.
Towards the end of last year, the average UK rent soared to £761 per month. And this has led to renewed calls from fresh-faced campaigners for the government to step in and enforce rent controls. On 4 February, the campaign group Generation Rent is organising a day of action, Rent Freedom Day, in an attempt to liberate what it calls ‘a generation sentenced to rent slavery’.
Rather than take on the lack of house-building that is thwarting people across society, people of my age seem to be taking it personally, demanding a safe, cosier start in the adult world of renting – perhaps with some IKEA furnishings thrown in. And this sense of entitlement is only being burnished by older enablers, like Ed Howker and Shiv Malik, whose book Jilted Generation argues that the ‘loadsa money’, spendthrift antics of our parents has meant that a generation of young people are now doomed to a life of penury.
The contemporary penchant for blaming the problems of today on the lifestyles of yesterday is a worrying trend. What’s more, it’s complete bull. The only difference between the previous generation and our own is that now people from wealthy backgrounds are finding it difficult to move past renting. This is nothing new for working-class kids. And, contrary to claims from the ‘jilted generation’ brigade, the youth of today are, on the whole, enjoying far better educational opportunities and standards of living than their parents. As Frank Furedi has pointed out elsewhere, the moaners of Generation Y have never had to face the indignity of an outside loo.
You don’t have to be a Daily Mail leader writer to say that us young people really need to get off our arses and do something – because we really do. The housing crisis in the UK is not down to high rents, but a severe lack of new and adequate housing. We need to build millions more homes now. This is the kind of change the new generation needs to get out of bed for.
Generational tension has always been propellant of history. Young people have always carved out their own destinies, even when the odds were stacked against them. But Generation Y seems more interested in whinging about today than thinking about tomorrow.
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.