I haven’t recently checked out Spiked, the ‘libertarian Marxist’ website which was, if nothing else, a place to find contrarian and argumentative pieces which challenge kneejerk liberal assumptions.
Spiked articles can genuinely question or merely irritate by turns, as you’d expect from folk from a now defunct Trotskyite group.
Still, a Nathalie Rothschild item usefully sums up a Guardian story I should have noticed earlier, as it finally explodes the traffiking myth being stirred up by evangelicals in order that they can preach and pass the begging bowl some more.
She tells us that:
“The Guardian got hold of an internal police analysis of the six-month campaign, Operation Pentameter Two. It showed that after extensive intelligence-gathering and raids on 822 brothels, flats and massage parlours across Britain, only 96 people were arrested for trafficking, and out of these only 15 men and women were convicted. For 10 of them, police found no evidence of their having coerced prostitutes. In the end, only five men were found to be genuine traffickers – that is, they had imported women and forced them into prostitution – but they had been detected before the Pentameter investigation started.”
Actually, it gets worse. Even amongst those arrested elsewhere were a couple whose arrest was more due to police needing a nice dramatic shot of a door being battered down for a TV documentary than months of patient work uncovering some criminal ‘Mr Big’.
Not, in short, helpful for future appeals by a TV vicar and his faithful accomplices with a propensity for stoking up moral panics then starting ‘charities’ to deal with them.
The entire piece is worth a read (see http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php/site/earticle/7625/ ), but be sure to go on to two original Guardian pieces by Nick Davies at http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/oct/20/government-trafficking-enquiry-fails and http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/oct/20/trafficking-numbers-women-exaggerated.
I say this because Davies is the journalist who gave us Flat Earth News. This important book exposed ‘churnalism’ and other practices by which even the ‘quality press’ has stopped chasing real news or employing real investigative reporters, while regionals (especially those owned by large corporations, not old fashioned local activist/publishers) just cut and paste national stories (in turn bought from a handful of agencies).
This explains, for example, how one agency, friendly to groups like Christian Concern for Our Nation and the Christian Legal Centre, is able to place story after story in the Daily Telegraph and Daily Mail about ‘sincere Christians’ being 'persecuted' for their hate (sorry ‘faith’), and why those stories then make it to the top of other news organisation story lists.
In short, some real and useful journalism for a change.
Read and remember next time such moral panics ‘coincidentally’ hit the headlines elsewhere.
3 years ago