Sunday, May 4, 2008

Early Day Motion launched while the attacks go on

The Early Day Motion was tabled by Janet Anderson on April 30th and has 4 signatures so far. This is a development of the petition and the plan for a Debate in Parliament which we posted about earlier.


Here is the only news report on it.

MP's fight in Sophie's memory
Lancashire Telegraph, UK - 2 May 2008

Quote - Mrs Anderson told the House of Commons that she was appalled by the murder of former Haslingden High School pupil Sophie and the vicious attack on Robert.

She welcomed the news that their attackers had been "appropriately dealt with by the courts". But she called on the Government to review the scope of legislation on hate crimes and "assess whether there is a need for an amendment to include crimes perpetrated on innocent victims like Sophie and Rob merely because of their appearance."

The motion has been signed by Hyndburn MP Greg Pope, Mansfield MP Alan Meale and MP for Sunderland North, Bill Etherington.

How EDMs work is explained here:

UK Parliament - Early Day Motions Home Page

Early day motions (EDMs) are formal motions submitted for debate in the House of Commons. However, very few EDMs are actually debated. Instead, they are used for reasons such as publicising the views of individual MPs, drawing attention to specific events or campaigns, and demonstrating the extent of parliamentary support for a particular cause or point of view.

An MP can add their signature to an EDM to show their support.
Please write to your MP about this issue and ask them to back the call for a debate on this issue buy signing the EDM.

There was an excellent article in Evening Standard on Friday covering the whole issue of Sophie and subcultural attacks which mentions this blog:

Off the record David Smyth
Standing up for goths
This is London, UK -
2 May 2008

Number 10 has responded with a polite no', because “these are not intrinsic characteristics of a person and could be potentially be very wide ranging, including for example allegiance to football teams — which makes this a very difficult category to legislate for”.

Yet as the blog Alterophobia ( exhaustively details, abuse against people who align themselves with goth culture is rife worldwide. And if any alternative lifestyle is as intrinsic to a person's being as a religious faith, it is this one. Appropriately for a murky world fascinated by vampires, goth is the subculture that never dies. Indeed, it is more popular than ever.

Meanwhile the attacks go on:

Boy viciously attacked for phone
Blackpool Gazette, UK - 1 May 2008

POLICE said a "vicious" robbery where a gang of youths stamped on a teenager's head could have left him seriously injured.
The 16-year-old Montgomery High School pupil was thrown to the ground and "punched, kicked and stamped on" by thugs who stole his mobile telephone.

Detectives believe the youngster was targeted because he and a friend were dressed like skateboarders and wearing baggy clothing – in scenes reminiscent of the recent murder of Bacup goth Sophie Lancaster.

The attack took place after the pair noticed they were being followed when they left Stanley Park and headed up Kenwyn Avenue at around 4pm on Sunday.

PC Jo Stubbs, of Blackpool Police's robbery squad, said: "This was a vicious and unprovokd attack.

"He could have been left with far more serious injuries.

"A witness who was with him at the time said it happened so quickly he had no time to react. He has been left with concussion and both of them are quite shaken up."

Officers have released a CCTV image of four youths they wish to speak to in relation to the attack.One was described as having olive skin, of slim build, around 16-years-old, 5ft 10in tall, wearing a top with a light blue upper and darker lower half. He also wore a baseball cap with a raised peak.The other three were all white and also around 16.

Two wore the same tracksuit with a white stripe down the sides while the other wore dark clothing.Anyone with information, can contact Blackpool Police on (01253) 293933 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.
And on:

Three youths attack 'Goth'
Spalding Today, UK - 2 May 2008

A Spalding man was attacked by three youths as he walked home with his family from a memorial concert for murdered Lancashire "Goth" Sophie Lancaster.
The man was attacked in Sainsbury's car park, Holland Market, Spalding, while with his daughter, his partner, his partner's daughter and her boyfriend between 1am and 1.15am on Saturday.

He was taken to Boston's Pilgrim Hospital with a hairline jaw fracture, a black eye and a cut on his nose.

The victim is a member of metal band DGAS which had performed at the concert in aid of S.O.P.H.I.E (Stamp Out Prejudice Hatred and Intolerance Everywhere) at Spalding United's clubhouse on Friday night.

Sophie Lancaster (20) was kicked and stamped to death in August because she looked like a goth. Two teenagers were handed life sentences for her murder on Monday.

The unnamed Spalding victim was among many at the concert wearing Goth-style clothes and that is believed to have been the motive behind the attack.

DGAS band manager Mandy Kunaht said: "He was dressed in black as were the others he was with and the boys simply started shouting abuse at them and followed them as they went home.

"He was mostly concerned about the safety of the children and his partner and so he asked them what they wanted and they jumped on him.

"We are really shocked and disgusted. The irony of it happening right after a concert for Sophie is ridiculous."

More than 100 people attended the Spalding concert, which raised £330.

It was one of a number of memorial events held across the country.

Police are studying CCTV footage which could help catch the attackers.

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