If It Looks Too Good To Be True …

So, this weekend we’ve lost another minister in the government. A man who is no doubt presently working hard today to keep his marriage together.

What happened? Well, a man of moderate age, Brooks Newmark (crazy name, crazy damn fool) was sent texts and messages. These purported to come from Sophie, a young woman who was a keen supporter of his party and worked for it in PR. She and he had various conversations before they went private, sending texts. She sent some of herself, he reciprocated. He asked for candid shots, she complied, and he sent her one too. I think we can guess what it might have included. Below the belt, anyway.

Except, of course, the girl wasn’t a party activist: it was a male reporter.

Today we also hear that a twitter user has been jailed for 18 weeks because he retweeted and circulated messages asking for a female MP, Stella Creasey, to be raped because she had asked for a woman to be celebrated on a new bank note. A pathetic, misogynistic campaign that achieved nothing, but nasty and mean-minded, as are so many troll campaigns.

The first story shows the dangers of trusting anyone on the internet whom you do not know. Astonishingly, many people trust emails, phone messages, even twitter messages, from people they have never met.

In recent weeks we’ve heard of cases where women have trusted men they have met only on-line, and have gradually been groomed to the point where they trust their correspondent and send off money.

There are scams on the web whereby you too, if you can only send a few dollars, can receive a share of multi-millions. Some say it’s from a dead man and you can win a share of his estate; some say it’s from a corrupt account and your share will grease palms to win the jackbox. None point out that, even if the stories were true, they were asking you to participate in tax evasion, money laundering or any one of a number of frauds. No, the thing is, you can get rich quick.

No. NO! You don’t get rich quick any more than you, as a middle-aged man, are likely to get attractive 20-something women contacting you for sex. Get a life, Mr Newmark.

But he did trust her, and as a result he has lost his job. Fair enough. Except, how far should we expect newspapers and reporters to lie and deceive? It is one thing for a serial abuser to be allowed to continually harass women (or men) whether on line or in real life. However, this case was going on back in July. If it is true that the two were communicating for weeks or months, then that to me feels much more like a serious entrapment and I would expect the reporter to suffer some pretty severe penalties. He was deliberately grooming the government minister with a view to persuading him to commit an indiscretion. Not only verbally, the man sent photo messages, purporting to come from the young woman, and did invite the MP’s responses.

Is the MP innocent?

He’s a married man. He has children. He has acted like a fool. However, would he have done so, had he not been persuaded over what would appear to be many weeks, perhaps he wouldn’t have committed this indiscretion.

The troll who sent vile messages about Stella Creasey has got his just reward. However, the reporter who sent messages to the MP has not behaved all that much better. His actions will have deeply upset the MP’s wife, children, and apparently the poor woman whose photos were stolen without permission in order to perform this sting. No, he didn’t invite others to rape someone, but he will have sorely hurt seven lives. That is not good.

As I have said so often before on these pages, I wish MP’s would learn, as everyone else must, that if something appears to be too good to be true, it almost certainly is.

And a middle-aged man being pursued by an attractive young woman … well, need I say more?

4 Responses to “If It Looks Too Good To Be True …”
  1. Jack Eason says:

    More fool him Michael.

    What with two well publicised defections to UKIP from the back benches, and now this latest example of a politician not thinking before he acts, the Conservative party is going to need a bloody miracle to survive the next general election. God forbid what Boris Johnson will get up to if he becomes a Conservative member of parliament!

    Methinks that David Cameron has completely lost control of his party…


  2. Jack Eason says:

    Reblogged this on Have We Had Help? and commented:
    The state of the ruling political party here in the UK.


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