Hate crimes, hypocrisy and political fiction

Hate crimes, hypocrisy and political fiction

What is Hate Crime?

‘Hate’ is a horrible word. I remember as a child (circa 1960s) my mother’s wise advice. ‘Never use that word, Louise.’

It’s easy to get into unintended provocative speech habits without noticing it, so she had a good point. For example, ‘You don’t hate carrots, you just don’t like them.’

But can you make the emotion of hatred into a violation of the law? If so, is it indeed smart to do so?

Hate Crime has been around in the UK since the Public Order Act of 1986. But the Racial and Religious Hatred Act of 2006, which seemed a reasonable idea to trial, is when it really took off. But has it worked in getting us to respect one another well enough to consider extending it even further? Some believe it is a step in the right direction. There are others who believe it’s counterproductive.

Critics of Hate Crime argue legislation has done the opposite of what it was designed to do. They claim anti-hate laws have provoked a culture of victimhood, damaged freedom of speech, wasted police time, and created massive confusion. It has done little more than to make us all into a bunch of hypocrites: thinking something, saying another, and led to a more divided society than before.

Extremism as a topic of political fiction

I cover these issues in my novels. In my book The Missing Activist Met Detective ‘Quacker’ Partridge is dead set against extending hate crime to misogyny. The Killing of the Cherrywood MP covers hate crime generated by growing local tensions between two diametrically opposed societies: The Far Right and the Muslim extremists.

As a crime novelist, writing about two-faced smiling assassin characters is part of the stock in trade. Like the owl, Machiavellians probe beneath the surface, manipulating the art of hate. Thoughts, please.

 

Top bloggers, reviewers and book people

Top bloggers, reviewers and book people

Do you care what others think when buying stuff? Buyers’ opinions are hard to avoid today as so many sales are online and reviews exist for just about everything from a banana slicer to a Knuckle Blaster 950,000 Volt Stun Gun. Check out some hilarious ones on Bored Panda. I don’t blame anyone who, in principle, switches right off the process now we get requests for feedback on every single thing we do. Dentists, hairdressers, customer support, etc now rely on them to build their business. Modern life. The same for authors and readers alike.

Book reviews are mandatory for sales. It’s Catch 22. Books with good reviews get promoted more. Apart from critics like The Guardian, Publishers Weekly, customer-led review outlets hold big sway. The best known are Amazon and Goodreads. And then there are blogs.

A book blogger is a person who shares their opinions on books with others via their blog. Most of them are unpaid and read for love and a free copy. But because of the number of authors they cover in their chose genre, they have a vast grasp on the market, what’s already out there or coming out, and a feel for what consumers will enjoy.

When a well-respected, busy book blogger endorses a book, it’s tremendous for an author. Here are a few who have recommended The Missing Activist and The Killing of the Cherrywood MP.

By The Letter Book Reviews.  Sarah Hardy worked for a book publisher for two years before starting her own blog to share thoughts with other readers/bloggers/authors and publishers in her chosen genres. She is now a popular and productive blog tour operator for authors and publishers Review of The Missing Activist. @sarahhardy681

The Book Reviewing Mum Lynne Piza works part time within the NHS and is also a mum to two little boys.  Here is what she had to say also about The Killing of the Cherrywood MP. @reviewingMum

Avid Readers Retreat Lou’s blog is run from Northumberland.  A top 50 Amazon reviewer, law graduate, and avid philosopher, here is her write up on mine in  The Killing of the Cherrywood MP. @readers_retreat

Toni Osborne’s Corner A great reviewer who lists reading and hiking as her favourite pastimes, she covers a wide range of releases in-depth. Here is her take also on The Missing Activist.

Beyond The Books  @shazzieRimmel Sharon Rimmelzwaan runs this blog, which is choc-a-block with write-ups listed  in alphabetical order. Here is her review of The Killing of the Cherrywood MP.

Ginger Book Geek  @Ginger_bookgeek Amanda Oughton is a red-headed bookworm who’s loved reading “since she was knee-high to a grasshopper” and comes from a bookish family. Her review of The Missing Activist.

Donna’s Book Blog Donna McGuire is an avid reader and reads hundreds of books each year.  She started to review books sent to her through NetGalley in January 2015. Here’s her review of The Killing of the Cherrywood MP. @dmmaguire391

The Divine Write  @thedivinewrite1 Caroline Venables includes Jo Nesbo, Mark Billingham, and Patricia Cornwell.amongst her favourite authors. She is active with local writers and readers’ groups. She works part-time AND also runs a full family so it delighted me she somehow found time to do these reviews on my books The Missing Activist

E Book Nerd Ashley Wislock Gillan is a book blogger and journalist from Nashville with an obsession with her kindle. This is what she had to say about The Missing Activist. @wisashi

Jessicamap Reviews  @jessmapreviews Jessica Robins (newly married) from Northern Minnesota.went to St. Cloud State University graduated with a triple major. When she’s not reviewing books (or supervising chocolate labradors) her job is managing the family business an hour from Minneapolis specialising in low and no sodium products online. Here’s what she had to say about The Killing of the Cherrywood MP. 

Jessica Belmont Jessica Belmont is a writer who is working on her own debut novel. She’s had a passion for writing for over fifteen years and is finally pursuing her dream of being an author when she’s not reviewing other people’s novels like The Killing of the Cherrywood MP.@jessicaxbelmont

A Knight’s Reads. Claire started reviewing a couple of years ago through GoodReads and Amazon before the awesome enthusiastic #Crimebookjunkie herself Noelle Holten invited her to be  guest reviewer and has  not looked back. The Killing of the Cherrywood MP. @clairekreads

Thanks to all listed here.  You can buy the books through any of their sites.

I hope to add to this list in due course.

 

3 + 8 =

Christmas in the Highlands

Christmas in the Highlands

 

The film I wrote Christmas in the Highlands had its first airing this week in Europe. It is being repeated on Christmas Day on the Christmas 24 Channel which is the seasonal channel launched on September 24 which you can find it on Sky (185), Virgin (424) and FreeView (62).

A New York sales manager is sent to the remote Scottish Highlands at Christmas to acquire a limited edition perfume from a dashing Earl preparing for his annual ball and falls in love. Check out the trailer here

Stars Dan Jeannotte, Brooke Burfitt, Geraldine Somerville, Caprice and Nicholas Farrell. Includes filming at the iconic Glamis Castle childhood home of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother.

In France it is called Un Parfum Du Noel and here is the link

Also showing in, Greece, New Zealand, Belgium.  In the US on the Spanish stations: 

Christmas in the Highlands (2019) Dan Jeannotte, Brooke Burfitt. Un gerente de ventas de Nueva York es enviado a las remotas Tierras Altas de Escocia en Navidad para adquirir un perfume de edición limitada. (Los Angeles Times) (NR) UNIMAS Tues. 9 a.m. KFTRTues. Noon.

Hope you can catch it over Christmas!

Update 2020. Christmas in the Highlands has been acquired by the American Lifetime Channel so look out for it on your screens!

What happens when you grass on someone at work?

What happens when you grass on someone at work?

the Missing Activist by Louise Burfitt-Dons ISBN 9780953852284

He’s grassed. Now he’s missing. Is there a connection?

The news that a culture of bullying pervades the NHS and stories of surgeons throwing scalpels and bawling out interns is quite alarming. Patients are also in the firing line. The sentencing of Ian Paterson, jailed for 15 years after carrying out unnecessary cancer operations, highlighted the safety risks on the public when junior medical staff are too intimidated to report poor practice.

So why’s it happening? In traditional societies and equivalent organisations, there’s  the belief that the boss is God. The aviation industry got on to the downside of this attitude years ago following fatal air crashes deemed avoidable had the crew been able to “talk back” to their captain to warn him of a poor decision in-flight. Safety records improved immediately. But in 2013, after the Korean Asiana Airlines crash in San Francisco, speculation was made that the prang, which cost lives and hundreds of injuries, was down to a same-same command issue. The Korean mindset.

In an article of the time by Heesun Wee for CBBC, he quoted Thomas Kochan, a professor at the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as saying, ‘The Korean culture has two features—respect for seniority and age,  and quite an authoritarian style. You put those two together, and you may get more one-way communication—and not a lot of it upward.’

Understood. But it’s a fine line between ditching the hierarchical structure to avoid bullying and save lives and preserving it to maintain discipline and save lives. Yesterday the BBC One Show ran the story of surgeons taking to their bikes to raise awareness amongst trainees on how to cope with an operating theatre prima donna’s rant for the #LetsCycleIt and #LetsRemoveIt. The same day we also heard from an emergency worker how staff now “expected” to be assaulted by the ungrateful, drugged-up or drunk public, while going about their highly honourable business of trying to save lives.

There are no easy fixes to this predicament. These campaigns are great. Talking about it helps, as does writing about it. In The Missing Activist, a young Tory campaigner disappears in London after lodging a complaint: he’s been bullied by a senior member of the party. He fears for his long-term dream of a career in politics. But when our heroine Karen Andersen tries to investigate, she’s obstructed at every turn as senior echelons close ranks to protect Party interests. Sound familiar? The moral question is, should he ever challenged the authority in the first place?

As someone who’s been speaking on this subject for early twenty years since I set up Act Against Bullying, it’s a question nearly everyone grapples with in one form or another every single day. They live in fear of the Kurdaitcha. Whether to stay schtum or sing out? Is a grass sneak or saviour? I’ll leave it to you to judge.

 

i

Author shares behind the scenes of politics in British crime thriller.

Author shares behind the scenes of politics in British crime thriller.

 The Missing Activist by Louise Burfitt-Dons confronts a threat that exposes not just the Tories and Westminster but all of the UK

“It’s easy in the era of Facebook groups and Twitter to live in a bubble.”
— Louise Burfitt-Dons

Reader appetite for girl crime books is greater than ever. While  demand has continued for titles like “The Girl on the Train” (February 2015), a new market for behind the scenes political behavior and intrigue such as “The President Is Missing” has been largely unfilled by female authors. “The Missing Activist” with its many plot twists and red herrings promises to lead a new subgenre in the development of the female-driven thriller market.

“When I stood for Parliament, I saw for myself how party headquarters cynically used mind games and dirty tricks to manipulate candidate competition and  rein in activists,” says Burftt-Dons.

These are at the heart of a chilling scenario. The Missing Activist is the story of a 21-year-old who goes missing in London after reporting he’s been bullied by members of the party and the challenge of a Private Investigator Karen Andersen to find out what’s happened to him.

“I also wanted  to show how groups can be so inward looking that they’re often out of touch with what’s happening on the outside.”

Read more

Charity head Louise Burfitt-Dons warns about the dangers of trendy tribalism

Charity head Louise Burfitt-Dons warns about the dangers of trendy tribalism

The head of a leading anti-bullying charity has issued a warning on their website about the dangers of trendy tribalism. It’s ultra cool to be part of a group. So much so the Fear Of Being Dropped is now pervasive and fueling bullying.

‘The slogan “Don’t be a bystander” is a great soundbite, but doesn’t work,’ says charity Head Louise Burfitt-Dons. ‘Not if your social status, future career or job is at stake.’

The anti-bullying activist who founded the charity in 2000 stood for Nottingham North for the Conservatives in 2015. She resigned from the party over the treatment of candidates and activists, one who took his life in September 2015.

As published in Brit News.