Diary Of An ADI

A Driving Instructor's Blog

I’ve been watching a big argument on a web forum on the subject of when to use your indicators, and when not to. There are some very confused people out there!Night lights

The general rule is that you should signal whenever it would help another road user, including pedestrians, to understand your intentions. Unfortunately, too many instructors seem to be hung up on trying to find reasons not to indicate just to show how clever they are, and they lose sight of everything else.

Using a simple example, when you are moving off from the side of the road or pulling over you should check your mirrors/blind spots and decide if a signal is needed. Although a PDI who was doing their Part 2 test would probably pick up a fault if they signalled when no one was there, learners on their driving tests almost certainly wouldn’t as long as they had checked their mirrors first. At the other extreme, not signalling to move off/pull over when someone is behind you is almost a guaranteed serious or dangerous fault.

Unfortunately, many ADIs appear incapable of dealing with things which aren’t cast in stone, and strive for all-encompassing “rules” to teach to their pupils. As a result, some will advise their learners to always signal whenever they move off or pull up. This is wrong, even though the examiners will nearly always let it go if the correct observations have been made and any other traffic allowed for. Personally, I always teach my own pupils to signal only if there is a need – it gets them checking their mirrors – although some will fall back towards signalling when it isn’t really needed as their lessons progress. I don’t really have a problem with that… as I say, as long as they have checked their mirrors first.

When it comes to turning left or right at junctions, though, the confusion really takes hold. Neither The Essential Skills or Roadcraft state explicitly that you must signal for every junction, but neither state explicitly that you might not need to, either. So what many ADIs do is attempt to apply the guidance given for moving off/pulling over to turning at junctions solely on the basis that the indicators are involved. As a result they usually end up teaching incorrect or inappropriate things. Let’s consider some examples to try and understand what should be taught.Car indicator cluster

To start with, learners should be taught to use the MSM routine (and not the IPSGA routine mentioned in Roadcraft). This is where the “experts” who begin to dissect DT1 get the whole thing badly wrong.

MSM is specifically mentioned in the Highway Code several times, and it stands for “mirrors-signal-manoeuvre”  (acronym collectors will also use MSPSL (mirrors-signal-position-speed-look), MSPSGL (mirrors-signal-position-speed-gear-look), MSPSLADA (mirrors-signal-position-speed-look-assess-decide-act), or any number of similar variants). The basic application of this is that on approaching a junction the driver should check their mirrors (M) and signal (S) in good time (though not too early), adjust their position (P) and speed (S) – which usually involves dropping into a lower gear (G) – look (L) at the junction as they get closer, assess the situation (A), make a decision about how to proceed (D), then act confidently (A) and complete the manoeuvre.

The vital detail here is that the signal stage is initiated long before the point at which the driver could be certain that there was no one around to benefit from it. By definition, and except in the most theoretical of situations which are unlikely to prevail in the real world, you would only know that the signal was unnecessary way after the point at which you should have signalled for you to be anywhere near applying MSM properly. Any learner who delayed applying their signal for that long – and particularly if it then turned out that one was needed after all – would definitely be chasing down a test fail.

Now, if you had such an imaginary junction which was in the middle of a vast, flat expanse of closely-cropped grassland where you could see for many hundreds of metres in all directions as you approached it, and you could therefore be completely and utterly certain that you were the only road user around, then there would be absolutely no point in giving a signal to turn left or right. The problem is that 99.9% of junctions are not like that at all (especially when they’re on test routes), so there is little point droning on and on about the remaining 0.1% (which are probably located in the Outer Hebrides anyway, even if they exist outside the American prairies or African savannah). In the real world you will have reduced visibility due to parked cars, buildings, hedges and trees, your own limitations, and so on, so there is always a significant possibility that someone is around the corner who you haven’t seen yet, and who needs to know what you are doing. This detail alone dictates that you should signal when turning left or right.Indicator dashboard light

Then there is the question of how close another driver has to be before they enter the very vague “zone”, where you and your actions are likely to interfere with theirs. Let me give an example of that.

Imagine that I am at Point A on a major road and I see someone emerging several hundred metres in front of me as I’m driving along. On the one hand, the fact that they have pulled out is of no consequence, because I am so far back that I haven’t got to slow down for them. However, on the other hand, their signals are of significant value to me (though many drivers on our roads may not even see the other car emerging that far off, let alone have any interest in what signals it is giving) since they will enable me to plan my next actions and react accordingly. Now flip the scenario around, so that it is me who is emerging, and another driver is approaching from that same Point A several hundred metres away. From my point of view, if I try to be clever I might easily decide that that other car is too far away to benefit from a signal (which he probably is), or I could think many moves ahead and realise that he might want to know what I am doing. In other words, the “zone” is a huge grey area which varies depending on the skills of the driver(s) and where the the drivers are observing things from. The whole situation is far too complicated to expect learners to be able to take in all the nuances and make a decision about whether to signal or not quickly enough to prevent more obvious confusion right next to them.

The information in DT1, The Essential Skills, and quite possibly Roadcraft, does not specifically refer to turning at junctions. It refers very specifically to general signalling when changing your road position, etc. That is because MSM covers junctions, as I have described above. Yes, you use MSM when changing direction, as well, but you do not have the same issues with knowing if it is clear that you do with junctions.

I’ve lost count of the times one of my pupils has approached a junction or roundabout, seen that it is apparently clear while they’re a few car lengths short of the line, gone for the emerge – only for me to have to use the dual controls because someone else has suddenly turned up. They have made their decision too early, and it happens far too often to be able to justify teaching them to behave like smart arses just because an ADI has misunderstood Roadcraft or something. Quite simply, when pupils don’t signal it is far more likely that they have forgotten, not looked properly, or are just being lazy. The possibility that between the last time I saw them a week ago and today they have somehow acquired X-ray vision, the gift of prescience, and 30 years of driving experience along with RoSPA and IAM certificates (and the ego which goes with them) is quite a long way down the list. The thing about learners is just that: they’re learners.

While we’re on the subject, I’ve also lost count of the times a pupil of mine has emerged somewhere without checking properly (and I have, and seen that it is safe, which is why I’ve let them do it), and when I’ve pulled them over to discuss it they’ve said:

But there was no one else there!

This immediately earns the lecture about how they couldn’t possibly know that if they hadn’t looked properly, and especially if they couldn’t actually see – which in most cases they couldn’t at the point where they made their decision to go. The lecture works even better if they do it and there is someone coming, because then I can give my supplementary “I told you so” lecture, as well. It often helps to drive them slowly through the junction again with me doing the controls so that they can see how far away they were from being able to see clearly, and how close to the give way line they really needed to be before making a decision.

The whole debate about not signalling at junctions for learners is stupid, pointless, and dangerous. Leave it to the anoraks at IAM and RoSPA – and even they cannot agree on it when it comes to awarding their certificates.

What is MSM?

It stands for “mirrors-signal-manoeuvre”, and it is the procedure you should use whenever you are driving and want to change course or direction. You don’t just use it for turning corners.

Some people refer to it by other acronyms – MSPSL, MSPSLADA, MSPSGL, and so on (as I explained above). But it is the same procedure they are talking about. Note that MSM is not the same as IPSGA, which is the system mentioned in Roadcraft. Roadcraft is the police drivers handbook and it is absolutely not intended to be the primary source of training material for normal drivers. Unfortunately, many ADIs have ideas well above their station and are incapable of understanding this, and try to teach too many Roadcraft-only principles to people who can’t even steer yet.

MSM is only a guiding principle. You often need to supplement the first M with blind spot and/or shoulder checks, and in the case of the S a signal may or may not be required depending on the circumstances.

Should I always signal when I am moving off?

Technically, no. You should check all around and only signal if there is someone there to benefit from it. People who might benefit include pedestrians and cyclists as well as other drivers. However, as long as you have checked you are unlikely to be penalised on your test for signalling to move away if there is no one there. Personally, I teach my own pupils the correct way from the outset, but as long as they have checked that it’s safe, and as long as they signal just before they move off (and not before they’re ready to go), I don’t worry about it too much.

Should I always signal when I am pulling up?

Same as I explained above. Technically, no. But be careful if you decide to do it anyway, because there is now the risk of signalling too early and so being marked for a poorly timed signal (i.e. if there is a junction on your left) which isn’t an issue when you’re moving off.

How do I tell if someone will benefit or not?

This is why the whole issue is not as black or white as some would like it to be. For example, if there is a car parked in front of you as you move to pull up alongside the kerb, and there is someone in it, your signal would benefit them by informing them of your intentions. But can you be certain there is someone actually in the car? Sometimes you can see them, but other times – and particularly when there is poor lighting – you can’t be sure. So if in any doubt, just use a signal.

Should I signal if I’m in a lane which only goes one way?

Technically, there is no need to signal if the lane you’re in has a left- or right-only arrow painted on it. However, sometimes people use these lanes incorrectly and giving a signal might make sense (remember that when a signal is “of benefit to other road users”, it doesn’t just mean the good ones). As long as you don’t mislead or confuse anyone, you shouldn’t be penalised for indicating in these situations.

When should I give the signal?

It needs to be properly timed and not misleading. If you’re going to give a signal for moving off, do it just after you release the handbrake (just before is OK, but I prefer just after). Don’t start signalling before you’ve even got the car into gear – it drives me mad when my pupils do that. Leaving the indicator on for too long is confusing to other road users. Signalling should be the last thing you do before you move away after you’ve made sure it is safe to go.

When pulling up, don’t signal too soon such that people might think you are turning left, or that you are going to stop sooner than you are.

Will I fail if I always signal to move off or pull up?

No, not if you have checked to see if it is safe first. However, signalling unnecessarily when moving off or stopping is technically wrong, so try to do it properly instead of just trying to play safe.

Should I always signal when I am turning left or right at a junction?

You should be using the MSM routine, and this means that you should be signalling to turn left or right long before you find out if anyone was in the road you are turning into. So the answer is pretty much yes – unless you have one of those magical open junctions that everyone seems to think of when they start getting confused about signals, or if you want to play Russian Roulette with the examiner on your test.

But what if I can see that there is no one around to benefit?

Look, it’s up to you. If you are 100% certain – and I mean really 100% – that there is no possibility of someone turning up even when you’re back at the point where you should have begun your MSM routine, then there really is no need to signal. But what have you got to lose by signalling anyway? Except in the Magical World of perfectly flat and featureless landscapes you are unlikely to be able to guarantee no one will turn up, and it won’t be marked if you do signal (even if it was it would only attract a driver (minor) fault). On the other hand, if you choose not to and the examiner disagrees that a signal was unnecessary you’re chasing down a serious fault. Don’t be a smart arse, and especially not on your driving test!

What if the test in question is my ADI Part 2 test?

Signalling unnecessarily can be marked as a fault on the Part 2 test. You certainly want to be doing it properly when moving off and pulling over.

As far as turning left or right at junctions is concerned on your Part 2, if you have one of these magical open junctions on your test routes you need to get advice from your trainer and/or the examiner(s) who take ADI tests in your area to find out what is expected. The examiners would be more than happy to advise you.

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I’ve mentioned many times – most notably, in the About Me page – how I had to put up with increasingly moronic policies and attitudes when I worked in the rat race. I’ve also written frequently about how society is on a continuous downward slope as things which were once illegal or taboo became almost normal – in some cases, actually encouraged. There is no longer any fitting punishment for many types of criminal behaviour, and I’ve commented many times on examples of bad driving where the perpetrators have almost literally got away with murder.

When I was young, you knew the difference between right and wrong. Your parents taught it to you, and even if they didn’t the threat of arrest and prosecution was a powerful deterrent to the vast majority of people who, thanks to their ineffectual parents, were missing a chromosome and who would otherwise have run amok. Every few generations some scumbag like Hitler (or Stalin, or Saddam Hussein) would appear and threaten society, but society (or nature) would eventually manage to deal with the issue.

Recently, Boris Johnson – a guy who I actually quite like in spite of his unfortunate political allegiance – has been getting a lot of bad press over some comments he made about jihadists. It turns out what he actually said was considerably more graphic than what the paper publications dared to publish. In print, he appeared to merely allude to jihadists being “wankers”. In fact, that’s exactly what he called them.

Let’s remind ourselves for a moment what these jihadists have been guilty of over the last couple of years. This year alone, they have beheaded two Japanese hostages. Last year they beheaded French, Australian, and American hostages. There are stories of monkey-see-monkey-do jihadists in primitive countries beheading children simply because they are Christian. And the most recent gut-churning episode sees the burning alive of a Jordanian pilot they captured.

They are the lowest of the low. Scum. Murderers. Loved by no God – whatever name He might go by. They’re worse than Hitler and Stalin by a long chalk. And they’re cowards who hide under a group name instead of being personally accountable for their insane public antics.

I think Boris Johnson was much, much nearer to the mark than the do-gooders who are on his case are capable of realising.

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Now hold on a minute. I was not a big fan of Demis Roussos’ solo career. That wasn’t my kind of music. Ever. But he was a bona fide mega-star when I was growing up, and a lot of people bought his records. However, I recently became aware of a late-60s prog-rock outfit called Aphrodite’s Child, who were a bit before my time, and I was surprised to hear – at least, I thought I’d heard, then went home and looked it up – that their line-up included Roussos.Demis Roussos

So with that, it is sad to hear that Demis died yesterday.

I was also surprised to discover that Aphrodite’s Child included Vangelis (of Chariots of Fire fame). He said on hearing of Roussos’ death:

As for me, I keep those special memories that we share together those early days and I wish you to be happy wherever you are.

Aphrodite’s Child are worth looking up, as this video shows (remember: it’s from the late-60s/early-70s, so make allowances for choice of clothing and general hirsuteness).

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Yes! No UK dates yet, but they will surely come. The North American R40 dates are here. There are 35 dates up until August, which suggests they’ll be over here later in the year. My guess is September/October.Rush at the MEN in 2013

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I noticed a this topic on a forum recently and thought it would be a good thing publish some sensible stuff about it.Mediaeval Swordplay

No one is absolutely and definitely certain why the UK drives on the left and everyone else (about three quarters of the world) on the right. However, there are some very reasonable arguments about why this is (I got this from Tesco Bank). It’s worth noting that in order to understand these arguments, you have to consider an extended historical timeline. You can’t just take one piece of historical information and then poo-poo it in a modern context. Well, I say that – don’t forget that we’re talking about driving instructors here, and they can do things like that at the drop of a hat!

In the past, when swords were the weapon of choice, most people were right-handed. It was therefore common practice to walk on the left and pass other travellers sword arm to sword arm. Many years later, in the mid-18th century, the General Highways Act was introduced and this practice was carried over with the recommendation that traffic keep to the left. This was then further carried on into the Highways Bill in the early part of the 19th century.

In France, there was probably a similar approach to start with, but when Napoleon came to power, the fact that he was left-handed meant that he marched on the right. So France adopted this, and since both France and Britain were active colonisers any country they colonised was forced to adopt the respective system.

America was initially colonised by Britain, France, Spain, and Portugal. Britain was a minority player, and so using the left-hand side of the road was never adopted over there. As America grew, many other countries changed their system to match.

It would cost billions for the UK to change now.

Like it or not, swords are part of the reason why we drive on the left. There’s no single reason why the world does what it does, but an interconnected series of historical situations that stretch back to mediaeval times.

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It looks like part of a coordinated exercise, as this email from DVSA advises that the Sinfin test centre in Derby is moving to the ex-VOSA testing station in Alveston. The timescale is similar to that for the Leicester move in the recent article, and people should carry on booking as usual in the meantime.

This one might cause a few more hisses of disapproval from the vipers, as a distance of around 4 miles is involved. Jeez, when I first started I used to cover tests at Sinfin (not many), even though I’m based in Nottingham.

An update from DVSA reports that the last test at Sinfin will be 10 February 2015. Tests as the new Alvaston centre will commence 16 February.

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Well, competition is hotting up already for the 2015 Darwin Awards. This story on the BBC skirts around the details, but The Independent apparently calls it like it is.Brighton Pier and bad weather

Two men are almost certainly dead after going swimming in the sea in Brighton. If that wasn’t bad enough, consider that they were in their 20s, had been drinking, and decided on this seemingly clever course of action at around 1am. And if you still think it sounds OK, consider also that there were force 9 gales – the sea tends to become a little unpredictable when it’s that windy.

At the end of the BBC version, a separate Brighton incident is reported where an 18-year old deliberately went into the sea at 9am. He got out again.

It’s hard to feel any sympathy whatsoever for any of these morons. Coastguard staff could (and still could) have died, just because of these juvenile prats and their undiagnosed learning disabilities.

An update to the story suggests that it was a “dare”. In some respects, that makes it an even more stupid act.

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Originally posted in 2009. Updated for 2015.

Further to a post about cancelled lessons due to weather, I noticed on one forum someone getting all excited about how there is a market for specialised snow lessons.Snow on road scene 1

Let’s have a reality check here.

  • Until February 2009, it hadn’t snowed to any appreciable extent in the UK for around 26 years!
  • We had two bad winters, then a few years ago several mild ones with almost no snow.
  • When it DOES snow a little it is usually gone inside a week or two.

Admittedly, local councils’ incompetence and bureaucracy (Nottingham councils are certainly no exception here) means that every time there is any bad weather it is like they have never experienced it before. This – and the media hyping it to death – makes things seem a lot worse than they really are.

Will I be ditching my normal pupils and specialising in snow driving? Will I be buying a Ski-doo and offering lessons on that? I don’t think so.

You see, having a “specialised Snow Instructor” in the UK (particularly in England) would be like having a fleet of icebreakers sailing around the Mediterranean: bloody stupid! Which makes it an ideal venture for some clown to take on to Dragon’s Den, I suppose.

Those of use who remain here on Planet Earth will carry on doing things the way they do now: use whatever weather comes to hand as a teaching opportunity if it is appropriate.

Here are some typical search terms people use to find the blog.

Will my driving lessons be cancelled due to snow?

It depends on how much snow there is, how far advanced you are with your training, and your instructor’s attitude to teaching in snow. There is no rule that says you mustn’t have lessons in snow. In fact, it makes sense to do them so you can get valuable experience. But beginners perhaps shouldn’t because it’s just too dangerous for them. It’s your instructor’s decision, even if you want to do it.Snow on road scene 2

Do driving lessons get cancelled when there is snow?

Yes. It depends on how much snow and how advanced you are as a learner driver. Your instructor will decide. You won’t get charged for it – if you do, find another instructor quickly. Remember that if the police are advising people not to travel unless it’s essential, having a driving lesson in those conditions might not be a good idea.

Bear in mind that it doesn’t matter if you’re learning with the AA, BSM, Bill Plant, or any other driving school. The decision is down to your instructor.

Will my instructor tell me if my lesson is cancelled?

He or she should do. But why take the chance? Just call or text him and ask. Why make life so complicated when a simple text will sort it all out? If he just doesn’t turn up, get another instructor as soon as possible.

Will I have to pay for my lesson if it’s cancelled due to snow?

Well, there’s no law which says your instructor can’t charge you. However, if he or she does (or tries to), find another one quickly because the Law Of Common Decency says that they should NOT charge you. Not in a million years!

However, if it’s you who wants to cancel – but your instructor wants to go ahead with the lesson – then it is a little more tricky. It all depends on whether the conditions really are too bad, and whether or not your ADI is making the right decision based on the right reasons. Unfortunately, this is between you and your instructor – but as I said above, if you aren’t happy then find another one.

If you want to do the lesson, but your instructor refuses, again – if you’re not happy with that (and you must be realistic about the conditions) – find another one. When I cancel lessons it’s usually with my newer pupils who I know can panic and brake too hard. All the others can handle it as long as conditions aren’t too bad. As a general rule, if the advice is not to travel unless it’s absolutely necessary, or if the roads are gridlocked, then I will cancel a lesson no matter who it is.Snow on road scene 3

As an example, it recently began snowing heavily about 30 minutes before I was due to pick someone up. The roads quickly got covered and traffic began to slow down. I made a choice there and then to cancel the lesson (we actually moved it back a few days) because I had no idea how long the conditions would last. With hindsight, it was the right decision because the snow continued for about an hour.

I want to do my lessons but my instructor says no

A tricky one. Although I can’t vouch for other instructors, if I decide it is too dangerous to take one of my pupils out, then it is dangerous enough for any argument over it to be completely moot. I will always do lessons if I can (especially after my first frozen winter) so the issue has never really come up.

If you really do disagree with your instructor, you could phone around and ask a few more ADIs if they have been conducting lessons. If they have, and if you’re still convinced, change instructors.

I’m worried about driving lessons in snow

Don’t be. You’re going to have to do it when you’ve passed, and it makes sense to learn how to do it now while you have the chance. A lot of people never see snow until they’ve passed their tests, then they don’t know what to do.

Will my driving test be cancelled due to snow?

Quite possibly. You need to phone up the test centre on the day using the number on your email confirmation and check. Otherwise, you MUST turn up – even if they cancel it at the last minute. If you don’t, you’ll probably lose your test fee – or end up having a drawn-out argument over it. Make life simple and follow the guidelines.

If my test is cancelled, will I have to pay for another?

No. They will send you a new date within a few days (or you can phone them or look it up online). And it will not count as one of your six “lives” for moving your test.

Can I claim for out of pocket expenses if my test is cancelled?

No. Neither you, nor your instructor, can claim any money back – which is one reason some unscrupulous ADIs might try and charge you for the hire of the car on the day as if the test had gone ahead.Snow on road scene 4

Will snow stop a driving test?

YES. Snow can easily stop a test, or prevent it from going ahead. It doesn’t matter how you phrase the question, or who you ask, if there is snow then the test is likely to be affected. They tell you all this when you book it – it’s on the cover note that no one bothers to read which goes with the confirmation email.

Driving tests cancelled due to snow 2015

It doesn’t matter if it’s 1815, 1915, 2015, or any other date. They will probably cancel your test if there is snow on the ground and/or it is icy. And it doesn’t matter what you, your instructor, or your mum or dad says. It is up to the test centre to decide.

Why was my driving test cancelled because it snowed?

Use your common sense. Driving in snow is dangerous even for experienced drivers. The side streets are covered in sheet ice and compacted snow and you WILL skid if you even drive carefully on them. You could EASILY lose control. That’s why there are so many accidents in snow and icy conditions.

On top of all this, you are a new driver and you are NOT as experienced as you think – in fact, you may never even have driven on snow before. The DSA isn’t going to take the risk, so you have to accept it.

Incidentally, I keep seeing search terms like “cancelled driving test 23rd” from people located 300 miles away in my stats. The internet doesn’t work like that!


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This DVSA email reports that from Monday 12 January 2015, the Hazard Perception Test will switch from real clips to CGI (computer generated) ones. The Theory Test is otherwise unchanged and it is quite likely candidates will be unaware of the change – the clips are so realistic.

I can’t wait to see comments from the ignorati out there. I think I’ll open a book on who brings up “video game” first.

QR code for Hazard Perception Test Vol 2Incidentally, the Driving Test Success (Focus Multimedia) app now has a Vol 2, which consists of CGI clips. It only costs £1.49 and is well worth downloading.

You can scan the QR code shown here to find it, or search the app store for your phone – search for “Hazard Perception Test vol 2″.

My advice is to download ONLY the Focus Multimedia apps for the theory test (questions and hazard perception). Nothing else comes close to the quality of these.

Technically, you can get away with just downloading the volume 2 clips now, but I’d strongly advise downloading volume 1 as well if you want to have the best chance of passing. Even if you buy all three apps – questions and two HPT volumes – you’re paying less than £6 for all the training materials you will ever need.

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I’ve been trying to steer clear of this, but I can’t. Before I start let me make one thing absolutely clear: RAPE IS WRONG.

For anyone who’s been living in a cave, Ched Evans is a footballer who used to play for Sheffield United. A couple of years ago he was convicted of rape and sent to prison for five years. He’s served about half of that sentence and is now out on probation. He is trying to rebuild his career. Initially, it looked like Sheffield Utd would take him back, but there was an outcry and they backed down. A Maltese club wanted to sign him, but the Ministry of Justice said he couldn’t play abroad. Currently, Oldham Athletic are in talks about whether or not to sign him, but they are under intense pressure not to.

Evans still maintains his innocence, even though he was convicted. He is preparing an appeal.

The reason I have decided to comment on this very sensitive issue is down to this article I saw today on the BBC website. Of course, the first thing I did was locate the Jean Hatchet blog mentioned in that article – it’s here, if anyone wants a look.

What immediately struck me about the blog – and in all honesty, I just wanted to see a selection of Jean Hatchet’s writings to find out what sort of things she wrote about – was that in spite of the BBC’s label describing her as “a blogger” she has, at the time of writing, only actually published five articles. The first was produced in November last year – less than three months ago, which hardly makes Hatchet the fount of all blogging knowledge the BBC story implies. All five posts are essentially foul-mouthed rants, and all but one of them is specifically to do with Ched Evans, with the other one certainly being along related lines. Jean Hatchet’s main claim to fame (other than being a self-proclaimed “radical feminist”), and the main reason the BBC sought her out (though being a self-proclaimed “radical feminist” was undoubtedly part of the equation), is that she is the one who started the online petition that is trying to force Oldham not to sign Evans. I have no doubt that she would start any number of additional petitions if any other football club showed an inclination to sign the player.

On her blog, Hatchet makes the following statement:

It is evident that Mr Evans, and men like him, do not understand the notion of consent.

This is the crux of Evans’ conviction. The girl he is said to have raped was allegedly out of her skull on drink. She had already gone with one of Evans’ friends – presumably while she was still capable of thinking and walking – and was having sex with him when Evans turned up and joined in. The friend was acquitted, but Evans wasn’t. The girl says she couldn’t remember any of what happened. The whole situation is far from being black or white, except in terms of the Law and Evans’ subsequent conviction.

The issue with “consent” is far more complex than Hatchet seems capable of realising. You see, it is absolutely possible for a woman to consent to sex with a man, then to have regrets the following day and make allegations concerning non-consensual intercourse (possibly throwing in a few comments about being drunk). Intercourse may not even have taken place for such claims to be made, and the motive may well be financial gain or some sort of retribution, but it will immediately be labelled as “rape”. The man’s name will automatically be published in every newspaper in the land, whereas the woman will automatically be granted full anonymity. Even in cases where the woman is proved to be lying – and it happens quite often – her anonymity often remains in force, yet the man’s life is in ruins. But what makes this even more frightening is that Hatchet (and, increasingly, the Law) actually seem to believe that that rape of some sort has still taken place… if not in actuality, very nearly so.

At this point I will say again: RAPE IS WRONG. If a man forces himself on a woman, he should rot in prison for a long time. But should that still be the case if there is any doubt at all over consent?

The girl involved in the Ched Evans case is no exception as far as official anonymity goes (she’s even been given a new identity). However, it isn’t difficult to find her name (it actually appears in Hatchet’s blog in several of the comments). Assuming that what I have read has even a grain of truth in it, the woman in question appears to have a previous (failed) history for attempting to blackmail sportsmen. At the very least, she went willingly with Evans’ friend and was not quite so comatose when the friend picked her up in the chip shop or wherever it was. Much is being made of the fact that she was possibly – not definitely – around two and a half times over the drink drive limit, but that doesn’t automatically mean you are unconscious. It also appears that the girl in question tweeted that she was “going to win big” on the run up to the trial, and made various promises to friends about how she would spend the money on them. If you Google it you can dig all this up – including the tweets that the girl had apparently attempted to delete (and it is worrying that the new identity she has been given is perhaps partly an attempt to side-step this Twitter history without actually considering any of it). I’m not aware that any of this was brought up in court. Interestingly, Welsh police arrested 23 people for naming the victim, and to date nine have been convicted. The full case is described on Wikipedia, though you can see numerous side stories in the media.

None of this proves that the judgement against Evans was wrong, of course, but it does make you wonder. Well, maybe not those like Jean Hatchet, but certainly normal people. The girl who was apparently raped certainly didn’t seem to have had her life damaged the way rape victims’ lives usually are judging by her tweets, and that doesn’t make any sense. The point is that this wasn’t a case of a man kidnapping a woman in the street, dragging her into an alley, and forcibly raping her. It’s much greyer, and as I say it all hinges on the issue of consent and the court’s interpretation of that in this particular case. Evans’ guilt appears to have been as marginal as his innocence would have been.

Irrespective of this very important background information, the big question to me is: should Ched Evans be allowed to have any sort of career?

There is one sensible argument that says he should wait for the outcome of his appeal before trying to play professional football again. However, no matter what the outcome of that appeal, Evans will be hounded by the feminists until the day he dies. You see, the big grey area of the Law that deals with the matter of consent has a bottomless chasm on one side (i.e. you’re totally guilty). Unfortunately, on the other side there isn’t the expected “totally innocent”. Instead, there’s another chasm almost as deep as the first which merely says “you’re nearly guilty, but not quite”. Feminists like Jean Hatchet make sure it stays like that with their foul-mouthed tirades.

At the present time, Evans is being prevented from working by people like Hatchet and the British Legal system. Even Ed Miliband has stuck his nose in – all I can say there is that Miliband is bloody lucky that my support of Labour goes deeper than him. Effectively, people would rather Evans die on the street than rebuild his life. Oh, I’m sure that people like Jean Hatchet would argue in favour of the rebuilding that his victim has got to do – and I’d agree… if only the unused evidence didn’t suggest something more.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t know Evans personally, though everything points to the usual problems of a young man acquiring fame and money, and having it go to his head. Even without the issue of rape coming into it, footballers getting involved in sexual activities that are bordering on the realms of pornography are not uncommon. But it takes two to tango, as the saying goes, and young females are increasingly drawn willingly into the same world.

Yesterday, Oldham had all but signed Evans in the full knowledge that some sponsors would pull out. Today, they have withdrawn the offer due to threats to staff and their families. They cite the sponsors, but the threats are the main reason. The people who made those threats are scum. The worst kind of scum. And the type of scum that is far lower down the evolutionary chain than Evans could ever be.

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