British conservation has been a huge passion for people, party irrespective, my entire life. My parents were always very keen on nature and it’s conservation and are traditionally conservative voters- along with many of their associates and friends, who have been rocked by the tories decision to vote, en masse for the dumping of raw sewage into our water.
Many conservative MPs spent the weekend falsely conflating the questioning of the efficiency of allowing human offal into our waters as abuse, some politicians going as far as claiming a polite question was intolerable hate speech and questioning the labour party as to the “tactics” of its “activists”- the same tory MP who had, in 2019, written an article about the dangers of allowing increasingly dirty water runoff to enter our water table…
One could believe that many conservatives were whipped to vote for this legislation, though we can see from other responses that, actually, they just don’t have any idea how to solve the problem.
Another MP wrote a “factual debunking” of “activist’s points” online which only served to draw more ire- highlighting that just the consultation period of how to handle the increased dumping of raw sewage, would take a year with absolutely no timeline provided as to how long it would take to actively address the problem. It was also declared that the problems with our water efficiency were caused by “victorian water channels” which would cost “millions” of taxpayer money to fix, and that the problem is “only temporary whilst a better solution is found”.
Since 1950 the tories have been in charge for 47 years, labour 24. Population density has been on a steady increase especially after the second world war, including the eponymous years of the baby boomers- so one would assume that if our plumbing was to become an issue, it may have been highlighted as such within these years and dealt with in a more manageable manner than suddenly deciding that we must dump waste into our rivers.
Additionally the piece gave out some patently false information that floodwaters may cause backwash and human faeces to rise into people’s homes- this, as several infrastructural engineers pointed out to the MP who so brazenly made the claims, is false- british plumbing is such that only an absolutely catastrophic failure would allow waste to re-enter a person’s home, there are many stopgaps in place to prevent this.
Rightly the tories who voted to endanger our health – demonstrably- with this decision, have been called out on twitter- with many of them leaping to defend themselves or smear those who point the finger of blame at their vote.
As global warming increases flood risks which Britain is, as always, woefully underprepared for, raw human sewage and high flood plains create a sustained risk of outbreaks of cholera (or, for all we know- worse. After all, coronavirus is known to use human faeces as a vector for transmission).
It seems to be growing clearer and clearer that British governments in general are desperately unprepared for a changing world. Rather than spending years looking forward, with reports like the one which showed how we could deal with pandemics to looking at the water table and infrastructure of our water supply, the government has spent a woeful amount of time enshrining the rights of statues, weighing the legality of drowning migrants and stripping back the British people’s right to protest or vote. The problem with a government whose entire ethos is to “conserve” is a terminal lack of ability to look to the future and prepare.
Ironic then that Johnson and his cadre have the bare faced cheek to speak at COP26, a conservation event with ideas about how to be more green, not brown…
One would think that conservation of nature would be higher on the CONSERVatives’ list of priorities- but there’s woefully little money to be made with ensuring compliance with EU regulations to keep waters clean, and it makes you look weak to confess that the shortage of chemicals used to refine waters is due to the HGV shortage and the impossibility of importing due to Brexit.
If dodgy PPE contracts, mishandling of a viral contagion, the murder of the NHS in plain sight, stoking of culture wars, increases in tax, breaking of manifesto pledges, food and med shortages don’t make you reconsider your vote- surely the drowning of our waters in human waste should give you pause before you put pencil to paper.
David Amess was one of the longest serving Conservative MPs and was murdered last week. Speculation is still rife as to the reasoning behind his death, which is currently being investigated by anti terrorism forces in the UK. The Conservative party have quickly made the link to Amess’ murder and online threats of violence- despite the fact that the person held in custody has so far not been shown to have any online persona. If anything, this tenuous linking of brutal and horrific murder to online discourse seems disingenuous, linked to something the tory party had vested interests in already. David Amess was concerned about knife crime before his death and had spoken about this on multiple occasions- perhaps action on knife crime would have been more fitting of a tribute.
A discussion is being had, predictably, that MPs voting records should be sealed or at least not so easy to disseminate- mostly because the more cynical amongst us are quick to check MP voting records when they weigh in on social issues. To prevent that would be a disgusting step backwards- another one- in a democratic society.
Those who are keen to seal voting records are quick to say that MPs could have been whipped to vote against their personal interests etc- regardless, they did vote as such, and to remove our right to transparency when it comes to an MPs vote is a foolish move.
Those who made this observation were also horrendously disrespectful towards those of us who do frequent pages to check voting records, implying that perhaps we “didn’t understand the nuance of voting”. Because of course they understand, in a way we do not. You’ll be shocked of course to know that these people were boomer tories- as always assuming that their opinion is the opinion.
For my sins, I have only seen the screenshots of votes David Amess cast during his time in parliament. I have my own personal opinions about those votes, especially as some directly impacted on my potential rights as an individual. It’s somewhat irrelevant- murdering someone is actually not something we should endorse- if political disagreement is a prerequisite for murder then we’re all constantly at threat, and if you can’t defend your political standpoints without violence then frankly political discourse might not be for you. Getting heated, even being disrespectful is just discussion- feel free to engage or disengage as is your wont. Violence is a no-no.
Equally it’s not exactly easy when you run into someone who is diametrically opposed to you having equality. When I meet people who are against gay marriage I can’t imagine the narrow mindedness with which you can approach deciding that your personal distaste for someone else’s adult relationship trumps their right to have equal standing in a society. So to see anti gay votes on someone’s ledger, yes, makes me dislike them; makes me unlikely to be civil to them if they engage me. That is, as they say – my right in a free country.
We’ve already had our hands tied on protesting. We’ve already been told that helping someone drowning if they’re a refugee is punishable. We’ve seen statues offered more protection than women’s bodies or LGBT+ people, whose hate crimes have risen precipitously. We’ve seen denials of racism even as the PM himself and the home secretary gleefully spark rows about what constitutes abhorrent racist practice, and to refuse to apologise for it. We’re now approaching an inability to speak in terse terms to politicians who have made no concerted effort to protect us from coronavirus, goods and medicine shortages, rising commodity prices… The UK’s ever steady march towards authoritarianism under this government continues.
I will not be stopped from holding MPs to account. Violence is unacceptable. Speaking back to people whose decisions impact on my quality of life is the very least we should be allowed. And the important freedoms we have so treasured in the past are removed, while people opine on the imaginary freedoms like the freedom not to wear a mask during a pandemic, or the imaginary freedom of not getting a vaccine so you can become a walking super spreader.
I wish David Amess had not been killed, because he was a human and human life has value. But the tories move to turn his death into more oppressive legislation is yet another low move on their part. Let’s remember that when Johnson was called out for his rhetoric in parliament after the murder of my old MP, Jo Cox, by a white supremacist who blamed her pro-eu stance – Johnson all but scoffed at the implication that his words inflamed people to commit violence.
The worst, the most insidious literary violence we can see is not from anonymous profiles- it’s from Journalists with tens of thousands of readers who gleefully swallow back the “traitorous remainers” or “terrorist sympathisers” or whatever else you want to cherry pick from the endless rhetoric of the media. The government is interested in curtailing the media’s ability to hold it to account, as mentioned earlier this year. So what, then, if all this legislation is passed- the media cannot publish “embarrassing” articles about MP’s, we can’t speak out about MP’s poor service: does that sound democratic to you?
What the government fail to realise is that UK citizens’ patience with their obsessive need to protect themselves rather than do a good job is waning, even when it comes to the endless defences of the media, and willing puppets like Dan Hodges who push pro government agenda even in the face of their disgusting hypocrisy.
We will not be held down when it comes to exercising our voices.
I can’t take any more political discourse that uses the worst “both sides” lamentations. So many people will insist on telling me that all politicians are scum, liars, wrong, bad- and the irony is that I don’t disagree. I’m aware that politicians are unprincipled. But the temperature of UK political discourse just keeps getting hotter on one side.
Let me make this clear before I move forward: I don’t like Keir Starmer. I don’t even particularly like Labour under him.
He’s made snafu after snafu, he’s slow to react, labour seems to be a seething pit of argument and discussion that amounts to the same endless friction that has persisted, albeit quieter, since 2019.
There are myriad issues that labour need to deal with. On Starmer, the latest sin he’s admitted to is that he will break promises if it means winning an election.
So many of the political savants I follow online or speak to in person happily decry Starmer, led by the latest op-ed from Owen Jones- and it’s not that I don’t understand why people dislike Starmer or Labour under his governance. I’ve sat quietly, swallowing back criticism after criticism as Starmer seems to drag labour further towards the center. I’ve defended him even when what he’s done has annoyed me because I’ve assumed automatically that there is some grand plan I’m unaware of or that he/ the labour leadership must know better. But the rabidity with which every single thing Starmer does is shocking to me, even as someone that frankly thinks he’s a strange mix of a bit wet and also ruthless towards those who he should be courting.
Where, though, is the perspective? So often I’m told “not tories is not a good enough reason to vote for someone” and in normal times I’d agree. Under a shoddy but functional government, that argument would of course hold weight but right now it folds like damp paper.
The tories are responsible for a disasterous mismanagement of the pandemic. Hancock killed scores of older people by discharging them from hospitals into nursing homes, was more concerned with meeting daily testing figures than actual practicable safety regulations, he had an affair with someone he hired using public money and is embroiled in sundry PPE scandals as are many, many MANY tory ministers. Patel forced refugees into unsafe, unsanitary accommodation which equates to prisons, and is set to do more to worsen their situations including opening “camps” in other countries to keep them- and has worked relentlessly to ensure that any meaningful protest in the UK is curtailed- purely as a reaction to unrest under her own government’s shoddy handling of the new civil rights movement BLM. Gove’s revealing tapes about wanting the north to suffer and calling us toothless, Raab- a man who accused the UK workforce of being amongst the laziest despite us working longer hours and on average working later, and when sick- abandoning his vital duty as Afghanistan fell, to stay at a hotel that it would take someone on minimum wage over a month of full time work to afford ONE NIGHT at. All the tories refused to vote for free school meals then when the UK public pressured them they mis sold the contracts and inflated the prices for sub standard goods- and MP Ben Bradley in particular said that his constituents would use the vouchers in “brothels” and “crack dens”. Rob Roberts was disgraced by sexual misconduct claims and yet continues in his role unabated. Lets also not forget about the horrendously inept minister for Education, Gavin Williamson and his myriad mistakes, most prominent of which was declaring proudly that the Co2 Monitoring systems for schools would protect children from covid- despite none of the monitors being installed when children went back. All of this of course helmed by the racist, sexist, xenophobic, bumbling and useless prime minister we’ve had foisted upon us – Alexander Boris Johnson. Racist articles and books, homophobia, islamophobia all of which he refuses to apologise for, corruption claims stemming back to his journalism days including a confirmed claim that he doxxed a journalist for a friend to allow them to suffer physical violence, calling huge salaries “chicken feed”, laughing and joking about the swaths of dead from covid, talking about bodies piling high in the streets, telling us lie after lie after lie about brexit from the alacrity of trade deals with the US to telling UK companies to “fix the issues with their supply chain”, to simply failing to understand the vital difference between animals slaughtered for profit going to farmers VS culling of animals at huge loss to their owners. He’s raised national insurance, caused inflation in bills, made food shortages nationwide… Johnson’s failings, both personal and professional are long and storied, and yet beloved he remains by many Britons who see this rich, daffy and doe eyed fool as one of them. Johnson wouldn’t stop to put a person on fire out, used to burn £50 notes in front of homeless people and wreck their businesses for fun, has had affairs behind the back of his cancer stricken spouse. He is a moral failure of a human, and a professional failure of a politician and those who love him fail to see that they have enjoyed supporting a confection, a fraud and a fake.
The tories may not always have been the party of scum, but scum they are now. Giving credence to the continued efforts to support the tories in their vast and storied failures, the british press- how anyone can continue in good conscience to allow the tories to run roughshod over the country they claim to love is beyond me. Sometimes I feel almost paranoiac about it- it can’t possibly be as bad across the board as I see it? And yet the evidence is there, plain to see.
I don’t blame the tories for everything negative in my life, but for those things they are attributable, the links are plain and I cannot but judge those who- I can only assume- wilfully miss this ignorance.
Given all of the above let us be frank: British politics is a hellscape.
But this then is where my frustration mounts. Again, I think Labour has myriad serious issues at present and understand how poorly they are performing. And being told by it’s leader that he will lie or break promises to win the vote is hardly endearing. And yet I cannot feasibly see them as worse than the tories, bearing in mind the litany of things I’ve mentioned barely scratches the surface just of the last 5 years.
I understand, truly, why people would have huge distaste for Labour at present. But how can one truly thing that the better alternative are the tories. People are so often calling labour centrist that they forget just how far right the tories have gone, and as someone who considers myself far left I often look longingly for a party that actually represents how I feel on myriad issues but the other parties in the UK I unfortunately know- specifically based on how our political system works – are a waste of time.
Any vote that isn’t for the opposition is a waste, and people can decry labour as centrist or corrupt or no better than tories- but tories we have. We are under the thumb of the most corrupt government in living memory. And I can’t help but look to America as an example of a country who held it’s nose and voted in what so many refer to as a centrist melt. Biden is a disappointment in grand terms as is Harris, but we always knew they would be. But Trump’s presidency was marred with corruption scandals, tacit declarations of violence and an increasingly emboldened far right- much like this endless elitist rule by the tories has brought here.
At the end of the day I will hold my nose and vote for labour because any change, any move left however slight, is better than continuing down the dangerous path towards authoritarianism we are already too many steps down here. Until we find a political figure who reaches and unites more of the left in a way similar to Corbyn but without the long shadow he cast (don’t come for me, I liked him a lot), we have to make do with what we have or as always, votes will be split between a handful of indy parties, greens, lib dems and a big share for labour as the tories again coast to victory with less than half of voters wanting them to take power.
The temptation to push for huge change is there, and if it were possible to make a movement so vast happen it would be revolutionary- but until this movement takes place we’ll be doomed to repeat this fractured pattern of splitting and being overseen by those we do not want in power.
So it’s up to the electorate- a gentle step to the left or another goose step further right.
Politics affects young people in myriad ways- from thequality and content of their education to the money in their parents pockets. But a pall of indifference pervades British politics when it comes to the youth vote, attracting those who had it’s vital nature impressed on them. This has to change- the youth of the UK need to rise up and seize the chance to take their futures back from parties that fail to cater to their future.
There are, it seems, myriad studies trying to link age to votership turnout and strangely these studies never seem to glean much detail beyond the numbers. Focus tends to be on pure turnout, rather than reasons behind those who do not. After researching, the UK’s referendum to leave the EU showed that 64% of those registered to vote in the youngest decile turned out to vote, and out of those, an unsurprising 70% voted to remain in the European Union. Conversely, 90% of over 65’s turned out to vote, and voted overwhelmingly in favour of severing ties with the EU.
This phenomenon is strange- frankly, the older voters wouldn’t live to see the supposed economic benefits repeated so often by ostensible political figures like Jacob Rees-Mogg who has said it may take a literal lifetime for us to see benefits of leaving the EU. The youth vote could have made enough of a dent in the vote to tie, or even potentially swing to remain- their futures in the balance, but 46% of the youth didn’t feel politically inclined enough.
The question that always occurs to me when it comes to this is “why”? Remembering my own youth, I never felt particularly galvanised around politics other than the issues that directly affected me (such as the gay marriage vote or the lib dems promise to cancel student loans etc).
It seemed to me that politics was an unchangeable beast which the voting base was really at the whim of, and that nothing would change if I voted or did not vote. But it’s this indifference I remember fighting against to ensure that my voice was heard amongst the many others. You can’t rely on other people to do the work for you- when it comes to voices being heard in concert, if you don’t attend the rehearsal you can’t complain about missing the performance.
The UK does a disservice to it’s youth by not actively encouraging engagement with politics- and it’s strange that this hasn’t been adopted like so many other aspects of culture and life from the USA. Life in the US is very closely linked to your affiliation with a political leaning, and you’re actively encouraged to engage with the democratic process of casting a vote- it is, in fact, seen as a patriotic duty to do so. The strange disconnect here is notable in it’s absence.
This piece, at PBS Teachers Lounge talks about the problematic idea of assuming that younger voters are indifferent to politics and the issues that affect the voting base as a whole- but highlight the ongoing issue that politicians do not focus on the young as a solid demographic who should be catered to and therefore a reluctance to engage can be understood.
I feel that it’s perhaps an overlooked (though not, as the piece above, notes) duty of education to encourage an engagement in political discourse. But I also feel like political discourse is purposely made to be overcomplicated as an attempt to spread disinterest in the people who are affected by it most. As much as I fervently believe in the requirement of a larger shakeup of politics, I am also a believer in the necessity of a smaller change- the ingratiation of the voting public into the system which affects their lives.
Introducing political discourse to UK younger people should be a solid goal of political parties.
The young amongst the population are being squeezed by a conservative government who isn’t even pleasing it’s older person based voter demographic. Asked to pay their student loans back at a lower salary threshold less than 20 years after the amount paid to universities was hugely inflated. Property prices rising. Salaries stagnating. It’s vital that the youth of the UK realise their potential to swing elections by voting – and it’s on political parties to start embracing the potential power of the youth vote.
From lockdowns, Brexit, tax hikes, energy crises and so on, left wing folk are used to regularly facing denigration and abuse by right wing figures and voters. Constantly denigrated and lazily insulted with buzzwords like SJW or woke, we put forward policies that help huge chunks of the population and reverse the damage caused by extremist right wing political parties- but when do we face the simple fact that the right cannot clean up their own messes, and need to start facing accountability for their own shortcomings?
If i had a pound for every time I’d been called some sort of invective by a right wing person- either face to face or online – I’d have enough to make decent inroads into any national debt. Sheep, remoaner, beard (that’s TERF specific)- the list goes on and is extensive. It always makes me laugh – it comes with a grain of frustration – sorry for wearing a mask so you don’t get COVID off me, apologies for thinking we’re stronger in the EU than out of it, please don’t hate me for thinking trans women don’t deserve a relentless hate campaign. It was even worse during the BLM protests- the amount of my fellow milk white people saying ACTUALLY YOU’RE RACIST because I went to BLM protests and spent a good 8 months reading accounts from people of colour to understand their perspectives in a way my ignorant little self hadn’t done before.
One thing that some of the more vocal racists who constantly denigrated me for weeks kept saying was something to the effect of “why should I feel bad for something I didn’t do”. An understandable perspective- wrong though. When it’s highlighted to you that people of colour suffer under a system you’re part of and you don’t work to change it you do contribute to it.
So let’s take that logic and apply it to a few situations which need to be spoken about.
Millions of the us faced the same situation- loneliness and isolation, and took it on the chin because we knew it was the right thing to do. I’d lost my mother two days before the first lockdown in the UK and spent months completely alone, avoiding any contact with any people near me. We all spent time completely away from others, because it was necessary. It wasn’t fun, it wasn’t nice. It was what we needed to do for the good of other people.
Mask mandates came in and even though we didn’t and don’t enjoy wearing them, we did it and do it because science quite simply shows you that if you are carrying an illness that’s expelled via airway, a mask will help. We accepted the things we had to do based on scientific evidence, which is why when the vaccines were rolled out, even if we knew there might be a risk – a tiny risk- that we could suffer health issues, we realised that the only way to seek normality was to take that tiny risk and have the vaccine. The more vaccinated and the less adverse reactions, the more secure I felt. Then came the “WAIT 2 YEARS TIL YOU’RE ALL DEAD!” – Literally every reputable scientist actually laughed at this claim. But all the time we were being vaccinated we had to walk against the tide of the griping fools who said it was an infringement on their liberties. That wearing masks was akin to a muzzle, that we were sheep.
Abuse for doing what we felt was personally and societally, the right thing to do.
Then came the football rioting. Those of us who actually cared about others sat at home watching scenes akin to the London riots- fighting in the streets, flares shoved up sweaty men’s arses, groups of ruffians breaking into a football stadium- and who was castigated? Oh the “reactionary left” who were enraged by the flouting of rules meant to keep us all safe- and yes, the football did in fact cause a massive surge in cases as predicted- but let’s all focus on how the left were angry about this and frustrated by the deluge of racism. Parliament convened to discuss it, only for the right of the room, the ones who are flippant about or endorse this abuse (see the recent report that states that those who suffer racist abuse are a necessary sacrifice in the pursuit of the rule of law…) to police the tone of women of colour who spoke up.
Then came the anti lockdown riots- just in time for lockdown to have ended the week before. These brave soldiers, out in public en masse in defiance of a lockdown that didn’t exist, potentially causing another mass infection to cause exactly what they were protesting about in the first place. If you don’t want lockdowns, don’t do what makes them necessary!
Further to that, those of us who were exhausted with it all and resolved to just get on with it were again insulted for still wearing masks, for being cautious- it seems like as we are trying to move on we’re still castigated- so who is really the one causing issues? The ones who are back at work in a mask or the ones gathered, sweaty faced and shouting, in the streets of London?
The anti everything crowd are the ones prolonging this heinous situation and those of us who have done the right thing and continue to do so face the abuse, but dare we speak up against those who won’t only to hear the tired epithets of “MY BODY MY CHOICE” (if your body can become the disseminator of a dangerous virus it’s NOT actually) or “SHEEP” or whatever else, suddenly we’re the ones causing the issue – I quite flippantly told someone a fortnight ago that I truly hope they don’t experience illness or death or lose someone they love for their decision which prompted them to tell me they were going to “find me and fucking kill me”. Hmm. I’ve spent 19 months sacrificing for your safety so frankly if you do face consequences for your selfishness, keep an eye out for me waving to you cheerfully.
Project fear, as it turns out, is actually “project we didn’t predict it would be quite this bad but here we are”.
I can understand people who were swept up in the hype sold by the media and the leave campaign – I didn’t agree with it but I understood the allure for those who felt Britain was chained down by the EU, rather than facing facts that industrial Britain, built on the pain of the enslaved or the proletariat, had had it’s day and we were becoming a mediocre power simply because that’s how the world progresses. As time went on and more and more experts- political, economic, societal, scientific, came out as against it we became more aware that brexit could have potentially disastrous implications for our standing as a nation and for our (ever important…) Economy.
Cue the people desperate for independence from the EU insulting us, calling us doomsayers, being anything from sarcastic to openly violent towards us. The amount of doors slammed in my face, threats of physical violence or insults for simply saying I think we would have been better in the EU is bordering on parody levels of ridiculous.
What it is that brexiteers feel like the EU took from us or held us back from, I don’t know but if the covert changes to legislation that protects workers in this country wasn’t enough evidence that we were making a mistake, if the brutal murder of my local MP by a far right brexiteer radical wasn’t enough, and if the current food shortages, the constant UK EU headbutting wasn’t enough, if the increasing bills wasn’t enough, if the vaccine disruption and accusations of selfishness, the lack of action on ventilation, the blatant disregard of foreign scientists, the lack of HGV Drivers and people to cover certain job roles- if all of this wasn’t enough, I have to wonder what would be the thing that makes brexiteers realise that we DID MAKE A MISTAKE.
I tried to find a tweet I saw last week to place here which was to the effect of “why don’t remainers understand that we don’t care if people lose their jobs, industries fold, if the country goes into recession as long as we get our brexit!”
To people who think like that I ask- what the fuck did you gain then? You’re tanking people’s lives and economy in the name of a sovereignty we always had! You talk about how the EU restricted this and that and now we’re free- we still need to trade with the EU, so all you’ve done is remove any say as a conglomerate piece of the union that we had. The freedom you gained is from the EU’s perspective as a united group of countries who have far more influence than we do- and talking about the queen, trade deals that don’t rival the flow of EU goods, or how we are a nation built of strong stuff doesn’t change the fact that people here are in a worse position because of a vote you made based off of what have been demonstrably proven to be lies.
And who suffers for this? Is it the people who voted out? No. We all do- and as a staunch remainer I don’t want anyone to suffer, but we all suffer because of the decision of just over half of us. So we work to continue on, to make the best of the situation as leavers demand- and yet we can’t point out our frustrations or we’re remoaning…
Let me ask you again as I have in another post- who is the patriot- the one who wants their country to face up to it’s mistakes, issues and shortcomings and overcoming them to lead us to a better future, or the one who thinks draping a union jack over the cracks in our culture and economy fixes the problem. And of course, we all suffer together but those “remoaning” are just voicing their issues with the shitty economic position we’ve been put in through the ignorance of those in charge and the spurious claims of a campaign run by a man who has money to spare and access to a European passport should he wish. I know leavers don’t like to be told this but you were led down the garden path by a group of people who can escape any suffering through wealth and they’ll leave you to misery without batting an eye. But enjoy your tarnished sovereignty.
If one more person tells me “BUT IF LABOUR WAS IN”…
Every time someone has said this to me, it’s been about things that are literally happening now.
Empty shelves? Corbyn would have made us have empty shelves
Energy crisis? Corbyn would have priced us out of the energy market
Authoritarianism? The tories took your right to protest and put it in the bin
Terrible handling of covid and the NHS backlog?
Pick your poison. If your response to being told the conservatives are doing a bad job is to say “it could be worse” you’re not focusing on the fact that it could be better. It could be much better, if you’d stop accepting the bare minimum from your leaders- it seems like because Johnson’s marketed himself as an affable fop people will accept that he’s a fucking terrible politician who is as laughable as Trump. But if you speak out against the conservatives you’re in for “at least it’s not socialist Corbyn/ Labour is a terrible party” and on and on and on in a never ending cycle- and not just from the right.
Focusing on the nebulous situations in your head rather than dealing with the realities we’re suffering under is a special talent of all of the above.
I think every person on both sides of the above feels they are the victim- but only one side actually caused these negative situations to come about, and so maybe we are all, or none of us are, victims- but I certainly know who the perpetrators are.
The reason all of this is so frustrating is that I had a video go viral on TikTok recently where I had 30, 40 people telling me over and over that I should go out and DO- stop moaning and SORT SOMETHING, offer SOLUTIONS.
Did I get us into this mess? I campaigned for labour, I campaigned against brexit, I isolated, wore masks, social distanced, washed my hands, vaccinated… and all the while I was called a socialist (as if that’s a dirty word…), I was called remoaner, sheep, test subject. I do what’s right even in the face of all of this, as do so many others- and of course, when the chips are down its US who need to rise up, take back power, fix it, find solutions. Do you understand how exhausting it is to have to carry this huge facet of society along all whilst it’s railing against you and kicking and screaming against progress? I understand why people get so jaded with political activism because it is exhausting to try and simply get people to see your perspective whilst being constantly insulted, threatened and more, and then be told that WE need to do more, we need to undo it all, fix it all.
It’s well past time that the brexiteering anti mask anti vax tory voting weak brained amongst us realise that they have caused untold misery, frustration, pain – death- and face the fact that they are on the wrong side. They can enjoy the victories they amass in the fact of common sense, knowing that it’s at the expense of a worn out group of people who want what’s best for us all as we spiral more. Or they can take the wheel they’ve repeatedly snatched at and try to guide us out of the repeated and worsening messes of their creation.
In this age, far too many of the working- and even the middle- class are desperate to jump to the defence of the super rich. Wealth of the sort amassed and, frankly, hoarded by the super rich is not the sort of wealth you could ever accrue naturally without a stupendous amount of luck. And many of the workers so ardently defending the freakishly wealthy seem to fundamentally misunderstand the system which allows this elitism to continue. So let’s focus on the how and the why- and the liabilities that come with being super wealthy.
Are you super wealthy? I’m not talking “owns a villa in Spain” wealthy. I’m talking “owns a mansion in 4 countries and a boat with staff on it” wealthy.
If you’re not- why would you ever defend someone who is for having to pay heavy taxation?
The first line out of people who defend the super wealthy is “THEY WORK HARD FOR IT!” which I’m sure is, in many cases, true. I doubt becoming cash rich to that extent isn’t easy. BUT! Unless your job relies on purely yourself- no agent. No production company. No workers, distributors, editors, managers… that money is made because of your work in conjunction with others. Even if your role is to just direct people- they’re still helping you to accrue that wealth.
“But they pay us!” absolutely. But that’s compensation for our time. What about our health? If we have to club together to contribute in a huge tax, why on earth shouldn’t they have to do very much the same, at a proportional level? Especially since if they are our employer- it’s at their requirement we spend time and our health (especially mid pandemic). So shouldn’t they then have to contribute to our health’s continuation? This also goes for those who says
Let’s be honest- many people who defend the super rich who AREN’T super rich tend to only do so because they hope, dream- expect? That some day, some how it will be them.
In a society driven so hard by capitalism that the government removes protections against a dangerous virus to inflate an economy decimated by Brexit, I can hardly say I’m supportive of capitalism whose framework is now littered with the bodies of working class people. Nor am I against socialism- in fact I often laugh when someone sneers at socialism, you ask them to define it and they go to great pains to explain capitalism for you. Ultimately no system is infallible- but at what point will British people as a whole stop collectively accepting that rich people’s money is beyond scrutiny but those who actively assist rich folk in attaining, maintaining and growing said fortunes must be riven to the bone by taxation and sub standard public services.
Equally, one must wonder why it’s considered fair for people to gather as much wealth as they do. Jeff Bezos’ net worth currently sits at 202.9 billion US dollars. That’s 146.5 Billion pounds. The UK’s annual spend, after covid, on health and social care- as two distinct entities- is projected to be £212.1 Billion. If you added in 25% of the wealth of Elon Musk- you could fund health and social care for 4 Countries for a year. If you just took Bezos’ net worth, Scotland and Wales together could be funded for 12 months.
How is it justifiable to hold that much wealth?
People will of course say Bezos started amazon which we all use- Tell me, does Bezos deliver? Package? Write adverts? Hire people? Stock warehouses? Run HR? Or is that… well, us, who keep his oligopoly of a monopoly going? At some point, that wealth is accrued in vast piles, by the work of people working underneath him. One person’s labour only goes so far. Equally, the labour of those underneath people like Bezos is, sometimes, at the expense of their health. Amazon workers have been found to be collapsing from exhaustion, going into work knowingly carrying coronavirus out of desperation to pay their bills, urinating in bottles to meet quota demands- Bezos hoards money made from the exhaustion of these workers and their health is damaged as a result.
Wealth of that size being modestly taxed would still leave Bezos or those in the stratosphere of wealth with unfathomably vast sums of money whilst actually doing huge amounts of good for the economies brave enough to pursue it.
But it seems that people would rather cling like dragons to wealth they could never possibly need or spend, than dip their Midas toes into the pool of altruism to try and make the world a better place- simply by paying their fare share of taxes to maintain the infrastructures that allow them to have grabbed all of this hard earned money.
Ultimately, an economy which allows this type of wealth to flourish is flawed- the redistribution of this wealth via taxation- feeding that money back into services and public health and infrastructure is how the ultra rich give back to an economy that has allowed them to flourish so.
Wealth is a privilege, not a right and it should not be seen as provocative to ask people whose money is piled up by those working beneath them to feed this money back into the system- not only to allow them to maintain this level of privilege, but to allow others to build their own equivalent wealth- with the surety of health protection and health insurance, with education being such that the maximum number of people in society access education which works for them, with roads that aren’t scarred from pot holes.
Money in such vast sums that would be paid by properly taxed individuals and corporations would be useful in the extreme- but instead we live in an economy built on taxing the poorest highest through NI, and where we bail out failing companies with public money to allow them to continue to take more money from the poor.
Welcome to the 21st Century, and welcome to Post-brexit Britain- Feifdom of the ultra rich.
Are you tired? Tired of being told to be vaccinated? Tired of being told to social distance? To wear masks? To wash your hands? Are you tired of the tyranny of a government commanding you to follow orders like a sheep? How tired do you think we are of dragging you all along with us and suffering at your hands?
MY BODY MY CHOICE. It was, I’m sure, perceived as a master stroke when whichever cosseted little snowflake decided to appropriate the abortion rights moniker in the war against sense that is the anti vaccinations/ anti lockdowns/ anti masks movements.
However, I’ve never caught a virulent case of pregnancy via a handshake or sharing a supermarket aisle with someone.
Your body is your body – but your choice to walk around as a disseminator of a virus that has killed 4.5 Million people is not your own to make- except under a government that is either wilfully negligent or terrifyingly inept.
To imply that you are able to walk around with impunity is already false- were you found to be carrying a dangerous disease communicable by breathing or touch, you would, against your will, be forced to quarantine for the good of everyone around you. Were you walking around emitting radiation you would be caught, cornered and isolated. This is not new, it is not news, and it is certainly not controversial. You are not being shot, beaten, broken for the crime of existence- you are being prevented from spreading disease. If you can’t make a distinction between a desperate attempt to prevent societal damage and death, and TYRRANY – the issue doesn’t lie with your fellow countrymen or, loath as I am to defend them- the government.
The irony is that we currently have a government in place who are supremely unconcerned with infections en masse so my defence is- like any tory lines about “protection” – fictional.
Equally I see many people desperate to make a false equivalence between coronavirus and HIV.
HIV is bloodborne and can only be passed in certain circumstances I very rarely find myself in with strangers- that’s the difference with covid, and if you can’t make that distinction without an internet stranger pointing it out, I urge you to keep your mouth closed out of fear that you will suffer mortal embarrassment.
To be regularly called hysterical by people who reach histrionics when asked to wear a mask, to stand a slight distance apart or who regularly storm the wrong places to protest a vaccine is exhausting.
To see the dregs of our society – dregs, dear reader that I’m not afraid to call them any more- holding back our progress in defeating this virus that’s stolen a year and a half of our lives makes my stomach fill with hot rage. Here we sit, handcuffed to awkwardly squirming anti-everythingers who just want to “get on with their lives” as they refuse to follow even the smallest inconvenience to it, prolonging the issue.
How long are we as a society going to forment these weaklings? Do we really have to speak to people like they are children to explain why this is necessary? And if that is the case, why is it we who must suffer as they rage and flail against the symptoms they cause?
Frankly, the last 18 months has fundamentally changed how I feel about my fellow humans. Seeing the endless nonsense recycled, only to be called to heel by the reason of experts- to see it recycled again in a clown-filled repetition of garbage garbage garbage assailing the truth – has made me embittered towards my fellow people- and yet still I do what we’ve been told will help without question. But why? Why should I continue to do what experts recommend when so many others wont? If they wish to be so cavalier with my life, why shouldn’t I be with theirs? The answer, I fear, is that it is fundamentally who we all are as people- surrounded by those who are “reasonably sure” they are right and their surety may kill me, as we try to protect them and may be giving our lives or health for it.
As the government who are supposed to oversee the welfare of the country continues to tacitly accept this disgraceful lack of safety from a legal and societal standpoint, I find myself more amazed than ever that we continue to assent to their twisted rule. Under the thumb of Johnson, who is hoping to eliminate the job of vaccines minister because he wishes to “move on” from COVID, this dangerous situation will grow, spread and entrench into the very stones of our buildings until our half-safe way of life becomes normal… even as the rest of the world returns to normal, away from the gaslighting the UK faces on the daily.
I don’t see wearing a mask, getting vaccinated or any other measures taken as cowardly- I see an inability to change your own behaviour as the world dictates as weakness.
And many more of our fellow man are shamefully weak than we knew.
I often find myself wondering how on earth we’re in the state that we are. Though I’ve always been on the left, I remember being compelled to at least not argue with right wing political figures as I grew up, in the understanding that there must be some secret logic behind their points. But lately I’ve found myself pondering what this new type of political discourse is, where it’s from and why it manages to wield both a sneaking insidiousness and yet sound a klaxon of it’s own intolerance. What happened to the days of the polite bigot?
IN THE 70’s, 80’s and even 90’s in the UK, political discourse seemed to be ruled by intellectual titans- strong figures who, like or dislike, could never be called stupid, bumbling, liars. People so entrenched in their conviction that argument seemed futile even when you had rebuttals. Political discourse was something I avoided despite a slowly burgeoning interest in the area, because those at the forefront of it’s application were people more eloquent and confident in their correctness than I was capable of feeling at the time.
But oh, how times change.
Looking at parliament with a dirge like depression, you can be forgiven for missing the bright spots on modern political discourse. I, biased to the left as I am, am always enthralled to hear political treasures like Zarah Sultana or Dawn Butler speak. In fact just last night I watched Sultana speak openly about her experience of Islamophobia and her disappointment of it’s lack of handling- seeing someone I admire so being open about her difficulties was saddening. Sultana is a politician who cares about everyone equally but who also does not countenance nonsense- and that is a dual quality that politicians so sorely need and yet lack.
Butler’s insistence on calling out lies, falsehoods and ineptitude has been a boon for all who are fed up of the naturally disingenuous exchanges in parliament, and her unflinching dedication to speaking on all matters BLM has been amazing- especially when conflated against “that” interview where she had to sit next to a spluttering Isabel Oakeshott who denied the Prime Minister’s racism even as Butler repeated his racist statements to her face.
Reactionary is one of the most regular words conservatives levy at the left, and without a hint of irony. Right wing outrage is a culture now, a widely disseminated culture where a headline can bring people to paroxysms of rage but when explained without the clickbait titling. “Winston Churchill Foundation Cancels Its Namesake” was bound to piss people off – until you realise they changed pictures and the name slightly for very sound reasons and he is still very much there.
The idea of cancel culture is also propogated by people who are objectively the opposite of it.
I can write blogs and make videos all day about trans rights and equalities in the UK, but no media outlet would pick them up no matter how well sourced, written, spoken about. But gender critical MP’s like Rosie Duffield- who has just released a thread on twitter paradoxically claiming she stands for LGBT rights but refers to trans women as male bodied- can enjoy a wealth of interviews in print, on tv, and more- and Labour MP Duffield might be, but transphobia is at it’s heart not an argument FOR women’s rights, it is an argument AGAINST trans people’s liberties- and much like any other reactionary idea can be dispelled through the simple medium of… learning about the issue.
As this type of political shift continues though, our old tactics for the control, manipulation and dissemination of information to disenchant those ensnared, or to allow people to make truly informed decisions, simply do not apply.
The issue is that objective truth is a stubborn little thing. The truth is one solid fact- a lie can be absolutely anything to chip at, break, smash, crush that solidity down to pieces. The issue of dealing with serial liars is that if they don’t like what you’re saying they’ll just make up a counter point to it.
Additionally, the defenders of this new type of politics worsen the situation with every article, clip or sound bite- a political commentator the other day stated that Boris Johnson making up figures instead of knowing them off the top of his head was not lying… a well known, renowned political commentator, okaying the lies of the Prime Minister.
Ultimately in a world that allows for the dishonesty, gaslighting and sheer ineptitude of this type of politics, we are, as a society doomed to suffer under it’s rule.
Today, illustrious Crime Sinister Boris Johnson announced a 1.5% tax hike to NI to “pay for social care”. Johnson’s manifesto literally stated that they wouldn’t do this, as did Johnson in a litany of public appearances pre-election- so tell me Tory voters: why should we trust what he says it’s for, when he said it wouldn’t happen in the first place?
I’VE SPENT SOLIDLY the last 24 hours arguing with people online about how I’m sick of being told, as a 33 year old single man, that it’s my fault I don’t have a mortgage. I actually had a not insignificant amount saved with an ex, who kept that money when we separated because he is, and if you’re reading this- you are- a huge piece of shit. And I’ve worked hard since 2016 to pile money away into a savings account, only, at the start of covid, to be met with a sexy little 0.1% interest rate which means I might as well have slit a hole in my mattress and started feeding fives and tens in there to accrue interest from the bed bugs.
No amount of “not buying coffees” will help when the cost of living just keeps going up, whilst my salary has more fixation than a pathologist’s latest patient.
My favourite part of these fruitless exchanges though is how older generations rail endlessly against young people protesting an increase in NI. “When I was younger we were miserable” is a fair point until I then ask why, if life was so hard and you were so miserable, you want to pass that experience off onto us- isn’t the whole point that we make the next generation’s lives easier? But that’s also wilfully missing the whole “we’re in a pandemic after a Brexit we didn’t want and we were there for 9/11 and that whole thing messed us up” thing. Our lives aren’t easy, haven’t been easy and- between, Brexit, pandemia, tax hikes and general tory ineptitude, will continue to be this way.
When you actually look at how much this increases our burden by, especially the poor, we’re much worse off. Plus everything is getting more expensive and we have more necessities these days. And there’s always that fun little graph that shows the parity between house prices and salaries go from the width of my hopes that the tories might do good, to the width of my conviction that, under them, we’re roughly fucked.
There’s always a suspicion that things like that graph are too simplistic- so today when I saw someone with a massively detailed one showing that property prices are marginally cheaper up north – but job prospects mean it’s harder to find the money to BUY one. Fun!
Ultimately we’re having our shows run by a man who thinks £150,000 for a newspaper article he wrote between taking MDMA and drinking chateauneuf is “pocket change”, so I don’t really like knowing he’s responsible for how much comes out of my take home.
Frankly it is difficult to see an end to the misery heaped on us by the government, and the complicity of the voting base who even now are filling my various inboxes with “CORBYN WOULD HAVE RAISED IT BY 5%” rather than dealing with that nefarious little thing, reality, is causing me something akin to grief.
Trapped here on plague island, I cant help but feel that we’re so numb to the misuse of the system that no one actually wants to fix it.
Here are some of the stock responses I receive from fellow brits that drive me insane.
“All politicians are corrupt”
Why do we accept that? Why not remove every last one until we know those who embezzle and bedazzle and lie and cheat are gone and honest people who wish to improve the country are in place.
“It could be worse”
Of course it could, but just because I only have one broken leg doesn’t mean I’m flagging people down to snap the other one.
Tories need to be told to get over Corbyn’s loss even more than Corbyn’s staunch voter base still do.
“He’s doing his best”
He is the prime minister, not a 3 year old doing a finger painting of a butterfly. Grow up.
Therein is the issue! People are so numb to what talented politicians, reliable politicians can do, that we’re willing to accept a cabinet built like an Ikea knockoff, stuffed with so many inept Johnson stooges that they can do a terrible job so long as they tell him he’s doing well.
And loath as I am to insult Labour, this is a government whose opposition should be decimating them in the polls. Whatever issues Labour has need to be fixed NOW because the continual infighting and lassitude of the left is actively contributing to this government’s ineptitude.
Lately I’m consumed by wondering what the match that will light the ever increasing tinder will be. Why wasn’t it broken promises made for Brexit, delayed lockdowns, mass deaths, callous disregard for those in care homes, jokes about our lost family members, PPE scandals, health secretaries sleeping with mistresses hired on our dime, another one throwing off all safety measures, blatant data manipulation, dereliction of duty by a foreign secretary, the anger over a home secretary castigated by the police and, now, the French, the embers of the always smouldering culture war flaring up to burn a PM who “refuses to involve” himself- but fans the flames, always, with his past and present words, increased NI which will specifically hit the poor more than the rich, food shortages, HGV Driver shortages, broken manifesto promises, inaction on unsafe flat buildings, mass deportation of those with the right to be here, an education secretary boasting of his CO2 protection system that is our children’s only safeguard and isn’t installed, tory MP’s involved in sex scandals, harassing their constituents and workers… Wherever you look at whatever level of this government corruption oozes like thickening blood to scab over an ever more septic wound.
Look at that list there and tell me why this country and it’s citizens are not in open revolt over JUST THIS.
The British public seems all too happy to roll over and show it’s delicate underbelly to a government ready to rip it open and revel in the entrails.
It is not moral, right or smart to blindly support your country- either country of origin or the country in which you live. Patriotism, at it’s heart, is about making a country more than it was, better than it was- but in a post truth state, the diminishing of a country is now seen as sovereignty.
Whichever example you would like to choose, from the US election and the subsequent attempt at a coup from ardent Trump supporters, to Brexit and the ongoing disaster of it’s completion – it fails to strike me as a positive to refer to yourself as “a patriot” these days.
And as the BLM movement educated me on the atrocities, both historical and disturbingly current, that the UK Empire committed in the name of “Queen and country” and I joined marches, stood with my neck burning in the sun in honour of people I wanted to show solidarity (at the very least) with and saw groups of angry thugs- they don’t deserve the title of “counter protesters”- I found myself amazed how many people flocked to defend stones like the Cenotaph or statues of slave traders or Churchill himself, rather than the lives and liberties of their fellow countrymen- their fellow humans.
The blank stares of a statue do nothing to uplift your national pride until, apparently, they are under threat- then suddenly they must be protected. Why, I wondered then- and still do now- did the angry Anti-antifascists decide that we as a group would target and damage a war memorial? Did they not know about the foreign regiments whose names were carved indelibly into that stone alongside their white British fellows? Did they not understand that they were protecting a monument that stood as a testament to lives lost to protest fascism?
I fear the answer is no. Looking at those facts I am on the verge of almost laughing at the absurdity of the situation – but it comes from a darker place. I strongly recommend the podcast “enemies of the people” episode 3, with host Dr. Maria W. Norris, expert on radicalisation and terorrism & Alex von Tunzelmann on Statues as Stories, which gives depth and nuance to the discussion of why statues as controversy and their desecration, relocation or revelations of their history is not actually a new and frightening concept in other democracies.
Nationalistic thinking is not, necessarily, a terrible thing. But when nationalism becomes fanaticism and the failings of the state are overlooked or even embraced by its populace in the name of “Making America Great Again” or “Taking Back Control”, or “Building Back Better”, you find empty rhetoric and those backing the changes paradoxically suffering from the issues created from this small minded “anti-other” way of life.
Reading studies that link white nationalism and racism, there is an oft assumed stance that racial politics is an ungentrified aspect, purely of modern politics itself, that those of the mid and upper classes are not racist- and this view is perpetuated by those who wish to keep this incorrect distinction:
It appears that what I often call white nationalism is by it’s nature multi class, but certain classes actively attempt to hide their association with it.
Racism and nationalism are closely intertwined- to see someone from another land as “other” and to decide that you cannot wholly be from a country based on the colour of your skin (everyone has seen the awkward exchange between David Lammy and the “you’re not British” woman, surely), and the idea that racial disparity both does not exist but is also responsible for negative (and often false) tropes directed at people of colour is yet another complete misconception of basic information, either wilfully misinterpreted or misunderstood.
The push back against critical race theory is ludicrous – if you are proud of your state and wish to understand it’s formation then accepting it’s mistakes is a key part of the continued societal growth. Ignoring it’s seemly underbelly in favour of pretending that no mistakes were made allows for resentment from those who suffered to rot the foundations formed from these heinous acts. Instead of acceptance, reparation and growth taking place, denial weakens the fabric of the society.
But again, this comes back to the schroedinger’s insistence that the UK Empire did nothing wrong, that the conquering forefathers of America were correct in committing their atrocities against indigenous peoples or enslaving people and decimating their cultures was simply a part of history that needs to be glossed over because they were products of their time: Which is it, that they did nothing wrong or that what they did wasn’t wrong at the time and so should be overlooked?
I wonder how many people who are able to blithely write off the crimes of our past would be willing to do so were it people like they who had suffered for the benefit of imperialism. To blithely state that your country has done nothing wrong is to condemn it to stagnate- for only through acceptance of wrongdoing can we learn from our past and grow to do better. And it is this strange mismanagement of fact that I find nationalists so often miss.
If your country has arguably damaged itself in standing in the world through a display of xenophobia – yes, Brexit was seen as such globally – backed up by endless examples of small England syndrome in the press:
and to compound this by pretending that you will still be seen as you were after endorsing such disparagement and in fact promoting it, you are blinded by… what? Patriotism?
Patriotism after all is not simply the act of supporting your country blindly – it is supporting your country to be better. Brexit allowed us to shuck off the imagined chains of EU Beauracracy, and the sovereignty so many were eager for has, at long last, arrived… in the guise of a PM whose personal life is a graveyard of personal scandals, a home secretary who took from public coffers to pay off victims of her bullying and who was accused of working with foreign powers in her previous role. We had a health secretary who conducted an affair at a crucial moment during the pandemic, a new health secretary who claims he is “opening a new hospital” when he is simply opening a new wing of an existing hospital- even today, we have an education secretary so inept that he appears surprised when questioned on the fact that schools are already back and do not have the vital equipment he promised to attempt to mitigate COVID spread.
In addition we have food shortages, businesses going bust, industries that unknowingly relied on EU buyers or products who vociferously backed brexit failing as a result of their misinformed choice, doctors are prioritising who can have blood tests because there are no blood tubes and even if they existed they can’t be delivered… It appears that our sovereignty is the freedom to undo any perceived greatness in the name of political snobbery, and to damage our society at fundamental levels, and all the while those who backed the severance of our EU membership cheer and sing the national anthem in the face of the brexit fallout.
When our alleged greatness came at the expense and hard work of foreign nationals either forced into servitude in chains or brought to the UK through schemes and requirements- then unfairly deported- was it really our greatness in the first place, or did we just allow others to come here, express their greatness and then speak over them to proclaim our wonder at what we achieved.
Am I patriotic
Why would I be patriotic when the examples of perceived patriotism we have so prominently at the moment are disgraced ex presidents who were twice impeached and who performed coups to try to maintain power in the face of a democratic vote? Or a prime minister whose perceived bumbling belies a man desperate to obtain power but uninterested in dispensing it for the gain of those in need?
Patriotism has always been an odd concept to me- I don’t owe anyone my fealty just because I was born on an island they also were, or that they govern. I am my own person, and my patriotism extends to ensuring that I support the democracy of the system I’m included in- and at the moment, I see no democracy. And I may feel a spark of patriotism if the UK could face up to the atrocities that made it instead of shirking it’s chance to move forward into an age where we don’t cower from our past but embrace that we can be different and better.
Until UK citizens realise we are falling victim to a denial that perpetuates a class and racial divide that allows rule by elites who do not know or care about our struggles, and until we reframe nationalism away from fanatic flag waving and gesture politics, so will the cycle of make mistake, forget mistake, make mistake continue.
The union jack at it’s core now represents unsavoury things to me, and that is truly a shame. I used to think of it as a symbol of quintessential UK togetherness and now I only seem to see it hanging limply from buildings empty because it’s staff are unwell with covid, or on the twitter profiles of rampant xenophobes who want the freedom to starve, get sick and will all the while offshift blame onto remoaners or foreigners or whoever else a compliant media will highlight that day.
This is the British dream you need to wake up from – the ruins of the country around you are your fault- those you decry are the ones who tried to prop it up on their backs and were crushed under the weight of your arrogance.
After a spate of anti LGBTQIA crimes, the met police have released “safety tips” for rainbow community members- tips like “avoid dark areas” and “don’t listen to music” and now I as a member of the community ask the police – when will you attack the perpetrators instead of chastising the victims?
(In this article I’ll regularly reference women and LGBTQIA people- I understand that there are women in the LGBTQIA, so please bear with me – as an inclusive feminist, and as a man who sees intersectionality and the commonality of struggles between all women and all other members of the LGBTQIA, I want to write a thorough and fair piece to anyone and everyone who experiences the unhelpfulness propagated by the rhetoric of the advice above. I would never purposely discredit or prioritise any one group’s difficulties over another, but I write from my own experience as a cis gay man and unfortunately suffer from my own bias as I write. I understand your struggles as best I can and I hope this article does justice to it, as much as it can but would be more than happy to edit or add as may suit you. Please also bear in mind I’ll be discussing sensitive themes.)
I RECIEVED A SURPRISING amount of blowback to a video I created speaking about my displeasure with the narrative the met police are offering regarding the spike in anti LGBT+ sentiment in the UK. A few people said they felt I was making parallels that didn’t exist- that the police were simply suggesting people take accountability for their safety- as if those of us who are regularly offered this waffling and useless nonsense for our own protection are normally the hapless first to die at the start of a horror movie- we hear our boyfriend being brutally slaughtered downstairs but still go to investigate, we run up the stairs and hide in the closet instead of going for the front door. The suggestion that women or LGBT+ people don’t take our safety seriously, and need to be offered empty advice like “don’t go into the dark areas like parks” is ludicrous.
It’s also proscriptive towards those of us- of which there are many – in the community, male, female or enby who don’t live in some theoretical well lit, safe, upscale apartment block with security and friendly neighbours. LGBT+ people take many shapes and forms, and can live anywhere from town houses to run down flats- and suggesting we avoid the very areas we may need to live in due to personal circumstance is insane, and feels like a rebuke against people whose lives are difficult already due to circumstance- from being ousted by family members to having life altering trauma that prevents full time employment, warning us away from areas that may be unseemly is pointless when we may live there as our only option.
Much like the edging-very-close-but-not-just-saying-it’s-your-fault rhetoric, this is another patent attempt by an ineffective and indifferent police force to off-shift blame for crime from those who feel entitled to commit them, knowing the advice focuses on the narrative of the victim placing themselves at peril rather than the perpetrator being discouraged. Women, cis or trans are asked about what they were wearing, gay men are judged for their presentation or- as was the case for both myself and a male friend- we’re asked if we went to places we didn’t even know are cruising spots, if we went wanting sex then regretted it, judged, shamed and then dispensed with no justice. This is the reality of life for women, LGBT+ people- and who knows how women who are LGBT+- and then WOC who are LGBT+ cope- presumably we are increasingly urged to entrench ourselves in our homes, seal every gap, sit quietly in a panic room and wait for change because apparently our mere presences provoke people to attack.
Look at the increase in anti LGBT+ hate crime in the UK from 2011 to last year. No doubt the figures will have changed due to lockdown and in 2022 the met police will celebrate a job well done, failing to realise that when you keep people separate, their ability to attack each other is limited. But a dip in figures is not a change in sentiment.
The frustration in regards to this advice is that again, much as women are punitively advised not to go out, to carry their keys defensively, to check in with friends, walk in groups, plan their routes- it fails to address the root causes.
A society that commodifies the (in particular) female body as something that people are entitled to regardless of consent, that places the onus of blame on the visibility of skin or the friendliness of the individual is a broken society. And now to extend those less than useless (as evidenced by the tragic case of Blessing Olusegun, Sarah Everard, the horrendous acts of the Plymouth incel, the fact that 97% of surveyed women- NINETY SEVEN PERCENT- have experienced sexual assault) guidance again as if they are of any use at all, other than to tell us to lock ourselves away for our own protection, is insanity.
I feel like I’m quintessentially British when I write- I throw in a smattering of posh words and moan a lot so here are some things I’d like to see the police actually implement or action to perhaps make some sort of dent in this endless rhetoric that is damaging to anyone but cishet, and sometimes just cis, men.
Stop victim blaming
Suggesting limp talking points like “don’t go out in the dark- don’t listen to music- wear running shoes” is placing the responsibility on us- of course it’s common sensical and we all do it- so why waste the time telling us when you could be creating sustained education campaigns to impress on young men that they are not entitled to sexual gratification from other people. There could be a reiteration that crimes of these natures will be punished severely to the full extent of the law. The media could be approached to prevent the platforming of what SHOULD BE CALLED extremists, terrorists and more. No name, no notoriety. Crimes against women and LGBT+ people (and, obviously, the women in the community especially), should be prioritised as the stats continue to rise- with a focus on those who do experience anything being supported properly (this, in my experience, does not happen and leads to worse for those who have already suffered enough). Creating the narrative that we are responsible for other’s behaviour merely by showing skin or being open about our gender or sexuality is a complete dereliction of duty.
Earlier this year when news broke of an Iranian gay man, murdered before he could flee, the article stated that there was “worldwide condemnation”- and yet there was also a disquietingly loud smattering of those stating “why would he come out? would you really wave your sexuality around like that?” As though the crime of existing and being gay should be met with such swift and horrific punishment.
And then in Spain, a man was beaten to death by a homophobic crowd- again, condemnation, shock, outrage- nothing.
Now it’s common to, on the daily, open up the news apps to a small headline about another gay man, lesbian, trans person, couple, enby person, being beaten, bashed, robbed, chased, sexually assaulted. These crimes are horrific wherever they occur but are getting closer and closer to home, and it’s not the responsibility of those who may suffer from these crimes to take precautionary measures- it is for those who would commit the crimes to be discouraged through either the simple expedient of education or through fear of repercussion.
Start repairing trust in a community that has historic bad blood
Even I, as an extremely tepid and boring human, have had several very negative interactions with the police- twice related to my sexuality, twice not. But my trans friends, and several of my cis lesbian, gay and bi friends have had very negative interactions with the police based on their sexuality and hate crimes. I haven’t even bothered to report some of the things that have been done or said to me on account of my own sexuality- partly because I can manage, and partly because I know that often nothing comes of it.
Faith in an organisation that’s previously categorically failed to help the LGBT+ community and women is unsurprisingly worn thin- but the police never work to make reparations for communities they have historically (and arguably presently) let down. The right wing press demonised the police’s attempt to create vehicles with the pride inclusive flag, writing that the police should focus on “real” crimes.
The irony of this move is, it’s yet another cishet created move for “inclusion” that misses the mark but allows the community to suffer the repercussions. We do-not-care about flags on police cars. We care about a competent police force who will listen to and action our issues. We care about resolution to any crimes committed against us, and we care about the betterment of the society in which we live which currently seems to be slowly turning against us in a frightening way.
Protest has always been a key tenet of the LGBT+ community as we’ve fought for our rights to be who we are without judgement or, ironically, fear. But that right has been taken, and it’s a right that must be enshrined- yet has been desecrated by a flippant government seeking to avoid retribution for it’s actions. This move was, to our eyes, fostered by a police force desperate to be able to prevent public speech in dissent of it’s behaviours and so lends another unneeded nail to the coffin of LGBT+ trust in the force.
Cis men won’t like the idea that society fails too many of them in the simple area of being taught that they cannot touch what people do not consent to- that they cannot (I have literally witnessed this behaviour and screamed at the individual) take pictures of girls in workout clothes at the bus stop at the bottom of Briggate in Leeds, that they should not open conversations with pictures of their genitals. Whatever it is that is not impressed upon them in their youths and as they grow must be implemented if we hope to make a society that allows people to feel safe. I as a cis man am regularly dumbfounded by people assuming I’m happy to receive unprompted pictures of their naked bodies. And the RAGE! The rage that is directed at you when you aren’t interested- as if looking at their bodies when I didn’t want to was some sort of secret reward. As if being told that I make them horny when I didn’t want to know is some elusive prize they want to award me. The depersonalisation of the other is a huge, foreboding problem with far too many men- some think their unprompted sexualisation is wanted or a gift we ask for just by existing in the same space as them.
Though the article is old, I doubt the systemic belief has changed much with no campaign to do so:
Others don’t care if their obscenities are received well, they simply want to get off to knowing that others are forced to see it. It’s flashing for the 21st century and the police should be impressing upon people that they can and will access records of conversations, and that if someone sends pictures like that unsolicited and without agreement, it merits punishment.
Before the “it’s not all men” crowd leap in, yes women should be subject to the same scrutiny- and yet I noticed an odd phenomenon when discussing this topic with straight cis men before- when I told them how annoying it is to be subject to something of an occasional deluge of pictures of penises, they told me they would love to receive pictures of vaginas randomly. It’s this disconnect in mindset I don’t understand and would like to.
These are the same people who, when I explained that I have been sexually assaulted by a partner who woke me up holding me down, taking off my underwear and taking advantage of me when I was exhausted and unable to consent, and more than once did say “no”, “stop” or “get off”, was met with either silence or indifference, told me that they would “love” to get woken up by sex.
You didn’t misread that. On three occasions I’ve disclosed to straight cis men (and two gay cis men…) that I was painfully sexually assaulted and their response is that they would want that to happen to them. Either their lack of imagination when it comes to consent is terrifying or a worrying proportion of men have distorted opinions when it comes to what sex is and should be. I’ve also had -specifically- several cis straight men tell me that they imagine it’s “normal” that eventually sex slows down and that situation occurs. And when people ask me why I, to this day, have trouble trusting men, it’s because of these statements and the actions of the person who did it to me.
Society needs to stop procrastinating at the peril of people who suffer these heinous crimes- sexual and simple violence- and come to an understanding of causality and change. Lives would be saved.
The UK media must be stopped
The anti LGBT+ sentiment has always boiled along in the background, my entire life. I remember disparaging articles in the daily mail when I was in my formative teen years, that gave people I cared greatly for the energy to rail against my sexuality as though I chose to make their lives more difficult by dint of who I find attractive. We haven’t yet reached the resurgence of openly and blatantly homophobic headlines like these compiled by Tony Reeves:
Disgraceful, isn’t it! And yet are we really- really- so far from this rhetoric?
Last year’s “poofters” and “d*kes” are this year’s “trans Taliban”, activists seeking to erase women, erase lesbians, roll back freedoms and rights, imperil people- and a disturbing portion of the community allows themselves to foster and promote these beliefs by buying into and actively promoting them. Nobody should go through what the LGBT+ activists did, and yet they did, so to perpetuate such scorn upon yet another community is a travesty of the highest proportion.
More cis people writing hateful books about trans people- demonising them, accusing them of propagating trans ideology and more. Joyce didn’t even interview a trans person for her book, focusing instead on burrowing deep in the echo chamber of the internet’s anti trans activists. Shrier’s book suggests that being trans is a craze rather than a divergence from being cis, and that the increase in people coming out as trans was a more accepting society and a deeper understanding of the nonexistence of the gender binary.
At the same time, we see regular reports of anti LGBT+ preachers extolling their dangerous platitudes about how we’re trying to de-sanctify the world, gay up Jesus, whatever else these curmudgeonly hacks want to push into their echo chamber. We’re asked or told to debate our right to be, to live, to love, to access healthcare- we’re forced endlessly to defend ourselves against accusations of trying to woo children into some imagined community initiation scheme, talked about, grumbled about and loosely tolerated until the first time a lesbian tells someone to shut up and then suddenly – SEE, WHAT HAPPENED TO THE TOLERANT AND LOVING LGBT?
When all is said and done, the police will continue to mop up hate crime rather than look at ways to tackle it systemically and the problem will worsen, the media will continue to half heartedly demonise us for things out of our control, and make the worst of us the examples of the rest of us and until many of us have paid the price of their lassitude, the problems will continue. I’d urge the police to consider taking some actual action, doing some actual groundwork with the government to stem the tide of hatred leaking through every brick in the wall that holds us safe against those who would wish us harm. Is that too much to ask? Or do you need to clean my blood off the pavement to realise, too late, that I told you this was coming?
As long as I’ve been able to understand the concept of tolerance I’ve hated the word. Here’s why.
TOLERANCE IS NOT A GOOD WORD, it’s not a good concept, and it’s been waved around in society so much that people lose the thread of what tolerance actually means.
When I wake up at 3.30am and the corner of my toenail is catching the sheet, it’s a horrible feeling. I’m tired, and I daren’t move because the feeling of the nail catching makes me feel nauseous. But I’m too tired to move so I resign myself to tolerating it until I can sort it out in the morning. It’s a horrible, eyerolling, arms crossed and sighing feeling to tolerate something that bothers you. But as a gay man, I’ve spent a majority of my life hearing about how it’s a good thing if people learn to “tolerate” me.
To those who feel it’s enough to simply treat my existence as something they need to engage tolerance for, a short message: F*ck off.
People in the LGBT+ community, or anyone who has ever felt this label of someone to “tolerate” will likely understand what I mean by this. We are people. People with agency, individual merit, with grace or impatience, with the right to experience dignity as everyone else does. Tolerance is an insult. Tolerance is less than the least you can do. And I’m tired of the rhetoric of tolerance being given back to us by bigoted MP’s who claim that not taking our rights away or debating our existence openly is something for which they should be thanked.
After a self proclaimed “NOT lgbt” person was forced to leave Manchester pride this weekend for wearing merchandise belonging to the “not” hate group, LGB alliance, the LGBTQIA community has spent the weekend reading hot takes from gender critical and hateful groups that range from hilarious to flat out incorrect. So let’s talk about the LGB alliance and what the community needs to do to show gender critical people that they are not welcome.
Pride in pride
Lets start with the hate-monger who attended pride. If your social media proudly proclaims that you’re not part of the LGBT+ community, and you go to an LGBT+ community event wearing a shirt which is well known as anti trans iconography- you can expect to be evicted from pride. And you can decry this as unfair, an infringement of free speech, the “woke mob” cancelling you- the rest of us, the adults in the room, call it “consequences”. LGBT+ pride is an event for all of those letters and anyone in the plus. We love having straight allies at pride because they support us to live our lives. If you don’t do that- if you don’t support every single letter of the rainbow acronym- pride isn’t for you and we’ll reclaim it from rainbow marketing and from bigots like yourself.
Enjoy your flash in the pan fame, but make no mistake that we all know, full well, that your only reason for doing as you did is because you’re miserable in your own skin. You’re determined to take whatever angry upset feelings you have towards yourself and externalise them, to make everyone else around you as miserable as you are. It won’t work. We don’t feel fear, we don’t feel anger, we just feel a mixture of fed up, and frankly – pity. We see through it. If you really hope to do anything beyond mildly annoy people, make yet another transparently nonsense apology like every influencer ever where we have to walk you through why what you did was wrong. You’ll surely be ingratiated into all the right wingers groups who don’t care if you live or die as long as you prop up their ability to be bigoted- but as for the rest of us, you are less than a ripple in an ocean.
Equally, learning the error of your ways would allow you a type of acceptance you’re clearly unfamiliar with but would likely enjoy. I urge you to try and understand the error of your thoughts and move forward- stop taking your self hatred out on others because it’ll be the death of you but doesn’t do anything of note to us. It’s sad to see members of our community externalising hate rather than dealing with it- but your individual plight doesn’t outweigh the strife you try to cause to the trans community and the rest of us who stand with them.
The LGB alliance claim not to be an anti trans hate group. Their mission statement is to “defend the sex based rights of lesbian, gay and bi people”. Ignoring for a moment that trans people also have sexualities and can be lesbian, gay or bi, lets talk about sex based rights.
Sex based rights in the concept of gender criticality are nonsense.
That might sound prescriptive, but when it comes to the rhetoric of the gender critical crowd, sex based rights is a nothing. Upon googling sex based rights, the top result is a rad fem website talking about the right of women to have access to spaces away from predatory men – don’t we all have the right to be safe from predatory men?
I’m so tired of going over the bathroom and changing room fallacy pointing out that blaming trans women for the behaviour of predatory cis men is pointless, or that trans women aren’t planning to ERASE WOMEN from the earth. Expanding the definition of something doesn’t water it down, and rights are not a pizza that gets smaller when more people are invited to eat from it.
The “LGB ALLIANCE”
The LGB alliance’s most recent declarations online are the antithesis of their mission statement. They declared that adding + to LGBT “opens the door for paraphilias like bestiality and more to all be part of one big happy “Rainbow Family”. This is – word for word- the same rhetoric summoned fresh from the 70’s of “if we accept the LGBT people, next we’ll have to accept animal lovers and paedophiles”. You see, the LGB Alliance’s argument isn’t new, fancy or special- you could take the signs from any anti LGBT march from 1970, 1980- hell, today in some countries like Poland- and note the same sentiments from the supposed Alliance and those vehemently opposed to the community. They also- shockingly- oppose our right to equal marriage because the numbers of LGBT+ people who marry isn’t very high. This- shockingly – doesn’t mean that right shouldn’t be accessed. It means that we’re a community that doesn’t feel the need to follow a heteronormative relationship pattern, and does not mean that we should have rights available to other people taken from us for it.
Atypical Radical Feminism
At it’s core, radical feminism could actually have done some serious good when it came to aggressively pursuing lawmakers in their indifference towards crimes committed against women – sexual assault and harassment, sexism etc. The irony is – trans women suffer from misogyny as well. Misogyny is violence or anti woman sentiment aimed at someone because they are -or, to explain for the bigots at the back, present as female or feminine.
To cut off a portion of women who suffer the same irritants and dangers as you (one in two trans women will experience sexual assault) is madness. And rather than focusing ire on a very small part of the population who would just like to use the bathroom in peace and accusing them of myriad crimes just for the body they reside in, perhaps it would be best to drive this unwheeshty energy at the police force who are now legally allowed to rape people if it means they complete their mission, or who can have you imprisoned for years for protesting, or the government who continues to dither on the provision of feminine hygiene products or maternity leave or equal pay.
Of course the moment a gender critical person reads this I’ll be called a prostate haver, a beard, a man, told that I can’t have opinions on this because I DON’T KNOW what it’s like to be a woman. To that I respond- if they don’t know what it’s like to be trans perhaps they should pause and wonder why they feel it’s appropriate to read books from cis women who don’t even speak with trans people but write a book claiming to understand it.
To side with people like the LGB Alliance, or with anti trans activists who share pictures of people post mastectomy as if that is something to be ashamed of considering women go through it for myriad reasons outside of being trans, or use hormone tablets for myriad reasons outside of being trans, may not be able to concieve naturally just like trans people (due to surgical intervention or nature), face sexism and sexual assault just like trans people, feel unsafe in public just like trans people may, or are shamed and sexualised for their bodies just like trans people are…
It seems like gender critical women have a lot in common with trans people, and it’s not the trans people excluding others from their journeys.
Some of the most worrying talking points which have come from the LGB Alliance and rad fem speakers is that if we DON’T support the plight of gender critical people (remember at this point that over 50% of UK women believe trans women are women and pose no more threat than a cis woman), we’ll lose our rights. In fact, the recent uptick in anti LGBTQIA sentiment is put down to the fact that most of us stand in solidarity with our fellows under the T. But it only takes a simple search to realise that this, as always with reactionaries, is the start of the thought, and to complete it you must look further, to the regular weaponization of our community in the UK media.
Articles around anything from the pride flag and it’s appropriation by UK institutions- I’m looking at you NHS, which was then disseminated via media and business to overshadow rainbow pride with the NHS rather than LGBT+ people, meant that if we brought up symbol appropriation we were told things- as I directly was- like, “The flag never represented you it’s god’s symbol” or “Well now it stands for the NHS you need a new one”. That fight was very much outside the trans community, but hand in hand with BLM, trans and intersex rights we created a new more diverse symbol to represent all of us- the inclusive flag.
And again the UK media delights, year on year, in creating thought pieces on how pride gives us entitlement, how there shouldn’t be LGBT+ pride, how there should be straight pride as a counterbalance and on, and on and on, and endless recycling of hot takes around a community that holds pride to demonstrate that we are and will unapologetically be ourselves whether you like it or not.
I’m old enough to remember salacious pieces about George Michael’s public sex, speculation around Will Young’s position in bed, the suggestion that Boy George was perverted for being gender non-conforming. And every time a member of our community acts like a fool, the entire community faces the brunt of it- articles about this trans person who said something stupid or that gay person who did something awful presented to us as reasons why we shouldn’t have what we do.
How many straight men a year commit rape? If we started waving those articles around, no doubt we’d be accused of histrionics.
LGBTQIA people are just people. We aren’t all perfect, there are bad elements inside- and outside of- this community. We are all human, and being so determined to castigate us all for crimes of a minority in a minority is as ridiculous as this crusade against trans rights is.
At the bone in the meat of this issue, we as a community do not now, nor will we ever, have to tolerate- there it is again- intolerance and bigotry. The LGB alliance and the anti community groups out there now have a clear demonstration that in the real world, the LGBTQIA community stand shoulder to shoulder, we don’t countenance nonsense and it’s time for their understanding- that their idiocy will not be entertained by us any more- must be reiterated. And accepting that bigotry is trying to enter this community endlessly, wrapped up in black t shirts or in the guise of “just women with concerns” – is not something I, nor anyone else- should tolerate.
Day after day, social media is suffused with angry knee jerking people, yelling to the high hills about how you can’t say or do anything these days without being cancelled. But people seem to fail to realise the irony of the platforms from which they speak. As John Cleese’s documentary on “cancel culture” arrives to cause more unnecessary culture war rehashing, I’m here to tell you the cold hard fact that cancel culture just isn’t a thing- you’re just not funny for being a prick.
One of my favourite examples of people who mysteriously believed they were “cancelled/censored/silenced”, was Rosie Duffield, MP, who endorsed transphobic views on twitter and has subsequently faced cancellation… by being in several national newspapers, talking about how silenced she is.
I’m not sure if Ms. Duffield is aware, but speaking from a double page spread is actually NOT what being silenced is. I’ve spoken several times on transphobia and it’s clownery, but for an MP to speak on being “cancelled” because she espouses views contrary to the idea that she would seek to work with any of her voters- is highly ironic. She was platformed by those who voted for her, only to turn around and essentially endorse the idea that they do not deserve the rights they have- and feels aggrieved by being called out on this.
The cherry on top, is the idea of silence while being interviewed by national media is… comical at best. When is the last time an everyday trans person was interviewed to platform their views…
Instead, we see the same faces pushed to media- trans people who agree to toe the line of the gender critical or people who aren’t even accepted by the trans community for what could be considered radical views. And so the media giant turns the screw more- “we thought you wanted representation” they say, platforming trans people who agree it’s a sexual perversion – who never, oddly, stop to wonder if it’s just THEM who feel that way. Or gay people like Darren Grimes who decry “identity politics” and in the same breath refer to themselves as a working class gay man. Irony is lost on these people- specifically because their brains don’t have the acuity for it, clearly.
The irony of this whole farcical debate about cancel culture, is that many of those who proclaim to think it’s an attack on their freedom, their views, their lifestyles- themselves- often cheerfully propagate their own versions of it! Take Cleese for example, who is cheerfully creating a TV show talking about how hard cancel culture is for folk of his ilk- forgetting, I’m sure, to mention that he sued a journalist for saying something Cleese didn’t like- is that cancel culture? Cancelling a person with an opinion? Or is that the good type of cancel culture that those who benefit from it overlook.
The crux of the argument seems to be is that many people these days seem to feel that they are cancelled for espousing their horrible views- but never before has this been such flagrant nonsense, with the four year tenure of a pussy grabbing mask denying gobshite like Trump, lauded for “telling people like it is” recently coming to a close- the man’s only selling point that his head was too empty to say anything with grace or just not speak when he could be megaphoning his own greatness to a feverish crowd, or a PM in the UK who has described Muslim women as letterboxes and criminals, gay men as tank topped bum boys, black people as having “watermelon smiles” and his only response? “Out of context”. Having read it- the context makes it worse. So never before has it been so clear that the people who decry cancel culture’s issues isn’t that they’re being punished for espousing disgusting views- its’ that they didn’t already have the insulation of a platform to say it from with safety.
Equally, looking at examples of people who did suffer “cancellation” seem to truly deserve it. Openly being racist, homophobic, misogynistic, ableist and that being your only schtick means you’re trying to profit from hatred- are we in a world where profiting off hatred is ok? If so, what a sad society we’ve become. But I can find scarce examples of people who have successfully been cancelled- Paris Hilton’s homophobic rant didn’t stop her from creating a TV show where she “interviewed” for her best friend. Rowling is still jogging along cheerfully throwing bigot baguettes out of her hamper for her slavering crowd of followers. But lets look at Janet Jackson- thrown under the bus by a co-worker and lost her jobs and footing… strange, I wonder what was different about Jackson compared to, I don’t know… white people being bigoted. It’s a mystery!
That’s the real message I get whenever I hear the bleating of “WoKe CaNcEl CuLtUrE”- I’m just angry that I’m not already famous enough to say this and survive it.
The fact is, racial, anti LGBTQIA humour, ridiculous sentiments like anti vaccination stances or similar, has been the safety net of many a waning star to gain a quick following from people who will blindly support you because they’re a one issue voter.
Those glibly hashtagging #IStandWithRosie or sharing Cleese’s documentary with unbridled glee that SOMEONE IS FINALLY SAYING IT couldn’t care less that Duffield drove two gay staff members to quit with her mindless rhetoric, or that Cleese thinks London “is not an English city any more” as long as they keep pushing the victim mentality that’s hilariously common with people in this regressive mindset.
Gaslighting is a term I don’t like to throw around but when you have vast portions of society on your side simply by dint of your gender or the fact you were a beloved comedian in your youth, accusing minorities of cancelling you because you don’t like being told your views are incorrect and damaging, or that your comedy relies on punching down on people’s existences.
The irony is that nobody in this crowd of oh so oppressed for their thoughts people, never stop to put themselves in the position of the people who suffer for their thoughts, their humour, their thoughtless words. Are people just moaning for the sake of it, or could it be that your endless rehashing of shit humour, your banal and frankly incorrect assumptions about someone because of what arouses them or their skin colour, is just tedious enough that we’re bored of smiling and nodding and privately deleting your number from our phones.
Your want the impunity to speak, but don’t have the stones to cope with the reaction to it. Clearly it’s better to wander the world shouting racial slurs because THATS WHAT MY GRANDMA DID than try and empathise or just, generally, not be a sack of cat sick.
It’s an irony. I have thoughts often about people that would surely hurt them should I speak them- so I just don’t. And if i do say something insensitive, even if my immediate reaction is to defend myself because I don’t like to be accused of doing cruel things with intent, I’d be seriously let down by myself if i didn’t apologise and try and understand what I’d said and why it was damaging.
Much like other ridiculous ideas (see “electing a silly haired right wing chittering gibbon as leader”), the cancel culture garbage has been imported from America. Over in America over 60 percent of polled citizens believe that cancel culture is an issue which is affecting mainstream society: to this I would politely ask these polled Americans, what views is it that you hold that you’re so worried you’ll be cancelled over? With an ex president who won based on racial populism, desperate to build an ineffective wall between your neighbours, you can’t think it’s racism? And with a supreme court stacked with anti LGBTQIA bigots, and where literal members of the GOP refuse to publicly come out despite myriad statements from sex workers about their private proclivities, it cant be that you worry about being labelled a homophobe. I dread to think what it is that keeps you awake at night, wondering for whom the imaginary cancel bell is tolling today…
Ultimately, modern society is built on the promise that to co-exist humans have to put aside their petty nonsense and work together to further human interest, and many of us have to bury resentment about the snippy way we’re treated in service jobs or the outright aggression we face from strangers based on the bodies we were born in or what it is that arouses those bodies, but more and more it seems that a bunch of oversensitive folk, somehow on the more right and yet more wrong side of the spectrum, seem absolutely fervent that they should be able to say and do whatever they want without impunity – but when spoken back to, suddenly their free speech is being CANCELLED! What about our free speech to decry your bullshit, Karen?
People who refuse to change their thoughts, their actions to accommodate society are the reason it’s being cut to ribbons as it’s dragged along by those of us who want to make the world better. If you want to watch historical comedy series’ that make racial or homophobic jokes, no one is going to castigate you for it, but at some point maybe it’s better that we… move on as a society or at least share the stage with comedians from those minorities who get to make fun of the people who make careers out of stepping on our backs.
The government are drawing up plans to have up to 10,000 army personnel – who are reserve personnel – handle the shortfall in delivery drivers to try and forestall mass hunger issues. Again, I and many others are asking the sensible question – what will it take to wake our fellow Britons up to the reality that we are being overseen by politicians too inept to oversee the basics of admin- never mind a country’s complex issues.
Let’s start with the fact that the 10K army reservists being prepped to be called in to deliver food during the shortage caused by “the pingdemic”, or, as anyone with any common sense has realised- Brexit, are already hauliers and will be called up from their regular job- as Hauliers- to work army reserves- to deliver food. They will call them away from their job bringing goods, to go and do their job… delivering food.
Does it make sense to you? No, it doesn’t me either, or in fact, anyone with even a droplet of common sense swimming lazily through their frontal lobes.
Lets also look at the depth of the problem. What is 100,000 – 10,000?
So – we’ll still be short 90,000. But some of that 10K are already doing the job they’re being called away to do, so we’ll still actually be about 93,000 people short.
Even if this arrangement is temporary, we know that to actually resolve the problem, the government will eventually have to offer some sort of work programme to hauliers in the EU to attract them back to the UK to do the job they’re not currently here doing. Firstly, this will infuriate those whose job it already is (and who for some reason think they will be paid more money when the fact is, there is a shortage of bodies to do what they do). Secondly, it will further imperil both the EU and the UK when it comes to rising covid infections- the “third” (it’s the fourth) wave of the pandemic will likely be off the back of whatever the UK does to attract people here to do more haulage.
There’s no denying that the “pingdemic” may have had an impact of course- but this fails to be an excuse now the app has been turned down- it will now only “ping” you under more specific circumstances. So why is the army being drawn up to cover this shortfall? If the app will stop impacting then maybe we could just wait… I saw an article (roughly translated) from Germany, absolutely excoriating the british press for their complicity in pushing the government mandated line of the “Pingdemic”. Every country has covid, every country has an app to trace infections- but only England decided to throw off the brakes. If this was such an error and cause the “pingdemic” a careful partial cautious lockdown would have negated the worst and allowed business to continue as normal, or as the government apparently wished, covid would have torn through the population and caused “herd immunity” quickly – this has not happened for reasons that are still unclear.
Ah- so…it’s because something else is causing the issue, isn’t it.
See how the barest scraping of common sense debunks the myth of the pingdemic being the contributor to empty shelves?
Still the government and British Journalism persist with the lie, enabled by a press trained to clap like sealions, rather than do the job of journalists. Any journalist worth their salt in another country would show the hubris of the government in persisting with Brexit and severing trade during a pandemic (or, in fact, at all…). They don’t mention the terrible deal that the lead negotiator (as I’ve mentioned before) has stated is unserviceable and how we “can’t go on like this”- using the deal that HE negotiated.
Weekly in the UK we are subjected to Lord Frost’s vacuous complaints that the EU is not accommodating the UK. But let me ask the question that Brexiteers should ask themselves: Why should the EU bow down to us? Why should they recognise our “special relationship”? Why is it up to the EU to renege to make sure that people don’t go hungry here? After all, we’re the ones who voted for this- to the EU, this is ostensibly exactly what we voted for and what our government made a deal for.
Equally, even if the EU is being underhand it’s vital to remember that the EU are bound to make the UK’s dealings harder so as not to incentivise other member states from leaving. Can you blame them for this? The EU relies upon itself to survive, and equally is running as normal without the UK- is the UK Running well without the EU? The empty shelves and delays and escalated prices for deliveries and goods say no.
Johnson as usual has avoided any mention that the repercussions of Brexit are flying in our faces, though apparently the Conservatives expect a mass back bench rebellion when the food shortages hit their supporters and themselves- because predictably, nothing matters to Conservatives unless it directly affects them. Instead he’s spent £150,000 on Union Jacks in a year. He’s spent £100,000 of taxpayer money on new paintings for government premises. He’s floated the idea of ships to pay homage to a king that only fervent royalists cared for. How does any of this- ANY OF IT- help the working class of this country to live well.
It’s confusing to see a country of people adversely affected by these decisions roll over time and time again to accept it- I genuinely am running out of empathy for people who can’t keep up with the obfuscation caused by the press, because there’s only so many times you can draw the Dot to Dot for them to see the clear impact of inept politicians and how that ineptitude often turns into the issues they face- from an education system which may have failed them, to a media that teaches people that all of their woes can be ascribed to the 402 migrants who come to the shores of the UK every day VS the 503 people a week dead of Coronavirus because of Johnson’s desperate need to inflate an economy that threatens to collapse anyway, on to the government itself who seems desperate to impart the lesson that fealty to a flag is more important than a functional health system or fresh food.
The body politic of the UK have formed up around the idea that speaking on Brexit is verboten because we may upset the poor, sensitive Brexiteers. Starmer’s labour won’t point to the chaos unfolding in fear of the splashback from ardent Brexiteers but perhaps that’s exactly what’s needed. It’s time to stop pandering to people who cannot be told common sensical facts without playing whataboutism or denying reality. If you voted for Brexit- and if you support it still – you are enabling this government to play a foolish game of chess with your wellbeing which you see as secondary to an imagined sovereignty. Whatever issues you may have had with the EU are, frankly, imaginary- they didn’t impact on your daily life, especially in the way that the repercussions of leaving have done, except in very rare cases.
Even the deals signed with other countries which, inexplicably, Liz Truss seems to have been headed up to discuss, pale in comparison to the convenience and common sense, not to mention the actual material rebates, of our membership to the EU. We’re also told that the benefits of leaving the EU won’t be felt in our lifetime- so we’re supposed to cope with food shortages, a shortage of staff, no options for relocation without lengthy visa processes, safe in the knowledge that our descendants MAY feel benefits.
People often refer to Johnson as a libertarian, but the only liberties Johnson has fought for is the right for us to die at others’ hands, or to fret over food as the shelves grow barer and barer.
Who needs an oven ready meal when you have an oven ready deal?
Food shelves run empty up and down the country, tensions flaring in Ireland, and the entitled attitude of long term politicians who seem to think that Britain being a world leader in economics 150 years ago entitles us to special dispensation from the people on whom we spit in 2016. Just when is England, specifically, going to admit that Brexit was a mistake so we can start moving forward and repairing it’s fallout?
I’m talking to my friends this morning, almost on the edge of hysterical laughter at how ridiculous things are. With freedom day having passed and seeing daily spreader events taking place and precautions lifting as employers encouraging their staff to delete the track and trace app, you would assume we have enough to deal with – there were reports last night on the 21st of July, that there were NO PICU beds left in the country (paediatric ICU)- these reports, whilst unsubstantiated, came from a senior paediatric doctor via her social media so carry more weight than an anonymous report.
Additionally, outside of healthcare and service roles, workers returning to office after exposure to people now living “as normal” will begin to fall ill and be away from work. The slow crumbling of the UK workforce will come to the fore over the next fortnight as hospital admissions climb at rates we haven’t seen in months. So you’d be forgiven to assume that we have quite enough to worry about, simply as we’re all getting closer and closer to falling sick.
However, if you’re focusing intently on the already imminent disaster of the pandemic, you’ll also be treated to the media’s newest collective spinning of the truth – the “pingdemic” (which, incidentally, is one of the most ridiculous concepts I’ve seen in my 33 years).
The fact that the track and trace app is alerting people to isolate and actually doing its job effectively is a surprise to me- I’ve seen how ineffective the app was at the height of the pandemic, so to see it working to this extent is terrifying- the statistical rates of capture for the app was bad, so if it’s working at this rate- we are in a real mess.
This isn’t a pingdemic- it’s the app doing what we have allowed the government to spend a projected £35 billion on it to do.
As the UK workforce lowers either by actual sickness or isolation, the government flounders out message after message- it’s advised that you must isolate mandatorily or not but dont not isolate if you want to not isolate when you’re advised that you must isolate- it’s the tory way. Fans of three word slogans they are, so perhaps their ongoing message throughout 2020 and 2021 should have been “confuse, distract, ignore”.
But on to the reason I felt the need to write this.
Brexit is, put plainly, a fucking disaster.
It’s already cost more than every payment the UK ever made to the EU. It’s already alienated literal health workers that I had long term connections with- they left the UK because they didn’t feel welcome here by a country that voted to sever ties with their mother countries. It’s caused endless division between people on either side who are convinced that they are right, it’s made families tear themselves apart, it’s allowed the bolstering of authoritarian bluster from a government whose only concern is to hide their deceit and enrich themselves and their fellows. Now, in what I confidently say is still the middle of this worldwide pandemic, it’s causing shortages in food, whilst also increasing the consumer cost of goods.
Additionally, barely a whisper in the press that the new deal that the UK has struck with Australia pales into comparison with the EU and that it also manages to undercut British farmers- another huge demographic who voted leave and are now reaping the costs of their own determination to ignore facts and political forecasting that always warned them (please note that as a country boy myself I’m not blaming all farmers, some I spoke to were very much pro co-operation with the EU). The press is, as I’ve pointed out before, firmly in favour of pushing party lines even in the face of the obvious: journalism seems to have taken a very generous step away from providing the public with what they need to know, and towards telling us what we want to hear for an easy life, and I’m sure the 52% will be reluctant to be told that their decision to TAKE BACK OUR SOVEREIGNTY, TAKE BACK CONTROL and all the other slogans- were a poor decision which should never have been in our hands.
There is a point that I’ve made numerous times and always been attacked for- and it’s not because we made what I still maintain is the wrong decision. My job has almost nothing to do with EU import/export, EU citizenry etc and Brexit has still caused myriad issues. But that is the issue- millions in the UK voted on our membership to the EU with absolutely no idea what it actually meant, what it did or did not do for us, the real positives or negatives. Such debating wizardry should have been left to people whose job it was to understand the finer details- but of course, those people are those like Nigel Farage who for years enjoyed the fruits of the UK’s membership to the EU, and has built a career off of being xenophobic, or Lord Frost, who negotiated the deal so bad that we “cannot carry on as we are” under it’s terms. We were always set to fail, and the issue with the leave campaign is, and was, that they were free to lie- which they did in earnest. The truth is a boring grey little thing and it’s immutable- it can be spun, but facts cannot be changed and the fact was that we were well placed in the EU, that we enjoyed privilege other member states didn’t, that our citizenry benefited from further protections. A lie can be anything! Money for the NHS, money for you, freedom, taking our borders back, booming economy! Sell those lies and of course people will stand behind you- as they did. The reality is, unfortunately, grim.
Fishermen are struggling, we’ve seen more job losses than the Nissan Gigafactory will actually create, I’ve seen multiple healthcare staff (EU, British AND of other nationalities) emigrate prior to or during the transition period listing Brexit as the reason, our standing in the global perception has sunk because of the churlish behaviour of openly xenophobic idiots like Farage or Hopkins, or from the idiocy of a man like Lord Frost who believes his say so means that we can override the Northern Ireland agreement… Let’s just pause there to examine the word “Agreement”. An agreement is not “we can do what we want”, it’s a set of terms which both parties agree to, which dictate the behaviours of each party. It speaks to the long bred line of imagined British superiority that has led to a situation where after four years of negotiations with a trade bloc, our highest place negotiators think they can state “we cannot go on like this” under the terms that THEY agreed for us!
I’ve said it before that it’s not the job of the working class to worry about the economy- that should rest in the hands of those who, as civil servants, are appointed to oversee it- and yet the fallout of their ambivalence hits US! The working class, most directly.
So we have less food, the food we have is more expensive, and the places the scant food is available are also hotbeds for COVID because nobody needs to wear masks or social distance- and with the virulence of the Johnson variant, it doesn’t matter if “only one or two people” break the rules- it will still spread amongst those who do choose to do the right thing.
Ireland as a whole has been caught in the middle of the ridiculous exchanges of the UK and EU from the start of this process- and the EU has not been blameless, much as the more hardcore remainers (I am one) would sometimes protest. It’s pragmatically common sense that the EU would be harsh on an ex partner specifically to discourage others from leaving and facing the same blockades- but to fully heft the weight of this mess on the EU is disingenuous- the continued poor behaviour of the UK (England… Westminster…) brings the selfsame worst case scenarios that we have been predicting and being told about since the day after the UK referendum that set us on this course.
The reason the media, so attuned to the message they should be pushing for the government, are pushing the narrative of the app is to further the rampant infections that are coming. The foolish short term thinking of those in power is that many, many hundreds of thousands- perhaps millions, of people will get sick, recover, and carry on working. No thought about death, disability from long covid, job loss, these people’s families who are dependant on them- no. Force infection through lassitude, blame the citizenry for “not doing what was right” when we’ve seen that the moral mandate of some folk in the UK is to do whatever they want whilst loudly repeating buzzwords like “sovereignty” and “freedom”. They hope that people will delete the NHS track and trace app and that the reported number of infections drop as people just stop caring about reporting their results. They hope that they can blanket the media with distractions as the virus rages and mutates through a disturbingly compliant populace. And they hope to distract from the simple fact that their own lack of expertise in writing trade agreements outside of the European Union means that in addition to this, we face greater cost for less choice of goods. But of course, all in the name of that famous word, sovereignty, I’m sure.