Monday, 20 February 2017

WHY THEY'RE WRONG TO HATE THE SNOWFLAKES [OPINION]





I just came across this most interesting meme. Man, it's deep.

It strikes like an arrow directly at the heart of a major issue, in a way only good satirical cartoons can. It neatly sums up the very essence of where we are today.

I do acknowledge that's a broad statement, but it gets right to the crux of the huge societal divide we are currently experiencing. And it does so more viscerally and more honestly than I've seen elsewhere, almost quite nonchalantly.

At first glance, the woman who puts the snobbish parent with her "liberal arts degree" in her place seems justified. Morally superior even. The snobbery exuded by the liberal parent invites it, and the smart retort might seem a moral victory to almost anyone reading. I must add, as one of those very people with a "liberal arts degree", the irony and harsh truth of the retort is not wasted either. I'd say there's more than a smack of truth to it. Now, heading towards 40 with a child to support, it's a painful reality I cannot escape.

But more importantly, what I think the meme does is go a long way to explain why so many working class/low income families have come to despise us, the supposed "libtards" and "snowflakes" (as we're now less than affectionately known).

They believe we, virtually without exception, look down on those who lack education or means. If you exercise some empathy, it's quite understandable why if they believe this, they have rebelled against all notions of middle and upper class "superiority". Even reason itself. In this reality, they're perhaps entirely justified. The meme hits the nail right on the head.

Here's the thing though: it's completely wrong. 

It's actually quite a dire misinterpretation, identifying the wrong 'enemy' (if we're going to work in such black and white terminology). And the meme's populist attitude questionably sits at the core of exactly why society is currently sabotaging itself, almost beyond recognition.


Liberal values


For a start, very few people go into the arts if accumulation of money and luxury is their priority. The minority who get rich off the arts are so so relatively small, the truth is the average supermarket worker or road-sweeper probably is better off than your average 'artist'. A point this meme makes rather well.

But even if such an odious snobbery is entertained by any among the liberal classes, perhaps even subconsciously and non-intentionally, by very definition a true liberal would never say such a thing. Certainly not aloud or in earshot. They would not teach such ethics to their children. To do so would go against any notion of liberalism; such a flippant and derisory comment flies in the face of egalitarianism. Something which should, at least in theory, be the very guiding principle of an ethical left.

What the meme does is confuse and blur the lines between educated liberal/arts-types, and financial elitist/gentry-types. It happens a lot, and there's a colossal difference. The two latter groups are the ones who'd come out with stuff like that, and it's also they who are true enemies of honest working class people everywhere. Not those with "liberal arts degrees". 

It's definitely not teachers, historians, architects, designers, artists, therapists and musicians. It's not people who've striven to expand their knowledge and understanding of the world, to better it, or reflect upon it in some way. Eg: the people who in some respects, make the world worth living in. Are liberal/artistic types not the reason Western societies have progressed beyond medieval thinking? Yes is of course the answer. It was called 'The Enlightenment'.

It's certainly not judges, ethical journalists, or professionals who've often dedicated their lives and careers to the pursuit of justice, or doing what's right. That's a disastrous misdirection. And by the gods, I fear where it may lead.


Enemies of the People


No, the enemies are established 'money'. It's your Boris Johnsons, your Jacob Rees-Moggs, your David Camerons and your George Osbornes. The Eton and Oxbridge cronies who believe their 'divine right' by birth is a model worth preserving (more often than not, the average Tory politician fits this mould). Above them, providing even more extreme example, it's youngsters like the 25 year old Duke of Westminster - who recently inherited half of London to the tune of a £9bn fortune, and didn't pay a penny in tax due to legal loopholes. It's the families and individuals born into extreme wealth and privilege, who've never known anything but. Their bloated fortunes only trickle down to a small group of sycophants and highly paid employees, who naturally, also defend them tenaciously.

But the enemies also sadly include 'new money' too. Those who've come from modest means initially, who now believe their financial advancement and (let's face it) 'luck' in many cases somehow sets them above 'little people'. It's a skewed and entirely self-congratulatory ethos that because they were successful, anyone who isn't has nothing and no-one to blame but their own lack of enterprise. Again, a very Tory mantra.

This group includes your Philip Greens, your Rob Terrys, your Richard Desmonds, your Rupert Murdochs. People who've come to loathe the background from whence they came. And they can often become all-the-more brazen in their lack of respect for those lower down the food chain. 'Old money', by contrast, often tries to observe basic convention on what's commonly viewed as 'decent'. They hide ignominious plans, going to great lengths to disguise them. Whereas the antics of evil bastards like Philip Green handsomely demonstrate how those people quite frankly don't give a f**k at all.

Like 'old money', 'new money' will often do absolutely anything to avoid re-balancing of the status quo, perhaps even more so. And they have simply immense resources to deceive, misconstrue, and even manipulate entire populations.

Anyone who genuinely thinks they don't use those resources to first and foremost ensure the continuation of their position is, quite frankly, off their proverbial rocker. It's inane naivety. It's also why anyone with even the vaguest hint of intelligence understands the political agendas pioneered in The Daily Mail, The Express and The Sun etc are quite literally not worth the paper they're printed on. 

It's a detail that leaves many 'libtards' foaming at the mouth with frustration. Ultimately, because so many from working class backgrounds actively support these populist rags. They rarely question motive. They believe every word spooled, even cite them as 'proof' on occasion. (Trump's doing the same thing on a much bigger scale over in America.) They just do not grasp that the proprietors concerned don't give a fig about them, or see how the only concern for billionaire moguls is to remain rich, influential and powerful at all costs.

When you accept that, everything else falls into place.


Trying to avoid the B-word


I could of course, be referring to the word "bitch". Its use in the meme goes some way to demonstrate what the left fears so much about the aggressive attitudes of the right. Yes, the supposedly liberal woman is horrid. That doesn't mean it's OK to call her a bitch, and least of all encourage such language and antagonism in front of children. A minor detail, and one which many who identify with this meme might skip right past.

But no, I do mean Brexit.

I almost got through a whole diatribe without mentioning the 'B-word' once.

Unfortunately, the arguments explored here are exactly why the issue of Brexit is so critical today. You absolutely categorically have to look at who among the political/powerful classes are pushing hardest for it, and question why. To not do so, is folly.

Hard working, average British people are concerned by the erosion of their culture, and perhaps more significantly, they blame their lack of opportunities, amenities and a poor quality of life on foreigners they believe are 'taking' what should be their assets: overriding the inherent benefits of being born British. And yes, liberals and 'remoaners' do tend to take issue with that. Because firstly, we appreciate how someone's financial situation, ethnicity, and/or geographical location at birth should not be the deciding factors in the opportunities and rights they are afforded.

But secondly, because it's complete bullsh*t.

Even if the odd family are, in the face of economic hardship, claiming more than they're entitled to from the state. Even if some of the state's resources are spent on foreign nationals as opposed to those homegrown, irrespective of the possible reasons why. Even if someone on benefits has a newer iPhone than you, it's all quite literally 'small-fry'. The amounts spent on social welfare are so paltry, so pathetic and meaningless in comparison to the sums squandered by our government on nefarious activities and selective wealth distribution among their own, it's a downright insult. In short,

angry British people everywhere are arguing over pennies tossed on the floor, ignoring the vast wads of cash the mighty are flaunting in their faces.

That's also why impending nationwide increases to council tax to fund the social care crisis are so deplorable. If MPs can afford to reward themselves yet another pay rise from the public kitty; if Britain can afford to be a veritable tax haven post-Brexit, we shouldn't be simultaneously making everyone, including the very poorest in an already austerity-whipped society, foot the bill. Not in a state that claims to care for its people, or respects the perils of old-age are felt more keenly by those financially insolvent and insecure.

If Brexit brings about a collapse of the NHS and other public services, if all the foreign nurses and workers are tossed out, the financial elites won't care. They have private medical insurance. If the funding for public schools dries up, and there's a crisis caused by the shortage of qualified teachers, again they won't care. They send their kids to expensive private schools. 

If there's no longer such thing as a public library, playground or swimming pool, the rich will pay for their kids to go to pricey and exclusive ones. If the price of a babysitter/gardener/cleaner/builder etc goes through the roof, absent of those pesky Europeans undercutting our wages, it won't touch them. They can pay top whack to get a 'good British equivalent'.

If the price of bread/milk and basic provisions skyrocket, the rich won't break a sweat. They might simply order three cases of the Dom Perignon instead of four, or at worst, rent out a holiday home they'd normally keep vacant. 

If lowly workers and employees have to endure a "gig economy", are denied basic working rights and exist on low pay/zero-hour contracts etc, financial elites won't be concerned. Their wages are tied to capitalist enterprise, property, and the private sector: the vast sums earned by CEOs/Directors and stake shareholders of large companies. They have more than they'll ever need, so the logistics of menial living are totally irrelevant.

In the same way, which groups actually benefit from making it easier to sack an employee, or renege on employer responsibilities? (Small details Tories refer to as "red tape".) Yep, it's the same wealthy elites. Elites who now rub their hands together at the prospect of Brexit, and the unrestrained corporate autocracy it might allow to take root.

Employers in Brexit Britain may well get to work you through your lunch hour, and not pay you a penny extra, for example. Or rather, there may simply be nothing you'll be able to do to stop them. Or you may be sacked for objecting, without a right to appeal. It all depends what Theresa May and her dictatorial government decide; what they define as acceptable.

Considering we're speaking of an unelected and pretty far-right government that emerged virtually by coup, that's been condemned for human rights violations, that oversees one of the highest wealth inequalities in a developed nation anywhere in the world, that tried to bypass the sovereignty of parliament? I certainly wouldn't hold out much hope for the little guy in post-Brexit Britain.


In defence of 'liberal snobbery'


Earlier in this article, I alluded to the fact some liberals actually may take a less than positive attitude towards working class jobs, subconsciously or otherwise. Or may, as the meme suggests, encourage their children to aspire to more intellectual vocations.

In fairness, as someone whose career highs and lows have varied from being a well paid singer performing for thousands all over the world, to working for minimum wage in pubs/fast food chains and more recently car sales, I can squarely say this 'liberal aversion', if there is one, can also be nothing to do with anyone believing themselves "too good" for a job. It's sometimes because intelligence is ridiculed and labelled effeminate; intellectual and artistic interests beyond sports and drinking are sometimes belittled in such industries. The liberal's standards of courtesy and inclusion do not apply. And thinking/liberal types are sometimes made to feel about as welcome as a bout of scurvy.

There's also a big difference between not wanting to do a job, and looking down on a job. I for one definitely do not want to be a road-sweeper. That doesn't mean I have no respect for those who empty my bins and keep my local streets clean. On the contrary, I have a very healthy respect for those who do jobs I could not/would not want to do. But I shan't apologise for believing my abilities and talents lie elsewhere either. Nor does it mean I'd wish for manual labourers to receive anything other than fair remuneration, and a decent rate of pay.

What 'Average Joe' and those on the right often accuse as being "liberal snobbery" is often no such thing at all. Commonly conceived notions of "snobbery" are based on concepts of class or money - normally defined by familial wealth, education, and opportunities afforded by virtue of birth. But people on the left hail from both rich and poor backgrounds. It's nothing to do with money: a liberal's idea of being 'classy' stems from attitude.

So what some might define as "liberal snobbery" is often just snowflake insistence that values such as decency, courtesy, and respect are morally superior to those of bigotry, absolutism, and intimidation. And you know what? In that, there can be no compromise. They are. 

I make no apology for that either.


Friday, 17 February 2017

JUDGES AREN'T ENEMIES OF THE PEOPLE... IT'S EMPOWERED BRATS LIKE PAUL JOSEPH WATSON

Political "commentator" Paul Joseph Watson, giving it his very best 'James Dean'. 

WARNING
(Contains extreme frankness, that offensive people might find offensive.)

As part of my drive to hear the 'other side' out and keep a conversation going (rather than the atypical exchange of insults that usually occurs), and to avoid what I see as the dangers of political polarisation, I've tried to veer away from the 'soundproofed echo chamber' recently. I've started following a few more Right-wing commentators and politicians. Because as much as reasoning with those on the Right doesn't seem to generally work, at all, what actually is the alternative? Maybe Liberals do have to try and listen a little bit more? Maybe some aspects of the Left have, admittedly, at times been quite unpleasant as well? I've seen it for myself.

One such person I decided to follow was a young man from the North of England, called Paul Joseph Watson: a UK editor for the notoriously bonkers 'Info Wars', and its proprietor - unhinged lunatic, Alex Jones.

Watson seems to have built up quite a substantial following, considering I had no idea who the hell he was until a few weeks ago, especially in the US. That in itself is worrying. I can only assume Americans associate the accent as being of House Stark, because as we all know, they're the good guys. (Ridiculous perhaps, but no more ridiculous than the idea Americans voted a deranged billionaire narcissist/reality TV star as their Commander-in-chief.)

To my surprise, lo and behold, on my first encounter of his online diatribes, I actually found myself agreeing with Watson on a couple of points. Wow, I thought to myself! Perhaps there is hope after all? If I as a 'bleeding-heart liberal' can see some common ground, surely those on the 'other team' might be able to see it too? I therefore tried to keep an open mind.

Skip forward a couple of weeks. Nope, turns out he's just a complete and utter f**k-knuckle.

Seeing this trumped up little brat's mind-numbing, turgid, bitter and prejudicial/hateful drivel every day, is quite literally doing my nut in. He's little more than an 'Agent Provocateur': a frickin' peacock vaunting his feathers to an audience of empowered idiots, who egg on his crazed ramblings and use them as encouragement to peddle their own deplorable views. It really is just a cult of hate, scanning comments and support on his Facebook page. Just the worst of the worst, there's no other way to describe it.

And they seem to be everywhere these days.

The sanctimonious Northerner seizes on absolutely anything he can to sneer at, deride, or demean - any excuse to 'flog a leftie', to belittle notions of inclusion or tolerance. There is no greater good behind it all. The guy is a straight up hate-monger. He's not interested in debate... in compromise... in nuance... in finding a way forward... in identifying truth... only in spreading his malign white supremacist bullsh*t, and decrying anyone or anything who dares to stand up to his precious Trump/Brexit. Everything about him just wreaks of a 'school bully' (I'd stake money he was once upon a time, you can usually spot them), and even the overly snide and venomous way he addresses the camera smacks of a "butt-hurt" ape angrily beating his chest.

(For the record, I've never used the term "butt-hurt" before, but it's a phrase I've seen bandied around quite a lot in recent times, usually to describe "lefties" and "snowflakes". In other words, average decent people traumatised by the apparent collapse of our society's values.)

While Watson's clearly more intelligent and coherent than your average Wetherspoons-type fascist, has probably read a fair few books, and at least attempts to back up his arguments with a vague sense of evidence and logic, his every ethic and principle are built upon little more than arrogance and tunnel-vision interpretation. An utterly warped perspective of history, a 'pick and choose' attitude as to how he wants to skew current (or past) events.

Underlying the whole thing is an absolutely abhorrent sense of self-entitlement that, of course, derives from little more than the fact Watson happened to be born a caucasian male, and a resident of "Great" Britain. 

Like many of his ilk, Watson views the chance geography of his birth as some kind of personal achievement. That his whiteness and Britishness bestow him the right to play judge and jury to everyone else. (Whoops, my bad. I forgot... the Right don't believe in the judiciary system any more either.)

I just can't do it. I really am trying, but I just can't accept that because stupidity and ignorance are now in the ascendance, we ALL have to cater to the lowest common denominator. That we should all have to now sit here and listen to complete inane rubbish, pretending to acknowledge it as vaguely sentient or worthy of consideration - simply out of fear, or a misguided attempt to appear open-minded and/or tolerant.

No. A responsible adult does not let a child jump off a fifteen foot ledge, because it's the child's 'democratic right', and even less so if they're planning on dragging someone else's child along with them. A responsible teacher does not accept excuses from a student "that aliens stole their homework" or some-such nonsense, simply because they're somehow 'indebted' to hear them out because "that's democracy". And just because a mouthy toddler decides '2 + 2 = 5' does not mean we should just give in and agree with them. Even if it does make life easier. It won't help them further down the line, or improve their understanding, and we totally discredit ourselves in the process. Worse still, we pave the way for more and yet more outlandish ignorance and prejudice.

Yes, I am acutely aware how 'offended' Brexit and Trump supporters get by the frequent suggestion they're all idiots and bigots, or children in need of educating. In many ways, I agree it's not helpful. Trouble is, more often than not, the cap fits. Very neatly. Stereotypes become stereotypes for a reason. Have a daily listen to LBC radio, if in any doubt.

I don't know quite how else we 'diplomatically' address that. I for one am not looking to offend anyone, and more than anything want these massive rifts in our societies to heal. But neither can I stand back and mollycoddle fools any more. All I do know with certainty is we must not, we cannot let this blind stupidity and aversion to facts become the established order. Any more than they already are, at any rate.

Meanwhile, I think I'm going to unfollow PJW - for very real fear I might put a fist through my own laptop. He certainly isn't good for my blood pressure, and I'm not actively looking for outrage - there's more than enough of it to go around. I do feel an acute sense of shame though, as I've clearly failed in my mission to develop empathy for the opposing camp. There is none to be found. There is no conversation to be had. It's like trying to reason with a rabid dog, gently explaining why it would be morally wrong for him to maul your mum's face.

Not to mention, winding up decent/liberal "snowflake" types is exactly what this monstrous man-boy, Paul Joseph Watson, with his designer stubble, and rebellious droopy cigarette, wants more than anything.

He should be congratulated, I guess.

Thursday, 2 February 2017

HEIL BREXIT! THE BATTLE LINES ARE DRAWN, THE DESCENT INTO FASCISM BEGINS [OPINION]




That's it then. The battle-lines are drawn; the die is cast. 'Heil Trump', and 'Heil Brexit'.

I like many held out hope that our MPs would prioritise the good of our nation over their desire to pander to populists in parliament yesterday. They let all of us down in spectacular fashion. Essentially, they just gave in to fear for their own jobs and positions: because we all know the majority of parliament were opposed to this inane, geopolitical 'scorched-earth' act of self-sabotage.

What amazes me is that so many misinterpret what this 'Brexit' from Europe is all really about. My heart is so, so heavy that vast and increasing swathes are seemingly blind to the rise of fascism taking place all around us, or actively want it to be the case.

The number of people who kid themselves it's only 'coincidence' they now share goals and values with white supremacists and Christian extremists, is quite simply staggering.

Same too of those Brexiteers who now seem so repulsed by Trump. He's a different side of the same coin.

Lack of respect for the lessons of history might well be our undoing in years to come. Britain lit a fuse. It encouraged, if not directly led to the coronation of 'King' Trump. Our new alliances in this brave new world now say it all. Our best buds are dictator Trump, and equally unscrupulous dictators in Turkey and Saudi Arabia. But damn those horrible Europeans, eh?

We allowed a political coup to take place. An already right-wing Tory government was replaced with something far worse: UKIP in disguise. Whereas a couple of years ago, UKIP were widely condemned as fringe hate-peddlers that only those openly racist supported. Farage was rightly derided as a bigot, and a dangerous man - now he's everyone's pal, with a show on LBC, just "saying it how it is". The change was sudden, very deliberate, and very much manipulated by forces in big business and the media. Forces who wanted this to happen. And many in Britain, poor naive Lemmings that they are, thought a vote for Brexit was a vote against the Tories and David Cameron: a vote AGAINST elitism and corporate oppression. Nope. They let a far more dangerous and insidious wing of the Tory party into power, who are now running amok. Their misguided backlash was against the wrong bloody 'elites'.

Instead of multi-billionaires and corporate swindlers, the people who pillage our world and run our very lives, the 'elites' who've been condemned by all this madness are now simply those who are educated. Those who've grown up with liberal attitudes. Or those who've dedicated their lives to humanitarian causes, scientific discovery, the pursuit of knowledge etc. In short, to knowing what they're talking about.

We have quite literally made the pursuit of wisdom a crime. And we've simultaneously volunteered to load ourselves onto our own slave ships.

Britain was (is) in an unprecedented and unique position within the EU, without any of the same rules the other mainland countries have to adhere to. Like the Schengen free-movement clause, for example. We already control our own borders, and our own laws, it's complete bluster. The laws the EU hold up concern pesky things like workers rights, air quality, consumer rights... all those terrible things that Tory 'Little England' will hack to pieces with an enormous machete. The common currency? We don't even share the common currency?!? We very specifically held onto GBP through thick and thin for decades due to those reservations, and we're already virtually independent on that front.

It's all just a smokescreen to distract from the fact we don't like foreigners, particularly Muslims, and we don't like all those pesky refugees that horrible sorts like Angela Merkel keep allowing in.

That's what the 'men and women with pitchforks' voted for any way. Politicians and businesses, perhaps not so much. They have their own motives. But this is certainly not all just about what's effectively little more than bits of paper with pictures printed on. Britain was a net recipient of EU funds: what we mostly provided Europe was military security. Our supremacy in this area was why we were afforded such privilege, why we were allowed to pick and choose, to a certain degree. But it wasn't enough for those clinging to the coattails of the once 'Great British Empire'.

What the EU really stood for was unity and friendship within Europe, cooperation, acceptance that peoples of Eurasia should look to themselves as 'one people'. It is the most successful peace project the world has ever known, and has prevented hostilities between the main powers of Europe for THE LONGEST PERIOD IN HISTORY. Europe has quite literally been a melting pot of warring and competing cultures for centuries, and these tribal squabbles, one way or another, have caused (or at least traced back to) virtually every international war that's ever occurred in documented world history too. Fact. The EU even made friends/allies of people we were only years before, bombing the hell out of. Today, German businesses and technologies thrive as part of our own economy, like BMW, Volkswagen etc. All of us in the UK have grown up with the security and opportunities that ties and openness with Europe provided. Not to mention a far far better quality of produce on our supermarket shelves! (Trust me, the majority of widely sold American food is absolutely not good.)

But it's all been flushed away.

Gods, I felt strongly about all this BEFORE the rise of Trump. Now, it's beyond critical. Instead we've thrown our lot in with unapologetic monsters like Trump and Erdogan, dictators who persecute teachers, scientists and journalists whose reports contradict their agenda. We've turned our back on friends and neighbours we've enjoyed a shared culture with for decades. It is heart-breaking. Yes, of course the EU has problems, and of course it has endemic corruption. Can anyone claim Westminster doesn't?? Does anyone even care that our own political system is clogged with financial autocracy?? However many problems, you just don't work out differences with someone by walking out of the room, trashing the joint on the way out.

The EU promoted security, inclusion. Finding diplomatic answers. It made war unthinkable because member states were tied so closely economically. That was the exact f**king point. You're less likely to set fire to someone else's tent if yours will definitely catch fire too.

Quite simply, nothing else had worked in Europe since the time of the Roman Empire. 'Superstates' are only inherently bad if they are oppressive and violent, and being part of a larger union strengthens all within it: a principle I will cling to til my dying day. If economic ties and common markets kept my daughter from ever knowing the barbarity of war on the doorstep of her own continent, then I, and many others, felt it was a small price to pay.

One day, we may all be very sorry that those who clamoured against this colonial sabre-rattling were belittled and ignored.

That we didn't listen to the 'snowflakes'.

#Brexit #Snowflakes #Trump #Fascism
#EU #Europe

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

GOD DAMN YOU DOMINO'S PIZZA... [BLOG]




"Hello, Domino's Pizza."

"Hi there. I live in Lingfield, where the only food delivery we have is a guy selling chickens. But this morning a Domino's menu came through the door, tantalising my taste-buds with promises of pepperoni and mozzarella-laden goodness."

"Excuse me??"

"I'd like to order some lunch."

"I'm sorry sir, we don't deliver to Lingfield."

SILENCE.

"Why do you hate me?"

"I beg your pardon?"

"You're telling me you've posted a leaflet through my door showing me all the food I can't order?? Why would you do this?? It's just cruel."

"You can still order for collection sir."

"Ah... so the mountain must come to Mohammed eh? How do you know I'm not a cripple? How do you know I even have legs? I might be housebound and miserable, wittering away my days dreaming of a pizza to dispel the painstaking monotony and anguish of day-to-day living."

"Do you have legs sir?"

"Yes. But that's neither here nor there. You could have just dangled salvation to a dying man, only to carelessly whip it away?? Teased him with promises of Elysium, only to then condemn him to Hades. What sort of customer service is that??"

"Erm... I'm sorry."

"Sorry won't cut it my friend. I demand justice!"

"Would you like to speak to a manager?"

"No, it's alright. I'll just have some toast."




Monday, 9 January 2017

THERESA MAYBE: THE ART OF ANSWERING A DIFFERENT QUESTION [COMMENT]




I can't stand it. Theresa Maybe's everywhere, feigning concern at a mental health crisis, talking about how it needs addressing etc.

Which would be fine, were it not for the fact that Britain under the Tories is what's causing so much of it. And that she's using it to distract from the other NHS crisis... that pesky little inconvenience everyone's calling her to account for? Hows about answering the questions you're actually being asked, Mrs May?

"So Mrs May, what do you think we need to do about the growing healthcare crisis?"

"Brexit means Brexit."

"Erm... ok. What do you think about Donald Trump's comments concerning women?"

"The special relationship is important. I like French fries."

"Yes Mrs May, but they're French."

"Jeremy Corbyn is a disgrace."

"Pardon? We were talking about Trump?"

"I also like jam."

"Good to know."

"That is my manifesto."

Saturday, 7 January 2017

"THOUGH I DISAGREE WITH WHAT YOU SAY, I DEFEND TO THE DEATH YOUR RIGHT TO SAY IT" [OPINION]



Some of the Left-wing political groups I frequent on social media are becoming quite toxic places nowadays.

Jim Davidson, an admittedly odious and offensive comedian, whom I personally can't stand, made a joke that he wishes 2016 had taken Jeremy Corbyn as well. Not particularly funny I grant you, and of course many will disagree (myself included). But neither was it gratuitous, and the venom/outrage I've seen poured out on social media, perpetuated by The Mirror's article on the subject, is just crazy. His previous crimes have nothing to do with this instance, and many just don't seem to get the hypocrisy of them calling out bigoted people in a similarly prejudiced and OTT offensive manner.

Pertinent criticism, analysis, debate, and lighthearted/satirical comments are NOT the same as just slagging off someone simply for disagreeing. I really wish more people saw the distinction. I personally have said far worse about the likes of Kanye West, Justin Bieber, Gary Barlow, Katie Hopkins, not to mention countless Tory politicians. Does that make me similar "scum"? Or am I merely expressing my opposition in a deliberately exaggerated/comic way? Should I not be allowed to? 

I for one do not want to live in a society where we're not free to make jokes. Even offensive ones. Coarse and depraved ones. Distasteful and controversial jokes, even if I personally don't like them or want to encourage them. We should not fear words, or demonise humour: it's this killjoy "politically correct" attitude of the Left that has alienated so many from our cause. It's actively contributed to this massive backlash of Right-wing sentiment we're experiencing today. You can't tell people what they can or can't find funny, and if you do, it's a step towards something far more sinister. There is a very big difference between laughing at a joke, and genuinely advocating the subject matter or harbouring malign intent towards another. It's actions and alignments that matter, not what we can or don't laugh at.

Why do so many people not see that? Freedom of speech is so, so important. Why do we see everything as black or white/right or wrong? It seems to me that's half the problem. Far too few are even prepared to try and see things from another's perspective. And though I for one undoubtedly believe Left-wing and Centre-ground politics are more decent, egalitarian and forward-thinking than those on the Right, that's not to say the Right don't occasionally make a good point too.

Seems to me we all need to start listening to one another again. Arguing back against ethics we conceive to be wrong, yes, but at least we keep the discussion going, and we keep it civil. Some things are worth fighting about, and some are not. I'm not saying don't argue back, for all your might, but let's ditch the 'tribal' warfare and crying people should be silenced when they simply say something we don't like. It's when you don't allow people a say, and argue they should be silenced that they become angry. 

And here we are today.

PS: Jim Davidson is a complete wank-goblin.

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

SOME THOUGHTS ON SYRIA: DECIPHERING WHAT'S REALLY GOING ON [OPINION]



(All opinions my own.)

Don't be fooled.

Our UK headlines are currently deluged with stories concerning the break of the siege in Aleppo. And the media are sending some very mixed messages. It's no wonder many don't have a clue what's really going on. On one hand, the media are describing it as "defeat of the rebels", which on a rudimentary level, sounds like a good thing. "Rebellion = bad". Rebels cannot be seen to emerge victorious. (If they were winning, I absolutely guarantee you they'd be called something else.)

But here's the kicker. Those Wahhabist "rebels" include ISIS, among others. The same groups WE oppose and condemn. It's strange how we don't hear their name any more. At one time, you couldn't go a day without reading about something awful they'd done. In actuality, the West has been manipulating/supporting ISIS and other Wahhabist/Shia groups to bring down the "evil" Sunni regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria. Russia simply stepped in to defend their ally, the democratically elected government, against those we too would consider "terrorists" if they started overthrowing areas of our country, claiming dominion. To many people of Syria, al-Assad and Putin are viewed as saviours.

It's also strange, and to be honest quite sickening, how the media is only now flooding us with images of the death and destruction in Aleppo. It's all I've seen on TV all day. All of a sudden, our press are outraged by these unacceptable casualties, determined to paint the horror of it all. Well... I recall the UK parliament voted to start bombing the sh*t out of Syria before the Russians ramped up their presence. Only now, now Russia and the Syrian government have essentially emerged victorious is the violence so reviled. Because that is what's happened, if you disregard all the spin. Russia and Syria have beaten the West; effectively ended their coup. So when our media describe it as the "darkest day" for Aleppo, what they actually mean is it's the darkest day for them, and their schemes. For the average person fleeing/dying in the conflict, they're ALL dark days. Not just the ones where the West lose.

But it goes some way to explaining why it's only now being painted as a humanitarian disaster. And why the West now stir as much outrage as possible. My fear is this "outrage" might subsequently be skewed as "requiring a response", eg: further escalation with Russia. Or a re-invasion of Syria, who knows? The West went to so much trouble to gain control of the oil... sorry, I mean to "protect" the citizens of Syria. All I can say is the headlines definitely smack to me of a losing side, bitterly tugging at heart-strings to garner support for a renewed military campaign in the pipeline. (Pardon the pun.)

I've attached an interview with al-Assad. It's strange how the UK never gets to hear his voice, or hear his interviews. Or to get some measure of the man. Maybe it's hard to label someone as a one dimensional bloodthirsty tyrant when you discover they're friendly, measured, and a family man. That's not to say family men don't do awful things, or that atrocities haven't been committed in his name. But so have they in Obama's, and David Cameron's. Those same leaders we hypocritically conceive to be "good".

All I'm saying, is don't be too quick to assume everything we're told on the TV is "gospel" truth.

What's that I hear you say? Britain would never support such a dastardly scheme? What, the same country that's just been accused of war crimes in Yemen? The same country that supports the brutal Saudi regime? The same country that's been accused by the European court of human rights of abusing its OWN people, let alone anywhere else? Really?