Friday, 29 December 2017


It's the political shock wave of Christmas 2017: Jezza has apparently ruled out a second referendum on the terms of our exit from the EU. Some will not be surprised in the slightest, for many of us, it defies logic or belief.

The man that many in the UK see as a 'champion of decency' (including me) bizarrely seems to be supporting a Tory coup only actually voted for by 37% of the electorate - about 27% of the population. And even more bizarrely, a Tory coup opposed by many of his own MPs, and apparently most party members and Labour voters too:

Machiavellian tactics 

So Corbyn is either playing an incredibly smart game and waiting for the right moment to play his hand, or frankly he's a fool and stubborn old goat, turning his back on what the majority of decent and pragmatic people in his party (and the country) want.

I just wish I could work out which it is.

I've argued the former, for a long time. I thought I understood why Corbyn hadn't come out against Brexit. In fact a niche of Labour supporters seemed to appreciate any definitive intention to stop or reverse Brexit would split the Labour vote entirely, and effectively hand power to the with a bow. That doesn't help anyone. And though it sounds cold and 'Machiavellian' to say aloud, 'good intentions' mean nothing in politics if you don't claw your way to power first. To some degree, the end must justify the means.

That ambiguity seemed to be working. Corbyn's turnaround from two years ago could not physically be more apparent. The man ridiculed as a laughing stock from all sides of the establishment, could today feasibly inherit the keys to Downing Street.

But even my faith in him is beginning to crumble now. It's one thing to mediate and to play the ambiguity, keeping options open, but quite another to refuse to acknowledge the wishes of half the nation... to pander to the Brexit mob, throwing fuel on the fire of insanity. I'm not sure I can get on board with the pretence that any of this has been democratic, or that we must now see through this self-harm as a point of principle.

Clinging to that thread of hope

It is still just about possible I guess, that my rather desperate 'hypothesis' has been correct, and continues to be. After all, nothing's changed really. Even now, if Corbyn opposed Brexit and/or argued formally for a second referendum, it would probably still hand power to the Tories. Such is the power of pig-headed nationalism in Britain today.

The risk is that many British citizens desperate to retain their EU guaranteed rights and liberties will be so furious about this, they will abandon him now. Eg: the balance of power will shift any way. Politically speaking, the Tories have played a blinder. Absolutely anything any of the other parties do to combat this madness is virtually falling into a trap deliberately set.

Yes, we all know Corbyn was a Eurosceptic. As was that icon of the left, Tony Benn. But not attending a party is very different from drunkenly crashing out of one, attempting to trash the joint on the way out and humiliate the hosts. I thought Corbyn got that, which was why he supported Remain - at least nominally. And I for one have always argued Benn too might have felt differently about us exiting the EU, had he lived to see the Tory coup intended to take its place, or the blank cheque it would hand them.

Maybe...just maybe Brexit somehow needs to die on its own. We've ludicrously reached a stage where outright opposition to it, is political suicide. Even for the Conservatives, even if they wanted to oppose it! It's a bale of hay that's built up such momentum, it's now accumulated the force of a freight train, and even economic suicide now seems preferable to admitting we cocked everything up royally. (Or risking upsetting the nationalists.)

Lesser of two evils

Jezza will still get my vote over the Tories (testicular cancer would get my vote over the Tories), but I've honestly never felt as politically homeless. I'm pretty disappointed, and on the verge of cancelling my Labour membership. I do not really want to financially support a party that refuses to protect Britain, simply to play politics. Yes, wherever possible you need to be smart and play the long game, but sometimes you just have to stand up and do/say what is right.

My fear is that if vast swathes of people feel the same (which I imagine they might), it could realistically seal our fate: marooning us on a lonely and impoverished Brexit Island, under the iron boot of the Tories. And that really is the worst thing that could possibly happen. be honest...a second referendum? I'm not sure that's the answer any way. As this whole shit-show has proved, as the Minister for Brexit himself so poignantly explained in 2002, referendums are dangerous. A license for mob rule. And if there's one thing I no longer have faith in, it's the sentience of my fellow countrymen and women, or their ability to recognise a pig in a poke when they see one. It's probably why our forefathers ran with Parliamentary Democracy in the first place. Heard the analogy of 'too many cooks'? Yes, well imagine that amplified by about 34 million.

No... enough of the lunatics running the asylum. We're better off putting a sane adult back in charge, with the balls to do right by their country, admit the categorical mistake made by a former Prime Minister, and cancel the whole damned thing.

I still hope against hope that will be Jeremy Corbyn. And even if not, I'm still confident average British people will be better off under him than a Tory government.

I don't have much alternative right now.

Tuesday, 26 December 2017


I'm really saddened by all the people bitching about Nick Clegg getting a knighthood on social media. People hurling abuse, ranting what an awful man he is, a traitor etc, accusing him of all sorts of horrid stuff. Sadly it's just another symptom of a remarkably dis-United Kingdom in 2017: a place where bitter hostility bubbles away only inches from the surface, and manners and decorum have pretty much flown out the window.

I happen to think Clegg was one of the last decent moderate politicians at the helm in Britain. A man who sought to repair, rather than burning down the entire house. His only real crime was to make a terrible decision when faced with what was, let's face it, a horrendous choice. He may have played the precarious role of 'Kingmaker', but being realistic, whichever way he'd chosen in that fateful summer of 2010, he'd have effectively handed over power and policy-making to either the same old 'New Labour', or the Tories any way. He opted for change, because that was the mood of the country.

Nothing that happened after that point was anything to do with him, or the Liberal Democrats: once the Tories had been enabled, that was over.

In fact, our allegedly pig-loving former PM probably got a real kick out of subjugating this junior partner; forcing him to renege on specific promises he'd made to students, among others. I bet he wasted no time showing who was boss.

Yes, Clegg should have known he was opening Pandora's Box, doing a deal with the Devil (perhaps a better analogy). And yes, it was a colossal mistake in my opinion. The Lib Dems and Labour were far more natural bedfellows, and I doubt Britain would be in quite so much of a mess now had they teamed up. But being fair, never in my lifetime has there been a leader or political party to take so much blame for events and policies that weren't their fault either.

All on the Tories

Everything that's happened in the UK since 2010, is all on the Tories. No one else. Not the Liberal Democrats, and sure as hell not the EU. Does anyone honestly think Cameron and Osborne gave a damn what the Lib Dems had to say once they'd clawed their way into power? Or that the very same Prime Minister who nonchalantly hurled his country off a cliff, simply to settle a dispute within his own party, gave his junior 'deputy' PM from a different party the time of day? I think not.

If anything, the fact things have got so much worse since 2015, probably demonstrates how much the Lib Dems likely tried to rein the Tories in. The rate at which our country has unravelled in two and a half years, is most startling.

In other words, we should probably be thanking them for their efforts: however ineffectual they were long-term.

The destruction of the Lib Dems was very bad news for Britain...very bad. A sturdy nail in our political coffin. British politics at that point became a two-horse race, like America. Reason and independent thinking were practically put on notice. What happens if both options are awful? That's certainly how the U.S ended up with President Donald Trump. When there are quite literally only two options, even if one seems horrific and unthinkable, it will still have a 50/50 shot. And if enough rich people want it to happen, it will almost certainly happen.

Polarised to excess

When everyone in a society is forced to side with one of two teams, polarised to excess with no room for compromise or moderation, it is a recipe for disaster. It can create a very disturbing imbalance of political power, and encourages extremism almost by definition. Those on both the left and right often talk about 'moderates' like it's a dirty word. 'Moderate', by definition, means 'not extreme'. And I for one, am all for that.

Another side-effect of the two-horse system is that voters start to overlook any number of policies, even those harmful to them or their own families, as long as they're on the same page about the 'important' ones. (Like foreigners and blue passports.) It stops being about the policies, and becomes just about two sides facing off in a football match. Very handy for would-be despots and dictators, wishing to streamline their route to power riding waves of populism. A few years ago, a politician like Jacob Rees-Mogg (for example) would never have been widely considered Prime Ministerial material for a twenty-first century United Kingdom. No longer the case sadly, in Brexit Britain. we've gone all colonial grandeur/foreigner-bashing, and seem to want to revert to a Victorian workhouse-style economy, unbelievably Moggmentum has become an actual thing.

I don't particularly like the idea of knighthoods, or what they stand for/imply: they're archaic, and propagate notions of feudal inequality. The very issue that's ripping our society asunder, behind all the foreigner-bashing and ramped-up left-right conflict.

But that detail aside, if we are going to reward politicians with a token title or honour for serving their country, for prioritising decency and principles, and for attempting to do the right thing - eg: not being entirely motivated by selfish ideologies and careerism whilst in office, I can think of few better or more deserving than Nick Clegg: the ill-fated Kingmaker.

I can definitely think of much worse:

I like and support Nick Clegg for the very same reason I like and support Jeremy Corbyn: because inherent decency and ethics stand out a mile. They shine like a ray of light, certainly among the bigots and careerists now infesting Westminster. I trust my instincts to know a good/decent human being when I see one, even if I don't agree with them about everything. And vice versa too. As far as I'm concerned, decency has to be the starting block: and that quality doesn't only reside within those we agree with about everything. If you think it does, you are the narrow minded one.

Anna Soubry is another such an individual. I don't necessarily agree with her about how we achieve the end result, but I do essentially believe she wants the best for our country, and our people. She is not callous, she doesn't jeer and mock opponents in the same way as most of her Tory colleagues; she is respectful, and an honest, fallible human being who attempts to stand by her principles. She is clearly not like the rest of the Tories. And though I don't support her party, in any way, I wouldn't be averse to her receiving a knighthood, for example (or whatever ludicrous equivalent there is for those of the female gender).

In the end, Clegg and the Liberal Democrats were simply a sacrificial lamb in a grisly ritual: one that opened a portal to somewhere rather scary, and really rather unpleasant. Their loss was ours too. Any measure of counterbalance is a good thing.


Ironically, I was insulted and literally shamed on a pro-Corbyn Facebook group for having dared to share this article, and then blocked for disputing their assessment. Even though I've been a very vocal supporter of Jeremy Corbyn for years, dedicating God knows how many hours to championing his cause.

I then found out, purely by coincidence, that the admin person who blocked me is a very active member of Momentum in Southampton, named Francesca Lambert. A detail I find truly shocking and troubling in equal measure.

Such people do not seem to realise how THEY are the element on the left that so many reasonable people fear. Quite literally a detriment to our cause.

Saturday, 23 December 2017


People are nuts.

Some of the comments on this BBC post on Facebook, regarding the ruling by Impress and a correction required of The Canary, are beyond depressing.

I wrote for The Canary from July 2016-Jan 2017, and no, I didn't agree with the way they went about everything. I do think they idolise Corbyn to a point of fault, and yes, I do think they write off anything and everything that doesn't align with their position on the political spectrum. In fact, were anyone to corner its Editor-in-chief Kerry-Anne Mendoza or some of the other staff members and ask what they think of me... they probably wouldn't have much good to say. Probably that I'm rude, infantile, and/or won't follow direction.

What I'm trying to say, is I don't really have any reason to defend them.

In light of that, please let me assure anyone reading this of one detail. The Canary are comprised of undoubtedly decent and moral individuals, who want nothing more than to see a fair equitable Britain. And to see that those genuinely responsible for the disgraceful mess our country is in, be held to account. I do not agree with their position on everything, but they're on the right track, and nor are they even vaguely on the same page (pardon the pun) as the hate-sprawling filth routinely peddled by The Express, The Daily Mail, or The Sun. Chalk and cheese. Publications the BBC treat as supposed 'reliable news', covering their headlines on a literal daily basis. It's a joke.

Many of us feel the BBC, and its political editor are very Tory biased. Deal with it. Nothing to do with bullying, nothing to do with the fact she's a female, or the left being misogynists - that's just smear; smoke and mirrors. Misdirection. "Don't look at that... look at this." At the time of this supposed outrage, The Canary was genuinely spun as misogynistic and oppressive, led by The New Statesman as I recall. The majority of the jeering mob seemed conveniently and blissfully oblivious to the fact Mendoza is a feminist and an LGBT woman. It just defies logic so many would fall for such basic, ill-thought out smear, but hey... that's Britain in 2017.

Versus The BBC

Nor does every single Corbyn supporter and/or UK voter with leftist views unilaterally despise the BBC. I for one feel a great level of sympathy for the organisation, and many who work there. Their asses are literally owned and paid for by the Tory government. If a leftist or even centrist government seized the reins, things might be quite different. How far can the BBC realistically deviate from what their paymasters want propagated? How long would any of us last in our jobs, if we publicly criticised or incriminated those who pay our wages? That's just realpolitik.

Not to mention, the BBC is far more than just news. As an actor/musician who grew up adoring of the BBC's contribution to arts and culture, who aspired and greatly hoped to work for them one day in such regard, I think to write off/vilify and 'wish away' all the marvellous things the BBC have created, and the countless ways it's enriched British lives for generations (and millions more around the world) is actually pretty sacrilegious. And I'll say one more thing in that regard: I live in fear for the day entertainment and arts coverage in the UK is entirely owned by private, capitalist entities. It'll be junk and vacuous reality shite on overdrive... anything cheap to turn a profit, and entirely in the hands of the same right-wing media that now rules British opinion.

Don't think it's already happening? I suppose the appointment of Rupert Murdoch's daughter Elisabeth to Arts Council England is just a coincidence. Or that the winner of ITV's recent I'm A Celebrity is an adamant Tory - a primped and privileged Made In Chelsea star who hates 'benefit 'scroungers', fancies Jacob-Rees Mogg, and wants to make conservatism 'cool and sexy', is just coincidence. Or that the very same programme threw in Boris Johnson's dad for good measure. It's normalising horrible stuff, and as ever, controlling the media and entertainment is key to it all.

Going Out On A Limb  

The Canary strives to cover the stories the MSM will not touch, or cannot. And invariably - as with any person or organisation that dares to go out on a limb and tell the truth - mistakes will be made. It comes with the territory. If truth-seekers are made to fear over-zealous repercussions of mistakes, they will be scared to seek truth. Which is of course, exactly the point. The next step after that is making sure they don't uncover truth. (Eg: pretty much what Erdogan did in Turkey, and what many other repressive states enact by force.)

The Canary have taken responsibility for the mistake, which is more than many MSM papers do. Certainly, none of the supposedly equivalent 'alt-right' blogs and publications have signed up to any journalistic standards, despite any cutting remarks about Impress. You won't see Media Guido, Leave.EU, or Westmonster etc signing up any time soon, for any sentient organisation to scrutinise their stuff.

Not to mention, Laura Kuenssberg had been listed on a prominent Tory website as attending a Tory conference as an invited guest, which was then removed by those who posted it. So it's not like The Canary pulled it out of thin air, invented it, or did anything so horrid or macabre as the tabloid press have got away with for literally decades in the UK. Their mistake was to trust in the reliability of internet, and more specifically Tory publications!

The whole thing was really a witch-hunt, and blind hypocrisy. A bitter backlash from the MSM for all the accurate finger-pointing The Canary have engaged in.

As for the people ranting that the publication is "hate-filled" and "fake news" etc? They literally don't have a clue what they're talking about. Or even the vaguest awareness of the irony.

Taking on a bully doesn't make you a bully.

Friday, 15 December 2017


Had a rather strange late night epiphany, that I'm surprised hadn't occurred before.

I really cannot understand, at all, how literally anybody could look at what's happened in Britain in the last eighteen months and think it a good thing, long or short term. And I just don't get why anyone would have desired this division, conflict, and uncertainty.

Then the penny dropped. 'Division, conflict, uncertainty'.

We are a country obsessed with football.

A country that revels in the mindless caveman-like amusement of kicking a ball from point A to point B, in order to prove machismo prowess and supposed superiority. A country that revels in the 'drama' as much as the sport, and more often than not, the simple sense of 'belonging' among a tribal group: a tribal group that by definition, automatically hates other groups.

To add insult to injury, we're not even any good at it. Our footballers are some of the most underachieving and primped in the world; our widespread arrogance regarding British football prowess is entirely unjustified. We're a country where poor and disadvantaged people cheer loudly and prostrate before overpaid/over-privileged oiks who literally care nothing for them, whose very lifestyles serve as a neon flashing sign non-repentantly illustrating grotesque inequality. Honestly, we're just mugs.

Oh yes, and the most useful and committed players also happen to usually be foreigners, plugging the woeful gaps and inadequacies Brits leave wide open.

Sound familiar at all?

Okay, I know this will not be a popular, or even sensible thing to admit. And I do apologise to friends who enjoy the game. But football has always seemed so backward to me: a mind-numbing pastime that mostly attracts yobs, that should have had its day alongside public flogging. I've just never understood it. If even half those fans spent half the same time reading, learning, or developing a skill of their own, how different British society might be.

So it's really hardly a surprise that I shouldn't understand where Brexiters are coming from either. Or their desire to turn Britain into a mortal battle between two competing teams, where there can only be winners or losers. It's literally our national sport, after all.

The only difference is, sadly unlike football, the rest of us cannot really afford to ignore this particular 'game'.


I bang on quite a lot about how dangerous the UK right-wing press has become: it's one of the factors that made me want to start writing in the political sphere myself. But I, like many, have arguably gone on about it too much now. I can't help but wonder whether there’s been a touch of ‘Crying Wolf’ effect; that even those who agree and recognise the danger, have now become desensitised.

I say that because what The Daily Mail have come out with today (at the time of writing), December 14th, regarding the recent Parliamentary vote on the Brexit bill, is absolutely categorically and unequivocally NOT okay.

The fact the tabloid thinks it can behave like this, posting vindictive and antagonistic bile to rouse a rabble against conscientious MPs, is troubling to the extreme. The fact it will doubtlessly continue unless we do something about it, and that the British public probably won’t even bat an eyelid any way – even more so.

Yes, we’ve heard it all before. Senseless Brexiters rattling on about politicians supposedly “betraying” 17.4m Brexit voters. Presumably inferring that the remaining 16.1m Remain voters (not to mention those who didn’t vote) are apparently not entitled to any representation within Parliament at all: we must simply do as we’re told. In their minds, we lost our rights the day they won their referendum.

Choice of words

Just look at the language on that Daily Mail front page: it’s horrifying. ‘Self-consumed’ (as if anyone who disagrees with this coup is automatically doing so for selfish or nefarious reasons). ‘Malcontents’. ‘Betray’. ‘Damning’. ‘Marxist’. ‘Treachery’. It’s the language of dictatorship, and of fascism. Evocative terminology deliberately designed to stir up anger, hostility, and even violence. You’d think The Daily Mail might have learned a lesson from the death threats Anna Soubry reportedly received the last time they plastered her face on their front page, practically with a bullseye on her forehead. That they’ve been as callous and as confident to do exactly the same again, and so soon afterwards, really begs belief. How did we ever allow them so much power?

Whereas the supposedly ‘responsible’ Telegraph formerly opted to describe Soubry and other Tory ‘rebels’ as “saboteurs”. The exact same term far-right nationalist Thomas Mair used in court to justify his murder of Labour MP Jo Cox in 2016, shortly before the referendum.

We really should all hear the alarm bells ringing, loud and bloody clear. But we don’t. Or nowhere near enough of us are hearing them, any way.

I'm genuinely upset by this, and very angry. To be frank, I thought my capacity for anger had been pretty much exhausted; the endless onslaught of bad news and scandal since June 2016 has taken its toll. I imagine even some of the most politically engaged are weary, now just wanting to bury their heads in the sand and/or see an end to it all. To be fair, that was probably the idea all along: a war of attrition.

However for me, this most recent and grotesque assault on parliamentary democracy by The Daily Mail is a whole new level of malevolence. I certainly wish there was something more physical or effectual I could do to protest beyond simply writing an angry opinion piece, but hey, we use the tools at our disposal.

It's just not morally acceptable to me. I cannot and will not accept that such evil and unscrupulous people have such a grip over public opinion in the UK. That a singular powerful and non-accountable/non-democratic faction can literally spew whatever hatred and overly partisan poison it wants, and know with absolute certainty it will form the categorical basis of belief for vast swathes of ignorant/hostile people across the country. The non-domicile Lord Rothermere, and his editor Paul Dacre, are truly two of the most dangerous men alive in Britain today.

I think they define as operating in Britain, even if their paper's money is mostly shielded from paying British tax, offshore in Bermuda.

A Momentary Reprieve of Reason

The UK should be celebrating this small victory for democracy (actual democracy, not the mob-rule/pitch-fork variety that’s become so popular). Celebrating that, for the first time in eighteen months, reason seems to have been granted a momentary reprieve. We should all feel positive and buoyed that a small number of brave Tory MPs finally tipped the balance. A courageous minority had the guts and decency to put their country before their party, insisting that Parliament should be permitted to do its job – eg: be allowed to scrutinise a planned course of action that could theoretically make or break our country. That is its very purpose, after all. And thousands of men, women and children died over the course of British history to preserve that balance, specifically to keep would-be absolute governments and monarchies in check.

Hear that Brexiters, that is the patriotism and pride I take in my nation and its history. Not the ideology of this nationalist backwater you’re trying to turn it into, a place I no longer even recognise as my home.

But far from acknowledging the good sense of keeping options open, Brexiter factions are just stamping their feet, trying to whip up yet more division and hatred. Posturing how the very same British laws and sovereignty they supposedly champion is ‘treacherous’ when it doesn’t work in their favour. They don’t even seem to care if people are killed, or have their lives threatened in the process.

I just can’t bear how unreasonable this Brexit bunch are; it’s beyond farcical. The Tories are almost a secondary concern now, just hapless. As if every pantomime villain in the country was rounded up and told to form a government. I almost feel sympathy for Theresa May and her leading negotiators now, so hammered have they been from all sides.

It’s the Boris Johnsons and the Michael Goves, the Daniel Hannans and Julia-Hartley Brewers, the Nigel Farages and Jacob Rees-Moggs, the Tommy Robinsons and Katie Hopkins of this world shouting from the wings who are causing the most carnage now. Listening to them on social media, you’d think we were engaged in The English Civil War part two; that anyone not willingly aboard the Brexit-train should be shot for treason. Let’s face it, they all ache for continued division and confrontation though: it’s quite literally been their gravy-train. What’s terrifying is how many people agree with them, eating up every word they say.

Threat to Liberty

Why are they so outraged? It’s not like Brexit has been cancelled. It's not like we've totally extinguished the dream of the tax-dodgers and nationalists, or reversed their intended coup of Britain. Not like the adults have totally regained control of the kindergarten, or that someone with nouse has stepped up to suggest we forget the whole sordid nonsense: that we go back to being a sensible nation and economic powerhouse.

No. All that’s been agreed is that IF the deal is too horrendous, IF it’s likely to cause such harm that millions of people could realistically be plunged into poverty and economic chaos, our parliamentary representatives would have the right to say no. They’d have a chance to save their people from unnecessary hardship. So in other words, these Brexit factions, with The Daily Mail at the vanguard, deem the simple preservation of our well-being and long-term interests as ‘betrayal’. As ‘treachery’. They believe our refusal to accept potentially being disadvantaged is effectively a crime worthy of punishment.

Enough is enough. That’s a direct and tangible threat to our liberty as far as I am concerned. Not hyperbole, not exaggeration; simply a realistic assessment of what’s going on here.

Decent people in Britain must no longer stand for this poison being so liberally disseminated and so unaccountable: it’s time we did something about it, before it’s too late.

Saturday, 2 December 2017


I wanted to give politics a rest for a while. It's mentally exhausting even keeping up with the news nowadays. But then as usual, something else unthinkable or cataclysmic happens.

This. This, this... THIS.

I genuinely don't know whether to be pleased or not. On one hand, I'm glad the smokescreen is coming apart - that finally the leaders of Brexit are showing their true colours. Only days ago, Julia Hartley-Brewer mocked me on Twitter for suggesting Trump/Trump supporters and Brexit/Brexit supporters are different sides of the same coin, like it was a ridiculous assessment. IT IS NOT. It is the truth they don't want you to see; a symbiotic partnership.

So what's happening now? Well, as more reasonable/rational and moderate Brexit voters realise they've been sold a pig in a poke, that this whole thing has been a straight-up catastrophe for our country, the Brexit lobby are forced to enlist and massage support among extremists and unapologetic fascists. They're the only group propping this madness up. And as a result, even supposedly 'respectable' MPs like Jacob Rees-Mogg can now flaunt their true allegiances, actively courting these evil people. The mask has well and truly slipped.

Even a couple of years ago, this would have ended Rees-Mogg's career. That is how much the political and social landscape has changed in Britain. It's just chilling. And those of us who were ridiculed for warning where Brexit would lead, dismissed as hyperbolic, are now being proved demonstrably and unequivocally right.

Whereas many see a series of events, I see a meticulously planned domino effect. It is not coincidence that days ago, Trump endorsed Britain First. That a group formerly overwhelmingly reviled in the UK is now getting MSM attention, appearing on the BBC etc, and swathes of people now argue Trump was "only stating his opinion", and/or the POTUS is above being held accountable. These fascist ideas are in the mainstream again, endorsed by the most powerful man in the world, and yet again, xenophobes and nationalists are emboldened beyond measure.

Then, despite outcry, Downing Street refuse to cancel Trump's state visit, or condemn his words entirely. The fascists are emboldened a little further. It becomes a little more acceptable. And then, out of nowhere, it's suddenly 'revealed' that a British Conservative politician - who many bizarrely revere as a man of probity and reason, who's tipped to be the next Conservative leader - is openly in meetings with Steve Bannon of Breitbart! The only man who was widely acknowledged to be more dangerous than Trump when he initially took office. A truly evil, abhorrent man. An insidious master manipulator and white supremacist, who's openly admitted he wants to see some kind of 'final solution'.

Now? Now many Tory voters will rationalise that 'if Rees-Mogg is dealing with Bannon, he can't be that bad'. Not only that, but Boris wouldn't condemn Trump either. And though Theresa May told Trump he was a 'naughty boy', she stepped way short of taking a stand. It's a very deliberate, step-by-step process being rolled out.

The ideals of fascism are being normalised in Britain, right before our eyes. And as usual, those of us who recognise it are just flailing our arms around, desperately trying to warn everybody.

Wednesday, 29 November 2017


This recent YouGov poll makes my head hurt.

Yes, it's a common misconception that the Tories are 'fiscally responsible', 'better able to manage the economy' etc, which is just straight up bonkers when you look at the state of our country after seven years of Tory rule. They've increased our national debt by £555bn; they have borrowed more in cash terms than ALL OTHER LABOUR GOVERNMENTS COMBINED IN BRITISH HISTORY.

That is a fact (go on, check... I dare you.)

And yet the nation has still been stripped bare? Over the course of nearly 40 years I've watched my country become a playground for the rich, while everything else around the edges crumbles to dust. This Conservative Party have ravaged the UK with a pitch-fork, and are now - just for good measure - about to push our economy off a cliff and isolate us as a hated island nation: a population of feudal subjects who literally cannot escape, and/or seek justice from a European court. And all so the balance of capitalist power does not shift in Britain, so the Conservatives and their mates can remain gorged fat-cats.

Who feeds this idea that 'managing the economy' means prioritising money and 'fiscal savings' over citizens and living standards? The idea they're somehow mutually exclusive? The very same people with all the bloody money! Anyone who doesn't 'get' that or want to see the connection, is either part of the problem, burying their head in the sand, or entirely brainwashed. It really is as simple as that. It's a question of priorities.

In other words, this myth of Tory 'fiscal responsibility' is a complete and utter smokescreen; so fragile, you can literally waft it apart with your pinky. (Eg: even very loose facts and figures.)

To quote Joseph Goebbels:

"If you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes the truth."

The typical Tory response of course, is to blame former New Labour governments. Conveniently forgetting they were just 'Red Tories' in disguise, who Margaret Thatcher even openly crowed as 'her greatest achievement'.

A happy workforce is a productive workforce

I very much doubt I shall ever be someone to head up a workforce, be responsible for other people's livelihoods, or be in a position to dictate political agenda. But I do know if I was, I would recognise that a happy/mentally healthy workforce (or populace) who are fairly rewarded and feel valued are going to be far FAR more productive, loyal and enthusiastic than vice versa. It's nigh time people in this country start to recognise that - and truly believe it. To realise they are entitled to more than a burdened existence, 'just getting by', begging for scraps from greedy overlords who have more than most of us would ever know if we lived a hundred lifetimes. Stop being distracted by bullsh*t like Royal Weddings, the cost of which would probably house, clothe, feed and educate thousands of children worldwide. Which is just sick, if you think about it. They literally rub it in our faces.

The exorbitantly wealthy are only rich because of the societies and 'customers' who made them rich. It's time for them to give something back; to stop hoarding it. The industrial advances of humankind should serve us all - the entire human race - not just the fat-cats who own all the businesses, the robots and automated factories. So if there are no longer enough jobs as a result, it's time ALL of us started to share in the profits via universal basic income. Especially those who need it most.

Instead of demonising socialist principles, I think the rich (and sadly befuddled, eg: people whom socialism would actively serve, but they hate it any way) really need to get their heads round the fact, capitalism is failing. We can see it all around us. It's had its day, and is no longer physically equipped to deal with the size of 21st century populations. We simply have to find another way.

This circus can only go on so long, before a reckoning will come. How that takes shape will entirely define our future as a species, I truly believe that.

Thursday, 16 November 2017


Brexit. The gift that keeps on giving.

Almost a year and a half on from that cursed referendum, the issue is still as divisive as ever. Perhaps more so, given that the repercussions - though not entirely revealed (and won't be until the damned thing happens) are more widely known. As are the lies and invested interests that put us on this particular path. It's remarkable how the debate started out as Brexit being good for Britain, whereas now the debate is really only whether it will be marginally worse, or an all-out economic catastrophe.

What is for the reason for this enmity, if anything, increasing? In my opinion, exactly because to still support Brexit in light of all the lies... to still try and argue this whole thing has been good for Britain, just seems pig-headed to the extreme. And verging on the lunatic. Seriously, take a look around guys. Step out of the bubble. Look what this bullshit has sparked across our country, and the world.

But that's not the only reason Remainers (and the left in general) are tearing their hair out. The truth is, while the right-wing/tax-dodgers/nationalists and xenophobes all present a united front and rejoice in this new world they're creating, OUR team is divided.

No... we're too busy turning on one another, splintering and decimating our own ranks.

I know it only too well. I've written for two of the leading left-wing blogs in the UK in the past eighteen months, and fell foul of both of them for standing by my beliefs. And only last week I had a bust-up within my own extended family, because I'd inadvertently criticised someone's friend on a forum... it's just ridiculous. We really are expected to all pretend the turd is chocolate mousse.

The Burden of Empathy

Here's the general thing about people on the left and centre, and Remainers typically: we carry the burden of empathy. We actively try to imagine how others feel, and to see their point of view. We attempt to be logical, and look at actual facts as opposed to populism and spin. We try to put decency above profits, and modern notions of feudalism.

The ironic and somewhat cruel flip-side to that, is in a situation like we see today, eg: where there is so much widespread support for unpleasant stuff, some on our left-veering team inevitably try to empathise with the very same people who've supported these horrid, horrid things. And thereby sometimes legitimise them.

In the case of Brexit, the result is many Remainers now lambaste other Remainers for simply not 'bending over'. For not accepting a manipulated result that will impoverish our country and diminish our security, with smiles on our faces and a spring in our step! Now, ridiculously, many deem us to be the hostile ones. Black is white, up is down. Whereas the right-wing have no such concerns. Their closed fist is far FAR stronger than our limp hand, fingers spread. Our empathy makes us weak. We end up questioning ourselves or apologising, simply for opposing those who'd subjugate us.

Remain 'supporter', Noel Gallagher

The result is things like this. I saw a post shared suggesting that the Brexit saga is a bit like a Shakespearean tragedy, a battle between good and evil where the good guys will probably lose - a sentiment I'd loosely agree with, albeit a very rudimentary assessment:

However, the response from a popular and supposed left-leaning/Remain supporting blog was as follows:

It continues:

You can tell the writer is a Remain supporter and probably left-leaning, because firstly, they actually take the time to self-analyse and accept a portion of blame, and secondly, they talk a lot of sense! I'm being slightly facetious of course. But the point is, I wouldn't disagree with the second portion of what is written, and would probably also have to concur that I too carry a degree of vanity, simply for wanting people to read what I have to say. However, I would strongly disagree with the writer's assessment of those motives for wanting to speak out. You can in fact want to do the right thing for noble reasons AND possess a degree of 'ego' or 'vanity.' They are not mutually exclusive. 

Of course there are many many different shades of grey, and of course 'good or bad' is far too rudimentary a term to adequately describe the complexity of a huge populace. No human being is entirely good or bad. But in a situation like Nazi Germany in the mid twentieth century, those shades of grey meant nothing. You either supported the Nazis, or you didn't. By the time the danger was recognised, opposing them meant risking your life.

What's happened here, is the blogger's empathy for those who've supported this disaster, and their understandable desire for things to just 'go back to normal' with their friends and family who supported it, has totally undermined the very principles of why so many opposed it in the first place.

Frankly, I see it as a cop-out.

Not all Brexiteers Are 'Stupid'

Indeed. They are not. But intelligent Brexit voters are the most worrying of all. Intelligent Brexit voters would have known they were told a pack of lies, that it was being led by tax-dodging fat-cats, and virtual comic books like The Daily Mail and The Sun. They knew it would impoverish our country, and that it would enable nationalism and xenophobia. And they voted that way regardless.

Which pretty much means one of two things. Either they too were motivated by veiled xenophobia/nationalism (like a majority), OR they stand to benefit from Tory decimation of workers rights, and/or Britain remaining the tax-dodging/loop-hole capital of the western world. (Which it is, make no mistake.) Continuing inequality works for these people. And that in essence is why the Leave campaign was so successful: it allied grumbling xenophobes and nationalists with the rich and financially invested... a truly killer combination.

It was somewhat painful for me to see my former colleague from Evolve Politics, Matt Turner, on Newsnight last night, discussing the alleged influence of Russian propaganda in Brexit. Most of his points I agreed with. As ever, Matt came across as decent, sensible, well reasoned and pragmatic. That is, until he started waving his 'Leaver flag'. And specifically, made an almost glib comment that Hillary Clinton's campaign and the Remain campaign lost "because they were so dire in the first place".

No Matt. Remain lost because actual truth and Realpolitik are far less exciting and stimulating than wild notions of nationalist pride and 'reasserting ourselves'. One appeals to the head, the other to the heart. Ideology won out over pragmatism. People chose The Beano over boring legal documentation. And like many U.S voters a few months later, Brexit supporters were itching to pull a trigger, whatever explosion it caused. That's about it.

Crush The Saboteurs

Can we really not see what is happening here?? 'Traitors'. 'Saboteurs'. And yesterday for God's sake, The Telegraph launched a witch-hunt against Remainer Tory MPs labelled as 'mutineers', while The Daily Mail's political editor insidiously referred to them as 'collaborators': the exact same term notorious far-right killer Thomas Muir used to describe MP Jo Cox, whom he murdered:

If you think of all the words in the English language, use of that word was mere coincidence, it's time to wake up. That is the language of fascism, and anyone who thinks otherwise is kidding themselves.

Right and Wrong

Many Remainers shared a tolerant attitude back before the referendum, and perhaps even afterwards, myself for one (I tried to any way). But since then, we have truly seen Leavers and their figureheads for what they really are. Not all, but a lion's share. And the fad today, is we're unable to call out actual patterns and statistics across demographics of people for fear we'll be deemed as 'stereotyping' or 'showing prejudice'; conveniently ignoring that stereotypes often become stereotypes for a bloody reason.

There IS a right and wrong in all this, however uncomfortable it is to admit. As for the defence there are many 'sound' and decent leave voters, being honest, again I'd have to quibble that. Just because I'm a nice person 90% of the time and help old ladies with their shopping, doesn't mean the fact I 'mug the odd person here and there' is OK. It is not.

Another (admittedly very extreme) example, but presenting a similarly salient point: Hitler was said to be a very nice man, and very kind to those around him - does that mean we forget about other things he advocated for? No. Sometimes in life you need to choose the good or the bad: what's best for you and your team, or what's fair for the common good. And that choice rightly defines you.

So if you make that choice based on ignorance, lies and populism despite evidence being shown to you; if you make a choice that actively takes rights away from other people, potentially destroying lives/families/livelihoods, that will make average people poorer; a choice that will reduce the opportunities and prospects of future generations of this country, please PLEASE don't then moan 'how hard done-by leave voters are'. The hypocrisy of it honestly turns my stomach.

I don't honestly care if some Leave voters insist they're not racists/nationalists: they enabled racism and nationalism, and made us all poorer - period. Don't like that detail? Tough titty. Anyone who voted for this godawful mess should either now put their hands up and admit their mistake (something many of us would respect enormously), or carry on down their path of blissful nationalistic ignorance and fantasy.

But if you go with that, please don't expect any sympathy from those of us who truly see what this evil has done to our country, the lives and livelihoods it threatens, and the path it's put us on geopolitically. We all wish things could go back to the way they were before, when politics hadn't divided our nation, but that was your choice - not ours. Having moral principles means not abandoning them dependent on whose company you're in.

You chose the Dark Side, now you're gonna have to live with it.

Friday, 27 October 2017


"Dear Daily Mail,

Although the idea of wanting to educate yourself AND support Brexit are in many ways mutually exclusive, I am indeed a Brexit voter, and currently attend Dingleberry University - on site at Watford Gap services.

I'm enrolled on a three year honours degree in Philosophy and Economics - which is quite a fucking stretch considering I get confused by modern hairdryers.

My professor, who's taught for decades, who's both respected and accredited with several ACTUAL qualifications, whose brain is a hive of information and facts (details we refer to as 'fake news'), is clearly wrong. We may have respected what he had to say before now, deeming him worthy to teach, but now he's teaching 'facts' that suggest we're complete fucktards, his opinion and learning are clearly worth nothing. Professor Remoans-a-lot needs to get with the programme. We won! Get over it snowflake!

I'm far better informed, so it's only reasonable that everyone acknowledge what I have to say. I read The Daily Mail every day, and have a far better understanding of world history and economics than a twat with a PhD, who makes a point of using fancy words I can't understand. (He's probably a paedophile too.)

The students are just as bad. For some reason, the lefty-scumbags want to hear from 'the professor', not me?? The hypocrisy is intolerable. They call themselves 'liberal' and 'inclusive', but then won't agree to making bibs mandatory, or covering all the sharp edges in bubble wrap - when they know I tend to drool a lot, and often bump into things.

Nor will they unilaterally accept Jesus hates people from Europe; I shouldn't have to put up with it.

It's very clear: we must all pretend the turd is chocolate mousse.

Speaking of 'eating shit': if you guys at The Daily Mail are insistent on smearing a particular group for causing this mess and corrupting the sentience of our nation, please can whomever is reading this, eg: the employee and human-being apparently fine with intimidating academics and enabling agenda and media-driven fascism, now stand up, squat over his/her desk, and take a big steamy dump on it. Then scoop it up, pop it in a box, and send to:

The Daily Mail,
Northcliffe House,
2 Derry Street,
London W8 5TT.

Thank you kindly, and good luck with the witch-hunt. I can't wait for everyone to be as gullible and retarded as me.

God save the Queen! (Even if she's German.)

Yours faithfully,

Mr F. Uckyou"

Tuesday, 24 October 2017


Friends and live music fans may remember that back in 2012, Aussie Floyd's drum technician Scott Johnson was tragically killed in Canada, when an outdoor stage collapsed. He'd been on tour with Radiohead. Scott was truly one of the kindest and most decent people I met during those years; it was an unbelievably cruel twist of fate.

Five years on, and no justice has been done; the organisations and individuals responsible have totally evaded accountability. His family have been denied closure; they live in an endless cycle of fighting powerful organisations seemingly to no avail. And now? Now the case has been thrown out of court because it's supposedly 'taken too long' - even though the delays were entirely caused by the courts and defendants themselves, and the agonisingly slow legal process. A process that unequivocally plays to the super-rich, and those who'd deliberately hide behind faceless corporations and brands.

I encountered the same thing to a lesser degree when I took on a large chain of Nursing Homes in 2014, whose negligence caused the untimely death of my mum. It was like swimming against a very large and unassailable tide. The whole thing was just a farce; I was doomed to fail, and it deeply affected me. But my mum was ill and in her seventies; she wasn't a young man with his whole life ahead of him, her life cut short by the questionable negligence of a multinational corporation worth billions. It's injustice off the scale.

Some of the most callous and immoral people in this world always argue it's 'just business'. It's something we see all the time, in every walk of life. From employers and multinational companies and institutions, to politicians, public figures and governments. People at the top don't think the 'little people' matter. They truly believe they can do what they like without reprisal, that the system and our very lives are theirs to play. I am so very sick of it: it's endemic, and it's why I rant at the heavens like a madman. It's the enduring legacy of capitalism, the veiled successor of feudalism and 'divine right', and I know I for one shall never be able to accept it.

This recent industry magazine article by Laura Barnes about the failure to achieve justice for Scott, again brought home to me the corruption and selfish careerism typically lurking behind such injustice. Like the trials and trauma faced by Grenfell Tower survivors battling a council and government that protects its own. Like the situation with Harvey-fucking-Weinstein, people all across the music industry are scared/unwilling to stand up for what's right, because the behemoth that is Live Nation holds too much sway over their lives and careers:

"The feelings of frustration and anger are echoed throughout the production fraternity, with more being shared in private than in public, perhaps due to the grip that Live Nation have on touring and festivals and the fact that people need to earn a living." 

"The UK based BECTU union has not replied to my request for comment, neither have the editors of two notable trade magazines dedicated to the live event industry. I have also contacted a number of large UK audio hire companies, none of whom are prepared to talk about the issue on the record while a few colleagues in senior production roles have spoken out but have asked not to be named- which is not a great deal of practical use, grateful though I am that they have responded."

Cowards, the lot of them.

I'm just so appalled by the way this tragedy has been brushed under the carpet. I cannot begin to imagine the trauma and frustration endured by Scott's parents. I'm still in touch with his father, Ken, who rightly so will never give up fighting, and fortunately Radiohead are firmly on side too - so it's not over yet.

But neither can it be denied, Radiohead are only able to speak out against the might of Live Nation because they're a huge global band, who can't simply be 'shut down'. Everyone else further down the food chain seems to be hushing up and closing ranks.

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."
- Edmund Burke

Whatever your cause, if you believe wrong-doing and injustice have occurred: fight it. Fight it all the way, even if it's to your detriment. However much others harangue and insult you, ostracise you and mock are the spark of human decency and ethics that dragged humankind from the abyss of ignorance and violence. That spark is why we're free, and why they're free not to care. (Until it affects them, any way.)

RIP Scott. Gone but never forgotten. Good people are still fighting for you mate.

Thursday, 19 October 2017


The Weinstein scandal: the gift that keeps on giving.

I've seen quite a few folks sharing this hideous video today, of Howard Stern interviewing Emma Bunton back in 2005:

I admit, watching it makes me feel sick to my stomach. Creepy to the max, and very uncomfortable viewing. All-the-more uncomfortable for me, as in the past I've enjoyed a lot of Howard Stern's work; the guy's been an iconic pioneer for rock music, as well as freedom of speech for decades now.

As usual though, I shall endeavour to offer a side to the argument that most will be unwilling or too uncomfortable to explore, or even entertain.

One - and perhaps most importantly - Howard Stern is not Harvey Weinstein. He is not an alleged rapist, there are no reports of him sexually bullying women etc, and he has no criminal record. He is a comedian. (Whether he's any good or not, is not the point.)

Two - Howard Stern's entire act has been based on shock, and pure unbridled/unhinged filth and smut his entire career. He made his whole name for himself by saying seemingly unthinkable things, and challenging censorship at a time when we were pretty much all expected to be good Christian folk, and TV/radio entertainment was like living with the Mormons. A great deal of freedom of expression in the U.S is owed to Howard Stern, to this very day. He's also been a significant advocate of human rights, gay rights, and sexual equality.

If you know anything about the background of Howard Stern, or have seen the documentary-comedy about his life, Private Parts, you'll know the guy is a goofball who simply says anything that comes into his head, however depraved. The guy literally has no filter. He makes jokes that would turn the average person's stomach, that make those who do laugh feel guilty for laughing. He says equally creepy things to men or women, and the less prepared they are for it, the more he relishes it. He unquestionably goes too far sometimes. But on the same hand, that's exactly what put him on the map. This is a guy who had a female caller orgasm live on radio, who was banned by God knows how many radio stations.

Though I'd agree this interview is creepy and slimy in ways I hadn't honestly yet experienced, come on guys... anyone who agrees to get interviewed by Howard Stern must know what they're getting into?!? He's not David Dimbleby for God's sake. You wouldn't go on Celebrity Juice with Keith Lemon and expect not to be presented with filthy outrageous stuff, deliberately designed to make your jaw hit the deck. And if Bunton didn't know who Stern was, or what he was about, I hope she sacked her management team afterwards! The fact Stern said all of that live on-air to Emma Bunton as part of his show is hardly the same as a sexual predator saying those things to a woman in private, genuinely trying to cajole her. The exact and definitive thing about 'predators' is they keep their intentions and carnal desires hushed and/or disguised - they don't generally blurt them out over the airwaves. Hardly a great alibi if so, and I don't for a second think Bunton was under any threat.

The point is, yes... Howard Stern has said some gross stuff, and offended pretty much everyone in his time. And yes, these sorts of interviews are grossly inappropriate by today's standards, and no they're not acceptable any more. They send out the wrong message, and there needs to be a line somewhere. But Stern is not a sexual predator, he's a comedian. A very bad taste and smutty comedian, who's woken up today to find he's an outcast and villain for something he said twelve years ago.

Who's next for the chopping block? Keith Lemon? Mickey Flannagan? Frankie Boyle? Jim Jefferies? The latter two of which, apart from often making quite misogynistic jokes, are both highly principled men actively militant for equality and human rights - as much so as anyone you'd meet.

But that doesn't matter, a minor detail right?

Glutton For Punishment

I don't know why I always feel indebted to look at the flip-side of any argument, but I do. Even and especially in situations where individuals/groups are suddenly 'public enemy number one', or if they're uncomfortable topics: when it's generally far easier to simply grab yourself a pitchfork and start chanting with everyone else. Possibly because I've been on the other end of the pitchforks at various points. 

In truth, a few chaps I've spoken to are beginning to get a smidgen worried about where this Weinstein scandal could potentially veer though. On one hand, it genuinely seems like it could be an amazing thing that will genuinely change the world around us - especially for women - for the better. In fact you can almost feel the changes taking place right now. Certain things are just not gonna wash any more, and rightly so. Misogynists beware! It's a real cause for celebration, save for the poor women who were affected and intimidated by the creep.

Here's the thing many of us are scared to say though... any decent man in this world will unequivocally stand for the safety, happiness and equality of women; but neither can we help the fact we were born with a schlong either. And sorry, there is already a slight atmosphere of 'all men are responsible, and/or did nothing to stop it', and that's just not fair.

For example, on Twitter recently I saw British actor Robert Lindsay (of 'My Family') came forward to say he'd spoken up about Weinstein's abuse of his colleague at the time, Molly Ringwald. The result was that Lindsay's film career never quite got off the ground; he became blacklisted:

And I believe him too. I'd actually wondered before now why he hadn't appeared in more films over the years. Lindsay is a fantastic actor: to be honest I was surprised he didn't pop up in the Harry Potter franchise. The truth tends to make sense when you hear it.

Subtle Digs

Moving swiftly past the huge number of slurs I've seen on social media, mostly coming from furious women lambasting any male who dares to even politely dispute them on any aspect of any issue as 'vile sexist pigs' etc, I've also noted a few more subtle digs too. For example, a mostly marvellous article in The Guardian recently by actor Arabella Weir:

I read the piece, and was in passionate agreement with every damned word Arabella said... until the very last paragraph. When she rather flippantly commented: "No man was ever going to expose Harvey Weinstein."

That is simply not true. I know it for a fact, because I would have tried, and I'm sure many other inadvertent penis-owners out there would have too. My first piece on this Weinstein scandal, I specifically wrote of an instance where I spoke up regarding what I considered sexual abuse occurring at my university, even though positively no-one else around me had the guts to at the time. I took on my own course leader, and got a shitty degree grade as a result. Had it been more serious, eg: an instance where young women (or men) were being genuinely violated, I would have spoken up even quicker.

Robert Lindsay tried too; and he was not alone. 

If you analyse and pull words apart, certainly like I do, you cannot help but wonder exactly what Arabella is insinuating by that remark in The Guardian. It seemed a pretty broad (and pretty demeaning) brushstroke at best. Hopefully she simply intended to imply that women should empower themselves and not be afraid to speak up - a sentiment I'd agree with and support - but in which case, I'd argue her phrasing was rather poor. 

And certainly, quite needlessly hostile to and dismissive of men who in most cases, agree with everything women are saying entirely, and only want to help.


Let's just not turn this into a witch-hunt, eh? (Or warlock-hunt is perhaps better.) 

Because I tell you one thing dear reader, puritanism doesn't work. Prohibition of things that humans like to do/watch/listen to/consume etc, doesn't work. It forces them underground into the hands of genuinely unscrupulous people. 

In the new world some folks out there would seemingly like us to soon live in (the Sylvester Stallone and Sandra Bullock movie Demolition Man springs to mind), where comedy is censored, anything objectionable or that could be construed to incite a negative 'copycat' reaction is not allowed, where strip clubs and porn are outlawed, computer games and films are all about fluffy kittens, and a man is too scared to say a woman is attractive or even reflect on the fact she is a female for fear he'll be dragged in front of a tribunal... well, I tell you what ladies... there will be a helluva lot far more repressed and angry men out there. That ain't gonna end well. At the same time, any woman who doesn't fit in this neatly prescribed little box, or want to adhere to these new puritan rules, will simply end up levelled with even more stigma...more supposed 'slut-shaming'. It'll be like we're all back at Catholic school.

Have we learned nothing?

It's definitely not coincidence that the era of sexual freedom and enlightenment, traditionally thought of as the 1960s, was also the time people started talking about perhaps not endlessly killing each other and seeking world peace. 

Worth a mention perhaps.

Tuesday, 17 October 2017


It's funny. I was a bit naughty with the last piece I wrote, about Harvey Weinstein. I deliberately put a 'red herring' headline, suggesting the piece was defending him - when really it was facetious, condemned him entirely (labelling someone a 'disease' you'd think pretty definitive), and it simply looked at other 'layers of the onion'.

I was interested to see how many people would pounce and start labelling me a sexist, a misogynist, a mansplainer etc without even digesting the point of the piece. (Eg: that silence in the face of evil is the enemy.)

The results were telling. I'm pleased to say the number of people who attacked the post were relatively small: less than I'd predicted. But there were still a few, and they were all females who basically lambasted me for not knowing what I'm talking about, or having no right to even speak on the matter, because I'm male.

Also quite telling, is I monitor how many peruse my blog (a vanity, I know), and that piece, with a headline that potentially 'enraged' - rather than stating clearly what it was about on the tin - was read considerably more than some of my material.

Hmm. And we wonder how The Daily Mail and The Sun garnered such power.

Real Equality

I'm pleased this has all come to light, and think exposure of Weinstein's abuses - perhaps for the first time - genuinely has a realistic chance of changing things. But at the same time, neither can it be ignored there are a growing minority of ladies out there, especially on social media, who seem to hold any and every man responsible: somehow arguing everything we say is seeped in misogyny. And if you dare to dispute so much as one aspect of their argument, it only heightens their resolve, making them more insistent you're a 'male bully'. (To be frank, it's highly reminiscent of arguing with Brexiteers - you're wrong, simply because 'you are'.)

That is not 'equality'. That's simply going too far in the other direction. The whole bloody point of equality is you judge people on the basis and content of what they say, regardless of religion/sex/race/wealth, or any other potentially stereotyped variable. Being born with a penis and/or being sexually attracted to women does not somehow mean you unequivocally harbour an inherent and genetically predisposed disrespect for women, it's ludicrous! I for one am the son of a single working mother, who brought me up by herself, who was smarter than most men will ever be. And today, I am father to a highly confident and assertive four year old girl who one day I want to rule the world. My entire life, I've categorically never ever thought of women as anything other than the equals of men. I'm the furthest thing from a 'macho man'. But some ladies manage to make even me, the 'enemy'.

I Put My Hands Up... I'm Guilty

Yes, I may in passing acknowledge occasionally the fact a friend I'm talking to is a female ('hi babe', 'hello gorgeous', 'yes my dear'). I might even crack a joke - God forbid - about a cultural stereotype ('bloody women drivers/shoppers' etc), but if you genuinely think that implies I really honestly believe women are somehow less capable, or have a 'secondary status' on account of their sex, you really are off your bloody rocker. That's absolutism to ridiculous extreme.

Appreciating men and women are often different, they often like different things and are often good at different things, is a beautiful mystery that keeps the world spinning. Anyone with a brain knows they're not 'rules', not exclusively the case, and that 'equality' means allowing someone to choose their own path without restriction. But neither does acknowledging those preferences exist, somehow make you a crusader for male bigotry.

Recently, a couple of female friends posted things on Facebook that were, to my puerile mind any way, wide open for jokes. One was a friend named Adele who casually commented that "upon returning from her honeymoon, she turned vegan". I couldn't resist making a crack, though I did it somewhat timidly by asking "is NO-ONE else gonna make a joke here??" The other, another lovely lass named Lauren commented "she wished they did delivery roasts." Again, my inner childish smut-peddler came out, and I commented that depending on what sort of roast she was after, I'm sure there'd be plenty of volunteers. Only a minute later, I added a follow-up post apologising profusely to anyone who might find that offensive. Something I wouldn't normally have done. (Some might see that as a resulting victory from this Weinstein scandal.) I don't generally like to tiptoe around my female friends though, just because they're female.

I knew the friends in question would not take offence at these quips, they're both intelligent and confident women who did in fact laugh, and if they had a problem with me or anything I'd said, I'd like to think they'd tell me. But I did later wonder how many others might think me a 'shameless misogynist' for those comments, and/or were somehow judging me. And really, that's not cool either.

No, I'm just an infantile dickhead with a silly sense of humour, eternally wanting to make people laugh. Not everyone will, but I don't particularly like the idea of living in a society where humour is policed and censored.

Shit Gags

Anyone is of course free to think they were shit gags, horrifically immature and unworthy of the slightest smirk, even that they were totally inappropriate. But to think that stands as ironclad evidence I'm clearly someone who disrespects women? No. That is a grotesque assumption. No more than if I hear a female comedian making a joke about beating her husband or 'cutting his todger off' (key word being 'joke') or making silly generalisations about men, I don't assume she actually condones violence, hates men, and/or mutilates her unfortunate spouse.

I once fell foul of an editor, a lady I liked and respected a great deal, because I commented 'woof' on a picture of Charlotte Church in the newsroom, looking particularly ravishing. Really. I still just don't get it. Okay, as my better half told me, it probably wasn't incredibly smart, but on the scale of things that's pretty darn tame, and hey - I don't hide who I am or what I find interesting/funny. Plus, if any woman I knew in the world commented on a picture of Brad Pitt (or male equivalent) and commented 'what a hot piece of ass', 'come to mama' etc, I can honestly say I wouldn't, and really don't give two hoots! Go for it ladies, eat all you can eat.

Again, that is equality.

Simply saying 'woof'?? Really?? Maybe not classy I grant, but hardly a slur or imposition on the state of womanhood. And I'd also argue, anyone who thinks that is grossly offensive, clearly hasn't actually ventured out to talk to actual 3D people much in the real world. Try touring with a rock band, or working at a car dealership.

No, of course it's not the sort of thing I'd say to a stranger, or directly to and about a woman in a professional capacity, and it's certainly nothing like shouting or 'wolf-whistling' women you don't know in the street etc - that is intimidating and sexually aggressive. But commenting to a friend that you think a man or woman is 'hot', however you phrase it (within reason) is hardly the same thing at all.

When and if women are genuinely expected to behave like the comedian Mickey Flanagan portrays them, then there's genuine reason to worry. But until then, let him make his jokes. (I don't actually find his whole misogynistic routine funny by the way.)


In the last few days, I've seen finger pointing in all directions. Video games, films, TV, music, the adult entertainment industry, education, cultural values, James Cordon, you name it. Some of the criticisms contain elements of truth. But not universally, and not to a degree I believe women should now start demanding everything cater to sensibilities of the most sensitive and/or at risk among them. Not everyone who watches a violent TV programme goes out to commit violence. Not everyone who plays Grand Theft Auto on their X-box goes out murdering prostitutes and running people over. Not every guy who visits a strip club thinks of women as objects to be used and abused. Not every film director/producer who put a 'sexy chick' in a movie where she took her clothes off, is a vile sexist pig, or cajoled her into doing so. Not every guy who likes boobs is a potential rapist-in-waiting, or a man like Harvey Weinstein. These are too wide assumptions to make, however serious and tangible the issue.

Nobody should ever be bullied or pressured into doing something they don't want to do. Ever. But neither is it for those puritans among us, male or female, to decide what others do or don't like either; what they do or don't find acceptable. If nobody is hurt or violated in any way, live and let live I say.

There are so many issues and examples within our society of genuine institutional misogyny, and rife casual prejudice against women, there's no disputing that. And I wouldn't try to. Tampon tax? Get tae fuck. Wage inequality? Fucking preposterous. Sexual predators and bullies? Despicable wankers. It is disgusting, and all of it has to change. But please... please ladies, a minority few of you do need to appreciate not everyone with a penis is somehow responsible for this state of affairs.

As I kinda tried to point out in my last piece, 'evil is evil' - regardless of whether it's white or black, Muslim or Christian, rich or poor. And certainly, whether it has a penis or vagina.

What matters, is that we call it out wherever and whenever we see it.

Sunday, 15 October 2017


Okay, I'll say straight away that was a deliberately controversial and antagonistic headline.

To many, the idea that someone... anyone could, or would, attempt to defend the Hollywood producer's now notorious (alleged) actions will be so abhorrent, so unthinkable, I'm hoping a good few will click out of curiosity, perhaps purposely seeking something to get angry about. That seems to be the fashion nowadays.

Here's the thing. I'm not defending Harvey Weinstein's conduct. If the reports are true - as would now seem inevitable, judging from the sheer quantity of affected women speaking out against him, as well as taped recordings of his predatory mannerism - he is an utterly deplorable and depraved human being. One who certainly deserves to be stripped of every accolade ever awarded to him. It's appalling that any individual was able to thrive for so long, virtually unimpeachable for his bullying and sexually aggressive behaviour.

But again, here's the thing: evil IS what it is.

Evil exists, and it's all around us. To pretend otherwise is sheer folly. And in a sense, you can hardly blame an evil human being - particularly one that's been enabled by everyone around them for years - for being 'evil'. Any more than you can blame a hungry grizzly bear for eating your neighbour.

One particular sentiment on Twitter caught my eye, for good reason:

One of the most farcical aspects of this whole scandal is that we're apparently all so 'shocked' this sort of thing goes on in Hollywood. Or in politics. Or in the music business. Or in big business. Or the in media in general. When in fact, anybody even remotely connected to these industries know full well that sort of behaviour is just 'a given'. Something Emma Thompson voiced rather well on Newsnight recently.

Pyramid Scheme

Certainly in my experience, those at the top of any pyramid generally think they can do what they like. And often, the bigger and more powerful the company or institution, the more shameless and irresponsible their conduct. Again speaking of my own experience, my own seeming inability to 'keep quiet' in the face of such ethics has been my undoing on many occasions: many more than I'd care to admit.

One of the earliest examples I can think of, and not an altogether unrelated subject: the head of my course at university used to throw highly questionable parties for his students, encouraging them to do and perform lurid things on camera for his entertainment, often for financial incentive. And most of them seemed OK with it. I wasn't. And my fairly obvious disgust at his behaviour eventually resulted in a degree classification in no way befitting the work I'd done, or my level of competence.

I attempted to fight his 'assessment' afterwards, but it was too late. It was all 'hearsay'. And by taking him on, all I achieved really was to alienate myself from the countless students and friends who'd been only too happy to befriend him, turning a blind eye and/or engaging with activities at his parties. Because believe me... everybody knew.

And that's the point. Those who do speak up, are demonised. By even daring to have a voice that challenges the people in charge, or those committing the offences, you make yourself a target. Instantly, you're the 'moaner', the one who won't 'get with the programme'. You risk being sidelined by friends and colleagues who want an easy life, and on the whole, opt to take the easier path of silence.

Where did I go wrong? I only spoke up forcefully when it affected me personally: when MY degree result was adversely affected. If I'd planted my foot in the sand immediately and challenged the lecturer's behaviour, if I hadn't been motivated by self-preservation alone, I might have been able to enact change before it affected me and my future. Maybe not, but I'll never know.

In almost every walk of life - certainly those I can think of - the most awful malpractices, crimes, and even violations against other human beings occur, and continue to occur, exactly because those committing them are buoyed by the huge swathes of people who 'just accept it'. It's a 'perk' of being in charge: the 'status quo'. The perpetrators specifically rely their victims don't (and won't) speak up. Onlookers' conception of power, and its threat to adversely affect their entire life and career is just too great a cost for most, whatever industry they're in. It's understandable. Life's hard enough as it is.

The Uncomfortable Truth

Yes, self-preservation is understandable.

But the uncomfortable flip-side to that, is those vast swathes of people who keep their mouths shut are symbiotically as responsible for those vices as those who commit them. They are quite literally enabling the crimes.

What's really at stake, is whether one's sense of self-preservation is more or less effectual than inherent desire to see decency and fairness win out.

I'd argue such people - those who have that inner desire for things to be fair and right - are in the minority, and declining. No matter how much Western culture has (at least until recently) propagated the idea we're the 'guardians of decency', who always like to see the good guys emerge victorious. It's being bred out of us. And the reason that fantasy no longer flies, simply put, is that genuine ethics of fairness fundamentally contradict the guiding ethos of capitalism.

In light of that, it's almost like our societies have now given up pretending: or are at least headed that way. No one with a sense of perspective could possibly dispute the odious hypocrisy, or the huge problems faced by a western world where two highly successful, powerful and effectual household names of America are both accused of similar crimes, but one of them is currently disgraced: the other is President of the United States.

When horrible, nasty and downright immoral things occur routinely without challenge; when nobody seems to raise an eyebrow or dare stand up to them, you can hardly blame the perpetrators for being lulled into a sense their conduct is somehow 'acceptable'. That's the brutal truth.

Again, that goes for all walks of life, from the most humble to the most extreme. World War II didn't happen because of Adolf Hitler, because of one man: it happened because of all the people who followed him, who'd have argued they were simply being patriotic, and/or 'doing their job'.

Lessons from Drama School

Back at drama school, one of the kindest, most ethical and inspiring teachers I ever had - a gentleman named Amir Korangy taught me what I would like to believe an invaluable lesson in acting. Namely that no villain thinks they're a villain. Unless you're appearing in an Austin Powers movie or a pantomime, bad guys don't generally make a categorical decision to become evil, or to adopt manic cackling laughs to forecast their inherent malice.

No, however warped and twisted the villain has become, even the most vicious and malicious individuals and groups believe they are justified in their attitudes: that they are the good guys. It's an important switch of mindset if you're looking to play an 'evil' character with realism, rather than hammy stereotypes.

It also goes a long way to explaining how, and why, we're now seeing the resurgence of attitudes and politics that quite frankly, I never thought I'd see resurgent in my lifetime. Not in my country any way. Nor the 'Land of the Free'. And I try to bear it in mind when conversing with people of opposing opinions (with varying levels of success, admittedly).

In Defence of Harvey Weinstein

Weinstein's abuses are obviously seeped in the pertinent issues of institutionalised sexism and misogyny, which in some ways, are separate issues to what I'm discussing here. Plus as a male, I am perhaps not best qualified to speak or testify on account of them.

But in defence of Harvey Weinstein, the seemingly callous rapist and sexual predator, I will mention the aspect few others would dare to. Namely that Weinstein is like an entitled child that's been allowed to kick/punch and abuse his/her classmates without redress. He probably genuinely thought there was nothing wrong with it; that it was permitted for a man in his position. An unwritten rule. Therefore, a portion of the responsibility does lie with those who allowed him to form that opinion, and for so long. That sadly includes every single person who, for whatever reason, lacked the courage or conviction to speak up: to put decency ahead of careerism.

That's not to say Weinstein shouldn't be held squarely to account. Only that you rarely cure a disease by treating the symptoms alone.