The right to HATE

These people do not speak for me.

Somebody sent me a poem today. He meant it kindly, I’m sure. He just hadn’t noticed the dog-whistles that it contained, the straw man arguments and the false equivocations that make him, and others think their freedom of expression really is at risk from those of us on the left.

On one level it’s an impassioned plea for fairness and freedom of speech. But below it there’s a very sinister incitement for more right-wing violence whilst claiming “it’s not a poem of hate”. Yeah, right!

Mechanisation, then and now

But all the cities you have taken, all the armies which have retreated before your leaders, are but paltry subjects of self-congratulation, if your land divides against itself, and your dragoons and executioners must be let loose against your fellow-citizens.

Lord Byron 1812

On February 27th 1812, exactly 210 years ago this month, Lord Byron gave his maiden speech in the house of lords. He spoke in support of the Luddites, the machine breakers whose livelihoods had been taken from them by industrial mechanisation that left factories with reduced workforces producing higher quantities of products for a fraction of the cost. The factory owners grew ever richer whilst their former workers starved to death.

(c) Newstead Abbey; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

So the newly unemployed workers banded together and smashed the machinery that had robbed them of their work and in response the British government proposed to make machine-breaking a capita crime, punishable by death.

This was Lord Byron’s speech opposing such a penalty. In it he describes so eloquently the lot of jobless artesans in Nottinghamshire, Yorkshire and Derbyshire and argues for a little compassion from the government and the Lords.

As we survey the rise of mechanisation today from self-service tills to petrol pumps and we watch the government slash benefits for those without work it’s easy to see that nothing changes.

This is the sort of situation that convinced Karl Marx that the revolution (which actually happened in Russia) would begin in Britain. He was wrong but he could so easily have been right. He might still be. Perhaps we Brits have been slow to anger but the signs of unrest are unmistakeable today. So to this callous government, just as cruel as was the ruling elite of Byron’s day, I say this…

Do something to relieve the hardship of the poor, of those recently unemployed and those too unwell to work or you just night find yourself secured in that gibbet, swinging from some branch or crossroad gallows, exposed to the elements and waiting helplessly to die from starvation or dehydration. And that’s the sort of revolution that helps nobody but the most ruthless, the most unsuitable for government – but then you know all about that sort of ruthlessness, don’t you?

This is Byron’s speech from all those years ago. Take heed because nobody wants to see insurrection except the barbarous idiots who see life just as cheaply as you cabinet ministers do yourselves…

“My Lords,

The subject now submitted to your Lordships, for the first time, though new to the House, is, by no means, new to the country. I believe it had occupied the serious thoughts of all descriptions of persons long before its introduction to the notice of that Legislature whose interference alone could be of real service.

As a person in some degree connected with the suffering county, though a stranger, not only to this House in general, but to almost every individual whose attention I presume to solicit, I must claim some portion of your Lordships’ indulgence, whilst I offer a few observations on a question in which I confess myself deeply interested.

To enter into any detail of these riots would be superfluous; the House is already aware that every outrage short of actual bloodshed has been perpetrated, and that the proprietors of the frames obnoxious to the rioters, and all persons supposed to be connected with them, have been liable to insult and violence.

During the short time I recently passed in Notts, not twelve hours elapsed without some fresh act of violence; and, on the day I left the county, I was informed that forty frames had been broken the preceding evening as usual, without resistance and without detection. Such was then the state of that county, and such I have reason to believe it to be at this moment.

But whilst these outrages must be admitted to exist to an alarming extent, it cannot be denied that they have arisen from circumstances of the most unparalelled distress. The perseverance of these miserable men in their proceedings, tends to prove that nothing but absolute want could have driven a large and once honest and industrious body of the people into the commission of excesses so hazardous to themselves, their families, and the community.

At the time to which I allude, the town and county were burdened with large detachments of the military; the police was in motion, the magistrates assembled, yet all these movements, civil and military had led to—nothing. Not a single instance had occurred of the apprehension of any real delinquent actually taken in the fact, against whom there existed legal evidence sufficient for conviction.

But the police, however useless, were by no means idle: several notorious delinquents had been detected; men liable to conviction, on the clearest evidence, of the capital crime of poverty; men, who had been nefariously guilty of lawfully begetting several children, whom, thanks to the times!—they were unable to maintain.

Considerable injury has been done to the proprietors of the improved frames. These machines were to them an advantage, inasmuch as they superseded the necessity of employing a number of workmen, who were left in consequence to starve. By the adoption of one species of frame in particular, one man performed the work of many, and the superfluous labourers were thrown out of employment.

Yet it is to be observed, that the work thus executed was inferior in quality, not marketable at home, and merely hurried over with a view to exportation. It was called, in the cant of the trade, by the name of Spider-work.

The rejected workmen, in the blindness of their ignorance, instead of rejoicing at these improvements in arts so beneficial to mankind, conceived themselves to be sacrificed to improvements in mechanism. In the foolishness of their hearts, they imagined that the maintenance and well doing of the industrious poor, were objects of greater consequence than the enrichment of a few individuals by any improvement in the implements of trade which threw the workmen out of employment, and rendered the labourer unworthy of his hire.

 And, it must be confessed, that although the adoption of the enlarged machinery, in that state of our commerce which the country once boasted, might have been beneficial to the master without being detrimental to the servant; yet, in the present situation of our manufactures, rotting in warehouses without a prospect of exportation, with the demand for work and workmen equally diminished, frames of this construction tend materially to aggravate the distresses and discontents of the disappointed sufferers.

But the real cause of these distresses, and consequent disturbances, lies deeper.

When we are told that these men are leagued together, not only for the destruction of their own comfort, but of their very means of subsistence, can we forget that it is the bitter policy, the destructive warfare, of the last eighteen years, which has destroyed their comfort, your comfort, all men’s comfort;—that policy which, originating with “great statesmen now no more,” has survived the dead to become a curse on the living unto the third and fourth generation!

These men never destroyed their looms till they were become useless, worse than useless; till they were become actual impediments to their exertions in obtaining their daily bread.

Can you then wonder, that in times like these, when bankruptcy, convicted fraud, and imputed felony, are found in a station not far beneath that of your Lordships, the lowest, though once most useful portion of the people, should forget their duty in their distresses, and become only less guilty than one of their representatives?

But while the exalted offender can find means to baffle the law, new capital punishments must be devised, new snares of death must be spread, for the wretched mechanic who is famished into guilt. These men were willing to dig, but the spade was in other hands; they were not ashamed to beg, but there was none to relieve them. Their own means of subsistence were cut off; all other employments pre-occupied; and their excesses, however to be deplored and condemned, can hardly be the subject of surprise.

It has been stated, that the persons in the temporary possession of frames connive at their destruction; if this be proved upon inquiry, it were necessary that such material accessories to the crime should be principals in the punishment. But I did hope that any measure proposed by His Majesty’s Government for your Lordships’ decision, would have had conciliation for its basis; or, if that were hopeless, that some previous inquiry, some deliberation, would have been deemed requisite; not that we should have been called at once, without examination and without cause, to pass sentences by wholesale, and sign death-warrants blindfold.

But admitting that these men had no cause of complaint, that the grievances of them and their employers were alike groundless, that they deserved the worst; what inefficiency, what imbecility, has been evinced in the method chosen to reduce them!

Why were the military called out to be made a mockery of—if they were to be called out at all? As far as the difference of seasons would permit, they have merely parodied the summer campaign of Major Sturgeon; and, indeed, the whole proceedings, civil and military, seem formed on the model of those of the Mayor and Corporation of Garrett.

Such marchings and countermarchings! from Nottingham to Bulnell—from Bulnell to Bareford—from Bareford to Mansfield! and, when at length, the detachments arrived at their destination, in all ‘the pride, pomp, and circumstance of glorious war,’ they came just in time to witness the mischief which had been done, and ascertain the escape of the perpetrators;—to collect the spolia opima, in the fragments of broken frames, and return to their quarters amidst the derision of old women, and the hootings of children.

Now, though in a free country, it were to be wished that our military should never be too formidable, at least, to ourselves, I cannot see the policy of placing them in situations where they can only be made ridiculous. As the sword is the worst argument that can be used, so should it be the last: in this instance it has been the first, but, providentially as yet, only in the scabbard.

The present measure will, indeed, pluck it from the sheath; yet had proper meetings been held in the earlier stages of these riots,—had the grievances of these men and their masters (for they also have had their grievances) been fairly weighed and justly examined, I do think that means might have been devised to restore these workmen to their avocations, and tranquillity to the country.

At present the county suffers from the double infliction of an idle military and a starving population. In what state of apathy have we been plunged so long, that now, for the first time, the house has been officially apprised of these disturbances? All this has been transacting within one hundred and thirty miles of London, and yet we, ‘good easy men! have deemed full sure our greatness was a ripening,’ and have sat down to enjoy our foreign triumphs in the midst of domestic calamity.

But all the cities you have taken, all the armies which have retreated before your leaders, are but paltry subjects of self-congratulation, if your land divides against itself, and your dragoons and executioners must be let loose against your fellow-citizens.

You call these men a mob, desperate, dangerous, and ignorant; and seem to think that the only way to quiet the ‘Bellua multorum capitum’ is to lop off a few of its superfluous heads. But even a mob may be better reduced to reason by a mixture of conciliation and firmness, than by additional irritation and redoubled penalties.

Are we aware of our obligations to a mob! It is the mob that labour in your fields, and serve in your houses—that man your navy, and recruit your army—that have enabled you to defy all the world,—and can also defy you, when neglect and calamity have driven them to despair.

You may call the people a mob, but do not forget that a mob too often speaks the sentiments of the people. And here I must remark with what alacrity you are accustomed to fly to the succour of your distressed allies, leaving the distressed of your own country to the care of Providence or—the parish.

When the Portuguese suffered under the retreat of the French, every arm was stretched out, every hand was opened,—from the rich man’s largess to the widow’s mite, all was bestowed to enable them to rebuild their villages and replenish their granaries. And at this moment, when thousands of misguided but most unfortunate fellow-countrymen are struggling with the extremes of hardship and hunger, as your charity began abroad, it should end at home. A much less sum—a tithe of the bounty bestowed on Portugal, even if these men (which I cannot admit without inquiry) could not have been restored to their employments, would have rendered unnecessary the tender mercies of the bayonet and the gibbet. But doubtless our funds have too many foreign claims to admit a prospect of domestic relief,—though never did such objects demand it.

I have traversed the seat of war in the peninsula; I have been in some of the most oppressed provinces of Turkey; but never, under the most despotic of infidel governments, did I behold such squalid wretchedness as I have seen since my return, in the very heart of a Christian country.

And what are your remedies? After months of inaction, and months of action worse than inactivity, at length comes forth the grand specific, the never-failing nostrum of all state-physicians, from the days of Draco to the present time. After feeling the pulse and shaking the head over the patient, prescribing the usual course of warm water and bleeding—the warm water of your mawkish police, and the lancets of your military—these convulsions must terminate in death, the sure consummation of the prescriptions of all political Sangrados.

Setting aside the palpable injustice and the certain inefficiency of the bill, are there not capital punishments sufficient on your statutes? Is there not blood enough upon your penal code! that more must be poured forth to ascend to heaven and testify against you? How will you carry this bill into effect? Can you commit a whole county to their own prisons? Will you erect a gibbet in every field, and hang up men like scarescrows? or will you proceed (as you must to bring this measure into effect) by decimation; place the country under martial law; depopulate and lay waste all around you; and restore Sherwood Forest as an acceptable gift to the crown in its former condition of a royal chase, and an asylum for outlaws?

Are these the remedies for a starving and desperate populace? Will the famished wretch who has braved your bayonets be appalled by your gibbets? When death is a relief, and the only relief it appears that you will afford him, will he be dragooned into tranquillity? Will that which could not be effected by your grenadiers, be accomplished by your executioners?

If you proceed by the forms of law, where is your evidence? Those who have refused to impeach their accomplices when transportation only was the punishment, will hardly be tempted to witness against them when death is the penalty.

With all due deference to the noble lords opposite, I think a little investigation, some previous inquiry, would induce even them to change their purpose. That most favourite state measure, so marvellously efficacious in many and recent instances, temporizing, would not be without its advantage in this.

When a proposal is made to emancipate or relieve, you hesitate, you deliberate for years, you temporize and tamper with the minds of men; but a death-bill must be passed off hand, without a thought of the consequences.

Sure I am, from what I have heard and from what I have seen, that to pass the bill under all the existing circumstances, without inquiry, without deliberation, would only be to add injustice to irritation, and barbarity to neglect. The framers of such a bill must be content to inherit the honours of that Athenian lawgiver whose edicts were said to be written, not in ink, but in blood.

But suppose it past,—suppose one of these men, as I have seen them meagre with famine, sullen with despair, careless of a life which your lordships are perhaps about to value at something less than the price of a stocking-frame; suppose this man surrounded by those children for whom he is unable to procure bread at the hazard of his existence, about to be torn for ever from a family which he lately supported in peaceful industry, and which it is not his fault than he can no longer so support.

Suppose this man—and there are ten thousand such from whom you may select your victims,—dragged into court to be tried for this new offence, by this new law,—still there are two things wanting to convict and condemn him, and these are, in my opinion, twelve butchers for a jury, and a Jefferies for a judge!”

Psychosis, delusions & racism

Racists find themselves increasingly isolated by the more reasonable members of society

For racists the group is defined in very simple, easy to recognise terms. If you’re the same colour as ‘us’ then you’re one of ‘us’. If you’re a different colour then you’re ‘them’. Since the problems we face can’t be acknowledged as part of ‘us’ it must come from ‘them’.

It’s no coincidence that racist, xenophobic groups like UKIP and the BNP began to experience electoral success just as the economy crashed (mainly due to the actions of white bankers). Such discrimination is predictable at times of social pressure.

It mirrors the rise in anti-semitism in medieval Europe as the Black Death spread across the continent and the people scapegoated minorities. It mirrors the rise of the Nazis in Germany following the disastrous economic penalties enforced by the treaty of Versailles at the end of World War One. The German people needed someone to blame who was not ‘us’. They chose the highly visible minorities of Jews, Blacks, Communists and Gypsies.

Let’s examine the psychological processes in more detail.

The lovely people

Nice people made the best Nazis

Naomi Shulman

Naomi Shulman once wrote, “Nice people made the best Nazis.”  She was writing about the people who weren’t really into politics. These were the people who still exist today. The people who take pride in their stubborn refusal to take any interest in the world beyond their workplaces, their families and their favourite sports or streaming box-sets on Netflix. As Shulman put it…

“they were lovely people who turned their heads as their neighbours were dragged away.”

These are my neighbours. They’re the people who close down any serious discussion of the state of our nation with tired old tropes about not talking about religion or politics. Yes they’ll acknowledge, even laugh about scandals like partygate but take no interest in serious attacks on our democracy like Patel’s Police, crime and sentencing bill or Johnson and Rees-Mogg’s attacks on the legal system.

My polite, unassuming, docile, deliberately ignorant neighbours would have been fantastic Nazis. My modern neighbours think that because they can’t see the jackboots kicking in doors in their pleasant, middle or even working class neighbourhoods it’s not happening and never will happen.

They ignore the evidence of racism in our land.

They pour scorn on those who try to highlight the issues by having the audacity to do terrible things like taking a knee before football matches – the bastards!

They make excuses for the government that deliberately put our most vulnerable citizens, those the Nazis described as ‘useless eaters’ in harms way with covid, leading to the highest death rate in all of Europe and the 7th highest in the entire world.

They conveniently ignore the massive corruption that saw billions of pounds of their money squandered on spurious covid contracts for government ministers, for the tories’ friends and for tory party donors.

These are the lovely people who don’t rock the boat, who never stop to think about where our nation is heading, about the implications of abusive policies toward immigrants and refugees, about the motivations of those who tell them blatant lies about the economy and whose pre-election promises remain unfulfilled and even, in many cases actively undermined by this very same government.

These lovely people never bother to look behind the headlines and media pronouncements, never noticing that yesterday’s lies are simply forgotten by the media today once they’ve served their purpose. They don’t notice that Rishi Sunak’s best policies are the same ones the press, and the tories themselves described as naïve, unworkable, even Marxist when first suggested by those the press didn’t support. Remember what the papers did to Jeremy Corbyn.

They confidently repeat the lie of Corbyn’s anti-semitism whilst ignoring the reality that the United Nations agree with him on the issue of Israel’s apartheid regime in Palestine and even published a special report saying so as far back as 2017. Funnily enough very few British newspapers mentioned that report at all.

These lovely people are leading the charge of ignorance as we sleepwalk into neoNazism. Their lives are so full of petty parochial concerns and cheap reality shows that they have no time left to notice what’s going on all around them.

They don’t notice the crippling poverty of their neighbours because they’re alright.

They forget the principles of fairness, of human rights and equality they once held dear and they even support the government policy of further impoverishing the most vulnerable whilst giving vast tax breaks to the already wealthy.

These lovely people who never rock the boat have already found a way to justify to themselves the appalling treatment of those who for one reason or another are not like them. They assume unemployed people are just lazy, that disabled people are all skivers and that Muslims are universally hostile to the British way of life.

They ignore the fact that black Brits are over-represented in our prison system, not because they have committed more crime but because their sentences tend to be harsher then their white counterparts. They disregard the racial profiling that means black people in UK are many times more likely to suffer the indignity of public stop and search because they, like me, another white person have never been stopped and searched themselves.

And yet they’ll gleefully repeat the rhetoric of hatred and division that so threatens our democracy. They’ll dismiss everything that the newspapers tell them to and support whatever the papers demand, even though those same newspapers change their minds on a disturbingly regular basis. These lovely people never stop to wonder what motivated the change of heart from their favourite columnist or even to notice that it has happened.

And when they finally do notice the destruction of their rights, along with the rights of those other people they naively thought were the real targets, they’ll genuinely be surprised and wish that there had been some way of knowing what was going on. They’ll bemoan the ‘fact’ that there was nothing they could have done to prevent it and, just as now, they’ll studiously avoid any risk of awareness of their own responsibility, their own dereliction of their civic duty when they could have prevented it.

The following words come from an anonymous German resident who had just been taken by allied troops to view the carnage at his local concentration camp…

“Suddenly it all comes down, all at once. You see what you are, what you have done, or, more accurately, what you haven’t done, (for that was all that was required of most of us: that we do nothing).

You remember the occasions in which maybe if you had stood others would have stood too. You remember everything now, and your heart breaks. Too late. You are compromised beyond repair.”

They Thought They Were Free (1955)

The Germans 1938-45

University of Chicago Press

These lovely people, the ones who think they’re simply enjoying a quiet life without getting involved in politics will be just as guilty as the likes of Patel and Farage who have brought about these abuses both politically and socially. And they will be just as compromised.

Will you?

The peasant’s revolt: 1381-2022

“The matters go not well to pass in England, nor shall do ’til everything be in common…”

Comparing the modern government’s callous disregard for the people of UK with the cruelty of 14th century leaders like John of Gaunt, Simon Sudbury and the boy king, Richard II.

In those days the peasants sought remedy and retribution through bloodshed. Today we just need to notice, to remember and to vote as soon as we can to get these callous, lying, sleazy scumbags out of office and out of our hair!

I’m confused

I’m confused. Chris Chope, the right wing tory MP for Christchurch and East Dorset has yet again introduced a Private member’s bill called the NHS co-funding and co-payment Bill. This Thatcherite neo-liberal has repeatedly sought to undermine the NHS with this sort of legislation for years now but this time he moight well gain some traction. The current overall tory majority might just allow the bill to get through.

The Bill has it’s second reading in the House early next month.

What confuses me isn’t that this nasty little scumbag is trying once again to derail the ‘free at point of delivery’ nature of our health service. That’s just par for the course. Weasels do what weasels do and there are few more weasely than Chope. He’s the one that fillibustered a bill to ensure landlords, like himself have to treat tenants fairly. He’s also the one who derailed a Bill to make upskirting illegal.

What confuses me is the very idea that the bill is necessary.

You see, we already have co-payment options in the NHS. That’s why we have prescription charges and fees for optician and dentistry services. It wouldn’t take a change in the law to extend that in principle. But Chope isn’t content to have the option to extend what amounts to small tweaks around the edges of the NHS. He wants to smash the very idea of the NHS by introducing co-funding too.

It may not look like much at first glance but co-funding actually means much more than the tokenistic sort of arrangement we get from prescription charges. Co-funding really does mean a two-tier system of health access where those too poor to afford treatment or who can’t get insurance, either because of high premiums or pre-existing conditions simply won’t be able to access healthcare at all.

This is the system that sees countless American citizens go bankrupt every year (Breaking bad, anyone). It’s the reason that US accident victims are known to plead with would-be helpers not to call them an ambulance because they won’t be able to pay for their care. It’s the reason why so many impoverished Americans give birth without midwifery or medical assistance, leading to much higher infant and maternal mortality rates than would be expected in a civilised, advanced economy such as theirs. And Chope wants to inflict that on us.

Please talk to your MP. And make sure that everyone in your constituency knows about the bill. Check to see how your MP votes and spread that information around too. If they vote for this bill they’re very definitely voting to further impoverish sick and disabled people in your town, to put pregnant women and their babies at risk and generally to lower the health and life-expectancies of you and your neighbours.

But the government will be able to afford more backhanders for their wealthy donor chums so that’s OK, isn’t it?

Ignorant tory dog-whistles with anti-trans rhetoric

I said earlier on my channel that being wrong feels exactly like being right. It’s only when we take the trouble to learn, to see past our assumptions that we begin to feel the awkward psychological sensation associated with awareness of our own ignorance. And that’s good. Awareness of our own inaccuracy is the first step – often the only step needed to become accurate again.

That’s why it’s so toxic for any of us to bury our heads in the sand. Especially when the ostrich in question is a sitting MP with a penchant for attention-seeking and far-right dog-whistling. A populist MP who still believes that, having fooled his constituents once, he can continue to get away with voting so often against their interests simply by targeting a minority to whip up a bit of hatred against.

Someone like Mark Jenkinson MP, for example…

Mr Jenkinson stated recently: “Trans men aren’t men, and trans women aren’t women, sex is something we cannot change, that is the scientific view, and there is no need to educate myself on any view. It’s not just the view of me and my constituents. All I’ve ever said or done is point out the difference between gender and sex.”

https://www.newsandstar.co.uk/news/19850653.protestors-gather-workington-reject-opinions-mark-jenkinson-mp/

Well… let’s take a brief look at the scientific view, shall we?

The magazine, ‘Nature’ is one of the most respected journals in the scientific literature. Its peer-reviewed articles are a world away from the populist dog-whistles cobbled together by biased hacks in the Daily Mail. ‘Nature’ is a scientific journal with content written by specialist science journalists and peer-reviewed for quality by practicing scientists knowledgeable in their respective fields.

T’Sjoen is an endocrinologist at the very top of his profession. He spoke with ‘Nature’ in April 2019 and made some very interesting points. Points that Mark Jenkinson MP might do well to heed before he goes shouting his mouth off about other peoples’ right to be themselves.

“Saying you’re not informed about this topic is not really valid any more,” he says. “It’s just that you’re lazy.”

The European Network for the Investigation of Gender Incongruence (ENIGI) is the largest study of transgender people in the world. In April 2019 it had a research base of 2,600 transgender individuals who provide regular ‘snapshots’ of both their psychological and their biological states. The study takes account of subjective experiences as well as more objective measurements such as hormonal balance, biological wellness, general health, task-orientated brain activity and general physical and physiological well-being. Many of these metrics have very real correlations with more normative gender-based characteristics and the results are fascinating. I won’t quote the extensive article here but I’d strongly encourage anyone who thinks they understand this topic to follow the links.

One thing Mark and I do have in common is that neither of us really ‘get it’. I don’t pretend for a moment to understand what it means to be uncomfortable with your birth-assigned gender. I’m a man, I’ve always been male, I identify as a male and I feel absolutely comfortable in that regard. I have very real difficulty in understanding how others can find that problematic. I have little doubt that Mark Jenkinson MP can say the same. But here’s where we differ…

Jenkinson, perhaps deliberately, confuses gender with biological sex whilst, ironically enough pretending to rely upon that very difference to inform his spurious, bigoted arguments. I understand that gender is a socially defined construct which is different from biology.  And that social definition has always been open to change.

It used to be that women weren’t allowed to vote, they were barred from certain jobs. My own mother really wanted to be a barrister but gender-based prejudices in the mid twentieth century sent her down a different path, first as a housewife and mother and then on to a very successful career as a primary school teacher (traditionally a career acceptable for women). Today nobody would sneer at her ambition to approach the bar because the socially constructed gender rules have changed as society moves on.

Whatever your individual views on gender might be here’s the bottom line for me…

People have a right to be who they are… to live their lives free from bigotry and hostility… to know that they are part of their society and that they have a place. They don’t need everyone to understand their experience. I was very clear with the people I spoke to at Saturday’s little demo that I don’t ‘get it’ but that I support each person’s right to be themselves. Not a single trans person I met objected to that stance of mine.

If, like my bigoted, dog-whistling MP, you have a problem with trans people then I suggest you ask yourself just what it is about you that makes you take such an unhealthy interest in other peoples’ gender preferences. And remember…

Allowing yourself to feel uncomfortable about your prejudices is the first and most crucial step toward adopting a healthier, happier and far more reasonable and compassionate perspective for the future.

Don’t allow Mark Jenkinson MP to hijack your humanity just so he can con you into hating ‘them’ and voting for ‘him’. The politics of ‘us and them’ should have no place in a civilised democracy. Nor should bigoted, hate-mongering MPs like Mark Jenkinson! He has a right to his opinion but when he uses his position as MP to foster hatred and prejudice he really oughtn’t to represent the decent people of Workington for a moment longer than the law allows.

legalised oppression & the power of boycott

“There will be people who will have seen scenes of protests and asked, ‘Why aren’t the government doing something?’ The answer, in many cases, may simply be that we live in a democratic, free society.”

Theresa May, House of commons, July 2021

Today’s the anniversary of a crime. A terrible, heinous, unspeakable act that tore at the very fabric, of the society in which it was committed. An apparently lone criminal, in the most brazen way imaginable broke a law and a tradition that had existed for 55 years among the fine, upstanding citizens of Montgomery, Alabama in the good old US of A.

So what was this unspeakable act, this depraved antisocial behaviour that resonates across the miles and the years? Who was the criminal who on this day, December 1st 1955 set in train a series of events that would shake America – well, part of America to it’s bigoted, racist, ignorant core?

The criminal’s name was Rosa Parks and the act that would forever guarantee her fame was simple. Rosa Parks sat on a bus, on a seat reserved for white people – and that was against the law.

Sometimes it’s necessary to break truly unjust laws. Sometimes our very liberty depends upon it.

This session the UK government is taking the new police, crime, sentencing and courts bill through Parliament. It’s currently nearing the end of its passage through the Lords and is likely to become law very soon as there’s little chance of Boris’ sycophantic back-benchers opposing it. Among other erosions of civil liberties it aims to make anti-government demonstration illegal. Really. They’re going after our right to protest now.

This, yet again, is the stuff of dictatorship. The Nazis did the same thing shortly after gaining control of the Reichstag. It’s a blow both to our individual liberties and to our collective democracy.

When debating the bill at it’s second reading last July former Home Secretary and Prime Minister, Theresa May remarked…

“There will be people who will have seen scenes of protests and asked, ‘Why aren’t the government doing something?’ The answer, in many cases, may simply be that we live in a democratic, free society.”

So my question to you is this…

Do you have as much courage as a little woman from Montgomery Alabama whose lone protest on an Alabama bus ride helped bring down a system that had been tolerated for far too long?

Rosa Parks sitting in front of a white passenger on a Montgomery bus

A Brexiteer’s Godsend

All those pesky EU laws you can’t name

This is Jim Grace. Well actually it’s his Twitter account, @Mac_Puck and if you’re a Brexiteer his stuff will be right up your street. A proper Godsend.

Have a look at this ‘mega thread’ and you’ll be able to name those laws that we pesky Remoaners (now rejoiners) keep asking you about. The link is in the description but here are a few highlights…

Jim found that we objected to (and were outvoted on) only 72 pieces of EU legislation out of around 35,000 laws passed.

You can follow the ‘Mega thread’ link below to see what those laws were about but here are those highlights.

We voted against consumer protection and food safety… 17 times!

We voted against laws to combat cybercrime

We voted against laws ensuring workers’ rights and protection in the workplace

We voted against Laws opposing tax avoidance, including stopping people like Farage and Rees-Mogg using tax-Havens (to name but 2)

We even voted against legislation to maintain fish stocks and so protect our fishing industry – and we all know how well we’ve done handling that on our own, don’t we?

Fortunately for you, Jim Grace has linked to every piece of legislation so you can look up all those details you don’t usually have available for the next time you’re asked about it – unless, of course, having followed the links you’d prefer to keep your head buried firmly in the sand and pretend you still can’t think of any.

Then there are the European judgements against us. Jim found 72 of those for things like failing to prevent cybercrime, failure to protect womens’ rights in the workplace and elsewhere and failing to protect us from pollution.

But don’t take my word for it – follow the link below and see the details for yourself.

It’s no wonder that so many people who voted Brexit now openly regret it or just keep their mouths shut as the reality hits, is it?

Saving Christmas: A letter to Eric

Apparently Boris has buggered about a bit with Priti Patel’s treatment of Johnny Foreigner and graciously allowed the ungrateful little bastards back on to Britain’s glorious soil… for a strictly limited period of time.

This is to allow them to serve us, their natural masters, by driving our stuff about. They get to bask in the glory of Britain’s roads, much less congested now that fuel is so scarce and we, their overlords, get to have the Christmas we deserve. Good on yer, Boris.

But just in case those ungrateful Europeans don’t understand the honour they’ve so graciously been given. In case they prefer to work on the continent with better pay and permanent contracts. In case they misunderstand the privilege of being allowed to drive on the left side of the road, to use verges for toilets and to spend hours getting in and out of Kent. Just in case they don’t get it, I’ve written to a mate of mine in Dover. I’ve asked him to execute a sort of plan B for the festive season.

Here’s what I wrote…

 

Weights & measures: The Breckshit system

Hurrah! Once again we’ll be able to buy beer in pints, to ride bikes with frames and wheels measured in inches, we can get bathroom scales with stones and pounds and glory of glories, stop all that complicated working out in units of ten. We can go back to 12 inches a foot, 3 feet per yard and 4 ounces a quarter with four quarters making a pound or 16 ounces because multiples of 4 are so much easier to work out than multiples of 10, aren’t they?

We can drive miles like never before and confidently insist that everyone else in the world adapt to our measures because, when it comes to trade, they need us more than we need them. Now, where have we heard that before?

But just in case Johnny foreigner finds our system of measurement a bit too complicated for his inferior, non-British little foreigner brain, I’ve devised an easy to use intermediate system to help them get their heads around it. It’s a system intended to bridge the gap between Imperial and metric measures. I call it the Breckshit system.

Measurement of distance begins with the Boris. That’s equivalent to 2.5 cm or one imperial inch. It’s the basic unit of measurement because, along with zero, it’s the same in every system. It’s imperative that Brits and foreigners understand the imperial and metric equivalents of the Boris so that they can work out what the rest of the measurements equal in the shops or on the harbour side as the convoys of foreign traders sail into our ports desperate to convert all their filthy, foreign measurements into proper, British Breckshit.

A spine is roughly equivalent to 30 Borises or two and a half feet. That’s the distance between Boris’ arse ‘ole and his privileged little neck. Not to be confused with the spineless. That equals minus two and a half feet and is modelled on Michael Gove’s chinless anatomy but as a negative. So 1 spine plus 1 spineless equals zero or on++1 supermarket shelf. That’s also the same in each system.

An imperial yard is equivalent to 36 Borises or 90 centimetres. In the new Breckshit system it’ll be known as a Nigel because, unlike the metre +, it doesn’t quite measure up to European standards. The remainder, 4 Borises or 10 centimetres will be known as a ‘Gobby little bastard’ in honour of Mr. Farage’s strategy of over-compensating for his obvious failings in the European parliament.

A Breckshit goolie will be the same as an Imperial foot or 30 centimetres. This is in honour of most right-thinking Brits to connect their own foot with the goolies of the nearest conservative MP. If your nearest tory MP is female the equivalent Breckshit term will be the Patel. Everyone wants to kick her in the Goolies. Or if you’re not sure what sex they are you can use the descriptor ‘Lower then vermin’ instead.

Actually, strike that last one. There are no trans people in the tory party. They are unable to survive in such a Gammon-rich atmosphere. Tory bigotry is far too stifling.

The traditional pound, made up of 16 ounces cannot be used as a standard measure, like the inch to bridge systems. That’s because, thanks to Brexit, the pound keeps shrinking. But the ounce holds good so we’ll use that.

In the Breckshit system 1 ounce is known as a lying, cheating son of a bitch. In the Breckshit system 4 ounces becomes a deceit, 8 ounces is a ‘rip off’ and a seemingly unlimited supply of lying, cheating sons of bitches is a ‘government bench’. 300 or more lying sons of bitches will be known as a tax haven or a Rees-Mogg.

Goods and services rejected by Europe will be known as a Farage after our Nige’s failed attempt to gain German citizenship after the referendum win. Good accepted into Europe will be known as a government recommendation to mark the advice given to British firms who wanted to avoid going under. Goods accepted into the Far East will be known as a Dyson for similar reasons.

Any reduction in quantity or quality will be known as a Truss under the Breckshit system in recognition of the fact that our Liz (heroically) managed to negotiate worse deals with foreign governments than those we used to have when we were members of the EU.

Confused?

They haven’t even started yet!