#metoo tells stories we should all listen to

The aftermath of the Harvey Weinstein story has seen millions of women (and the odd man) tell stories of sexual abuse that seems like every woman has been affected in some shape and form. That of course seems to be the issue and that is something we all have to deal with as this may well fell like a watershed moment, it is of course utterly meaningless unless attitudes change an people change. It does however feel overwhelming as this excellent article from Angela Haggerty details.

We should all listen to what these people are saying. People aren’t going to change if we don’t, and slamming down the idea that ‘all men’ are potential predators is part of that too as this is a prime chance to get men listening to women like never before so alienating potential friends and allies just ends up driving people away. Sometimes that means driving people into extremes. This is a chance to put to bed the ‘oh, but women do this too’ line by outlining just how prevalent this sort of abuse is. But the need should be to educate and change people by using this to bring people together because the problems of this sort of abuse can be cultural and ingrained as Asia Argento has found out after speaking out.

There also needs to be discussion in the UK at least of how class plays a part in this, and there needs to be more discussion of how women outwith the middle class media bubble feel and how they’ve been abused by men abusing them, and middle class women need to let working class women have a voice in all this as this perspective is pretty much missing. Also all men should take this moment to educate ourselves because I wasn’t aware of how casually widespread this is, and if need be, call this behaviour out when we see it in others. As this New Yorker piece points things out clearly.

For years—for centuries—the economic, physical, and cultural subjugation of women has registered as something like white noise. Lately, it appears that we’re starting to hear the tune.

So let’s use this as a chance to educate people and change things to the extent where future Weinstein’s or Jimmy Savile’s never feel powerful enough to do what they did, as well as ensuring young men don’t feel they have to follow a form of masculinity that hurts people. Will things change for the best? No, there’s still going to be these type of men but through things like #metoo, education and discussion there’s going to be less of them and that’s a good thing.

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A quick word about Harvey Weinstein

Larger than life‘. ‘I heard the stories but not first hand‘. ‘He had a reputation‘. All phrases I’ve heard about film producer Harvey Weinstein in the last few days as the scale of his sexual assault and rape has been unravelled in the American media in horrible detail. I mean, listen to the fucking prick here…

That above clip is from this incredible New Yorker piece which is some of the best journalism you’ll read this year. Fact is though, people knew Weinstein was a rapist to the extent where comedy programmes like 30 Rock joked about it.

And Seth MacFarlane more or less let it all hang out at the Oscars in 2013.

Channel 4 journalist Alex Thompson sums this all up.

Every single time a case like this breaks it turns out victims have been harassed and that people knew, and not just folk like you or me who may have heard stories down the pub, or somewhere online, but people who work with or know the person/s involved. People could have spoken out but these powerful people would have destroyed their lives as much as they ruined the lives of the people they assaulted and abused.

People like Weinstein aren’t protected by one or two people. They’re protected by an entire establishment, and although I don’t buy the line that the films he produced are ”tainted” somehow, I will say that some people who had close relationships with him over the years have got some serious questions to answer because there is fuck all chance people like, say Kevin Smith, knew nothing.

It is ultimately simple. These people profit through inflicting power. One person can’t fight them alone. We all have to. Be that Savile, Weinstein or whoever is next exposed like this because there will be another, and another and so on because I hope these people’s days are numbered. They sadly won’t be, but if we can all work to expose as many as possible then maybe someday wankers like Weinstein are relegated to history.

The return of the Nazis

2017 is going to go down as the year of a number of things but it will go down as the year the Nazis came back in force from America in events like Charlottesville to the ripples of Brexit. If you think I’m being hyperbolic have a read at this series of articles from journalist J.J Patrick about the rise of the Nazis. Its pretty worrying reading even if you have to admire the work behind the article.

That however is the tip of the iceberg. Buzzfeed this week published an amazing, not to mention scary article by Joseph Bernstein about how Milo Yiannopoulos, far-right site Breitbart, it’s editor Steve Bannon and an assorted group of Donald Trump  supporters, neo-Nazis, dregs from Gamergate and anyone willing to listen all united to form a movement that threatens the very idea of what a liberal democracy is in the 21st century. It’s an amazing read.

This shouldn’t be a shock to anyone who has paid attention over the last few years, especially to Yiannopoulos who has transformed himself from an annoying prick on BBC,s Daily Politics to far right rabble rouser.

When we’ve got the likes of Nigel Farage or Katie Hopkins still being treated as mainstream, or when the fascism seen in Catalonia is defended then at some point we’ve got to admit we’ve got a problem because the far right are looking to radicalise children.

We need to question everything, look at news sources and treat some people with the contempt they deserve because there’s a fight coming where we need to decide not just what sort of countries we all want to live in, but what sort of planet we live on because the Nazis are back, getting into power, or powerful positions and we’ve let it happen too easily.

The ongoing farce of Theresa May

It was the final day of the Tory Party conference in Manchester today, and Prime Minister Theresa May’s speech was without doubt the most memorable political speech of the year. Sadly for May it was for all the wrong reasons First of all comedian Simon Brodkin handed her a fake P45 in a speech which by this point was going down as well as calling a snap general election and losing your majority.

Coupled with May’s cough due to her cold, and the fact nobody in that hall believed a word being said it really couldn’t get worse? It could. This happened.

If you wrote a political comedy and included that moment the script editor would say something like ‘mate, that’s just taking it a wee bit too far‘. Even Armando Ianucci didn’t go that far.

On a human level one has to feel sympathy for May, except I’m not going to feel a fucking yoctogram for her as she had no sympathy for the people her policies have hurt, even killed since her government came to power in 2010. I could not care less for those commentators mumbling about feeling sorry for someone who is taking us off the edge of a cliff thanks to Brexit and has encouraged all the racists in the UK in her time in government.

This isn’t to say the alternative is appetising, it isn’t. But May’s speech summed up not just the state of British politics but the UK as a whole. Holding itself together for seconds before falling apart and becoming the laughing stock of anyone caring to pay attention. Still, if we’re all going to be fucked at least we’re still able to laugh right?

The return of Protect and Survive

Back in March 2017 the Imperial War Museum announced it was going to reissue the pamphlet from 1980 outlining how to survive a nuclear war. Of course it was utter bollocks because there’s no way to survive such a war, but the UK government of the time couldn’t, or to be exact, wouldn’t tell people that nuclear war would mean their likely death either quickly in the blast and firestorm, or slowly and painfully thanks to the fallout.

Except what should have been a reprint to remind us of the years when we seriously thought the Russians or Americans would start a nuclear war ends up being something that reminds us the threat has returned. True, it isn’t anything as severe as the 50’s to the end of the Cold War in the late 80’s, but thanks to Donald Trump, North Korea and insane politicians who think a nuclear war can be limited, we’re on the verge of entering a dangerous phase.

Hopefully sanity prevails but with lunatics and demagogues in power we can’t be too sure, so make sure you’ve got loads of white paint, some potato sacks and a screwdriver…

What are the Scottish Family Party?

So I’m off work due to having a lengthy appointment at the doctor which means sitting around waiting rooms watching the telly which was showing Victoria Derbyshire’s morning news magazine programme. On it was an item about Scotland banning smacking children, and is often the case on news programmes they had someone to present an ‘opposing view’ which in this case is defending the right to commit violence upon children.The person presenting this point of view was Richard Lucas, the leader of the Scottish Family Party.

The Scottish Family Party stand against the Named Person scheme, and their opinions on LGBTI issues are well, prehistoric.

From high schools onward, open discussion should be facilitated about the correlations between homosexual relationships and physical and mental health problems, and relational instability. Young people should be aware of these facts, to help them make informed decisions.

And from their ”defending freedom’ policies.

The SFP fully supports measures to help disabled people, and commends the government for progress in the regard. However, we do not believe that the social model of disability is truthful or helpful. Some of the challenges that disabled people face do stem from their disability, and blaming “society” in every case is clearly misguided.

From the same page there’s a few lines that give away what this lot are.

Those who believe that changing sex is impossible and that changing gender is not the best way to respond to gender dysphoria should be free to articulate these beliefs.

The views that Same Sex Marriage is invalid and that homosexual sexual activity is immoral should be respected and those holding them should be free to express them and act on them without fear of discrimination.

In careers and businesses where matters of conscience arise, reasonable accommodation should one-sided where possible. The aim should be tolerance and understanding, not a desire to teach heretics a lesson.

Freedom of association should be protected. There is nothing wrong with, for example, golf clubs for men or societies for people with similar beliefs.

It doesn’t take a genius to work out what demographic the SFP are fighting to protect as they’re the sort of people who go marching every summer and its leader defends jokes about Jo Cox while cheering on hard to far right politicians like Jacob Rees Mogg.

As you’d expect from a pro-life, anti-immigrant/feminist group (because that’s what the SFP is) there’s no facts to actually back any of their positions up. Instead there’s this bullshit about ‘tradition’ and ignoring hard facts in favour of their agenda, which makes Lucas’s appearance on Victoria Derbyshire’s show deeply problematic as in the actual segment he admits to not caring about studies or facts. Now at that point the piece is over as Lucas has no valid position to take & he’s had his say and their small handful of followers on their Facebook page may lap their nonsense up but they should in any society be a small fringe group of extremists scared by a liberal, progressive Scotland changed from what it was decades ago.

By giving the likes of Lucas an equal platform as people who’ve studied facts, or experts his opinion is given validation rather than the contempt it deserves. Now this isn’t ‘censorship’, this is making sure viewers are 100% aware of who they’re listening to and not just being presented by people as equal because Lucas’s opinion is not one that deserves national UK coverage because to quote Harlan Ellison…

And that, frankly, is the only way broadcasters should deal with people like Lucas rather than giving them platforms to promote violence on children.

 

The UK government wants disabled people to die

I recommend people read this blog titled Disabled? You May Be Sanctioned For Being Too Ill To Get To The Jobcentre because it is vitally important. The short version is that the Tories are imposing such a hard regime of sanctions upon people that they’re killing themselves to escape it, and as usual it’s the disabled getting the worst of the impact.

Since the Work Capability Assessment was introduced by Labour in 2008 after being proposed by Alistair Darling in 2001 there’s been a stream of disabled people being forced into work when they’re clearly not fit. When the Tories came back into power in 2010 they upped what Labour had done by bringing in things like the bedroom tax (thankfully mitigated in Scotland by the Scottish Government) but for a decade now the disabled have first been slowly demonised, and are now essentially being hounded out of existence by the British state, a chunk of the media and the population who look through the disabled like we’re invisible at best and all the positivity after the 2012 London Paralympics have been flushed down the toilet.

Instead we’re not at a place where the United Nations damn the UK government for their treatment of disabled people and the media barely registers it, and the population at large are unaware of the reality of so many people’s lives. There is a body count. Nothing is done because the disabled are seen as either ‘spongers’ or sort of magic cripples wheeled out to provide some entertainment and boost faux national pride at sporting events.

We now have people like Dominic Raab given high office rather than being kicked into the gutter where he belongs, and with no sign of austerity ending thanks to Brexit, things will continue to get worse. Some MP’s warn of a ‘human catastrophe’ but none will say what this is which I think is a concerted effort to let people die as after all, the British government is out to kill hope itself and without hope just what is the point of a daily life struggling to just exist let alone actually form anything like a life?

Which brings me to my point. I’ve only been disabled 18 months or so. I’ve not had a life of struggle but what the Tories are doing is inhumane bordering upon genocide and I don’t use that word lightly. My question to you, the reader, is what are you going to do to help people less fortunate, less able than myself to fight back to exist? The time for words and politics is over and we need to ensure what’s going on stops so are you happy to tolerate this or are you going to join us to fight the state from forcing people to early graves?