The road to Brexit

By Monday we should know whether the UK has pulled its head out its arse, agreed on compromises with the EU and saved the prospect of the UK walking away from Brexit negotiations with a ‘no deal’; an outcome Brexiters like Boris Johnson and Jacob Rees-Mogg want as it delivers their free trade, unregulated dream. For the rest of us it’ll be a nightmare, and as we now know, the Tories have no plans to sail us through the biggest thing the UK has done in its history in peacetime which leaves us a bleak future.

The EU isn’t just about trade. It intertwines so much of what we do that if the UK walks it means we’d have to organise things like when planes fly, radioactive isotopes for cancer patients, the shipping of food and tens of thousands of other things overnight and like any disaster, the most vulnerable will be hurt the hardest and first.

Bizarrely both main UK political parties are hell-bent on Brexit. Jeremy Corbyn of Labour seems to think that we’re in for a socialist Year Zero upon leaving the EU, and yes, the idea of an ‘internationalist’ party choosing to take a protectionist route is not lost on people. But compared to the clusterfuck which is the Tories, Labour seem vaguely sane. Simply put the Tories are taking us into a recession mixed with a collapse in social decency as ethnic nationalism and imperialism mixed with a hard, rigid form on Unionism drives them towards dooming hundreds of thousands of people to a harder life than they have now.

Brexit makes no sense though. Not unless you think the UK ‘gave away’ itself to the EUSSR and those bloody Polish and Somalians on buses should go back where they came from. Essentially Brexit is based upon irrational madness and we’ve got 72 hours to save the country. Wish us luck, we’ll need it…

”Dad, have we taken back control back yet?”

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The Guardian and the censorship of horror films

The Guardian is the so-called ‘liberal voice’ of the UK, and now proposes itself as one of the leading liberal voices online. It often comes out against horror films and this week, Jigsaw (a return of the Saw films) is released as this particular film series returns from the dead.

An article by Benjamin Lee was published in the paper decrying the ‘return of torture porn’ and yet again the paper sets their sights on the horror genre and in particular, ‘torture porn’ which they’ve written more or less the same article since 2007.

I get why middle class liberals at the Guardian may hates films like Jigsaw. They are after all designed for mass audiences and this sort of middle class sneering is aimed at all mass forms of entertainment, but it’s the priggish sense of superiority from the contributors and commentators mixed with a barely suppressed push for censorship that should be concerning. This isn’t to say I think Jigsaw will be a good film, it probably won’t be as barring the first Saw film there’s pretty thin pickings in that series but I get why people watch them. These are rollercoaster rides. The audience can safely wallow in gore, enjoy a few mild scares and go home safely. Yeah, the films are shite without any real importance but so what? Censoring them wouldn’t work but it’d make these middle class liberals happy they’re controlling the ‘masses’ for what they think is their own benefit.

Violent and gory stories are part of our culture. They’re embedded in religion, history and culture, so while things like Jigsaw may be bad films but they’re just part of who we are. Censoring for the wider public good is simply, bollocks and perhaps the middle class media shouldn’t be so sneering at such entertainment because people might enjoy them for what they are?

A quick word about Catalonia

Catalonia yesterday became the planet’s newest country as it declared itself independent of Spain, and Spain in return are trying to impose direct rule. A massive can of worms is now open and it really is one that isn’t going to go back in easily, but right now cool, calm heads are called for and not the ones demanding action now to ‘resume order’.

I’m not going to offer an opinion on whether Catalonia should be independent as I don’t know enough to make an informed judgement but I do support their right to choose peacefully and that has been denied to them by the sort of brutality we saw at the referendum. There is now a shrill cry of panic coming from Spanish unionists and their supporters not just in Spain, but across the world including idiots like Malcolm Rifkind foreseeing ‘separatist violence’ on the news this morning.

On the other hand this has sparked elements in the Scottish independence campaign to demand Nicola Sturgeon declare UDI, which is exactly the wrong, and undemocratic, thing to do. I want Scotland to be independent but UDI isn’t an option but I do feel people are rushing towards making opinions with less than an informed head and I want the Catalan people to decide their own fate. I don’t want them to be used as a pawn in a larger game or to suffer the violence we saw from the Spanish state.

So I was glad to see Sturgeon’s government putting out a calm, measured statement.I’m less glad to have seen the likes of Julian Assange, Nigel Farage and all the other usual suspects poke the flames. We’re in a dangerous phase and we need leaders, diplomats and politicians rather than people working towards a more dangerous vision for the world and a cold war becomes hot.

Facebook deleted my post about the JFK files

During the day I’m working so sometimes I can’t read an article in full, or I want to share something with followers on Twitter or mates on Facebook. The big story at the minute are the release of the JFK files, and although I’m no conspiracy theorist I am fascinated by the JFK case. Anyhow, I Tweeted a link to a CNN article which was placed also on my Facebook page as all my Tweets do but for this one,Facebook has decided it’s spam and blocked it.

I’ve Tweeted literally thousands of articles from newspaper sites over the years. Not one sniff from Facebook but this is considered spam? Now, I’m no conspiracy theorist but Facebook are making me reach for the tinfoil here as this is frankly, a bit fucking mental so I’ve appealed the decision purely to see what sort of reply comes vomiting back at me.

Stay tuned!

#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.

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.