The Brexit 50p coin sums up Brexit

Sajid Javid has unveiled the second Brexit 50p to ‘celebrate’ the UK leaving the EU which will enter circulation this Friday when the UK leaves the EU effectively being the first nation in history to impose sanctions upon itself.

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All of this is bullshit, and all of this is designed to shove faces of Remainers in it because we now live in a time so polarised that ‘winners’ (and it remains to be seen what Brexiters have won barring racism and blue passports which are made in France) will have friendship with nations we’ve just told to fuck the fucking hell off?

And to make it worse, we’ve spent millions in melting down the ones which was supposed to celebrate leaving in October thus making it a perfect metaphor for Brexit itself.

Still, the funniest thing is that the 50p piece will be a constant reminder to those Brexiters trying to pretend in the coming years that they were never Brexiters, or this insane nonsense never happened.

Cancel culture and Contrapoints

This is going to involve a lot of backstory, so start at the top.

Cancel culture is a thing. To shorten it as much as possible, it’s described on Wikipedia as this;

cancel culture, describes a form of boycott in which someone (usually a celebrity) who has shared a questionable or unpopular opinion, or has had behavior in their past that is perceived to be either offensive or problematic called out on social media is “canceled“; they are completely boycotted

This has been around basically forever but in the age of social media where people live within their echo chambers where one has to be 100% pure ‘canceling’ someone can be weaponised to people even within their own community who’ve done incredible amount of work to make things better, or to make the case for these people. It’s one thing to say, cancel Harvey Weinstein and ostracise him, but it’s another to ‘cancel’ someone with a different opinion or opposing view. That’s where it becomes controlling, censorious and even cultish as the political and moral point being made is that a voice/opinion challenges their worldview so much the person must not just be expelled, but they, and even their friends, must be destroyed.

Which brings me to Contrapoints.

Contrapoints is a YouTube channel run by Natalie Wynn. It’s partly about her transition which has been very public, but it’s one of the few interesting leftish American YouTube channels as Wynn throws around ideas, and yes, sometimes finds the American left somewhat lacking. She also has spent most of her time online tacking the far right who have been attacking her pretty much constantly so she’s used to being attacked online, the pile-ons and all the usual crap one expects from the far right.

As her videos rack up millions of views, Wynn makes a good amount of money from them. Not enough to retire, but enough to do what she wants so ‘canceling’ her hits her directly in the pocket, which is what the far-right have tried to do, but what would prompt those supposedly of the left to attack her, and attack her friends in a manner so viciously that she was driven off social media.

And this is where you need to go watch Wynn’s last video and watch til the end…

There’s a lot to take in there. The main facts are that Wynn said something which upset a section of supposed ‘progresives’, she apologised where appropiate but made their case because views aren’t illegal because you disagree with them. I disagree with a chunk of what Wynn says but at the same time I’ve learned from them because unless you’re an out and out Nazi you don’t get your opinions silenced because it might upset people.

And what’s remarkable is at the end of the video Wynn outlines what the reaction to her feature length essay will be almost perfectly. The reaction was vicious and to repeat, didn’t just target Wynn, but her friends but this is not uncommon as this happens to someone it seems daily at least as they’ve committed some thought-crime against a section of people who will not budge. We live in an age where everyone is policing someone, and acting as judge, jury and supposed executioner as some of the threats Wynn and people like her get are terrifying.

It is as David Baddiel says:

There are many types of trolls, but they fall into two basic (and much overlapping) types: those who hate from a position of hate and those who hate from a position of self-assumed goodness. We tend to think of them, in the caricature, mainly as the former, as basement-dwelling incels angrily spattering the internet with abuse for lolz, but it is actually the latter who are far more prevalent and significant. No one has ever been cancelled by the former; you can’t be erased and destroyed by punks, but you very much can by furies, mobilising to take you down in the name of right.

What happens is people pick a tribe, and rather try to seek solidarity with others or find commong ground by listening to others we have an urge for purity that’d scare anyone. Overwhelmingly it is women being subjected to this, though men and transwomen like Wynn suffer huge levels of abuse, doxing and worse thanks to how social media has weaponised politics, identity and culture in a way the days of the early internet where we interacted on moderated message boards. Now with nothing to stop us there’s unrestricted blind hate being spat out all the time at people followed by ‘cancelling’ people which means destroying as much of someone’s life as you can legally.

We live on a ‘planet of cops‘ in a world Orwell warned us about. Where someone can be ostracised partly by people within the same community as them but without any understanding of their positon or show of solidarity. It must be purity and if there’s no purity then people must be cleansed until there’s nobody left because the thing is with these people they will find ‘fault’ anywhere because one doesn’t find reason when we’re in a witchunt.

I have no idea where this ends but it won’t end well if we end up being ruled by people on hairtriggers policing your entire life online reducing privacy, free speech and debate to nothing. Because if they can come after someone like Natalie Wynn, they can come after anyone.

Today’s Scottish Independence march in Glasgow

Right now in Glasgow there’s thousands of people marching in support of independence in a very wet and very windy day.

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Sadly the wind and rain means it wasn’t a good idea for the likes of me to join but it looks like tens of thousands did. So when the Tories or Unionists say ‘but there’s no demand for independence’ point them to today and the fact on a truly horrible day in Glasgow thousands took to the streets to demand it.

What is also noteable is the lack of support from leftish English based commentators for a huge grassroots rally. Solidarity only counts it seems if they want our votes. Thanks though to those who did come from England, and from the Welsh who came up and people in Scotland will have your back when Wales starts its struggle for independence.

Estimates put the crowd at 80,000. In January. On a day of weather warnings.

Of course there’s a fucking demand for independence which is why Unionists are terrified. Time now for the SNP to stop asking, start demanding and fight for us so we can win independence, make our own future and be free of Tories and Brexit.

The Labour leadership candidates and Scotland

After last month’s hellish failure and capitulation to the Tories in the election, you’d think Labour would have understood and learned from their mistakes but every single candidate has shown little understanding of why they lost with the exception of Kier Starmer who sorts of gets it, but as he was part of the shadow cabinet one may ask why he’s only speaking up now. Some like Rebecca Long-Bailey are doubling down in some futile extension of Corbynism.

Yet when it comes to Scotland all the leadership candidates betray either their ignorance or their own British nationalism, or in some cases both. People like Jess Philips talk eagerly of ‘listening to their heartlands’ but that doesn’t include Scotland as all the candidates are not just against independence, but against a second referendum saying ‘there is no mandate for one’ even though the SNP have won three general elections in a row in Scotland, and there’s been a pro-independence majority of MSP’s in Holyrood for nearly a decade. Holyrood have voted for a second referendum so one has to ask just how democratic Labour want to be because carrying on like this being a slightly less evil version of the Tories will bring electoral oblivion to them in Scotland.

But no, they plug on. Any shimmering hope they might open up their minds and understand why they’re on the trajectory they are is lost in a mix of hubris, ignorance and good old fashioned British nationalism.

Still, maybe when they lose the next Scottish election next year they might decide to change their minds…

World War 3

Donald Trump is attempting to start a third world war by killing Major General Qassem Soleimani of Iran, which basically means that many of us in the UK woke up to see ‘WW3’ trending on Twitter which is quite terrifying. Now there is a school of thought that WW3 has been underway for some time mainly fought in cyberspace, but this ensures things become as risky as although Iran won’t launch a ground fight with the US (it’d last a day) but one step wrong in the Middle East and we’re in a potential nuclear situation.

Of course those of us of a certain age growing up in the 70’s and 80’s are only too aware of living under the constant threat of nuclear death. In fact we grew up with it as it was carved into our DNA as we’d been exposed to the fear of nuclear death since before we were all born.

Then it all got better once the Cold War ended and we hit that strange time in the 90s up until the 11th of September 2001, but of course I’m only talking of people in the West. Most of the rest of the world was suffering some sort of strife and didn’t enjoy that time in remission we did.

And now it’s all coming back for all of us.  It might not happen but that niggling horror in the back of my head I thought gone is back, and we can only hope wise heads prevail in the months, and years, ahead.

End of the decade

We’re nearly at the end of a decade many of us are glad to see the end of. It’s often said the second decade of a century marks how the rest of that century more or less goes, and if the last one is anything to go by then we won’t hit the end of this century, but after the relatively quiet 90’s and troubled 00’s we hit the decade where things start to solidify which means we’re in the middle of a dystopia what with Brexit, Trump, climate change, the destruction of modern culture, the death of facts and critical thinking and many, many more.

Take my pet topic, comics. A decade ago the comics industry in the UK was suffering thanks to the recession. The annual big convention in Bristol, London or anywhere had died and things looked bleak. The Marvel films kicked it all into overdrive though so that now a decade later the UK can’t move for ‘comic conventions’, which sadly most have nothing to do with comics.

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Yet comics are in a position of cultural dominance like never before as the culture of 2019 shows compared to 2009 where frankly, most of us were thinking mainly of keeping our jobs. Today we’re entering something new for a generation who’ve spent the last decade knowing things were the norm, but having lived through many a recession what comes next endangers every industry.

What I’m talking about is Brexit. We’re about to face what it’s like to be a small country outwith of all the planet’s huge trading blocs and hey, 99% of the world think we’re utterly fucking insane. We live in the era of the liar, the cheat,the strongman who never backs down even though they are horrifyingly wrong because they don’t want to look weak. Propelled by the internet which a decade ago was still mainly a curated space but is now open war encouraged by a handful of massive corporations who have turned our lives into tradeable commodities to sell to other massive corporations. Assuming the planet doesn’t fry or freeze we have no idea where the next decade ends but for many of us it’ll end badly.

Of course things might improve but not before something awful happens on a massive scale until then let’s raise a glass to the decade which set up the horrors of the forthcoming one and hope there’s something good coming at us…

What can the SNP do to win Scottish independence?

Apart from the Tories, last week’s big winners in the election were the SNP who yet again, win another Scottish election, and yet again people from all sides of the political debate question whether they have a mandate to push independence when the argument that at the very least, the people of Scotland should have a decision on their own future is own they’ve surely won. The fight (And it is a brawl more than a fight) is to gain that Section 30 order (which enables the result to be official) from the Tories and that isn’t going to happen by playing nice as they have since now.

Frankly, the SNP has people within the party happy to sit where they are happily pricking people along with the promise of independence as long as they maintain power in Scotland. They also seem to be falling into a hole of identity politics endangering their broad socially democratic appeal however considering the fact Scotland won’t vote Tory and the Labour Party face extinction, the SNP face a decade at least remaining in power but the next year or so is crucial. 2021 is the Holyrood election and the Tories and Lib Dems will be putting up a more united Unionist front which could well work in some area, especially in the North East and the Borders.

There is a wild card now. That is the ‘Scottish’ Labour Party. A branch office of London which is trapped in repeating the same mistakes over and over and over again with diminishing returns. Since the weekend several leading figures are not fully coming out in support of independence, but are now supportive of a referendum being held so Scotland can decide to be independent, or part of a UK going rapidly to the right. Labour’s problem is that they’re trapped by a mix of the London leadership and the Scottish branch having no idea what it is. Do they remain trapped in the spiral of socialist nostalgia with an out of date view of working-class politics in Scotland, or do they start to construct a positive view of the future where independence is at the very least an option? Time will tell but the fact is we won’t win independence without convincing a number of Labour supporters it is in the best for Scotland to break free but the fact is that should Labour (on any level) stand with the Tories and Lib Dems in refusing a Section 30 then they may as well give up as a party in Scotland.

But the SNP need to go on the offensive if not granted a Section 30, even to the point of disrupting Westminster (there’s a lot they can do within the rules to do just that) to the point where it can’t run. Worked for Irish MP’s a century ago and it’ll hold the Tories back from imposing their cruelty upon people. Basically, they need to grow a spine and those within the party who aren’t especially bothered about independence need to be told where to go because 2020 isn’t going to be for the faint-hearted or the uncommitted because we all know the reason why the Tories refuse to grant a referendum as they know it can be lost by them. There’s no way Boris Johnson wants to be the last Prime Minister of the UK and it is within our grasp to make him just that if the SNP toughen up, fight and get what’s needed so we can make our own choice, not the UK’s.