Cancelling Janey Godley

Janey Godley’s cancellation for some pretty vile racist Tweets does not come as a massive shock. She made her name through edgy humour, and although over the last few years she’s tried pandering to her new more middle-class audience, not to mention figures high in the Scottish government but you can’t be a mate of government and an edgy comic at the same time. It was clear that Godley was trying to reshape herself by quoting things she clearly didn’t believe but would see her in good stead with government, but you can’t hide from your past online and that came back to hurt her.

Yet this isn’t really her fault. Whoever authorised her to be the face of a government campaign and paid her £12k (which somewhat takes the piss out of anyone’s progressive credentials to cash in on the public purse during a pandemic)should have been soundly bollocked but I doubt they will.

And I also dismay of the feral packs who hounded her to cancellation, even though she’d indulge in the same herself sometimes with people who were not abusive Rangers fans, but political opponents to the SNP for I assume, a few brownie points. Here’s the thing about cancellation; these packs will turn on anyone and find anyone. I remember seeing one Tweet when Lindsay Ellis was cancelled that said ‘they didn’t care’ about the facts but that they’d now got the chance to go after someone and effectively try to destroy their life. Which is the problem with cancellation; it never stops. One day you’re the head of the pack and the next the pack is savaging you.

Godley’s mistake was to ignore this fact and because of that she’s suffered a public shaming which ultimately, is the entire point of this thing. It’s medieval, cruel and needless, and unless we find ways to curtail it we’re all fucked.

Edinburgh isnae Scotland

Comedian and gamer, Limmy claimed that Edinburgh isn’t really Scotland to the wailing cries of media types across Scotland and the UK.

He is of course ripping the piss (and so many took it seriously much to I assume, his delight) but he’s got a point. Edinburgh isn’t Scotland, or at least what most people outwith of Scotland think of as the city. It’s a theme park for tourists, just as large parts of London are, or New York or any major world city, the difference with Edinburgh is it’s such a tale of two cities as one of the shortbread tin version of Scotland sold to the world, and the other is a city and people struggling to keep up with being priced out of their own city by incomers pushing up prices.

And he’s right, you want to experience Scotland, don’t go to Edinburgh, don’t come to the nice parts of Glasgow, but go to the parts off the tourist trails where might see how most people live, and how they struggle. Sometimes that struggle is because of the gentrification thrown up upon them as this is the problem with coming to live in what you see as an authentic area. Once the incomes move in that area changes and rarely for the best.

But come to Scotland. Say hello to Nessie as well.

The strange politics of the Marvel Cinematic Universe

I’m watching What If.. which is enormous fun as it takes the non-canon joy of the original 1970s run of comics and translates it to a new, younger audience. It’s the most fun Marvel have had since they went Emo in the few years around Endgame, and it is nice to see Marvel fully embrace the comics instead of keeping up with the idea they can ‘ground them in reality’ which is bollocks.

What If… is the latest example of the MCU’s exceptionally odd internal politics. For example, at the start of Falcon and Winter Soldier, Sam is working for the American armed forces rescuing soldiers who were doing something dubious in the Middle East but the rest of the series never comes back to that, so we never really deal with the fact that Sam has serious power in this world but yet his family is broke. Unless capitalism collapsed we’re to take this at face value?

Then there’s the Avengers who are essentially a fascist organisation, though they do good we see unchecked power. Now this is a subject Marvel did try to deal with but quickly dropped like a hot potato once it started getting complicated, as is making the likes of Loki a hero even though in the continuity of the TV series he’s got the blood of thousands of New Yorkers on his hands. This is the problem when you take kids power fantasies and throw them into the ‘real world’. You have to then deal with the massive contradictions of having these characters in our world mixed in with the politics of Disney which means everyone also has weird sexless relationships in worlds where even no matter what happens, there’s careful product placement.

What I’m basically saying the Marvel Cinematic Universe may be entertaining, but there’s some strange, sometimes dangerous takes on politics of all kinds and that’s mainly down to not embracing the silliness of the source material or having a studio owner willing to investigate the logical outcomes of this world.

A quick word about the SNP/Green deal

Here in Scotland some actual major political news as the SNP and Greens kinda, sorta, get into a coalitionish, but not one. where the Greens have to abide with government policy except the two MSP’s who are now part of the government. Regards of the details the fact is we have a new coalition government which is sending Unionists crying into the sky in anger so for Indy supporters, and people who want a better Scotland this should make us happy yet doubts are in my head.

For one there’s no commitment to starting a second referendum campaign now, but sometime in the next five years which frankly is fucking taking the piss when Brexit has kicked in and the results of that are digging in now. People can’t wait five years, probably longer when we’ve had five years for the SNP to make plans when they’ve fought two elections off the back of protecting Scotland from Brexit. There’s plenty of focus on identity politics which ticks nice middle class boxes but it doesn’t help deprivation or poverty but there are positive signs such as bringing in rent controls which will very much aid people in poverty.

So for now I remain cautious with some optomism but this glacial move towards independence when there’s been five whole years to plan (and yes, I understand Covid plays a part in this delay but it doesn’t stop plans being made) does not help inprove the lives of millions trapped in the decisions of a Westminster government completely lacking morals or sanity which is hell bent on making lives worse for most people to improve the lives of a few.

The aftermath of the 2021 Scottish election

The Scottish election was won by pro-independence parties in the shape of the SNP and the Greens. True, the SNP failed to get a majority by itself but the Holyrood sysyem isn’t designed for single parties to win majorities, so this result is what was expected to happen but the narrative a second independence referendum hinged purely on a SNP majority started early.

There was never a tight contest. This was a lie but it is now the mainsteam UK narrative as the sheer, blind unthinking fear of Scotland becoming independent has been unleashed the last few days with even the eldtritch horror of Gordon Brown stomping around giving the same statements we’ve heard for ages.

The fact is an independence referendum is a long, long way away. The earliest we’re looking at is 2023, realistically 2024 as the SNP have said they’re fine with letting the Covid recovery happen, then putting together a bill, then waiting for the electoral commision to agree on the terms of the vote, including the question then give at least 6 months time to campaign and we’re looking some time just before the next Westminster election. This assumes as well of course there’s little legal action as the UK government are likely to dig in hard so we could see a second referendum going beyong autumn 2024.

Yet even so there is a blind panic because the Unionist side know that there’s 20-30% of the electorate who are ‘soft’ no voters last time who are more open potentially to voting yes this time, plus the demographic is changing as older no voters pass away and younger voters come through who are likely to vote yes. A good campaign for independence and a bad one for the Union means Scotland leaves the UK to stew in the forthcoming insanity of the Tories running riot so for now expect to see delaying tactics pushing this vote back til the next Westminster election, and beyond.

Basically we’re in a big, bloody mess and it’ll take a hard push to get where we need to go just as the post Covid world begins to shape around us and the reality of Brexit kicks in for most people.

2021’s painful Scottish election campaign

Being a political geek this year’s Scottish election campaign should fill me with excitement but with days to go I have to say this campaign is one of the worst campaigns I’ve seen in any election which speaks out as to how awful the thing is. Part of the problem lies with the opposition parties who haven’t a dash of vision or opportunity between them, but the SNP, as well as the Greens have also fought a frankly rubbish campaign in what is a vitally important election for Scotland and one which should beckon independence but won’t.

This election should be about not just the right of the people of Scotland to hold an independence referendum when they want, but also about holding to account the government as well as the opposition, but instead, it’s become a tiresome slanging match with Tories slanging SNP, SNP slanging Alba (Alex Salmond’s pro-independence party) with Labour’s dreary ‘hey guys let’s stop fighting but not really‘ approach. There is also a paucity of ideas not helped by the inter-party squabbles of some SNP and Alba supporters. I feel sorry for my fellow countrypeople in this vote trying to make their mind up.

As for myself I don’t think the SNP will use yet another mandate to fight for independence, far too much for them to lose, plus the Greens are happy in their current relationship so another indy supporting party isn’t a bad idea and indeed, many of those piously attacking Alba now were fully supportive of RISE (another attempt at an indy supporting party) last time around. As it stands my main vote will go to the SNP because there’s a very good candidate to vote for, but my list vote is up for grabs as voting SNP on the list is a waste in Glasgow, voting Green means supporting some policies I strongly disagree with, and Alba is a whole can of worms, so either I’ll hold my nose and vote for one of them or leave my list vote blank. This is not how it should be days before the most important Scottish election in my lifetime when we should be pushing hard for independence before Boris Johnson and the Tories strip devolution apart while further destroying people’s lives.

Boris Johnson wants you to die

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The worst possible thing about this headline is that most of us can very much imagine Boris Johnson saying this as the UK has over 125k people dead now and one of the worst death rates on the planet. Yes, The Daily Mail is a vicious rag pushing to cheer on their next champion as Johnson has outlived his use, and his possible replacements are far more terrible, but for now we’re governed by a man who treats most people with contempt and the terrible thing here is we can all hear Johnson saying these words.

This is the sort of dystopia we’re living in and yet,people still cheer Johnson on as some sort of champion of the people. We’re totally fucked.

Death of a Royal

Prince Philip died the other day and much of the UK media went slightly mad. All of the BBC’s channels were suspended on Friday to show tributes, and as for ITV they went full mourning as well so all the UK’s main terrestial channels were given over to this one story as if it’s the 1950’s, not 2021. Yes, it is a major story but we’re also in the middle of a pandemic which has killed 125K people, plus all the effects of lockdown, etc means countless lives have changed for the worst and they all get a couple of minutes of presenters and politicians looking serious. A 99 year old man dies and it’s getting more coverage than that or 7/7 or even that insane week in 1997 when Diana died and half the UK lost their minds.

So pity us stuck on this island which has lost its mind and will continue to make things more insane for those of us still with some sense of reality…

The Plague Year

One year ago the UK government finally, sort of, took Covid seriously even though by this point we’d seen how it spread and in particular, how Italy was affected by it. So instead of listening to the science which at this point last year was screaming ‘LOCKDOWN’ which Boris Johnson ignored to tell us instead of how he planned to just let Covid sweep through the population and just jolly well let them (you and me of course, not him) take it on the chin.

The usual hard right/left grifters mocked talk of ‘over 100K dead’ yet here we are a year later looking at over 120k dead with one of the highest death rates in the world thanks to a government which followed all the wrong paths changing far too late, coming out of lockdowns too early and repeating the cycle. All the while billions are being spent of track and trace systems which don’t work or bungs to mates of mates while the death toll rose and rose.Thankfully the vaccination program is under the remit of the NHS which is why it’s so successful, but again we have the UK throwing around promises of a ‘normal’ second half of the summer which won’t happen. If they unlock too quickly and allow big events to happen then we’re back in lockdown next winter and I can’t imagine what that’d do to people.

People have to be told now that we’re living with Covid forever. It will change things even with a full vaccinated population, which we won’t get thanks to the anti-vaxxers. We need to have a dicussion as to how things will change rather than bluster through this as Johnson is doing hoping it’ll work out because after a year and 120k dead we should know it won’t.

Hopefully the worst is now however over. This is something remaining to be seen but after a year I’d like it to be in an ideal world, which of course, we don’t live in.

#NotAllMen

Imagine being a woman (for 52% of the planet that’s easily done) and starting this week with International Woman’s Day and ending it in raging anger at how women are sidelined all the time if they’re not being stalked and murdered/raped, or have to live with an abusive partner or member of the family? Imagine then seeing some men online say ‘ah, but not all men’ as is that’s a deflection from the fact that as men, we all play a part in this mess regardless of how small that may have been. Then imagine endless abuse, rape and death threats coming from not just right wing headcases, but supposed ‘woke’ people who Tweet about ‘being kind’ and you’re living a life which as a man I can only imagine.

Then there’s the murder of Sarah Everard. A case where the main suspect is a police officer. How can women feel safe when someone who is part of the intitution supposed to protect them may well see them as ‘opportunities’ as the victim was described several times on the news this week.

I’m a man. I’ve walked though some incredibly dodgy areas walking home in the past in big cities like Glasgow, Bristol and London. I’ve been mugged three times. First time I broke a knuckle punching one, the second I was drunk and stupidly fought them off. Last time was when I was no longer fit and healthy, so ended up losing a phone because I was vulnerable, which means I get a fraction of what it must be like to be woman and do things like avoid crowds, or certain pubs, or text mates to tell them I’ve got home safe. I have no idea what it must be like to learn or do these thing from an early age but then again nobody has ever discriminated towards me because of my sex. Yet I think of girlfriends who weepily told me about being abused and raped, often by ex partners or members of their family, so why didn’t it dawn on me then?

Yet I read endless stories like these, and think what could I have done to make someone else’s life at that time better? Even when I wasn’t disabled I used to dither when I walked as I’d always be taking in the architecture of buildings, but how many times was I walking behind a woman doing this? I can think offhand of dozens of times. I should have known better, same as times in London’s labyrithine underground system where I’ve heard screams and wondered ‘is that someone mucking about or is that someone in distress?’ while doing the sum total of fuck all. But this is the problem, men aren’t educated enough and there’s also a point where men just don’t care. They like abusing women, even to the point where it gives them a sexual thrill in addition to abusing their power.

Which brings me to this week. Monday was International Women’s Day. Loads of men decied to ask why there’s no International Men’s Day (there is one in November), then in the Commons the MP Jess Phillips read out the name of every woman killed by a man in 2020. It took over four minutes. The point she makes is that society has accepted this as just one of those things. Later on in the week the Scottish parliament voted through a hate crime bill which excudes women with some MSP’s displaying the sort of misogyny that shows why we need to protect sex on a hate crime bill. With women being dehumanised with words like ‘Karen’, ‘Terf’, ‘Femnazi’ or anything that reduces women to a figure to be hated and abused online and in real life, theres no wonder women in Scotland despair about the decision

It becomes easier to Other and abuse someone if you don’t see them as a person, or even human, and right now I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a period of sheer outright hatred against women openly being thrown around by people across the political and social spectrums. So we end up with women like Sarah Everard murdered just because she was a woman who was seen by a killer who saw an ‘opportunity’, not a person, but an opportunity. The pornofication of culture has reduced women to ‘opportunities’ and a variety of body parts. The somewhat naive porn we’d find in Tesco’s bags under a bush in the park are long gone to be replaced by something dehumanising and violent. Yet women can’t protest that without being assaulted themselves. Femicide is a problem all over the world and it seems to be accepted, but only because governments and other institutions can’t really be bothered which means after this outrage over the murder of Sarah Everard or the hate crime bill, or women being assaulted on the street, or just being abused while picking up their kids passes, women will again be sidelined. Til the next time.

But there shouldn’t be a next time. It is down to us men to seriously look into what we do and have done, accept our failings and do better while listening to women and let them centre their story told their way without piping up ‘not all men’ or something awful like that. We need to be better because the way things are going the future for women is not one which looks good, and it won’t change unless we do.