Thursday, 20 April 2017

Keep the Tories out? Hell no! Keep the Brexiters out!!!!!

What a difference two years make. The Tories campaigned as a safe pair of hands in 2015, against the rise of the SNP and a possible coalition with Labour. Not only was the stability of our economy at risk, so we were told, but the very Union teetered on the edge if Miliband got enough seats.

Now we know the Tories are anything but safe. Their radical and revolutionary agenda to remove Britain from the European Union has reinvigorated Nicola Sturgeon. Our economy has so many questions surrounding it that "stable" is about the only word one can't use to describe it. In a world dominated by crazy men like Putin, Erdoğan and Trump we're distancing ourselves from a block of peaceful neighbouring democracies and heading out on our own.

Now they have the gall to call those who oppose them a "Coalition of Chaos"! Theresa May claimed this country was coming together at Easter but proclaims we need this election due to continuing disunity. Division abounds. Partisan rhetoric continues everywhere.

Who stands against the Tories and their complete disregard for the United Kingdom and its standing in this world? Certainly not Jeremy Corbyn. He's allowed Brexit through and has no plans of overturning it. His party claim the snap election is somehow undemocratic... yet flipping well voted for it!!

This coming election is too important for partisan posturing. Those of us who believe in a United Kingdom and a European Union will need to make decisions constituency by constituency and candidate by candidate to help competent, reliable Remainers get into Parliament. That might mean a Conservative (well Kenneth Clarke) or a competent Labour MP who voted against Brexit (though not Ben Bradshaw who remarkably doesn't understand basic EU concepts like EU agencies needing to be based... in the EU). In other places that will almost certainly mean a Liberal Democrat. I hope, I really hope, the Lib Dems listen carefully to the Green party's request for an electoral pact in some constituencies.

Fighting for the continued existence of the UK against rising English nationalism that seeks to legitimise Scottish and Northern Irish nationalism is more important that partisan bickering. Tim Farron's comments (or lack of) on homosexuality and the fact he has utterly failed, after two years, to come up with a better answer to a question he got in his first week as leader? Who cares! This isn't business as usual. This is THE election of this generation. The odds are against us but we need to fight on regardless. 

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Inner Emigration: A Citizen Of Nowhere

So today the die was finally cast. The country now heads off away from the EU, for better or worse. There have been many calls for those of us opposed to this move to give up on a future that is no longer coming and join with Brexiters "for the good of the country".

Theresa May has called for unity repeatedly and Brexiters have been lambasting Remoaners for months. The cries of "traitors" have begun to grow as some Remainers have sought to continue the fight.

I've no real urge to help build a future I've got no investment in. The country has spoken and it said "No thanks" to what I thought was best. It is now up to those who voted for Brexit to make it work. My love for the United Kingdom hasn't grown any smaller. It is just I've found very few people share my love for the country. They worship the flag of St. George, express little more than a very thin loyalty to Her Majesty and think compromise, that which has seen our country through many a constitutional muddle, is an evil and that any other course of action, no matter how dangerous, is worth considering before it.

I've already discussed my own personal brand of patriotism here. It has become crystal clear to me that I'm in a tiny minority of people who still believe that being British means having honour, decency and respect. The trolls have taken over our country and the nationalists are preparing to laugh themselves silly over whatever remains in the next few years of our once noble nation.

Look... I'm just not going to claim to share any sort "patriotism" with people like this:

The flag is upside down. Suspended between two bins. This is what we're dealing with. I just... I can't bear it. It is wounding to see such people win. And win they did. And they'll continue to win...

I see no prospect of a change of heart in this nation, regardless of what happens. The Tories are ascendant with little to no realistic opposition for the foreseeable future. Culturally we've lost our devotion to being better people.

So I'm out. Just out. I'll tinker around with my family tree. I'll drool over gorgeous men. I'll read, watch movies, get on with my life as best I can. But the country I owe allegiance and loyalty to is gone. It may never have even existed. And soon even its name may be consigned to the history books if the nationalists get their way. 

And one day, if opportunity presents itself, I'll leave.

Saturday, 28 January 2017

A Broadening And A Narrowing Of My Political Views

It is time to grow up. I've happily played around with self-interested third party politics for so long, happily being all virtuous, and it is time to stop. Reality, Trump and May for example, show us that we cannot afford to be virtuous and sometimes we do need to hold our noses when voting to ensure that we don't get awful when we could get mediocre.

I rejoined the Lib Dems this month. I put Tim Farron's views on my sexuality ahead of all the other things the Lib Dems stand for (European unity now foremost among them). But didn't I just say I need to put third party politics behind me? Well yes, but only where I put that vote ahead of voting for a "least worst option". At the moment, with May and Corbyn at the head of the two largest parties, the Lib Dems are that "least worst option". Corbyn is just as dangerous as May. If a better Labour leader arrives, and the local Labour candidate at that time wasn't a moron, then I'd vote Labour here in Dover as they stand the best chance of unseating our sitting MP (Tory).

Meanwhile... social justice warriors continue their descent in to insanity. Owen Jones isn't the only one calling for gay men and lesbians to consider changing their sexual preferences (and even orientation). I appreciate the below video will not be tolerable to many but... Oh well...

And the "cultural libertarians" on the right have morphed into the alt-right and Trump supporters. Hardly any have been immune to this conversion.

I'm trying to avoid living in an echo chamber (see the video above, for instance, a radical feminist with, in my political community at least, controversial views) and am broadening who I listen to, read and think about. But at the same time, I'm tired of arguing on a broad scale with people on allsorts of issues which don't affect me. So consider this my declaration that I'm going to be speaking up more for "my" pet issues and less on issues that affect others. Of course, I've mostly always done that on this blog. But more generally that's what I'm going to try to keep to.

I'll vote to help protect the majority. And I'll campaign to help protect the things and people I care about personally. Deal?

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Gay Male Sexuality Is Under Attack From Without AND Within

There are racist gay men. This shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone, given racism is pretty entrenched across the human species. I once had to call an ex-boyfriend to come "rescue" me from a date with a man ranting on about how awful black people are. They are out there.

Owen Jones has written a comment piece on racism among gay men. Needless to say it has conflated some actual racism with some personal sexual preferences. When you are on a "dating" app (or back in the days of Gaydar for oldsters like me) you are presenting what you are and what you want out into the world in the hopes of finding others who share, or mirror, your desires. Perhaps you only want intelligent men for a long term relationship. Maybe you desire men with big arms for a fling. It could be you find only white men attractive. These are not necessarily stating you hate stupid people, people with smaller arms or non-white people. But it is saying that for the purposes of a relationship (or just sex) you have certain desires in mind.

Sexuality is a beautifully complex thing. I'm very much broad-minded about what I find attractive. I find a lot of looks, attitudes and minds attractive for many different reasons. But I also have a couple of "types" of men that I find EXTREMELY attractive. And a few (leather wearers beware) I find extremely unattractive. I couldn't change those desires even if I wanted to. So demanding that people become open to finding things attractive that they don't is a bit much. Should gay men starting trying to find women attractive as to not do so would be misogynistic? I think not!!!!

Unfortunately this sort of ludicrous suggestion helps others pretend racism doesn't exist. Focus on the real stigmas and racism going on out there and stop policing sexuality.

He also finds objectifying certain races problematic. I objectify men with big arms. I can thus quite understand someone objectifying men for another facet of their personality or appearance. The idea it is racist to find a certain skin tone attractive but okay to find only a certain gender attractive is messy at best.

Owen Jones is wandering extremely close to "conversion therapy" territory and towards suggesting male homosexuality itself is problematic. Must we all be pansexuals? Is that where we are heading? Is there no value in individuality?

People with similar mindsets also oppose the "culture" of muscle worship among gay men. This culture is much overblown, and is mainly limited to "the scene". Unfortunately many gay men in prominent positions are part of that scene and forget that out here in the real world male homosexuality is a lot more diverse. Considering muscle worship to be unhealthy due to the body image problems it may cause is a bit much when we encourage bear/cub culture at the same time.

The real issue is this sort of criticism has been internalised by many gay men who nod along in shame when some progressive comes along to browbeat them back into line. It is long past time we stop cow-towing to these puritanical busy-bodies who not only want to get into our bedrooms but want to get into our fantasises.

I would say "we didn't beat conservative busy-bodies only to allow progressive ones to control our sexuality" but can't as we haven't beat the conservative busy-bodies. Oh we thought we had but they've been quietly beavering away... Our Government has many plans to block porn, from adults as well as children, of which this is just the latest example.

If you don't want Christians telling you who to fuck, you'd better start stopping everyone else making similar demands. Otherwise we'll be back to the 1980s in no time at all.

Don't just nod ashamedly in the corner. Fight for the right to love and fuck however you damn well want to. Resist the puritans at every turn!

Sunday, 13 November 2016

With Friends Like These... The End Of Western Civilization Moves Ever Closer

Nigel Farage, a man unable to win a seat in Parliament after 7 attempts nor able to win Brexit without the help of Boris Johnson, got to spend an hour with Donald Trump this weekend. It is hard to imagine much more of a diplomatic slap in the face to Britain's Government (and to the United Kingdom itself) than this from the man soon to lead the US. Farage actively participated in hurting his own country's reputation, and took time to take holiday snaps.

But the supposed defenders of British values, Brexit supporters chief among them, will see this only as a victory for their fight against the status quo. They do not value Britain's history, institutions or ways of doing things. They don't value our power or reputation. They're revolutionaries intent on disrupting our constitutional arrangements.

The United Kingdom has come to a crossroads. On the left is Corbyn and his Labour party. They are quiet and meek in the face of opposition (see reserved support for Brexit and an attempt to paint Trump's victory as indicative of an up turn in Labour's own fortunes!) and far too friendly with Vladimir Putin (the dodgy leader of Russia who, if you haven't been paying attention, has been engaging in a war of aggression with Ukraine for the last couple of years). Corbyn's attempt to cheer up his troops this morning was to point out that they managed to HOLD a couple of council seats recently.

Meanwhile on the right we have a Tory party determined to take us out of the EU. They are no longer engaging with EU institutions, despite previous promises to keep working as part of the EU until the end. They've got no support in the US from the next administration, have sullied our relationships with our neighbours and aren't even that friendly with Putin. They've isolated us for no good reason.

And then on the far right we have Farage who has placed himself as Britain's unofficial ambassador to Trump alongside Marion Le Pen (of the French FN). Putin and Trump are fluttering their eyelashes at each other. A dark alliance is forming and the characters involved couldn't spell statesmanly, let alone act it.

I've always been a proud Brit. I've none of the usual liberal hang-ups about our imperial history. I fully support our actions in the Second World War and the Falklands War, warts and all. Dresden and the Belgrano were terrible, awful events but we didn't start those conflicts. I like Churchill, respect Thatcher and worship Her Majesty, the Queen. It takes a LOT to make me feel ashamed of our country.

But as we begin to align ourselves against our European friends and neighbours, and send out feelers towards Putin and Trump, I fear that rather than finding ourselves in peril (as I thought we would be after Brexit) we may well BE the peril.

For the first time in my life my loyalties lie outside this country, with the people of continental Europe. The Tories and Labour are weak and morally suspect. UKIP has lost the battle for votes but is winning the battle for hearts. The Lib Dems can mount a small resistance but aren't going to turn the tide. And the nationalists await to help kick us while we're down.

We're probably done for as a serious contender for a leader on the world's stage now. We're at risk of becoming a satellite state of the new Trump/Putin axis. For all their talk of defending Western civilization, the right have happily overseen it's decline. The left would only be too happy to see the back of it too.

I've got no answers. No solutions. This re-alignment seems to be inevitable. Europe has a great many issues to overcome (the rise of the right, the idiocy of the social justice obsessed far-left, uncontrolled immigration, democratic deficit). I'm unsure if it'll be able to survive. But now I'm rooting for it to thrive as the liberal centre of the world. The continuation of our culture may well depend on it.

Saturday, 5 November 2016

Nothing Good Will Come Of Any Of This Brexit Nonsense

The referendum on whether to leave the EU is now over 4 months behind us. In its wake we had a Prime Minister resign, an opposition busy having a civil war, a Tory leadership "battle" that brought Theresa May to Number 10 and a seemingly endless division within our country.

Let's not look with rose-tinted glasses upon our nation's past. There has always been division and, as long as humans continue to inhabit these islands, there will always be division. We're hardly unique as a country. But we have usually succeeded in having reasonable people in positions of power (or at least in positions behind those with the power!) who have defended the basics of our Westminster system and appealed for calm rather than chaos (Thatcher, for example, was hardly blameless in the chaos of the Miners Strike but you can't say she wasn't looking for orderly obedience). At the same time we had sober voices in our press who'd grumble at any change to that system or perceived abuse of it. Tony Blair's use of the Parliament Act, for example, was hardly greeted with mass support from the majority of papers.

Now, however, the division that has followed in the wake of David Cameron's ill-conceived referendum has been allowed to fester with no real attempts at calming the increasing vitriol (from either "side") by those who should be leading us. Jeremy Corbyn, the man foolishly tasked with keeping those in power in check by the Labour party, hasn't got a clue about how to handle the responsibility he has. We're adrift and our country's moral compass appears to be left in the hands of the nastier members of the Tory party (and I mean that quite strongly in terms of their our personal morals being nasty, not just some vague dislike of the Tories there).

There have been those making some feeble calls for unity but those calls seem based on some idea that just calling for it will make it happen. Unity happens through absolute victory or through compromise. A 51/49 split at the referendum wasn't an absolute victory and "Brexit means Brexit" isn't exactly a compromise (nor is it very clear about what's up for negotiation).

When certain elements of the press call judges "Enemies of the People", the response from those who should be trying to unite and govern the country has been so abysmal as to suggest they probably agree. The Government doesn't even respect the supremacy of Parliament, preferring to deal completely behind the scenes and away from the scrutiny of even Leave backing Tory MPs.

The battle over Europe is, sadly, over. The referendum was lost by a whisker. No one was clever enough to put in any threshold better than 50%. But it was lost and the vote was to leave the EU. I'm strongly in favour of our membership of the EU but feel that the best place to express a desire to do so is at the next election. All we currently are is a barrier to the continued evolution of the EU and we should now leave to put an end to the confusion. I think that is the wrong thing to do, but the only reasonable thing to do at the same time.

The battle for Britain has now begun. I don't seek some silly unity based on everyone just pulling together for the public good. This isn't the same country that fought in the Second World War. We're a series of interwoven but extremely different communities. All of us pulling together isn't going to happen. But the reasonable people of all hues could do so, if a compromise of some sort can be agreed. Something needs to happen to protect this country from falling into some very dark times indeed.

 Unfortunately, I don't see there's much will within the current leadership of this country to make any sort of attempt to heal some of the wounds. In fact I don't see any real national leadership at all. Anti-intellectual, anti-liberal, anti-British elements seem to have infected our country from top to bottom. I know MANY people who are so angry, just as a general rule, that they'd welcome economic collapse or war rather than compromise on their ideological position. Death threats and calls for "Purges" aren't limited to the crazies either.

We're in the middle of a crisis. We've got no leader worth the title (with no offence meant to Her Majesty, who I'm sure would do a pretty good job. Just a shame she actually does value our constitutional arrangements and would never dream of interfering, God love her). We have a complete lack, across all stratas of society, of any urge to kept this country together or prosperous. We're up shit creek and no one is going to use the paddle because that might upset the direction of travel.

This United Kingdom has been one of the greatest countries ever to come into being on this Earth. Scoff at that if you wish but our influence remains great even in our old age. We are the country of Gladstone and Churchill. Of Victoria and Thatcher. Of Wellington and Montgomery. Of Shakespeare and Austen. And now, in what may become one of the darkest times of our history, we can't seem to step back from the abyss nor rediscover the better angels of our nature. Where is the leadership we need to get us through the storms ahead?

It is sad to see us turning into a disgraceful excuse of a nation and even sadder to see nationalism on the rise ready to destroy our Union. If you believe in a God, now is probably about the right time to start praying. If you don't, then hold tight and hope for salvation.

Monday, 13 June 2016

Islam Is A Harmful Ideology

Homeopathy is a harmful ideology. Sure, the majority of the time it is harmless. You take a homeopathic remedy for a common cold, some aches and pains or a phantom illness and nothing too bad is going to happen. But sometimes it has serious consequences and the general credulity of homeopathic believers has a negative effect on the advance of logic, reason and good sense in our society.

I hope no one can infer from the above that I wish ill upon those who believe in homeopathic remedies. I'd love for them to recognise the danger they put themselves and others in and embrace a more rigorous approach to making medical related life choices. If they don't... what am I going to do about it? It is a choice they make and I'm powerless to do anything about the choices of others beyond persuasion.

Yet criticising Islam seems to be a lot more difficult. Granted, there's a lot more evidence of real danger to Muslims from violent reaction against them than in the case of homeopaths. But that still doesn't mean Islam isn't a harmful ideology. Sure, the majority of the time most Muslims are just as nice/bad/flawed/generous etc. as the rest of us. You pray to Allah a few times a day then get on with your job and nothing too bad is going to happen. But sometimes Islamic teachings have serious consequences and the general credulity of believers has a negative effect on the advance of logic, reason and good sense in our society.

I hope no one infers from the above I wish ill upon those who believe Mohammed was a prophet of Allah. I'd love for them to recognise the danger they put themselves and others in and embrace a more rigorous approach to their study of ancient texts.  If they don't... what am I going to do about it? It is a choice they make and I'm powerless to do anything about the choices of others beyond persuasion.

But when a homeopath allows their child to die because of their beliefs or someone murders another human being because of the influence of Islam in their lives, I'm going to criticise those beliefs and the terrible effect they have on society.

I'm troubled that those who will tell you that toxic masculinity is a major problem in society and that we can't avoid being sexist/homophobic/ableist/transphobic etc. due to our socialisation (even if we are brought up by the most liberal of parents) will go out of their way to suggest that an Islam influenced upbringing has absolutely NO connection to the homophobic murders in Orlando. This is the sort of hypocrisy that makes people think a Trump victory would be a good thing for America.

I'm not one of them by the way, Trump is awful, but until we start actually calling out Islam in the way we do Christianity then we're no closer to a saner society.