Sunday, 28 March 2010

The Tories Do Not Believe In Freedom

Whilst I continue my stance on both the hilariously misguided religious beliefs of many and on the need for a full and equal marriage law, the libertarian part of me strongly supports the request for religious civil partnerships. It seems bizarre to me that anyone would oppose this issue of personal liberty.

Well David Cameron does. The following is yoinked from here.

'Thank you for writing to me about civil partnerships in religious buildings.

'I appreciate that many people share your strong feeling about the issue. There are genuinely-held concerns on both sides of the debate, so I am very grateful to you for sharing your thoughts with me. As the amendment in question was debated in the House of Lords, I was unable to exert any direct influence over this issue.

'When civil partnerships were first introduced it was intended that they would be treated in the same way as civil marriages, which are also not allowed to take place on religious premises or include religious aspects in a marriage ceremony.

'However I know that many people in civil partnerships would like to change the current arrangements so that civil partnership ceremonies can take place on religious premises, or can at least include some religious aspects in the ceremony. I understand these concerns and I do not rule out changes in the future, but for the moment I think it best for the current arrangements to continue.

'Thank you for taking the time to write to me.'

So let me get this straight. A Godly man such as Mr Cameron does not support religious freedom. No does he support human rights which sort of puts him out of the progressive camp. In trying to please everyone, me thinks he might not be impressing anyone!

Honestly. The worst thing is, most Tory supporters will not say "That's wrong, that needs to change". Nope. They will go "Why aren't you attacking Labour???" as if attacking the Tories (the expected party of Government after the next election) is akin to supporting Labour and thus shouldn't be done.

Tories! Rise up and force your party to become less backward and more 21st century libertarian. It's not hard... Remember a third of the people who voted in Section 28 are still sitting Tory MPs!!!! This party has got to change radically, and soon.

If you feel benevolent and particularly generous, this writer always appreciates things bought for him from his wishlist

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

What A Queer Thing To Say

Queer. What does that word bring to mind for you? For me it brings to mind the idea of someone who doesn't like to be labelled, Foucault's queer theory and perhaps a little voice at the back of my head going "Queer is also a bad word". But it's a very small voice and, from time to time, I've been know to identify myself as queer as opposed to gay. Queer, to me at least, is a positive "reclaimed" word and one I would have no problem with anyone using except if they said it a certain way.

I'm very much someone who thinks the way something is said changes it's meaning and thus a word is but a tool and not something we should demonise. Nazi for instance: if I shout and sneer the word at you, I'm probably being insulting by suggesting you're political beliefs are equivalent to those of the German Nazi Party of the thirties. But if I say it with a smile and a bit of a flair, I'm probably joshing you for your bossiness. See?

So when the GLBT group at our work, of whom I am a member, released our opening statement on the intranet (in which I had no part), with a mention of a "queer perspective", I didn't think anything of it.

But one member of my very own team did. He was deeply insulted by the use of the term which suggests to me a little bit of over sensitivity. I reasoned that some might find other word (such as gay itself) offensive too so why all the fuss over queer?

I've done a straw poll on Twitter and it looks like most people dislike the word too. Or use the argument it's okay when gay people say it but not when straight people do "like the word nigger". I hate that argument. It's special pleading. Either the word shouldn't be used or it should. You can't ban a word for some, but I agree a style guide might forbid it in a working environment.

So what do you think about the word queer, especially in this sort of context? Is "a queer perspective" simply not appropriate in a working environment?

If you feel benevolent and particularly generous, this writer always appreciates things bought for him from his wishlist

Monday, 22 March 2010

What Is So Exciting About A Politician Getting His Wife Pregnant???

I really don't know... Thankfully you don't need to listen to a brain dump from me talking about it. You can just read this excellent piece of writing

If you feel benevolent and particularly generous, this writer always appreciates things bought for him from his wishlist

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Jedi Hoodies???

Here is the problem benefit of the laws protecting religions in this country; you can get away with just about anything. Take Jobcentre Plus apologising to a hoodie who believes himself to be a Jedi, after they rather insensitively asked him to remove his hood.

As a fan of Star Wars, I must say the reason for the apology seems somewhat bizarre. Nowhere in any of the movies or in the Expanded Universe is the wearing of a hood proscribed as being demanded by observance of the Force. In fact most Jedi's seem to wear it only when attempting to appear inconspicuous. And female Jedi's seem eager to wear far less than a hood. Thus I would argue there is no scriptural basis for demanding to be allowed to wear a hood in a job centre. However... that's the beauty of a religion. You can make up the rules as you go along. And surely this is where our protections overstep the mark. When one must apologise for upsetting the sensibilities of someone who is either lying or totally deluded (and completely misunderstanding the meaning of being a Jedi *prepares to smite the blasphemer*) then you know you live in a mad, mad world.

Let's get this clear: if you believe in the Force, sky fairies, Flying Spaghetti Monsters or alien creators all power to you. Religious belief, like sexual orientation, is totally a private matter. Write a blog, hand out leaflets on the street or give all your money to L. Ron Hubbard's estate. But don't expect others to bow down before your whims and wishes to be treated differently to any one else doing exactly the same thing as you. Everyone should be treated the same despite whatever they "believe" makes them need to carry knives into schools or wear inappropriate jewellery to work. I don't believe that because I'm gay I should be given more rights than anyone else. So why would I believe that because you are Muslim you should be allowed extra breaks for prayers than I get?? Or that you should be allowed to wear a hoodie in a place where covering your head is not allowed for security reasons just because you believe you are one with the Force?

*sigh* Equal rights seems to mean, more often than not, extra rights for some. At least Tesco's had the right idea... and a better understanding of Jedi:

"We would ask Jedis to remove hoods. Obi-Wan Kenobi, Yoda and Luke Skywalker all went hoodless without going to the Dark Side."

Too true.

If you feel benevolent and particularly generous, this writer always appreciates things bought for him from his wishlist

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Nick Clegg Delivers An Awesome Conference Speech

You can check it out in full here. Very, very good stuff. I have high hopes for the coming election! 

If you feel benevolent and particularly generous, this writer always appreciates things bought for him from his wishlist

Saturday, 6 March 2010

Scotland Needs Champions. Don't We All?

Nationalism is such a regressive, backward political philosophy. There's nothing wrong with thinking people within a "nation" should have rights to govern themselves. There's nothing wrong with believing in nurturing and maintaining "national" traditions. These are worthy ideals. But nationalism often, if not always, brings those philosophies and mixes them up with a sense of "us against them", of a "fight" with some external other.

You need look no further than the Scottish National Party to see high ideals and low brow prejudices sitting side by side. The SNP espouses progressive economic and social policies alongside it's calls for independence. These calls draw not upon sensible economics nor upon a desire to free themselves from some despotic British dictatorship (our Prime Minister, after all, is currently a Scot!). No, they draw upon a deep racist spirit held within the hearts of quite a few SNP voters against their "ancient foes", the English.

You might laugh at that, but it is undeniably true. Speak to a few Scottish people and eventually you will find a couple whose hatred for the English is so strong it is quite disturbing.

Any party whose base is thus constructed is not one any sane, reasonable person should support.

It's no different down south. The English nationalists again attempt to wrap themselves up with the usual reasonable policies. But underneath you find their true feelings.

There is a dark soul at the centre of nationalist movements, one that speaks to humanity's primal instincts to hide from change, to fight "the other" and to defend their territory for no other reason than because it's their territory.

We surely must aspire to more than this, to solving our problems, to moving forward and changing. Our world is messed up, lives wasted slaving for corporate masters, true freedom remains ever elusive. We cannot face these issues without forgetting old rivalries, working together and overcoming our irrational minds.

Vote not for people who speak to the past, but to those who speak to the future.

If you feel benevolent and particularly generous, this writer always appreciates things bought for him from his wishlist