Posts Tagged ‘UK’

I have been gone for a while; offline life decided to gang up on me a bit with heaping on ALL the academic pressures as well as continuing to give me health crap. I shouldn’t be doing this now because I have an important deadline on Monday, but I made the fatal mistake of reading the paper. My wrath was aroused.

I am fed up to the back teeth of the go-to means of getting more money is ‘cut benefits.’ (been reading about this in the Times as well.) Yep, that’s a great idea. I mean, where else to turn for more money but the people who are struggling to get by as it is? /sarcasm. Because here’s the thing. These top politicians, with their expenses claims and their wealth and their privileged backgrounds, may not realise it, but some people actually rely on their benefits to survive. And yes, that does matter. And no, we can’t use the demon-in-the-lower-galleries* spectre of ‘benefit fraud’ to justify it, which is something I’m also fed up of. Same with the ‘but people on benefits spend more,’ which was what someone quoted in the Times said. (as an aside, isn’t ‘people spending more’ a key thing for the revival of the economy? Yeah, great logic there, folks /sarcasm. And I’ve never taken economics or found myself in a position to run an economy.)

About the fuel increases – I think it’s more complicated than ‘rich people in their Chelsea tractors;’ transport is vital for a lot of people in this age of living areas being mostly separated from workplaces. Fuel costs do put a hole in a lot of vulnerable people’s budgets, and it’s not really feasible to wave that away with saying, ‘just drive less;’ while that’s a good aim and often possible, sometimes it just isn’t. But politicians really like presenting us with these dichotomies, and they know – especially in this case – that their demon-in-the-lower-galleries fallacy is going to reduce sympathy for people on benefits, while fuel costs is something that even people who could afford to pay the increase comfortably will oppose.

It’s not fair that people are suffering pay freezes as prices rise either. Let’s face it, it’s not fucking right that people on the low end of the income scale are the ones feeling the squeeze. It’s not right that as a result of that, the marginalised are becoming more marginalised. It’s not right that the rich politicians who seem to be about the only flavour of politicians there is at the moment are both out of touch and contemptuous of our plight. It’s not right that our rich make money off the exploitation of the poor elsewhere in the world while making everyone else dependent upon a system of exploitation and abuse. The world’s not right.

* Demon-in-the-lower-galleries fallacy – term is from a work of fiction, and a hundred points to anyone who knows which one. Basically, it refers to a created threat, fostered by the powerful in the marginalised and used to exploit them.

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Sooo, I’m back, very tired, and for some strange reason (if there’s weird typos here ignore them, I just wrote ‘straight’ for ‘strange’…) I’ve decided to write a post. Why? I’m sorry, I just can’t resist calling out one of the parties in coalition in our Government out on their bullshit.

Dear Mr Cameron and spokesman. Jokes are funny. Telling a woman to ‘calm down, dear’ when she points out inaccuracy is not. IT’S PURE SILENCING TECHNIQUES. I am fed up to the back teeth and beyond of the Tories’ and their ‘partners’ blatant contempt for anyone who is not a white straight cis conventionally able rich male who is neither too young nor too old. Fed up. Fed up.

Let’s see, now. David Willetts on feminism in its ‘first round effects.’ Clegg and Cameron claiming to have nothing to disagree on. The Government deciding that the rights of ‘women’ (not sure what their definition was, certainly fucked up anyway) were negotiable. Auctioning off internships for huge prices. Dominic Raab insisting that (cis) men were underprivileged. The rich having a proposal for their taxes to be cut while the rest of us get to keep VAT at 20%. And that’s just in 2011, on my blog, that I remember… Oh yes, and I remember that time Nick Griffin approved of what Cameron said about immigration, and that was this year. Then we see their contempt through their policies, and what looks like their sheer arrogance and lack of capacity to listen to others.

Why aren’t we utterly terrified? These people are in charge of our fucking country. And they hate us! Everyone who isn’t part of their absurdly privileged, pigheaded crowd! How did they get there? Who let them in?

Make no mistake, these are reactionary times for those parts of the world mistakenly styling themselves ‘developed,’ using their own societies as a tape with which to measure the rest of the world and find it wanting. Look at the burqa ban in France! Look at the efforts by many USians to control the bodies of those with uteri! It’s not just Britain, we’re part of a deeply frightening trend in Europe, in Australia, in North America and elsewhere as well.

And now comes the Royal Wedding. Come tomorrow, anyone reading this will be subjected to me ranting about it, about the monarchy, about the kyriarchy and various other concepts. Today, I will say, this is part of the trend. The adoring masses, forelocks a-tugging – propping up the kyriarchy, the reactionary, increasingly radical right-wing politics of the day, propping all this up with their blood and tears.

Sarcastic rant alert.

Cut, cut, cut. Of course we can rebuild the NHS in the image of market forces while asking it to cut costs, and of course that won’t affect standards of care. Of course we can cut funds that are vital for the poorest students to attend higher education, and of course that won’t affect social mobility. Of course we can cut certain child protection units, and of course that won’t affect prevention of abuse. Of course we can cut education, and of course that won’t affect our people. Of course we can cut frontline services, and of course that won’t affect their quality. Of course we can cut disability benefits, and of course that won’t affect the quality of life of those who aren’t conventionally able.

Of course we can backtrack on things we promised. We’re in power now, who cares? Of course we can ignore the warnings of experts. Experts, who needs experts, we’re politicians! Of course we can gloss over the public’s concerns. They’re only the great unwashed, what do they know?

Of course we can continue to support capitalism. Of course we can continue to support kyriarchy. What d’you mean, that’s a bad thing? We’re mostly rich cis white conventionally-able educated monoamorous straight singlet age-privileged males or those who support us. We don’t need to work against the kyriarchy.

What d’you mean, we represent the country, and most of the country does need the kyriarchy ended? Hey, what’re you smoking? Right, it’s illegal now, whatever it is, since we don’t need scientific approval – COPS! Anyway, everyone just loves us! We’re really passionate about this! It gives us loads of money – no, sorry, we meant capacity for good, of course we did, but aren’t they the same thing really?

Well, reading the paper gave me a load of WHAAAAT moments this evening…

People are coming out of the woodwork in support of the tuition fees increase suddenly, as Thursday looms ahead of us. This time, it’s ‘increase fees or see places cut in half,’ because clearly the cuts to higher education/hugely inflated adminisitrative costs of universities and government are fair and not worth complaining about so it becomes a zero-sum game. We’ve got a false dichtonomy being dragged up between increasing fees and decreasing social mobility when in reality both increased fees or less places would decrease social mobility.

Also, apparently a ‘stray’ is now the term for a straight man who ‘acts gay,’ whatever that means. The article indulges in all the old gay man=feminine/straight man=masculine stereotypes, sigh. Newsflash – sure, some gay men act as you’ve characterised them. Others do not. Humans are diverse. Gay men are human. Besides that, so are straight men. Some straight men act ‘masculine’, others don’t. It’s all fine. It’s all part of the amazing spectrum of human experience. Quit the stereotypes.

And, in a final WHAT THE HELLLLL moment, the UK Government has decided it no longer needs scientific help when deciding what to do about drugs. The Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill would abolish the requirement for at least six doctors and scientists to sit on the Government’s twenty-member Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs. It will allow Home Secretary Theresa May to ban drugs for up to a year without even consulting the advisory panel, and allows the Government to appoint anyone to the panel anyway.

Drugs policy is hard to talk about, but there’s a lot of false scaremongering around. The press really do not help, and doing away with the requirement for scientific advice is not a good thing. What the Government needs is more scientists who can look at things with a skeptical, analytical, logical mind and advise accordingly, not less.

The pillars of our society are crumbling, and we’re given a holiday to celebrate a Royal Wedding. Are we expected to sit in the ruins of our futures and dreams and rejoice, because some rich people are getting married? The world has moved on, or it should have. We no longer need to tug forelocks, smile when the leaders smile, cry when they cry, and never else. This false joy overlies the boiling anger in our lives, and as our children are held in the cold streets the media laughs to hear the wedding date.

Why do we listen? We must join our children. Join them, and stand in solidarity against the moneyed classes as they, with their huge hands and feet, crush our world unheedingly beneath them.

None of us are safe. If they will deploy armed police against the people, against the children, they will stop at nothing. No happy veneer of a woman and her man will mend this land. Nothing will mend this land, now, till we all extend hands to each other and pull close. Together, we will be stronger than all of them. All of those fools who, by design or by thoughtlessness – and it is of no consequence which, until the fight is done and stock must be taken – have set the very walls of our society alight, they are strong; but together, we can stand against them.

We are not trivial. We are not worthless. We have our hopes. We have our dreams. We have our talents. And we deserve to be able to use them. For all of us who look to democracy and see no true representation, you are right. We must demand it of them. And soon.

UK & trans issues

Posted: November 1, 2010 in Bodies, Gender, Law, Pop Culture
Tags: , ,

The UK really isn’t doing well on trans issues at the moment. The media behaviour in the case concerning Sonia Burgess’ death has been appalling – first the continued misgendering of Sonia Burgess herself, followed by misgendering of the woman charged with her murder, Nina Kanagasingham. The judge, Timothy Pontius, outed Ms. Kanagasingham in court according to today’s reports, and she has been remanded in a men’s prison.

When will authorities realise that a trans woman, no matter the crime she is charged with, is not a man, and is not safe in a men’s prison? It doesn’t seem that hard a concept… Also, as said in the above linked page on Bird of Paradox, the UK’s principle of ‘innocent until proven guilty’ should preclude this sort of treatment.

Also, Mikki Nicholson has won the UK Scrabble Championship. She has been misgendered by most of the UK papers, including the Times, which I’d have expected more of. There have been a range of reporting phrases used – the indirect reportage of her saying that she had been diagnosed as a ‘woman in a man’s body’ by a psychologist, and the Times’ memorable (shameful) use of the word ‘crossdresser.’ However, it is good to see that the Guardian has edited its article to use the correct pronoun, although shameful that they did not use it to start with. Well done, Mikki Nicholson, and may you always have the courage to be yourself and the talent and fortune to be successful.