The Handmaiden’s Blog

There’s some new slang in town, and it doesn’t take kindly to my sort…

Picture it: the sun sets, leaving the world in an orange glow, a horse whinnies in the background, and my Louboutins kick up little puffs of dust as they hit the sand. I’m strollin’ on back into town after a brief(ish) hiatus and, largely, things look the same. The old gang are still down at the watering hole, the General Store still stocks all the essentials, and the malicious drunk is still Foreign Secretary.

Wild-west Boris

It’s like that bit at the end of Dirty Dancing, where Johnny walks back in and everyone is happy to see him (and Boris Johnson is on the stage, pretending to be funny). But then, as I saunter on over to the saloon to tell the Sheriff that nobody sticks Baby in the corner (I think I’ve got my story a bit confused, but tbh I quite like it) everything goes deathly quiet and I hear the click of spurs on parquet flooring and the cocking of a revolver

‘Howdy there, Handmaiden’ says a generic old white woman on Twitter. ‘Let me introduce you to my chromosomes’.

I pause, and my face flashes between a diverse set of react GIFs as I realise that I don’t know what this woman is saying to me. Apparently, there’s a new gang in town, and they don’t take kindly to my sort.

I turn, slowly, reaching for my own 280-character pistol, but then I relax. Obviously, there’s been some mistake.

‘Howdy, friend. I’m thinkin’ you must be mistakin’ me for someone else; I’m a feminist, y’see, and you don’t got no beef with me’.

‘You aint no friend of mine, Handmaiden’ says the old white woman, as her friends emerge slowly from hidden doorways throughout the town.

And at this point I become genuinely confused, and not just because the Old West analogy has started to wear a bit thin. I genuinely, sincerely have been confused recently by people persistently referring to me as a Handmaiden. It seems that I’m a bit behind on my slang terms. For clarification, and in order to avoid a social media faux-pas I asked one of these charming tweeters to explain.

But I didn’t reeeeeally get a response

I decided to Google it. Nada. Zilch.

Hmm.

Ooooh, good, a man to the rescue:

Hm. Ok, so not so much to the rescue, as to the patronising assumption that I don’t understand the point of the reference, rather than explaining why the reference is being directed at me.

To be honest, I’m mostly confused because if someone were to ask me to name my favourite book, there’s a fairly decent chance that I’d say ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ by Margaret Atwood. It’s a beautifully written, terrifying piece of dystopian fiction which highlights that it isn’t the future we have to fear, it’s the now. It is now that women are being coerced into changing their contraceptive choices, it is in 2018 that Ireland are finally having a referendum on the 8th amendment, and it is within the next few months that a woman Prime Minister (however much I dislike her, she is a woman) will accept a state visit from the ‘Leader of the Free World’ who, in case anyone has forgotten, likes to discuss his ability to grab women by the pussy.
So why am I being told to read the book (or watch the show) to understand why TERFs are having a go at me?

***Side note: (I won’t apologise for calling these people TERFs, because they’re the ones who came up with the damn term, and I’m pretty darn sick of them acting as though it’s derogatory when it’s a fair and literal definition of who and what they are; they are Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists, the end.)***

If you aren’t familiar, the book is about a radical Christian society where women are categorised by their function, and men are the ones who hold power (being allowed to read and write in public, for instance). The rules within the new system are enforced by brutal police (of both genders), and rule breakers are either hanged publicly or subjected to a brutal death at the hands of the mob. It’s a good book.
The women are categorised, basically, by whether or not they are able to produce children. Women who are post-menopause but married to a successful man become Wives, women who are married to unsuccessful men become Econowives or servants (Marthas), and women who are infertile, unmarried or beyond child-bearing age, or who have had contraceptive (or medically necessary) gynaecological surgery become Unwomen or Jezebels, and are either banished to war zones to clear nuclear waste or offered the chance to become prostitutes.
Women who are young, fertile and unmarried become Handmaids, and are trained by high-powered zealots (Aunts) before being designated to a household in order to become pregnant by the husband and have the baby given to the Wife in a bizarre ritual loosely based on the bible story of Jacob, Rachel, Leah and Bilhah. It’s a good, scary book.

And that’s why I don’t understand why I’m being called a Handmaiden simply because I support trans women. The implication appears to be (I might be wrong – they won’t actually tell me, remember?) that by allying myself with trans women in particular, I am taking on the role of the compliant Handmaid in Atwood’s novel, betraying other women (although who they think are the ones being betrayed is a bit beyond me) in exchange for brownie points.
OK, so I don’t go around telling trans women to kill themselves, or shouting about penises every five seconds but… huh?

Women in the Republic of Gilead are categorised and given value based almost exclusively on their ability to produce children. In my opinion, that is not a good thing. But that, no matter how much TERFs bleat on about how they’re only ‘standing up for women and girls’

categorising and giving value to women based entirely on their ability to produce children is exactly what stands at the core of their movement.

Women who vocally claim to be the core of the fight against misogyny are closing ranks and basing their entire spur for equality around whether or not someone was born with a vagina (or, in the case of some of the more biological-determination minded ones, XX chromosomes). Now, the actual core of my problem with this is the fact that in reality they’re allying themselves with the alt-right and with incels and are shitting all over the lives of trans people everywhere. The symptom of the problem I have with these people is that since I’ve started trying to stand up for trans people as much as I can (I hesitate to use the term ally because I’m not actually having a wank right now, and I do believe people who use that term are in a semi-permanent state of self-pleasure), it has been decided that I’m not a real feminist. I have had my feminist card revoked purely because I just don’t want to be part of their weird, vagcentric cult. So, yeah. I’m a handmaiden.

I’m guessing that these people haven’t actually read the book. If they had, then maybe they’d have noticed that the following quote is not supposed to be actual advice.

“There is more than one kind of freedom,” said Aunt Lydia. “Freedom to and freedom from. In the days of anarchy, it was freedom to. Now you are being given freedom from. Don’t underrate it.”

Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale

I did want to end on that, because it’s a banging quote and a stylish way to end things. However, I wanted to point out at the end of my white, cisgendered rant about how TERFs can be, that the way they treat me is in actual fact the nicest they get. The way they talk to trans women, and particularly trans women of colour, is absolutely abhorrent. They are bullies, and I’m incredibly fucking privileged to only catch the fringes of their hatred.

 

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Today on Twitter, 07/08

Will Corbyn condemn this?

It’s time to play everyone’s favourite new game, ‘Will Corbyn Condemn This?’ Yaaaaaaaay!

The rules seem to be a little bit like Wheel of Fortune crossed with Numberwang, but they’re easy enough to pick up, so get ready, pour yourself a drink, and jump on Twitter to play along with such distinguished guests as Priti Patel and Vince Cable as they point any and all digits towards JC.

It’s time to spin the wheel!

Wheel of Corbyn.jpg

I hope you realise I spent ages on that. Look how professional it looks!

Obviously this weeks edition is very heavy on Venezuela, but if you tune in next week we’ll have lots of fun new categories because for some reason centrists (and tbf the far-right) can only go about six days without criticising Corbyn or they’ll start to realise that the centre position occupied by the Liberal Democrats and New Labour is what directly enabled Tory Austerity, the rise in tuition fees, the growing privatisation of the NHS, oh, and the Iraq War. They don’t like it when you mention any of those things, so let’s get distracted by the pretty colours and find out what we’re going to be blaming the Leader of the Opposition for this week.

If you were lucky enough to land on a “?” then it’s time for you to come on over to hypocrites corner, where we mock Corbyn for condemning violence on both sides of the conflict in Venezuela via our imaginative and hilarious hashtag, #CorbynCondemns. Oh, my sides hurt from how much I’m laughing.

Blogging.jpg

See?

The fun part about this part of the game is it actually doesn’t matter in the slightest what Corbyn says, because no matter who he condemns, or how strongly he does it, we here at Centrist Productions will find a way to mock him for his weakness. If Jeremy Corbyn had come out and said that he absolutely, unequivocally regrets the support he showed for Nicolás Maduro, then we’d simply change the decorations over in Hypocrites Corner and start a hashtag about how Jeremy Corbyn changed his mind on something. LOL!

Don’t worry if you landed on an IRA segment, the fun isn’t over for you! Corbyn and the IRA is the gift that keeps on giving, and now that most people seem to have forgotten that we’re supposed to still be pretty angry with the DUP we can go back to calling JC a terrorist sympathiser. Let’s just hope that no one remembers that it was Vince Cable who signed off on the deal to sell British weapons (that would later be used on Yemeni civilians) to Saudi Arabia. Or, if people do remember, let’s hope that they believe him when he said that he had no idea that laser-guided weapons might be used to kill people. Because that would lose us our credibility in the area of loss of civilian life.

Ahem.

If after you spin the Wheel of Corbyn you hear a loud klaxon that’s because you landed on our special bonus square (!!!), and now you’ll have a chance to see how many times in one minute you can ignore Mr. Corbyn when he says that he abhors antisemitism before you shout out the bonus phrase “why hasn’t Jeremy Corbyn removed Ken Livingstone from the Labour Party!” to be in with the chance of winning today’s bonus prize!

Just kidding, none of our contestants need a long-reach tool to help them wipe up, their spines are very flexible from constantly bending over backwards to blame everything on Momentum. Happily, this makes it easier for them to keep their heads up their arses.

Goodnight everybody!

P.S. If you want to fight back against the nonsense of #CorbynCondemns then you can join the tweetstorm of #WillCorbynCondemnThis 🙂 9th August, 7pm.

 

 

 

I’m angry, part 1

Preface: This is probably going to be one of many posts where I’m going to (try to) go into real depth about why the horseshoe theory is, as far as I’m concerned, complete and total bollocks. I’ll (hopefully) have lots of clever, philosophical reasons for my feelings on this issue in later posts, but for now it’s enough for me to say…

I do not want to be the bigger person.

This is a statement that, for me, works on more than one level.

At the moment there are people across the world becoming angry. Women who are having their healthcare rights taken from them, people who are watching their children be killed and beaten, people who are being denied the freedom to practice their religion freely in the country in which they were born. These people are understandably pissed off, and we are hearing about it. Unfortunately, when it comes to times of high political tension you will always find people (typically they call themselves “moderates” or “centre-left”) who will turn to protesting families and say ridiculous things like:

“Don’t you see that by becoming angry you’re just sinking to their level!”

Quite aside from the fact that I have a burning hatred for anyone who uses their phrase ‘don’t you see’ in real life, this statement is a load of bollocks. It is utterly ridiculous to claim that victims of injustice must occupy some sort of metaphorical higher level where things like anger and protest are beneath them, and that if they do not elevate themselves above such base emotions they lose the right to any moral high-ground. Nevertheless, the statement (and the attitude behind it) are pretty much everywhere.

The brilliant (or not-brilliant-at-all, depending on your viewpoint) thing about this attitude is that your self-satisfied smugness can be employed in virtually any situation where one side is being unjustly attacked and wants to fight back. Mary Beard gets harassed on Twitter? Just tell her to ignore them and they’ll go away! Katie Hopkins suggests sending war ships to drown boatloads of children? Just stop listening to her and walk away. Lost your home and your family to a preventable disaster in one of the richest cities in the world? Just try calmly telling the teacher that you’re upset and then we can all sort it out.

See? Bollocks.

Ignoring hate-preachers like Hopkins does not starve her of ‘the oxygen of publicity’ (another favourite phrase), it just means that all she ever hears is people telling her how right she is. Who wouldn’t love that?!
If Mary Beard starts blocking people on Twitter then idiots with honorary PhDs and second-rate statistics books (ahem) will declare themselves victorious over silly old historical experts pretending to know things about history. Paul Joseph Watson will have a field day and the alt-right will become even more convinced that they’re all in fact worshipers of truth who are smashing away feelings with facts (spoiler alert: they’re not. They’re just dicks).

If we start allowing these people to think that they’re right, to believe that they’ve won or to sense that we’re weak they will grow until we’re politely coughing and raising a hand to point out that, actually, we’re sure we read something about how biological determinism is bullshit racism masked as science and, um, maybe phrenology isn’t a sound way of determining immigration policy?
Just the thought of that kind of attitude, a sort of metaphorical martyrdom where we all sacrifice things like human rights at the alter of being the better person, makes me angry enough to pop a new varicous vein…

And that’s OK!

It’s OK for us to get angry, it’s OK to start arguments with proud Neo-Nazis, and it’s definitely OK for me to call them cunts, OK?!

I don’t want to be the kind of person who believes that opposing genocide doesn’t give you the moral high ground if you shout at someone, and I don’t want to climb up to your pedestal and look down on all of the silly, angry people ‘lowering’ themselves by threatening to moon the President of the United States if he visits London.

You go be the bigger person, if you want. I’m going to go and laugh at that video of Richard Spencer getting punched in the face.

 

 

 

Today on Twitter 30/07

I don’t really want to blog about this.

It’s being done to death.

I have to do it anyway, don’t I?

Ahem.

Today on Twitter everyone went nuts because an increasingly irrelevant Katie Hopkins prototype wrote a piece of antisemitic bullshit in the guise of a piece of sexist bullshit.

Kevin Myers had a piece published in the Irish edition of today’s Sunday Times. This piece bore the following headline:

Today on twitter 3

The observant among you will have noticed that this is a picture, not a link to the article. That’s because I was quick and made sure I saved a copy of the image before it was taken down by a no-doubt hyperventilating editor in London. It was taken down because pretty much everyone lost their shit about the fact that the article went on to be pretty darn antisemitic.

Sunday Times

Because nothing gets an article going quite like an offensive and outdated stereotype widely employed by the Nazis.

People were disgusted, and rightly so. They kicked off, dear Kevin got the sack, and The Sunday Times issued an apology and stated that the publication “abhors antisemitism”. Good.
Unfortunately, some of us are still a little upset about the sexism, which isn’t mentioned in the apology at all.

And so on and so forth. Many tweets asked why a man like this was given such a prominent platform in this day and age.

Q: Why is it that in 2017 people are still paid to write pieces like this in mainstream publications?

A: Because the idea that the wage gap is a myth is a very popular one and people love paying money to have someone tell them that their prejudices are justified.

People love to hear that women need to stop complaining. In general, the people who believe that women need to stop talking about the wage gap fit into two pretty broad categories:

Category A: They’re making it up. “I’ve never seen a job posting with  different salary advertised for women!”

Category B: They’re not making it up, but it’s justified. “Blah blah maternity leave blah blah bread winner” etc. etc.

So what we have in Kevin Myers is a classic category B, which I’m sure that he’s more than happy with since he’s in such esteemed company as Pretty Much Every Guy in My Old Office, and That Guy From Casualty.
Kevin Myers is nothing special when it comes to his views on women, and instead of asking how this guy is still paid to write disgusting, inflammatory pieces about how men are better than women, we should be asking how this guy is still paid to write. Full stop. Because the super fun thing I found out while researching this post is that Kevin ‘wants photos of gay sex‘ Myers is a fucking terrible writer.

This may be the Whiskey Mac talking, but Myers just can’t write. His back-catalogue reads like a collection of essays by an enthusiastic but attention-challenged 14 year old on a quest to be named Ultimate Edge Lord.
As a fun little experiment, let us dive down this rabbit hole together, you and I, and see what Kevin My Arse‘s career has looked like.

Disclaimer: I haven’t included any links from Myers’s time at The Sunday Times due to the fact that I’m not a subscriber. I subscribed to the Irish Independent so that I could view these articles, but all one needs to do is enter an email address and you, too, can enjoy the crazed rantings of My Arse.  Let’s do a little countdown!

#3 – Kevin Myers vs English Sausages

In this delightful offering from October 2012, Kev begins with a somewhat understandable level of worry about struggling businesses in a nearby town.

Myers1So far, so reasonable. Unfortunately for us this is pretty much the last glimpse of sanity we’ll see, as from here on in Myers goes from having a quick wank over Microsoft using Ireland as a tax haven in the EU:

Myers2to crying over the poor old private sector having to contribute (via taxes) to the pensions of council employees whilst letting it’s own dear employees starve:

Myers4

to the loss of jobs from the closure of Olhausen due to financial difficulties and the inability to find a buyer from the business. Huh.

Myers3.png
Following on from the closure of Olhausen (which he must have used a fucking huge crowbar to get in there) the above closing paragraph actually makes sense because there’s a decent chance that the Olhausen workers would have kept their jobs if the company were able to export their products to England. The big problem comes when we try and fit Exhibit A (Microsoft like Ireland), Exhibit B (The local council workers have pensions) and Exhibit C (English sausages taste like sawdust) all together. I wish I could say that at the end of the “article” he ties it all together, but (in the beginning of an irritating trend) he doesn’t. That’s it. The above really is his closing paragraph. NEXT!

#2 – Kevin Myers vs Global Warming

In this episode we join Mr Myers on a journey around the continent, what fun adventures will we have today, boys and girls? Myers5

Yay!

This article is another great example of hopping around from ridiculous point to ridiculous point. Since it’s pretty clear from the off that this is going to be an article of climate change skepticism (otherwise known as being a fucking idiot and/or a massive wanker) we obviously don’t expect it to be, you know, good. By the end of the first paragraph he’s propositioned the reader. By the beginning of the second paragraph he’s demanding to know why the fall of communism didn’t change the weather, and it only gets worse from there. Reading the rest of this article is like wading through a swamp of conspiracy-fueled euroscepticism littered with hyperbole, and it’s really telling that I’m actually glad when we start comparing global warming to Swine ‘Flu, AIDS, Genital Herpes and Acid Rain. It’s like a reaching terra firma. A terra firma I’d rather chew my own ear off than be on, but that is still preferable to the brown, shitty, muddy water I was in before. Basically, Kevin Myers talking about global warming is like getting out of the sea and back on to the beach at Weston Super-Mare.

Weston

After the obligtory “it’s cold! How can you say there’s global warming when it’s quite obviously cold outside?! Stupid Libtards!” reminiscent of a speech to the US Senate, there’s a brief outburst of islamophobia before he declares that global warming is the next Euro and the “article” ends. Sudden endings really are a favourite in these articles, and I really think it’s because he forgets where he started, has a little rant, gets tired and then clicks ‘send’ before going for a nap. He really does get easily distracted. Speaking of which…

#1 – Kevin Myers vs… um… Stuff?

It was actually super hard to come up with a number one on the list of things Kevin Myers has lost an argument against, because the man just battles everything. Islam, Palestine, the EU, Catholics, Loyalists, Protestants, Unionists, Britain, Ireland, Wales, the Tudors, Channel 4, Homophobia, Equality, Inequality, the Pope, the Press Ombudsman, the Green Party, Gay Couples, Mulled Wine, Prosecco, Uganda, Jewish People, China; there’s no beginning to what this guy knows about. It doesn’t matter to him whether or not his stances clash with each other because he’s off in his head watching the pretty colours and complaining that he doesn’t get invited to be an expert on historical television shows despite being literally the only person who knows anything about anything. It doesn’t matter that he’ll no longer be writing for the Sunday Times because here is a man who doesn’t write for the money or for the fame, but for himself.

To bring things back to the beginning (something which I’ve learned from the esteemed Mr Myers is very important when writing opinion pieces) I don’t give a fuck what this man has to say about the pay gap, at the BBC or elsewhere. I’m happy that he won’t be given a platform at one particular publication anymore, but I don’t need an apology from them or him. The man is an idiot with a flare for writing inflammatory headlines. His one gift was being Katie Hopkins before Katie Hopkins was a thing (incidentally, I bet she’s pissed off that her trip to hospital today was overshadowed by someone else saying something stupid) and now that’s a gift that’s worthless.
Farewell, Kevin Myers. You wrote like no one was reading. Hopefully this was good practice for the future.

 

I Wish I Wish I Was an Organic Fish

I’ve been under the weather, which is why I haven’t been posting much. However, between wondering whether there’s some sort of adverse reaction if you mix Halls with Strepsils and stuffing toilet roll up my nose I’ve been thinking about herbal medicine.

I wish I was the sort of person who is in to herbal medicine. I’d be so happy if I could pop down to Holland&Barrett and buy some echinacea and Ginseng and then go home via a lovely little cafe for some filtered water and a green tea. It would be so, so lovely. Unfortunately I really like things like caffeine and sugar and alcohol and butter. Yummy, yummy butter. I’m tempted to believe that rinsing my body out with lovely natural things would make me feel wonderful and healthy and clean. I’m also tempted to believe that green tea tastes like shit and that if alternative medicine worked we’d all just call it medicine instead.
It’s actually pretty trendy at the moment to be the kind of person who believes that alternative medicine is bullshit and that Old Wives Tales are bullshit and that anything even vaguely natural sounding is bullshit. I wish I was the sort of person who was like this. The trouble is, I love Old Wives Tales. Peppermint helps stomachs, camomile makes me calm, Witch Hazel is great if you have a bruise or problem skin and every time I get a splinter I reach for the tiny little jar of black jack that we’ve had since my great-grandparents lived in my house. So, obviously, I’m stuck. Half of me wants to knock back some spirulina and go for a jog to fend off a cold, the other half wants a Whiskey Mac and a bottle of Lucozade in bed. Having a cold is exhausting, but most of the problems I deal with when I have a cold (aside from the river of snot that is my face) stem from whether or not I want a smoothie or some Birdseye Potato Waffles (they’re waffley versatile).

In March of last year I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis and began a lovely journey to find a combination of medicines to control the super-long flare up of the ulcers in my colon and hopefully help me get back to normalish. I tried increasing strengths of suppositories, enemas, suppository enema combinations, and gigantic brown tablets which look like suppositories but definitely go in your mouth. None of the above really worked and I continued to suffer from bleeding, mucous, pain, diarrhoea and fatigue. Boo. The next step was to try steroids and hope that they could calm the flare up for long enough for the other medicines to work.
Steroids get so much bad press. They make you fat, they make your face all round and stupid-looking (more stupid-looking than normal), they weaken your bones, make you susceptible to being ill and make you reeeeeeally easily pissed off. Taking steroids also gives people the belief that they have the right to comment on your healthcare. People start to say things like:

“Ohh, that’s really not good, I’m so sorry! Are they sure about putting you on steroids though? That’s just putting your body through so much. Have they sent you to see a dietician? Obviously since it’s a bowel thing then what you eat will make a difference!”

And then I start to say things like:

“Fuck off.”

And then I have to start apologising and explaining that I’m completely sick of people telling me not to take the medicine given to me by the nice highly qualified consultant and to instead try taking a shot of apple cider vinegar before bed. Don’t get me wrong, I like vinegar as much as the next girl, but it’s just vinegar. Seriously.

The first time I took steroids they worked and life was great and I had a wonderful holiday in America without pooing myself once. Woo!! But then I got home and had to stop taking them and my symptoms came back. Since I’d responded to steroids so well I went right back on them, only this time they didn’t change anything. I was in loads of pain, I hated leaving the house because of bowel incontinence, and I was gaining a kilo a week of steroid weight. Boo.

Now, I don’t want this blog to become all about my ‘journey’ with UC, because there are other people who do that sort of thing waaaay better than I could, and I want to get back to bitching about Liberal Democrats tomorrow. So to cut a long story short I now take some pretty scary tablets that work really well and even though I’m still pretty big I no longer have the charming purple stretch marks I developed back in November. Phew.

Unfortunately, I’m still stuck. As much as I believe that the best people to make decisions about my bowel are the lovely men and women who have built careers around making decisions about bowels, I also want to be able to try turmeric tea. I take ten tablets a day but I really wish I didn’t. I have to remember repeat prescriptions, remember to renew my prescription prepayment certificate, remember to actually collect my prescriptions and then remember to actually take the damn tablets at the right time of day when I haven’t eaten for three hours and don’t plan on drinking milk for the next hour. I’m shit at all of that, and at the end of the day I just lie there thinking about the different stages of my digestive system and how they absorb the different tablets. I think about how my blood is full of chemicals which work specifically by attacking my immune system. I really wish I was the kind of person who believed that turmeric tea and mindfulness would do the job of mercaptopurine and sertraline.

I also wish I was the kind of person who lolled happily at people who have thoughts like that.

Tbh, mostly I just wish I was the kind of person who isn’t on first name terms with the local independent pharmacist because they only see their GP once in a blue moon when they have a slightly persistent cough or a spot of conjunctivitis.

That’s all pretty unlikely though, so for now I’ll settle for drinking a nice cup of tea, maybe eating a salad in a bit and remembering to take my tablets tonight.

Probably.

 

P.S. Please take a minute to check out Crohns and Colitis UK and the awesome stuff they do.

P.P.S I heart Kings Heath Pharmacy 😀

P.P.P.S I chose to have a smoothie AND some potato waffles.

 

 

Today on Twitter: The George Galloway Dilemma

Move over, ‘A Random Kardashian’, George Galloway is here.

This week on Twitter (third post and I’m already breaking the rules) there’s been a popularity explosion. Former leader of the Respect Party George Galloway has been filling up my feed in the form of “Sign the petition – re-instate George Galloway!” or “Re-instate George Galloway to the Labour party – Sign the petition!” and other variants on a pretty basic theme.

I’m guessing that all of this is because of the recent flare up (and following social media attention) of the Israel-Palestine conflict, a subject about which Galloway has never hesitated to comment.

Unfortunately, putting the spotlight back on Galloway also unavoidably illuminates some other areas of political history that we spend the rest of the time trying to move past. Most of us are more than glad to see the end of Tony Blair representing the ideals of the Labour Party (no matter how much he tries to cling to political relevance) and we acknowledge that the party moving away from New Labour centrist bullshit is definitely a good thing. Jeremy Corbyn has long been a prominent figure in the Stop the War Coalition and it seems that he’s helping to pull us all away from the image of Labour as warmongers so desperate to suck up to America that we’ll enter a decade long investigation over whether or not the former Prime Minister should be sent to The Hague.
George Galloway has also been a prominent member of StWC, and I’m fairly certain that this is why people are convinced that JC should overlook Galloway’s expulsion and welcome him back with open arms (and are filling my feed with petition links in the process). However,  just because the Chilcot Inquiry has made us all feel vindicated about pretty much every way we protested the invasion of Iraq does this automatically mean that the reasons for Galloway’s expulsion are no longer important? The charges that Galloway faced in 2003 were:

  • he incited Arabs to fight British troops
  • he incited British troops to defy orders
  • he incited Plymouth voters to reject Labour MPs
  • he threatened to stand against Labour
  • he backed an anti-war candidate in Preston

And he was found guilty of everything except for inciting voters in Plymouth to reject Labour MPs.

Whether or not he was right to do any of the above things is irrelevant – it was found that he was bringing the party into disrepute and now fourteen years later the argument is that he should be allowed to re-enter the party that he stood against in 2012. But why? Refocusing all of our attention on the Tony Blair era will surely stop the party from doing actual relevant things like making history at the Durham Miners Gala, and it’ll also keep on dragging the name of the Labour party back through the mud; like it or not, George Galloway absolutely, unequivocally brought the party into disrepute. His on-again-off-again friendship with Saddam Hussein, his support of Ken Livingstone’s Adolf Hitler comments, and oh yeah, all but one of the charges above, should be reason enough to keep the expulsion in effect until he says a very big sorry. Like, a huuuuuuuuuge sorry. And that’s my dilemma, because even though I agree with the reasons for his expulsion, I also agree with Galloway on some other topics and recognise that for a lot of people he’s an important figure on the Left. He wants to come back, and it’s taken writing this post for me to decide that it would definitely do more harm than good. Before I started stacking up those handy-dandy clickable links I’ve included, I was unsure exactly where I stood on this issue, and it’ll certainly take more than Taylor Swift levels of popularity on Twitter for me to change my mind.

Side note: as a child of the 90s I’m totally unable to see/hear/write/think the word “dilemma” without my mind instantly playing that awesome song by Nelly feat. Kelly Rowland, but I can’t include it here without paying and fuck that noise. You can watch it here instead, and if you have any sense you’ll also go and listen to Ignition Remix. Enjoy!

 

Today on Twitter 24/07

Today on twitter 2

Is it just that I’m a girl?

Today on Twitter I got into it with a guy (shock, I know). I expressed my support for the current industrial action taking place by the bin men of Birmingham (woop woop!). As far as I’m concerned, it was a fairly non-inflammatory tweet (but lets face it, I knew that some people would disagree and went ahead and said it anyway. Whoops).

The right to strike is something I feel pretty darn strongly about – tbh I think it’s the only thing that stops selfish bastards who get a hard-on over having a mid-managerial position from making us work 18 hours 7 days a week for a “love of the company”. If you’ve never had a manager like that then you’re a lucky bastard, but if you want I can hook you up since I still have emails from like four of them.

As predicted by everyone (except maybe these people from the New York Times) it wasn’t long before someone told me I was wrong. We had a lovely little chat (lol) about why I was wrong (I wasn’t) and how I was making stuff up (I wasn’t) and how I believe the Unite propaganda (…OK so that part might be true). As part of this new tactic I’ve been employing (we’ll get to why in a second) I was trying not to be (too) inflammatory and was double checking I’d got my facts straight before I started spewing my mouth off. I decided to link to the article I got my information from in the hopes of bringing an end to the whole thing. It didn’t work.

I’ve started providing links to things and absolutely making sure of my facts before tweeting because it totally undermines your argument if you get one single thing wrong ever. If you get proven wrong on one teeeeny tiny detail of you’re argument then all of your other points completely disappear as the person goes “we were arguing about THIS and you’re WRONG and you might as well give up and DIE” whether or not your other, more important points are still valid. This approach is something we’ve all done and delighted in, and it’s the reason I now link to things and make sure that I’m not talking out of my arse too much.

So, I sent the link to the article and BOOM, instant ignoring and guy telling me I’m ignorant. I’m 90% certain that the bloke didn’t even read the article, because his instant reaction was to go back to one of my earlier points and tell me I was wrong eveN THOUGH THE GODDAMN ARTICLE I LITERALLY JUST LINKED RIGHT THERE IN THE LAST TWEET EXPLAINS WHY I PUT FORWARD THAT POINT YOU FUCKING IDIOT.

Ahem.

Ever calm and composed I pointed out that even if what he was saying was the case I still believe that the striking workers deserve more pay. I’m a lovely reasonable gal, after all.

How the fuck are we back here again? I’ve said why I back the strike, I’ve provided a link to an article which has information on the strike and why I support it, and yet I’m still ignorant. Then the guy says something interesting. OK, not actually interesting because I’m pretty sure that there are plates of blancmange who are more interesting/intelligent/romantically appealing, but the guy says something that starts to make me think. He says this:

and then he says this:

It’s a classic trolling technique to tell someone that every time they open their mouth they’re digging themselves deeper (again, we’ve all done it), and in general it’s just a way of backing out of the argument but still being able to say that you’re right because the other person is just far too wrong to notice how wrong they are and how right you are. It’s an internet thing. I’m also pretty sure that it’s a girl thing, and not as in #justgirlthings, but more like a “Lol I found the feminist! #triggered” girl thing. Sometimes people just think you’re dumb because of your vagina, but don’t say that it’s because of your vagina.

This isn’t the first time this has happened, and it almost certainly isn’t the last time I’ll be pretty certain that it’s just because I’m a girl. But, to be honest, I’d actually like someone to just come out and say it for once.