Not my usual style, but I had the fantastic opportunity to write a feature after a long time, thanks to Lapsus Lima magazine, a beautifully designed magazine from Peru.
With the recent magnitude of sexual harassment claims being thrown about from every corner of the media, and ruined careers piling up like carcasses, often from unproven accusations, every man must now be questioning their own past behavior, fearing it will be misconstrued into some harrowing sexual predation that would affect every aspect of their life without evidence, a trial, or a jury.
The suicide of Welsh MP Karl Sargeant four days after such nebulous accusations unnamed women has been shamefully swept under the carpet as the #MeToo frenzy continues. Calls for an internal enquiry into the clearly deficient process he went through, where he was suspended from his job without knowing the details of the complaint, have been dropped. We can only hope Mr Sargeant and his family get the answers and the justice they deserve via the official coroner’s inquest. The tragedy of Karl Sargeant is the most extreme example of the incredible injustice many men –not forgetting their families- are going though as a result of this appalling witch hunt and trial by media.
All of us know people in our life—family members and friends—who are otherwise smart, witty, empathetic, but socially awkward, either for cultural or neurological reasons like autism spectrum disorders (ASD) or just as part of their personality. They struggle to read body language, situations or atmospheres, let alone female mind games. Men, who walk a tightrope of social acceptance already, now stepping into a world where feminists want men deemed as second-class citizens, to be distrusted and their social interactions scrutinized at every second.
In this day and age where having an opposing opinion to liberals makes you an instant fascist, Nazi or Trump supporter, the art of debate is losing its lifeline and it feels society will shortly be pulling the plug. If only ever hearing one opinion is allowed, what happens if it’s the wrong opinion? This has become more apparent with the fiasco and utter ridiculousness with the transgender and gender fluid argument.
It started with which bathroom transgender people can use. Is it socially acceptable for a man who identifies as a woman, but still has a penis, to use the female toilets? Or if you look at it the other way, is it fair for a man who feels as though they were born a woman, to have to use the same toilets as men. (Or they could use the unisex disabled toilet; not implying in any way that they are disabled, but it’s a pretty easy solution, no?) If you had any form of evidence-based opinion that did not comport with what trans and 4th wave feminists were preaching, you would instantly be called “transphobic”.
I did not think I’d be looking back at those times of toilet squabble with fondness, as that such time was so much simpler and less frighteningly going a direction that I don’t we can go back from now.
Within a couple of days, two stories came to my attention via Twitter concerning this such direction I speak of. One, was when Topshop announced it was getting rid of women’s changing rooms, and making them all gender neutral, after one person, Travis Alabanza, felt they were the victim of “transphobia” after being refused entry to the women’s changing room. I have absolutely no problem with a person born as a male, still with a male body, wearing women’s clothing and self-identifying as a female. I do have a problem with letting men into female changing rooms where young teenagers get changed. The alarming hilarity and hypocrisy in this is most people championing this decision are also the ones crying out for “safe spaces”. How about a safe space for a bunch of 13-year-old girls to change and show each other their new outfits without the prying eyes of men who will obviously take advantage of this new goldmine peeping tom hangout? To make such a brash and harmful decision that affects the whole country is outrageous and an extremely troubling sign of where things are leading to. It will take one attack.
Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of Britain’s Labour Party, is far from the saintly figure that his millions of supporters think he is, an image that he has cultivated over the years.
The man behind the twinkly-eyed mask has once again been revealed to have a gaping hole where a moral center should be. His support for violent revolutionary and terrorist groups that all share anti-Western or anti-British sentiments is documented and well-known. None of this is enough for his fans, who when presented with evidence of his lack of moral character react the same way Trump’s fans do, with hoots of derision, shouts of fake news and complaints of the Labour and wider British establishment’s right-wing bias.
Thanks Hugo Chavez for showing that the poor matter and wealth can be shared. He made massive contributions to Venezuela & a very wide world
— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) March 5, 2013
However, when evidence of Corbyn’s moral emptiness is right before their eyes, his supporters still choose not to see who he really is.
Following years of worsening privations suffered by the citizens of Venezuela, as their government’s experiment with socialism has unfolded in the humanitarian catastrophe that these experiments always do, Corbyn has refused to condemn Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.
This, despite the fact that Maduro recently claimed victory in a referendum that bestowed on him dictatorial powers that allowed him to rewrite the constitution. The vote was a sham and was treated as such by the opposition, who boycotted it.
Abi Wilkinson, part of the Guardian‘s quartet of progressive commentators Ellie O’wen Wilkinkriss (Ellie Mae O’Hagan, Owen Jones, Abi Wilkinson and Sam Kriss), supports raising the inheritance tax rate to 100%.
Well, I say supports. The column is a part of a series titled “Utopian Thinking” so it as at least somewhat speculative. But given that Wilkinson offers so many reasons to support this radical idea, with the only disadvantage she is willing to admit to being its unpopularity among other people, it is fair to treat it not as a curious thought experiment but as an attempt to push the Overton Window; or, in other words, to expand the ideological borders of mainstream leftism.
It is a profoundly bad idea. This is partly as its imposition would cause many to leave Great Britain. It is partly as it would encourage gaming the system. It is partly as it would require a vast authoritarian bureaucracy devoted to seizing private possessions. But these arguments alone surrender too much ground to Wilkinson. It is not just to take so much from people in the first place.
Fraud has been perpetrated against the nation’s youth. It has been perpetrated by successive governments. This fraud is not tuition fees in higher education but the status granted to that education in the first place. Universities are pillars of civilisation but millions of men and women would be better off not going to them. Britain would save millions in the process. Before abolishing tuition fees, then, we should minimise worthless tuition.
Between the mid-1990s and the mid-2000s, the proportion of young people going into universities across the Western European Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development rose from about 20% to about 40%. Many, doubtless, have benefited from this evolution. Many, on the other hand, have not.
I could have lived without university. I took a mixed humanities course, with politics and creative writing, but learned nothing life and Wikipedia could not have taught me. I remember two things: my creative writing tutor telling me I used too many adjectives, which was true, and a politics lecturer claiming that everybody is bisexual, which is not.
(Aware of the pointlessness of the endeavour, I went home and signed up with a distance learning course. This was cheaper, obviously, and wasted a lot less time. I recommend it to potential undergraduates.)
Naturally, my work has little to do with either field.
Owen Jones is one of the most successful writers in Britain yet he does not actually like writing. “I never wanted to be a writer,” he has written, “I don’t particularly enjoy writing, in lots of ways I’m not a very good writer.” The honesty is endearing. Still, how grim to see one of our most renowned columnists admit that writing is “a means to an end”. Where is the love of language that inspired such commentators as Mencken, Waugh, Hitchens and Cockburn? What does it say about the reading public that a man for whom writing is a mere propaganda tool has reached such heights?
Jones appeared almost from nowhere, with a slim, fresh-faced appearance and cheerful, down-to-Earth style that earned him a following above that of wordier, angrier leftist commentators. His books Chavs and The Establishment became bestsellers and he is one of if not the biggest attraction of The Guardian with his videos and columns.
The honesty that I mentioned is real and admirable. The problem is that it exposes weaknesses that – well – are not.
Following the far-right terrorist attack at the Finsbury Mosque at 00:21 am on Monday, June 19, Tommy Robinson went on Twitter to say how he felt about the attack. Once again he put his foot in it by appearing to suggest that those outside the mosque who were run-over, while not directly responsible for their injuries, were nevertheless tangentially responsible as the mosque had a long history of creating and sheltering extremists and that a reprisal of this sort was just waiting to happen following the recent Islamist attacks in Manchester and on London Bridge.
Predictably, the Twittersphere sounded like the Twitterpocalypse had come, with scores of people slamming him for his tweets. I am not defending what Robinson said in his tweets. Robinson did say in later tweets that he didn’t want this to happen and that he’d been warning about it for years, but the damage had already been done. It made him look worse in many people’s eyes than he did already and confirmed other peoples’ suspicions about him.
Robinson then went in ITV’s Good Morning Britain, ostensibly to defend himself on national TV. However, the “interview” didn’t really turn out the way he might have hoped. What unfolded was extraordinary by any measure, and has caused more controversy than if Robinson had not been invited and just been left with his tweets for company.
He began by saying that there was no such thing as “Islamophobia”. A phobia is an irrational fear, and he said that it wasn’t irrational to fear these things, i.e. Islamist terror.
On the morning of Monday, June 19, at 00:21 am, a white van ploughed into a crowd of worshippers who had exited the Finsbury Park Mosque. 10 people were injured, eight are in hospital with several whose conditions have been described as very serious. One person was killed.
The far-right terrorist, for that, is what we must call him, was held down by members of the congregation while the police were called. The imam protected him from the anger of the crowd so that the police could do their job properly when they arrived. The man reportedly said that he’d done his job, and apparently shouted that he wanted to kill all Muslims.
This attack came just over a year after the murder of the MP Jo Cox by another far-right terrorist. Anniversaries are important for terrorists.
It was 35 years ago. Margaret Thatcher was in power, but only precariously so. The country was fractious, and the economy was still struggling to emerge from the subterranean depths it had plunged to in the 1970’s. A war on the far side of the world was fought and won, against all the odds, and showed the world that Britain would not sit idly by as its sovereign territory was invaded by a belligerent dictatorship.
The first signs of trouble came on March 31, 1982, when news came of Argentinian naval vessels fast approaching the few rocky and windblown islands at the bottom of the world, 8,000 miles away from the UK. The islands were home at the time to around 1,500 people who considered themselves British.
This move by the Argentines came at a bad time. Britain was still weak after the disaster of the 1970’s when even the USSR didn’t want to buy our goods because they were so poorly made. As a result of this, the armed forces, and particularly the navy, had faced budget cuts and were untested since the 1950’s. A victory was not inevitable or even looked possible. The task before Thatcher’s government and the armed forces, in purely logistical terms, let alone in military capability, was immense.
Thatcher had to wage a two-front campaign, both within her own cabinet in order to determine Britain’s response, and also against America, whose interests in the region ran counter to Britain’s. If she had made a mess of either situation, the consequences would have been extremely severe. However, the way Thatcher managed the crisis mirrors the performance of the soldiers, sailors and airmen who fought; they rose to the task, drew a line in the sand and refused to accede to the thuggish behaviour of a dictatorial totalitarian regime.
The cabinet and members of the Foreign Office were already resigned to defeat, showing the prevailing idea from the 70’s of Britain being a nation in decline and that they were just there to manage it. Admiral and First Sea Lord Henry Leach forced his way into the meeting in the House of Commons in full uniform, showing that at times like this symbols of authority such as this are needed to galvanise people into action. He was emphatic: “I can put together a task force of destroyers, landing craft, support vessels… It can be ready to leave in 48 hours.”
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