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It’s their party and we’ll cry if we want to

April 28, 2011 Leave a comment

With the country gearing up for the unprecedented excitement of a day off work for those who have work, Mr Cameron has staunchly defended the importance of the royal wedding for ordinary British people.

Mr Cameron yesterday spoke of his determination to defend the rights of ordinary hard-working families to enjoy this special day and of his deep disappointment at those who wished spoil the day by being mean about it, or, in some cases, even protesting against it.

“What these extremists don’t seem to understand is that ordinary people are struggling as this government repeals the welfare state and slashes jobs, or as we like to call it, ‘cleaning up Labour’s mess’. Because we have had to use napalm to clean the mess, a lot of people are getting very badly hurt of course, and what these people – people whose lives are falling apart – need in order to feel better is a big party to which they aren’t invited.

Do these protesters not realize how many people have lost their jobs over the last six months? This is a very hard time for people, and the only thing that will keep some going, as they adjust to loss of earnings and battle to keep their homes, is the sight of institutionalized extravagance being celebrated.

While I will never attempt to politicize a day of this importance, I think it’s worth taking a moment to appreciate the diversity this important day celebrates. A simple millionaire’s daughter marrying a member of royal family is the sort of diversity that this government has always and will continue to champion. For those with concerns about social mobility in this country, I think this is a very important landmark.

There have been some – radicals and extremists, of course – who have suggested that this government has a fundamental bias against welfare scroungers.  This wedding is a chance for us to prove them wrong – we are very much in favour of obscenely rich welfare scroungers like the Royal Family. I think the phenomenal amount of fuss we’ve generated out of one of them getting married shows the left’s lies as just that. However, I do not want this day to be dragged into the political, because this day is about ordinary people and the ordinary communities.

And since the Big Society comes without batteries included, for now we need things like the royal wedding to bring communities together, as the commoners alternate between discussing Kate’s dress and whether she’s lost weight. This distracts people from the fact that they can’t afford new clothes for themselves, and encourages them to run up the personal debt that might help save the high street despite our disastrous economic policies. But it’s more than that, more than simply about unaffordable and offensive aspiration – the important thing for ordinary people to remember is that wedding paraphernalia is the pressing issue of the day. We must keep this up front and centre, or people will start to wonder what we’re really going to do with the NHS.

But most of all, this is an important day of national unity during what we all know are difficult times, because while some of us will actually be going to the party, everyone else should be watching it on TV, supporting the economy by buying souvenir tat and remembering that we’re all in it together.”

Mr Clegg was unavailable for comment.

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Irish police launch sitcom. Nation not entirely amused.

April 10, 2011 1 comment

Back in Atlantis, in the Middle Ages of last week, reports came to light that our police are medieval cretins.

At an environmental protest camp in the west of Ireland, two young female protesters were arrested. Their video camera was also arrested. Because the video camera was still switched on, it captured the ensuing comedy stylings of these professional guardians of the peace as they joked back and forth about raping the two women. The transcript of the pilot for the Father Ted-esque sitcom can be found here.  

Unidentified garda: “Sounds like a Yank or Canadian.”

Garda B: “Well whoever, we’ll get Immigration f**king on her.”

Garda A: “She refused to give her name and address and told she would be arrested.”

Garda B : “…….and deported”

Garda A: “And raped.”

Garda B: “I wouldn’t go that far yet….. She was living down at that crusty camp, f**k sake, you never know what you might get.”

(Laughter) 

Garda A: “Give me your name and address or I’ll rape you.”

(Laughter) 

Unidentified garda: “Hold it there, give me your name and address there, I’ll rape you.”

(Laughter) 

Garda A : “Or I’ll definitely rape you.”

Unidentified garda: “Will you be me friend on Facebook?”

Now, before you become enflamed with righteous rage, the thing to remember is that this was harmless banter. It was mates having a laugh and telling funny, funny jokes.

This, from what I can gather, has been a significant contribution to the ensuing debate about standards one might expect from police, about violence to women, about whether we take rape seriously. Lots of people whinging that ‘they were just having a laugh.’

Sure they were. Frustrated stand-up comics, both of them. And the material! It’s almost as funny as Frankie Boyle. No, that’s not fair. I’m going to try to be fair.  It’s funny like Beavis and Butthead. In fact, if I really put my prejudice aside and try to objectively evaluate its comic potential, I am forced to admit that it’s probably almost as funny as Abu Ghraib.

 If we were to become so politically correct as to outlaw such simple, innocent office banter, that’s the sort of comic genius that would be lost to future generations. If you’re honestly going to tell me I can’t have a laugh about raping people, where will you go next? Tell me I can’t joke with blindfolded prisoners that they’ll be electrocuted if they step off the box? Oh, the hilarity of punching the powerless; where would frustrated, inadequate little wankers be without it?

But outside of the comic merits or demerits of their script is the context of the conversation. Two policemen joking about raping two women they have just arrested does not send a message that rape is taken particularly seriously as a crime. Mind you, prosecution stats provide enough evidence of that without the puerile soundtrack of two gobshites revealing themselves in all their troglodyte glory.

Some vested interests are more equal than others

April 3, 2011 Leave a comment

In the running for this week’s ‘Ya gotta be kidding me, right?’ award is this little gem.

A woman intending to have an abortion will be required to have counselling. By this I am not shocked. I wish I could be, but it’s been a long year and my usual reserves of political indignation are running frighteningly low. Patriarchal interference in women’s reproductive decisions seems more like a logical next step at this stage than something that might shock. But their explanation for the proposal is worth paying some attention to.

According to Miss Dorries, the current system means that women receive advice on terminations from a “remote abortion provider, with a vested interest”.

This proposition is an amendment to the Health and Social Care Bill – a bill that will radically change the way health care is commissioned in this country. It will open the door for all sorts of remote health providers, who some believe will have invested interests since they will make, you know, money.

The reasoning behind the amendment creates a powerful precedent – because the reason for compulsory counselling isn’t, of course, that women are raving hormonal loons who can’t be trusted to make decisions about their health or their bodies. The reasons being given for this are not even a shiny new chorus of ‘won’t somebody please think of the children.’ No, the reason for this is that an organisation with a vested interest cannot be trusted to make medical decisions.

So here are the options:

a) Dorries and Fields are weird, cowardly little creeps who actually want to make ‘impartial’ counselling compulsory before a woman has an abortion for other reasons that they are afraid to say out loud.

b) ‘Impartial counselling’ is an important measure that must be addressed whenever patients receive advice or treatment from a body that might have a vested interest.

Since there’s no way this is a sly measure to control women’s bodies and choices while making it sound as though it is designed to protect vulnerable women at one of the more difficult times of their lives, it must be (b).

So when private interests are commissioned to treat patients, we will each need counselling first, which will help us come to terms with our health and their decisions. After all, before taking antibiotics, some counselling will reassure us that the provider chosen by the consortium does have our chest infection’s best interest at heart. If I’m told I need my appendix out, I will of course require counselling first – after all, they have an invested interest, and it’s possible I could have gone for months without the thing exploding.

There’s really only one thing that confuses me about this. What if they tell me I need counselling? Will I have to have counselling before a third party health care provider with an invested interest tells me I need counselling? Since this government is fast making me lose my mind, I may need an answer to that one quickly.

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David Willetts, April Fool

April 1, 2011 Leave a comment

I wasn’t at all sure I’d win at Spot the April Fool this year. After all, we live in very special times and the papers have been practising for April First every sodding day for the last ten months. I mean, it turned out that criminalizing soup runs because ‘they encourage homeless people’ wasn’t a joke. How’s a person to tell anymore? Another day, another story that makes me laugh at its Stewart lee-esque brilliance before collapsing into incoherent rage as I realise it’s true.

But today is, having consulted a calendar, the first of April. So one story from today’s catalogue of infamy is just in jest. Which can it be?

I’m going with David Willetts, because otherwise I will have to just give up and smother myself with a copy of the Daily Mail. Because honest to good god and all the little fairies, this fucking bollocks can only be written in jest.

Mr Willetts’ argument goes thusly: social mobility has been negatively affected by feminism. To begin this argument involves placing 50% of the population in some bizarre holding pattern I don’t quite understand, because we are not going be talking about how 50% of the population may have been given a chance at economic and social independence by feminism. We’re just going to pretend that women are an appendage to the class system to which their men are subject. And from here, we argue that women getting access to education and jobs was at the expense of working class men, QED.

Since I refuse to accept the premise, even for a thought experiment, I’m afraid I can’t really go much further with this one. And I like thought experiments. I am completely on board with Schrondinger’s cat. But this one is just too offensively rubbish.

One of the things that gets under my skin when I read this sort of unmitigated bullshit, is how fiercely it feels the need to cast feminism and ‘the working class’ in opposition. I was brought up in a working class feminist family, feminist politics and values shared alike by my mother and my father. It took me years if not decades to discover that anyone, anywhere could separate the advance of the working class from advances for women, but that sorry revelation is a story for another day.

Because this is a story about social mobility, or it was supposed to be, until Mr Willets happened to engage a line of argument which has surprising distracted everyone. We should be talking about social mobility, and we shouldn’t be waylaid by spurious nonsense that could easily be mistaken for another funny, funny Tory gag, sent to try my blood pressure. We should be taking about how how to improve social mobility and we should be talking about what hinders  it.

Now, I don’t want to go all SWP, but while we watch the still-smouldering ruins resulting from our high speed chase through the stratosphere with unfettered cowboy capitalism, might this not, just maybe, be an apposite time to discuss how it may have had less than entirely positive effects on social mobility? I know it was probably mainly the cause of Those Damn Women, but still.  It’s just a crazy far-left thought after a long working week; I’ll leave it there for you to ponder.

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