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Endorsements Page

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014 04:03 pm
miss_s_b: (Self: Innocent)
So my Endorsements page hasn't been updated in... probably several years. Anybody want to endorse me, or change an existing endorsement?

This entry prompted by Andrew saying "*anything* is a masterclass in innuendo when read by you. You could find innuendo in the Highway Code." on twitter, which struck me as perfect endorsement material :)
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miss_s_b: (Who - Five (Cricket and the crotch))
I spent pretty much all of last week horrifically ill with nasty, misery-inducing spotty disease. I was just about coming out of it by yesterday, so in order to cheer me up [personal profile] strangecharm took me to the home of Cricket to see the third day of the test match. it gets long under this here cut )
miss_s_b: (Default)
miss_s_b: (Politics: Post Feminism)
So Mike Fabricant* tweeted a tweet expressing his dislike for Yasmin Alibhai-Brown in colourful and over the top terms. And Twitter exploded. And now he has reluctantly apologised, apparently under threat of having the whip withdrawn**.

I am very uncomfortable with this.

I quite regularly say that various people give me violent urges. I am - or was - under the impression that everybody knows I never actually would rip someone's head off and spit down their neck, or tear their arm off and beat them to death with the soggy end. Such "threats" are so clearly over the top and unlikely that it's obvious I am indulging in hyperbole, surely? We all remember the Twitter Joke Trial, right? We all thought it was dead obvious that Paul Chambers was only kidding. And I would say the same applies to Mr Fabricant's "threat" to punch Yasmin Alibhai-Brown in the throat to save himself from brainsplosion. Mike Fabricant might be a total arsehole, but I think it's vanishingly unlikely that, were he booked to debate on TV with Yasmin, he would crush her windpipe in front of the cameras. If only for self preservation.

But even if he were likely to follow through on his "threat", I still don't think that's reason to stop him fom saying it. I would rather arseholes say arsehole-ish things so we can point and laugh at them*** and recognise them for the arseholes they are than that they silently think arsehole-ish things and we all think they are not really arseholes.

I am also deeply uncomfortable with him being forced to apologise under threat of being sacked. If he apologises of his own free will that shows he has learned that being an arsehole hurts people and hurting people is bad. If he is forced to apologise like a reluctant toddler, all that teaches him is that he can't express his views without suffering opprobrium, not that his views are the problem. If the Tory party think his tweet was unacceptable they should take some disciplinary action****, not threaten him with disciplinary action unless he makes an apology he clearly doesn't mean.

I am a big defender of freedom of speech because misogynists and racists and homophobes and transphobes are people I want to avoid*****, and to avoid them I need to know who they are. If we ban them from expressing their views then it makes them much harder to spot. I'd like misogynists and racists and homophobes and transphobes to feel perfectly free to spew as much bile as they like.

Of course I'd like it even more if society didn't reward them with airtime and newspaper columns and positions of power for being misogynists and racists and homophobes and transphobes, even while po-facedly shaking its head and making them fauxpologise, but I realise that's a pipe dream.



* you have NO idea how hard I have had to try to avoid childish purposeful misspelling of his name throughout this post
** according to Cathy Newman, anyway.
*** or shake our heads and tut disapprovingly, or whatever.
**** I am bang behind freedom of association, as well as freedom of speech, and if I were the Tory party I'd sack Fabricant for being an unrepentant arsehole, not make him pretend to repent like that makes everything OK.
***** Some days I have enough spoons to want to debate with them, but not today.

Alone Time

Thursday, June 19th, 2014 10:45 pm
miss_s_b: DreamSheep/Matrix icon (DreamSheep: Matrix)
One of the peculiarities of being me is that I need alone time. I need to know that I can have some time where nobody is going to make demands of me, and I can just read, or play on the Internet, or whatever, & it'll be fine and nobody is going to judge me. I need to know that I can just lie on the sofa and nobody is going to say "shouldn't you be doing the washing up" or "there's a bunch of laundry needs putting away" or whatever. I need to know that at some point it's going to be possible for me to relax.

When I first got together with [personal profile] matgb we were both very insistent that we would need our own space and that there would be times when we would need to be alone and... Yeah. Mat and I discovered that it's quite easy to have Alone Time with another person in the room, so long as that person respects your need for Alone Time. It's quite possible - easy even - for me to have Alone Time with Mat in the room. We just have to not be bothering each other. We can even be CUDDLING and having Alone Time.

I have spent this evening with three of the four people in the entire world who I can have Alone Time with while they are inthe same room. Of all the people in the world, possibly even the universe, there are four people I would trust to understand my need to not interact at any given moment, and it has made everything SO much better to be able to spend the evening with three of them.

I am a very lucky Jennie.
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Reasons to be Cheerful

Wednesday, June 18th, 2014 10:23 pm
miss_s_b: (Love: Addams)
So I have been feeling a bit sorry for myself this week. Those of you who follow me on twitter might have noticed that I have been afflicted with a mystery spotty disease, which it's looking increasingly likely is shingles*. And there have been a couple of other health-related things which... yeah, I'm not going to go into those. But some of you know why they are upsetting. I never realised how much my self-esteem was wrapped up in my appearance, despite being the kind of feminist who doesn't wear make-up etc., until I suddenly have a face like a half-chewed pizza... Anyway, rather than wallow, I thought I would count my blessings:

  • I have a roof over my head, food to eat, and all that jazz. More than many people have.

  • I have an amazing daughter, and doggie-nurses who snuggle me when I'm feeling bad.

  • My boys. Some of you live with me, some of you don't**. You're all amazing. You're all utterly different to each other, but you're all such good people. I am incredibly grateful and privileged to know each one of you.

  • I have the best friends in the world***. By tweet, by text message, by phone call... You have all been there for me this week. Thank you. I wish I could repay you all for the worth you are to me, but there's not enough gold in the world.

  • Gin.

I'm sure I have more blessings to count, but right now? Right now that last one is looking like the best one I've got. Hopefully my next blog post will be less maudlin.



* the doctor said he didn't think it to be shingles because it was too widespread, and he'd lean towards an allergic reaction, but for various reasons (including my dad the human biology teacher turning up at my house, taking one look at me, and saying "well that's CLEARLY shingles!", and the fact that I have had further outbreaks when I have been nowhere but home...) I think it probably is.

** One of you is kind of half and half right now...*cough* Anyway...

*** if you're thinking "oh she probably doesn't mean ME..." I probably do. Y'all have probably heard of micro-aggressions. There should be a similar term for micro-acts-of-kindness. There are some of you who have said something that you probably think of as a throwaway comment, but which has literally shown me that life is worth living this week. That's very valuable indeed.
miss_s_b: (Mood: Kill me)
So [personal profile] matgb and I were listening to Radio 4 over breakfast, as we do in this household, and some Tory politician said something, and Mat got this look on his face that was somewhere between wounded and confused and said "when did the Tories get so incompetent?"

I shrugged, intending to express the thought that as far as I was concerned they always had been, but he elaborated:
No, seriously, you used to know where you were! Lefties were well-meaning but incompetent; right-wingers were evil but capable*. Now both of them are evil AND incompetent! How are we supposed to cope with THAT?
While I initially thought this was just an expression of Adams' Law**, and he was merely demonstrating his elderliness, I do think Mat's little outburst is an illustration of how many people who are far less politically engaged than Mat and I feel about politics.

People used to know, broadly, what the main parties stood for:
  • Labour are for the workers, and for redistribution of wealth on fairer grounds.
  • Conservatives are for fiscal responsibility and low taxes.
  • Liberals are for maximising freedom - both from and to - within the constraints of the harm principle.
  • Greens want to save the planet via environmental campaigning.
  • UKIP want to take us back to some mythical 1950s paradise that never actually existed.
  • The Loonies are for taking the piss.
et cetera, et cetera, et bloody cetera. The thing is, each of the parties - certainly each of the top four - has, in either local or national government or both, betrayed those core principles often enough that voters don't actually believe a word any of us say any more.

And yes, at the moment it's worse for the Lib Dems than it is for any of the others. But it was Labour before us, and the Tories before that, and each time one of the parties has a crisis of trust with the electorate that party goes down in trustworthiness, but none of the others come back up again. Nobody thinks Labour are better now than they were towards the end of the Blair years, it's just that we Lib Dems are EVEN WORSE. And whichever party it is who has the shit thrown at them next time will be even worse than us; we won't be rehabilitated in the eyes of the public, it's just that there will be somebody even LESS trustworthy.

And thus the spiral continues. Voter turnout at each election gets steadily lower and lower as the layers of natural support for each party give up and stay home. The politicians*** turn to ever more cynical methods of getting their remaining supporters to turn out, and that just exacerbates the problem.

So how do we fix it?

Well, I can't be the one who tells the Tories and Labour and the Greens and everyone else what to do, but for the Lib Dems? It's very simple. We are Liberals. Lets behave like Liberals. We believe in open justice, so no more backing secret courts. We believe in freedom from poverty, so no more turning a blind eye to the tories on their systematic screwing of the poor and disabled via the benefits system, and no more unjustified attacks on Oxfam either. We believe in the freedom to communicate ideas, so no letting Teresa May resurrect the Snooper's Charter. This list could go on forever; there are myriad ways in which this party in government has failed miserably to live up to our core principles, and to articulate clearly where and why compromise has been reached when it has.

It needs to stop. It needs to stop now.

Sadly, I don't think it will. The one man with the power to put an end to all the ridiculous infighting we're having at the moment, so we have the opportunity to rebuild and build better, has shown absolutely no inclination to do so. Our parliamentarians appear to be happy to sacrifice themselves**** on his altar. It's entirely possible we're going to go back to being just an asterisk, for "no discernable level of support".

Now I don't think my party is going to die. I, for one, am not prepared to let it. Liberalism is a way of life, not just a tickybox on a ballot paper. But things carrying on as they are means we are just going to get more and more damaged and debilitated, and it will take longer and longer to come back once we do start to rebuild. And if those parliamentarians who are clinging on to Cleggy and supporting him through this are doing so because they think they are going to be the ones to do the rebuilding when it all comes crashing down? Oh dear. They really don't know what we're like, do they?



* Aside from the fact that conflating lefties and Labour (or Tories and Rightwing) gives me the heebiejeebies, this is basically another way of stating my belief that Lib Dems are closer to Labour on aims but closer to tories on means of achieving aims.
** Adams' Law states that anything that is in the world when you are born is normal and ordinary and just part of the way the world exists and works. Rule 2, anything that is invented between when you are 15 and 35 is new and exciting and revolutionary and world changing, and you can probably get a career in it. Anything that is invented after you are 35 is against the natural order of things.
*** and, for the avoidance of doubt, I include myself in this
**** and the remaining councillors and MEP

About This Blog

picture of Jennie Rigg

Hello! I'm Jennie (known to many as SB, due to my handle, or The Yorksher Gob because of my old blog's name). This blog is my public face; click here for a list of all the other places you can find me on t'interwebs.






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