miss_s_b: (Fangirling: Lee)
The inevitable campaign to get a track by a beloved deceased person has started, and Twitter has decided that the track we should go for is My Way. Buy it on amazon here, or Google Play here, or iTunes here.

If you're a proper tightarse, listen to it a few times on Spotify, that counts, but not as much as actually buying it, so listen to it LOTS.
miss_s_b: (Default)
miss_s_b: (Fangirling: Lee)
I hoped I wouldn't have to write this so soon. But then whenever it was it would be too soon. This is one I never could have been prepared for, even knowing how frail he's been the last few years. We'll not get a new Christmas metal track this year, but at least he got his wish of living to see all of the Hobbit films come out, and if there's an afterlife at least he'll get to see his best friend again now.

I'm going to be a bit delicate for a few days, guys. The grumpy old Tory sod was someone I've worshipped since I was six. It'll be a few days. Thanks.

miss_s_b: (Default)
miss_s_b: (Default)
miss_s_b: (Mood: Belligerent Wheel of Fortune)
I'm not going to give these people the publicity they clearly crave by linking to their poisonous words, but those of you who think it's acceptable to use someone's death to rake over old coals or score cheap political points - Salmond, Oakeshott and (inevitably) Öpik among them - need to take a good long look at yourselves.

A man has died. Even if he wasn't the much-loved person he clearly was, even if everyone hated him, it is not appropriate to use a person's death for your own ends, even if you think those ends are the noblest ends there are. When someone has just passed you need to leave some time for people to process it before you start making snide little asides or even blatantly laying into them. As [personal profile] matgb just said to me, they could leave it till tomorrow. Or even the afternoon.

And finally, if your comments lead people to say things like this:
...it's maybe a sign that you do the classless thing a bit too often. Grow up and let people grieve before you loose your poison on the world. Thank you.

ETA: this post from Dr Nerdlove has some good advice for you guys and your ilk.

RIP Charles Kennedy

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2015 09:11 am
miss_s_b: (Mood: Bugger)
Everyone in the Lib Dems (and many beyond) is feeling this one, and I'm no different. Like many others in the Lib Dem family, I couldn't call Charles Kennedy my best friend, but he meant a huge amount to me none-the-less. My first conference I went as a steward, because if you work conference you get in for free. One thing that most people outside the party (and even many people within) might not know is how Charles was revered among the stewards at conference - because even when he was leader and always after he always made time for a stewards' thank you party, and he didn't just stick his head in, he really had time for them and was genuinely grateful for how they made conference possible.

So my first conference, having worked my arse off at the least popular stewarding post because I was the n00b, I went to the steward's party. And was welcomed joyously by Charles. And every conference after he always said hello, and remembered my name. A couple of times we'd end up in the smoking zone having a companionable rollup. My second autumn conference we went back to Bournemouth and I'll never forget being sat on the wall by the Marriott Highcliff with Charles, kicking our feet and smoking a fag apiece like naughty schoolchildren behind the bikeshed and chatting about nothing much. I was - still am, really - nobody in the party. But Charles didn't give a rat's arse about who he was supposed to talk to.

He was a witty and inspirational speaker. He was a principled Liberal, and he stood by those principles even when others condemned him for it. But I'm going to remember that man who always had time for others, no matter how low down the pecking order they were. If you judge a man by how he treated those society considers less than him, then Charles Kennedy was a King.

My thoughts today are with those who knew him better than me, but also everyone else whose life he touched in little ways like mine. We've lost a good one.
miss_s_b: Vince Cable's happy face (Politics: Vince - happy face)
... are many and varied. Perhaps for their knowledge of party systems and what needs to change. Perhaps for their ability to present a compelling case for liberalism to the world. Perhaps for their endurance and stalwartness.

What I don't understand is people passionately declaring their allegiance for one or the other based on a particular policy position. Much as the media would like to believe otherwise, policy is not made at the whim of the leader in our party. Yes, the leader has some advantage in publicising what their policy priorities might be, and yes, the leader can pick and choose from policies voted on at conference to push or to ignore. But the fact remains that policy is voted on by conference in the Lib Dems, not made up on the hoof by the leader.

And even if that were not the case:
  1. Tim and Norman agree with each other on more policies than they disagree and pretending that they are lightyears apart just sets up a false scrap where there is agreement.

  2. Both have been coming out with policy statements - I've not seen ONE of these that isn't either already party policy or aligned with existing policy, and I'm reasonably sure that neither has come out with one that the other would utterly condemn.

  3. It's utterly nonsensical to fervently support one candidate because they believe in a policy position that the other also believes in and has publicly stated they believe in.
So can we please stop with this "I support $candidate because they are in favour of $policy" crap? It buys into a stupid, bullheaded media narrative which sets up a false adversarial tone and does neither candidate any favours. Yes, I'm supporting Tim. But that doesn't mean I'll be wailing and gnashing my teeth if Norman wins. Either candidate will make a fine leader and I'm not going to join in any Punch and Judy bollocks.

... I'm doing a Canute again, aren't I? :/

PSA: Anon Commenters

Friday, May 29th, 2015 11:34 pm
miss_s_b: (Politics: Democracy)
While I am happy to host debate in the comments to my blog, I do have a comments policy and I would be obliged if you'd all stick to it. None of it is particularly onerous, and certainly not as onerous as dealing with an anon commenter who persistently refuses to adhere to said comments policy, and who is verging on nastiness towards one of my regulars.

I will no longer be approving any anon comments with no handle attached. And even with a handle, don't be an arse.

Thank you.
miss_s_b: Vince Cable's happy face (Politics: Vince - happy face)
One of the big successes the Labour party had in the last government was the creation of the term "bedroom tax" for something which is not even a tax, and the blaming of the coalition government for it when it is something they started*. Labour are really good at blaming other people for things they started and/or wholeheartedly embraced - tuition fees, privatising the NHS, etc. - but what I'm really interested in is the use of language to fight a perceived injustice.

One of the most consistent trends of the last ten years (again, started by Labour) is the punishment of the poor for being poor. Benefit caps, having to jump through arbitrary hoops to continue receiving a meagre JSA, ridiculous work capability assessments, all of these are equally embraced by both Labservative parties. I was working at the CAB under Blair, and a huge amount of time was taken up by appealing disability benefit decisions, etc. And part of the reason these things are accepted by the general public is that they have swallowed the Kool Aid that people on benefits are scroungers - to the extent that even people on benefits, while they assert their own right to receive benefits, will none-the-less think everyone else on benefits is a scrounger.

The problem is that most benefits don't actually benefit the person in nominal receipt of them. The claimant doesn't see any gain from soaring housing benefit because it goes into their landlord's pocket, not theirs. Tax credits mainly help employers who either can't or won't pay decent wages. JSA conditional on workfare benefits all those employers who get subsidised to "employ" a free workforce rather than people they actually have to pay and train. So I propose a change of wording.

Housing benefit is easy. Housing benefit is Landlord's benefit. When you refer to it as Landlord's benefit you are calling it what it is. Tax credits, I propose, should be called "Exploitative wage top up". There's a whole raft of disability benefits which should be called things like "paltry amount grudgingly given to try and keep you out of hospital" or something similar.

What benefits do you think should be renamed?


* yes, I am aware that the LHA has some differences from the private sector version, but it's the same concept.
miss_s_b: Vince Cable's happy face (Politics: Vince - happy face)
Tone policing is when someone says "you would have a good point, if only you would sound less angry and more reasonable when you say it". It is generally used as a tactic to shut up people who are talking about how they are being oppressed or exploited by various systems, by those who support and benefit from those systems. Sometimes those who are (or claim to be) on the side of those who are oppressed and exploited by a system will use tone policing because they genuinely think that if only everyone was nice then the oppressors would listen.

Such is the case with Iain Roberts' recent article about "demonising the rich" on Lib Dem Voice. I've met Iain, several times, & he's a genuinely nice, well-meaning, conscientious Councillor. And yet in that article, and more so in the comments to it, he comes across as a smug, self-satisfied, arrogant, patronising arsehole. I am dead set certain that he isn't any of those things, and also that this is not the tone he was going for when he complains about the tone of people on the left, but it's an inherent problem when you tone police people who already feel like you are not on their side.

His article has a germ of a point: in order to stem the rising tide of inequality "the rich", however you define them, need to be brought onside. Where I differ from Iain is that I don't think if we all just ask nicely it'll magically happen. History shows that asking nicely is all well and good, but a big legislative stick is the only thing that actually works.

So to those who say "you may have a point, but you'd be more persuasive if you were less angry" I say this:

You may have a point, but you'd be more persuasive if you sounded less like an apologist for oppression.

How about maybe we ALL think about our tone when speaking? I'll try to be less angry and sweary if you stop using a tone that's guaranteed to MAKE me angry and sweary?

About This Blog

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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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