miss_s_b: (Default)
miss_s_b: (Default)
I'm fairly sure that David Cameron was only intending to be boorish, arrogant and dismissive to Angela Eagle yesterday, rather than sexist, and when he did his (rather poor and incomplete) Michael Winner impression I'm sure he thought he was being hilarious. He was certainly visibly nonplussed at the vehemence of the negative reaction he got. He may not even have realised the sexism inherent in the original commercial; this is a function of his vast privilege, being white, male, very rich, able-bodied, hetereosexual, etc. etc. etc. In just about every group where there are privileged and marginalised, Cameron falls on the former side. This makes it really hard for him to notice when he is being a total cock, as he was yesterday.

NewsThump, sharp as ever, have done a particularly good piece on this:
“David is trying to make himself seem more like one of the ‘people’, and that’s how the people speak, right? With a bit of casual racism and condescension to women?”

“He’s simply following in the footsteps of some of the greatest comedy minds our country has ever produced, like Michael Winner.”
Cameron probably thought he was being just like an ordinary person. The problem with that is, given his vast priveledge, he has no frame of reference with which to try to be like an ordinary person, other than what he has seen on the telly. And he thought that the Michael Winner insurance commercials were funny because he comes from the same hyper-rich white male social group as Winner; it simply hadn't occurred to him to think outside that group.

The trick to not being sexist (or racist or ablist, or whatever) is not to learn a list of set phrases that you're not allowed to say any more - for instance I am sure Cameron would not have told Angela Eagle not to worry her pretty little head about things because that is fairly well-known as a hair-trigger phrase now - but to actually think about what you are saying. Are you putting down someone who is already lower down the pecking order than you with what you are saying? If so, that's unnecessary, hurtful, and makes you look like a bit of a cock. The test is not do I think this is hurtful? but if I were the butt of this joke, and I have already spent my entire life being the butt of similar jokes, and I have much less power than the person making the joke, would I find it hurtful? If that sounds to you like I am over-egging the pudding a bit, examine your discomfort. Is it just because you don't want to think that you fall into the Offenders group rather than the Offended? Because I know for a damn straight fact I have been in both in my time...

If you offend somebody, what you do is apologise, say you didn't mean to offend them, and then use it as an opportunity to learn why what you have said is hurtful and offensive... It may turn out that the person has no reasonable reason to be offended, and I am fully behind the right to cause offence if it is necessary. But more likely, you will have said something thoughtlessly offensive without even realising it, and if you learn from it then you become a better person through more knowledge.

Of course, Cameron has compounded his error by refusing to apologise and using the I was only joking defence. As I have said before,
If you thoughtlessly (or even purposefully) say something sexist or racist or whateverist, and someone calls you out on it, and your instinctive response is to say "but I was only joking!", think what you are saying by saying that. You are saying "Not only do I reserve the right to be inconsiderate of your feelings, but when I hurt you, I will compound that by making out that you should expect to be an object of fun". How does that make things better? Why is it funny to pick on people who are weaker than you and then laugh about it? That's not humour, that's bullying.
Now, given Cameron's upbringing and education, and the fact that he has risen to the top after receiving them, it's not surprising that he's a thoughtless sexist bully.

Today is one of those days when I am really ashamed to be in the same coalition as him.

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miss_s_b: (Politics: FU)
Our local Tories have put out a Leaflet. Here I present a photograph of a section of it:

Do any of those achievements look familiar to anyone?

On the one hand, owning coalition policy is probably a good thing for both sides. On the other, it'd be nice if just ONE of those was actually a Tory policy and not a Lib Dem one...

ETA: although I suppose the "tackling benfit fraud" one is worded in a Tory fashion.

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miss_s_b: DreamSheep/Matrix icon (Blogging: DreamSheep: Matrix)
As Paul at Liberal Burblings puts it: His Daley Dozen will continue, his blog will still be there and he’ll be updating it with posts when he feels like it. Which is….er…..blogging. Oh, and he’ll still be tweeting – which is micro-blogging. So this is the dramatic flounce exit-that-isn't-really-an-exit which those of us who have been active on the internet since the early nineties are so wearily familiar with. He's going to be like Dorries, isn't he? One of those bloggers who pops up from time to time to whine on about how he hates blogging and bloggers are all stupid and evil, and what he does isn't blogging at all, no sirree...

The less frequent posting to The Tosser's blog is a bittersweet victory for those of us who love blogging, and unlike the lovely Justin I won't be getting the champagne out. It is clear from the content of Dale's post (which, as per my policy, I'm not going to link to) he is giving up blogging because his blog has acheived its aim, and got him a career as an overpaid, underbrained media darling. So we have yet another media personality for whom we can bewilderedly wonder how they got the job (like Claudia Winkleman on Film 2010, for example).

Like Paul, I was particularly amused by this bit: I hate the backbiting that goes along with (blogging).I hate the character assassination that is permanently present. I'm sure your many targets feel exactly the same Iain. The political blogosphere in the UK used to be a small and friendly place, with a collegiate atmosphere on all sides, and now it isn't. That the change seems to have been concurrent with the rise of Westminster bubble gossip bloggers like yourself is entirely coincidental, I'm sure.

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miss_s_b: Vince Cable's happy face (Politics: Vince - happy face)
So, as [personal profile] matgb and I both predicted, it was bad, but not as bad as it was being spun. Could it be that all the doom-mongering was to make us terrified so we'd be grateful for small crumbs of comfort? You might think that, I couldn't possibly comment. Nor, given his ongoing performance at the moment, could Alan Johnson. I've never seen a man so far out of his depth, even with the crib notes from Balls.

Glad to see science funding frozen, rather than cut (anyone else think that Vince ran this up the flagpole precisely because he knew what the reaction would be and then he could bat for science with the backing of the twitterati? Or am I just too cynical?). Other stuff needs examining in detail before I comment, I think.

If you'd like to examine the statement in detail yourself, it's here.

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miss_s_b: (Politics: Liberal)
Ken Clarke is a long-time political operator, and as such has attracted many labels. The one currently doing the rounds is Liberal Tory, and this is the one being chucked about in the press as a reason why Lib Dems are/ought to be supporting him in his role as Justice Minister, and his proposed reforms to the justice system.

With all due respect to our journalistic cousins, I submit that this is the wrong reason to be supporting him. The reason we ought to be supporting him is not his political convictions and background. The reason we ought to be supporting him is that, alongside his many other experiences and qualifications, he is a QC. He knows the justice system, knows how it works (and doesn't), and has contacts in the profession from whom he can gain current insights.

If you're a Lib Dem, you should be a supporter of evidence-based policy making (as opposed to policy and ideology based evidence selection). Ken Clarke might be a Tory - and my belief is that if you're going to call him a Liberal Tory, he's a Liberal Tory, rather than a Liberal Whig who is in the Tory party - but he is a person who is well-qualified and experienced to make evidence-based judgements in the field of the justice system.

The fact that a lot of the judgements he is making are in accord with the sort of stuff I have believed since I did my law degree only make this easier for me.

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miss_s_b: (Politics: FU)
Featured on Liberal Democrat Voice

My initial positive-feelings-tempered-with-caution towards the coalition, cemented when I voted for it at special conference, have been being slowly eroded over recent weeks.

This isn't because of any particular policy, or even a cumulative dripdrip of many policies. I, like David, recognise and accept that part of coalition is that you have to accept some stuff you don't like in exchange for the stuff you do, and so long as nobody's red lines are being crossed then working together is better than working apart. There are some policies which this government has brought to fruition which I like, some which I detest, and some which I am ambivalent about. I don't doubt that this would still be the case were my party in sole power - although perhaps the balance would be different - because this is always the case with any government of any colour.

No, what is upsetting me, to the point where this morning I shouted FOR FUCK'S SAKE at Our Glorious Leader when he was being interviewed on the radio this morning, is that we were promised a new politics. We were promised that consensus and compromise and behaving like grown ups was going to happen. We were promised that politicians would start to answer straight questions with straight answers, and stop avoiding the difficult topics. Perhaps naively, I took the coalition agreement and its transparent signs of negotiation and compromise as a positive sign that this was actually going to happen, unlike all the previous occasions when it has been promised. And for a few days, it looked like it was going to. But not any more. This morning on the Today programme, Nick singularly failed to give a straight answer to any of Humpty's questions. Yesterday at PMQs, Cameron indulged in shouted ad hominems and also failed to answer any questions properly. Instead of behaving like grown ups, our MPs are screaming at each other in the chamber MORE, and my party is complicit, in that it feels like we've decided which one of the big boys we are going to be the little crazy kid with the ideas to, and now we've joined their gang we're going to make the most of our opportunity to pick on the other gang instead of doing anything constructive.

This is what people hate about politics. The dissembling, the evasion, the defensiveness, the attacks on the opposition in lieu of accepting responsibility for your own decisions. They hate it.

In an attempt to be helpful, then, here are a few sample questions and answers which would not make me lose respect for my leader hand over fist, the way his performance this morning did:

Sample Question from Humpty: Why have you implemented X policy when you said before the election that X policy would be a disaster?
Bad Answer: Well, you know, I really want to talk about Y policy, Z statistics, and in fact anything other than X policy, because you're right, I hate X policy, and everybody knows it, but I don't want to admit that on the radio.
Good Answer: Before the election we were campaigning on the basis of the knowledge we had at the time. We know now that A, B, and C are much worse than we thought they were. This means that policy X, although we don't like it, is the only route we can take at the moment.
Better Answer: X policy is something that I have had to compromise on. This is the nature of coalition. The Tories have compromised on Q policy, and we have compromised on X policy. This is what happens when you negotiate with people, Humpty, you pillock.

Sample Question from Harperson: Will the right honourable gentleman admit that he has done some bad mean things that I don't like?
Bad answer: I haven't done as many bad things that you don't like as your government did bad things that I didn't like in the last thirteen years! ((For pity's sake, even my seven year old knows that I only did it once and Scott did it three times! is an excuse that won't wash with ANYONE)).
Good answer: I have done some bad mean things, it's true. But I was forced to do those bad mean things in order to avoid the horrific consequences of not doing them. When given a choice between two evils, I would rather choose the lesser than the greater, or dither and do nothing in the hope that it will all go away.

Question: Why are you trying to pretend that your budget doesn't hurt the poorest most when it manifestly does?
Good answer:... Actually, there isn't a good answer for that; or rather if there is, I can't think of one. Why is our budget hitting the poorest hardest, Nick? I'd love to know. I mean, I suspect it's because we're in coalition with the Tories, and they have form for hammering the disadvantaged and the disabled, but I genuinely believed that we were going to try and stop them doing that... Please do something to restore my faith soon. Because right now, it's wavering.

ETA: Thank Cthulhu for Vince, who is being awesome on Question Time. Hope Nick is watching and taking notes on how to answer questions.

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miss_s_b: (Pratchett: not dead)
  • Am on my third day off sick from work, and it's getting old now. My abdominal pain is less than it was, but still definitely there. I can't walk very far without making it massively worse - indeed, I haven't left the house since getting back from the doctor's on Friday, aside from a brief trip to my mum's to pick up my mother's day card from [personal profile] amazing_holly, who is at her dad's for the weekend.

  • I really, really REALLY wish I could have gone to conference. There are so many people I would have loved to see. Ah well. It'll have to wait till Liverpool.

  • I'm doing really well at sending conversation-killing text messages today.

  • I wish someone would magically tidy my house and do all the DIY that needs doing. It's ironic that being off work gives me the time to do it, but I can't physically manage it. And when I'm better, I shall have to go back to work, and then I won't have the time...

  • Biggest referrer to my blog this week outside of direct links and search traffic was Liberal Vision. I guess this means I ought to start reading them on a more regular basis (i.e. not just Sara's posts)... ;)

  • Trying to avoiding reading about/hearing about The Egregious Tory Tosser is getting more difficult. I turned off the House of Comments podcast less than half way through because I was sick of hearing his name. You know, I know he's the biggest blogger, but he's ONLY the biggest blogger because so many people link to him and talk about him and quote his inane dribblings. If we ignore him, he'll go away. And then perhaps someone who has some talent other than self-promotion might get to be the big daddy. Just a thought.

My March sponsor is Mark Reckons, and I suspect he'll have something to say about that last bullet.
miss_s_b: (Default)
... But will defend to the death your right to say it.

This is one of those maxims I unswervingly advocate. It's a founding principle of my moral structure. It's why I detest and decry No Platform stances.

I found it tested to the limit this morning when I heard Peter Hitchens on Start the Week referring to himself as reasonable, along with many other unsupported and unsupportable assertions which went completely unprobed by old Jug Ears Marr.


I am therefore going to make a small amendment. I abhor what you are saying, but will defend to the death your right to say it as long as you are saying it at a reasonable hour when I have had chance to wake up. Otherwise I reserve the right to get into a frothing rage and scream obscenities at the radio for your total, utter vacuous selfish pompous ARSENESS.

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