Note to Self:

Tuesday, April 18th, 2017 09:42 pm
miss_s_b: Vince Cable's happy face (Politics: Vince - happy face)
Having a big angry rant on twitter when you're literally drooping from tiredness after a long day's lib demmery including a branch meeting is not the most sensible thing to do...

Off to bed now, peeps. Laters.
miss_s_b: (Mood: Kill me)
There is a set of questions which can be called "The stupid questions asked by a journalist, which shows that they haven't done the most cursory research on the topic they are writing about". This will be an occasional set of posts highlighting these questions, and the answers to them, in an attempt to solve this problem.

Post number one: things the Meat Loaf won't do

Because the title of one of Meat Loaf's biggest hits is "I would do anything for love, but I won't do that", many, many, MANY idiot journalists have asked him what the "that" is, thus showing that they have never actually listened to the song, in which all the things which "that" refers to are detailed. Here is a list of all the thats that Meat Loaf won't do (some of them are a bit rude):

- forget the way you feel right now
- forgive myself if we don't go all the way tonight
- do it better than I do it with you
- stop dreaming of you ev'ry night of my life
- forget everything
- see that it's time to move on
- screw around

You're welcome. Next in this series: why did it take so long for daleks to fly?
miss_s_b: Vince Cable's happy face (Politics: Vince - happy face)
I acknowledge that people who are "concerned about immigration" think that the immigrants are causing the housing crisis.
I acknowledge that people who are "concerned about immigration" think that the immigrants are causing people to have zero hours contracts in low paid shitty jobs.
I acknowledge that people who are "concerned about immigration" think that the immigrants are swamping the NHS.
I acknowledge that people who are "concerned about immigration" think that the immigrants are bleeding the benefits system dry.

The problem is they are completely, objectively, provably wrong about all of those things.

The problem is that in "acknowledging their concerns", we validate them, and let them believe that they are right.

Underinvestment and policy cockups which make people suffer are not the fault of immigrants who can't even fucking vote, they are the fault of successive governments and the people who vote for them.

If you want a health service that's not bursting at the seams, if you want your local fire station to stay open, if you want disabled people to have a decent standard of living because benefits give them enough to subsist on, at some point you're going to have to realise that immigrants who pay more into the system than they take out, and who just want to quietly get on with living their lives and contributing to our economy are NOT THE FUCKING PROBLEM here.

You blame immigrants because you don't want to face up to your own complicity in voting for successive governments that have done this shit because you want European levels of public services with USA levels of taxation, and then "acknowledged your concerns" and cracked down on immigration so hard that we are actually deporting nurses now because they don't earn enough.

Stop being such racist arseholes, open your eyes, and take some fucking responsibility.
miss_s_b: (Britishness: Tea)
Just over a week ago I decided I would plump for the two month's free trial. Two months is loads of time to evaluate it, right? And free is my favourite price. OK, so you have to put your card details in so they can charge you after the 2 months is up, but that's normal... And I do genuinely believe that quality journalism is worth paying for, so I would have happily spudded up my £12.99 a month after my free trial if I thought that the content was worth it and I got on OK with the app.

Here follows a list of the problems I have had:
  1. The first major problem: they charged me. Instantly. £12.99. This does not fit my definition of 2 months free. And when I checked my account on the "manage your account" page it said right there it was going to charge me again on the 27th of May. Nope nope nope.

  2. Speaking of managing your account... You can't do this within the app. You can't actually do much within the app. Want to send a letter? Nope. Comment on an article? Ha! Nope. Flip back and forth between sections? Not for you, my friend. There is a menu structure, but it's not user friendly at all.

  3. On top of the UI problems the crossword section is buggy. It will type words across for me, but for down clues the only letter it will input is S. Obviously not all the answers to all the down clues are SSSSSSS. I mentioned this to support, having had to search to find a support email address, because, of course, you can't actually contact Support from within the app. Exactly a week later I got what looked suspiciously like an autoreply from someone called Daniel who said they were looking into it. A week! And even then, no proper actual answer, not even a request for more information, just "we'll look into it".

  4. I have some issues with the content. Don't get me wrong, the news coverage is pretty good, for a London-centric Westminster-bubble-gossip paper, and so is the comment. Everything else seems pretty light. And the Sport section is AWFUL. There are very very few non-football articles - a maximum of one or two per day out of ten or twelve total articles in the sport section. Every last one of the football articles are men's football. No women's at all. Women are occasionally mentioned in the one-or-two-per-day non-football articles, but not very often. This does not fit my definition of sport. Why not just rename the section "overpaid fitba men" and have done with it?

  5. Even in a paid for app, halfway through each section and between the sections there are adverts. So you have to wait for a painful 2 or 3 seconds while the sodding advert loads before you can move on to the next article. Every single advert this week has been one with that purple muppet on for 3. Every single advert. But it's not cached, so you still have to wait for it to load every time you come across it.

  6. Sharing. A digital app should allow you to share the articles, right? Free advertising for the paper and informedness for you and your friends. Except if you share an article from the digital Indy it shares the link to the subscription version. The actual text of this article is the same as the one on the Indy website, but it has the word "edition" in the url so non-subscribers will not be able to read it. So if you want to share a version people can actually read, you have to open your browser, search for "Independent" + the headline of the article, and hope that it's not one of the many, many articles which they changed the headline for on the main website - presumably to frustrate subscribers who want to share with non-subscribers
So I have today gone and pressed the "cancel autorenew" button on the "manage my account" page, which appears to be the nearest you can get to cancelling your sub. And if they charge me again on the 27th I shall be furious. I'm actually, at this point, tempted by The Grauniad, despite Moonbat and Toynbee. Damn you, Indy, for making me be tempted by the Grauniad. But at least they cover cricket. Sometimes even women's cricket!

(This ranty post was brought to you while I sit festering on hold to some godforsaken company at work. Have you all in the UK who are registered been and voted yet? If not, why not? GO VOTE. Do it now before you forget!)
miss_s_b: (Feminist Heroes: Kate Beckett)
I suspect that in certain quarters this is not going to win me any friends. I don't rightly care. Those of you of a nervous disposition might want to scroll on past right now...

Hello those who are still here. You may or may not have noticed that sexual harrassment is something of a hot button topic in the lib dems, and indeed politics in general, at the moment. This is because, despite years and years of being told over and over again, some people (mainly, but not exclusively, men) refuse to get it. I am therefore going to put this in very simple terms.

The worst thing about sexual harrassment is the absolute, wearying, relentless inevitability of it. If you present as female, wherever you go there will be some arsehole, normally a man, and I'm afraid the rest of this post is going to be entirely in gendered terms because that's my experience*, who views you as nothing more than a receptacle for his knob and treats you accordingly.

And yes, #NotAllMen. But enough men. Enough men for it to be a hazard in every single public place. Enough men that other, nicer, men don't stop from sexually harrassing because they don't even notice it happening, or if they do notice they brush it off, dismiss it, or even think it's funny.

And yes, women don't always tell such men that their advances are unwanted. Because we know what happens if we do.

I can hear the cry building up right now:
But waaaaaaaaah what is a man who wants a shag and fancies a woman supposed to do! We're not even allowed to talk to women any more! It's so unfair! Our entitlement to consequence-free sex is being taken away! etc. etc et bloody cetera.
You know how I know that cry is building up from the men who view women as nothing more than pieces of meat? Because on every single fucking article some poor woman writes about this, that's what the comment section looks like. Waaaaah not allowed to be friendly. Waaaaaah not allowed to give people a hug. Waaaaaaaah not allowed to flirt. Waaaaaaaaaaaaah not allowed to grope somebody and then pretend it was just an affectionate gesture. The species will die out if we can't conduct mating rituals without paying any attention to one party's feelings on whether or not mating should occur!

Boys, when you say shit like that, you are fooling nobody. Right out of your own mouth comes the evidence that you think of women as sperm receptacles first and human beings second, because you know what? Nobody who wasn't worried they are a sexual harrasser would talk such utter bollocks. You are not entitled to a shag just because you want one, go and have a wank just like everybody else does when they fancy someone who doesn't fancy them back, and stop bloody whining like Kevin the teenager because you can't get your end away.

You are absolutely allowed to talk to women. I speak to men all the time. I spoke to several only this morning. Quite a lot of the men I spoke to, we were both in a state of undress (I went to the gym and swimming). Only one man sexually harrassed me today (today was a quiet day for entitled arseholes, I guess). Most of them were lovely. But that one man is enough to make me keep my distance a little bit more from all men, because who knows if any of them is Scroedinger's Rapist. So if you want women to feel safer and easier talking to you? You, as a man, need to notice, call out, and stop sexual harrassment.

You are absolutely allowed to be friendly to women. "Being friendly" and "trying to get into the pants of" are not synonyms though. I have lots of friends that I don't have sex with.

You are absolutely allowed to hug or have other affectionate contact with women if they are your friends, and you know for a damn straight fact they are enthusiastically consenting. If you've just met someone in a bar, putting your arm around them marks you out as a creeper, guys. And just because nobody has said anything does not mean you are not being marked as a creeper. You put your arm around someone and they immediately tense up? You take your arm away. Not rocket science.

You are absolutely allowed to flirt with women. The trick to this is: is she flirting back? If she's got a genuine, open smile, if she's responding to you in kind, then flirt away! If she's backing away, answering in monosyllables, looking at the door, giving you a glassy smile rather than a genuine one... You need to back the fuck off and shut the fuck up because she is not interested in you. She may not outright say "Look, mate, I'm not interested", because as the links above show, that can get you beaten, raped, or killed. Learn to read body language, and you will be fine. Guys who master this skill are way more attractive to women, because when a guy treats us with respect we feel such relief that he's not One of Them...

Ah yes, Them.

You see, the thing is, the research shows that actually, pretty much all men understand this. But the sexual harrassers, assaulters and rapists are the ones who trot out the shit about grey areas and being confused by it because that's how they get away with it. So I'm sorry to break it to you, boys, but every time I see one of you coming out with some of these gems, I think to myself "that dude is an uncaught rapist". Quite a lot of you are, you know. Many of you will cheerfully admit to it, so long as nobody uses the 'r' word.

And as long as nice men, normal men, men who aren't sexual harrassers, assaulters and rapists, keep letting this shit get trotted out again and again by their mates because "Simon** wouldn't do that, he's a good guy" or "David***'s such a gentleman, though" then this situation is going to continue.

And we're going to keep having the "but whyyyyyyy don't more women want to join our club?" discussion for years and years to come. Frankly, AWS isn't even a sticking plaster on this.

*I know sexual assault, harrassment, and rape happens to men too. I know survivors of male rape have it extra difficult in terms of not being believed, and not getting justice. I rage about that too, just not in this post. OK?
**Not all Simons
***Not all Davids
I just picked those names randomly. Sorry.
miss_s_b: (feminist heroes: DCI Gill Murray)
Look, I've gone over this lots of times before. The post from 2013 I link there lists seven pretty strong reasons to be against AWS; both principle (they're objectively wrong) and practical (they make the situation they purport to cure worse) reasons. If the party adopts AWS, I will be leaving.

Yes, something must be done about sexism. Yes, it's embarrassing that all our MPs are white men. That's because we've only got 8 of them. We had lots of women in "winnable" seats; the electorate didn't vote for them. We're really good at selecting women (or BAME or LGBT - we had one of each of those in Calderdale) candidates. Not so good at getting folk to vote for them. Also, we're really crap with the ableism - but working on it. AWS will do nothing to even pretend to address ableism, of course.

Just because "something must be done" DOESN'T MEAN THIS IS IT.

Apart from anything else, increasing the number of rich white heterosexual upper-middle class women at the top of our party will only salve bruised egos and make us have lady faces to put on the news, it will not increase diversity of thought or deed in any meaningful sense, and I am BLISTERINGLY angry that this hasn't got into thick heads yet. Have you people not been WATCHING the Labour party since they adopted this? The siloing of women into AWS seats so that the boys can have a free run. The promotion of women against LGBT and BAME candidates because once you've got one "minority" (and women are actually a majority) you HAVE diversity and don't need to worry. The tickbox culture.

And don't even get me STARTED on what this does to nonbinary folks - and Willie Rennie's clumsily worded "oh, we'll treat them like women" does NOT make me any happier on this.

I'm a feminist. I want to see an end to sexism. That is why I am against all women shortlists - papering over the cracks with a superficial non-solution doesn't solve sexism, it perpetuates it. Fuck that.
miss_s_b: (Who: Six (Ego))
So, the two parter which began the new series of Doctor Who is over, and the critiques have started appearing. I've read several. Some of them were very good, and went into great depth about elements of the story and the craft of writing it. Some of them were more superficial, and full of squee. Almost all of them, though, had one thing in common: they all concentrated on the Doctor/Davros relationship.

Now I'm a big Davros fangirl. I think he's a fascinating character, and his relationship with the Doctor is a complex one. I am dead set certain that when the Doctor says to Baby Davros "I've come to save my friend" the friend he is referring to is Davros, not Clara; this two parter struck me as being all about the nature of the Doctor's friendships. But* it does strike me that there's a big bit missing here.

I am reasonably sure that in any previous Doctor Who story the other major character would not have been so comprehensively ignored by almost everybody, except for those who want to complain about that character even existing. When The Master was a man, his every appearance was greeted with gallons of digital and literal ink dissecting his every nuance. Now (s)he's Missy, (s)he doesn't seem to matter any more. Missy is a woman over the age of forty, and can therefore safely be ignored.**

This really, really pisses me off, and not just because I'm less than 3 years away from hitting the magic age of invisibility myself. Michelle Gomez has put in a stunning performance as Missy, yet everything I read is about Julian Bleach***. Missy is the fulcrum on whom the majority of this story rests - it is she who gets the Doctor's Last Will And Testament Disc Thingy; it is she who works out that the space station is a fake and they're actually on Skaro; it is she who goads Clara, with the help of UNIT, into finding the Doctor in the first place, and it is she who (magnificently) pokes Davros in his electronic eye. At every turn she is advancing the plot or the other characters or both... And yet nobody seems to have noticed, because the only important thing is the bromance. I can dig that people like a bit of Doctor/Davros - hell, someone once wrote me Six/Davros slash for a birthday present - but really, people, there were LOTS of other characters onscreen too.

I actually feel sorry for the Moff here. I mean, he's clearly made a conscious effort to address his subconscious sexism**** in writing lots of women. And there goes the audience, still concentrating on the men. Because we've all been conditioned to think that what men say and do is important, and what women say and do is frivolous and can be ignored.

C-, must do better, Who fandom.

  1. I have not read every critique on the internet of the first two episode of the new series of Doctor Who. I am sure you can find counterexamples to what I have said here. One or two counterexamples will not convince me you have found anything other than exceptions. No, this does not mean post a huge long list of links that I will have to click on that will turn out to not actually disprove anything I have said at all.

  2. I am reasonably sure that none of the people I have read are doing this consciously or on purpose. I have spent a long time cultivating my various reading lists so that the sort of person who does this sort of thing on purpose does not appear in them. IMHO the fact that I have spent so much time making sure my reading lists are full of non-sexist people and this kind of thing still goes on is, frankly, even more disturbing.

* I like big buts and I cannot lie
** I don't actually know what Michelle Gomez's age is, but Missy/The Master is several thousand years old, and therefore well past forty.
*** my view? He's good, but he's no Terry Molloy. I realise there are those among you who think "he's no Terry Molloy" is the highest compliment one can pay an actor. You're wrong :P
**** Although not entirely successfully. For example, while all the speaking parts of the scene between UNIT HQ, Missy and Clara were women, women still made up less than 20% of the faces on screen. It's true, count 'em. All the snipers were men, for starters. This is Geena Davies's 17%-in-crowd-scenes thing right in front of our faces, and people on certain internet forums which I will not link to here STILL complained that the women were too prevalent, too noisy, etc.
miss_s_b: (Mood: Facepalm)
If a person says they are a man, they're a man. If a person says they are a lady, they're a lady. If a person says they don't recognise your gender binary, and fuck you? They're whatever they say they are.

Can we please stop fucking over transfolk and non-binary or non gender specific people? it doesn't help ANYONE and it makes life really shitty for really vulnerable people and people are people and deserve love and respect and things.
miss_s_b: (Politics: Liberal)
I keep seeing proposals from my fellow Lib Dems for legislation, or amendments thereto, or policies, or whatever, that ask for "half men and half women" or "50/50 male/female representation".

STOP IT. Please, please stop it. Apart from the fact that these people always list men first, which strikes me as indicative; apart from the fact that the population is more than 50% women anyway, by most statistical measures, so these things ought to be majority women even if you do believe in a strict gender binary; the gender binary is bullshit and pretending it isn't erases the very existence of people who do not conform to it. Half men and half women leaves no space for those who identify as neither, or both. Intersex, non-binary and genderqueer folks make up about 0.4% of the population, at a conservative estimate. Now, that might not sound like a lot, but it's about 250,000 people in the UK. Bear in mind also, that that's in a society that rigidly enforces the gender binary, and regularly does not give the option of declaring that you are neither or both. We all know how the proportion of repressed social groups "goes up" the less repression there is, as people stop having to hide their actual selves. I think we can therefore say that there are at least 250,000 people who are neither exclusively "man" nor exclusively "woman" in the UK.

These people are people and deserve to at least have their existence acknowledged. Can we PLEASE stop erasing and automatically excluding them by not even remembering their existence when formulating policy? It's not hard. If you're really wedded to having a numerical target - which I personally am not, but that's a whole 'nother blog post - don't say "50/50 men/women", say "50% women"**. That knocks the women down by 1% to give some wiggle room and leaves the other 50% totally unspecified. Easy, right?

*and yes there are some trans and some cis in all those categories, and that doesn't make a difference to my point
**definition of woman = a human being who identifies as a woman. That's it. Yes, trans women are women. Anyone denying this basic fact in the comments to this blog will be given the shortest of short shrift.
miss_s_b: (Politics: Liberal)
So on tonight's channel four news Cathy Newman went for our new leader's jugular. And lots of people seem to be lapping up the blood like it's going out of fashion. Yes, pink news, I'm looking at you. I'm not going to pretend to be an expert on religion here, because I don't need to be. Does Tim consider homosexual sex a sin? I don't really care, because sin is a concept that does not apply to my worldview.

I'm an atheist.
I'm bisexual.
I'm poly.
I voted for Tim Farron and I do not regret it.
I don't care what Tim considers to be sinful in the privacy of his own religion. I care that he agitates for my freedom. I care that he wants to end the spousal veto for my trans friends. I care that when I said "if I can ever have a poly wedding are you going to come?" he said he'd be on the first train.

Fuck you, media. I know my leader, & he's not what you're painting him.
miss_s_b: (Mood: Facepalm)
They've apparently "proved" that tax credits are not a subsidy to employers to pay crap wages in this piece here, but I think I've spotted a tiny flawette in the entire premise of their argument. The premise of their argument is that "employers generally pay people according to the productivity of their work". Errr no. Really, really, no.

Employers pay people as little as they can get away with on the basis of how easy the person would be to replace if they walked out tomorrow, how much training and hassle it would take to get a replacement, and so on. People who get paid £100,000 a year for signing a few forms are not more productive than people who actually make things for minimum wage, that's utter bullshit. People who get paid £100,000 a year for signing a few forms are just harder to replace, because they have to have the right lines on their CV and to know which forms are worth signing and which are not etc.

Now, I'm not saying the £100,000 a year person isn't worth it to the employer. Society has decided that knowing which forms to sign is more difficult and important than actually making things, and so that person gets paid more. I accept that is the way of the world. But to pretend it's because that person is more productive?

No, absolutely not. The productive people are always, always at the bottom rung of the ladder, and the further up the ladder you go the more actually productive people it's needed to sustain the leeches - and I say this as someone who has recently joined the leech class.

Now whether tax credits are a subsidy to the employer for paying crap wages to the actually productive people, or a subsidy to a stupid economic system that doesn't value actually productive people is a different argument. But the idea that employers use productivity to decide how much they are going to pay someone is utter bollocks. Sorry, IEA.
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:'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.
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?
miss_s_b: Vince Cable's happy face (Politics: Vince - happy face)
The FT has spent a huge long article endorsing the tories, and three lines towards the end of it saying "oh by the way, in a seat where the tories aren't a choice, you might as well vote Lib Dem, they're acceptable". Many of my fellow LDs have greeted this with almost orgasmic cries of joy that a serious paper has endorsed us.

Eurgh. Basically we are cheering on the media for treating us as an adjunct to the tories, as opposed to treating us as Labour lite the way they did prior to 2010. Are we so inured to attack from the press that we'll treat ANY crumb from the rich man's table as a five star seven course feast? Well, clearly we are. And we're HELPING them with that "we'd give the tories a heart & labour a brain" graphic.

I am NOT a heart for a Tory.
I am NOT a brain for Labour.
I am a Liberal, and while I'm a pragmatic liberal and will therefore WORK with others, I'm buggered if I'm going to be somebody's comedy sidekick, or celebrate that the FT (or the Economist for that matter) thinks I am.

ETA: goes double for the Grauniad saying "vote Labour (unless you're in an LD tory marginal)" too
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
miss_s_b: (Mood: Facepalm)
So this news story popped up on my feed this morning. Calderdale Council's Labour cabinet have agreed to spend £680,000 on upgrading the borough's CCTV system.



This is the same Labour cabinet who threaten community centres with closure, and when anyone complains bleat about ConDem cuts and wring their hands ruefully. Community centres, which, lets not forget, actually address the root causes of crime and ASB, unlike CCTV which just allows the police to sometimes have the evidence to prosecute after the fact.

Now, to be fair, only about a quarter of a million of this £680,000 is coming from some unnamed slush fund that none of the rest of us know anything about, and which could have been spent on more worthwhile things; the rest of it is going to be borrowed. On unspecified terms. Because we all know how GREAT Labour are at negotiating favourable contract terms for loans. Calderdale Royal hospital's PFI deal is a shining example of their skill in that regard.

And then there's the contract for the actual provision. Which is going to Virgin Media. We don't know why, or what terms they were offered the contract, or how they tendered for it. We don't know if there are are any performance clauses in the contract so the council will be able to get out of it if it all goes mammaries-skyward. But I'm sure we can trust the Labour party to have thought of all this, right? They totally haven't got a track record of dodgy contracts which tie the hands of their successors at all levels of government at all...

I really am quite angry about this, as you can probably tell.
miss_s_b: (Mood: Sorry)
Am composing this on my phone away from home so forgive me if it is riddled with typos.

Yesterday there appeared on Lib Dem Voice two articles about food poverty. I don't think either of them was a particularly good or bad article in terms of the solutions they proposed, but one of them made me VERY angry in the tone it took which led me to make some ill-judged remarks on Twitter, to which the immediate response of the author of the article was to squeal about me trying to stifle his free expression, which is, of course, a thing I would never do and only served to make me more angry. Free speech necessarily involves a right of reply. I am happy for ANYONE to say whatever they like; so long as they afford me the same courtesy.

Anyway, partly due to the limitations of the medium and partly due to my semi-awake and angry state, my remarks could have been worded better. So I apologise for the remarks. I don't apologise for getting angry, though.

We in the UK are blessed to live in a very rich country. There may be all sorts of reasons for the rise of food banks, but the fact that you can't get food from them without being referred to them for being starving tells me that whether they are serving a pre existing need and doing it better than the state could (as many on the right contend) or they are covering a new need created by the evil swingeing cuts of the right (as many on the left contend) they are serving a desperate need.

Frankly, I don't give a monkey's pube who is to blame for the fact that we have starving people in the seventh richest country in the world. The fact remains that we have starving people in the seventh richest country in the world. That's SHAMEFUL. Even ONE person starving in a country as rich as ours is shameful. And whatever your views on the causes of that starvation, to post in dry, macro-economic terms about the causes without once acknowledging that you're talking about real human misery and suffering? That's going to make me angry. We're not talking about UNITS here, we're talking about PEOPLE. Real, actual individuals with lives and loves and hopes and dreams.

I'm a liberal because I want every individual to get the opportunity to maximise their potential. You can't maximise your potential if you're starving, and you can't maximise your potential if you are a dehumanised number on a balance sheet.
miss_s_b: (Politics: Post Feminism)
I'm not actually sure whether I realised I was a feminist first or a liberal. Logic would say feminist, but it doesn't really matter. Why not?

Because both my feminism and my Liberalism spring from exactly the same point. Every single person I have ever met has been an individual. Everyone has a unique perspective and a unique set of experiences, and I love that. I love that everyone I meet has something new to teach me, and I love learning from them. And therefore I loathe all the nasty little systems of social norms that try to quash that individuality and force people to conform. To put people into neat little boxes and label them so they can be sorted and dealt with without ever having to ask them what they think.

The patriarchy is one such system. It labels women and men* and tells them that this is what you must do to be considered a real woman or a real man. It takes unique individuals and judges them, and in most cases, whatever your gender, it finds you wanting. I'm not a real woman because I wear trousers**. [personal profile] matgb is not a real man because he's really good at childcare and likes cooking. My transwoman friends are not real women because they were born with penises. My genderqueer friends are not real people because they don't express their gender according to society's norms.

Fuck. That. Shit.

This is why I get annoyed when people say that feminists are anti-men, or imply that feminists want to do men down. No. Really, no. I'm a feminist because I want all people of all genders, and none, to be free to behave as they want***, free from the strictures of conforming to the rigid gender norms of society, just like I'm a Liberal because I want all people to be free to behave as they want free from the strictures of all the other forms of oppression, both big and small, that are enforced on us to varying degrees every day.

But it's also why, as a feminist, I detest ideas that are designed to make politics easier "for women". Because they, too, treat women and men as homogenous groups and the average man/woman as representative, when in reality the Venn diagram of the genders looks more like this:

Venn Diagram
The pink group is men, and the small pink dot is the average man.
The blue group is women****, and the small blue dot is the average woman.
The grey group is people who eschew gender expression, and the grey dot is... you get the picture.

The point is that any one individual may be further from "normal" (i.e. average) for their gender or lack thereof then they are for "normal" for another gender. I'm a woman, I definitely am, but in terms of that diagram I'm somewhere over the far left and covered by all three colours. And any individual you meet is going to be floating somewhere in those clouds, but the likelihood is that they are not really much like the average person of their gender. So treating ALL women (or ALL men) as though what works for the average will work for them? It's self-evidently bloody stupid*****.

We are all individuals******. And the ONLY way to achieve true social justice, to smash the patriarchy, and to make sure everyone gets the opportunities they deserve no matter what their gender, age, race, no matter what their quirks or eccentricities, is to treat every person as an individual. That way all the intersecting privileges and oppressions that we are almost all of us subject to can be taken into account, and the way those things affect all of us as individuals can be taken into account, without anyone suffering for being on the "wrong" side of a percieved social norm.

Rant over.

* and you must be one or the other; genderqueer people? You don't exist
** OK, there are LOTS of other reasons I am not a real woman, but that was the first one that came to mind
*** within the confines of the harm principle, obviously. Because if you're harming others you're taking away their freedom of self-determination.
**** the women group os slightly larger because there are slightly more women than men, not just because my mouse hand slipped in paint or anything ;)
*****An example I came across recently was that some events in politics are better "for men" because "men have deeper voices" and thus we need to rebalance this to make it better "for women" who have "higher voices". Now if you only consider the averages, this almost certainly applies. The average man DOES have a deeper voice than the average woman. This is irrefutable fact. But an individual man can quite conceivably have a higher voice than an individual woman, and so the effect of such a rebalancing on those individuals would be to skew things in favour of the man, which is the exact opposite of the effect that the person proposing the rebalancing wanted.
****** don't think I can't hear you Monty Python fans at the back going "I'm not!" *severe face*
miss_s_b: (Innuendo: cybersex)
I am quite willing to believe that some sex workers are exploited, coerced, and mistreated. Human trafficking is a terrible thing, and should be stamped out. Modern slavery likewise. But when somebody says that the ONLY reason for a sex worker to go into sex work is coercion and/or desperation, that makes me a bit uncomfortable to say the least.

The idea that no woman (because when people say this, it IS usually about women) could go into sex work voluntarily springs from some very sexist (and quite modern) assumptions:
  1. Women do not like sex as much as men*
  2. Therefore if a woman Does It with a man she must be doing it for some reason other than enjoyment
  3. Love is an acceptable reason, money isn't
You all know how I hate it when we are treated as members of our group first and individuals second, so I'm not going to labour that point, but... some people have high sex drives, some people have low sex drives, and those things are not always congruent with gender.

It is entirely possible that some women go into sex work voluntarily, and enjoy it when they get there. In fact, more than possible, it's true; you can find myriad testimonies from such women on the internet and elsewhere. And to dismiss them with "oh well they don't know what they are saying", which is normally the next step for people who think all sex workers are coerced? Surely I don't need to point out how patronising and sexist THAT attitude is?

TL;DR version: I am a sex positive feminist and I don't think feminists who aren't know what they are talking about.

*Anyone who thinks all women have lower sex drives than all men needs to be introduced to me, and then to have a gentle chat with some of my partners, only one of whom comes anywhere close to having my general level of sex drive.
miss_s_b: (Default)
Our Environment Secretary thinks that if you "have to" destroy ancient woodland to build something, you can offset that by planting lots of trees elsewhere. This is so utterly wrong-headed I barely know where to begin. I mean the clue about the importance of biodiversity is in the name - bioDIVERSITY. IT'S NOT JUST TREES, OWEN. The fragile ecosystem of ancient woodland might have trees for its foundation, but it's insects, birds, fungi, ferns (oh God, you wouldn't believe how important ferns are), flowering and non-flowering plants... Some trees won't even grow unless a woodland has been established for a century. Some small mammals can only live in woodland where there is an established balance of the plant and insect food they need. All of these things depend on each other, and this cannot be replaced by a monocultural plantation of trees, however native those trees are.

This blinding stupidity on the part of our environment secretary is illustrative of a wider problem within the thinking of people who are not Liberal by inclination. Not just biodiversity, but diversity in all areas is seen as a box-ticking exercise. So to replace woodland you only need plant trees. Bollocks to the other forms of life, we've got trees, that's a woodland, right? To have diversity in the government you need more women. It doesn't matter if those women are from the same tiny, public-school-educated, Oxbridge upper class set as the men, cos they're WOMEN, right? Diversity means having x number of people from y groups which are considered underrepresented. So you need some women, a black person, a gay, maybe if you're REALLY right-on a trans+ person... but if you don't think like a Liberal the actual PEOPLE don't really matter as long as they fill a quota.

This is BULLSHIT, people. Utter, stinking, steaming bullshit.

Every single person is an individual. Sure, they might be a part of some group or other, but that does not mean they are representative of that group. And more often each person is a member of more than one group. If I am going to be a token on a diversity agenda, do I tick the box for woman, or LGBT, or Northern, or low income, or poly? Or, more likely, in the case of a box ticker, do I tick every single one of those boxes so they think they've filled their diversity quota and every single other person in the room can be a rich cis het white man?

I keep saying this, but I'm going to say it again: diversity is not an end in itself, it's a means to an end. Biodiversity in woodland is important because if you don't have it you have a monoculture, and monocultures are at massive risk from disease. Ash die back and Dutch Elm disease are but two examples. If your woodland is composed entirely of one type of tree and that tree gets a disease, the entire woodland dies and you get environmental collapse. If you want an example what a huge problem monocultures are, take a look at what will happen to the banana supply if the Cavendish banana fungus that has been spreading really takes hold... Similarly, if you don't have diversity in government, you get monocultural thinking. You get a breed of politicians who all look and think and speak the same, and that's very prone to the intellectual equivalent of a devastating disease.

We have had a political monoculture in this country for far too long and intellectual Dutch Elm disease has taken hold. Owen Paterson's bone-headed remarks about biodiversity merely illustrate this problem. We need to break the system open and acheive true diversity and then all the good that comes from that will follow. Hopefully that will include not having an environment sectratary as clueless as Owen Paterson ever again.
miss_s_b: (Politics: Post Feminism)
You guys all know that I self-identify as feminist. I am very pro-equality. And yet, and yet... The subject of positive discrimination has been raising it's ugly head again, and it has been a while since I fully elucidated how I feel about it. The first time I posted substantively about this was in July 2008 and my views have shifted slightly but not much since then, so this is going to be basically an update of that post from 08, edited for more current examples and to remove some of my own bad wording*

Why I am Against Positive Discrimination

This list is presented in what I feel to be order of importance of the arguments.
  1. The argument from perpetuation. This is the big one as far as I am concerned. It's the practical argument. Positive Discrimination doesn't work, and worse than that, it makes the situation continue. Using discrimination to fight discrimination is like fucking for virginity. It doesn't even stop specific instances, and it definitely doesn't get to the root cause. It's salving a symptom, while leaving the disease utterly intact. We need to fight discrimination, not perpetuate it.

  2. The argument from individuality. Positive Discrimination treats all women and all men (or all racial groups, or all LGBT+ folk, or whatever) as representatives of their group first, and individuals second. You don't have to have known me for very long to know how far I am from the average for women in many, many, many areas. I firmly believe that it is perfectly normal to deviate from the norm. I am an individual. I am not there to be a tick in the box of a diversity agenda, and I believe that each individual has experiences and needs which are individual to them and not predetermined by any visible physical factor.

  3. The argument from equality of opportunity. AKA two wrongs don't make a right. If you discriminate in favour of some groups, you necessarily discriminate against others. This is manifestly unfair, and unfairness is in fact, what we are arguing against here.

  4. The argument from mediocrity. If you discriminate in favour of one group, you are promoting people who may not be as well-qualified or capable simply because they belong to the group in question; I thought this was what we were fighting against? Positive discrimination led directly to Hazel Blears being in the cabinet. Is anyone apart from Hazel herself really convinced that this is a good thing?

  5. The argument from resentment. Linked to the above: every person who gets a job due to positive discrimination has to fight the perception that they only got the job because of the group that they belong to, however well-qualified and good at the job they turn out to be. They are hamstrung before they even begin, and face resentment that no person should face.

  6. The "Sins of the Fathers" argument. Positive Discrimination means that some people will suffer through no fault of their own, but because they were born to a privileged group. This is manifestly unfair.

  7. The argument from commonality. Just because someone has similar physical features to you does not mean that they will be of the same views as you, have the same experiences as you, or understand you any better. I believe that Julian Huppert understands me better and does a better job of representing my views than Nadine Dorries, for example.

Really, it all boils down to the fact that if you use positive discrimination, you are accepting that the ends (greater diversity) justify the means. By that logic, you should also accept torture, pre-emptive invasion of other countries, etc. etc. This is not, in my view, how a good liberal should think.

I also hate the slippery euphemistic re-naming of it as "affirmative action" or "positive action", like that changes what it is. I don't think that one needs to have the same attributes as someone else to be able to have empathy with their situation, and I don't think that one needs to be a member of a marginalised group to understand that marginalising people is bad and wrong. I don't think a person's attributes qualify them to represent me, I think their brain does. Selecting women because only women can represent women is as bad, in my view, as suppressing women because only men are smart enough to decide what's good for us.

Diversity is not an end in itself. It's a means to an end of fairness.

Now, I'm not saying that women (and other marginalised groups) don't face structural and institutionalised inequalities; I know they do, and I rail against them regularly. But to say we can solve all that by using positive discrimination is like saying you can cover third degree burns with a bit of make-up. It doesn't work (or if it superficially appears to, it doesn't work for long) and in the long term it makes the problem worse by preventing actual solutions from being used, because look, we've solved it. I want discrimination solved. I really really do. And at bottom, that is why I am against positive discrimination.

*eurgh unchallenged and innate transphobia and gender binary shit. I HAVE LEARNED SINCE THEN, oh internets. But note that I don't censor my learning process...

Further reading, should you wish it (some of it sweary, and some of it still containing unchallenged gender binary. Must update that Venn Diagram):

My original post on this subject from July 2008
On having A Minister For Women from Oct 2007
Two linked posts on biological determinism from June 08
AWS selected MPs Vs non-AWS selected MPs from Oct 08
On having a "women's policy" from Jan 09
On the actual Women's Policy Consultation from March 09
On supposed male allies wishing to be spoonfed women's views from July 10
On how one grows up with expectations of what one's place should be from July 11
There's a fuckton else in this area on both of my blogs. Go look for it if you want to.
miss_s_b: (Politics: Liberal)
Fuck the centre ground. Seriously, fuck it with a ten foot barge pole. I have no issue with the Lib Dems being equidistant between left and right; that's as it should be, given that even within my own local party there are people who range from extreme socialist to somewhere right of Attila the Hun. You know why that doesn't mean we are on the centre ground?

BECAUSE WE'RE FUCKING LIBERALS. No matter how far left or right each of us is on the economic axis, we are ALL anti-authoritarian, some of us extremely so. And for pretty much all of us, where we are on the Liberal/Authoritarian axis is WAY more important than where we are on the left/right axis.

Every single time I see some shite about us being on the centre ground, or even worse "laying claim to the centre ground" like we BELONG there, like we OUGHT to be there, I want to scream FOR FUCK'S SAKE PEOPLE YOU ARE SELLING OUT OUR USP FOR AN OLD SPITTING IMAGE SKETCH. I'm sure those of us of a certain age remember the whole "neither one thing nore the other but somewhere in between" thing. And now the party's marketers think that's a GOOD marketing technique? Wishywashy pointless bollocks that it is.

Liberalism is NOT about carefully positioning ourselves on the ever-shifting centre ground between the Tories and Labour; it's about getting as far away from both of the scary authoritarian fuckers as we possibly can up the other axis. PLEASE can we stop defining ourselves in relation to the other two parties and start defining ourselves for ourselves?
miss_s_b: (Mood: Facepalm)
Some successful people really annoy me. Quite a lot of them don't, but a sizeable majority... Take Ricky Gervais. He is a man of some (but not massive) talent, who because the stars were right and there was a gap in the market briefly became a massive success and is now riding the long tail of that.

He fully believes that his talent and work are the only factors in his success. He also believes the corollary of this - that anyone who is NOT as successful as him is not as successful as him either because they are not as talented or because they didn't work as hard or both. This is why he makes tweets like the ones he regularly makes, which I have no doubt he thinks are funny, and which dismiss people he sees as lesser than him.

The belief that people succeed ONLY on their own merit is utter bullshit.

Now I'm not saying that successful people aren't talented, or that they don't work hard. Clearly there is a requirement for some talent and some work involved. What I AM saying is that there are huge numbers more talented people, and immeasurably huge numbers more hard-working people than there are successful people, so there must be some other factor. Some very talented people are going to work their arse off their entire life and not get anywhere. It's harsh, but it's life. There is only limited room at the top, sadly, and for every person who gets the breaks there's going to be several who didn't. Being one of those who didn't isn't fun. But you know what makes it ten times worse?

Smug deluded arseholes like Ricky Gervais rubbing people's faces in it and telling them that the only reason they aren't as successful as Ricky Gervais is because they're Not Good Enough.

Fuck off Ricky Gervais, and the idiots who believe your bullshit.
miss_s_b: (Default)
Yesterday, Chris Williamson MP tweeted:
Lib Dem membership in freefall. I'd urge all Lib Dems who want progressive social change to back #Labour
Now, I know that some of you reading this have left the Lib Dems. At least one of those has joined the Greens, and several have joined the Pirates. Maybe some of you have joined Labour, and you know what? I'm a Liberal, and I am happy to see the exercising of personal choice even if it's not a decision I would make myself. But the idea that Liberals should leave the Lib Dems en masse and join Labour just because a Labour MP says so? THAT got my back up. So I replied. Possibly slightly less than respectfully:
AHAHAHAHAHAHAA the day authoritarian #Labour are the agents for real social change is the day Satan skates to work
Now, to give him his due, he didn't just ignore me. Unfortunately, some of the examples he replied with are.... well, shall we say "suspect"
But Labour introduced NHS, welfare state, equal pay, race & gender equality acts, min wage, civil partnerships, legalised abortion
So, I'm not the political historian that [personal profile] matgb is, but even I know that David Steel introduced the Abortion Act, and it was a free vote issue, and lots of Labour politicians opposed it. To try and claim that as a Labour measure just because Labour were in power when it was passed is disingenuous to say the least. And I know for a fact that they introduced civil partnerships because they were too cowardly to introduce equal marriage, which Lib Dems in government are doing RIGHT NOW! (Hi Lynne! *waves*) This makes me suspect that some of his other examples might not be as clear-cut as he is presenting them either, although I suppose I can give him minimum wage. So I go to reply to him to say that "just because something happened when Labour was in government doesn't mean it was instigated by or supported by Labour" and notice that he's also having a twitter conversation with Douglas... In reply to
What about those of us who value civil liberties, constitutional reform & not pandering to the media?
he says
Your point is? Remember Labour introduced biggest constitutional reforms, FOI Act & it was Ed Miliband who took on Murdoch.
So, chickening out of proper Lords reform (which, again, Lib Dems are doing in government), backing away from electoral reform when you got a big enough majority to snub Paddy, and opposing AV and boundary changes mean Liberals should trust you on constitutional reform, does it, Chris? And Ed Miliband is better than, ooo, say... VINCE CABLE on Murdoch?

So, my question to you, loyal reader, is this: is this man misinformed, deluded, or simply lying? And why does he think that spouting untruths directly at Lib Dems will get them to join his party? I mean, if you are a person who thinks the Lib Dems lied on tuition fees (which I can understand, even if I don't entirely share that view) or is dismantling the NHS (which, again, I can understand, even if I think what we're doing is preventing the tories from doing so) then WHY IN CTHULHU'S NAME would being barefaced lied to by a Labour MP entice you to join Labour? I know we have a reputation as masochists in the Lib Dems, but surely we're not all that masochistic?

My advice to you, if you're a Lib Dem leaver who still wants to remain politically active? If you're technologically inclined, join the Pirates, because they love freedom as much as we do, and they're a rising star. If I were ever to leave, that's where I'd go. If you're less technologically inclined, join the Greens and try to change some of their more ridiculous anti-science policies. And say hi to Liz. And if neither of those appeals, then join a single issue group. Perhaps the electoral reform society. But for pity's sake, don't join Labour. They'll betray you like they've betrayed everybody else since about 1998. They lie about how we got in the mess we're in now, they lie about what they did in power, and they won't even tell us what they're going to do if they get back in. If you want the definition of an untrustworthy politician, I'd say look for one in a red rosette.
miss_s_b: (Politics: Liberal)
Dear Nick,

I realise that coalition government is not the same as a party governing on its own. I realise that when one signs up to a coalition agreement, one has to make compromises. But when one has signed a pledge giving a cast iron guarantee one ought to stick to it.

When you signed the pledge to vote against tuition fee increases, lets be honest, you could not have known the circumstances you would be asked to do so in. But that does not alter the fact that you signed the pledge. Perhaps by doing this you have learned a valuable lesson not to sign such an open-ended pledge, and you've certainly learned a lesson to make damn sure that when you negotiate coalition agreements you should bear in mind what pledges you have signed. But none of that alters the fact that you, personally, signed the pledge.

There is no point in whining and misdirecting by saying that other parties have broken pledges too. We are not other parties. You were supposed to be countering the bloody politicians, they're all the bloody same meme, not feeding it.

There's no point in saying that we have to cut higher education funding if we're cutting everything else, because we're not cutting Trident, and if we can afford to spend money on stuff to blow up half the planet, we can afford to educate our children.

There is also no point in wittering on about how this and that safeguard is being put in to make sure that poor people will not suffer. Poor people won't suffer because the idea of spending that amount of money on university will put them off going in the first place, because they can't imagine possibly earning enough to pay it back. It'd put me off going. That's a HUGE amount of money to me. I know it's small change to you, but it's not to me, or millions more like me.

At the end of the day, though, it doesn't matter that I think the tuition fee increase is unjustified and unjustifiable. It matters that you made a pledge, and you made it in the hopes that you would never get called on it, in order to tout for votes. Well, you are being called on it. And if you don't answer that call, you are no better than the Labour politicians you lambast for their broken promises, and if someone asserts that to me on the doorstep I don't know how I will answer them, because I will think that they are correct in their assertion.

I voted for the coalition because on balance I thought it was the lesser of a number of evils. I still think that. But my patience and tolerance are wearing thin. Very thin indeed. I thought we were an honourable party, and striking an honourable course, for the good of all. There is nothing honourable about signing a pledge to grub for votes, and then going back on it the second it becomes a bit uncomfortable.

I thought we were better than that.

yours in disappointment


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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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