miss_s_b: Eleanor from The Good Place looking unimpressed, captioned "that's Bullshirt" (Mood: Bullshit)
The internet's big talking point this weekend is that in so many ways the world is built around men, because somebody has written a book about it, and apparently this is news to a lot of people. Presumably people who haven't heard the discourse around pockets the last few years1.

A lot of the discussion is about the heights of things2 because this is an easily observable thing that we can all see and notice without much effort. Certainly when I worked in pubs, as a 5'1/4" person, the fact that the bar, the work surfaces in the kitchen, the grill height, the glass shelves, etc, were all designed for someone about seven and three quarter inches taller than me was not lost on me. This is why I have so many pairs of New Rock boots with massive heels and serious platforms.

But the thing that really got me is the medical stuff.

I'd known for a while about painkillers, because a trans friend told me. She was stunned by how much less efficacious painkillers were once her body and endocrine system reflected her womanhood, so she did some research on it. It's a known thing. Painkillers are only tested on men, because women might get pregnant and the hormonal changes might mess up the results. If you've ever wondered why it says in pretty much every pill's information leaflet "consult your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding" it's because they purposefully don't test them on pregnant people - or women at all just in case they might be pregnant and mess up the results. Note that this is not an interesting thing to study, the differences being pregnant might make, but an annoyance to be avoided. Because pregnant people never need pain relief...

I'd known for a while about heart attacks, and how women's symptoms differ markedly from men's, and women are therefore much more likely to not know they are having a heart attack and die3.

The one that brought me up cold today, though, was this from Marie on twitter:

Yeah. You read that right. Period pain is not a public health priority. But boners are.

Now, I am very fond of boners. They have provided me with a great deal of pleasure throughout my life, and I hope that they will continue to do so, and I am glad that viagra is available for those people with penises who have difficulty with them. But I have had a diagnosis of severe dysmenorrhoea for 31 years now, since I was ten years old. Severe dysmenorrhea is colloquially referred to as "period pain", but that's a bit like those British soldiers in the Korean war who were getting massacred and told the Americans they were having a spot of bother and then wondered why the Americans didn't come to rescue them.

Twice in the first year the pain was so serve my mum thought I had appendicitis and my appendix was exploding and I was going to die. I have had thirty-one years of, for one - or two or sometimes more - days every month, being so debilitated by pain that I can't move, can't bear bright light, can't eat because the pain is so severe I will just puke the food straight back up again, can't do anything but hide under the duvet with a hot water bottle and a sick bowl. I did a bit of rough maths this morning - say 1.5 days a month for 31 years - and came up with a figure of 558. Five hundred and fifty eight days of my life I have lost to completely avoidable agony, because people with uteruses being in completely avoidable agony is not a public health priority.

But what got me even more than that was doing a bit of reading around and discovering that this has been known for some time. This article is from 2016. But I hadn't heard about it before this round of book promotion, because it's not news, is it?
People with uteruses suffer completely avoidable pain? So what. Let's talk some more about the minutiae of Westminster Bubble politics.
Even the article the screencap above comes from is in the "lifestyle" section of the newspaper. Because it's not really news, that everyone needs to know about4, it's just a lifestyle issue that women have, completely avoidable agony, like which shoes to wear or which clothes to...

* reads back over first couple of paragraphs *

... oh.

Oh NOW I'm angry.

Because that's it, isn't it?

The mental health crisis in men is front page news, and deservedly so.
Boys underachieving in schools is front page news, and deservedly so.

But women's pain, women's suffering, the fact that the entire fucking system from clothes to medicine to cars to the shelves in the arsebadgering supermarket are all designed around men and women are an afterthought if we are even thought of at all? That's a lifestyle issue. Because you know who decides what is newsworthy, don't you?


Captain Kirk doing his rage dance

1 It's also well known that women's clothes - even clothes specifically designed for working in - are generally made from less durable, less comfortable fabrics, because women are meant to be decorative not practical.

2 Shelves in supermarkets are designed around someone 5'8", which is entirely coincidentally average male height, despite women doing more grocery shopping than men, for example.

3 Big love here to my friend who recently had a heart attack and thankfully did not die - you take it easy, girl, or I shall come over and do stern mama bear face at you.

4 If you're wondering why I'm not linking to that when I'm linking to everything else, it's because the book is by a massive transphobe, and the article has some transphobic dog whistles about gender neutral toilets in it. As someone - I think [personal profile] haggis - said on twitter yesterday, imagine how much more of a force for good CCP would be if she fought for all women and not just cis ones...
miss_s_b: (Mood: Kill me)
The Independent Group's statement of values is mostly a pile of centrist mush that very few people could disagree with, apart from the very first bit under "we believe", where they dog-whistle racists with stuff about how the first duty of government - the first duty, mark you - is to do whatever it takes to secure our borders against all those nasty immigrants. I would have thought the first duty of government is to look after its citizens, or maybe uphold the rule of law. There's also the wishy-washy (at best) commitment to international co-operation, including no mention whatsoever of remaining in the EU, which given how the group was formed seems... odd.

Whatever they are, they really, really aren't liberals.

I guess they're filling a gap in the market, which is fine, fair play to them. Sadly, the gap in the market they are filling is centre-left authoritarian, and the reason that is a gap that exists, and my party isn't already filling it, is because authoritarianism is the antithesis of Liberalism; no matter how much noise Our Glorious Leader makes about us being centrists and a movement for moderates, the first thing we are is Liberal. Or so I thought.

It was with dismay, then, this morning that I saw not only all our MPs, and the press office, and a bunch of leaders of council groups, falling over themselves to praise this new grouping, but also a lot of people whose opinions I had hitherto valued and trusted. Huge swathes of my party sucking up to these people like they're the best thing since sliced bread.

They're so brave and principled, they said.

A bunch of people not forming a political party but hiding behind a company so they don't have to reveal their funding are brave and principled.
A bunch of people who let that company be in the sole name of an MP who voted against same sex marriage and who is associated with gay cure "charities" are brave and principled.

Is it any wonder that people call us spineless?
Is it any wonder that people think we don't actually have any principles?
Is it any wonder people think we'll do anything for power when here we are giving these seven people a tongue-bath the likes of which the world has never seen?

We didn't even wait five minutes. We were straight in the with "ooooo you're so wonderful and brave and principled".

Well, sorry folks, but I think this emperor is stark bollock naked, and I'm genuinely disgusted at you all for not only refusing to say so, but for admiring the finery of his clothes.
miss_s_b: (Mood: Vyvyan Twos Up)
... and it looks like, for reasons know only to the actual drafters of the motion, they've decided to lace the apple pie with arsenic.

You'll recall that party members were asked to submit ideas, on the basis that the best of them would be turned into a conference motion. Party members submitted over a thousand, which were whittled down by Unknown Actors to a top ten, which were further whittled down to a top 3 by Illustrious Judges, and then those three were punted out to the membership to be voted on. And all this was run by the entirely independent of HQ and completely above board group Your Liberal Britain.

The three proposals people were asked to vote between (on an FPTP vote, natch, because who has time for STV, amirite?) were:
  1. Nationwide online schooling
  2. Statutory Care Leave For All
  3. Compel supermarkets to donate all low risk food waste
Number 3 won, albeit with less than 50% of the vote, and so it got sent away to the wonks to be turned into a workable policy motion.

Said policy motion dropped into inboxes this morning. You can read the whole thing here, if that's your bag. I would like to draw your attention to "Conference calls for" 1, because that, right there, is the arsenic in the apple pie.
Conference calls for:
1. Companies in the food production, food wholesale, food retail and hospitality sectors to be
granted a corporation tax rebate equal to 20% of the retail value of all food within its use
by date redistributed in a given tax year, if they meet all of the following requirements [followed by a list of requirements]
Whatever my personal problems with the entire Ashdown Prize process, and they are myriad, people voted for a winner and that vote should be respected both in the spirit and in the letter, and they should get a motion that looks like what they voted for.

They voted for "compel supermarkets to donate food waste".
They did not vote for "tax breaks for Tesco".

What possible justification can there be for that first clause in "conference calls for"? Why are we proposing to give supermarkets, who many people complain do not pay their fair share of taxes anyway, a 20% tax break for something that many of them do already? It's an absolute naked farce.

One could argue that this illustrates the problem with voting on something before you know what it will actually look like quite neatly (and I note that the email inviting members to sign in support of the motion has a big shiny yellow "click to sign here" button before the link to actually read what you are signing in small plain text)... See also brexit. Although at least the Ashdown Prize for (Arsenic-Laced) Apple Pie won't actually wreck the country, so there's that in it's favour.
miss_s_b: (Politics: Liberal)
The party is in the process of consulting on immigration, refugees, and identity. Given HQ's mealy-mouthed handwringing on these topics of late, I thought I'd better actually take a look at it. Sadly, but not unexpectedly, it is stuffed full of racist dog whistles and positions that have not so much been pre-compromised with the tories, but with UKIP.

- When will the party learn that UKIP succeeded in dragging the Overton window in their direction by refusing to compromise on their racist bullshit, and we absolutely must not compromise on Liberalism if we are to have any hope of bringing it back our way?

- When will the party learn that pandering to racists who will never vote for us anyway only alienates the core vote their precious strategyless strategy document seeks to cultivate and is a lose/lose proposition for us?

- When will the party learn that pre-compromising in order to look like a serious party of government is pointless when most of the population don't even see us relevant to opposition, never mind government?

- When will the party learn that proudly showing the principles that we absolutely do have is the best counter to those who argue we are unprincipled shysters, and that pre-compromising gives fuel to that argument and is thus utterly counterproductive?

Sadly, on the evidence of the last 8 years, and particularly this policy paper on Immigration, Refugees, and Identity, the answer to all those questions is "at a point so unimaginably distant in the future that using 'never' as an approximation seems reasonable".

Anyway, my response to the consultation paper is currently at 9 pages and very ranty. I'll probably edit it a couple more times to make it sound less shouty, but I am deeply, deeply ashamed at the number of people in this party who signed off on that consultation paper. Who thought that pile of illiberal crap was worthy of being put out with the Liberal Democrat logo on it? It's horrifying.
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: Mindy St Clare from The Good Place, hiding her nakedness behind very large sunflowers and looking shocked (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: (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: (feminist heroes: Sarah Jane Smith)
So various people are saying that all Muslims need to apologise for the Charlie Hebdo attacks, despite the fact that one of the first victims was a Muslim, and most Muslims are peaceful and many have condemned the attacks as unIslamic. Well, if we're in the business of making people apologise for things that are nothing to do with them but vaguely in the same demographic, here are some things I feel I should apologise for:
  • Eugenics
  • Julie Bindel
  • The cultural appropriation of other people's food, customs, and vocabulary by the English since time immemorial
  • Richard Dawkins
  • The Daily Mail in general and Quentin Letts in particular
  • bankers
  • the 1998 Godzilla remake
  • Ched Evans
  • All the ridiculous arseholes who suggest that every Muslim is responsible for extremist wankers. Yes, Rupert Murdoch, I'm looking at you.
This list is obviously not exhaustive.
miss_s_b: (Mood: Tough)
The party's headless chicken response to this whole farrago has been utterly disappointing, and Rennard's utter inability to see what damage he is doing to the party he claims to love due to his own massive entitlement complex is sickening in the extreme. We have already lost enough people over this - many of them, Susan G especially, worth ten of an over-rated & out-dated campaigns strategist - so I won't be leaving the party.

It is true that Lord Rennard has not been found guilty of any crime in a court of law. He should not be subject to any legal sanction for his alleged actions. He is free to associate with whomever he wishes to associate, so long as they wish to associate with him.

HOWEVER I am not a court of law, and just like Lord Rennard I am free to associate with whomever I choose. Therefore I will say now, and publicly, that any room into which Lord (allegedly) Grabbyhands walks, I will walk out of. It will be safer for both of us that way, I think.
miss_s_b: (Mood: Facepalm)
"Have you seen this news story? Clegg urges restrictions on migrants?"
"Yeah, that's a thing that's made me angry"
"Have you blogged on it?"
"No. It'd not bring anything to the debate if I just posted a great long stream of invective"

And that, ladies and gentles, is why I ain't been blogging much. Because, at the end of the day, if what you've got to say brings more heat than light there's not much point in saying it. And I'm feeling VERY heated these days.
miss_s_b: (Mood: Facepalm)
I GET that DRIP is significantly less awful with the Lib Dem input than it would have been otherwise. I GET that Lib Dems in government fought hard to get the measly concessions we have got in a horrifically authoritarian bill that will give future secretaries of state for the home office carte blanche to introduce all the powers of the snoopers' charter without parliamentary oversight. I GET that we are the junior partners in a coalition and we can't have everything all our own way. I get that compromise is the only way anything would ever get done under this government, and I voted for the coalition at special conference in full and total knowledge that I was almost certainly signing the electoral death warrant for my party.

You know what?

There are some things that absolutely should be red lines. And when the name of your party is the Liberal Democrats you do NOT shill for a bill which is so profoundly illiberal and undemocratic on the basis that we made it a bit better by inserting a sunset clause (which the next majority govt of EITHER of the the other two big parties will gleefully repeal, even if it DOES take primary legislation to do so) and some bits of safeguard which AREN'T EVEN IN THE BILL but are to be put into a statutory instrument at some point maybe.

No. Fuck that shit.

What next? Greg Mulholland is going to try to tell me that pubcos are OK really and it could be worse?
Adrian Sanders is going to say that it's OK to torture animals if you don't kill them?
Lynne Featherstone will tell me that cutting is fine if you only take off ONE of the labia and not both?

Enough. Enough of this right now.

I want my party back, and I want the people in it that I looked up to and respected to start behaving like they did when I looked up to them and respected them, not like shills for the bloody authoritarian tories.
miss_s_b: (Politics: Liberal)
Calderdale Liberal Democrats' Policy Working Group met on Saturday night and we've written a motion for conference expressing our dismay at DRIP and what we feel the party's policy response should be. We do realise that DRIP will be pushed through before conference, but the motions deadline is Wednesday (when DRIP will be in the Lords) and we think this is the best way of getting the parliamentary party who are selling our principles down the river (for not even 30 pieces of silver or anything) to take notice.

I'm not going to publish the text of the motion here because conference office might take a dim view of that, but if you're interested in putting your name rank and serial number to it, message me in some way to let me know. It so far has the support of Calderdale local party and a few individuals, but the more the merrier.

My email is jennieDOTriggATgmailDOTcom if you want to contact me.
miss_s_b: (Mood: Vyvyan Twos Up)
So the half formed blog post I've had in here for two days has been deleted. I'm not going to write it. I am, instead, going to write a list of things that life is too short for:
  1. People who are old enough and wily enough to know better trying to bullshit other people about me in front of my face.

  2. Abject fuckery from people who are so determined on revenge they don't care who else they hurt in the process.

  3. People who are incapable of seeing the wood for the trees.

  4. People who are bullheaded and idiotic in the face of bacterial illness. Trying to reason with bacteria is futile.

  5. Interminable email threads that go nowhere and piss off everybody involved in reading them.

  6. Susan Press.
I think today is going to be a Dragonforce day. Through the fire and the flames we carry on...
miss_s_b: (Mood: Vyvyan Twos Up)
I wasn't going to blog about this, because "man wants to generate publicity for his TV programme" is not news, but honestly, the naked bigotry on display by Jamie Oliver today takes some beating. So I'm going to go through a few of his "points" and try to explain why he needs to pull his head out of his arse.

Why can poor people afford big TVs but not good food?

A TV is something you purchase once. Food is something you purchase every day. Perhaps the people with the big telly had a reasonable income until recently, maybe someone lost their job IN THE BLOODY RECESSION, or has had to take an hours and/or pay cut? But even if the people with the big telly have ALWAYS been poor, it's still explicable: when you're poor, you do tend to get the odd occasional windfall - maybe someone close to you dies, or you get a bulk payment after a benefit cock-up, or something similar - and when you get an occasional windfall, you NEVER save it. Money is a transient thing, and if you don't spend it, someone will take it away. It'll slip down the endless chute of debts and gas bills and council tax. So when you get a big windfall you buy something big, so you have something to show for it. Otherwise the money just disappears and it's like you never had it.

So you'll scrimp and save every penny every day to make the food budget go further, but if you get a big windfall you'll spend it on a nice telly because a nice telly will last, and keep you entertained for years. Whereas splitting the money so you have an extra tenner a week to spend on food for the next year doesn't feel like a big difference to your life.

Why do poor people spend money on ready meals at the supermarket, and not fresh food at the farmer's market?
  1. Fresh food goes off quickly. If you can only go shopping once a week, or once a fortnight, and you're buying all the special offers and reduced stuff to stretch that budget further, something that might go off before you can use it is a luxury

  2. Some of us don't have cars and have to use the shop nearest to us. Being able to drive out to the farm shop is a luxury.

  3. Certain TV chefs have taken millions of pounds from certain supermarkets for FUCKING YEARS to persuade people to shop at said supermarket. When that TV chef then turns round and says "I know I've been saying in public for years (and for money) that you should shop at the supermarket, but honestly, if you believe that, you're stupid" that's just a big slap in the face.

  4. Cooking is a skill that takes time and energy to learn. Cooking STILL takes time and energy to do once you have learned the skill. If you're working all the hours god sends just to keep a roof over your head (and these days, even being unemployed means working full-time just to not lose your benefit) you often don't have the emotional or physical energy to cook, and that's before you even take into account that many people have never learned to cook either from their parents or from school.

  5. Maths is a skill. Working out that ready meals often work out more expensive than home-cooked takes maths
Those are just a few reasons off the top of my head.

Why does it matter if Jamie Oliver buys in to Daily Fail-style poor bashing?

Sadly, it matters because people listen to the mockney git. If he was pressing for cookery lessons in schools, like he pressed for better school dinners, this might be forgivable. But he's not. He's after viewers for his new TV show, about how to cook on a budget. If you want to ACTUALLY know how to cook on a budget, when you don't have a car to get to the Farm Shop and you only have a Sainsbury's (oh the irony) within walking distance, and you feel guilty and bad because of the shame of poverty perpetuated by tedious wankstains like Jamie Oliver, look to Jack Monroe, who has actually LIVED IT, not some mockney celebrity chef who is trying to further shame and exploit you.

ETA: Jack has now blogged on this herself, well worth reading: http://agirlcalledjack.com/2013/08/27/save-with-jamie-get-rid-of-the-massive-fing-tv-and-shop-at-markets-instead/
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: (Mood: Vyvyan Twos Up)
You know what I am really sick of? Small business leaders appearing as talking heads on news programmes saying that employment law is tooooo complicated and it's not fair and stamping their feet like Kevin the teenager. I have some proposals for nice simple easy to understand employment regulations:
  • Minimum wage is a nice round ten pounds per hour

  • Every worker who has a doctor's note proving they are ill is entitled to full pay until the doctor deems them fit to return to work.

  • All workforces to be unionised, and any employers found employing non-union workers will be subject to prosecution*
All of these are a lot simpler and easier to understand than current employment regulations, and all of them would elicit howls of outrage from so-called small business leaders. You know why? Because when small business leaders says this measure is too complicated what they actually mean is this measure might cost us money. Well, you know what? If you can't afford to pay your workers a living wage and treat them like human being then maybe you might want to face the fact that your business doesn't deserve to survive.

* this is not an idea I would support, at least not unless unions become a lot freer and totally divorced from the Labour party, but you've got to admit, it's simple.
miss_s_b: (Mood: Facepalm)
I just got an email purporting to be from Lynne Featherstone, which said (and I paraphrase slightly)
Calm down dear, it's only a tiny extension of the RIPA powers and it;s not going to be on a centralised database, so honestly, there's nothing to worry about
The centralised database is NOT the problem, "Lynne", the problem is that powers that should never have been enacted in the first place are being extended, and it doesn;' matter how small an extension it is, because they are being extended in my name, and I'm NOT GOING TO FUCKING STAND FOR IT.

I know the mandarins have told you that they only want the headers, so to speak, and not the content, but with packet data (i.e. most of what the internet runs on) it's not possible to extract the headers without having access to the content too. The internet was specifically designed to make it hard to intercept stuff. You can't get arround that with platutudes from whitehall mandarins.

And even if that WAS possible, it still doesn't mean that extending the powers that were enacted under RIPA, which were bad and wrong and illiberal, will ever be anything other than bad and wrong and illiberal.

Stop trying to soothe angry bloggers with emails full of bullshit you've been fed by whitehall mandarins and listen to people who know what they are talking about. Stop panicking that the grass roots are making a fuss when you've gone native, and wonder if we might have a sodding point, you useless, spineless, quisling IDIOTS. Your job is to question this shit, not just wave it through and then try and mansplain (and whatever the gender of the person who typed that email, it was a classic example of mansplainin') to people who are justifiably angry about your conduct.
miss_s_b: Mindy St Clare from The Good Place, hiding her nakedness behind very large sunflowers and looking shocked (Default)
miss_s_b: (Mood: Facepalm)
A conversation just occurred in this house:

James: Oh for fuck's sake!
Me: What??
James: "Soccer star Fabrice Muamba's recovery has sparked a group of Christian MPs to try and reverse an ad ban on saying that worship works. Three Christian MPs are trying to overturn an advertising ban on claiming that ‘God can heal’." (Source)
Me: Please tell me one of them's not Tim Farron
James: "Gary Streeter (Con), Gavin Shuker (Lab) and Tim Farron (Lib Dem) say that they want the Advertising Standards Authority to produce "indisputable scientific evidence" to say that prayer does not work"
Me: Oh for fuck's sake.

I really like Tim Farron, but sometimes he makes it really difficult for me to do so.

Firstly, the very idea of indisuptable scientific evidence is a contradiction in terms. The whole point of scientific evidence is that it's disputable. That's how science is made. The difference between a scientific paradigm and (for instance) a Christian doctrine is like the difference between Lib Dem policy and Tory policy. A Lib Dem policy is proposed by an activist (scientist), run past FPC and FCC (the ethics committees), experimented upon (consultative sessions), examined from every angle (peer review), and finally voted upon at conference (becomes accepted as a paradigm). A Tory policy goes like this: one of the top rank Tories has an idea, possibly after a very expensive meal with David Cameron (God issues an edict via holy book/prophet/visions/whatever).

Just like there is no such thing as an indisputable Lib Dem policy, there is no such thing as indisputable scientific evidence. But that does not mean that there is not Lib Dem policy that pretty much everybody agrees on, and that's how science works too. For instance, pretty much every Lib Dem agrees that imprisoning people without charge for long periods of time is a bad thing; there might be the odd one that thinks there ought to be exceptions to this priciple, but mostly, we are in accord, and we don't bother discussing it much because it's something we all agree on. Similarly there is no indisputable scientific evidence that I exist; but I think we can work on the assumption that I do, given that I'm typing this blog post, and although it might be fun to try and prove that I exist, it's not really a valubale use of anyone's time. There is no indisputable scientific evidence that computers or blogs exist, for that matter. But pretty much everybody agrees that they do. Science, like Lib Dem policy, is all about consensus, not people doing what they are told*.

With all that in mind, we can see that the very idea that there might be indisputable scientific evidence that prayer does not work is a bit silly, and that's even before we go into the difficulties of proving a negative (it seems quite appropriate to me, especially in this case, that the logical fallacy which covers saying that something must be true because it hasn't yet been proven false is called the argument from ignorance). However, in the realm of disputable scientific evidence, there are some things that Gary Streeter (Con), Gavin Shuker (Lab) and Tim Farron (Lib Dem) might find instructive.

There are HUGGINS of scientifc studies that have been done by Christians to try and prove that prayer DOES work (example article talking about this phenomenon). And not one of them has made a reliable conclusion that prayer is anything other than a placebo. Every one that has purported to do so has been found to be cheating in some way. Now, in terms of the Advertising Standards Agency, they generally require proof of a positive: that is, in order to advertise a thing, you must be able to prove that what you are saying is true. Why should Christianity be held to a lower standard than L'Oreal or I Can't Believe It's Not Butter? If prayer actually works, Christians, I think it's up to you lot to prove it, not to demand that the rest of us prove that it doesn't.

Apart from anything else, it flies in the face of your own stated principles. Christianity is supposed to be about love and compassion and stuff, right? In what way is it loving or compassionate to give ill people false hope that you talking to your invisible friend on their behalf will have any measurable effect? Surely that's cruel and evil, not loving and compassionate?

I really have no beef with Christians who believe in God and want to worship him and all that jazz, SO LONG AS THEY DON"T IMPINGE ON MY NOT WANTING TO JOIN IN. I am utterly pig sick of the current vocal minority of Christians in this country and the rest of the Western world who are trying like blazes to impose ridiculous Christian doctrines on the rest of us, and shore up the stupid privelege that Christianity has in our legislature all the while trying to claim that they are being discriminated against; and I am incredibly sad that someone who is the president of a supposedly Liberal party keeps trying to enforce Christian conformity on the rest of us.

Tim, please, you're a nice lad and a good speaker, but Just. Stop. It.

*this is, of course, why the entire activist base is so pissed off with the leadership trying to be religious instead of scientific, and going their own way instead of listening to Conference. This isn't what we signed up for. It's also not what this blog post is about, though, so...
miss_s_b: (Mood: Vyvyan Twos Up)
I'd like to make something clear, before any more cariacaturing of my position on Ed Davey goes on. My problem with him is not that he has a penis. My problem with him is that in his previous job, and despite lots of lobbying from people like Greg Mullholland and Gareth Epps, he decided that he was going to do his level best to contribute to fucking up the industry I work in, and have a great degree of fondness for. I dislike Ed being promoted, not because he is male, but because he FUCKED WITH MY LIFE.

His maleness has knack all to do with the fact that I think he has been overpromoted and will be rubbish; I bash him on his record, not his gender. I wouldn't care if he was a two-headed, three-armed hipster from Betelgeuse if I thought he could do the job. And while we're on the point, the fact that there are able and capable women who have not been promoted while he HAS been does not smack to me of meritocracy, and no amount of whinging from supposedly humourous people on this score is going to persuade me that this is meritocracy in action.
miss_s_b: Captain Kathryn Janeway (Feminist Heroes: Janeway)
Coverage of Woman in Black looks to be following the pattern of Kick Ass, X-Men First Class and Stardust: Ooooooo look Jonathan Ross has turned up to the premiere because his friend is in the film!


Nothing to do with his wife having written the fucking screenplay then? Bastards.

It's at this point that I gives (limited) props to ITV for actually acknowledging her existence and having a brief interview with her, even if they did spend more time interviewing Ross first, and they probably only acknowledged her because every single one of the film's stars that they asked what the best thing about the film was said Jane Goldman's script.
miss_s_b: Mindy St Clare from The Good Place, hiding her nakedness behind very large sunflowers and looking shocked (Default)
Because I was ill earlier I ended up watching coverage of the leader's speech on telly. I admit, I was already wound up by the level of ill-informed opinion dressed up as fact and the appearance of Quentin Letts when the coverage of the Clegg/Gonzalez Durantez arrival at the ICC started... And Andrew Neil, true to media form, started going on in simpering tones about Miriam's dress. This was, in fact, the major content of the comment on the leader and his wife's arrival at the hall.

So I blew my stack and fired off a tweet in very intemperate language. Really, if the roles were reversed, and Miriam was leader and Nick her consort, would we be hearing about his crisp yet frugal M&S suit? Of course we bloody wouldn't. It's sexist, objectifying bollocks.

Neil, to his credit, replied to my tweet. Apparently he only went on at length about the dress because the Lib Dems told him to. Given that the Lib Dems have been telling him stuff all week that he's been roundly ignoring (e.g. the Liberator songbook is not an official party publication) I am somewhat incredulous that he chose to obey this one instruction blindly, but nevertheless, I have a sneaking suspicion that there is a grain of truth in what he says.

In which case, the foul-mouthed capslocked rant I directed at him should properly be directed at my own party's press office. If Clegg is serious about increasing diversity in the party he could start by persuading his own damn press office not to perpetuate this crap.
miss_s_b: (Politics: Democracy)
Apologies for the slightly ineloquent nature of this entry. I write this still quaking with anger at what I witnessed in the hall just now. The number of people who voted for amendment one terrifies me, it really fucking terrfies me.

Anyway, the motion was passed, sadly without amendment two, but it was still passed. This gives me some hope. For what it's worth, here's what I would have said had I been called to speak:
Conference, those of you who know me will know that I don't like mornings. I really don't like having to get out of bed before lunchtime if I don't have to. None the less, I am here, and I am speaking. Why? Because I deplore the fundamentally illiberal security theatre I have had to go through to be here today.

We have all of us had to submit personal information to the police in order that they can inspect our papers and "make recommendations" to the top brass as to whether we can attend or not.

The excuses put forward for FCC's craven acceptance of this made my blood run cold.

"Well, the police reccommended it" - they also asked for 90 days detention of suspects. Did we support that? No
"We wouldn't have got insurance!" - because there's only ONE insurance company, and they don't need the party's money at all, so obviously they call the shots.
"They do it at Labour and Tory conference" - yes, and they throw out respected activists for disagreeing with Jack Straw too, are we going to adopt that approach next?

and worst of all...

"If you've done nothing wrong you've nothing to fear". I'm going to repeat that one. "If you've done nothing wrong you've nothing to fear"

The idea that ANY Liberal could see that as an acceptable statement to make just boggles my mind.

There are many, many reasons for not wishing to submit one's personal information to the police. There are many many reasons to not trust them with it. Almost all of them relate to being in an underpriveleged group. Being a battered woman, who wishes to keep her location secret from an abusive former partner. Being black, and having been singled out by the police before. Being trans, and not wishing to be outed to unsympathetic and prejudiced people. We are supposed to be the party that CHAMPIONS the rights of these people, not colludes in their further oppression.

As a member of Delga I have seen the number of LGBT members - my friends - who have not even bothered to apply to come to this conference because of this system, because of their previous ill-treatment under police vetting schemes, and the idea that they should apply and then if and when it all goes wrong they can complain speaks of massive privelege. For trans people who might wish for their status or former name to remain a secret it is far too much to ask them to take the risk of being outed and then ask them to accept an apology afterwards. The damage will have already been done in that case. Who can blame them for not wanting to take the risk?

If you are one of those people who can't see what the fuss is about, I urge you to read the Delga Transgender working group's papers on this. If you have an ounce of empathy you will see how wrong and discriminatory this accreditation system is.

And after all this, what do we get? A conference pass that could be easily forged by anyone with an inkjet printer. How in the name of sanity has this accreditation system increased our security? It hasn't. It's security theatre of the worst kind, and it discriminates against those we as a party are supposed to fight for.

Conference, I urge you to reject amendment one, which waters down the motion and is frankly just apologia for this farce, accept amendment two, and vote for the motion as a whole.

Thank you
[personal profile] magister, had he spoken, would have backed up the discrimination argument with tales of what happens in his office when they get applications from trans, gay, and abused people. This is not a light matter, and it is not something that FCC should just dismiss, as they have been doing, even to the extent of lying directly from the stage about the involvement of Delga in the negotiations, and trying to tell us that the make-up of this conference is no different than any other when we all know people who are not here because of the accreditation process.

Rachel Coleman Finch and Jenny Barnes and David Grace were all magnificent, and Jenny in particular was outstandingly brave in her speech. I am sad it didn't have more effect.

Anyway, you all know me. I'm not one to rage against the dying of the light if there's something substantive I can do about it. To that end, FCC elections are next year. If I can't affect their thinking from the outside, I'm bloody well going to try and do it from the inside, and I'm going to stand for election.

This party has become my family. I am NOT going to see it turn into the tories by stealth or otherwise while I still have breath in my body.
miss_s_b: (Mood: Vyvyan Twos Up)
One of the things which sends me into an apoplectic fury the sort of person who says cheer up, it might never happen (without a sense of irony, anyway).

1, You don't know if it already has.
2, Even if you know it has, and you think it's nothing to get upset about, you have no right to impose your values on someone else.
3, Even if you are completely and totally right, you are NOT HELPING, you are being a cock.

I think the thing that pisses me off the most is the automatic assumption that whatever it is that's upset the person you are addressing, it can't possibly be as serious as the tiny minor dent they are putting in your day by not smiling. When you use this phrase, you are saying I don't care if your mother just died, your lack of smiling is putting a slight crimp in my day, and my day is more important than your pain, so conform to my expectations, lesser being. That might not be what you MEAN to say, but that is what you ARE saying.

When people use this phrase, or ones similar to it, it makes me want to punch them.

It's a good job I am a civilised person and unlikely to follow through on that urge.

This post has been brought to you by the letters A and T and the emotion of stabbity rage.

Dreamwidth Livejournal Blogger Facebook Tweet this Delicious Flattr this LibDig Bit/ly StumbleUpon
miss_s_b: (Who: Three (Polarity))
I read this this morning, and my immediate thought was YES!

Part of the reason I never got on with Russel T Davies' vision of Doctor Who was that it was so clear he had grown up wanting to be the Doctor's COMPANION. I never wanted to travel WITH the Doctor; I wanted to BE the Doctor. I wanted to be Dennis the Menace and Batman and Mr Spock and Judge Dredd too. And I wanted to be Freddie Mercury and Alice Cooper and Bruce Dickinson. And later I wanted to be Rumpole, or Paddy Ashdown. Like the first commenter on that post, it never occurred to me (and I thank my Dad for that) that because all my heroes were boys, I wasn't supposed to want to be like them, I was supposed to want to be WITH them, to be their soppy female helpmeet.

My Holly wants to be a Green Lantern.

At least that's a narrative possibility - there ARE female green lanterns, even if they are generally peripheral to the male ones.

I hate this world, that it tries to frustrate her dreams of awesomeness and give her dreams of playing second fiddle instead. My little girl is amazing, and she deserves to have amazing heroes to look up to and dream of emulating. Why is there still, after so many years, only a handful? Why do Ripley and Wonder Woman have to shoulder this burden alone? DAMMIT, WORLD, GIVE ME MORE FEMALE HEROES!

About This Blog

A picture of me with my mum's dog Pippin

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.


If you like my blog please consider dropping me a tip:

Paypal Donate Button

Buy Me an uncaffeinated beverage (because I'm allergic to coffee) at ko-fi.com


Charities I support:

The Survivors' Trust - donate here
DogsTrust - donate here
CAB - donate here


Creative Commons License
Miss SB by Jennie Rigg is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.
Based on a work at miss-s-b.dreamwidth.org.

Please note that any and all opinions expressed in this blog are subject to random change at whim my own, and not necessarily representative of my party, or any of the constituent parts thereof (except myself, obviously).

Printed by Dreamwidth Studios, Maryland USA. Promoted by Jennie Rigg, of Brighouse, West Yorkshire.

April 2019

89 1011 121314
15 161718 192021

Style Credit

Powered by Dreamwidth Studios
Page generated Wednesday, April 24th, 2019 01:54 pm


RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags