Monday, 29 August 2016

Yes, Politicians Stage Things.


Jeremy Corbyn didn't sit down on a train. He filmed himself on the floor saying how he and his wife couldn't get a seat, and that Labour needed to re-nationalise the rail service. However, Virgin trains - a private company - leaked CCTV footage showing Corbyn walking past allegedly empty seats. As it turned out, all those seats were either reserved or singles. Later, the Virgin trains staff were able to find Corbyn and his wife a seat together.

Monday, 22 August 2016

On Grindr


All these articles saying about how the internet is destroying human interaction are (at least partially) full of shit.

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Potter's Relationship With Diversity


Harry Potter is by no means the greatest work of literature ever created. In fact, on off days (read: days I have to hide the paracetamol from myself) I'm even hesitant to call it good. I will say that it ranks up there with The Hunger Games, The Hobbit, Ender's Game, and A Song Of Ice And Fire as some of the easiest to read yet rewarding books in the English language. But as a Ravenclaw I'm extremely pretentious and the majority of my reading habits these days concern either non-fiction or essays.

Friday, 5 August 2016

REVIEW: 'Harry Potter And The Cursed Child'


Surprise! Another Harry Potter! In 2016, this awful, awful year where in order to fill a nebulous void that threatens to engulf us all; every intellectual property from our childhoods is returning. It reminds me of just before the fall of Narnia, when Aslan summons back everyone from the previous books to witness this destruction together - as time itself seems to unfold. Star Wars is back. Ghostbusters. Pokemon. Star Trek. And now Harry Potter.

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

On Trident (Or: How I Learned How To Stop Worrying And Hate The Bomb)

So how's Theresa May doing in her first few weeks as Prime Minister? Well, she's scrapped The Department For Climate Change, made Boris 'Shaved Baboon Eating A Thesaurus' Johnson the country's international spokesperson, formed the most right-wing cabinet this side of Thatcher, rushed in a vote for a £31 billion renewal of Trident, and said she would happily annihilate 100,000 people given the option. Which brings me to nukes.

Monday, 4 July 2016

Who's Going To Be The Next PM?


Aren't you so glad you voted 'Leave'? Now the next leader of the country, the person who must now partake in overwhelmingly tricky EU negotiations whilst dealing with a catastrophic economic crisis, will be chosen without your input whatsoever. Already the entire Conservative party seems to be making dramatic changes which you, the people, will have no say in at all. Truly we've taken back control of our country.

So, since we live in a post-fact age, why don't I weigh in on the mess of rich ageing bodies clambering for the Iron Throne. Because apparently no-one cares about expert opinion anymore, so I don't see why I shouldn't have my say. Bear in mind that the Conservative Party are like the Nazi Party in the sense that it's filled with equally repugnant figures all competing against and backstabbing each-other in an attempt to be the Fuhrer.


Theresa May 




I might as well start with the one most likely to be PM, though it may seem illogical as to why. Jeremy Corbyn only halfheartedly campaigned for the UK to remain in the European Union, and he's currently being grilled alive not just by his own party but by parliament. Everyone except the public is calling for Corbyn's resignation, and cowardly politicians are trying to eject him from power rather than initiate a formal leadership contest.

Meanwhile. Theresa May took exactly the same stance. She only tentatively supported the 'Remain' campaign, but kept her authoritative figure out of it. And, rather than being publicly humiliated, she's now set to become Prime Minister. She has the majority of her parties support despite opposing Brexit and pathetically trying to persuade the country to remain. Already her principles are as bankrupt as the land she hopes to govern.

May has this reputation for being Margaret Thatcher 2.0. She's been the Home Secretary for over six years now, and she's kept the job through sheer tenacity. Her speeches are straightforward, her posture and demeanour forceful in comparison to Johnson's stammering, Gove's sputtering, Hunt's drawling, Osborne's wittering, and Cameron's stoicism. People are always more likely to listen to figures who act like they might set the SAS on you whilst you sleep. That's why Putin's still going strong.

May is very much of the post-fact generation in that she vehemently denies racism despite actually being very racist indeed once you break down her rhetoric. She claims that UK Citizenship is "a privilege, not a right" even though the only way to get such a privilege is to luck out and be born in a wealthy, white, Christian country. So Theresa May is not only acknowledging the presence of white privilege in today's society, but she's actively embracing it. To all those people fleeing wars, escaping oppression, or simply looking for a better life, she's saying "No. This is your own fault for not being born here. Go back home and suffer."

In last years Conservative Party Conference, Theresa May launched a vicious attack against migrants. Not even illegal migrants; just migrants. She said it's "difficult for schools and hospitals and core infrastructure like housing and transport to cope" under migration when actually the reason why all these services aren't coping is because the government - her government - are cutting them. She claimed that any and all migrants weren't contributing enough to the economy, despite countless studies saying otherwise.

In fact, the year before she made this speech, The Home Office published a very long and highly detailed study concerning migration. It's conclusion? That migration makes little to no difference towards the economy. May has of course completely ignored this study, even though it was conducted and published on her command by the office she's running.

This isn't the first time the Home Office has completely ignored it's own studies. The legalisation of cannabis was shut down despite the Home Office concluding that it wasn't dangerous, the NHS wouldn't suffer, crime would go down, prisons would be emptier, and actually the government could make quite a bit of money off-of taxing the drug. But Theresa May doesn't like experts. She also keeps trying to pass the 'snoopers charter' - a bill which would give the police access to your internet browser history without asking permission. Despite the fact that the government has already sold my address and phone number to countless private companies already via the electoral register, Theresa May remains certain that this bill will in no way be exploited by anyone. She doesn't say why she's certain, but she's shunned the countless organisations saying this is an absolutely terrible idea.

But with Theresa May spitting bile at migrants, she's deliberately using immigrants as scapegoats. She's claiming migrants are the cause behind all societies ills when there's no evidence to suggest this and her own office has released evidence that contradicts her. She blames migrants for the devolution of public services when this is actually all both her and the governments fault. This is racism at it's clearest, vilest, and most institutional level. Theresa May is a hard-line racist. She shouldn't be running for prime minister. She shouldn't be in parliament. She should be subjected to the same hate-speech laws she enforces.

And this is the woman who previously said that the Conservatives must stop being "the nasty party." Nastiness is her doctrine. Her rhetoric is barbed and when she must address the well-being of the individual rather than the state, it's the same way one might address a favourite teacup. She's infamous for being behind those billboards telling illegal migrants to go home, and denying gay people asylum because they apparently "don't fit the lifestyle" of someone fleeing imprisonment, physical abuse, and even execution. But this is trivial to Theresa May. You are a number, and she thinks your number is too large.

The thing is: she's terrible at her job. For all this assertion that she's a hardened, iron woman who gets results no matter what - this is mostly an empty image. Despite posturing about stamping down on immigration and her cruelty towards the worlds most vulnerable, she still hasn't met a single migration target. She fails to achieve what she sets out to do, mostly because it's overturned by Human Rights Courts. She wanted to spy on all of us, but it was overturned. She wanted to deport more suspected terrorists, but she can't because of human rights.

Her proposed solution? Scrap Human Rights.

Yes, the only thing she hates more than immigrants is your rights. And she wants to take away your right to be free from torture, free from slavery, your right to privacy, a fair trial, and to be treated equally. After all, didn't a wise man once say that the needs of the one outweigh the needs of everyone? Who needs human rights anyway? Aside from every single person in the world...

Imagine what she could do without Human Rights? More, even tougher Austerity. Complete control of not just the internet but all telecommunications. No more obligations to welfare. She already couldn't care less about people, with her only commitment being a drive to secure the state. She wants total, machine-like order and if the entire population gets flattened by this machine then she will not weep because it'll ruin her fake image.

But Theresa May is a perfectly safe candidate. After all, when has adopting a harsh, authoritarian approach during times of turmoil ever gone wrong? Sorry, let me rephrase: when has adopting a harsh, authoritarian approach during times of turmoil ever gone right?

Michael Gove 



OH GOD NOT YOU.

My Dad's a teacher. Consequently, many people within our social circle are also in education. I've previously worked in a school, and have tried several times to get a job as a school librarian. I know a lot of people who work in education...and they all hate Michael Gove. He is their anti-Christ. If a child went into school wearing a Michael Gove mask, the poor kid would be ripped apart by a hoard of blood-hungry teachers.

This man ruined education. It was his genius idea to privatise schools by turning them into 'academies' despite there being no evidence that academies perform better or worse than state schools. He raised class sizes. He raised subscription rates. He raised everything except for school funding and teachers wages. Meanwhile, he directly interfered with the curriculum despite having no prior experience in education and without consulting any of the education bodies. He removed calculator papers from year six Maths exams (because when are you ever going to need to use a calculator?), removed American literature (because what's To Kill A Mockingbird ever taught us?), and sent every school a King James Bible with an introduction written by the greatest expert: himself. He did such a poor job, and was so hated by everyone, that he was re-shuffled in 2014 to the delight of all teachers nationwide.

He's now Justice Secretary, because under the Conservatives there's no real difference between schools and prisons. Yes, the man who in the 90's said we should bring back hanging is now in charge of Justice. He hasn't had much time to ruin the justice system, partly because that complete arse Chris Grayling already ruined it, but also because he's been busy campaigning to leave the European Union. He did this by allying himself with shaved-baboon-in-a-blonde-wig-who-ate-a-thesaurus Boris Johnson so they could both lie to the nation; like if Laurel and Hardy went into the Horcrux industry. Gove stood alongside Johnson as George Osborne's opposite number; the shrewd berk standing awkwardly beside the morally bankrupt speech-maker.

But, like a true political drama, Michael Gove has stabbed Boris Johnson in the back. Despite infamously telling the public not to listen to experts (because what do experts know?), Gove's let Johnson take the blame for the 'Brexit' vote even though his voice has been just as loud and just as filled with bullshit. Michael Gove's also standing for Prime Minister because he has the backing of Rupert Murdoch, who's chosen him above Johnson despite Gove previously stating he wasn't planning to contend for the leadership and would instead back Boris.

So, let's go over that again: Michael Gove campaigned to leave the European Union because he didn't want elitist, un-elected foreign powers supposedly 'interfering' with UK politics...and he's standing for Prime Minister because an Australian billionaire wills it.

Are you still unconvinced that Gove is the second-worst (Chris Grayling's still number one) UK politician currently in power? Let's talk a little more about his history.

Before he ruined education, Michael Gove wrote a book. I know: I'm shocked he's literate too. And yes, the man who claims experts know nothing also claims to be an expert himself. Except I've read parts of his book, Celsius 7/7, and the only thing I learnt from it is that Gove's anti-expert stance will never stop backfiring on both him and whoever he has control of.

It's a foul book, which is why I refused to read it from cover-to-cover. In the book, Gove takes a firm anti-Muslim stance, believing that the religion is inherently linked to terrorism and Islamic extremism is the biggest threat humanity faces today. He reveals himself to be an extremist himself - an almost militant islamaphobe. The book at no point cites any experts in Islam, and there's absolutely no evidence that Michael Gove consulted a single Muslim - intellectual or otherwise - in the penning of his discourse. There's not even any solid research, or credible citations. The whole rhetoric is one "I'm not racist but" away from being a very long Facebook post by your jaded uncle.

I could probably write my own book about Michael Gove's history. Before this waste of trees hit bookshelves the same way firebombs hit Dresden, Gove was a firm supporter of the Iraq war. In 2008, he claimed that the war was England's greatest foreign policy victory...even though in 2008 there were already allegations of war crimes. In the same article, he insipidly claims that 'the west has won' whilst Iraq lay in ruins.

Further evidence of his Islamaphobia: he's very good friends with Israel. Yes, the country that tortures Muslim children, murders Muslims on the street, and builds walls through their property. (See here for full reports on Israel's crimes) It's true that several vile terrorist acts have been committed by Palestinians, but far more Palestinians have been murdered by Israel forces than Israeli citizens murdered by Palestinians. In fact, without Israel's apartheid system, the Palestinians would probably stop resisting and live quiet lives in their rightful homeland.

But this is all fact, and Michael Gove can't stand fact. So instead he's turned on activists who're boycotting Israel, claiming that they're the oppressors. Yes, clearly the people refusing to sell goods to Israel are worse than the people who torture children. In fact, in 2001 Michael Gove claimed that Israel were being too soft on the Palestinian people. He calls Palestinians both terrorists and totalitarians despite them being neither. Again, he pretends to be an expert on this matter without citing any experts whatsoever.

I could go on, but my hands are shaking with rage. Theresa May will create a totalitarian state, Michael Gove will create the worlds most incompetent totalitarian state. It'll be Big Brother but the telescreen's wont work, The Ministry Of Information will print all papers backwards, and The Ministry Of Love will consist of only two guards. Boris Johnson may be out, but it's gratifying that Gove is continuing the noble fight of bringing Donald Trump's politics to the UK.

Stephen Crabb 


Some are saying this man is the dark horse, and praise him as the perfect candidate. He's a model for 21st Century Britain. He was raised by a single mother on a council estate, and so knows both hardship and how essential the welfare state is in securing young peoples futures. He became an MP in 2005, and just over ten years later is battling for the top spot. He's also the first post-Thatcher Conservative cabinet member to sport a beard (because Thatcher thought beards were untrustworthy). See? He has functioning facial hair, so he's just like us! Right?

Dispel this. Immediately.

Stephen Crabb has precisely the same voting record on welfare policies as his predecessor, Iain Duncan Smith. This includes the bedroom tax, the slashing of benefits, the devolution of council housing, and stripping migrants of their rights. He's also voted for NHS privatisation, and blocked an investigation into the number of foodbanks currently operating. Despite voting to remain in the European Union, his foremost policy is complete control of our borders and the dramatic reduction of immigration. The state of human rights and the economy doesn't concern him.

To top it all off, he claimed £178,817 in expenses between 2014 and 2015, which was more than George Osborne claimed during the same period. So, obviously Mr Crabb knows all about hardship, budget-balancing, and negotiation. Clearly he is the perfect man to lead us out of the biggest economic fiasco's in living memory.

But there's more to this man's terrible record. He has voted against almost every single gay rights legislation proposed in parliament since 2005. He's voted against gay marriage, against adoption rights, against anti-discrimination laws, and against all human rights in general. In fact, he was able to get where he is today because he was funded by an extremely homophobic Christian group. Stephen Crabb has actually gone on record saying he believes homosexuality is "an illness. It can be cured." And yes, even now he still stands by all this. So we're talking about a man who not only believes I'm by nature inferior to the rest of society, but also believes I'm mentally insane. (He even did the whole "I have gay friends" bullshit.)

The thing is; this might actually work out well for me. Under the deadly bleach-and-shotglass combination of Conservatives and Brexit, I will never be able to move out of my parents house thanks to the minimum wage being too low and rent prices being too high. But, if homosexuality is declared a mental illness then I'll be able to live in an asylum for the rest of my life.

It'll be great! I'll get a room, three meals a day, I'll be surrounded by other gay/bisexual men; all for the measly price of one electroshock session per day. All hail our Crabb overlord!

(EDIT: Two days after I started writing this, and one day after its publication, Stephen Crabb did an interview with Pink News in which he performed a 180 so dramatic I think his neck might be broken. But he's finally taken back what he's said, and thus no asylum cell for me. Boo.) 


Liam Fox 




...who?

OK, I've googled him and I really wish I didn't.

He's yet another horrific, interchangeable Conservative politician. I'm ticking all the boxes: Against immigration? Check. Pro-Fox hunting? Check. Wants to privatise the NHS? Check. Voted in all of Iain Duncan Smith's policies? Check. Supported the Iraq and Syrian war? Check. At least the Conservatives are consistent. It's a shame they're consistently abhorrent.

Liam Fox is a former doctor who was previously in cabinet as Defence Secretary. He fought against David Cameron's plans to increase foreign aid, but was also against David Cameron's plans to cut military defence. Yet he was perfectly content to sack 11,000 members of the armed forces, with another 11,000 facing uncertain futures. In fact, Liam Fox firmly defended this action. Considering Fox also tried to be Conservative Party Leader in 2005, it's obvious Liam Fox spent almost his entire time attacking David Cameron in an attempt to overthrow his leadership and take control. (Maybe he should join Labour.)

Alongside Stephen Crabb, Liam Fox has also voted against every single gay rights legislation proposed. This is ironic considering he has a very, very close relationship with his friend Adam Werritty. Werritty was a lobbyist who had nothing to do with defence, yet went along with Fox on various trips and was treated as his right hand man even though he wasn't a member of his department. This breached ministerial laws, and thus Fox resigned just before he could be sacked. In a perfectly sane world, Fox's career would be over. Or at least, he wouldn't be running for Prime Minister after such an embarrassment. But here we are...because the public are stupid.

He's a real-life caricature. When you think of the stereotypical 'dodgy Tory,' you think Liam Fox. Right-wing, stubborn, laughable pretensions of Machiavellian-ism; Liam Fox is your model Conservative politician. NEXT.

Andrea Leadsom




Wow, they're really scraping the barrel here. Google must aid me once again.

Both Liam Fox and Andrea Leadsom seem to merely be cannon-fodder. We need a wide variety of comic book villains to choose from...except we don't get a choice. I don't understand why we can't just have Theresa May seize power Cersei Lannister-style and be done with the whole affair. But I suppose we must drag this whole Brexit affair out, lest the government actually go back to doing stuff at last.

Andrea Leadsom is that woman who's Minster of State For Energy and Climate Change despite not believing in climate change. (It's worse than Nicky Morgan being Secretary of State For Education and Equality despite voting against gay marriage.) She's voted against the European renewable energy targets, and strongly opposes wind-farms despite them currently being our only hope. Since obtaining her post last year, she's done nothing to battle climate change except for raising tax on renewable energy. Because that'll solve it!

Climate change is one of the greatest issues we must face today. Every year now the UK is hit by catastrophic floodings that endanger lives and causes millions in property damage. The Conservatives have made efforts to solve all this by lowering the flood defence budget and pushing for shale-gas extraction - which is a carbon-producing fossil fuel. They've also increased investment in nuclear energy, which they claim is a much more sustainable and economically friendly source of energy. It's not like nuclear energy still produces carbon dioxide and is about a hundred times more dangerous than coal and gas. After all, Chernobyl is lovely this time of year!

Last year, we set a carbon emissions target for 2016. We broke it in January. By the first month we had already released more carbon than we were supposed to emit for twelve months. And the Conservatives haven't done anything about this at all. "Welp, we tried to save the world and cocked it up. Nevermind! What do those millions of scientists know anyway?"

If it sounds like I'm going on a tangent about the environment, that's because I have nothing to say about Andrea Leadsom. I don't know who she is, but if we judge her by her prior record then she absolutely fails. She's blundered one of the most important jobs in cabinet, and now she's shoved all responsibility aside for a pathetic attempt to become Prime Minister. Again, she's merely cannon fodder to be blasted away by the great Gove/May boulder that seeks to destroy the country.

Conclusion


So who should be the next Prime Minister?

None of them. These are all terrible people who have no idea what they're doing. If we actually had any choice in this matter, it would be a choice of how our country is going to end. Will it be through totalitarianism, failed totalitarianism, a blundering dystopia, another blundering dystopia, or yet another blundering dystopia. These people shouldn't be put in charge of a Monopoly game.

Thursday, 30 June 2016

British Independence From Fact

I've delayed writing about this issue for the same reason I never wrote anything concerning the EU Referendum itself: where do you start?