Twisted Sisters

One of the best things about women’s groups is the other women. Getting to hang out in women only spaces and talk about women’s stuff without apologising or qualifying, coz other women just get it eh? One of the worst things about women’s spaces is the other women. ‘Coz they’re great about periods, night feeds, angry teenagers and violent exs, but there’s always something you don’t agree with them about, and then they turn on you, like you were the dirt bag ex everyone was ditching, only five minutes previous.

Doesn’t happen to all women, obviously, but it happens to plenty of us. And when when women slag you off it’s always worse then when men do. As a feminist, I’m used to blokes telling me I’m ugly, bigoted, deluded and, my personal favourite ‘in need of a good fuck’. It all goes over my head. What they are really trying to articulate is their frustration with my politics and my abject refusal to give a fuck what they think. When a woman insults me, it cuts deeper. They too are articulating their frustration with my politics but because they are female they are socialised to be polite so they do it in more subtle ways.

‘Course it could be that I’m simply wrong, only I rarely entertain that premise. Not because I’m arrogant but because I know my subject.

Today, for example, I was on a mother’s group set up by mothers, for mothers, to give mothers a space to speak about their experiences in family court and to seek advice about court orders, crazy fathers and the damaged children of demented men. The subject, the gendered bias of family courts, should not be controversial in a group run by women for women because women are frequently the victims of misogyny in an outdated system designed and controlled by men. But somehow it was.

A stepmother had put up a post seeking help because her stepdaughter didn’t want to see her birth mother and she wanted to support the child’s choice. The child in question was thirteen and quite atypical of a teenager that was struggling with her mum. Now, I have nothing against stepmothers, quite the opposite, it’s hard enough to raise your own kid, I sure as hell wouldn’t fancy raising someone else’s, but I had to question the legitimacy of a stepmother raising a legal question on a mother’s site. ‘Coz it’s actually a father that’s doing it.

So all these women were offering their hard earned advice to a bloke on how to avoid his legal obligation to maintain the mother and child bond.

And that’s a line for me.

It should have been a line for every woman in the group because it violates the group’s purpose and makes every woman in it vulnerable, but it wasn’t. Largely ‘coz lots of women have had bad experiences with their own mothers and whilst I sympathise, it has nothing to do with the subject at hand.

There is a moral to this rant. Internalised misogyny is the lot of all women and if we are to ever overcome the patriarchy, we gotta do a lot of work on ourselves. Folk can say all day that domestic abuse is not a gendered problem but the simple truth is that 90% of domestic violence victims are women and believing it’s gender neutral won’t save anybody’s kids. All evidence suggests that hell has greater fury than scorned women and that fury is blokes who don’t like the word “No”.

Original Sin in a secular society.

I don’t like the term “white privilege”. That’s to be expected. I’m white. What I need to do is educate myself a bit more on the concept and then I’ll not only like it, I’ll use it widely as shorthand for “I’m not racist”. You need shorthand for that, in these racially tense times. It’s not good enough to simply not be racist. Unless you’re working on your inner thoughts and vetting them, and keeping your colonial roots at the back of your mind then you’re probably micro aggressing like a mother, and nobody wants to be doing that, on a weeknight.

My own colonial past is a bit sketchy. Being Irish, my history is one of being oppressed rather than the bad guy. Being celtic and paler than the recently deceased, the colour of their skin didn’t stop my ancestors starving when the potatoes ran out. They could have had cake, if cake wasn’t the preserve of the privileged.

But that was then and this is now, and now, being white is a symbol of being born privileged. Unless you are white and born into poverty, and we can mark that by whether or not you receive free school meals. If you do, your chances of acquiring the education you need to get out of poverty are less than 20%. Comparatively, people from ethnic minorities on a similar income have a 5% higher rate of school leavers obtaining the most basic of skills. The very vast majority of both groups may live and die with so little learning that they won’t be able to spell the word “privilege”, literally.

And cue a hundred handy videos explaining the term “white privilege” to reflect the mistaken belief that those who reject it do so because of a lack of understanding.

I’m not saying white privilege doesn’t exist. All privileges exist. Male Privilege. Abled privilege. Educated privilege. Home owning privilege. Home renting privilege. Food in fridge privilege. Fridge privilege. Food privilege. Until you get right down to the pauper on the street, who has abandoned all hope of ever living a meaningful existence and just wants enough cider to shut reality out. You would do well to not try and teach such a character about the privilege afforded to the colour of his skin. He may just reply, “Away and fuck yourself!”

I tried to explain to the teen that critical race theory is an ideology, a way of looking at the world, that it was entirely possible to be critical of critical race theory and not be racist. He replied, ‘Yeah, I get it, Mum, but don’t go explaining it to other people, eh?’

And he’s not wrong. No-one wants to listen to a white chick talk about race, and I get that. I rarely listen to blokes talk about sex. Any kind.

And I’m only talking about it because the subject keeps coming up. And every time, there is only one hymn sheet. You are on our side, or the wrong side. If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem. If you’re not actively calling out and seeking out microaggressions, what are you even for?

And I’m for writing, mostly. Between mothering and household management, and fending off sharks and keeping the wolf from the door, and all the other tasks that comprise being a grown up in this dog eat dog world.

And I’m for free thinking.

See, I escaped the catholicism that plagued my youth with its one stop morality shop and its limited supply of stock. Why must I spend these prime writing years mouthing platitudes that are ill conceived and divisonary, based on bad science and even worse literature, in order to appease an educated mob that favour emotion over action and social media posts over redistribution of wealth?

So that people that have no reason to suspect I’m racist can be satisfied I’m not. It’s all a bit original sin for me and we know how well that tale turned out…

Views from the sidelines of a non existent culture war.

Another week in the non existent culture war and the causality count rises but not so much that you need to drag yourself away from your ethically sourced, vegan, decaffeinated latte and your instagram post about saving the whales. And I’m not saying whales don’t need to be saved. Please don’t turn me into a whale hater because the truth is a bit more complex.

Truth invariably is, lacking the moral certainty of the sound bite or the mantra or the outright lie.

“Women aren’t being silenced,” they say, “especially not cishet, white, middle class, suburban mothers, whose language and sense of entitlement is rooted in their anglo saxon colonist heritage.”

“You haven’t read “White Fragility?”” they ask, their face the same shade of shocked as when your ma figured out you weren’t going to mass of a Sunday. “Too fragile,” I quip, irony lost to a crowd of humourless hecklers who have been told to laugh is like to lynch.

“Ok boomer!” they say, in a refrain that would be ageist, if ageism was a new age sin. “It’s not really mocking the elderly,” they explain, “only the greedy, gammon types, with their racism and their ignorance and their pathological refusal to boycott Wetherspoons.”

“We don’t ban books,” they say, “we ban bad books. Bad books are literal violence.” Any attempt to speak of the relativity of the term “bad” is mute, like when you try to tell your aunt that her local priest’s a flasher.

“If you don’t take the knee,” they say , “then you might as well put holes for eyes in your bed sheets and tattoo a swastika on your arse.” Whilst racism itself can be characterised by limitless macro and micro aggressions, anti racism has but one calling card. Bend down, then back up and cool off with a vitamin enriched natural spring water, infused with potassium and zinc.

The non-existent culture war is killing critical thought and replacing it with mindless mantras and pointless gestures. A generation raised to believe that disagreement is violence and difference is hate, damning itself to implosion from within as the real world rejects its 2D version of humanity, where people are caricatures and political thought is a concept that must be contained.

The non existent culture wars, where the privileged came and conquered the concept of “civil rights”, repackaged them in recycled paper, added some rainbow ribbons and stamped on a fist, before refurbishing them and selling them back to the kids, raised on the internet, that weren’t buying any revolution that was not televised.

And so it came to be that big corporations and big governments stood in solidarity with “civil rights” and they all mouthed the same slogans and advocated for the same stuff, in some countries. Ain’t gonna sell no jeans in Saudi with a rainbow flag, Levi’s. No computers in China with a free speech logo, Apple.

And the absolute genius of corporate civil rights is how little they cost, once you remove class as a signifier of need. Want to increase sales? Ramp up the social media output using the words “love” and “change” and “difference”. Improve staff morale? Hire a team of “divistery” experts that expose the outright ordinariness of most of your workforce and make them feel bad for decisions they neither participated in or benifit from. Damn sight cheaper than them an 8% pay rise, or putting in a room for breastfeeding, or putting the structures in place that address actual inequality in the workplace.

And with unions not fit for purpose and women’s orgs decrying women and anarchists censoring books, the corporate take-over of political ideas, they had no business stealing, is almost complete.

And here, in the dying embers of a democratic process, I stand on the ravaged remains of a traditionally left leaning Scotland that is arching further right, beneath the strain of a non existent culture war and I can’t help but be grateful.

How much worse would things be if this culture war was real and not only in the heads of racists, white supremacists, neo nazi netmummers, religious right, zealotry, football watching, God fearing, Wetherspoon’s drinking, brexit voting, Churchill worshipping, colonist mindset thinking, pie eating types?

Anti social media

Twitter just sent me a congratulations message ‘coz I’ve had my current account four years, in a machiavellian attempt to convince me that this is an achievement. It isn’t, of course. The main reason I’m still on twitter is the same reason I drank for thirty years, because it’s a hard habit to break, made especially difficult by twitter’s own policy, to hold you in limbo for a month after leaving, in case you change your mind.

Twitter is like a late pub with loud clientele and lifeless decor that sells watered down liquor to people too pissed to make good choices. The very act of being on it is debasing. Especially, if you’re a woman. Twitter has been at the forefront of the social media drive to cleanse humanity of the one time universally held knowledge that humans are a sexually dimorphic species and the consequent Western obsession with eradicating women as a sex class.

Dimorphic – that’s one of my top ten twitter adjectives. Day and night, I preach the word, ‘Humans are a sexually dimorphic species,’ into the dark echo chambers of twitter, where such a statement is revered and reviled in equal measure. I’m one of thousands of keyboard warriors who hold the line on this truth. And, if I’m honest, it gives me a sense of purpose, supporting this most just of causes, the global right of people to be able to state the fucking obvious.

I like to think, in my own small way, I am contributing to an important movement.

‘Course we all like to think of ourselves in a positive light and to imagine our actions have an impact. Nobody knows that better than twitter. And its algorithms meet my ego and then, puppet like, I play the role of someone whose words can change the world. And it’s a big part, but that’s the joy of twitter. Everyone has a starring role in their own twitter feed. Everyone’s a headliner and the whole world is your audience.

Until you spend long enough on twitter to realise that the whole world has shrunk to the size of two groups. Those that get it. Those that don’t. The ‘it’ is subjective and the algorithms are set to keep you batting for your tribe and baiting your opponents in this relentless game with a single aim, to keep you online, where twitter can sell you stuff and make their shareholders richer.

I haven’t always been this uber aware of the pointlessness of twitter. The first year was sort of fun. Finding all these folk who thought like I did about certain things. Feeling a sense of belonging that urban single mothers crave. Feeling a part of something greater. But the honeymoon gave way to the drudgery of day to day life in twittersville, where nothing changes but your follower count as everyone interesting gets banned or bails, for mental health reasons.

I should probably have quit long ago. I’ve dreamed about getting banned, for ages now. But it’s not been my road. It’s not that I don’t tweet the stuff that gets you banned. It’s the only stuff worth tweeting! It’s just I wake up the next day and instead of facing a lifetime ban, or at the very least, a suspension, I find a live feed and the cycle begins.

Until today. There was something about twitter’s ‘Congratulations’ that was particularly provocative. A platform founded on elevating the banal to the politically pertinent was commending me for continuing to allow its algorithms to manipulate my time. In layman’s terms, Twitter was taking the piss.

Always a Woman.

So I know it’s a cliche to be angry and feminist but like all the best cliches it has basis in fact. If you are a feminist in twenty first century Scotland and you are not fucking furious at the charging of Marion Millar for hate tweets, then you’re doing it wrong. You have completely missed the point of what female solidarity is all about and you should take the word ‘feminist’ out of your profile, even though it’s great for the work…

I am so tired of faux feminists fighting for women’s rights whilst refusing to acknowledge any given group’s rights are utterly dependant on lucid definitions. The idea that we can change the word ‘woman’ to make it mean ‘human’ without completely decimating women’s rights is patently absurd. The fact that we’ve done it, and no-one gives a fuck, is a indignation of how deep seated and all pervasive misogyny is.

It started with a call for kindness and inclusivity and ended up in a complete violation of every boundary we had built to protect our girls and our boys and our women. And why the fuck should we be inclusive of everybody? What other group is expected to centre the oppressor in their activism? Do we expect Marxists to campaign for the rights of capitalists? Do we demand tenant’s organisations open their ranks to landlords? Should we make the girl guides take in boys?

Too late! We’re already doing that. Because… inclusivity.

And because of inclusivity, they call us bleeders and breeders, instead of women and mothers. And because of inclusivity, they exclude us from events that we’ve helped to organise and organisations our mothers and grandmothers founded. And because of inclusivity, we have have been silenced, forced into compelled speech and fired for non compliance. And because of inclusivity, we have been arrested. Our words of protest posing a threat so real that charges are brought, whilst our rapes go unpunished and our murder rates increase.

See all the #metoo ing in the world ain’t worth shit if a woman is criminalised for stating core truths. Truths we all know. Truths we whisper when we meet in bars or catch up over coffee. Truths that are so self evident they don’t even need voicing. Men and women are different sexes of the the same species. They always have been. They always will be. Like the sun rises. Like the sun falls. And if one day we take away the word for ‘sun’, that ball of light in the sky will will still rise. That ball of light in the sky will still fall.

I appreciate that stating the fact that women are a distinct sex class hurts the feelings of folk that truly believe sex is a spectrum and I don’t care. Stating that woman did not derive from man’s rib offends every God fearing Christian and yet, we are not persecuted for acknowledging it. Stating that meditation and a positive outlook never cured cancer really fucks off the wellness gurus but we don’t see the police charging people for taking the piss out of hippies.

In this time, when we claim no-one knows what a woman is, it is informative to look at who is being persecuted for their political beliefs. Black lesbians, working class mothers , muslim beauty salon owners, feminist academics, Indie children’s authors.

To a man, every last one of them are women.

We are living in a post truth world where the biggest liars get the best gigs. The right deny climate change and global pandemics. The left deny biological sex and class. Each perceives themselves as both morally and intellectually superior to their counterpart. Both sound equally stupid, to me. We live in a time when mumsnet is described as ‘a hotbed of terrorist radicalisation’ by lunatics who have the ears of presidents. Here, in Scotland, we are approaching a point when admitting that you know what a woman is, is a criminal offence.

And for all that, women continue to exist. We always have. We always will. Like the sun rises. Like the sun falls. And if, one day, we take away the word for ‘sun’, that ball of light in the sky will will still rise. That ball of light in the sky will still fall.

Motherhood Interrupted.

I remember the morning Sam and the boys were found as if it was yesterday. Not the month and the year, had to look them up, but the feeling. I’d just made a cup of tea and logged onto facebook and a DM from a campaigning friend said they’d found them. I sat on my sofa and cried like I was her sister or best friend or the mother of a child the same age who would die of a broken heart if the state stole my son.

Four years. Now. Since Sam’s boys were ripped, literally, from her arms.

Four years passes in a heartbeat if you’re raising a kid. One minute, they are pulling at your apron strings, the next, they are yelling at you to leave their room and knock the next time. Occasionally, in maudlin moments, you yearn for the younger less judgey stage but mostly you’re making lunches and checking schoolbags and filling in endless forms to make sure they don’t miss any opportunity that might make their lives easier. Mothering truly is the most mundane of vocations and yet, there isn’t one of us who would give it up for a bigger house or car or pay check. Sam’s missed all that banality and all the beautiful moments that come between the drudgery.

In an instant, her role as full time mother was shelved by one signature on one court form by one judge behind one closed door.

If she hadn’t taken her boys and fled, then Sam’s story would have slipped completely under the radar of a system that does not allow public access to, or scrutiny of, its decisions. Instead, she’s become a poster child for a movement that is desperate to highlight the injustices inflicted on children, and by inference, their parents, in Family Court. To all those mothers who have been silenced, Sam’s story serves as a beacon of light. She speaks their truth because they are not allowed to.

Because I have a boy the same age as one of Sam’s, and because I spent a decade in family law courts, I often wonder what might have been. More than once my own lawyers accused me of ‘sailing too close to the wind’. By that they meant speaking about my cra cra ex in a way that wasn’t kind and conciliatory and ‘child focused’. ‘It’s all child focused,’ I’d yell at a succession of placid, non boat rocking types. ‘When they realise how fucking nuts he is then they will focus on protecting my child from him.’ And they did, in the end, by which time I was representing myself and had learned how to walk, talk and think like them. But that’s not why I held onto my kid. It was mostly good luck.

I had a judge who was willing to believe me when I told him my ex posed a clear and present danger to my child. Not until he’d believed everybody else in the room, twice, and not until everybody involved had made their school fees on the back of my son’s vulnerability, but in the end, he believed me and his decision to believe me enabled me to protect my boy.

I can’t say why Sam’s original judge didn’t believe her. I can say no subsequent judgement was going to go in her favour because nobody was going to call out one of their own in a closed system. And nobody has. Even though Sam has continued to provide fresh evidence in support of her version of events and despite never having been charged with any crime, Sam has been completely removed from her boys’ lives.

In those intervening years Sam has built a very credible campaign around her family’s story and the greater issue of child sex abuse. She runs a website and a youtube channel, has written a novel and become a public speaker. Her name is synonymous with injustice in Family Law. If she was selling cupcakes, instead of exposing paedophile rings, she’d be getting start up grants and her bio in the local paper. Instead, she gets cyber stalked by her ex, harassed on social media and slandered by an establishment that must render her a liar or face the truth of their own deep dysfunction.

Yet, somehow, every day, she gets up and gets on with her life’s purpose, raising awareness of her children’s situation in the hope that somebody, somewhere, is brave enough to come forward and corroborate what her children have told her and the G.P. and social work and the police. And someday, someone will.

In the meantime, I salute the one woman army that is Samantha Baldwin as the sun sets on her fourth year without her boys. Faith moves mountains and Sam will not lose faith in her sons returning until they have returned. And I look forward to a time in a future not to distant when Sam has all but retired from public life to be the hands on mother she’s never stopped being.

Scapegoats

If you live in the UK and you aren’t in an underground bunker you’ve probably seen Nic’s video lamenting the scourge of transphobia in the SNP and, by inference, Scotland. You probably think trans people are being spat on in the street, beaten in their beds and threatened with violence every time they try to politically organise. The situation must be pretty grim for the head of the country to take a break from pandemic duties and allay public fears.

Only it isn’t.

There’s no widespread increase in trans violence. No attempts (organised or otherwise) to shut down trans discourse or prohibit them from political engagement. No firings of trans people. No refusal to hire trans people based on their political beliefs. There has been no censorship of trans literature. No attempts to stop trans people from speaking at public events or engaging with the media.

Nada.

So what is the transphobia of which Nic speaks?

Nobody really knows because we still don’t have a definition.

From my own experience of regularly being called a transphobe, transphobia is any attempt to assert the material reality of the sexed body and any attempt to defend the sex based rights of women. Under this definition, anyone can be a transphobe but the biggest transgressors are those who politically organise around the concept of the shared biological reality formally referred to as womanhood.

So when Nic says she will rid the party of transphobes what she means is she will purge the biggest party in Scotland of women who assert their sex based rights. And yesterday, she demoted Joanna Cherry as the sacrificial lesbian lamb to show the kids how serious she is.

As I’m writing, I’m conscious of time running out on my legal ability to express how this shitstorm works. Hastily compiled reactionary hate speech legislation is currently going through parliament, designed to shut down debate on this issue. And there is a genius to rendering debate hateful. It puts one in a position of being against hate speech legislation and who the fuck wants to try and sell that?

But every move in this game has been Genius. It started with a cis and the sub- division of a sex class into a sex and gender class, where the sex section was the oppressor and the interloper the victim. And once that ludicrous proposition had made it into mainstream then then it became all about maths and linguistics and adding a verb whilst subtracting an adjective. And transwomen are women was born and and created the marginalised tunnel into which all future funding was funnelled.

The most important thing to remember, if you dare, is that trans women aren’t women. They are men. Saying it out loud is fearful for many and I’m not without sympathy for that position. In truth, saying it out loud has repercussions and these must be weighed against any public statement on the issue, especially for women.

To call transwomen men is perceived as a profound insult, the zenith of bigotry in a world increasingly intolerant of intolerance, but it is, in fact, a neutral statement of fact. It is true, which is why those who say it are called TERFS and compared to Nazis, but rarely is the insult ‘liar’ levied at us.

And because we can’t be shut down with a counter argument, because the counter argument is a visibly demonstrative lie and a kick in the face to every discipline from biology to anthropology, we are shut down with slurs to our character and threats to our livelihood, and when the next round of legislation is passed, criminalising of dissent.

Some bloke told me he hoped I’d become a ‘better person’ yesterday and that he felt sorry for my child. His logic appeared to be that an awareness of the material reality of the sexed body is incompatible with good parenting. It would definitely have hurt if I gave a fuck what random men on the internet think of my mothering skills.

I’m a good enough mother, I’ll have you know. I teach my son about the material reality of a sexed body ‘coz he has one. I further teach him that he lives in a place and a time of science denial and publicly acknowledging that the sexes are obviously different may have a negative impact on his future ambitions.

And that’s how they get us all…in the end.

Before Q

Before Q, we were okay. Before Q, you were okay. Yeah, we argued, sometimes, like people on different pages of the same book. And then Q came along and burned all the books ‘coz reading is for losers and Donald Trump rocks (even with covid).

Q was the game changer. Like a last stage cancer it spread over our friendship and the globe, simultaneously, covering the uncertainty of the moment in a layer of virtual treacle trapping humans like flies as they sped round targeted sites looking for answers. And you were taken, in an instant, and now they own you and your mind belongs to them. And it’s very sad.

And not just for you and me but for all them and all us Q’s created as it cuts through families and society with the same precision blade. Q doesn’t want stable followers, he can’t sustain them, and luckily for him, he doesn’t get many.

I’ve personified Q as a male. Fact is no-one’s sure who or how many Q is. We know where he came from – the chans (4 and 8), the online equivalent of those late night bars you’d never willingly enter when sober, and the chans are unequivocally male and misogynist and white and racist and anti sematic. They are a virtual playground for the kids that were too weird (think burning cats not been really good at maths weird) to have friends.

And origins matter. Especially when the tale they tell is so tall, and is their a taller tale in the history of tall tales than Donald being the chosen one?

And what a stroke a genius to make it about children because everybody’s for children and against paedophiles, except the paedophiles, obviously. So which are you a Trump supporter or a paedophile? And how the fuck did we get here because the question makes no sense? And that’s what Q does. Murders common sense.

And after that it’s like talking to a cultist. And everybody knows you can’t talk to cultists. But nobody thinks their friend is going get trapped in a cult until they do.

Far from the mad crowd.

Shout out to those of you who are still vaguely sane. Even if this is your sole contribution to the current global crisis, its importance can’t be overstated. Our ability to be productive human beings is directly related to how nuts we are. No apologies to those who are offended by the ol’ school references. The world is on fire and political correctness isn’t gonna safe you from crazy.

In fact, political correctness in overdrive is part of the problem. The left have spent at least a decade alienating their core base, by pandering to the insatiable demands of social justice warriors (themselves intrinsically linked to corporate interests) and patronising and vilifying anyone who pointed out the paradox. Denying the science of sex and the pivotal role class plays in politics, for the short term gains of woke culture. Bastardising language in the hope of staying relevant.

Meanwhile, the right have stood back and watched, biding their chance to be great again. In the last decade they have cemented their hold in Western democracies, culminating in Britain voting to isolate itself from Europe and America voting to isolate itself from everywhere. And just when we thought things couldn’t get worse, a pandemic struck and the left busied itself calling everyone that wasn’t examining white privilege racist and anyone reading JK Rowling bigoted. And the right reached out with arms wide open and welcomed the disenfranchised and didn’t call them complicit in the white man’s game.

And what started out as a bit of larping, live action role play, how teenage boys and grown men with very little chances of live sex spend their time, turned into Q Anon. And what started out as an American fantasy turned into a global nightmare as the biggest and flashest conspiracy (leave that to the Yanks) consumed all the smaller conspiracies into one never-ending virtual goldfish bowl. Ironically, if you understand the father conspiracy, the tank cracked, due to over population, and now the crazies have spilled into the streets demanding an end to viruses and the public execution of every high profile celeb you’ve fancied in the past forty years.

Given that these demands can never be met, it’s tempting to laugh at the lunatics proposing them, except our mirth misses the point of what’s happening. There is the foot soldiers – digital and actual size 13s – and there is the generals. Those on the ground think they are fighting for the freedom of all. Those pulling the strings have their eye on the prize – a fascist state.

I knew fascism had lost all meaning the first time I was called one so it came as no surprise to me when people perceived being asked to wear a face mask as fascist because fascism has been robbed of its history and truth and reduced to an inane insult we levy at all we politically oppose.

Meanwhile, actual fascists have hoovered up the discontented and given them political purpose and now we have anarchists on the street, desperate for things to get better, standing shoulder to shoulder with far right politicians and agitators, desperate for things to get worse.

And maybe all you can manage to do is binge watch cop shows from the eighties and shove the odd tin of tomatoes in a food bank and you wonder, as Rome burns, is that enough? I am here to promise you it is. If you manage to see out the year without dying alone or being radicalised then you are a hero in the eyes of all the relatives you’ll share your Zoom Christmas dinner with.

Irish Eyes

I’ve been obsessing about people obsessing about Q for months now. Since lockdown began. Within weeks of containment, I had already started to receive private messages with links to badly produced Sci-Fi movies masquerading as documentaries. The first one I watched was about the Titanic. Lots of symbols. Lots of Jews. Lots of soundbites and eerie music and a sub plot about global domination being furthered by the Titanic’s deliberate and tactical sinking. It disturbed me enough to reject the next dozen or so links I was sent.

By then, everybody and his Mother had turned political, picked a side and showed a willingness to throw aforementioned Mother onto a fire, for the sake of a cause. Any cause. It was wild. People who had previously posted kittens and kale recipes were suddenly posting provocative political statements and demanding that all who disagreed be culled from their friend’s lists.

It was deeply unsettling. As a politically engaged individual, I had long dreamed of a world of mass political engagement but I never imagined that dream would come true and turn out to a horror fantasy of epic proportions.

See, political engagement comes with a price. You gotta be informed. Without information, it’s just mass theatre. Right now, nobody is informed. Only the most informed of us know how uniformed we are. The least informed of us, and their ranks are swelling, claim to know the most. They have a direct line to truth, all of us sleepy heads can’t grasp.

Because I’ve always been a bit of a header – Irish slang for mentally unstable – I know a larger amount of the uniformed than is healthy. This point was brought home to me sharply when I was sent a D.M. of a speech at an Edinburgh rally, tasked with the ambitious slogan of ‘Saving Scotland’. The speech was by Dolores Cahill , an Irish scientist of international renown that has renounced science in favour of saving the masses from Bill Gates.

So I watched it and it was fairly predicable. Them bad. Us good. Us, for the purposes of this speech, were those who gave her a platform, who clapped and supported her, shared her speech, advocated for her release when she was detained on return to Ireland and now cajole MSPS to #debatedolores and suggest any who won’t is a coward.

Us, on a weekday, when Dolores is not saving foreign countries from themselves, is a non foreigner, an Irish person. Because Dolores’ day job is trying to save Irish people from foreigners and carbon tax and the normal rule of law in certain areas that she aims to have the army take over. The political party she helped set up and chairs is Ireland’s UKIP.

So I say this to those of you, who I knew in a previous life, who think I need to awaken and face society’s dark truths. How dark must it actually be if the messenger is an angel of multi-cultural death? How depressed do you have to be to find salvation in an Irish racist?

And for those of you who were taken in by those twinkly eyes and the lilt, you should know it’s not half as enticing when it’s the only accent you ever get to hear…