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…

The Wellness Grift

Of all the unpredictable to emerge from 2020, the radicalisation of the hippies was what did for me. That, I did not see coming, and even now, as it dances in front of me, an entire new genre of political absurdity, I still can’t get my head round it. Hippies for Trump – Compulsory meditation in schools and the public hanging of all traitor types.

It doesn’t make sense. How did New Age and Far Right fuse into a perfect storm of far out fascism, man? I guess it probably started with the commercialisation of all things hippy. Peace and love, standard package, remains free, but the enhanced service and the deluxe service have become progressively more expensive. Sure, anyone can meditate, but for £15 a month, you can mediate better and for £30, you can meditate your way into a new and exclusive life.

The hippies have taken every strand of free love and put a price tag on it, and now they are paying the piper for trading the wisdom of the ancients for a few dollars more. Part time guru, full time profiteer lacks the discernment necessary to keep the wolves from the door, so a pack have set up shelter in the yoga room. Only everyone’s in sweat pants so it’s hard to tell the hippies from the Nazis.

And Nazis is such an over used word thrown at women who want to hang on to their rights, thrown at every single reader of the Sun, thrown at any individual who attempts to highlight Palestinian persecution. And like every word that is used, repeatedly, out of context, it eventually loses all meaning and by then, actual Nazis have infiltrated the wellness movement and now you can get a massage and a Nationalist (pick any nation) flag in a facebook group special.

And though their numbers be small, they are growing and they are coming to a baby pre- verbal sign language class near you. And as long as you are online, everything’s near you. And you need to know that they don’t just want the commission on the immune boosting bargain basket you’ve put in your shopping cart. They want your mind.

The Woman who cried ‘Wolf!’, ‘coz there was one.

When you’ve a feminist and a writer and an all round nosy person, you hear a lot of sad stories. Stories that as a fiction teller I’ve assimilated into my mind, filed away in a box marked ‘Tragedies’, until they subconsciously snake into my work, through the words and deeds of characters, and through plots that stretch credibility, but never quite as much as fact does. The trick about hearing a lot of sad stuff, if you’re inclined towards empathy, is to not think too deeply about any one tale. Listen, assimilate, sign the petition, move on. If I sound hard, it’s because my story’s made me hard, and I hope you’re hard too, else how you gonna make it?

Every now and then, the ‘passive listening, planned exit’ strategy goes awry, and someone’s story follows you, stalks you, almost. The more you try to escape it, the more it calls to you, demanding attention ‘What if this happened to you?’ it asks, ‘Wouldn’t you want someone to care?’ .

The story of Samantha Baldwin has done such a number on me.

I keep trying to get past what it must be like to wake up, every day, believing your sons to be in grave danger, and being forced to accept how powerless you are to save them. Here’s a link to Sam’s story.

In a nutshell, Sam’s young children alleged their Dad was drugging them and several of his friends were raping them. Sam told the police who talked to the children who corroborated Sam’s statement. An investigation went nowhere. Sam moved away from the Dad. Dad applied to family court for custody. Sam repeated her children’s allegations and provided corroborating evidence of hair samples from her boys that proved they had been been given sedatives. The family court judge found that Sam was a nutjob, so determined to vilify her ex, that she would drug her own kids, and removed both boys from Sam’s care. It should be noted that in all the years Sam was her children’s sole carer not one agency, or individual, ever raised concerns. Anyway, after that it just gets weirder, and I don’t want to spoil the ending, which I can’t anyway, because this story’s not over yet.

It has elements of all the best narratives combining the big themes like good vrs evil and truth vrs reality, with an entirely plausible heroine and a plot that unfolds seamlessly, exposing the corruption and ineptitude of the British criminal justice system and the British family law courts, in a post Saville, post Rochdale era, when we were promised lessons had been learned.

A publishing deal would have been forthcoming, but for embargo on the telling placed by the family courts, and instead of fame, fortune and the high status of a paedo defying, children protecting Super Mum, Sam is reduced to running a full time campaign to draw attention to her plight in the desperate hope that somebody, somewhere, in a position of power and influence, might help.

So far, in three years, some have. But not enough.

And I know why. Because it’s not an easy resolve. There are a lot of players and a lot of pieces and a lot of money and power invested in protecting itself as money and power often does and a lot of public faith invested in the idea that we have learned lessons, and then there’s the law itself, doubling down and protecting itself from the outside scrutiny this case is screaming out for. And it becomes infinitely easier to walk away then to wade in.

I only remain focused on this story because… Sam.

She got under my skin, didn’t she? When I wasn’t looking, with her refusal to be typecast as broken woman, with her rejection of her role as bad mother, with her relentless repeating of all the available facts to anybody and everybody who’ll listen and many who cry deaf.

I want to be trademark cynical and mention how life’s a bitch and family court’s a pack of them. I want to say Sam’s got about as much chance of getting her kids back as N.H.S. cleaners have of securing a fair working contract. There’s no friendship so sacred as a paedo friendship and Sam’s trying to break up a whole gang so…

When you’re a feminist and a writer and all round nosy person, you hear a lot of stories. Many sad, because people feel more comfortable sharing grief and because most of us have known sadness. But you also hear joyous events recounted, and surreal happenings that defy conventional understanding, and those glorious gems of human experience where the little guy wins, where Truth was spoken to power, in the right way, at the right moment, and power had no option but to listen.

And isn’t it grand to imagine that Sam might have her moment, and whilst there’s not limitless gold at the end of the rainbow, there might be enough humanity and compassion within this otherwise broken system to reunite a loving Mother and her beautiful boys?

The Child, the Glitch and the Wardrobe.

I’ve been limiting my social media use to allow for some sleep and completely missed #wayfairgate till this morning.  If a week is a long time in politics then twelve hours is a lifetime in conspiracies.  This one was gestated, birthed and debunked ( a mark of honour in conspiracy circles) whilst I slept.

By any measure of production time – that’s fast.

Details of the conspiracy can be found here.  In a nutshell, wayfair’s selling some seriously over priced furniture including several cabinets that have been personified and given female names.  Do you know who else has names?  All the children on the missing persons data list.  Before you can say “What do these unrelated facts have in common?’ hundreds of tweets have been sent and footage of the expensive wardrobe has been fashioned into short videos about Wayfair the child trafficking epicentre of the bright web.

From this point onwards all attempts to negate the conspiracy are futile.  ‘Wayfair deny they are trafficking children in their cabinets’.  What else would a company fronting human trafficking say?  Fact-checkers flagging the story as false, in under a day, are evidence at how effective the cover up.

I should probably confess to you that  I am something of a conspiracy theorist, with emphasis on the theory part.  I have witnessed and experienced enough corruption and incompetence in my own life to know there’s a lot of it about.  I have a keen personal interest in child protection and am aware of multiple occasions when the state has failed in its duty of care to children with devastating consequences.  To that end it is true to say that agents of the U.K. state (and this is reflective of a world wide trend) have been complicit in the trafficking of children from stable homes to the arms of paedophile rings.  Anyone interested in such injustice could check out The Women’s Collation  on facebook, a group that work tirelessly to expose such hidden truths.  Alternatively, Maggie Oliver, a woman famed for exposing the Rochdale scandal.  Even a cursory glance at either page will give you some insight into the years of collating data, hounding sources, seeking freedom of information requests and chasing dead leads that are needed in order to to hold even one peado to account.

The idea that you can bring down a global network with screen shots and facebook shares would be laughable, if the subject itself wasn’t so serious.  Conspiracies gone mainstream and the resulting product is so diluted as not only to be ineffective, but to be counter effective.  It gives conspiracy theories a bad name.

A recent report by The Centre for Countering Digital Hate found that the anti-vax industry is worth a billion dollars a year which points to a level of funding authentic conspiracies couldn’t hope to afford.

Confused, angry, scared people are being sold a steady stream of ever more absurd lies which they swallow whole because they are burnt out by greedy governing, polarised politics and the abysmal failure of mainstream media and so called independent agencies to hold anyone to account. The only people they can trust are fellow keyboard warriors and a community of dispirited individuals with a common cause is born.  And what starts out as a quest for truth quickly becomes a quest for survival.  And the rules for survival in online conspiracies are simple.

Believe.  Believe.  Believe.

Where Reason came to Die…

I’m two weeks in to my latest round of lockdown blues.  This one’s longer than the last few and harder to shake.  ‘We’re all going to die!’  I’m still thinking, only that’s my lines from an old script when we were all going to die before black lives mattered most urgently before black trans lives mattered even more before anti antisemitism was rooted out of the Labour party by a bloke that can’t tell the difference between clumsy criticism of Israel’s power structures and Jew hating.

Obviously, as a non-Jew, I shouldn’t have an opinion on what constitutes antisemitism.  I certainly shouldn’t conclude that conflating Israeli politics with the Jewish people is inherently anti Semitic, but there you have it.

It’s getting harder, though, to think for myself, and even harder to motivate myself to explain my thoughts.

Intellectual discourse is at an all time low, and the bar was never set that high to begin with.  It’s only a couple of millennia since we believed the world was created in six days by a judgemental maniac with a zero tolerance policy to disobedience – Abraham had to be willing to kill his own bairn, didn’t he?

We’re not savages, any more.  We had the age of enlightenment, hadn’t we?

But all that was so very long ago before the box in the corner, that our parent’s worried might lead us astray, and before the hand held devices we worry are damaging our children’s minds.  And before the thought police patrolled the corridors of every virtual group we dared to enter, in the vague hope of finding somebody, somewhere, that thinks the same as us.  And just like there was no room at the inn for the pregnant Mary, there’s no place at the table for the free thinker, and no donkey to carry them to the next best location.

And when I say them I mean plural and you can shove your linguistic mind games where the sun don’t shine.

And also your fear of science.  I’ve seen it before.  All ex Catholics have, assuming that there was such a thing as an ex Catholic.  ‘Coz religion and science can’t really co-exist, they are inherently suspicious of each other.  And if your gonna fly in the face of most reasoned people better hope your sources are better than Flat Earthers.

Or not.  Sources aren’t important.  Statement’s are.  Say it loud, say it proud, and whatever you do, don’t stop and think about what it is you are saying.  Curiosity not only kills cats, it literally turns women into human beings.  And nobody really wants a Mother, that is human, washing their underpants, reminding their information starved brains that they’re a lazy fuck.

And speaking of laziness, if you’re gonna sell conspiracy theories then at least buy the good ones.  To that end, any ideology with Trump as the end game is playing you for a fool.

Only I don’t say any of it, because there is no-one to listen.  Not really.  Sure, you can shove stuff on line, but what difference does it make?  We’re all going to hell on a handcart and my vague twittering ain’t gonna save us.

Or maybe, as per ‘The Good Place’ , this is hell.  We’ve all died in an event so catastrophic that we’ve wiped it from our collective consciousness and here we are in the afterlife, reaping what we have sowed.  An eternity of virtual self righteousness and out of context biblical memes, which is a kick in the face for the heathens who always reckoned God has no sense of humour.

 

 

 

The Shaming of the Shrew

Yesterday afternoon, absentmindedly, I tripped and fell into the comments section of a Edinburgh based social media group.  I’m okay, still a little shaky and following my doctor’s advice – to stay the fuck away from Community facebook pages.  You may think it’s extreme to call an emergency doctor because you’ve suffered a bruised ego, but that’s how entitled I am.

My website calls me Triona, but lately I’ve been called Karen several times.

I thought about putting up a copy of my birth cert, blanking out bits and showing enough for people to see I’m not Karen, and then I realised they didn’t mean it literally.

Like when a woman is called a whore or a cunt or a bitch, or in more recent times, a terf.  These words aren’t meant to suggest that a woman referred to in these terms is an actual prostitute, vagina, dog or feminist.  They are simply shorthand for misogynists who want to express the universal language of woman hating, in easily understood terms.

And every generation has their own words, but the millennia old tradition of putting women in their place continues.

It’s too late for me to avoid the Karen label.  It is as inevitable as the terf label that proceeded it.  Too mouthy.  See?  In my defence, I was born this way and despite the many successive attempts of the system and violent men to shut me up, I continue to have opinions and to voice them.  But it’s not too late for you. Here are my top tips to avoid being labelled Karen.

(1) Don’t ever express an opinion in a public setting, be it real or virtual.

(2) Whenever possible, avoiding leaving the house, as this will minimise your chances of being overheard, unwittingly, saying something no longer sayable.

(3) In the privacy of your home, stick to talking about stuff you know and avoid all controversial subjects. Most subjects are now controversial so try to keep conversation in the present tense around action words.   For example, you might say, ‘I am doing the laundry.  Do people mind gathering their stinking socks and stained undergarments and leaving them in the washing basket?’

(4) Avoid Mumsnet like it was a recently revived wing of the I.R.A.  Beneath those recipes for fruit scones and advice links to government benefits, there lurks an underbelly of resistance to the whole scale takeover of Womanhood.  Nothing gets you called Karen quicker than resisting the whole scale takeover of Womanhood.

(5) As some of you will have jobs that necessitate leaving the house and compel you to converse about controversial subjects (almost everything) try to be the listener more than the talker.  When you speak, acknowledge your privilege, ignorance and all round gratitude that you’ve been given a voice and then use it to amplify the experiences of people that aren’t you.  Never, ever, centre yourself in any discussion, even with your shrink.

(6) If, as part of your job, you are expected to research your discipline, be aware research has evolved significantly.  Where once it was a pre-requisite to have a well read, intelligent view of a subject, now less is more.  Knowledge will be a handicap and sharing it a surefire, short route to a new nickname.

(7) Woke words evole quicker than conspiracies about Corona, so best to always follow another’s lead.  Underpinning any work focused, compulsory communication should be the clear understanding that words kill, literally, and wokeness kills the meaning of all words, figuratively.

(8) Are you confused yet?  If not, I don’t think I can help you.  Confusion is good, use it to keep you off balance and fearful.  The more afraid you are, the more you will self censor and not add to the workload of the oppressed, who have to take time away from fighting big oppressors – the state, the police, the government, their parents – to explain to you the devastating consequences your micro aggressive behaviour – hogging the office heater- has on the life expectancy of the indigenous tribes of New Guinea.

To summarise, erase from your mind any pre-conceptions of your powerlessness based on your own life experiences.  You may never have been able to get the fucker to pay child support, but are so omnipotent that if you retweet a J.K. Rowling comment, a gender non conforming child loses their wings and the whole world becomes a shade darker.