How to make a killing on the property market.

Another day, another damning reveal of Tory priorities.  After the mayhem of the weekend, which saw Johnson’s re-branding of the virus as something controllable, as long as we #stayalert, we now have Wednesday Morning’s attempt to re-open the housing market.

This, it has been pointed out, sends a confusing message.  On the one hand, we cannot yet meet out loved ones ‘coz virus. On the other hand, we can have countless strangers sift through our property, determine its’ value and make us an offer.  So, to be clear, Grandpa is still out of bounds, unless he is in the market for a two up, two down, with charming views of the Thames.

One does not have to be a convicted cynic to see what is going on here.

The Tories are putting the sale and purchase of houses above the welfare of those living in them.  This is not a new policy.  This is Tory 101.  Money matters more than people.  It’s also housing policy 101, across the U.K., across Europe.  It is why people live and die in over the odds rented accommodation, so that others can live and die with a property portfolio.

One of the first and starkest casualties of the virus, apart from the dead old people, and the dead N.H.S. staff, was AIR B and B.  An industry completely reliant on tourists paying vastly inflated rent to cover mortgages and business models that had get out plan for a world wide recession.   It was a very small violin that we played for these victims because, instinctively, we knew their retirement funds came at the expense of our children’s chances on the property ladder.

The property ladder that we all queue to join, coz you’re nobody ’till you own your own home.  That’s actually not true.  If you want lifelong, residential security, you are better off serving your time in the ‘homeless- will live anywhere for a few years’ property market, in order to gain the most elusive of things – secure, affordable, lifelong accommodation.

See, the most unbelievable plot line in ‘Friends’ was not how six white gorgeous people found each other, but how Monica walked away from a rent controlled apartment in New York City.  That would never happen.

People weren’t that stupid, then.

And people aren’t so stupid, now, as to buy and sell properties, willy nilly, during a pandemic.  Some will still try to buy and sell, but not enough people to keep the wheels of the property market, where they want it, spinning out of control.

Property rising without end only benefits the few.

Your refurbished bungalow, with a veranda that opens up on a lush back garden, complete with Granny flat, loses some appeal when we have to kill Granny to make the sale.

 

 

 

Eleven things I’ve learned in Lockdown

The longer lockdown goes on the more confused I become.  It’s not accidental.  In a time when data is worth more than gold, non bias information, that doesn’t come with a follow me caveat, is priceless.  Because of this, I feel like I know less, now, than I did when this shit storm began.  That’s not to say I am completely ignorant.  This much I’ve learned.

(1) There is a either a real virus or a pretend virus.  This possible virus is probably highly contagious and because of that we need to practice social distancing.  Social distancing means different things to different people and we have no consensus, as a population, on what two metres looks like.  The impact of social distancing is severely weakened if international travel restrictions aren’t in place.

(2) The only consensus we have is that we are deeply divided.

(3) If the virus is real, then we are reaping what we have sown.  We have prioritised wealth accumulation for the few, over basic social and healthcare for the many.  Most of us belong in the ‘many’ category, when stripped of our meaningful job titles and social status.  If the virus is real, we have been exposed on the world stage as the fur coat and no knickers, tin pot, sham of a democracy we actually are.

(4) We really hate old people.

(5) If the virus is real, many more of us are going to have to die, in order to convince enough of us to take action.  A probable virus verses an economic downturn is the false dichotomy we are all being sold.  The economy, in its current form, exists to make the rich richer on the back of zero hours contracts, a monopoly on residential real estate and the privatisation of public institutions.

(6) Demonising those on welfare and making poverty synonymous with idleness and a flawed character only works when the minority need state benefits.

(7) If the virus is pretend, then we won’t ever believe anything a government or media outlet tells us again.  If the polls are to be trusted, we don’t believe anything our government or media are telling us now.  If the virus is pretend, most of us will continue to be duped by the belief we have lived through a pandemic, if we do, for the rest of our lives.  If the virus is pretend, as we stay indoors, a global cabal may be planning to take control of our bodies and minds through vaccines and contact apps.  A sort of contemporary version of The Spanish Inquisition, with a celebrity angle, coz a cult without high profile influencers is just a group of people.

(8) The right to bear arms is making America more dangerous by the day.

(9) The closer we get to death, the deeper our understanding of the fragility and sacred nature of human life.   As a society, we have been duped into believing that we exist solely for the realisation of our personal desires.  We have been conned into the cult of individualism, where narcissism is a virtue and intellectualism is despised by a quick fix culture that doesn’t have time to think.

(10) Teachers should be given a fuck load more money.

(11) People dependant on food banks to survive.  Do not resuscitate orders flying out of doctors surgeries.  The elderly abandoned to a mass cull.   TV shows donating medical  equipment  to I.C.U. units.  Homeless, dying of thirst, on the gold paved streets of one of the finest capital cities in the world.  In an age where patriotism is enjoying a resurgence, there is very little about life on this island, right now,  to make us feel proud.

 

 

 

 

 

 

10 Tips to held create rounded characters in fiction.

Creating believable, interesting characters is one of the cornorstones of writing any fiction, from a short story through to a series.  Like all writing skills, the ability to do so is as learned as it is in -ate, and practice always helps.

(1)  Picking a sex and a name are obvious starting points.  Names will be influenced by other major characteristics, such as nationality and job.  For example double bar names are more common among professional types such as lawyers and academics than they are in the service industry.  Artists often have quirky names, by both accident and design.

(2) Give them an age and root them chronologically.  After you have determined their date of birth you can create a rough timeline of their lives including all major events such as starting schools, starting collage work,  all their firsts that they have experienced from alcohol to sex to violent encounters.  When they married, if they did, or moved in with a partner or their current flatmate.

(3) Give them a look.  Start with the basics height, weight, nationality, skin colour, eye colour, hair colour, hair length.  Give them scars and tattoos and physical quirks, and dress them.  Are they attractive?  Or ugly as sin?  How confident are they?  Are they naturally beautiful or do they try to hard?  Are they conscious of their appearance or indifferent.  Their income will shape some of their style choices, but style itself does not belong to any class.

(4) Give them a family tree that traces their parents and siblings and off-springs and other relatives that are significant to the plot.

(5) Give them a personality.  Start out in broad strokes and then refine.  Are they an optimist or a pessimist?  Are they mild mannered and pleasant?  Or quite rude and abrupt.  Are they alpha or beta?   Are they good or bad?  Once you have determined the bigger traits you can start to add layers.  What about contradictions?  They may be notoriously mean, never buying their round in the pub, but have one person or cause that they lavish their money on?

(6) Give them a present.  What do they do?  What do they earn? Where do they live?  Do they have financial security?  Do they have emotional security?  Are they happy with their current lot.

(7) Give them a past.  Once you know where they are at the start of their story, you can figure out better how they got there.  A doctor, for example will have years of study in her background, if she’s young, she may have huge debt, if she’s older, she might have accumulated wealth.  A successful actor may have spent years moonlighting as a waiter.  People often tend to do what their parents do, or reject their background entirely.

(8) Make a list of their likes and dislikes.  What their favourite food, film, book?  What’s there guilty pleasure.  What do they do in their free time?  What are they passionate about, bearing in mind even the apathetic and cynical, have causes and people that matter to them?  Who do they admire? Who do they hate? Who do they envy and why? Are they authentic, or a hypocrite, or like many of us, a bit of both.

(9) Dig into their secrets.  What do they feel guilty about?  What are they ashamed of?  What do they hope no-one ever finds out about them? Who have they lied to?  Who have they lied for? Who do they trust? Who do they fear.  Broadly and more specifically.  For example a woman who has been subjected to a sexual assault may fear all men, but especially her attacker.

(10) What is their relationship to modern technology?  If a piece is written in contemporary times, the characters must interact with modern communication systems such as the internet and all its corresponding social media, in age appropriate ways and devises.  For example the young ones all have phones and communicate through them almost all the time, including to each other, whilst sharing physical space.  Many of your older characters will also engage with social media for work and pleasure.  At least some of your characters will access the dark web.

All of the above are just suggestions and should only be used if they prove useful.  There is no one way to write a character and the most carefully crafted protagonist can find themselves acting in an unexpected fashion as planning meets writing.  The important thing to remember is to enjoy creating characters and the freedom knowing them better brings to your story.

 

The Revolution will not be televised.

Of all the strange things I find myself thinking, reading, doing during lockdown, watching ‘The Crown’ on Netflix has to be my single most surreal experience.  Here I am, glued to a screen, watching a drama about how Old England dies as Old England dies.  I’ve got to confess, I’m loving it.  It couldn’t be any better if the B.B.C., King of Costume Dramas and Propaganda, had produced it.

I’ve started on Season 3, coz I can’t face any more death and there’s less of it, in Britain, as the century recedes.  So far, I’ve cried with Olivia Coleman’s Queen Elizabeth, as she buried Winston Churchill.  I’ve felt the pain of an ageing Prince Philip, as he recalls his Mother been taken to an asylum in his youth, and I have sympathised with a duty bound young Charles who must forsake his acting at Cambridge to spent a term in Wales learning Welsh.

Given that, spoiler alert, he goes on to be the Prince of the Country and to earn a tidy sum from his assets there, it’s not at all an unreasonable demand.  But he’s young, he’s got a lead role in a play, and he’s played in the drama by someone that looks less inbred than the actual Prince Charles.  It’s hard not to feel for his earnestness.

I could blame it all on the writing and the acting and the production values that pay astounding attention to period detail, but that’s only half of it.  As well as becoming emotionally attached to fictionalised versions of Establishment figures, I also went through a phase of worrying about the Prime Minister, back when he had the virus and wound up in I.C.U.

Seriously, I was up every morning, checking on his health on twitter.  Stealthy, obviously, I wasn’t adding #getwellboris to my search history.  Then, as soon as I heard he was back in Checkers watching ‘Withnail and I’ and ‘Love Actually’, it was business as usual #borisisawanker

I’m ashamed of my empathy with a potentially dying man because it makes me both weak and stupid.  Johnston has shown zero empathy for the sections of society most in need of humane governing.  His polices, his indifference and his previous career as a faux journalist all contributing indirectly and directly to countless deaths, and that’s  before the virus.  To wish him well is the political equivalent of wishing harm on others.

And for all that, I didn’t want him to wind up on a slate with some kind of pauper’s funeral, coz even the Tories couldn’t have spun a state affair.  I didn’t want his pregnant girlfriend bringing into the world a fatherless child, even though it’s almost certain she will fall victim to the very same sort of feckless parenting arrangement that drives less privileged women to benefits and food banks.  I didn’t want to think of how fucked we were as a Nation, if we couldn’t even keep the Prime Minister alive.

And so I wished him well and now he is, and I wish I hadn’t spent that last wish so carelessly.

I can console myself with the knowledge that I am a ‘good’ person.  By this I mean, I have reached some ambiguous state of morality devised in the distant past by mediocre men who couldn’t face their own darkness.  It’s the equivalent of the participant medal they give all the kids on sports day.  You have failed at an intelligent response but at least you tried.

And that’s the point, it’s all so very trying now, as time stands still and we find our minds racing, desperate to fill in the void that used to be the outside world.  Desperate to understand where our democracy went and what has replaced it. Desperate to predict what our future might look like even if these prophesies are dark and dystopian.  A bleak future is better than a blank one.

It might be helpful to consider that our democracy hasn’t disappeared, it never existed to begin with.  It’s an illusion that is crushed beneath the boots of every national emergency or every casual observation of an airport in action.  We have always lived in a pretend democracy with its implied freedoms for the many and its actual freedoms for a lot less than that.  But at least our democracy has widespread access to Netflix.  And thank God for that, and thank God for ‘The Crown’, the fictionalised one, obviously.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Quest for Truth in a Post Truth Pandemic

I haven’t blogged since this crisis began because I haven’t wanted to share my thoughts, largely ‘coz there are so many of them and most of them are depressing as fuck.

We’re all going to die. That thought comes and goes like a pendulum swinging, forward and back, on a six foot clock from some place in the past. The past is a foreign country, except it isn’t. It’s a series of actions and consequences. Individually.  Globally.

The future is a foreign country, right now, and that’s the closest thing to truth you are going to hear today.  When are we getting back to normal?  We ask, seemingly unaware that normal wasn’t normal, and that’s why we’re in this Orwellian nightmare to begin with.

Business as usual is where we were ’till the economy ground to a halt.  We were so busy buying and selling stuff, and working our asses off to pay for it, that we lost sight of the society we were all still part of.

‘There is no such thing as society’, Thatcher told us.  The Sunday Time’s expose on the Torie’s response to the pandemic is a damning indictment that she was taken at her word.  But you can’t trust The Times ‘coz it’s owned by Rupert Murdoch who everybody knows is a shady character.  He is not as dodgy as Bill Gates, though, who may be using this pandemic to further his evil plan of creating global vaccines. 

Global vaccines don’t sound evil, unless you’re a passionate anti vaxxer.  And they are a growing movement.  Mothers mainly, much maligned and mocked, because they don’t trust their governments and they are afraid of harming their children.  And yet, only a fool would trust the government and not fear they are harming our children.

At least the anti vaxxers believe there is something to vaccinate against, which is more than can be said of those who believe there’s no coronavirus at all.  It’s all an elaborate hoax to take down a global cabal of elite paedophiles trafficking children through a world wide network of underground tunnels, so they can terrify them, kill them and drink their blood, ‘coz it gives you a high better than, but comparable to cocaine.  Who knew?  QAnon.   And the blokes arming themselves and taking to the streets to protest their right to die. 

You’d have to be crazy to believe any of that, though?  Which takes us close to another truth.  We’re all a bit crazy, now. 

They built us houses and gave us toilets that flushed, and fashioned some garments for us out of other women’s labour, and we forgot the basic truth about ourselves.  We are animals.  Fancy animals that can talk and play Nintendo DS. 

And thank God for Nintendo and all the African kids that were exploited in order for me to have some peace of mind during a lockdown.  ‘Coz lockdown isn’t easy.

Obviously, it’s not as bad as the trenches, and we should grateful we have phones and we have fridges.  Except that’s a false equivalency.  This is our trenches and we are at war.  We have no idea with what or who, but these are not peaceful times.  You can tell that from the death toll.  Which is also a lie.  Not a lie, so much, as a fact, post truth.  Depending on where you get your information from, the figures are much higher or there’s no-one dying at all. 

It’s a plan to keep us in our houses to lay 5G, which will kill us, or else sell all our secrets to the Chinese.  It’s important to remember the Chinese started all this. 

And the truth is, there is no way to tell what the truth is, except it’s not all sunshine and flowers, and it’s not all apocalyptic horsemen, and those of us young enough will know a lot more, in fifty years time, when they release the information. 

By then I’ll be dead, or getting a letter from my local G.P. telling me they have signed a DNR on my behalf. 

Now, there’s a depressing thought and ain’t that the truth? 

 

 

 

 

 

Identity Theft

So, it’s International Women’s Day and in its build up, our councils and universities are figuring out the unique challenges of celebrating a sex class and a culture that no longer exist. Sefton Council waded, unwittingly, into a political scandal when they flew a flag bearing the dictionary definition of the word ‘woman’. It seems they had been hoodwinked by bigots into believing the definition of the word ‘woman’ wasn’t bigoted. Leicester University Student’s Union weren’t as easily fooled. Aware that the word ‘woman’ is triggering to trans peeps, they changed it to a word that doesn’t mean ‘woman’, or indeed anything.

It’s a formidable task, to raise awareness of women’s inequality without upsetting all the individuals, groups and brands that have a vested interest in destroying women as a sex class. To this end, I think U.N. Women deserve a special mention. In a sycophantic tweet centring transwomen, they got round the dichotomy, by redefining women as an entity without form or limit.

It’s bollox, obviously, though not literally. I sit here in my female form, with my limited body, analysing the implications of being without definition or shape within a political, legal and educational system that only serves that which it can designate meaning to.

It is reminiscent of when we used to put women on pedestals, keeping much out of their reach. You can call me out of touch for refusing to disbelieve my own existence and I will call you out for your hypocrisy.

Those of us older than ten can remember a time when the word ‘woman’ needed no complex definition. When everyone who was anyone, and all of the nobodies, could tell the difference between a guy and a girl. Co-existing with this period of history spanning all of history pre 2014, was an never ending list of gendered expectations placed on the sexed body of the entity that everybody knew was a woman. Be nice. Be Pretty. Be quite. And on it went, forever, creating the most bizarre expectations of how a woman might dress and behave, how she might think, if she could indeed think, and what her inner most desires might look like.

The most important thing you need to understand about this long list of non nonsensical bollox called ‘Gender expectations for a lady’ is that, like the Bible, it was written by blokes. Blokes telling you what she wants, what she really really wants.

Feminism, since its inception, has been about liberating the female body from the expectations of the male mind. Today, literally, we cannot speak the word ‘woman’ for fear of offending all the interlopers in our ranks, who find the word ‘woman’ coupled with meaning, exclusionary, phobic, even hateful.

And, as a woman, what the fuck am I supposed to do with that? Am I supposed to pretend that that I don’t believe in the material reality and commonality of the sexed body? Am I meant to swap my understanding of these truths for the incoherent ramblings of a morally vacuous media who present woman as esoteric?

We’ve heard it all before. Woman as Virgin. Woman as Whore. The Good Enough Mother. The fragrant Mary Archer. Woman as Thing so inexplicable as to be beyond the capacity of words to describe. Woman as Nothing.

My debut novel Nailing Jess re imagines womanhood in a Matriarchy.

Woke and Dagger

Why did Mhairi Black cross the road? To make derogatory remarks about women on the other side.

Obviously, I’m joking.  Nobody defames anybody on the side of the road, anymore.  Not since the advent of twitter.

It’s been a drag for Mhairi the last twenty four hours as she deals with the fallout of a her monumentally stupid decision to  bring an adult entertainer called flowjob (with a very adult public social media profile) to a primary school gig in order to promote LGBT+ history month, and her even stupider one, to defend the decision.

The woman famed in her maiden speech  for being in touch with, even the voice of, the ordinary person seems to no longer be able to read Jo Public’s mind.  She has fallen victim to a faith based ideology that demands a suspension of critical thinking and a psychological distancing from non believers, in this case, the voting public.

She has  been awokined.   Not for her the rational discourse of ordinary individuals with their mundane concerns, like their kid not being groomed in the schoolyard.  Not for her the hideous banality of the common woman with her ignorant insistence that she exists as part of a sex class.  Not for her the subtle distinction between being a gay role model suitable for children and an adult drag act.  Not for her the nuance of debate because the slogan says #nodebate and not for her to question slogans.

And any day now, she’s going to crash land in the nursing home of political irrelevance, where all the so woke they’re actually broke politicians go to die, and isn’t that a crying shame?

Not as shameful, though, as slandering individuals concerned with safeguarding, as if safe guarding wasn’t the single most important feature of any school activity.  Given that the council involved has since apologised,there can be no doubt that this was an ill considered visit.

The response, however, to tarnish the reputation and question the morality of those who disagree, that was measured and pretty textbook. But the good news is, it’s getting old, as more and more people wake up to the logistical and practical problems of wokeness without end.

I know I’m supposed to prefix or suffix this post with an assurance that I’m not homophobic, right wing or Christian.  I know I’m supposed to reassure you that I’m anti Brexit and pro a multi cultural, diverse society, but I refuse to play these games anymore.  The stakes are too high.

In and of itself, the decision to expose primary school children to a drag queen, with a hardcore public social media profile, was a gross error of judgement that reveals a council, a principal and a politician more concerned with appearing to do the right thing than actually doing it.

 

 

 

 

Kind of Pointless.

It’s been a week since Caroline Flack killed herself and #kindness became the latest must have virtue shoved down the throat of Jo Public.  #Bekind, we were told, in countless tweets and vlogs and blogs and photo collages, as if an absence of kindness was at the heart of  the late presenter’s pain.  As if we were all, somehow, responsible for her death, and only a collective outpouring of literal virtue signalling would atone us.

In that time, her family have released her last unpublished Instagram post ,where she details her state of mind as she juggled the fall out from her arrest last December.  What followed was relentless media scrutiny of her entire life, whilst she herself was banned from giving context.

We are now certain that she was intensely vulnerable, her suicide having convinced even the most hardened sceptic among us.   But clearly, in December, when she was charged, we couldn’t join the dots.

I say we, but in reality, we don’t work for the Met police who choose to criminalise a woman’s breakdown, whilst simultaneously allowing photos taken at the scene to be sold to the press.  We don’t work for the media outlets who published those illegal photos, time and time again, speculating on a context they knew she couldn’t argue with.  We don’t work for the CPS who choose to prosecute a woman with a high risk of self harm and virtually no risk of harm to others, whilst knowing the divulgence of crime scene photos to the press compromised the integrity of the entire investigation and all its outcomes.  We don’t work for ITV who threw Caroline under the very same bus they used to drive Philip Schofield to his beatification.

If we are complicit in the suicide of a celebrity, it is by flicking through ‘Closer’ in the bath, and I reject the spurious link on the grounds of its own idiocy.

Caroline Flack may not have been driven to suicide if the many professionals involved in her care had acted professionally.   Now that she is gone, it’s not trolls on twitter that should be held accountable, but the algorithms that allow the trolling, and the alpha censors that create the algorithms.  It’s not Jo Public that needs to look internally and ask how they can prevent the next tragedy.  It’s all the public institutions that permit and reward corruption, and reject accountability, until they have no option.

In the weeks and months to come, as the facts are slowly revealed about the events that proceeded Caroline’s suicide, and those involved seek to cover those facts at the point they are uncovered, it is wise to consider justice isn’t dependant on kindness, but on truth.

There’s something about Sam…

This blog is written in direct response to this blog.

Full disclosure, I know Sam Baldwin . After writing about her extensively, I had the opportunity to meet her.  I did meet her, and as a direct result of that meeting, I am, now, very fond of her.  I’d have to be, to have read Karen Woodall’s aforementioned blog about her – well it’s not strictly about her, but she does seem to be its target, on a par with a highly discredited rapist.

So, whilst Karen may well be a highly accredited psychologist, she ain’t no writer.  Assuming the purpose of writing is to convey information in a way that might be intelligible to anybody other than her equally as accredited cronies, over an expenses paid power lunch, in the name of ‘children’s lives’.

I can only hope that the families she’s ‘helped’ over her extensive career are very bright, educated, articulate, and also have degrees in psychology, psychiatry, and even maybe English lit, coz they’re gonna need it all, to keep up with the myriad of complexities, intrinsically convoluted, manifold and immense manifestations of Parental Alienation Syndrome.   Or alternatively, they are going to have to trust the experts, like Woodall, who makes a very good living from knowing her subject.

Now, maybe she does know her subject, but let’s be clear, she doesn’t want to tell you about it.  You,  Joesphine Public, need to be kept in the dark.  For your own good.  Ain’t it?  But that’s okay, ‘coz you can trust the experts.

So, after the longest introduction to a blog that says nothing at all about its subject , because the subject is too intricate to the untrained eye, it offers two very different examples of what it calls false allegations of Parental Alienation Syndrome.  On the one hand we have Sam, middle class, educated, not unpleasing to the eye, articulate Mother, claiming that she was disbelieved by the family courts, and that she is a victim of closed door justice.  On the other, we have Stephen Best, a Glasgow rapist, sentenced to six years in prison today.  What does a Mother fighting a pedo protecting judicial system have in common with a Glasgow rapist?

After asking the experts, they have responded – Enough.

Now, I’m no expert, but other than the fact that they both ran political campaigns, these two people are polar opposites.  Sam stands, firm and rooted, against violent sexual predators and devotes her time, energy and love to exposing them.  Best is a violent sexual offender.

There’s something about Sam that brings all the rape apologists to the yard.

Now, I’m no expert, but I think Sam’s got got something quite special.   It translates on screen, and even more so in person, and it resonates deep within a community that has been disseminated by secret family courts and abandoned by the free press.  Their methods and the lack of accountability they foster – ask the experts – leaves many campaigners destitute, broken, drugged up, burnt out, unable to fight their own cases, let alone the wider cause.  This should have happened to Sam, but she wasn’t textbook.  Instead of caving, she got creative.  Instead of giving up, she raised the stakes.

‘Do your worst’ her eyes invite you from the screen.   Unspoken, like a woman with nothing left to lose.

Now, I’m no expert, but isn’t that what the system, and make no mistake Woodall is the system, fears most of all?

 

 

The good man paradox

Not all men are wankers but enough of them are, to come out in force and say that they’re not all wankers, whenever you point to the actions of any given wanker, or group of wankers.  As if this is relevant.  As if I’m supposed to care that some bloke in Cardiff raises his three kids because their mother abandoned them.

As if that, somehow, negates the crisis in family courts, where violent men gain access to kids and violent male sexual predators gain custody of kids.  Or the crisis in rape prosecutions, where less than 2% of rapists (men) are convicted for their crimes.  As if that will save the life of either of the women killed by their male partners this week in Britain.

It should be self evident that anecdotal examples of compassion, or even simply  of taking responsibility – I’m talking to you, doting Dad from Cardiff – have no real place in a conversation about the epidemic of male violence that’s never gone away.  And yet, it’s such a common ploy among the defensive, that it has its own acronym – NAMALT.

In the week since the British rape victim returned from Cyprus, the internet has been awash with rapists, rape apologists and rape enthusiasts.  Any rape that makes headlines becomes a catalyst for all that is dark and damaged and depraved and downright dangerous about online mankind to surface.  Keyboard warriors across the globe celebrate her conviction because it makes them feel better about their own, unsanctioned crimes.

‘I was accused of rape once.’  They say.  Only once?

‘THE LYING WHORE SHOULD BE LOCKED UP!’  They shout.

‘It’s women like her that make it harder for real victims to get justice’  They proclaim, but never qualify how.

And as awful as these rants are, they somehow make sense.  In a world where one in five women are sexually assaulted, there’s got to be a lot of rapists, and most of them will be able to type.  A case that highlights the brutality of rape, the corruption of police investigations, the incompetence of legal systems, and the complicity of political systems  is a case with a lot to prove.  Rapists have a lot to defend.

What never makes sense to me is those who do believe her, but still want you to know that not all men are like a group of Israeli rapists.

‘It is important,’ they tweet, ‘that you remember there is good men in the world.’

Why is that important?  In what way does that empower the victim of a savage gang rape and an international miscarriage of justice?  In a world where men do most of the killing and raping and maiming, I can see how it’s comforting to know that your Barry puts the tea on the table four nights a week and always picks the girls up from ballet.  I just don’t see why it’s important.

The existence of good men is not what we question when groups of men conspire to deny a rape victim justice, but the persistence of bad men.  Not all men are gang rapists of teenage tourists, but gang rape is an exclusively male crime.  If we can’t call a spade a spade, for fear of hurting the good man’s ego, or the happy wife’s happy life, then perhaps these people are neither as good nor as content, as they contend.

Not all writers think like me.  If you like this you will also like my debut novel Nailing Jess.