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?

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.

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.

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.

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 no 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.