Wednesday 5 May 2021

The day after, ummm, no. The day before tomorrow?

For the first time, I really don't give a crap who wins the upcoming Scottish election. And in keeping with what seems to be the accepted paradigm for many independence supporters just now - by not having watched any of the leaders debates, or news reports, or any of the other bits of output I usually do - I'm speaking from a position of almost-complete ignorance.

You'll see why.

That being said, I've merely pulled up the drawbridge, so to speak. I am able to see over the parapet of my metaphorical castle, I have observed, and continue to observe the shite being flung around, the screaming of obscenities, half-truths, and fabrications - that sort of thing. In the distance, I can see a shining light, tinged by a corona of unassailable perfection, I assume that's Nicola Sturgeon sitting atop the pedestal her followers have built -  fuelled by headlines from The National 'newspaper' and bloated articles from Bella Caledonia, and a more general unquestioning faith based mostly on starry-eyed amaurosis.

I tried hard to find a more disparaging image, but came to the conclusion, short of putting one up of the man himself, such an image doesn't exist.

Scanning the field of battle from atop my fence- eh, I mean indomitable battlements, if I look carefully, I can see a small man, with glasses knocked slightly askew, scuttling here and there - his carapace shining dully in the milky sunlight. Every now and then he stops to pick up a severed limb to nibble on, he then raises his shiny head, straightens his glasses (as if that helps to concentrate his thoughts), and issues a hollow scream at the sky in which he tries to explain to the universe what a woman is. But he can't, because he thinks everyone is a woman if only they have the courage to say so.

I watch in disgust, as this horrid little bacillus, tugs feebly at a summer skirt covering the body of an activist lost to this oh-so-pointless conflict.

Over by the wheat fields which supply my castle, (it helps if you build a narrative for your shit metaphors, it makes it feel more real for the reader), I can see a woman, dressed like an Amazonian warrior, but shorter and more squat than you might imagine. She's kickboxing hungry children to the ground, pausing only to kiss the arse of her commanding officers on the phone, and to make sure the kid's parents are still watching.

Every now and again, an odious but incredibly well-spoken cockroach-like thing sidles up, attaches itself to her ample thigh, and laps at the hate-sweat which coats her skin. When it's thirst is sated, it scuttles off waiving a flag and shrieking the words "you just can't, you just CAN'T" at the ruddy-coloured clouds which scud across the sky.

I sigh at this, it's all so depressing.

Just when I think of moving away from my castle's barbican, I see a sight which cheers me - the battle field jester. It's a welcome change from the horror, seeing this clown figure cavort across the cratered land, gibbering at anyone who will stop to listen. If I cup a hand around my ear, I am able to snatch fragments of his oratory from the wind, [Ed. nice one, sounds poetic]. Although they're words from the English vocabulary, they're not in an order that makes sense, or germane to anything which is happening.

This sad, ignored Jester begins to chase an owl, so I allow my gaze to move on.

Only picture of an owl and jester I could find.

I see a ghostly figure in the thick of things, but he's being ignored by everyone. He wanders to and fro, trying to pick fights, but it's as if he's not there at all. Opposition activists wave him off with crumpled pamphlets, like they'd wave off a fly at a picnic. I realise he's not alone, a bearded man with wild eyes accompanies him and occasionally stops sending indecipherably stupid tweets so he can pull the string which hangs limply from between the steeply sloped shoulders of this sad, ignored individual. This milquetoast specimen drifts on, recanting the same lines, over and over again, in to the void created by every other human being in existence ignoring him entirely.

(It's a wet rag, come on, keep up.)

The battle isn't due to reach its crescendo for another twenty four hours. So I stop focussing on the specifics and take in the wider view. To my surprise, it is possible to see a diaphanous form covering the ground as far as the eye can see. As the battle rages, it's being trampled in to the dirt. The majority of combatants trample with enthusiasm, but none more so than the forces of the beatific figure shining brightly, (some might say, so brightly, her holy warriors can't see very clearly), on the pedestal in the distance. (It might just be me, but it looks taller than it did when I began to type this pish out...)

Oh wait, it's just a lamp post.

Here and there, activist-soldiers - horribly outnumbered - try to save fragments of this mysterious, embattled lamina before it is lost under the unthinking, plodding hooves of the masses.

From the curtain wall of the castle, (which in my mind now looks like the one from the Disney adverts, and why not), I see massed on a ridge, serried ranks of men of indeterminate gender. Pink hair here, a nose-ring there - but all to-a-one sporting an immaculately-kept beard. They ripple and seethe down the hill, their war cry a confusion of sex versus gender. But wait, on the opposite ridge, (and it's a glorious site), a roiling mass of adult human females - enraged by the assault on their rights - issues a battle cry which causes everyone to pause.

It's an artists impression.

The forces-of-indeterminate-gender perform what can only be described as a hand brake turn, but are engulfed by the forces-of-adult-human-females anyway. Several adult human female knees connect with several fear-shrivelled lady-testicles - causing handfuls of puberty blocking pills to fountain from hip pockets in to the mud. The ragged remains of the bearded misogynist army slink back under the protection of their bogus consultations, pliable politicians, and their never-ending closed circles of 'advice'.

I have no idea how I'll vote tomorrow, or more accurately, I have no idea if the SNP will get my constituency vote. I'm fed up with being lied to, and being patronised by the pious, or lectured by the sanctimonious, who believe they've cornered the market in wisdom. I'm pissed off with narcissists who can't tell the fucking difference between their own malformed opinions and fact.

There are so many serious issues surrounding this election, but they've been usurped by vested interests, by careerism, and by succubae.

My greatest disappointment is with the SNP, and much as I hate to say - Nicola Sturgeon. I had a higher regard for Nicola Sturgeon than I did for Alex Salmond - I think because I grew up with Salmond always being portrayed as an ogre - and some of that stuck - but also because I genuinely thought she was a different calibre of politician.

Nicola Sturgeon is a manager, she's no reactionary or revolutionary - she talks the talk, but when it comes to kicking the ball, she's got banana feet. More over, I no longer believe independence is her goal - she's toe-punted far too many opportunities over the bar, (and there the football shtick ends). 

There comes a time when the number of things you agree about, and the importance of those issues, is overcome by the number of things you don't agree about, and their importance. More-over, there comes a time when you just no longer believe the things they say - and that undermines everything.

That test has been met. Brexit, the way the trans-debate has been allowed to fester, women's rights, laws around Hate Crime, people being flung out of the party at the whim of leadership (and favoured-others being given a by), and a leadership which is now the darling of Scotland's media, presumably as a result of the bung they got from the Scottish Government.

I don't know what else to say. I thought we were better than this, but we've lost our way. Nicola Sturgeon's SNP won't bring about Scottish independence, that needs fixed, or another way must be found - and quickly.

Of course, all of this is just opinion. Unlike the smug, lecturing wasp-chewers who insist you take theirs, I don't insist you take mine. You're more than welcome to leave it where it is.

Tuesday 13 April 2021

That ILGA thing.

I don't really want to comment on the ILGA/ Stonewall/LBGT Scotland/ScotGov funding thing, it's been done to death. But to give some context - as usual - I'm somewhere the middle. Do I think the SNP want to lower the age of consent? Nope. Do I think they're paedophiles, or paedophile enablers? Of course I don't.

However, the Feminist Declaration does have some challenging ideas in it. These dubious notions could be dismissed in the first instance as not meaning what Wings Over Scotland or Margaret Lynch said they meant, but look at what's happened around reform of the Gender Recognition Act and wonder at the logic behind excluding women as a protected category in subsequent hate crime legislation - at a point in time when they are being silenced for questioning gender reform.

Sometimes things are what they look like.

This is a meme.

Finally on this, and I thought as seasoned independence supporters we'd know this. Instead of dismissing those with questions as bigots, homophobes, or conspiracy theorists - why didn't the SNP (etc) just deal with the substantive points directly, because not doing so is straight out of the unionist playbook of politics. The SNP used to be really good at rebutting erroneous (usually unionist) notions. It turns out they're not to so keen when it's their policies or actions being questioned.

Anyway, so far so dramatic.

What I want to mention - which is also included in the Feminist Declaration, is this:

Section 14/c of the controversial document.

I've already written some pish about self-ID, which is presumably what they mean by self-determination, but I want to say something about 'timely and quality gender affirming services', which won't be pish because it's from personal experience. (And if we're all about recognising people's lived experience, then mine counts too.)

I'm plain old gay. I'm not encumbered with any overly strange proclivities, I absolutely do not want to wear make-up, or spandex, or a frock. I don't visit (or have) a dark room. I don't 'cruise' down the beach, (it's too cold and uncomfortable - sand is not a romantic substance, nor is gorse). I tend not to meet other men in cemeteries, (see comment about beaches, also it would be creepy). I don't have multiple partners, (to be fair, that might not be voluntary). I've only ever been up Calton Hill for Beltane. And I've never noshed a stranger off in a toi- Anyway, you get the idea...

But I remember well, being a youngster maybe about ten or eleven years old, (an adolescent no less) and realising two things - that I liked boys, and that it would be a lot easier to access boys if I was a girl. I just wonder, if at that tender, formative (really fucking confusing age), if an adult with a modicum of gravitas had approached me, with an affirmative - dare I say evangelical - message about gender reassignment... What havoc could they have wreaked?

I was a boy, and I recognised at least on some levels, I was meant to be a boy, despite where my eyes wandered. But... But... But, what if... 

To be clear, this wasn't a fleeting idea. Around the ages of twelve to fourteen say - I didn't exactly agonise over gender reassignment, because it wasn't a mainstream thing. But I remember often thinking I should be a girl because then, what I felt wouldn't be wrong, or at least it would be normal.*

This is being (somewhat) buried in the pedo-hysteria currently assaulting Scottish political discourse. It's also one of the main concerns - born out of experience - I have with gender recognition reform and with the aims of Stonewall and LGBT Scotland, if indeed they do subscribe to the very letter of the Feminist Declaration. (I was going to link to it, but if you don't know how to find it yourself, there's no way I can explain it to you.)

These details matter - they absolutely do. We've already seen how a relatively innocent-looking message buried within a much wider and noble aim, can grow arms and legs and cause unintended problems.

There are people who will read what I've just typed and be horribly offended by it. They won't tackle the substantive points I made, they'll just call me a bigot (or a transphobe) and move on. They didn't have to read it, and they don't have to comment, but if they do, it's on them to back up what they say - if they don't, it's an act of intellectual cowardice akin to nipping a kid they don't like at playtime then running away.

As adults, we really shouldn't behave in this way.

Young people are important - they matter. Stepping back (and being controversial), one thing I do agree with on the Feminist Declaration is this:

Section 14/g of the problematic missive.

That being said, young folk still need the wisdom of adults (some hope at the moment), if only to temper their sometimes-capricious decision making paradigms. 

But, not much has changed between now and when I was growing up. Back when I was a young adolescent, I did exercise some of the agency I wasn't supposed to have - and I would have been criminalised for doing so had it become known. The same is true now, and that can't be right.

So some balance is required. The current situation isn't ideal, but nor is the wild west free-for-all extolled by ILGA, Stonewall, and LGBT Scotland - based on the Feminist Declaration.

All of which - we must remember - has nothing to do (for now), with the current political situation in Scotland. So, as you were folks.

* Don't get me started on 'normal', those of us who've spent our lives attempting to normalise LGBT existence and get rid of the special labels - only to have Queer gang members drag us back to the 1980's, presumably because they don't like being a bit run-of-the-mill... Grrr... Run-of-the-mill is great - it means your life isn't made a fucking misery at school or work because you've been set apart - you daft bunch of self-interested, self-aggrandising twats. I feel quite strongly about that, as you might be able to tell.

Wednesday 7 April 2021

Genesis of a person's politics?

Do you ever attempt to trace the route you took to the politics you hold? I don't mean the nature of your politics - whether you think trickle down economics or collective farms are good ideas - I mean the critical thought, or actions, or characters that poured the foundations upon which your politics sit?

No, not the band...

I can remember a few things. The first one was Margaret Thatcher. Now, before I go any further - in my defence - she was PM from 1979 to 1990, I was six years old in 1979. I grew up with her in power, I remember thinking she was tough and because I was a child - assuming she was right - which kids tend to do with adults. That's my defence and I'm sticking to it.

I also remember John Major becoming PM, and wondering how another human could be that grey.

At this point, we must jump forward a little to 1997 - which is where any default trust I had in politics was lost - with New Labour and Tony Blair. 'Default trust' is probably over-selling it, up till that point, politics wasn't on my radar. Perhaps becoming older more generally meant I paid more attention, or, I heard Tony Blair speak and some instinctive, preternatural part of my brain thought 'aye aye, you need to watch that one', so that's what I did.

New Labour and Tony Blair basically set the tone. With the Tories, what you saw was what you got - a bunch of grasping entitled cunts, New Labour though... Oily, sneaky... The stealth tax was born, sham-marketing had crashed into politics. Tony Blair and the people he had around him realised it was either no longer possible - presumably due to the internet - or no longer practical to expect us proles to accept policies that were Shit But Good For Us. They needed to be branded, packaged and sold - like a family car, or an insurance policy, or a JML kitchen tool.

It's a JML slide-chopper, or a stealth tax...

TL/DR version? New Labour made me cynical.

Then came an awakening - probably interlinked with the reformation of the Scottish Parliament. I was into that, a definite both-votes-yes, but I didn't vote SNP in the first elections, I voted Liberal Democrat. I won't try to explain that, except to say I vaguely recall resolving never to vote Labour ever (which I haven't), or for the Conservatives, who will probably always be irreformable bastards.

That was the only time I didn't vote SNP in a Holyrood election. (On the list I tended to vote Green out of pity and some vestigial understanding that a vote (recently) for the SNP on the list was a waste of time.)

I impart all that pointless information because when I was growing up politically, Alex Salmond was not a popular figure. At best he was a bellicose curiosity not to be taken seriously, at worst he was a threat to the fabric of the UK. It's fair to say, both notions were ingrained - even if only subconsciously.

Alex Salmond in 1997 - the absolute fiend!

What I mean to say is, I never fully lost that baggage. After 2014 - when Nicola Sturgeon took over - I had more trust in her because she came with less baggage. I have no doubt the psychology of losing the referendum played it's part too, but either way, I thought she was a different kind of politician and one I could trust - to an extent I hadn't been able to since Blair robbed me of my political innocence in the 1990's.

My point is, fellow independence travellers have become selective with the cynicism that allowed them to see through the bullshit. It turns out, it's only activated if it's unionist bullshit. Worse than that, it's malfunctioning to the point where anything a unionist politician says is dismissed - completely negating the idea of an opposition. The opposition parties at Holyrood are not great, but they should not be dismissed completely - or Scotland is a one-party state. 

We need to recall the journey which caused us to question everything we're being told. We need to to spend more time on what's being said instead of who's saying it.

We can't give the things which suit our agendas a by - if we do that, then we're no better than those who seek to hold us in the UK - all we're doing is propagating that same rank mendacity, and I can't get on board with that.

It leaves people like me with an uneasy compromise, we support people who's actions we don't agree with - on the promise we can get rid of them at some tenebrous point in the future, all of this while being castigated for daring to ask for explanations to the issues which are causing us to be apprehensive in the first place - it's an impossible situation.

The Alba Party may not be perfect - but neither is the SNP - no party is perfect. What it does is give people like myself an insurance policy and a much better compromise position. Is it too much to ask, that if I can compromise enough to vote SNP in the constituency, that ardent Nicola fans can do the same and respect my right to vote Alba on the list vote?