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?