Friday, 28 April 2017

5 Reasons Britain is finished without a left-centre coalition

In his recent piece for the Guardian, Tony Blair finished with the words "This is not the time to fight a conventional partisan election." And even though I disagree with the tone of the piece (and his politics in general, the warmongering media-prostitute), I do agree with the sentiment - this is going to be an election unlike any other, simply because of the sheer amount of critical issues riding on it.

Because of this, I've dispensed with the usual flowery prose and I'm going to try and keep it straightforward - partly because it's important, and partly because we've got starlings nesting in the loft again and every few minutes are punctuated by mindless, ear shattering screeching for attention.

Picture unrelated. (source)

I believe that one of the many ways both the Remain and the pro-AV campaigns shot themselves in the foot was by playing too 'nice.' The leaflets for the anti-AV campaign were brightly coloured, two sided flyers laying out horror stories and shock tactics; whereas the pro-AV literature was just a politely worded letter which went largely unopened. Similar problems with the pro/anti EU literature as well.

So for this piece, I'm laying it out as a listicle. I've given it an attention grabbing headline. I've done away with my usual disdain for these 'cheap tactics' because this election is too important for the left's usual Cinderella complex; hoping their inherent goodness will win the day, and then taking the high ground when it doesn't.

The stakes are too high this time, and here's why:

HUMAN RIGHTS


We can all agree the Tory record on human rights has been horrendous over the last eight years. From disability cuts, their attempts to revive Victorian slave labour and tax policies disproportionately punishing the poor, they have already proven that they see human rights as something for the rich, not for middle and working class people.

Tory policy has lead to a divided populace, where half the country is unable to spend and keep the economy moving, and the other half is hording everything in offshore tax havens. Money isn't moving through the economy, and our national debt has roughly tripled.

However, Conservative policy has always leaned hard on tax breaks for the rich and a fiscal policy of punishing those they think aren't 'working hard enough.' So why is this election any different?

Because the Tories are about to write themselves a blank cheque. 

In the case of the disability cuts and their attempts at bringing in workfare, they were overruled because of the protections given to us by the European Court of Human Rights. And if Ms. May gets in as prime minister, she will have the popular support she needs to argue for the kind of 'hard brexit' where we no longer have that oversight.

And this isn't a leftist concern, this is something that's actually going to happen. The Great Repeal Bill is coming after Brexit, which will give the Tories the opportunity to pull all current EU legislation into British law, and then (more importantly) pick and choose the parts they want to keep and dump without a vote in parliament.

The Tories have long maintained in their last few manifestos that they want to write their own British Bill of Rights, using their usual dirty trick of sticking the word 'British' in front of things to gain automatic support from the 'patiotic' right. You don't need to imagine what that would mean for British workers.

This, but Poundland uniforms. (source)

We've already seen what they've tried and failed to push through, even with European oversight and the right of parliament to vote against it. With free reign over our definitions of human rights, they can finally get rid of as many workers rights as they like - maternity leave, optional overtime and holiday allowance are all on the chopping black.

This is especially worrying in light of their previous election manifesto, which says they want closer ties with countries like China and India, where human rights abuses over their working class have led to spiraling levels of suicide, workplace accidents and even deaths.

More concerning is May's recent cosying-up to Saudi Arabia, one of the few countries which still allows a form of modernised slavery, namely Indentured Servitude. Which sounds a lot like where we're headed with Workfare, come to think of it.  

If the Tories get in this June, we will lose our last line of defence against rampant abuse of British workers. 

THE NHS


If nothing else shows the way the Tories see this country, it's the NHS. People love and rely on a health service that's free at the point of care, and yet that's the very thing that the Tories hate about it. They resent paying for the poor and getting nothing in return - they've shown as much with the way they treat the sick and disabled. To them, the country is simply a cashflow; taxes in, services out.

Over the last few years, the Tories have stripped the NHS of funding and resources, dragging it to the brink of crisis so that they can justify handing it over to private firms. Firms, coincidentally, in which MPs from Jeremy Hunt to David Cameron have financial interests. It's not to sell off 'underperforming' services, it's to carve up chunks of British infrastructure and sell it to their mates.

And just as before, this isn't just a prediction about what will happen. The NHS is now taking it's first steps into privatisation, with services now being handed over to Virgin Care in the Bath and North-East Somerset areas. If the Tories get in again, they'll continue to pass key services over to private interests, and they won't be nice, friendly faces like Richard Branson in future.

Pictured left (source)

I've worked for the NHS, and one of the biggest problems it's always had is that the management is run by people with backgrounds in corporate business, who are unable to see anything outside of cashflow. At the end of the day, if that means cutting services or less profit, choices will be made based on cost rather than care, and patients lose out. They also come up with idiotic ideas like making hospitals and departments 'compete' with each other.

It's still early days, and the contracts are not set in stone. Only a few services have been handed over, and an opposition party could easily start the process of reversing out of privatisation.

But if the Tories get in this June, we'll likely lose the NHS as we know it.

POST-TRUTH ELECTIONS


And here's where we move on to another reason this election sits at the pinnacle of change, because of a worrying trend rising worldwide, a trend which it may be our last chance to stop.

The left has a problem with publicity, where it seems to believe that the right thing to do is present the facts to the public unbiased, and let them make their own minds up. And we as a country lose out to the liars every damn time because of it.

Theresa May has thrown herself into the idea of a hard Brexit, despite being opposed to it before the vote. The Conservatives are using every opportunity to call themselves 'the party of the working people,' when all signs show they're about to throw workers rights out of the window, and their opposition's name is literally a synonym for work.

Or starve them. Or let them die. (source)

But still they keep saying it. Last election they carted round a bus saying they were going to give £350m a week to the NHS, and then as soon as the election happened, everyone was standing round desperately trying to distance themselves from the literally huge lie that they'd all been proudly campaigning with.

The Conservatives and Lib Dems keep saying that Labour has no plan on brexit, when a simple search of Labour's website, twitter and Facebook pages would show that they've had a constantly updating and evolving plan since the vote was announced. And the modern trend of 'twitter journos' repeating whatever appears on their newsfeeds without fact checking have led to the wide dissemination of these lies.

This is different to politicians simply exaggerating, or twisting facts. This is outright lying, and the Tory right is front and centre in the whole debacle. But the simple fact is that they don't have to care, because the two biggest papers in the UK - the Sun and the Mail - are run by right wing billionaires desperate to keep the tax dodges that they rely on the Tories for.

The UK is also ranked 40th in the world for press freedom, below South Africa and the Czech Republic. At the moment it's unclear whether it's this bias that means Labour and the Greens are simply not getting airtime, or if it's a problem with Labour's press office.

But if the Tories get in this June, you're just showing them that it works.

THE FRAGMENTED LEFT


Theresa May cares so little about having to fact check or correct her own message, she's not even willing to appear in the televised leadership debates. Instead she's been taking part in heavily stage-managed press appearances spouting the only two buzzwords she seems to know.

But I have to applaud her on this one, because she's taking advantage of the massive divisions in leftist politics.

At the debates, if she doesn't show up, it means the participants will most likely be Labour, the Lib Dems, Greens, and probably the SNP and UKIP (despite the latter not having any MPS, but hey, they make good TV). That means May will be able to sit back and gloat, slipping a statement into the press the following day highlighting the petty divisions between Labour, the Greens and the Lib Dems.

Who, as we all know, are always treated fairly by the press (source)

And the parties are divided. That's the real trick to this election. A leftist voter will have the choice between Labour, the Lib Dems and the Greens, and depending on which progressive agenda is most important to them (human rights or the environment), they'll vote for one of the three parties. But a right-leaning voter only has the Conservatives. If we assume the country is divided 50/50 left and right, that means the conservatives will win 50% of the vote, and the other three parties get to share around 16% each.

So simple mathematics seems to show that if you need a majority to be in power, the left needs to discuss an alliance. And yet they haven't.

Caroline Lucas of the Greens is the only party leader discussing an alliance so far. Tim Farron has swung from refusing to rule out an alliance with the Tories, to ruling out an alliance with any other party. Corbyn has been quoted as ruling out an alliance with 'any rival parties' as well, while discussing the SNP; although it remains to be seen if he considers the Lib Dems and Greens 'rivals.' And the SNP are pretty much untouchable thanks to the Sun's scare tactics last election.

For the reasons stated above, this is absolutely unacceptable. 

Now is not the time for bickering over Trident, or other minor policy differences. Now is not the time for Tim Farron or Jeremy Corbyn to hold onto a desperate hope that they can somehow lead the country on their own. Worldwide, there has been a rise in right wing politics, leading to the decimation of workers rights, LGBT rights and women's rights. May has demonstrated nothing more than a blind willingness to excuse and pander to increasingly right-wing leaders worldwide, regardless of their political leanings.

I'm probably going to be murdered in my sleep for this, but at this point frankly I await the sweet embrace of death (source)

When the Liberal Democrats formed a coalition with the Tories, they maintained as a centrist party that they negotiated a few leftist policies they wanted, and managed to prevent the worst of the Tories right wing excess. But the simple fact is that by allying with the Tories, they enabled all of the horrific policies against the sick, disabled and unemployed that the Tories did enact. If they hadn't formed the coalition, it would have gone back to the vote, and the Tories might not have gotten in at all.

And we find ourselves in the same place now. Labour and the Greens on the left, and the Lib Dems in the centre-left are all fighting their own corners, bad-mouthing the other parties to steal voters from them. But while the left works on dividing it's own vote, the right works on consolidating theirs. 

So if the Tories get in this June, the world will lose another country to the right. The privatisation of the NHS will likely become irreversable. Lies will further be proven to be the way to win an election.  The Tories might decide to redraw the boundaries again, gerrymandering out any hope of Labour ever winning an election on their own, in which case the left is dead in the water. 

***


That's why this election is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. That's why the parties of the left and centre need to stop fighting among themselves and form a coalition, because what we will lose as a country if the Tories get in is far, far more important than any of the issues that currently divide them.

For my part, I have supported Labour in the past for their pursuit of worker's rights, and I have supported the Greens for their less extreme policies on the environment. I voted for the Lib Dems the year they allied with the Tories and was livid at them for doing so, because above all else in my personal political views, I do not want the Tories in power.

My ideal vote in an election would be a -1 to the Tories to reduce their vote, because whichever left-centrist party gets in, they won't be as bad as the conservatives. 

That is why, to paraphrase Tony Blair, "This is not the time for conventional party politics." To stop the worst excesses of the right, the left and centre must band together, because this might be our last chance to do so.

SO WHAT CAN WE DO ABOUT IT?


Just to quickly remind you of the numbers. (source)

You can make sure you register to vote. As the image above shows, the amount of people who didn't register to vote is massive, outnumbering the total number of votes for any other party. If even half of the people who didn't vote last time voted in this election, it could change everything completely.

You can write to your MPs. If they're Conservative, bad luck; but for the other parties, your MP could be the swing vote. If the overall atmosphere in the house starts to shift, I can guarantee you most MPs are cowards who don't want to be on the wrong side of history. And if enough MPs start making enough noise about an alliance, it could very well happen.

If you're not sure who to vote for, fill out a quick online survey about who's policies you agree with. If you don't agree with anyone's policies, leave your form blank - that still sends a powerful statement to Westminster when going over the results, showing there is a HUGE demographic that nobody's catering for, so that a centrist party can chase those votes.

Or, if like me, you just want the Tories out, vote Labour. Find out how to vote tactically in your local elections to unseat your local Tory MP.

Most importantly, talk to people in real life about this. The echo chambers of Facebook and Twitter tend to mean our best efforts online are drowned out by people complaining about all the politics or absorbed within the echo-chambers created by Facebook's algorithms and our own, carefully curated lists of people who tend to post the things we like.

But the largest demographics in this election won't be getting their news online. 

They'll be getting it from the Sun, or the Mail, or your racist uncle who's never fact-checked a single thing he's ever said. My nan's not racist, but I had a conversation with her about Labour's attitudes to the minimum wage. My parents have gone from not really understanding the issues to excitedly discussing them with friends they've never talked to about politics before. Things are changing.

The trick is not to attack. If you meet someone with right wing opinions, we're taught to humour them, or angrily cut them off without engaging. Well, let's give that thought it's marching orders. Correct people. Google some statistics to back up what you're saying. Show them snippets from this article, or any linked from it. Open up the conversation and don't be in the silent majority any more.

Because if there's one thing I want you to take away from this piece, it's that in 2017, we cannot let the Tory party continue to do damage to this country for their own gain.

So vote, you beautiful fuckers, vote!

Friday, 8 July 2016

Open letter to MPs RE: Brexit


So I wrote a letter to my MP based on my last post. I took out all the pictures and colorful language, like the bit where I called Nigel Farage a 'vinegar faced human lollipop.'

So I figure if you want to send it to your own MP, or let your MP know how you feel about the leave vote, you can just copy and paste mine, and fill in the blanks. 

You can find who your MP is at http://www.theyworkforyou.com/, and go to http://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/mps/ to find their email (under the constituency heading).

Copy / paste begins: 
Dear ___  _______, 
I am writing to you as parliamentary MP for _______, which I understand covers the town of _______, where I live. 
I am sending you this letter as it is my opinion (and I hope I will prove that I am not alone in this) that the result of this referendum has not only been harmful to the image of Britain worldwide, it has also dangerously emboldened a violent and racist element within our own country. I am writing to you as my representative in the Commons to urge you to take action before it is too late.
Opponents of Europe are complaining that MPs delaying the invocation of article 50 (or not acting on it at all) would be 'undemocratic.' In my opinion, this result is not democratic. This has never been how democracy has been conducted.  
Right back to its roots in ancient Greece and Rome, democracy has been about people appointing an expert to represent them - regardless of what Michael Gove might think. This expert then researches the issue on your behalf, with your interests in mind. Finally, they argue their case and make sure the people’s interests are represented as the experts decide together the course going ahead.  
We’ve heard much of the metaphor of the UK as a ship, in which case democracy would be making sure the heads of engineering and steerage pass on their team's concerns to the captain, who ultimately weighs up their advice and decides whether to change course or not. 
Democracy is not giving every idiot a steering wheel so we can 'show that iceberg who's boss.' 
As I said, I do not believe this result is democratic, it's mob rule, one of the things Democracy has always tried to avoid. At every stage, the referendum campaign has been about who could lie the loudest and most often. The news pushed a fear agena over immigrants, because scary news drags in viewers. UKIP and BF capitalised on it because it suited their agendas. Will Self's comment was that "Not all Brexiters are racists, but almost all racists will be voting for Brexit." I disagree with the conclusion that many or even most of the Leave voters were euro-bigots or racist themselves, but I do think that bigoted logic was combined with a media campaign against immigrants to convince a lot of people to vote Leave.  
This has all combined into this perfect storm in which the UK is now being compared to 1930s Germany, and incidents of racial violence have risen 57% since the vote. This is unacceptable, and as our elected representative, you have a duty to your constituents to voice our concerns in the house. 
There is a growing body of evidence that we don't necessarily have to accept this result. Even UKIP leader Nigel Farage said before the election that he would contest a 52-48 vote for Remain as 'undemocratic.' With increasing reports of leave voters who regret it, the new petition with over 4.2 million verified votes as of writing this, and just over 75% of MPs voting against the referendum in the first place, it's clear that very few of the population understood what they were voting for, especially since the second most popular Google search the day after the referendum was "What is the EU?
This is a situation where the experts we elected to speak on our behalf must do so. I've never been a believer in "Tough luck, live with it," especially now that so many of the Leave arguments have been proven untrue, or at best extremely misleading insinuations.
So that's why this is something I am passionate about, along with many others, and that's why I don't particularly feel like 'just accepting the result.' The stakes are far too high to equate this to stern parenting. If your children were about to walk off a bridge, you'd stop them for their own sake - especially if one of them was begging you for help, which is what this petition is begging of our MPs. 
I believe that the real thing to come out of this whole debacle is the amount of fact checking the media needs to do, and that the various statistical and media regulatory bodies need more power to take action against the press for their role in the misinformation. I would hope that an inquiry into this misinformation would be possible, and I would urge any MPs who still believe we are better off in Europe to force a vote in the house – among our appointed experts – to undertake such a vote before invoking article 50 of the Lisbon treaty. 
To have a situation where the news is nothing but Brexit for months, then the day after the vote the truth emerges and the public cries "But we didn't know!" is a shameful indictment of our political and media landscape, and we cannot act on the results of such a referendum. 
So to conclude, this is not a request for a revote. It is a request for an inquiry over whether the first vote was understood by the public. An inquiry must be conducted in light of the numerous resignations and admissions of misinformation from the politicians involved, and petitions and outrage from the misled votership following the announcement of the result. It was only a narrow majority, and the public clearly regret having put our economic recovery back five years and emboldened a frankly terrifying degree of racism based on misinformation. 
We cannot let this farce continue. And I think that this is an appreciable enough viewpoint that when this issue is next raised in parliament, I hope our MPs will vote to suspend invocation of article 50 while an inquiry is held into whether or not the country understood what the hell they were voting for. If the inquiry concedes that the referendum was based on mistruth, the result should not and can not be acted upon by Great Britain.

Yours hopefully,
_______ _______
Resident, _______ Constituency. 
Give it a go. I mean, what have you got to lose? It's all written there for you. It's even got links in it and everything! Fill in the blanks, look up your MP, and send it off.

Let's do some proper democracy this time. 

Monday, 27 June 2016

Brexit, Bregret and Brecovering Brefore it's too late

So. Some thoughts on the EU referendum, and the problems with the outcome.

People are complaining that MPs delaying invoking article 50 (or not acting on it at all) would be 'undemocratic,' while seemingly only having a vague idea of what democracy is. Well, this result is not democracy. This has never been how democracy has been conducted. 

Right back to its roots in ancient Greece and Rome, democracy has been about people appointing an expert to represent them. This expert then researches the issue on your behalf, with your interests in mind. Finally, they argue their case and makes sure their interests are represented as the experts decide together the course going ahead. 


And it'd probably be called Boaty McBoatface
via: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:QE2-South_Queensferry.jpg

If Britain was a ship, democracy would be making sure the heads of engineering and steerage pass on their team's concerns to the captain, who ultimately weighs up their advice and decides whether to change course or not.

Democracy is not giving every idiot a steering wheel so we can 'show that iceberg who's boss.'

This result is not democratic, it's mob rule, one of the things Democracy has always tried to avoid. At every stage, the referendum campaign has been about who could lie the loudest and most often; the Sun being one of the chief offenders, who are now having to deal with a readership who are pretty mad at being manipulated, as are readers of the Daily Mail.

Will Self's comment was that "Not all Brexiters are racists, but almost all racists will be voting for Brexit." I disagree with the conclusion that many or even most of the Leave voters were eurobigots or racist themselves, but I do think that bigoted logic was combined with a media campaign against immigrants to convince a lot of people to vote Leave. 

The news pushed immigrants because scary news drags in viewers. UKIP and BF capitalised on it because it suited their agendas. Murdoch and Dacre have long wanted to drag us out of Europe, and so the final push from the Sun and Mail all combined into this perfect storm in which the UK is now being compared to 1930s Germany

It reminds me of the #notallmen and #gamergate arguments. Individuals who supported or voted Leave without bigotry complain every time an article calls the Leave campaign racist, without understanding that they are in the minority, that there is an issue of race and nationality here, it absolutely does suit the Leave agenda, and it's emboldened racist mobs to a dangerous degree. 


In other words, it's fucking tragic.
via https://www.flickr.com/photos/lionheartphotography/4650421582

But there's a growing body of evidence that we don't necessarily have to accept this result. Even vinegar-faced human lollipop Nigel Farage said before the election that he would contest a 52-48 vote for Remain as 'undemocratic.' With increasing reports of leave voters who regret it, this new petition with over 3.7 million verified votes, and just over 75% of MPs voting against the referendum in the first place, it's clear that very few of the population understood what they were voting for, especially since the second most popular Google search the day after the referendum was "What is the EU?"

I've never been a believer in "Tough titty, live with it," especially now that so many of the Leave arguments have been proven untrue, or at best extremely misleading insinuations.

In the name of absolute transparency, yes I was pro-Remain - and by that I do mean pro-Remain and not anti-Brexit. There are many reasons, most of which are pointless to go over now. I read up on the Leave arguments, researched them, and found out that most of them were bullshit. I read up on the Remain arguments, and found them to be mostly well researched and rational. I respected the opinions of the personalities that were backing Remain, and Jim Davidson was among those backing Leave.


Pictured: Not a racist, being not racist.
via: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E8XXrE9r0kM

But like most of the country, I ultimately voted with my heart. 

You see, I have depression, which limits my capacity to deal with stress. I also have a chronic injury which limits the amount of time I can work in a day without worsening my condition. But a year or so ago, my own government turned the support network that was supposed to be helping me back into suitable work into something to be afraid of. ATOS, who's administrator with a week or so's training disagreed with the medical opinion of two GPs and a consultant. 

The thing is, the recent Osborne / IDS attacks on chronic illness and disabilities could have been so much worse, but a lot of the deeper cuts and impositions have since been successfully challenged in Europe. But now that last line of defense, the final oversight stopping them from fucking me completely, may soon be gone.

So yes, that's why I'm mad, and that's why I don't particularly feel like 'just accepting the result.' 

"Well, guess I'd better just get used to all this fire now."
via: https://www.flickr.com/photos/aj-clicks/4054799944

The stakes are far too high to equate this to stern parenting. If your child was about to walk off a bridge, you'd stop them for their own sake - especially if they were begging you for help, which is what this petition is begging of our MPs.

But because I was so pro-remain as well as anti-leave, it'll probably just seem like sour grapes, and like I want to flip the vote my way, despite that the petition in question was started by a Leave voter hoping to shoot down a predicted narrow win for Remain.

I think the real thing to come out of this whole debacle is the amount of fact checking the media needs to do, and that the various statistical and media regulatory bodies need more power to take action against the press for their role in the misinformation, and politicians taking liberties with the truth.


Image not quite so unrelated.
via: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/jun/25/cameron-brexit-bet-drama-night-ripped-britain-apart-ukip-eu-referendum

To have a situation where the news is nothing but Brexit for months, then the day after the vote the truth emerges and the public cries "But we didn't know!" is a shameful indictment of our political and media landscape.

So yeah. If the basis of the re-vote is that it was only a narrow majority, the public were misled, and now regret having put our economic recovery back five years and emboldened a terrifying degree of racism, I can appreciate that. And I think it's an appreciable enough viewpoint that when this issue is debated in parliament, I hope our MPs will vote to indefinitely suspend invocation of article 50 while an inquiry is held into whether or not the country understood what the hell they were voting for.  

Which, as I said, they clearly didn't. 

Sunday, 31 January 2016

What's in a word?

So I woke up this morning to this:


And the article in the Daily Mail (which I'm not linking to because I don't want them getting any more ad revenue) is using the word Migrant to describe the victims.

Migrants.

It's a word the right wing loves throwing around these days. It comes from the Latin migrāre, to change one's abode. It implies a choice. It implies that they woke up and decided they were going to pack up and head over here for a better life, like Katie Hopkins' imaginary 'army of cockroaches.'

But what's the harm in a simple word?

The vast majority of the 'migrants' were bombed out of their homes by our governments. A brief look at any shots of Syria will tell you that.

Source: http://www.pythagorasandthat.co.uk/a-syrian-street-in-2011-and-2014


And Syria's just one of the countries where we've bombed, or funded insurgencies, or otherwise screwed their infrastructure to the point that the people can no longer live there. So they did NOT 'change their abode.' Their abode was changed by war. They were driven out of their homes, and they are looking for a new one.

The word you are looking for is refugee.

1680s, from French refugié, noun use of past participle of refugier "to take shelter,protect," from Old French refuge (see refuge ). First applied to French Huguenots whomigrated after the revocation (1685) of the Edict of Nantes. The word meant "oneseeking asylum," till 1914, when it evolved to mean "one fleeing home" (first appliedin this sense to civilians in Flanders heading west to escape fighting in World War I).In Australian slang from World War II, reffo.

noun
1. a person who has fled from some danger or problem, esp political persecution: refugees from Rwanda

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/refugee?s=t

When David Cameron uses a word like migrant, it is a very deliberate linguistic choice, even if it not at a conscious level. It is a change from passive to active. It changes the image in the listener or the reader's mind from those seeking refuge, those desperately dragging themselves through country after country seeking a better life, into dehumanised targets for our ire. The same way the same paper that supported the Fascist Oswald Moseley warned us about the outrage of 'aliens' and how they were 'pouring into this country,' and is now comparing the refugees to rats.


Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2015/07/31/daily-mail-1938-jews_n_7909954.html

Floods. Hordes. Migrants. The same words. The same paper. The same meaning.

I found myself wondering how it is that the mob responsible for the violence yesterday could have done it. How they could have walked up to a complete stranger and hated them so much that they would beat three children in broad daylight.

The above article makes it clear that this was 'sparked' by the death of Alexandra Mehzer, stabbed by a refugee child. The mob see themselves as taking revenge for that, I have no doubt. Whipped up into a frenzy by the media and the political right wing over the refugee crisis.

But I have no doubt either that the refugee child was blinded by the same fear of us that drove the mob to yesterday's atrocity. I also have no doubt that somewhere in a refugee camp right now, someone is reading a sensationalist report about 200 men beating up a sixteen year old and planning revenge against the 'monsters' who attacked kids.

And I also have no doubt that when it happens, there'll be a Daily Mail journo all ready to go with another 500 words of fear and misinformation, a tory MP who'll stand up and tell us they must be stopped, these migrants. All ready to whip us all up into giving them a little more ad money or a little more power.

We're all going round and round and round taking revenge for this, and that, and the other: a pointless and ongoing cycle of destruction. I asked myself why it is that the attackers couldn't see the refugees as victims, how this cycle of blame is being perpetuated. It's easy.

It's the words.

The press is dehumanising everyone involved for sensationalisation, to be the paper that everyone reads. The news is turning into clickbait. Why use a word like refugee - a nice sympathetic word - when you can use the word migrant, and grab everyone's attention?

Get some clickthrough. Or in Cameron's case, get some votes. Whip up the public into being afraid enough to vote for the warmongers who put us in this situation by bombing the Syrians in the first place. Sod the consequences, we're all just playing the game and if you criticise that, you're just naive. There's money to be made from the latest two minutes of hate. There's power to be gained.

You want to know why we're in this war? Why it keeps going? Why people are killing each other?

Because we've all become afraid of each other, and the right wing are literally making a killing out of it.

Friday, 13 November 2015

The Problem with Game of Thrones

I think I've got Game of Thrones worked out.



We're raised to believe - at least in art - that bad people will get their comeuppance. It's a fairly simple idea.

So the belief is that the more bad things we see people do, the bigger the comeuppance. The promised retribution becomes the carrot that draws us on after the stick of watching rape, torture and abuse. If someone does bad, they get punished. It's how art has always been.

The problem is that the networks are run by sociopaths who just see two things. Firstly, because they don't really understand human emotions, they think that we like torture porn because they made a violent show and it's selling millions. So they try and outdo each other in terms of how bad it gets, misunderstanding why we're watching.

Secondly, they realised at some point that the longer they draw out the retribution, the longer they keep us watching, and therefore paying.

And so Game of Thrones has become an experiment in delaying retribution, so that by the time one character gets their retribution, there are another five or six that have done far worse who we're even more desperate to see get their comeuppance.

But they never do. The story never reaches a conclusion, and we keep getting drawn on by the promise of a retribution that never arrives. 

And is it just me, or do we still have to watch a bunch of awful shit to even GET to that? Like with The Hills Have Eyes or Kill Bill - I get that the retribution is satisfying, but I still had to watch a whole bunch of awful shit to get to it. It all still happened in that world, a world the creators try their hardest to draw you into. We still had to watch it.

What it is, is manipulation. Playing with the expected tropes that someone will save the victim before the worst comes to pass, and that the perpetrator will suffer for what they've done. They take hope, possibly the greatest human virtue, and they play with it for money.

I stopped watching the shows after season 2 and reading the books after Winds of Winter precisely because I realised there was no justice coming. I realised I was being played like an idiot.

Basically i'm saying the human mind is broken and easily manipulated, and the people who make shows like Game of Thrones know it.