Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Why I will no longer be funding the BBC

There, I've done it; I've cancelled my direct debit for my TV licence. I am no longer going to pay for the BBC. That's £145.50 a year better off I will be; quite a lot of DVDs (even more if I sell them on afterwards on Ebay). The TV is gone, it is mostly boring anyway.

The reason for making this decision is that I have decided that I can no longer allow my hard-earned money to support an organisation which is so clearly acting against my interests and the interests of my partner. The BBC's enthusiastic cheerleading for the far-right wing racist party Ukip with no balance and no sense of social responsibility is unacceptable. The BBC has clearly lost all balance and appears more like Fox News every time I see their webpage. This is the broadcast version of the Daily Mail or the Murdoch Media (except the Mail and the Sun have actually been less biased in their coverage than the BBC). 

I am an openly trans woman and my partner is Japanese and we are both under threat from these fascists. It is a matter of record that Nigel Farage is a racist; Alan Sked, the founder of Ukip has said Farage said this;

 "'There's no need to worry about the nigger vote. The nig-nogs will never vote for us.'"

Farage's denials might sound reasonable if he had not gone on to make racist comments about Romanians a few days ago on the radio. Once, he may be able to get away with it, but not twice, only Ukip voters are that gullible, racist or wilfully deaf to racism enough to let it go twice. This matters because every time a racist party like his gains political traction we get shit, rotten eggs, rubbish and worse thrown at our front windows. I have no doubt that legal protection for trans people and LGB people will disappear if Farage gets any real power in this country. Ukip is a party acting very much against my interests and those of my partner, and as its principal cheerleader the BBC is acting to harm my interests. I will always do my best to avoid funding any organisation that works against my interests whether it be a company that funds the Conservative Party or one that helps racists spread their racism and make it appear acceptable.

The principle of a public-service broadcaster is good; we need to have some balance to stop the right-wing media, owned or funded by the rich, from distorting the facts and ignoring legitimate agendas of the left, however this is no longer happening in the case of the BBC. It is pandering to the right-wing and its right wing bias is manifest like never before.

The BBC is no longer fit for purpose.

Monday, 26 May 2014

Why Russell Brand has got it so badly wrong,

On the 5th March 1933 the Nazis were elected in Germany on 43% of the vote. They did not achieve the overall majority they were expected to win but were able to form a coalition with the conservative German National People's Party and took power. Hitler became Chancellor and shortly afterwards enacted legislation to outlaw all other political parties, shut down all opposing newspapers and silence free speech. The rest is history with 55,000,000 men women and children (including my grandfather) dead as a result.

28.4% of the population did not vote, had they voted for the SPD or KPD the history of the 20th century might have been very different. So what if more than 28.4% had abstained? Would that have changed things? What if everyone opposed to the Nazis abstained, would that have changed anything?

The answer is not complicated; the first thing Hitler did when he came to power was to abolish democracy, silence any opposition and imprison or murder his opponents. Hitler only needed the elctions to achieve office, to get into power, once there he did not care about democracy or the opinions of anyone opposed to him, his only intention was to become dictator of Germany. For him power was an end in itself, not something to be used for the greater good, not something to help improve people's lives, power was everything, democracy was simply a means of achieving power, to be abolished as soon as power had been won.

This tends to be the case with right-wing political parties; power is the ultimate goal, and concomitantly preventing left-wing parties from obtaining power. The further right you go on the political spectrum the more politics is about power rather than policy, and the less scrupulous parties are about how they get power.

So where does this leave Russell Brand's idea that abstaining is the route to real change? Will abstentions make any difference? You have to say that history is not on his side. The right always craves power above anything else, the need for legitimacy diminishes the further right you go on the political spectrum. So we see the rise of BBCUkip, triumphant in its supposed Earthquake in British politics. We must remember that political Earthquakes are not necessarily good things, as history has shown us.

The thing to remember is that Russell Brand's "abstention" party was actually the runaway winner of the Euro elections, He achieved a landslide of more than 60% of the vote, compared with Ukip getting less than 10%. Russell Brand is therefore the winner of the Euro elections by a long way. But will it make any difference, will he be able to marshall his supporters behind his agenda?

Well the answer has got to be a resounding no. He has not claimed victory, he has no power to do anything with that 60%+ of the population who voted for his abstention party, and in any case they probably all abstained for different reasons, from apathy to disillusionment. He has no manifesto, no mandate, and most importantly no power to do anything. Because that is what politics is about most profoundly, it is about power. Of course left and right treat power in different ways; the left to work for more social justice and to empower citizens and the right to entrench its own power and disempower citizens (despite what it would like us to believe).

Ultimately Brand's naive and half-baked idea crumbles in the face of well-organised right-wing opposition that is just going to take power and ignore abstentions. Ultimately abstaining benefits Ukip and the Tories, there is no fence to sit on in politics. People would like to think they can escape from politics, they don't have to sit down and make the hard choices it takes to have a political point of view that does not crumble in the face of argument. There is no abstention, abstention is a vote for the right or the far right. Any people who think otherwise are deluding themselves. The NHS will not be protected by abstaining only by voting for a party that will defend it.

The result of the Euros show that Brand's 'don't vote' call has won the day. Now he has to deliver on the social and political change he has said will follow the majority of us not voting. Come on Russell, tell us what is going to happen now? How will politics change, how will society change? How will anything change as a result of more than half the population no voting? We are waiting to hear from you.

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Back to the REAL issue; the NHS

The damp squib that was Ukip’s supposed political earthquake in the recent council elections has served the right-wing media and their political wing, the Tory Party well. It has served not only to portray the winners, Labour, as losers, but to conceal huge Tory losses in council elections less than a year before the general election.

However it goes way beyond this; the right-wing media has also been able to conceal from us the consequences of the government’s policy in the most important area, the one that will lose them the most votes; the NHS.

NHS privatisation is continuing apace, our health service is being privatised at breakneck speed as the wealthy make huge profits from services that used to be provided by the state. This extraction of public money from the NHS is probably the principal reason why it has deteriorated so rapidly since the Tories have taken power (and let us be clear here, their Lib Dem allies could have prevented this from happening but chose not to).

The companies buying up huge slices of the NHS are, in effect raking in taxpayers cash at little or no risk to themselves. Capitalism has always been presented by its cheerleaders as the entrepreneurial spirit; courageous risk-taking venturers risking all to make a success of their business, to benefit society from their proactive, frontier-spirit inventiveness. The reality of neoliberal capitalism is entirely different however. Today there is nothing entrepreneurial about capitalism..

What we are seeing is a new type of capitalism, probably best described as arse-capitalism; people with money invest it in low-risk or risk-free businesses and then sit on their arses and watch the cash roll in. About as entrepreneurial as a steaming pile of manure. This is not capitalism as risk, this new neoliberal model of capitalism is one of exploitation or tax. Neoliberal capitalism of the sort now exploiting our health service for profit needs to be viewed for what it really is; as tax on health paid only to the rich. The rich buy up already profitable and successful elements of the NHS, make no changes other than reducing efficiency (and thereby lengthening waiting lists) and ensuring that they can take out a regular income to assist them in their primary project; that of sitting on their fat arses and doing as little as possible. Of course it helps when you own a government that is prepared to sell it to you cheaply as well, that increases your profits and means you can tax the sick even more.

Yet all this taxation of the poor, the middle and the sick is projected as entrepreneurial spirit. Neoliberalism is an ideology that is designed to utilise the myth of the ingenious, entrepreneurial capitalist to justify a regime of capitalism that is little more than a Sheriff of Nottingham-style taxation of the work of doctors, nurses and NHS staff and the health needs of patients. The capitalists of the current era are simply middle-men (they are usually men) taking their cut out of essential services that were built up as a result of public investment by all of us.  In essence privatisation is the ultimate non-entrepreneurial taxation of by the 1% of the rest of us at no risk to themselves. The ideology of neoliberalism provides cover for this. 

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Black is white, up is down, success is failure: the media in 2014.

Now that most of the local council election results are in it is time to take stock of the results, and the conclusions to draw are somewhat surprising if you have been reading any UK national newspaper. So let’s begin at the beginning…

All the Tory right-wing newspapers set Labour the usual high bar to achievement if it is to look like a contender; between 300 and 400 gains were said by them to be necessary if Ed Miliband is to become Prime Minister (although earlier they were suggesting the figure was 200). Well at the time of writing Labour has made 338 gains, so the usual media high bar has been easily met (it will probably be more than 338 by the time you read this.) So Ed Miliband has done enough to get an overall majority in the face of tooth-and-nail media opposition. 

Not that you would think so from the headlines; they tell a story of Labour "despair", with the target figure of last week conveniently forgotten. You would have thought from reading the Fail, the UkipBBC, the Torygraph or the Dependent that Labour is about to disappear as an electable force like the Lib Dems, Well I will settle for Ed Miliband as Prime Minister with a double-figures majority thanks. Obviously the media have been reporting on a different election from the one I cast my vote in on Thursday.

This is a taste of the press Labour will be getting in the run-up to the next election, the sort of press it gets in the run-up to every election, biased, mendacious and loaded with personal attacks on its leader. The extent of its distortion is however greatly magnified this time. Why? Because they are scared that Labour will win; they know Labour are likely to win big, they know Labour has good, popular, intelligent policies that people can relate to and which will stop the current Tory gravy-tram for the fat-cat bankers and media moguls

In reality Labour has done very well in areas the media says we need to do well; in the south. For example Labour has picked up Redbridge, Hammersmith and Fulham and Crawley. Again something the media has conveniently "forgotten" after the election, what does the media focus on suddenly? The North. That is the nature of the Tory beast. But it is also the nature of the actual challenge Labour faces. The media constantly tells Ed Miliband that he is not getting his message across, while at the same time preventing him from getting his message across.

But what of everyone else? UKIP gained 128 seats, that is 200 fewer than Labour (as things stand now). This is clearly not the electoral "earthquake" the UkipBBC have told us it is. A "fart in a gale" would be more accurate to describe this dampest of squibs. The Ukip fox is not in the Westminster hensouse, indeed it is not even exercising any influence l in any town halls. It is not breaking through, its share of the vote has actually gone down (again not that you would know from looking at their media wing the UkipBBC), although you would think, from listening to the UkipBBC today that petty racist Nigel Farage is not only PM, but the Queen, President of the EU and the US, Pope and Secretary General of the United Nations. Yet he is none of this things, he is an ex-banker who happens to be an MEP. Period.

OK so what about the Lib Dems...? Who? Who? Who? Who?...

The Tories; how did they do? Well the media clamour to, wrongly paint Labour as losers and Ukip as winners has served its Tory friends well; no-one seems to have noticed that the Tories have lost 172 seats, most of them in areas that it needs to hold on to to remain the largest party at the next election. For a party trying to hold on to power, and desperate to avoid another coalition at the next election it has been an utter disaster. Remember the Tories did not win the 2010 general election, they did not get an overall majority, so they are extremely unlikely to get as many votes as last time. So the loss of so many councillors and key areas like Hammersmith and Fulham to Labour is a collapse that will put paid to any hopes of David Cameron remaining in Downing St. next May. Let’s be clear, the huge Labour gains and massive Tory losses mean that Cameron is now a ghost Prime Minister, a virtual PM, in office but not in power. A dead man walking.

The real loser in this election however is the truth. The media have taken it upon themselves to spin and spin anything and everything it possibly can against Labour, even a fucking burger, this is where the real battle lies for the next election and why Ed Miliband has brought in Alexrod to shore up his media presentation. The UK media has sunk to a new low on Friday, one not seen since the Murdoch media hacked a dead child’s mobile, or the Rothermere family’s rag bullied a transgender primary school teacher to death. The media has not reported this election, it has fabricated a narrative about it which is simply untrue.

According to the Mail, the UkipBBC, the Telegraph, the Times and the (in)Dependent and the rest black is now white, success is failure, more is less, less is more, up is down and tomorrow belongs to them.

Friday, 23 May 2014

Local elections: Fake-Maverick-Fatigue and UKIPBBC

The English local election results so far tell are revealing in a number of ways most of which will not be reported in the media; this is my take on them

1) We should no longer be considering the BBC and UKIP as separate entities. They are clearly the same organisation; the UKIP point of view, UKIP spin and positive stories about UKIP are obviously the BBC’s priority; stories are presented in a way that can only be described as favourable to UKIP and unfavourable to UKIP’s perceived enemies. “UKIPBBC” should be the genuine term from now on.

2) The Tories have done very badly, however this has been masked by the media’s focus on UKIP, see 1 above.

3) Labour has done well in London, and UKIP has done very badly there. This is probably due to a number of factors; it is the part of the UK most affected by immigration, so people there are not scared of immigrants in the way people who live in areas with few or no immigrants live. Of course in London many of those who are from 2nd or 3rd generation families that came here from other countries also vote. London also has a large LGBT population and we are concerned about the rise of UKIP. Extreme right parties are never good news for people like us.

4) However I suspect one of the reasons London has rejected Farage is because it has "Fake-Maverick-Fatigue” We have had a fake maverick mayor for too long now and people are getting to see through the mask. Public-school/Oxbridge educated wealthy former bankers are more widely regarded for what they really are; pillars of the establishment rather than mavericks challenging the system. For a party that claims to be anti-establishment to have the sycophantic support of the BBC makes them more establishment insiders than David Cameron.

5) However UKIP have also done badly in the North-West and the North East, failing to win a single seat in Sunderland for example. So the media’s claim that they are making inroads into Labour’s heartlands is somewhat wide of the mark. But hey the Tory-backed media needs to scrabble around to find something bad to say about Labour. Actually UKIP doing badly in Sunderland doesn’t surprise me at all. After London the North-East has the largest proportion of mixed-race marriages in the UK. This will never be fertile territory for racists.

6) Labour’s surprise gain in Hammersmith and Fulham shows that education is becoming a more important factor in electoral politics than perviously thought. Gove’s destruction of an outstanding school for ideological reasons has cost the Tories the council, this is something that could be replicated elsewhere that has “free” schools and chain academies imposed on it. Labour needs to prepare a strategy to capitalise on this in different places around the country.

7) The Lib Dems are doing very badly, worse than they expected in some areas like Harringay and Cambridge but better in Sutton. This suggests they will not be totally wiped out, but will be a much smaller force after the next election.

8) The Labour gain in Redbridge is spectacular. This shows how a good organisation on the ground coupled with a good social media presence can produce results. Redbridge has elected its first ever Labour council.

9) At the time of writing UKIP control no councils and have made fewer gains than Labour, yet it is a “good” result for UKIP according to UKIPBBC and a “bad" one for Labour. In other news Black has officially been designated White, the sky green, night day and truth lies.

Sunday, 18 May 2014


Time to take the latest quiz, what kind of UKiP voter are you. Simply read through the list and tick all that apply. You can tick as many as you want

A) Racist
B) Homophobic/transphobic
C) Misogynist Wanker
D) Stupid
E) So ignorant of politics I think UKIP are genuine mavericks
F) General hater/antisocial scumbag

G) Billionnaire who wants to distract from the crisis I have caused

H) Gullible moron

I) Still dumb enough to believe that the UK can be truly independent and not controlled by unelected multinational companies.

J) Multiple deludinoid

K) Old school fascist/Nazi
L) Islamophobe
M) Xenophobe (look it up!)
N) Former BNP supporter
O) So stupid that I think it is fun to vote for an idiot.
P) I don't care about the EU but I'm a racist, transphobic, sexist, homophobic bigot and will vote for similar people.
Q) I don't care about the EU but want to get rid of rights to strike, sick pay, maternity leave, equal pay for women, paid holidays, weekends, the NHS and basic human rights in the UK.

The Daily Mail prints lies about some of the most vulnerable people in society; trans children.

The Daily Mail’s headline article alleging that “children as young as 9 are being given sex-swap (sic) drugs” is one of a long line of headlines that the Mail has run which are purely and simply lies. There I’ve said it, lies. Let me say it again, in my opinion Sanchez Manning, Stephen Adams and Paul Dacre are liars. Their headline is a lie. The rest of the article is full of contradictions and mendacity and although it provides counter arguments, it is the headline that will do the damage. The counter argument by Susie Green of Mermaids was well put but will not repair the damage done by the headline. The headline is a lie and those three “journalists” are liars.

The hormone blocking drugs given to trans children are absolutely not “sex-swap” drugs, or in English; drugs for gender reassignment/conformation. They are drugs that put puberty on hold for that small number of  trans children who are becoming distressed and suicidal because their bodies are changing and developing into the gender with which they do not identify. They will not, no matter how many you take, for no matter what period of time, cause anyone to change their gender. I have witnessed the damage that puberty in the wrong body can do, and also how these drugs can relieve suffering in a way nothing else can.

The discovery of these drugs enables some of the most distressed, dysphoric, marginalised and vulnerable children in our society to have the time to think whether or not they really want to go through with gender reassignment surgery once they reach 18, if they decide against it at any time they simply stop taking these drugs and puberty begins in the gender they were assigned at birth. In other words the effects of these drugs are entirely reversible. 100%. Completely. Totally. Not partially, not even 99%, they are reversible 100%.

So to claim that they are being prepared for GRS at 9 is a lie. That simply does not happen. The article quotes research that suggests that the majority of trans children aged under 12 do not ultimately transition to the other gender through surgery.  This research is, in my view highly questionable at best and outright misleading at worst. My own peer-reviewed research published in 2010 and updated in 2012 provides clear evidence that undermines claims that these studies make. My more recent paper published in December last year by the British Psychiatric Association also demonstrates that these claims regarding trans children cannot be warranted by the research.

But even if the research was correct, it is still not an argument against the use of blockers, nor does it mean that blockers are “sex-swap” drugs, quite the opposite.

The article also quotes ignorant Tory MP Andrew Percy who effectively says he wants to force trans children to go through puberty in their birth assigned genders against their will. In my opinion his man is either a danger to children or profoundly ignorant, or both. The damage that his ideology could inflict on trans children is immense, and can result in self-harm, substance abuse, loss of self-esteem with consequent problems in school performance, as well as suicide.

The reason I decided to become a trans activist was because of this child, who I wrote about in 2008 in the Guardian.  I am not about to allow the Mail to harm these children by spreading ignorance and lies like this. Trans people need to take action against the Mail for this, through the PCC, through TMW and AAT, and if necessary direct action in the street, once more outside their offices. This is also a very good example of how trans people in the UK need to come together to form a larger, better funded and more united group that can respond quickly and effectively to this kind of deliberate mendacity.