Years and years ago, before anyone had ever heard of disease and pandemics, I started this blog. I gave it a stupid name from an Alan Partridge episode and proceeded to talk about stuff. This year, to save me from tears (as the wise men of WHAM! Once said), I’m going back to my roots. Or at least this blog, which, at this point, I’m sure nobody will read.
Because after the Tory party conference and six months of gut related discomfort, I have to do something to save my sanity. We’re possibly a year out from a general election where there is every chance the Tories could pull some dark magic out of the bag. Aided of course by the endless spiral of dismal broken promises that is the current Labour party. In short, I have no faith that putting Liz Kendall in as DWP secretary will be noticeably better than the Tories following through on yet another attack on the poor and the sick.
Yes, the man wearing the suit may be different, but the rhetoric is the same. What time is it? It’s Bash The Poor O Clock. Here we fucking go.
It is increasingly clear that capitalism is in civil war. If Brexit wasn’t a shining example of this then what else is? The Tories have no answers, Brexit will divide us forevermore until we stop. But we can’t stop because the political system is so broken that a fringe of voters seems to hold power. Unfortunately they seem to be the same fringe that put Liz Truss, disastrously and inexplicably, into power. She promised them what they wanted to hear, having no personality or ideas of her own (she voted to Remain but quickly jumped ship without principle). Now she is back again, haunting that same tiny space called the centre. A term that belies the reality of its political positioning. Over the years the centre has shifted to the right. We can see how far by using Suella Braverman’s equally inexplicable rise to power as a yardstick, applauded despite having failed to achieve anything regarding immigration.
This is a period where words mean nothing. Politicians tell abject lies and even when called out, to their face, will still cling to a truth that doesn’t exist. Starmer didn’t propose a meat tax. It isn’t a Labour policy nor anything more than a passing neuron during a conversation somewhere. It isn't a policy. That doesn’t seem to matter; claim it was and just deny the assertion you are laying. Lies are truth, and truth is whatever you need it to be.
Into this horrible context is the pernicious transphobic gotcha ‘question’, “what is a oman”? It isn’t an honest inquiry because the inquirer doesn’t want a full throated answer. Either you accept their definition (all women are 100% adult human biological females) or you are a groomer, a drag queen story nonce, or something. The truth isn’t so simple and can only be teased out in nuanced complex conversation, as supported by science. Most women are adult human females. Not all. Some are born without certain organs. Some transition through gender identity. Some people are intersex. Biology is not a binary, but the discourse is. Now politicians have to sign up to this unwritten charter, held by a minority of vicious tongued bullies. Again a tiny minority.
To these issues capitalism offers no answer. All women, trans and cis, face an unequal society. Why fall for division? Working women have more in common with their trans sisters than they do with Rishi Sunak, Keir Starmer or Graham Linehan. In fact he has little in common with anyone, having alienated most of the people in his life through his lonely violent crusade against an already marginalised community. Yes I support trans rights, because human rights are meaningless if conditional.
It goes without saying that Braverman’s rhetoric is nothing short of incendiary. While i think there is some worth in deploying the F word (no, not that one, the Fascist one!), it would not be correct. Fascists don’t generally come from the ruling class, they emerge from the working class or perhaps the middle. From people frustrated by capitalism’s inability to resolve crises such as these we are living through. They are shaped and moulded by nationalism and bigotry as a result; things the ruling class fans and exploits, as in the case of Braverman. Probably not deliberately, but as part of their nature. It’s who people like Braverman are: a mass of contradictions that really only class politics can explain. She is herself the product of migration, but identity politics offers only a partial solution and divides often. Instead she is more the product of class: posh school, privileged life, rarefied air, conservative politics. There are no answers from her, only the exacerbation of actual fascists, which may or may not bear fruit in the coming period.
Anyway. That is enough for today. I am back. Where are you?