Tag: Politics

I’m Not Gonna Get Angry

(at least not today, anyway)

The communicative revolution that’s swept through the human race over the last half century is, for the most part, a wonderful thing, opening up new and diverse cultures presented to us on their own terms, and allowing the gift of communication to people once rendered perpetual strangers by random geographic placement. But one impact has been decidedly less clear-cut: we’re now more aware of the problems of the world. While an optimist would point out that this allows more minds to engage with these problems, and find solutions, a realist would say that this has opened people’s eyes to worlds of suffering that they would have previously lived in blissful ignorance of; for what it’s worth, the fact that ‘rape crisis’ is a top Google autofill result has less to do with there being more violence against women in the modern day than greater awareness of the violence against women.

And, when it comes to issues as prickly as gender identity and our idiotic marginalisation for people for daring to decide on a particular identity upon that important but largely trivial spectrum, there’s a fine line between being engaged with problems very worth solving, and becoming bogged down in an endless Twitter feed of despair and misery, that can motivate and demoralise in equal measure.

However, I’m stepping away from both of these responses today, and I’m not gonna get angry, either as the springboard for constructive action, or for the base delight in raging at someone with idiotic things to say. Specifically, this piece of news annoyed me, that some people feel the need for cultural products targeted directly at men when the majority of culture is so aggressively indirectly targeted at men that ‘men’ has become too established of a demographic to really function as a niche for an artist to shoot for. By all means, fire up your keyboards in outrage at this latest example of Poor Men Oppressed By The Victorious, Misandrist Feminists, I just won’t be joining you this time.

Problems aren’t there to be ignored, and certainly not to be run away from, but constantly committing oneself to single-handedly righting one’s perceived wrongs of society can be draining. People aren’t machines to wage war against organisations and institutions they find harmful, but complex collections of personal desires and societal goals, with the equal potential for massive outputs of energy for a certain agenda, and long periods of deep, Netflix-binging rests. Often in my life I’ve neglected the latter, and ended up as the bitter, anti-social punk fan sitting moodily at the end of the table spouting feminist rhetoric while expressing disgust at the lack of a vegan / vegetarian / James-centred menu at the pub we’re at.

For every Anti-Flag moshpit I’m in, I have a file on Mario Sunshine to waste a few hours with; for every chapter of my novel I write, there’s a local park that needs someone to wander through the trees of; and for each shitty piece of lad culture to rear its head from the cesspool of the Internet, I’ve got a dim light, a silenced phone, and a copy of Jim Lindberg’s Punk Rock Dad to relax to.

Be A Patient Patient

(because a political post is always going to be written well when I write it with literally 40 minutes to go until midnight)

I’ll try to keep this short because this is evidenced entirely with personal experience, and contains absolutely no research into the subject matter to validate my opinions as anything more than a rambled monologue. I’ll probably write about this in more depth later, but for now I’d like to make a point, then bugger off to watch Superjeenius’ epic let’s play of Persona 4 Golden, if you don’t mind.

With the NHS being shredded from a humanitarian system of protecting the vulnerable members of our society into a political chess piece to be continually sacrificed so a rook can move up a few squares, there’s been a lot of debate about how to ‘fix’ the service. And while doctors’ working hours, the provision of services and contact with GPs are all complex problems that need to be discussed intelligently and sincerely, there’s another issue that I’ve not seen too much coverage of: the need for patients to stop being wankers.

I’ve seen you there, Entitled Patient, sitting in that NHS waiting room at seven on a Friday night, moaning loudly that there’s not a specialist in your tiny Welsh village of 56 people to treat your impressively obscure but ultimately harmless toenail problem that you could have treated at home by not being such a bitch. I see you too, Scaredy Patient, busting through GP doors to beg a receptionist for a cure for your malady as if they were  Jesus himself, and you were asking to be cured of leprosy, whereas in reality you just want to buy a bandage for a paper cut on your index knuckle. You’re there too, Loudmouthed Patient, somehow managing to blame Jeremy Corbyn, immigrants and the gays for the fact that you can’t get an aspirin as quickly as you could last week when there were obvously millions fewer foreign socialist sodomites spreading AIDS around your local hospital.

My point is that the NHS works two ways; if we, as patients, want a better service from doctors, nurses and carers, we need to enable them to provide that service. We need to listen to their instructions and follow them, instead of coming back a week later to be told the same thing again after you didn’t do it the first time; we need to accept the practical difficulties of providing a free-on-demand health service to over fifty million people when the only things holding that service together are slashed budgets, strained professionals (who had to study for at least six years to get here in the first bloody place), and a massive array of laminated health and safety cards.

If you like, we have to provide a service ourselves, a National Patient Service. The key part of this service is that implementing it won’t require political manoeuvring, or budget cuts, or increased taxes, but slightly more patience, respect and humanity from all of us. We’re not being treated by machines, remember, but people, who can get tired, and stressed and confused, or can be knowledgable, kind and dependable in equal measure. The NHS isn’t a personal system, where each of us can demand flawless, round-the-clock healthcare, but a system fundamentally designed to help those who need help.

It comes back to one of the golden rules of life: if you stop being a prick, everything gets better.

Financial Stability Is Burning

(it was surprisingly hard to make that title work with the singular ‘is’)

At this point, the only response to George Osborne’s debt-raising, student-frakking, ball-kicking budget is to apply these twisted policies to Bad Religion’s superlative Los Angeles Is Burning. The original lyrics can be found here.

Somewhere deep in the City in a tie painted blue,
Thatcher’s chums are grinning
But up here in the flat-shares of Camden,
The hope of uni students is withering.
And you can’t deny that living is easy
If your Daddy makes a hundred grand yearly,
It’s eviction time for young lives
And students are dreaming of pay.

When financial stability is burning
Tories tug purse-strings in the murder wind.
So many lives are on the breeze,
Even Corbyn is ill at ease
And our finances are burning.

This is not a test
Of our prepped-up outraged hashtags
Where the economic right and Thatcherites
Conspire to win again.
And I cannot believe the media ignores
How a few mates can’t afford university,
Read it online, Cheryl’s waistline
Owen Jones must be going insane.

When financial stability is burning
Tories tug purse-strings in the murder wind.
So many lives are on the breeze,
Even Corbyn is ill at ease
And our finances are burning.

The red box reads
“The end of days”
Old Labour folks are turning in their graves.

More a question than a curse,
How could Hell be any worse?

The cuts are coming,
The Tories laughing,
So take warning!

[solo remains unchanged]

When financial stability is burning
Tories tug purse-strings in the murder wind.
So many lives are on the breeze,
Even Corbyn is ill at ease
And our finances are burning.

Better Groups For The Impending Coalition

(two political posts in a row from someone who is supposedly such an apathetic bitch)

British politics, and specifically this General Election, is a mess. We use an idiotic system known as First Past The Post, in which parties’ power in government is not based on the number of votes they get because screw you we’re the establishment, which is designed to avoid coalitions, and provide two strong parties. But we’ve got about seven major parties, and we’re heading for our second coalition in two elections. But with the votes split so much between these seven parties, with the only real solutions being an insane five-party leftwing super-coalition or Labour and the Tories entering into a hideous coalition with each other, I’ve thought of some groups who could do a better, more coherent job of running the country if they were brought together.

The Green Party and Rise Against – Fortunately, the UK has no American-style laws about our politicians needing to be born here; Green leader Natalie Bennett is Australian, so there’ll be no problem with importing American punk band Rise Against to help restore some semblance of integrity, intelligence, and the actual acceptances of climate change as a problem and gay people as people, to British politics. Also, we won’t have to rely on homemade, but ultimately hilarious, attempts to songify politics like this any more, because Rise Against would release their manifesto as a 13-track album with a bonus set of policies for Japanese listeners only.

Charlie McDonnell and his former hoards of screaming fangirls that have grown up alongside him to be intelligent, tolerant members of our society – This would get around the problem of us needing, like, 300 people to fill up the House of Commons, and would address the gender imbalance that’s plagued human society for the last five thousand years or so. It’d also allow us to talk about YouTube without needing a bloody Google+ account.

A single Farfetch’d and this girl, neither of whom will have access to leeks – Speaking of Charlie McDonnell and imaging people complexly, if we put these individuals in positions of power, and deprive them of the objects that drive their stereotypical identities, we’re likely to see a more complex, even human, side to them. This will help get rid of the awful archetyping culture in British politics and Prime Minister’s Questions will be conducted entirely in kicking sand at each other, which would be more entertaining and intelligent than it is now.

Indie games company Red Hook and the makers of Cards Against Humanity – Manifestos and tweets from Downing Street will be hilarious, political correctness would be made illegal, and everything would be narrated in the echoing, gravelling undertones from beyond the grave of the mysteriously-accredited Wayne. Also, I don’t have any reasonable idea of what these people look like, so we’d get away from judging politicians on their appearances.

Jackie Chain, the Harry Potter Puppet, and ??? – Jackie would bring a Malcolm Tucker-like backstabbing pragmatism to the cabinet, Potter would enforce the party line, and ??? would be al over those hand-shaking photo ops.

Also, this post included way too many references.

The End. (of five years of this bloody coalition)

(may death actually stop them)

Now come one come all to this tragic affair,
Unpin that rosette what’s in is despair,
So share Guardian pieces, put an X in your box,
And wake up and vote for someone that you’re not.

If you read manifestoes and don’t like what you see
You can find out firsthand what it’s like to be free
So gather ’round commies, racists, Tory spies,
I encourage participation, but prepare for compromise!

(wailing guitar riff)

Another election, my apathy stretched,
I wanna make a difference but what is the best?
I’ve skipped front-row seats to debates that did bore,
Democracy is for study, change do I adore!

I said yeah, yeah!
I said yeah, yeah!

C’mon, c’mon, c’mon, I said
(Save me!) Get me the hell out of here
(Leave me!) Your system’s all talk and fear
(You won’t!) It’s the only one I’ve got though, so

(Screw you!)

Obvious reference to My Chemical Romance’s The Endis obvious. Happy Impending Disappointment at the future of the United Kingdom Day, everyone!

Apparently There Was Some Debate Today?

(it might even still be going on as I write this)

I’ve been informed that a bunch of lecterns with coloured ribbons on them have met for their annual Staring Contest While Standing In A Semi-Circular Shape meeting, which for some reason involves a live studio audience, an adjudicator and BBC coverage. All my friends are into it, and they’re the sort of clever people to spot a trend years before it develops, so look for this meeting to have its own four-season HBO series in a couple years time, in which a lectern is killed off every few episodes in increasingly shocking and tragic circumstances.

For the record, I’ve spent today revising and watching a combination of Machine Gun Kelly’s admittedly rather good Rise Against-influenced Swing Life Away, and Schnappi, Das Kleine Krokodil on repeat. Take that, lecterns.