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HANCOCK AND BALLS STORY

July 19, 2022

WHO in God’s good name allowed none other than COVID kissing creep Matt “do as I say not as I do” Hancock to have his own radio phone-in show? This bounder should be binned, barred and banned.

And why let Ed Balls, the former Labour shadow chancellor, sidle up to sexy Susanna and present Good Morning Britain as if he was Richard Dimblebey or Ed Murrow?

You know you’re in big trouble when politicians read the news or play any part – and I really do mean any part – in telling it.

So-called news organisations are now umbillically attached to the political chattering classes and Islington and Cowbridge Zabutonians who surround them with positive vibes and are clearly denuded of journalistic talent nor do they have accessible pathways for emerging talent to blossom and fully bloom.

What will young eager aspirants desperate to get into journalism and broadcasting think if they lose out again and again to Hancock and Balls and a motley crew of politician “presenters” like David Lammy and Anne Widdecombe who all bend and spin to suit their own perverted ends.

And what has become of the profession itself that now you appear to have more chance of telling a story if you’re a Tory than a properly trained genuinely independent reporter.

I tuned in to LBC now and thought “haven’t I heard that voice before? Yes wasn’t it that scumbag who told me not to have non essential contact with anyone while he was kissing and canoodling all over his lover like a rash? Yes, that’s him.”

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/matt-hancocks-most-awkward-air-27511884

That was the only time I’ve felt relieved to hear the woefully inept Shelagh Fogarty’s voice, I can tell you.

Another of her passive aggressive hateful homilies about predatory stalkers who harrass women in the workplace seemed almost like light entertainment after Hancock’s horror show.

The distance between press and politicians is getting smaller by the day. Pretty soon we’ll think it must be true because that nice smiley bloke on the telly told us it was when all the time it was just another Hancock and Balls story.

TAKING THINGS TO EXTREMES

July 19, 2022

“TAKE CARE EXTREME WEATHER FORECAST” screamed the sign at the side of the M4 as the coach wended its way back into Wales from England in the slow lane.

Silly me, I thought, I’m back in a country where other people decide for me what is extreme and what is not.

The superlatives come flying at you with old John Ketley wheeled out of his BBC care home somewhere on the Torquay riviera to tell us it’s the “hottest ever” (didn’t he say that last year?) and that firm favourite journalistic deceit of “unprecedented” in history gets wielded like a cane Whacko-style by Jimmy Edwards as journos and civil servants looking for stories and any work to do ramp up fear to justify their salaries.

Nobody argues, nobody challenges, nobody disputes, nobody denies, nobody disagrees any more – especially not journalists.

Wales – land of song and safety, extreme safety with motorists restricted to 20 mph as speeding health minister Baroness Morgan begs you not to use hard-pressed NHS facilities, don’t be selfish, think of others, listen to BBC Radio Wales for bulletins on how hot it is likely to get and for GOD’S SAKE STAY SAFE, STAY INDOORS, DON’T TRAVEL, DON’T SPEED, DON’T SMOKE IN THE SUN, DON’T DRINK IN THE SUN, DON’T SWIM IN OPEN WATER, DON’T SIT IN THE SUN, DON’T GO TO SCHOOL IN WARM WEATHER, DON’T ARGUE WHEN SOMEONE TELLS YOU IT’S EXTREME, DON’T BE AN EXTREMIST.

Yes, it’s warmer than it normally is (whoopee!) so the extreme police move in to tell us about potential health and safety dangers and pitfalls as if they were your parents and you were a silly, spoilt brat.

Rails might bend in the sun, sending trains hurtling off track or smashing into tunnels, rivers might swallow up swimmers, rays may blind you or send you into catatonic rage, temperature gauges will smash, bridges will buckle and break, sweltering heat will endanger pets, removing any clothing will risk you catching something, especially if you’re not smeared in cream, water shortages might suddenly start leaving us foaming at the mouth wandering aimlessly around town centres like zombies sucking manically on dry water outlets as we scream at the skies at an avenging God.

“TAKE CARE EXTREME WEATHER FORECAST”

Who is behind the decision to put these warnings on the M4?

Pretty soon we’ll have Dr Doom himself, Mark Drakeford standing at a presidential lectern at Cathays with the world’s press hanging on his every utterance advising against sitting in the sun or going out at all, schools will close, trains will halt, buses will stop, shops will close and Drakeford will start to talk v e r y v e r y s l o w l y again like a record that moves suddenly from 45 rpm to 78 emphasising words as if we were too stupid to make informed decisions or lacked capacity and agency.

The signs on the M4 in Wales should say “TAKE CARE EXTREME EXTREMISTS FORECAST”.

QUESTION OF THE WEEK

July 14, 2022

IF there is no demand nor appetite for a white man to be cast as Martin Luther King or Mahatma Ghandi and for their stories to be told through an entirely white perspective why then can you tell me is there a need to re-cast Alexander Hamilton, American independence co-founder, as a black man and for his story to be told through an entirely black perspective?

KEMI’S MY CHOICE FOR PM

July 8, 2022
BLACK BEAUTY: Kemi Badenoch. Picture by Wikimedia.

KEMI Badenoch is the only “futureproof” answer to the Tory government’s current predicament down in the deepest mire.

I like to think that she would wait to be asked before grasping the greasy pole so it may be some time before she gets into Downing Street as the usual suspects grapple and grind in the mud and muck.

But think of the unalloyed joy in Conservative Central Office of moving from being the only party to appoint a woman leader to being the only party to appoint a black woman leader (That would shut up the odious David Lammy and Dawn Butler – negative symbols of furious black resentment – for ever).

And sensible yet sassy ballsy bombshell Badenoch – hugely authoritative and capable, hard-working, sincere and clever – would offer a much-needed tonic as the complete opposite of the slippery Boris Johnson (clearly understanding the need for loyalty and trust in family life) while smashing any bid by opposition parties to brandish the Tories as out of touch with the needs of ethnic minorities and biased towards privileged, entitled public school educated white toffs.

Here are some other options:

1, Scouse sisters Nadine Dorries and Esther McVey combine in a job share and promote a bold bid to build a new House of Commons in Birkenhead near the tunnel. Esther lives in one part of Number Ten and Nadine lives in another. Nadine does mornings while Esther does afternoons and they alternate evenings. Cabinet meetings will start with the two starting up “You’ll Never Walk Alone” with MPs (some of whom take to singing “You’ll Never Walk Again”) at PMQs encouraged to wave scarves whenever either one of them stands up.

2, Rishi Sunak and Sajid Javid combine in a similar all-male job share but trip over their own knives on the way to Downing Street sustaining self-inflicted injuries. An ambulance is called but NHS staff are not convinced that Javid is a human being at all and mistake him for the speaking clock while Sunak is too small and rich to qualify for emergency aid of any kind.

3, Chris Pincher turns Number Ten literally into a private “members only” club but takes too long hand-picking his staff after insisting that all new recruits show him their members privately so he can fully get to grips with inflation.

4, Neil Parish sensationally re-emerges proposing to drive a tractor into Downing Street but his premiership goes pear-shaped when someone points out that it wasn’t really a tractor he was looking for.

5, Tony Blair and Alistair Campbell both join the Tories in time to get back in power and immediately declare war on Scotland, sending troops to Carlisle. Alistair writes a dossier insisting that Nicola Sturgeon has been secretly building up weapons of mass distraction she could unleash on us in 40 minutes and our only hope is “regime change”.

6, Mark Drakeford is told he is the new Prime Minister but because there is no Welsh translation he refuses to believe it.

7, Winston Churchill is resurrected using breathtaking new secret MI5 powers developed in laboratories backed by big pharma vaccine pioneers until someone spoils it by pointing out that it is just Boris trying to pull the wool over our eyes again and keep his old job.

8, Prince Charles uses ancient royal rights to rule from Number Ten and turns Westminster into an “affordable housing” complex based on Poundbury but walks out in protest at a “carbuncle” nearby called Buckingham Palace.

9, The Queen decides to do the job herself from Windsor Castle via Zoom but mobility issues make it impossible for her to attend Parliament nor carry out any tasks other than the weekly audience with the Prime Minister, for which a mirror is produced by flunkeys.

10, Meghan Markle flies in to take the reins after Harry agreed that she should because he’s a feminist. It starts well but hits the buffers when her deputies Oprah Winfrey and Whoopi Goldberg are marginalised by racial-gender microaggressions at the first PMQs and they all need therapy.

BASED ON A TRUE STORY

July 6, 2022

STUCK in a death circle of half to whopping full untruths spoken in mainly carefully prepared and rehearsed utterances designed to deceive and obfuscate (“there can be no place for the sort of despicable behaviour we have just witnessed in our party” nonsensically saying there is no place for it when it has already happened, XXXXXXX idiot), he staggers on busted and broken down oxymoron road near non-sequitur street – not because he is the wrong man for the job but because now a universally imposed artificially concocted and confected high moral sanctity, opprobrium and judgement has ensured that Boris Johnson CANNOT ever tell the truth and nor, indeed, can anyone else any more.

The mad rush to seem sanctimonious and raise yourself above everyone to high altar (which, taken to it’s natural conclusion, will bring us unfrocked nun Yvette Cooper dispensing radical feminist, trans, eco BLM neo-Marxist Bibles in coruscating closed convents, permanently affronted and slighted forever on the arid and righteous high ground with a rictus disgusted stare to make you worry that you just let rip a particularly obnoxious smelling and toxic fart directly in her direction until you realise that she looks like that all the time) during the COVID-19 pandemic has now ushered in a political hair-shirt and mask wearing high church priesthood of personal saviours with impeccable ethics and spotless personal behaviour oddly in arenas not noted for such things but which more often harbours oddballs, con artists and perverts a bit like Chris Pincher by name Pincher by nature.

But these are not and never were meant to be people we looked up to. You don’t buy a car or a house from a robotic egg-headed Sajid Javid-sounding absolutely faultless automaton with earnest and intense intentions but you might from Saucy Sal down the caf with that personal patter and those racy lines.

Suddenly, we have to believe our politicians are telling us the truth – not the far more realistic and sensible expectation of the version of the truth that we want to hear. Why?

In their millions, people told half to whopping full untruths themselves during the pandemic to claim just about anything that was going from furlough money to inventing new businesses which weren’t businesses at all but set up just to milk the Treasury of lucrative “emergency aid and financial assistance to keep afloat”.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/jun/06/covid-bounce-back-loans-paid-for-cars-watches-and-even-porn

The level of fraud was staggering, confirming, for me, that even when the end of the world finally does arrive someone, somewhere will be furiously stealing the lead off the church roof convinced it’s a hoax.

It all went horribly pear-shaped around 2020 when we suddenly were told by Boris Johnson how to wash our hands and how often we should do it. Nobody asked him how he washed his hands and how often. We’re still stuck in that dangerous dependent gap of wanting to believe that what they say is true.

Why didn’t someone say “YOU, telling us to wash our hands? Are you serious? Isn’t that a bit like Keir Starmer giving us free legal advice or prosecuting Jimmy Savile?”

But we were in an emergency and so our health and safety suddenly became a political issue and these herberts were elevated for some reason alongside medical and scientific authority figures as worship leaders and we were deliberately lowered to congregation or audience members whose questions were never answered.

“Just believe,” the reverend Johnson kept intoning and chanting, “just believe and we will get through this together.”

While we were silently at prayer or cooped up in confinement slavering over laptops in dim, darkened bedrooms not breathing on anyone, however, likely lads, lasses and bits of both were helping themselves to the communion wine, getting high as kites at parties we weren’t supposed to have and loading up on free gear.

A strange kind of cruelly manipulative doublespeak which we far, far too readily want to believe if our lives are in danger set in during the pandemic (a bit like believing a bank robber who says “don’t worry, there aren’t any bullets in the gun I’m pointing at you” which extends over time until eventually you see so many of his/her positive traits that you want to ask him/her to marry you). This has partly explained why Boris Johnson has succeeded and certainly explains Drakeford and Sturgeon (who, of course, never lie).

I expect all politicians to tell me there aren’t any bullets in their fully-loaded guns because they tell you what you want to hear so relying on them – EVER – to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth is foolish.

What disturbs me most is that the type of truth people appear now to want to hear from their politicians – and they will line up hungrily to tell it to you from the left – is a pack of lies far, far worse than any of the wild whoppers Boris Johnson tells.

BUILDING BACK BITTER TO BURY SEX PESTS

July 3, 2022

THE councillor told me he had a package of material I would be very interested in as a reporter so I naively agreed to meet him in a pub and would later find myself in my living room finding that the package was a porno film which he wanted to play to get me aroused.

I told the news-desk about his sexual grooming of me – as older men with some authority and power can do when they want to “experiment” outside marriage – but nobody was interested and I just made a mental note to never speak to him again. His behaviour had made me feel unsafe and vulnerable.

The mystery man was not in a council I covered on a regular basis so it was not difficult for me to avoid him. Exposing him by reporting the matter to the council personnel department would have ruined his career and his family life and I had accepted his drinks, flattery and racy banter so all it needed was a firm but clear “no, thanks” and there was never any need to involve PC Plod nor to suddenly turn myself into a victim.

Had he, alternatively, been my employer or linked to an employer who might have the power to advance my prospects, get me better pay and conditions or raise me socially, my response that night may have been rather different to his suggestion that we should “relax” and watch porn together in the privacy of my own home with his secret hope that one thing would lead to another.

These episodes were not regular and everyday as a young reporter in the grimly grasping 1980s in a horrendously traditionally and historically male-dominated red in tooth and claw print newspaper industry where bullying and abuse – almost always male news editors and senior editors who would humiliate, harass and harangue like powerful white slave owners holding the whip hand in the cotton fields – was normalised but there was never any sexual misbehaviour.

I tried to convince myself that that style of management – raw, impudent, militaristic and warlike entirely in the tradition of that suffered by my lower working class male ancestors who naturally lived in fear of their bosses “bollocking” them if they weren’t prosecuting them for theft of tiny bundles of stationery paper – was a hugely effective personal motivator, first setting me against competitors to elevate myself above them but then frequently pointing out my inadequacies and failings when I fell below them.

A pub near the Daily and Sunday Mirror newsroom in London was called “The Stab” not because that was its actual name but because it was where senior executives would take lower salaried editorial staff to break the bad news that their job had gone (Stab in the back).

These instances of humiliation and abuse in this rancid, macho devil’s kitchen atmosphere were legion and I came to accept them as perfectly normal and now I even find myself sometimes yearning sentimentally for a return to that simple “kill or be killed” shared understanding so that at least I have some idea of who is most likely to stab me in the front.

Workplaces were naturally dysfunctional fortresses of abuse, alcoholism, fierce and ferocious dispute and disagreement, sometimes bad tempered and menacing, seething resentment, noxious nepotism (journos, being odd and insular, were often forced to marry or couple with their own kind in narrow social circles), blind bias (each and every “news” organisation has an established collective political stance just like in social clubs and in order to get on you have to sing the company anthem at least sounding like you genuinely mean it), biting and often bitter sarcasm and denigration of others, rampant sexism with a “boys will be boys” mischievous and sometimes malicious marauding naturally predatory naughty lads on the prowl central, dominating feel to fuel and fire a rebellious, unreconstructed, rampantly disrespecting alternative creative zeal and drive.

The language (papers were “put to bed”, staff worked to “deadlines”, “hard” and “master” copies were produced, “blacks” were copies of stories stored on “spikes”, “number two” reported to “number one” “deputies” to “chiefs”, there was a “father of chapel” in the NUJ and a “chairman” of the board) was penis-obsessed paternalistic and militaristic.

The presses have stopped rolling and the language as well as the methods of production have radically altered so we now have a totally different landscape in journalism as, indeed, in nearly all industry, trade, commerce and services.

Offices and office politics has evolved and changed beyond comprehension. So much so, in fact, that damaged dinosaurs like me might struggle to recognise them as workplaces at all if I visited and spent a day in one now.

Kim Scott’s vision of the perfect workplace set out in her book Just Work, How to confront bias, prejudice and bullying to build a culture of inclusivity (Panmacmillan 2021 £10.99) starts, as I did in this post, by outlining instances of sexual grooming of her by older, more powerful males which she, too, did not report but for her were part of a macho management culture which she, too, felt abused and marginalised by.

https://kimmalonescott.com/

Kim (not to be confused with rapper Eminem’s ex-wife) is a woman who was “hit on” far more regularly than I was (she faced the issue of sleeping with the boss for better pay and prospects which I most certainly did not, thankfully) and, clearly, has far more reasons to assert herself as a victim. So she has calculatedly used that victimhood to promote a radical feminist post #MeToo solution to pale, male and stale monster management moguls who must back off while sisters now wear the trousers rather than iron and crease them for the big bosses.

My workplace experiences were before major revolutions in sexual politics emphasised the legitimacy and assertion of female autonomy and agency and, crucially, before the institutional abuse and sexploitation of young female employees by older, richer male employers like Harvey Weinstein and Fox News’s Roger Ailes in a casting couch culture where attractive young people, overwhelmingly girls, could get on by getting things off was fully exposed and addressed.

Our own Welsh politician Labour’s Carl Sergeant, of course, was a tragic victim of this new much more stridently vengeful radical feminist workplace culture when mere allegations of sexual impropriety from apparently anonymous sources were enough to tip him over and take his own life although former SNP leader Alex Salmond admirably went to court to defend himself against anonymous allegations which were all thrown out by a jury.

So Silicon Valley family woman Kim Scott – who was a chief executive officer coach at Dropbox, Qualtrics, Twitter and other tech companies and faculty member at Apple University, having led teams for AdSense, YouTube and DoubleClick at Google – naturally opens by shining a light on older males sexploiting younger females as one of THE major causes of workplace toxicity and to do this she goes back to her first job after college in 1991 when she was 23 and approached a man called Robert (not his real name) chief executive officer of a private equity firm because she thought she was being underpaid (didn’t we all, eh!).

“At the first opportunity I asked Robert for a meeting and soon found myself facing him in a conference room. He was seated comfortably in an armchair. Something about his appearance gave him a benevolent appearance, like Santa Claus,” she starts in this mischievously maliciously mendaciously manipulative manner which she never lets go of for one second.

Needless to say, their conversation ended abruptly “Robert was really angry, almost unhinged”. He was “gaslighting” her (of course he was). No mention is made of why she thought that she deserved more money so soon nor why Robert disagreed so vehemently with her.

Another boss Thomas told her he feared he might not live past 40 and did not want to die a virgin (virgin on the ridiculous?) so she very kindly but foolishly accommodated him in her bed, bless her, only for Thomas to later scold her angrily (as conmen who trick you into sex are inclined to do in my very limited experience).

Yet another boss, Fred, sympathetically then told her “he was really nasty back there” so she happily and, it transpires, again foolishly agreed to a hug in the lift with him but was horrified to find that Fred was grinding his erect penis into her (taking things to another level with basement behaviour). “Mercifully the elevator door opened; I ducked under his arm and darted out. I’ve rarely felt so alone or under siege”. Phew!

Now these episodes were never reported and she did not get a pay rise so, naturally, a jaundiced and affronted righteously indignant view of the dynamics of the workplace inspired in her a missionary almost evangelical bitter zeal and drive to fight aggressively against acceptance of working life for young women being naturally and normally as the lower paid sexual playthings of higher paid male executives. This one, single issue dominated and, by featuring these anecdotes at the outset, she firmly sets her entire argument in her expectations of male sexual misbehaviour to females with little understanding of male to male or female to male (too many women have groomed men in the workplace) and this introduces us to her crippling fear of toxic powerful, predatory males while explaining her obsession with righting historical wrongs based on her own bitterness and resentment.

“That first job was so deeply disorienting, in fact, that it took me 30 years to come up with a theory that united my intellectual questions about how to build just working environments with my personal experiences of being mistreated at work. This book is the result of that effort.”

I’ve never worked in a “just working environment” nor lived in a “just environment” nor ever wanted to. Justice is meted out by authority to people below them often as punishment (all “just” environments have to rely on justice meted out by a higher authority rather like prisons) and who wants to live like that?

Indeed, if a journalist lived and worked in a “just environment” with no conflict, confrontation, dispute and disagreement there would be precious little for him or her to write about.

And this, of course, is the final intention of all radical feminist far-left extremists like Kim Scott in their cosy west coast technological glass-fronted “safe space” cabals and covens – eradicate conflict, confrontation, dispute and disagreement, mainly, of course, the fault of penis-swinging males with their dreaded build-up of testosterone and eventually you get universal mandatory agreement entirely on their terms with a managerial Kim Scott-style figure under a new though equally authoritarian and frighteningly imposing dictatorial management regime but without the groping and grooming. Simples!

Kim Scott’s language is deliberately and calculatedly wielded rather than simply used – always grounded in a radical feminist universal style sheet compiled by high priestesses (the sainted Audre Lorde at the head https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Audre_Lorde) stirring audacious toxic spells of their own at academic, intellectually stimulating frontier disruptive technology glass-fronted settings mainly in California where liberal loonies pontificate and proliferate perched in the lotus position on their chic saffron meditation Zabutons (trendy Japanese cushions).

Hence she was “disoriented” at work surrounded by men who demanded “himpathy” alongside sexual favours (though, significantly, there is no witness verification of any of her allegations and all the men have had their names changed so she refuses to identify them). Disorienting is losing one’s sense of direction and it was her sense of not being valued equally with men which made her lose motivation, trust and direction but why did she describe her rage and resentment as “disoriented”? What an odd, calculatedly manipulative way of expressing yourself.

And what an odd, calculatedly manipulative set of anonymous employees were set against Alex Salmond at Scottish government’s Hollyrood HQ to concoct stories a jury could not believe of him forcing them into alleged sex acts not dissimilar to those perpetrated by Thomas and Fred on poor Kim Scott.

Is this “just workplace” (where women like Kim Scott seem incapable of taking their own moral inventory before asserting their “rights” not to be touched, there is a considerable chunk on when it is appropriate to touch an opposite sex colleague which reads rather like a Nazi party handbook on handling non Arians) just an arena for wronged and vengeful radical feminist far-left extremists to exact perfect revenge on male, pale and stale monsters of yesteryear?

Well, Kim Scott has a “futureproof” plan to bring sanity and safety to the big, bad world of work and it appears to rely on her politically motivated appropriation of the words “bias”, “prejudice”, and “bullying”.

My working world was full of completely conscious bias, prejudice and bullying. You knew where it was coming from and so you knew how to respond to it.

The west coast sisterhood now dominating the internet, however, want to live in a world free of all these perfectly natural, perfectly sensible and appropriate factors which influence behaviour and interpersonal dynamics so they have embraced radical feminist Foucauldian neo-Marxist social psychological pseudo science and gender studies “breakthroughs” which are themselves blatantly biased, prejudiced and bullying and raised them to religious status and have been allowed so to do because our meaningless mainstream church has surrendered meekly to this new radical orthodoxy.

It starts with the splitting up of “bias” into conscious and unconscious motivation. Many of my colleagues were positive about their biases and displayed them often amusingly and sometimes disturbingly, but always as fuel for a creative furnace, while some were unaware, fully, of how being trapped in rancid settings had changed them.

Unconscious bias, according to Kim Scott, can be rescued though education if it is admitted and there is a will, on the part of the employee, to change (hence the sudden explosion of courses run by Zabutonians with the scattering of cushions in reception). Conscious bias, however, always leads to “prejudice” and “prejudice” will inevitably lead to “bullying” so to completely eradicate the former two we have to completely eradicate “bias”.

So (I hear you cry) what, exactly, constitutes “bias” in the modern workplace?

Disorientation (again, this obsession with your own personal direction being unimpeded by others around you) and “discomfort” as if work were some kind of organised group therapy or, perhaps, occupational therapy at one of Nurse Ratched’s wards in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest in between “medication times” can, apparently, be caused by people making assumptions based on stereotypes.

Silly little assumptions like thinking that because a person is wearing a skirt and has enormous breasts they are certainly female. (How very dare them!).

Now that’s a classic gender stereotype, isn’t it? Deliberate stupidity like this will inevitably lead to:

1, Making incorrect role assumptions.

2, Making incorrect “task” assumptions.

3, Making incorrect assumptions about intelligence/skills.

4, Making incorrect assumptions about expertise.

5, Using names or gender pronouns incorrectly.

6, Ignoring one person’s idea then celebrating the exact same idea from someone else moments later (this happens to me a lot).

7, Confusing people of the same race, gender, or other “attribute” (neither of those are attributes so why name them incorrectly?).

8, Belittling/insulting word choices.

9, Unexamined expectations based on stereotypes.

And it doesn’t stop there. Oh no, Kim Scott is a Zabutonian who likes the sound of her own sanctity and enjoys nothing more than pointing out your faults purely, of course, for the common good and to promote group cohesion and combined collegiality. She even tells you how to apologise appropriately, for God’s sake.

She has found allies in the mushrooming big tech platform human resources departments, too, and is packed impressively with knowledge of legitimate and mighty “human rights” legal redress against anyone who threatens that cohesion and collegiality, so don’t even think of challenging her. Non-Disclosure Agreements binding employees to secrecy and “culture of consent” guidelines are explored in depth from her selfish perspective.

Some of the things she writes made me laugh but always at rather than with her.

Try this for size:

“What if you’re not sure it’s bias? It’s OK. You don’t have to be 100 per cent sure to speak up. Whether you’re right or wrong, your feedback is a gift. When you speak up, remain open to the possibility that you’re wrong about which attitude is behind the behaviour, yet also confident in your own perception – this is how it struck you. If you’re right and it was bias, you’ve given the person an opportunity to learn; if you’re wrong, you’ve given the person an opportunity to explain what was meant.”

And this:

“I was just about to give a Radical Candor talk to the founders and executives of some of Sillicon Valley’s hottest start-ups. A couple hundred men were at the conference. I was one of only a handful of women. Just as I was about to go onstage, one of the participants approached me, his lips pursed in frustration.

“‘I need a safety pin’ he hissed at me. He was clutching at his shirt-front – a button had dropped off. Evidently, he assumed I was on the event-staff team. To prevent this situation, the conference organisers had given the event staff bright yellow T-shirts. But all he could notice was his need and my gender.”

SHOCKING BLOCKING OF RECOVERY HOPE

June 18, 2022

SAFE BET: Seeking help.
NOT FIT: You have been warned.

IMAGINE you are a chronic addict desperately seeking the address and time of the nearest meeting of Gambling Addicts Anonymous to start recovery at a nearby venue by putting that term into a search engine at a Cardiff Library computer.

Overzealous internet regulators at Cardiff City Council – just like many councils and governments across the country – have built in trigger word safety blocks on their public and work computers (effectively a parental filter for children to “keep them safe” though few seem, to me, quite as authoritarian as Cardiff’s) which prevent users from gambling, buying or selling drugs and viewing pornography.

But these trigger word safety blocks also – paradoxically – either actively do or have the potential to prevent users from accessing help in the form of therapy, self-help and 12 Step groups for the addictions they may be facing. If they were suicidal, they would not be able to access details of helplines or talking therapies, either, if the word “suicide”, for instance, is one of their trigger words. There is no doubt in my mind that the commissioning and buying of new books which you can borrow at public libraries is being led by a woke agenda (shelves heaving under the weight of massive tomes on inclusivity, multiculturalism and diversity strategies written by black lesbians but very few on great British historical military victories written by pale male and stale academics).

This is one of the bizarre consequences (including not being able to access a review of the Spike Lee film BlacKKKlansman https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BlacKkKlansman to help me decide whether or not to see it in a nearby cinema because KKK is a political trigger sequence of letters considered unfit for users of Cardiff Library by the powers at county hall who fear it may influence us to buy white capes and join the Bedwellty branch of the Ku Klux Klan) of an overzealous internet regulator babysitting you like an infant possibly not realising that by applying blanket blocks on all material relating to these trigger words they are also blocking access to possible therapeutic remedies to help you address and talk about an addiction, tendency to self harm or some other personal problem plaguing you.

The current UK government’s “world-first” (why do I always wince inwardly when I read those words?) Online Safety Bill sets out on a similar mission with a particularly prim and proper, virtuous, morally righteous and devout babysitter’s mien (“Don’t worry Mr and Mrs Humanity, the children will be safe with me and I’ll make sure they get to bed early ready for school in the morning”) to protect us mere mortals from “harm” and “hate”.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/world-first-online-safety-laws-introduced-in-parliament

Suppose you did not have a computer and/or mobile phone of your own and could only access computers at Cardiff Library, as is the case for many of the city’s homeless people, then you would become conditioned to entirely accept trigger word blocks and over time come to see them as perfectly normal and the internet as a parentally controlled “safe space” as of routine because no alternative is available to you. Your use of words in what you write, too, will be radically different because you would know that certain trigger words may be blocked and could mean your blog, for instance, would be blocked. You would, in effect, be conditioned into an online world of censorship and blocking and grow to see it as normal and everyday.

Cardiff Council will consider your request, if you put it in writing officially via a tortuous intensely unresponsive bureaucratic route, to lift one or more of their blocks if you consider one or more unfair or you feel they have made a mistake and unfairly judged something unsuitable. Don’t forget, either, that internet sites which, for instance, contain the letters KKK in the title or feature these letters in one of the posts on, say, a blog like mine can also be blocked by Cardiff Council within this probably algorithmically AI generated programme inbuilt into their digital system and if you write something on, say, addiction to internet gambling sites in one of your posts and mention, say, a widely used and popular bookmaking site, then your blog could be blocked by the council on the grounds that it promotes gambling when you have, in fact, written critical comments about internet gambling but given access to or included the address of a specific gambling site (I noted once that this site was blocked on these grounds and in order to appeal I would have had to deny being an active promoter of bookmaking or gambling).

This entirely paradoxical, illogical, heavy-handed proactive censorship and draconian blocking of material, not at all reactive or interactive, is THE nightmare vision of the future and THE most worryingly frightening consequence of an “internet police” reporting to Ofcom with greater powers to censor and block under the Online Safety Bill.

Your only hope of challenging it is through an unwieldy administrative process led entirely by county hall digital gurus who, ultimately, decide what you can and cannot see, lifting the block only if and when you can make a convincing case for doing so and there is no saying how long that process may take.

This is rather like a police which routinely blocks you from doing things in the hope that being blocked will become routine and normalised so accepted by you as you become meeker and meeker (wasn’t that what happened during lockdown?). They ban you first then review it later if anyone objects, not the more natural and rational truly libertarian and mature alternative approach which, historically, liberal and evolved mature societies like ours confident in their trust in each other and in our responsible and mature autonomy and agency routinely and normally only ever blocked things only if people complained about them or made a case to block.

TV puritan Mary Whitehouse – who campaigned against “filth” on our screens in the seventies to turn all entertainment beamed into our living rooms into “family-friendly” church congregations or prayer meetings by enthusiastically blocking sex and swearing – is now discredited and mocked by this generation but, bizarrely, she would greatly approve of the Online Safety Bill because it appears to me to actively embrace some of her theories about how people need to be protected by parental blocks and censors to prevent “filth” and degenerate influences.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/stories-60556060

This is a disturbing and distressing shift towards fascism and it appears, to me, to be being led by radical feminist Foucauldian permissive trans, eco, BLM neo-Marxists who would have opposed Mary Whitehouse’s Biblical conservative family values which would certainly have branded trans activism, for instance, as offensive both to science and religion yet now are queuing up to take offence themselves at slight slights and tepid trespasses by naming innocuous language “hate speech”.

We enjoy apparently increasing freedom, autonomy and individual agency on devices which are our personal property and can set our own filters which our internet service providers specifically engaged commercially in the open market by us with a contract we sign agreeing to pay them regular payments for a defined period of time are legally mandated to keep private and between us and them though this, under the Online Safety Bill, in my estimation, will radically alter for reasons which I cannot see are fair.

There is no autonomy and freedom on public and employer computers for you to do so, however, because the employer and the council or the government own the devices and set the filters.

Welsh government closed all libraries during the COVID-19 pandemic but they are now open to the public with fewer actual computers and new rules limiting you to three hours at a terminal per day when previously it was 20 hours per week with no daily limit. At Cardiff Library, the one hour limit is applied unless you first arrange with a member of staff to set it for three hours and you have to save your work and log on again after each hour. Camden Council in London allows four hours per day and warns you after 45 minutes that your time will end in 15 minutes then offers you the opportunity of extending by another hour (conveniently saving you from having to save your work and log off) by simply clicking a box on the screen.

I pointed this out to James Gorwill, systems librarian at Cardiff Library on Thursday, and asked him if they could arrange for a similar system. He thanked me for what he called my “feedback” and I now wait to see.

Public bodies are now in the habit of calling all public contributions “feedback” as if we are part of one workforce all working together with identical aims (DEFINITELY NOT). This reached its ludicrous zenith when the National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth recently responded to an e-mail query to confirm my fear that access to many records and documents using a remote online account is considerably less comprehensive and generous than if you physically go there in person (not easy with road and rail links so poor). I was then issued with an e-mail written only in Welsh as if it were the dominant language when it most certainly is not asking me to rate from one to ten the response they had given me. It was a routine minor administrative task, for God’s sake, what is there to rate?

The reduction in the number of computer terminals (which has probably prompted the change in rules) was one measure imposed under health and safety emergency powers to maintain social distance and limit public gathering and proximity by Welsh government. It also enabled them to hold a bizarre election in 2019 while presenting to voters as their personal saviours and protectors under extraordinary circumstances which prevented some candidates from actually visiting people on doorsteps and others to mingle at political rallies or gatherings. This was positively and sinisterly undemocratic and has convinced me that my vote is merely an illusion of accountability and democracy in a country languishing in a permanent unchallenged, unconditional one party stasis.

This story taken from the rampantly Welsh nationalist and Welsh language weaponising so-called “newspaper” The Nation, a Gwynedd-based propaganda platform masquerading as a journalistic outlet by purporting to be “by the people of Wales for the people of Wales” (extreme hard-left Yes Cymru activist people for extreme hard-left Yes Cymru activist people many of whom – such as, famously, Bangor’s genderqueer former Mayor Owen Hurcum were not born in Wales but moved here and is quitting to move back to his native England https://www.itv.com/news/wales/2022-03-11/the-worlds-first-non-binary-mayor-owen-j-hurcum-is-stepping-down) bizarrely was the main option on a Google search. The Welsh Conservatives were trying to eliminate voter fraud by clamping down on who can actually vote but the prevailing Welsh Labour Plaid orthodoxy backed, it appears, by the Electoral Reform Society, is opposed to such moves mainly because it would deny them many votes and have the potential to end the stasis.

Welsh Government must stand up to ‘undemocratic’ mandatory voter ID plans, campaigners say

Crucially, many of these health and safety measures remain in force and, in my opinion, will remain as part of a strict, inhuman regime imposed under emergency powers – even though we are no longer in an emergency – but which, also, has enabled public services (where customer service and personal accountability in commercial settings are never prioritised) staffed by protected unionised public service employees such as library staff to work from home with public buildings closed or open for shorter hours and the services they offer severely curtailed.

My opinion is that public sector cutbacks have been partly explained, excused and justified by a health and safety emergency which was deliberately disproportionately magnified to excuse poorer public services with less buses running fewer routes, shorter office hours at libraries, town halls and civic centres and fewer staff available face-to-face to discuss queries.

This reached its climax during the height of the pandemic when Newport City Council had only one employee remotely answering all telephone calls meaning that the vast majority of calls were never answered. This, I believe, remains the case in too many NHS and public sector settings and, alarmingly, has impacted emergency calls and services.

If you want to block “adult content” on your own device you can but the council, the government and your employer, however, will block it for you automatically because they impose upon you their taste and judgement about what constitutes “harm” and “hate” based upon the prevailing political mantras, world-views and philosophies currently in vogue.

The sinister dangers of the Online Safety Bill are manifold and insidious but they all start with the assumption that an interest in the letters KKK in and of itself renders you obviously a racist bigot and attempts to establish malign motives for curiosity and open, engaged investigation and inquiry.

Our internet titans – platforms like You Tube and many others – are being encouraged by the government to do something similar working on the basis that you DO NOT give the public access to everything and anything then let them decide what is “harm” and “hate” for themselves but instead decide first and prevent access to things.

And the consequence of this heavy-handed pro-active blocking and censorship on some public computers in Wales by government-employed digital safety gurus includes self-help and recovery platforms with vital lifelines in the form of meetings which might offer recovery and rehabilitation routes out of deep despair being actively blocked.

The Free Speech Union, which I am a member of, is fighting to protect our rights as citizens against entirely paradoxical, illogical, heavy-handed proactive censorship and draconian blocking like this.

Two factors are uppermost:

1, Who and how will whoever decides differentiate between “regulated” mainstream journalism and what are called citizen journalists and bloggers (Lady Dorrian jailed Craig Murray for covering the Alex Salmond trial in Scotland because he was not regulated. Will the Online Safety Bill do the same?) .

2, Who and how will whoever decides differentiate between “harmful” content like, debatably, pornographic sites, and therapeutic ones which might feature explicit nudity but lead people to helplines and therapeutic resources?

TEENS GET PACK OF UNFILTERED BALONEY

June 9, 2022

IN MOST rampantly liberally permissive settings where free speech is enjoyed by consenting adults in privacy safe from the prying electronic eyes and ears of the thought police, a smoking zone usually helps to promote relaxation, ease, social lubrication and close proximity.

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2022/jun/09/smoking-age-england-should-rise-year-each-year-government-review-says

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-tobacco_movement_in_Nazi_Germany

https://tobaccocontrol.bmj.com/content/9/1/95

My school’s smoker’s corner, where we used to drag on stumps discarded by others in conspiratorial, colegiate, convivial closeness behind the gym, was always the safest safe haven for troubled and emotionally scarred souls as a relief from the pressure and tension of the classroom. Without it, many would have suffered terribly from loneliness, mental health issues, stress and anxiety, anger and rage. This is the case in many settings and among all age groups, as doctors, some of whom used to advise some patients to buy a pipe and enjoy the odd pull on some Golden Virginia to chill, know.

The thrill and dangerous enjoyment was very, very considerably heightened when we knew that it was not legal, as it was with alcohol. Going into a pub for a pint and a fag after I turned 18 felt a terrible anti-climax because nobody could punish me.

This is something that the humourless haggard health tzar Chris Whitty, who told us not to exercise during COVID-19 (not exactly a walking talking example of the joys of a smoke-free life) and all the other self-appointed headmasters wielding draconian legal canes with the threat – yet again – of more criminalisation with informers and policing legitimised, will never understand.

Some of our children are being given the vote at 16 by politicians to give the cruel and cynical illusion of engagement and empowerment yet they will not be able to light up like their parents might have done until they’re, oh…about 40 and even then only in the shed with the door double locked from the inside. They should be so angry there should be smoke coming out of their ears.

Politicians are not our parents wagging their fingers warning us against evils and neither are they clerics offering to take our confessions. Stay out of our business and we might stay out of yours, is my message.

What is most noticeable – always – is the massive distance between the legislation made by health fascists and zealots in a bid to make us live longer, whether we want to or not, and the reality on the ground. I see e-scooters whizzing around at frightening speeds illegally every day with no hope of police action and others openly dealing drugs on grimy street corners.

The simple truth is that these virtue signals are pointless tick-box activities which will actively incentivise some to have a go and there is inadequate policing in shops and on the streets to curb and control too many crimes as it is without having to judge if someone is old enough to smoke.

FREE SPEECH UNION NEWS

June 9, 2022

We’ve been engaged in a protracted legal dispute with the University of Essex over its apparent reluctance to update its policies to avoid a repetition of the no-platforming of two feminist law professors. Thankfully, this has now been resolved with the University agreeing to do what it ought to have done some time ago.

Two-and-a-half years ago, Professor Jo Phoenix and Professor Rosa Freedman, both gender critical feminists, were disinvited from two separate events at the University following protests from LGBTQ+ activists who claimed that allowing them to speak would be a breach of various University policies, including one entitled ‘Harassment and Bullying: Our Zero Tolerance Approach’. Among other things, these policies set out the University’s legal duty to protect minority students from being harassed or discriminated against under the Equality Act 2010. The protestors claimed that merely allowing these two gender critical feminists on campus, even if they spoke about something entirely unrelated to trans rights, would be against the law.

This double no-platforming provoked widespread condemnation and the University commissioned the equalities barrister Akua Reindorf to review its policies. She concluded that the University was in breach of its statutory duty to ensure freedom of speech for visiting speakers, as well as its regulatory obligations, duties under charity law and – in all probability – its legal duties as set out in the Equality Act 2010. Reindorf pointedly said that the University’s policies that had been invoked to no-platform Professors Phoenix and Freedman interpreted the law “as Stonewall would prefer it to be, rather than the law as it is”. It goes without saying that Essex is a member of Stonewall’s Diversity Champions programme. (You can read a summary of Reindorf’s report here.)

The report made 28 recommendations, some of them concerning Essex’s policies which, according to Reindorf, were based on a misunderstanding of the Equality Act arising from Stonewall’s flawed legal advice. The University duly apologised to Professors Phoenix and Freedman and agreed to implement Reindorf’s recommendations – but when the LGBTQ+ activists complained that the apology made them feel ‘unsafe’, the University then issued a second apology apologising for the first, which didn’t bode well. Sure enough, it then dragged its feet over making the changes it had promised to make.

We wrote to Essex last November threatening it with a Judicial Review if it didn’t amend its policies to ensure they accurately stated the law and weren’t in breach of the University’s free speech duties. Essex wrote back, agreeing to do some of the things we’d asked, although it claimed it was intending to do them anyway, but disputing that it was legally required to comply with all our demands. We then wrote again, extracting a few more concessions… and on and on it went until, eventually, the University agreed to do more or less everything we’d asked.

Having secured this important victory, we’ve now embarked on a piece of research to determine how many other British universities are making the same mistakes as Essex – particularly those that are members of the Stonewall Diversity Champions programme. We’ve already discovered several malefactors and we intend to write to them pointing out that Essex agreed to correct these mistakes after they’d been alerted to them by Akia Reindorf and given a not-so-gentle push by us. Hopefully, they’ll also fall into line.

Bryn Harris, our Chief Legal Counsel and the mastermind behind this campaign, had the following to say:

The Free Speech Union is delighted that the University of Essex amended its policies in response to legal correspondence from us. We hope other universities will adopt this sensible approach. The Equality Act does not apply in every situation, and where it does apply it doesn’t provide carte blanche for activists to no-platform those whose views they disagree with.

This isn’t an abstract issue. Misunderstanding of the Equality Act and free speech obligations led to unfair treatment of Rosa Freedman and Jo Phoenix. This matters.

Universities need to start getting this right, or they face the likelihood of challenge by the likes of us and, in the future, regulatory intervention and even liability in damages once the Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill becomes law.

The Free Speech Union plans to exert continuous pressure on universities that impose unlawful restrictions on the speech of their students, staff and visiting speakers.

An update on the case of FSU member Simon Isherwood

The case of one of our members, Simon Isherwood, was back in the news last month. Among others, the Telegraph, the MailGB NewsReclaim the Net and Zero Hedge reported on the Employment Tribunal hearing of the railway conductor who is suing his former employer after he was sacked when he was caught questioning “black privilege” during video-conference diversity training on “white privilege”. The session in question was attended by around 80 staff members from East Midlands Railway, West Midlands Railway and Mr Isherwood’s former company London Northwestern Railway, which is owned by West Midland Trains. At the end of the session, while staff were thanking the host, Simon accidentally left his microphone on and was overheard telling his wife: “I couldn’t be arsed because I thought, ‘You know what, I’ll just get fucking angry.’ You know what I really wanted to ask?… and I wish I had, ‘Do they have black privilege in other countries?’ So, if you’re in Ghana?…”

After an internal disciplinary probe, West Midlands Trains sacked Mr Isherwood, claiming the comments “caused offence, brought the company into disrepute and breached our equality, diversity and inclusion policy and the code of conduct”.

Speaking to the Telegraph, however, Simon pointed out that he made these comments in his home when he had a reasonable expectation of privacy. “It was a private conversation, I had no idea anyone was listening to me,” he said.

Unsurprisingly, the effect of the sacking has been devastating for Simon. “I’ve lost my job, my income, my reputation, my health is absolutely shot to pieces,” he said. “I’d worked there for 11 and a half years and never had anything but promotion, praise and awards and even now I can’t believe it.”

Simon’s hearing was on 5th and 6th May before Judge Wyeth in the Watford Employment Tribunal. As expected, Simon was an honest and compelling witness, and stood up to cross-examination with aplomb. We drafted in leading civil liberties barrister Paul Diamond to represent him. Paul has fought landmark cases in the Supreme Court and the European Court of Human Rights, and, as you might expect from someone of that caliber, was unrelenting in picking apart the holes in the other side’s evidence. He also successfully convinced the judge that the freedom of speech issues in this particular case require close attention. Indeed, it’s for that reason that the judge reserved judgment, rather than giving it extempore. The timescale is uncertain, but we hope Simon will receive the judgment this month. If Simon wins his case, the remedy hearing, where the size of his award will be decided, is scheduled for 19th September.

The FSU’s packed summer schedule

Now that we really are ‘back to normal’, the FSU has great pleasure in unveiling our packed programme of summer events. We have two Online Speakeasies coming up: How Woke Won with Dr Joanna Williams on Wednesday 15th June and Trans – When Ideology Hits Reality with Helen Joyce on Tuesday 12th July. If you are a member, look out for emails inviting you to register so that you can receive the Zoom links.

In addition, we’re launching a series of Regional Speakeasies. Some of you may have already come along to our in-person meet-ups in pubs and bars, where members can socialise while exploring free speech issues. During late June and July, Regional Speakeasies will be happening in Birmingham, Brighton, Cambridge, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Manchester and Oxford. Dates and details will be emailed to all members next week, with links to register on Eventbrite. Members are welcome to bring guests, particularly those likely to join the FSU!

London members, many of whom came to our packed meet-up in March, are encouraged to get tickets to our Summer Special Comedy Night on Wednesday 29 June, where there will be plenty of opportunities to meet other members and the FSU’s staff. This extravaganza of comedy and music is being held in association with Comedy Unleashed – the home of free-thinking comedy. The MC for the night will be FSU favourite Dominic Frisby – who you can watch talking about the event here – and Dominic will also be performing a special set of comedy hits with his band the Gilets Jaunes. Also on the bill is comedy crooner and ubermeister of lounge, Frank Sanazi, described in Chortle as “the extravagantly offensive love-child of Adolf Hitler and Frank Sinatra”. Frank will be accompanied by his legendary friends Dean Stalin, Spliff Richard and Tom Mones. As this event is also a fund-raiser it is open to the public – you can get your tickets here.

You can see all our upcoming events on our new Events page and get tickets to some events, such as the London comedy night. If you’re not yet a member, take a look and find out what you are missing or if are a member it’s a good way of persuading a friend to join.

Academic removed from academic event for “disruptive” questions

Dr Jon Pike is a member of the FSU. He’s also a Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at the Open University. His specialism is the philosophy and ethics of sport, and he’s also a global expert in issues surrounding transgender inclusion in women’s sport. On 16th May Dr Pike attended an online event at Loughborough University entitled ‘IAS Festival of Ideas: Transitions – Festival and Book Launch Gender Diversity and Sport: Interdisciplinary perspectives on increasing inclusivity’. This topic was well within the parameters of his research and expertise, but he was removed from the event for asking questions about the fairness of allowing biological men to compete against female athletes. Dr Pike later received a terse email from Loughborough University’s Institute of Advanced Studies informing him that his removal had been necessary “due to the disruptive nature of [his] questioning”. The Free Speech Union has written to Loughborough University’s Vice Chancellor, Professor Nick Jennings, to express its concern. We think this to be a failure of the University to discharge its duty to uphold free speech on campus, and an act of discrimination against Dr Pike on the grounds of his gender critical beliefs. The full text of the FSU’s letter is available here. We are currently awaiting the University’s response.

Douglas Murray Speakeasy best attended yet

Last month’s Speakeasy with FSU Director and best-selling author Douglas Murray was attended by over 500 members, making it the most popular one we’ve held so far. After a short interview with me, Douglas answered questions from our members about his new book The War on the West. You can watch the whole thing on our YouTube channel here. And don’t forget to subscribe – once we’ve reached a certain number of subscribers we can start selling ads on the channel.

NCHIs – a request for members in Greater London to get in touch

As many of you will know, in December of last year, the former police officer Harry Miller won a landmark legal battle against the recording of NCHIs, and the College of Policing guidelines were ruled unlawful. The Free Speech Union was proud to back Harry in that case. Had he lost and had to pay the other side’s costs, we’d pledged to help with that bill. There is, however, plenty of work for the FSU to do. That’s because police forces in England and Wales aren’t required to notify someone if an NCHI is recorded against their name – and for all we know, the police are continuing to log ‘non crimes’ in the same way. Given that an estimated 250,000 NCHIs have been recorded since 2014, it’s likely that hundreds of thousands of people still unwittingly carry one around on their records.

At the moment we’re really keen for members to come forward if they’ve been given an NCHI from the Metropolitan Police, or if they think they might have been. The Met’s jurisdiction, by the way, covers the 32 boroughs within Greater London, excluding the City of London. You can find a map here.

So please do ask around friends, colleagues and family members. You can reach our case team on help@freespeechunion.org, or drop us an initial direct message via our Twitter page (@SpeechUnion), our Facebook page (@SpeechUnion), our LinkedIn page (Free Speech Union) or our Instagram page (@FreeSpeechUnion). Of course, if you think you might have received an NCHI from a force other than the Met, then do also get in touch via the same channels. The FSU’s FAQs on how to find out if you have an NCHI recorded against your name is here.

Forcing children to use the preferred gender pronouns of their classmates is against the law

In the US, the Foundation Against Intolerance & Racism (FAIR) has written to the principal of a Middle School in Wisconsin in response to an ‘incident report’ submitted through their transparency website (which you can access here). The details are scarcely believable:

A Wisconsin school district has filed sexual harassment complaints against three middle schoolers for calling a trans classmate by the wrong gender pronoun. The school district in Kiel has charged the three eight-graders at the Kiel Middle School with sexual harassment after an incident in April in which the students refused to use “they” to refer to a classmate who had switched pronouns a month before the alleged incident.

As FAIR concede, “it may be polite for students to use the preferred pronouns of their classmates”, but in the US, “punishing them if they do not” is to “disregard their First Amendment rights”.

Just as forcing American schoolchildren to use the preferred gender pronouns of their trans classmates would be a breach of their First Amendment rights, so forcing British schoolchildren to do likewise would be unlawful under Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights – or so we believe. If any of our members have children (or grandchildren) who are being forced to do this – not asked to do it because it’s polite, but threatened with a punishment if they don’t – please get in touch. We would be happy to write to the school in question pointing out that insisting on this is probably unlawful.

General fighting fund

This month we’ve helped people from all walks of life, with cases ranging from people being kicked off social media for questioning trans ideology, to members losing their jobs and livelihoods for comments made outside of work. People contact us every week who never imagined they’d need our support. Help us to help them: if you can, please donate to our general fighting fund.

DO. WE. NEED. POLICE. AND. PRISONS?

June 5, 2022

THE TWO seemingly young white female police officers seated in a car parked in front of Cardiff Library had to wind down the blackened window of the intimidating squat marked armed response vehicle when I stood alongside the front door hoping to engage with the occupants.

Why, I wondered, is a car with guns the officers could deploy parked menacingly in the middle of a pedestrian plaza in the centre of a Welsh city in broad daylight on a pleasantly warm and sunny Thursday morning when I and everyone else appeared to be ambling along peacefully minding our own business, there was absolutely no scent of a disturbance and nobody had been seen rampaging the streets armed with guns and spraying bullets for the past, oh…… hundred years?

Why were they not patrolling the streets on foot as eyes and ears on the ground and would they come out of their vehicle to assist me, I also wondered, if I was to report to them desperately that I had been mugged by thieves who had made off with my wallet, especially if I was able to point the offenders out as they ran off?

There’s nothing like passing the time of day with a pleasant chat in the open air with one of our boys, girls, non-gendered or non-binaries in blue as they go about their business building up intelligence with the crucial help and support of the public, who give them consent to police and, of course, help to pay their wages.

But this was nothing like a pleasant chat in the open air (the driver called me “mate” after electronically winding down the screen. Never a good start.) and I seriously doubt if they would have assisted me to catch any muggers making off with my wallet. Engagement with the public appears, to me, to be nowhere on their list of priorities currently unless it is at gay Pride or at Mardi Gras in a procession led by Jeff Cuthbert and Adam Price decked out in pink sombreros, silver sashes and carrying truncheon-like black plastic sex toys.

Quite the opposite, in fact, the disturbing scenes of French police pepper spraying Liverpool fans aggressively outside the Stade de France at the Champions League final is becoming more and more common as an appropriate vision of modern policing.

Later efforts to access CCTV footage to help track the thieves down might also come up against barriers and I might find that they were switched off or that bizarre rules and regulations prevented public bodies from releasing them to me.

General Data Protection rules might later be wielded against me in a routine shutdown of transparency and openness to ensure that none of my questions are answered. GDPR is too often an evil curse mistakenly brandished by those who want to destroy and deny access to data – often for sinister political motives – we should be able to access as a matter of course and now increasingly it threatens to ban us from even asking for that information.

Officers I might engage with about the mugging back at the station in one of those fiercely frightening oppressive small rectangular rooms may adopt that ever-so-familiar passive aggressive defensive tone suspecting me of being a racist, sexist, white supremacist bigot and, perversely, warning me not to physically challenge the perpetrators of the crime myself at any time if I spotted them on the street, perhaps using my credit cards to splash out on luxuries I cannot afford, because of the potential physical danger to me. They will give me a crime number and I will get a text message from Victim Support but will never hear again from the police because huge numbers of crimes are now not being investigated and our police officers are too rarely Dixon of Dock Green-style approachable and amenable friendly allies.

So, if an increasingly politicised and paramilitarised increasingly armed police answerable more to political commissioners with an organisational agenda to control disproportionately magnified heightened fears of terrorism and civil disorder and actively punishing us for associating freely and travelling during a pandemic far more than they are answerable to us mere mortals, who might more reasonably fear silly little things like being mugged at knifepoint or having our house burgled while we sleep peacefully at dead of night, is not engaging with us and not really helping us, do we really need them any more?

We definitely don’t need them and we don’t need the carceral state they legitimise and feed – one which expands the fast-growing state-sanctioned and subsidised surveillance, penalise and punish sector with inevitable bigger and bigger prison populations worsened considerably by education classes in crime and terrorism in captive feral networks, goes the central message in Abolition. Feminism. Now. (their full stops, not mine, I’ll explain later) written by Angela Y. Davis, Gina Dent, Erica R. Meiners and Beth E. Richie (Hamish Hamilton, 2022).

In order to change the world, we must first change the oppressively imperialistic and colonialist language and the way we use it, Michel Foucault and the French philosophers who challenged conservative values perhaps best in the 1960s recommended in texts on white supremacist colonialist oppression that most modern radical feminist approaches are firmly built on and which our entire education system appears, now, to be firmly founded in, whether we like it or not.

Hence the full stops after every word in this book and a “both/and” world-view to replace a limiting “either/or” according to a radical feminist “women of colour” (white, of course, is not a colour in their limited lexicon) approach which appears to rely on the instances of rogue police officers like the killer of Sarah Everard on Clapham Common to depict all as male rapists and the George Floyd murder in America as an instance of racist aggression by a white policeman (which I don’t think it was) to deliberately ramp up the potential danger to us posed by mainly white male police officers.

“Could we discretely mark what was ‘feminist’ about ‘abolition’ or ‘abolitionist’ about ‘feminism’? How does abolitionist feminism take up the political questions that are germane but often obscured in the rendering of both concepts, considering racial capitalism, heteropatriarchy, internationalism, and transphobia as examples? Because these and other questions continue to play generative roles without demanding reductionist responses, we punctuate each word in the title with a full stop to signify that each of these concepts, with their own singular histories, frames this project,” they write.

Prisons, too, serve no practical purpose other than to consolidate and build upon already acquired criminal tendencies and anti-social mindsets with an experienced older group naturally educating and leading younger new-entrants in captivity into ever more sophisticated future criminal and anti-social behaviour.

This band of four academic American sisters (though they would assuredly criticise me for making insulting assumptions about them on gender) believe that mass incarceration is driven by racism and are ideologically knitted to a worldwide INCITE! movement led mainly by “women of colour” rather than (as I would call them) “black women” dedicated to abolishing police and prisons and replacing it with a brave new world free of gender and sexual violence by replacing our punitive justice system with a completely and radically different social justice system relying on better educated, better invested citizens with a better stake in the neighbourhoods they inhabit taking restorative or community-centred responsible action and re-defining crime and criminal behaviour with the decriminalisation of a wide array of offences to rid us of more and more crime and the necessity to call people criminals.

In essence, people police their own streets and enforce their own justice without weapons and threats of jails in a utopian dream future where “mothering” and “sistering” – building on our most precious fertile female life-giving and life-nourishing capacities and powers to naturally protect and preserve – is set against and opposed to “fathering” and “brothering” – smashing our most naturally dysfunctionally aggressive and destructive sexually predatory and lust for conquest male behaviour and approaches once and for all.

Crucially for me, as a white middle-aged male with a history of stereotypically predatory behaviour which I saw as normal and which was naturally reinforced by my peers, there is little to no positive life-affirming depictions of or opinions of white male contributions, values and qualities in this utopian dream future where artificial insemination introduces the concept of routine and normal fatherlessness, destroying the nuclear family and leaving men – the possessors of the dreaded genitalia now considered so threatening to peace and harmony – redundant and powerless pathetic people without roles or responsibilities reporting to “women of colour” leading to many of them taking their own lives in huge numbers, particularly young white males, easily, now, the most naturally disadvantaged with so many lagging behind in schools.

Indeed, heteropatriarchy (a ruling fatherhood of masculine mainly white men with penises capable of emitting life-giving sperm) and transphobia (the refusal to reject the biological and biblical fundamental certainty that gender is assigned at birth with a penis or a vagina and can only be altered cosmetically but not biologically) is THE real reason for sexual and gender violence, contributing massively to overcrowding in our prisons, assert the four sisters, all professors of subjects ranging from History of Consciousness and feminist studies to Criminology, law and justice and black studies, sociology, gender and women’s studies at the Universities of California, Northeastern Illinois and the University of Illinois.

I assume, for instance, that had my wallet actually been stolen at knifepoint in Cardiff city centre then these sisters would have recommended a justice system by perhaps comparing my wealth to that of the person or persons who deprived me of some of it and may have concluded that in that very act, they may have exacted some form of social justice by redistributing wealth more equitably along neo-Marxist lines. I may then be challenged by them to play an active part in the rehabilitation of the mugger(s) by helping to educate and “empower” them, possibly even taking them in to my property if they are homeless and arranging for them to visit food banks and arranging health care.

This, rightly, introduces the concept that crime is a collective not an individual responsibility and concentrates not on individual rights, freedoms and liberties but collective responsibility for each other, spiritual and faith-based forgiveness and altruism and a service-based “giving” rather than a “taking” disposition which HM The Queen is presently trying to promote for better interconnectedness and community cohesion.

I must report to the sisters of colour that community cohesion and mutual trust took a downward dive during COVID-19 – which for the first time legitimised the view that it may be more appropriate to fear than to love your neighbour as they may be contagious carriers of a killer virus – and has never recovered with suspicion and remoteness now normalised and even sanctioned (I see this every day in the way people now constantly avoid and evade engaging with each other in surgeries, shops and streets).

And where it goes wrong, hopelessly and harmfully, is if the mugger(s) introduced into my home by me then turn it into a cannabis factory for personal use and deal drugs for money from it against my wishes, stock some of my rooms with knives and guns and try to radicalise me into doing the same because a heteropatriarchal and transphobic state is against me and the only way to deal with it is to remove the justice system, police and prisons. That is when I need an enforcing state either inside or outside an ARV parked outside Cardiff library. That is when I need force and legal legitimacy to evict from my home people who do not have my best interests at heart and pose a danger to me.

“Abolition demands that we answer to communities that want meaningful, affirming, and accessible services, including health care and housing, but not when these are annexed to punishment,” they write.

Much too often in our Welsh NHS community mental health teams decisions about the prioritising of rationed care and treatment (which, of course, could include incarceration in a mental hospital) to citizens is inextricably linked to their history of or their likelihood of engaging in violence, ant-social behaviour and crime. Personal assessments carried out with service users by health professionals are naturally biased to advantage most those who are perceived as the most threatening and damaging to others and to civil peace and order, meaning that those whose needs are complex and demanding but who have little or no history of or likelihood of violence, antisocial behaviour and crime are always disadvantaged and neglected.

The way to get good therapy is to either get very rich so you can afford to pay for it privately or commit crime so the state is then obligated to provide it for you.

“The disability rights movement has had to challenge the stigma of pathologization and likewise demonstrate that disability rights are essential to human rights, and thus occupy a central place on social justice agendas,” they write.

“In 2019, a Los Angeles coalition of organisations including Dignity and Power Now and Critical Resistance defeated, for now, the proposed four-thousand-bed jail-like ‘treatment centre’ that clearly was not, as advertised, a ‘care-first’ facility. L.A. had proposed this new ‘mental health facility’ as a replacement for the crumbling Men’s Central Jail and awarded a $2.2 billion contract to a for-profit corporation with a track record of building jails.”

The radical feminist sisters of colour are just self-aware enough to realise that their mission is a desperately difficult one to sell to a centuries old worldwide sceptical establishment naturally in fear of crime and disorder, mainly perpetrated by “people of colour”.

“A political misalignment that had been simmering just below the surface was, once again, on display. Carceral policy makers, law enforcement organizations, conservative funders, mainstream service providers, and many academic researchers were, for the most part, unwilling to acknowledge that programs targeting gender violence should be concerned with advancing racial justice and were reluctant to consider that survivors of gender violence might be harmed , rather than helped, by police.”

They go on to instance negative press coverage in the USA which criticised abolitionist demands and claimed that “survivors do not support defunding the police”.

“The report’s broad claims about the role of policing in creating safety for those who experience gender violence blatantly ignores what many women and nonbinary people of colour have been asserting for years: because systemic racism drives the criminal legal system, it is not only not protective for those survivors who are not part of the mainstream, it also endangers them.”

There is a cruelly contorted artificial feel to the weaponised language in this book (reading it feels like being slapped mildly about the face by a group of women) and, crucially, the way it is brandished unilaterally like a hammer over your head without regard to or for others (frequently offending against grammatical rules designed for perfectly valid reasons) which hints at a paramilitaristic, menacingly, maniacally militant radical feminist, racial justice freedom force which could, in time, prove to be even worse than our police.

But the direction of travel, most assuredly, is very firmly in the sisters’ direction, from the British Library, which hectors and harangues us for our colonialist, imperialist past so that you leave the building feeling deflated and depressed about historical victories and flourishes which should engender pride after they re-engineer and re-position literature to reflect the disapproval and disgust of people like these four academics rather than to accurately convey the meaning of the original writer to less imposing places like clubs and pubs, where everyday speech is now much, much more unnaturally self-censored, self-policed and self-aware almost apologetically and in automatic avoidance of conflict and confrontation (horror of horrors!), now positioned as mere meek meagre “micro-aggressions”, superficial slights and tepid trespasses suddenly depicted for political motives as offensive hate.

Not far away from Cardiff library proudly standing guard outside the swish new Blatantly Biased Corporation headquarters is a statue of Betty Campbell, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Betty_Campbell a black teacher from what used to be called Tiger Bay currently being hailed for just doing her job but in a neighbourhood which attracted disadvantaged “people of colour” like her directly emigrating from Africa for a new life or the descendants of others, many of whom suffered massively from routine institutionalised racism by South Wales Police, led, inevitably, in the disgraceful and deeply distressing investigation into the murder of prostitute Lynette White – when five black men were wrongly jailed on fabricated and furiously fictional evidence – by rogue white men in a miscarriage of justice which the city has and possibly never will recover from.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-58490038

The details of the investigation – the men were not in the wrong place at the wrong time but were actively put there by police who conscripted “witnesses” who agreed to say so in front of a jury – make for grim and deeply disturbing reading and still serve as the best possible evidence that life without police and prisons might be better and fairer.

Money spent on paying bent cops and keeping them in rich retirement would be better spent on “free and subsidised services like safe permanent housing, education, accessible health and mental health care, high-quality childcare and job training and employment placement in addition to collective and environmental assets such as neighbourhood services that promote health and well-being, safe parks, healthy food options cultural and arts activism and mutual projects.

“We must be reminded right now of how rape, battering, stalking, criminalized sex work, targeted violence towards trans people, removal of children from their families is ruining lives. Rather than offering the now as the end point – as in “at last” – we offer it as a critical and joyful starting point.

“We are particularly energized by the proliferation of an expanding virtual world as we wrote this book – Zoom calls with people in prison, virtual convenings and webinars, Snapchat threads, FaceTime calls in cars and along public transit, this surge of connectivity continues to create and strengthen rebellious inter and intra-movement abolition feminist modalities.

“Networks are rapidly producing tools and workshops in response to the FAQs abolitionists frequently engage. Revolution is not a one-time event, as Audre Lorde reminds, and these networks are making the world we need, now.”

The problem lies in establishing just how covertly ingrained and embedded this political philosophy is now in Welsh politics because mainstream political parties like Labour and Plaid Cymru – in an Overton Window moving ever farther to the left and, crucially, with the collapse of Abolish the Welsh Assembly and UKIP and a crippled Conservative Party, with no apparent future alternative – are still unlikely to align themselves overtly with radical feminist people of colour who want to abolish police and prisons because it never wins votes.

But for how much longer?