foolish mistakes, but whatever, they are all mine.
Mostly-cis, fat ,middle aged, bisexual, disabled, white femme. My hobby is seeing how many years I can add to my collection before I die.

Posting will be random but may contain fat acceptance, wool, and cats, lagomorphs and corvids in no particular order. Posting may also be sporadic as I have ME/CFS and a bunch of other stuff that makes me tired and some times crabby.

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So The Lib Dems Have A Glee Club Where They Sing A Rude Song About Tony Blair

I don’t go to Glee Club (it’s on too late for a spoony like me to cope with), but here is what many of friends and family get up to at Liberal Democrat Conference.

Over the last few days, the leaders of all three main political parties have been competing to show who has the biggest dick by showing they can simultaneously bash poor people and foreigners, two groups of people who simply have too much power in this society. They’re all proving they’re real men because they can kick those at the bottom. In particular, we’ve been hearing a lot about how Britain is simply too welcoming to immigrants, how we’re too generous to them, and how they are drains on what we must now apparently call the “welfare” system (because using the term “benefits” isn’t macho enough). “We can’t continue to have an open-door policy” say all the leaders [and before anyone starts talking about the Greens, remember that they have an immigration policy that specifically says their policy is not intended to increase the numbers of immigrants. They are no better on this than any of the major parties]. “We need to be tougher, but fair”. Let me tell you about this “open-door policy” that we supposedly have. There are various ways that people can come over here, and the rules differ depending on where the person is coming from, why they’re coming over here, how much money they have, and so on.

Economy now bigger than pre-crash levels - Liberal Democrats

Despite how bloody traumatic it’s been at times, I will never regret the decision we took to go into coalition - not doing so would have been so much.

And one thing I do know about UKIP support is that a *lot* of it is based on a perception that there is a sneering, metropolitan pseudo-liberal elite that dominates the discourse in this country, and that mocks the concerns of ordinary people. That perception, more than anything else, is what drives the party’s support.

I think, though I could be wrong, that the sharing on social media of “memes” poking fun at their posters and taking as read that the people who see them are in agreement both that UKIP’s values are wrong and that anyone who supports them must be a bad and stupid person is *PRECISELY* the sort of thing that encourages people to turn to them. You’re doing their recruiting job for them.

I think, really, I’ve had about as easy and straightforward an immigration process as it is possible to have in the UK. And it’s still been arduous, disempowering, expensive, humiliating, complicated, and it’s left me with something that…well, I don’t know what it is and am loathe to self-diagnose, but it feels a bit like PTSD sounds… whenever I hear almost anything about immigration.

I’m just so frustrated that I never, or hardly ever, hear perspectives like mine. I know part of this is due to — irony of ironies — how small a percent of the population immigrants are. But a lot of ground has been ceded to the tabloids and UKIP and stuff. There’s hardly anyone pro-immigration in public life.

These days we start from the pervasive and unacknowledged assumption that immigrants are a drain on society and trying to overrun the country because everybody wants to live in the UK, and carry on from there. Hardly anyone ever questions that. It seems almost like people assume that immigrants can’t see/read what’s being said about us. I remember thinking this once when I was half-listening to a Lib Dem (I think an MP? I can’t remember who) give a speech, and said something about “jobs for British workers” which just made me roll my eyes. A little part of me wanted to shout “I’m right fucking here, you know! I can hear you!” I read about immigration caps it sounds like I’m supposed to be happy about (same as, a couple of years ago, I was supposed to be sad about house prices falling, because the news was for homeowners and not for people like me who might like to buy a house one day before I’d saved up more than a year’s wages as a deposit), when actually my heart sinks to read stuff like the immigration minister saying “We are by improving the selectivity of our immigration system and increasing enforcement activity.”

(trigger warning: discussion of domestic violence) Recently, Charles Saatchi was photographed assaulting his wife, Nigella Lawson, at Scott’s Restaurant. He is shown grabbing her by the throat – he has now accepted a police caution, so there’s no need to caveat this with “allegedly” or the like.

The media furore has quickly turned not to the events in the restaurant, nor the issue of domestic violence, but predictably and boringly to the reaction of high-profile figures to the story. And one of those figures is the Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg. Nick was asked on his call-in show what he would have done if he had witnessed the assault, and gave a reply which has been criticised as stumbling and insufficiently condemnatory. He’s been pressured to issue a statement clarifying his views.

What’s interesting about the statement is that it doesn’t actually answer the question he was asked in the interview, which is what he would have done if he’d witnessed the assault. His stumbling answer was trying to honestly answer the question. And the honest answer is that most people witnessing that assault would have done nothing – particularly if it was over before people had time to react. As the lovely Jennie points out, the bystander effect means that attacks in large crowds are surprisingly rarely challenged, and it’s hard to condemn the witnesses of an event you didn’t see for acting naturally.

mindovermatterzine:

[Image: ATOS logo superimposed over Dr. Nick, the quack doctor from the Simpsons, with a speech bubble saying ‘Time for your assessment!’]

The image above is our entry in the ATOS logo redesign competition. If you haven’t heard of ATOS, they are a French company which was contracted by the government to carry out assessments of disabled people to determine whether they qualify for Employment and Support Allowance (which replaces the old Disability Benefit). This is part of a general shift towards contracting out government services to private companies because it’s apparently ‘more efficient’. But it turns out that, shock! horror! ATOS hasn’t been doing such a good job at assessing whether people are fit for work. In fact they’ve done such a bad job at it that lots of people went online to compain about the way they were being treated. In a situation like this any responsible company would take the criticism seriously and attempt to open up a dialogue with disabled folks in order to address their concerns. That’s not what happened. Instead ATOS sent threatening letters to the Internet Service Providers that hosted the websites, and the ISPs shut the websites down.
The websites that were shut down did not contain any illegal content. In fact they were engaging in exactly the kind of free speech and debate that is necessary for a functioning democracy. However libel lawsuits are so costly that only the rich can afford to defend a libel lawsuit in court. Ordinary people simply do not have the money to hire a lawyer to defend a libel suit, even if the suit is blatantly unfounded, and so even the threat of a lawsuit is enough to get a website shut down.
However the Internet is fighting back. ATOS wants to silence legitimate criticism of them, but disabled people, activists, and bloggers are responding by turning the criticism up several notches. If you’re artistically inclined, or just like playing with Photoshop or the GIMP, why not join in the fun create your own redesigned ATOS logo? Here’s the original logo to start with.


I received the assessment forms in the post this morning. So that’s made me feel better then.

mindovermatterzine:

[Image: ATOS logo superimposed over Dr. Nick, the quack doctor from the Simpsons, with a speech bubble saying ‘Time for your assessment!’]

The image above is our entry in the ATOS logo redesign competition. If you haven’t heard of ATOS, they are a French company which was contracted by the government to carry out assessments of disabled people to determine whether they qualify for Employment and Support Allowance (which replaces the old Disability Benefit). This is part of a general shift towards contracting out government services to private companies because it’s apparently ‘more efficient’. But it turns out that, shock! horror! ATOS hasn’t been doing such a good job at assessing whether people are fit for work. In fact they’ve done such a bad job at it that lots of people went online to compain about the way they were being treated. In a situation like this any responsible company would take the criticism seriously and attempt to open up a dialogue with disabled folks in order to address their concerns. That’s not what happened. Instead ATOS sent threatening letters to the Internet Service Providers that hosted the websites, and the ISPs shut the websites down.

The websites that were shut down did not contain any illegal content. In fact they were engaging in exactly the kind of free speech and debate that is necessary for a functioning democracy. However libel lawsuits are so costly that only the rich can afford to defend a libel lawsuit in court. Ordinary people simply do not have the money to hire a lawyer to defend a libel suit, even if the suit is blatantly unfounded, and so even the threat of a lawsuit is enough to get a website shut down.

However the Internet is fighting back. ATOS wants to silence legitimate criticism of them, but disabled people, activists, and bloggers are responding by turning the criticism up several notches. If you’re artistically inclined, or just like playing with Photoshop or the GIMP, why not join in the fun create your own redesigned ATOS logo? Here’s the original logo to start with.

I received the assessment forms in the post this morning. So that’s made me feel better then.

BiMedia | Bisexual News & Opinion from BiMedia.org

BCN magazine editor Jen Yockney was among the guests at last night’s LGBT garden party hosted by David Cameron at 10 Downing Street.

One of my personal heroes, btw.

New fund announced to help disabled people into politics | eGov monitor | The Information Daily

Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone said that the fund represents “an important step towards levelling the playing field” with giving disabled people more of a voice in politics.

The money will be available until March 2014, and will help meet the costs that a disabled candidate might face when standing for election. The funding will help with transport, technology, and communication support