Showing posts tagged UK politics
(Reblogged from hunky-bat)
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.


[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.

(Reblogged from mindovermatterzine)
(Reblogged from bossa)

Equal Marriage in the UK - It’s about time!

From the 'It's About Time' website.

"It’s about time we had equal marriage in the UK, and we’re one step closer – but we need your help to achieve equality.

The Government have promised equal civil marriage by 2015 at the latest. They are holding a consultation on how this should be done, and you can respond and encourage them to go further – to implement fully equal marriage and civil partnerships for all couples, both religious and secular.

No matter what your politics, we need as many people as possible to respond. We need to send a big message that we want full marriage equality.

Please take part in this next step in the fight for equality. Please tell your family and your friends to get involved too – this is a huge step forward, and everybody can play their part in making history.”

(Reblogged from hunky-bat)

The reason we celebrate Nov. 5th with bonfire night? Where we light fireworks and burn effigies of Guy Fawkes?

Or maybe the Gunpowder Plot was one in a long string of sectarian conflicts in which more often than not Protestants held the upper hand in terms of power and bodycount. Could we at least try to have a little awareness of historical context beyond OMG EVIL CATHOLICS?
Love from Belfast,


Ah sectarianism -  still the curse the of these Isles.I just want a fire festival, that’s all.

(Reblogged from salt-water-chardonnay)
(Reblogged from hunky-bat)