Charlie Brooker said better than I could have, here on Comment Is Free, but I’ve got some stuff to add:

I got BNP literature in the mail today. It’s the first time here, in Adopted Town. In York, where I went to university, aka the whitest place ever ever, it was quite a regular thing. We once even had them at the door. I closed it in their faces. Our Jewish lecturer was appalled that such things were shoved through the doors of unsuspecting students.

Anyway, apparently “people like me” vote BNP. Given that these flyers weren’t selected mailouts but rather the postman had them in his hand (I know because he knocked to give me a parcel), I assume that my neighbours received them too. You know, my Chinese neighbour, and the two Polish families on my street. Do “people like them” vote BNP too? Because ha fucking ha.

I abhor racism in all its forms and I hate the BNP for existing, although obviously, it’s a democracy, they have the right to exist. I just wish they didn’t have the right to put their putrid filth through my letterbox. It’s vomit-inducing. The propaganda on this shit is unbelievable. The worrying thing is that I can see how they work, I can see how the rhetoric spins the truth. To that end I can see how people could get sucked in. It’s unbelievable.

Take, for example, the fact that one of the BNP’s “key pledges” according to this mailout is to “oppose the dangerous drive – backed by the other main parties – to give 80 million low-wage, Muslim Turks the right to swamp Britain.”

This is EU-related stuff. The EU wants Turkey in the EU and clearly that will open up free migration like it did with Eastern Europe when Poland et al joined a few years ago. This is true – and lots of Polish families did move throughout Western Europe. The fear that they would “take all our jobs” was not realised, and never will be realised either. So how likely is it that 80m Turks will come over here? According to Wikipedia that’s the entire population of Turkey plus 9m. Mathematics, not a racist’s strongpoint. Plus, of course, clearly every Turkish person worships Allah. Cos they’re a bit foreign, you see.

I also really object to the leaflet’s use of women and children, it’s so fucking contrived. Really, they’re saying: VOTE FOR US BECAUSE TEH WIMMINZ AND TEH CHILDRUNZ CANNOT BE TRUSTED TO LOOK AFTER THEMSELVES OK?

I’m going to mail it back to the BNP. It wasn’t directly sent to me, but I’d like them to know my displeasure anyway. I’m going to write FUCK OFF on it and send it back. It’s worth the price of a stamp.

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As may have become clear, I loathe Boris Johnson and all that he stands for.

Via The F-Word, Boris Johnson has said that he will not be funding the three rape crisis centres that he promised during his mayoral election campaign. Oh, the shock. I may swoon.

In an astounding level of arrogance, he’s also – in a different article, and regarding the possibility his serving as Prime Minister – said, “if like Cincinnatus I were to be called from my plough, then obviously it would be wrong of me not to help out.”

A rather telling little sentence there, starting with the reminder of his privileged classical education, which presumably the journalists do not share. It seems they don’t own a single streak of curiosity between them either, since if they had, they might have found out that Cincinnatus was a Roman statesman who was nominated dictator when Rome faced war, and who resigned immediately afterwards. I am unsurprised that Johnson conflates the ideas of “prime minister” and “dictator”, but suggest that the honourable gentleman (as House of Commons parlance would have him) would not, in fact, resign the instance his presence was no longer required. In fact, I’m certain he would not, because I cannot see for one moment how his presence is required as Mayor of London, and yet, there he stays.

Moving back to the original F-Word article, we see that Johnson has a press release out on the subject of violence against women. For the good of my sanity, I too am going to refrain from commenting thoroughly on this. I will, however, leave you with this thought:

The second paragraph of the press release starts with this sentence: “when elected last year the Mayor pledged to make London safer for all Londoners.”

Indeed. Let us not forget that this is the man who rushed to the defense of Carol Thatcher when she referred to a black man as a “golliwog”. Let us not forget that this is the man in charge of London, a city that, at the last census, was home to 2,068,888 people of one ethnic minority or another. I’m sure they feel very included. Just like women do now.

Well, Easter is over, and I’ve got no excuse for not going News-Surfing.Does it surprise you to learn that I wasn’t best pleased with what I found? It seems that every time I bow out of popular culture, each return to it is always more painful than the last. It’s like drinking a double shot of vodka after being teetotal for a couple of months, only without the pleasing tipsiness, and with twice the headache. On that note, I hereby refuse to watch The Apprentice ever again. Last year, their habit of calling the women “girls” annoyed me. This year, the infuriating stereotypes involving women and cleaning made me yell epithets at my laptop and stop watching after 10 minutes.

So, without further ado:


Five women have died in unrelated incidents all over the UK. Strangely, nobody seems to care.

  • Claire Atkinson, 33, was found stabbed to death in a car in Lancashire that crashed whilst trying to overtake. The as yet unnamed, 52-year-old male occupant of the car is being treated for head injuries but has been arrested on suspicion of murder.
  • Stephanie Parker, 22, was found hanged in Wales. The article doesn’t explicitly say so, but the tone of the piece makes me suspect that the death is being treated as suicide.
  • An unnamed woman, 62, was found dead in Maidstone. A 61-year-old man has been arrested, with police appealing for information.
  • An “elderly” woman may have been dead in her home for over a year. Police are trying to trace her relatives.
  • Another unnamed woman, 34, was found dead in a property in North Wales. It’s currently an “unexplained” death, until the pathologist’s report comes back.

Two women have been raped, one in Essex after the man tried to steal her bicycle, and one in Glasgow. No surprises here that both rapes were “stranger rapes”, and no surprise either that we’ve got a story of a woman being attacked by a black man who had already marked himself as criminal. Further, since “whiteness” is the default in the BBC – which you can work out for yourself when you ask yourself whose races are emphasised, and whose are not – we can assume that the woman was white. Need I point out that we’re looking at stereotypes here?

On a similar note, the second woman was described as “uninjured but badly shaken” by police, which to me says nothing about the woman and everything about the male police officer making the report. Or perhaps it’s a failing of official language, which minimises the effect of rape. Perhaps both. I have never been raped. I don’t want to speak for anybody. Besides, they speak for themselves in the Shakesville Survivor Thread.


Moving away from the subjects of violence, because too much reading of that kind of thing makes me want to crawl into a corner, I’ve found some stories that push buttons ranging from “minor annoyance” and “frustration with the patriarchy” to “incandescent fury”.


Minor annoyance says “many unaware of alcohol calories“. This is a problem, not because drinking in any quantity is likely to make you not want to eat (thereby depriving you of actual nutrients if you do it too often), but, predictably, because of the Obesity Crisis (TM). Heather Caswell, from the British Nutrition Foundation, is quoted as saying:

“Most people would baulk at consuming a full glass of single cream, but wouldn’t think twice about a couple of pints. But the calorie content is similar and, over time, excess alcohol intake is likely to lead to weight gain.”

Hey, Heather – you know what else leads to weight gain over time? Time! Amazing, isn’t it!

Also, of course you’d baulk at the idea of drinking a glass of single cream. That would be because it’s not meant to be drunk. On the other hand, if I poured that glass of single cream over some smoked salmon trimmings, heated it through and served it with pasta, black pepper and brown bread, I bet you’d eat it (barring vegetarianism, allergies or difference in taste). Ironically, this article about the Obesity Crisis (TM) has made me want to eat cream. I’m sure that’s not the effect they were going for.


Frustration with the patriarchy would be this story: “female hairiness health warning“. In a similar vein to the alcohol = obesity panic above, female hairiness is a problem because, well, who likes women to be hairy? The report’s author, Dr. Swingler, is reported to have said that the condition “is distressing and can be particularly upsetting for young women”. Presumably, that would be because young women have a duty to remain hairless and “sexy” at all times, as opposed to older women, who are only useful in the role of asexual mothers or mother-substitutes. Shockingly enough, this attitude is not expanded upon.

As it happens, hirstutism can be a sign of PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) which may also affect a woman’s fertility. The cynic in me says that it’s not at all surprised that this story has been picked up on, given the number of ways in which it relates to women’s ability to attain their feminine stereotypes.


Lastly, in the “incandescent rage” pile, would be the news that Carol Thatcher is still as offensive as she was last time

I wrote about her, if not more so. I suppose this is where we see the intersectionalities of privilege – she may be a woman, but she’s white, and moneyed, and clearly used to people listening to her. This combines into a truly revolting “interview”, which becomes little more than a platform for Thatcher to say that her collection of golliwog fridge magnets (I can’t believe they’re even made!) has gone up, due to racist well-wishers sending them to her. Oh, and political correctness – apparently it needs “some common sense injected to it”. This from a woman who is breathtakingly rude, and clearly has no common sense. Because, you know, common sense would suggest that it’s not a good idea, after having the bleedin’ obvious pointed out (you know, that “golliwog” is a fucking rude thing to call anybody), to claim that you used it “in a context”.

Yeah, that context would be that you, as a white woman, used a racist epithet to refer to a tennis player in conversation with a white man. That doesn’t make it better. And your explanation at the time, that you “made a light aside about this tennis player and his similarity to the golliwog on the jam pot”, that doesn’t make it better either. You know, because there’s that undercurrent of “ha! Black men, they all look the same, amirite?!”. That would be a racist comment, right there, regardless of what your spokesman said. Oh, and also – for a comment supposedly “made in jest” – it wasn’t fucking funny.

I don’t think I actually expected her to understand that what she did was wrong. Not really. But I never expected her to try to defend them a second time around. That’s not just cluelessness, that’s smacking-you-in-the-face-privilege. I should probably say at this point that Boris Johnson was vocal in his support of her. Not that that will come as any great shock to anybody. But of course, America has a black president now, so presumably we’re living in a post-racist world. I have to wonder whether Carol Thatcher would have refered to him as a “golliwog”.


Well! On that cheery note, I’m ending this weeks’ thrilling instalment. Join me next week, when no doubt there will be more for us all to get annoyed about.

What. The. Fuck?

In the search terms table today: “racism is funny”.


For whoever came here by searching for that, I have a short answer and a long answer.

Short answer: Fuck you, you nasty, malicious, pointless pile of excrement.


Long answer: No, it isn’t, douchebag. It isn’t, it never has been and it never will be. Why? Because people have died, and continue to die because of it. Needlessly and horrifically. Racism is never funny, like sexism and ablism and ageism are never funny, like homophobia and transphobia and xenophobia are never funny, like any other form of discrimination that I’ve missed are never funny, because  people have died.


  • An Indian man, Gregory Fernandes, was killed in a racist attack in 2007. His attackers pleaded guilty to manslaughter in February this year.
  • A 62 year-old disabled woman, Jennifer Macaree, was left to die in her car after she was stabbed repeatedly. This was just two weeks ago.
  • A transwoman, Robyn Browne, was murdered in 1997 , while she was working as a prostitute. Her alleged murderer, James Hopkins, is pleading not guilty.
  • Michael Causer, a gay teenager, was battered to death in July last year. James O’Connor has pleaded guilty to his murder.


And that is such a tiny sample of the people that discrimination has targeted. Those people were all in the UK, and I have only used stories that appeared this year. I haven’t even begun to touch on the stories of people who have been attacked for not being white-able-heterosexual-males that survived. I haven’t even begun to talk about rape. I haven’t begun to talk about all of the people in other countries who have been targeted for being seen as “deviant”. I haven’t – because I can’t – talked about those people who have been killed, or attacked, or harrassed, whose stories haven’t made it into the news.

So many people have been hurt over the years, so many lives have been destroyed. So many of these victims will go unnoticed, unnamed, because this is so common. Because they’re not interesting enough to the mainstream (white-able-heterosexual-male) media. It happens to them because they are who they are. And then their experiences are not recognised, because they are who they are.

How is that in any way funny?

Well, I say that there’s nothing you couldn’t predict. What I mean is, there’s nothing you couldn’t have predicted if your mood veered between blind optimism and blind pessimism at a moment’s notice.


First off, it turns out that the voyeur solicitor I wrote about last week “wanted to get caught”. Oh. Well, that’s alright then. He’s now been suspended indefinitely from practising law. Which, you know, is probably a good thing, considering that he didn’t seem to mind breaking it. I wasn’t feeling optimistic when I read this, which means – given his suspension – that my mood was wrong. Curses.

Also, the knife-point rapist that absconded from a West Yorkshire hostel is being returned to Sheffield. Forgive me if I don’t feel any safer. They found him in Canterbury, which means that this time, my mental prediction that he’d try to get as far away from Yorkshire as possible appears to have been justified. So – optimism says “of course they’ll catch him”, pessimism says “why the bloody hell does he have to come back here?!” The answer being, sadly, that South Yorkshire Police want to talk to him about the murder of a Sheffield prostitute.


Moving away from the subject of sexual crime, I hope this article about racism encountered by PCSOs is met with the resounding lack of surprise it deserves. We’re talking bullying, victimisation, assaults, the works. And – how charming! – there was “no doubting the credibility and consistency” of the complaints. Oooh, it’s almost as though we have to counter victim-blaming smears that haven’t yet even been said, isn’t it? Anyway. Trevor Phillips said recently that the police are no longer institutionally racist. Optimism, anybody?


Hopping between themes once more, and Cherie Booth tells us that the economic downturn provides “an opportunity for women… to be part of the solution”. Off topic slightly, and I confess myself confused that the article refers to her as “Cherie Blair”. It’s not like the BBC had any aversion to calling her Cherie Booth when her husband was running the country. Perhaps they fear that their readers have the memory of a goldfish between them, and couldn’t possibly remember the surname of a woman as being different from her husband’s. Pessimism again, but deservedly so.

Anyway, this all seems very strange to me as it was only a month ago that we were told “Downturn ‘hitting women harder'”.


And, one last thing before I run away to my next tutorial: a gratuitous headless pregnant woman! Joys!

Oh, and an article to go with it, bemoaning the teenage pregnancy rate in the UK. Which has “risen slightly”, apparently. I don’t have the time right now to number-crunch, so I’m just going to roll my eyes and believe nothing for now. Is that optimism or pessimism talking? I have no idea anymore.


Before I brave the snowy wastes of the Hill of Doom (a requirement of leaving my flat, these days!) I’d like to share a few stories I found.

The good:

Spinal Tap (of This Is Spinal Tap fame) are recording new material. I do have a soft spot for Spinal Tap, if only because of the quotes  that they provide me with. “Certainly, in the topsy-turvy world of heavy rock, having a good solid piece of wood in your hand is often useful” springs to mind. As it were.


The bad:

Carol Thatcher has referred to somebody as a “golliwog”. I say no more.


The ugly:

Yet another sexual assualt makes it into the news. This time by a sixteen year old boy, who’s pled guilty in Scotland to “lewd and libdinous practices and behaviour” towards a three year-old girl. He’s previously been convicted in England of taking an indecent photograph, and sexually touching a girl “under 14”, which earned him a 12-month referral order. Anybody think he might be getting worse?


The downright painful:

Doctors remove a healthy kidney (from a living donor) through her vagina. Apparently, “removing the kidney through ‘a natural orifice’ speeds up recovery and gives a better cosmetic result – avoiding a six inch abdominal scar”.

Altogether now… OUCH!

“Once the kidney was cut from its attachments to the abdominal wall and its arteries and veins were stapled shut, the surgeons placed the kidney in a plastic bag inserted through an incision in the vaginal wall and pulled it out through the vaginal opening with a string attached to the bag.”

The article goes on to say that the surgeons hope that this will mean that more women become donors.

I’ll leave that thought to sit for a while, along with this one: is it only me that’s wondering whether vaginas scar too?


And, just for good measure, I had a quick look at The Grauniad, and by ignoring any articles likely to annoy me, I found two that I actually liked. Amazing! Ben Goldacre’s Bad Science* column says that “nothing has changed, people continue to have stupid ideas, newspapers continue to laud them, and lives will be lost”. Worth remembering. Stupidity really can kill, especially if you deny the existance of HIV/Aids.

Lastly, Kira Cochrane has issues with all of the newspapers going for sensationalism over sense regarding the Children’s Society report – perhaps she read my blog and extrapolated?! Funny, she seems to have missed her own newspaper from her list. But they do devote a good five paragraphs to the working-mothers debate. Out of sixteen. Just less than a third of the article, then. So maybe it’s not too bad. Right? Or maybe, since it’s The Grauniad, it was just a typo that left it out of her list? Yeah. Must be that.

Edited To Add: Can’t anything be good? Ben Goldacre, I am officially disappointed.

Hat tip to The F-Word.

Sometimes, I just have no words. Especially when other people have found better ones. This is one of those times.

Read this.

Here’s an excerpt:

“You see, Commander, when you think of a terrorist, you think from a straight white American military male perspective. You get an image in your mind of a guy with brown skin, hijacking a plane or a cargo ship, maybe with a dirty bomb or ricin. You see someone who can be stopped with the right amount of law enforcement and military intelligence, and an operation to stop an attack. Women, particularly minority and lesbian women, have a slightly different perspective….”


Just so we’re clear, troll-like comments will not be given the benefit of the doubt in this thread. Read the comments policy, and don’t say you weren’t warned.