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Thursday, July 04, 2024

Voting Day Stories

In the olden days I was an active Labour Party member and a town councillor. We had a meeting room in town and on election days were kept busy ferrying voters to and from the polling station and making sure that everyone who said they'd vote Labour actually did so. There are so few active members they don't do that anymore.

Was once checking we'd got all the Labour voters out at a polling station. An illiterate man with learning difficulties wanted to vote Labour but didn't know who it was and couldn't read the names. I'd told him how to count down the list then put his X. On the way out he loudly declared, "I did what you said!" I got some funny looks.

At an election count the council's chief executive overheard me telling someone that I'd recognised someone's ballot paper. He was about to call the police because he thought I'd broken election law when I explained that I recognised the purple felt tip pen and turn of phrase used to write an abusive message across it. The gentleman who'd written it frequently sent me abusive messages. I used to return them after writing in red ink at the bottom, "Thank you. Your comments have been noted." He was annoyed that I'd worked out who he was. It wasn't difficult. He used to shout at me in the street.

I visited a local bookshop run by a fellow town councillor one day. He was in animated conversation with a policeman. I asked what the problem was and he showed me an abusive letter in purple felt tip. I gave the policeman the author's name and address.

Not long after the messages dried up and I heard my abuser had moved away. Wherever he was, he was probably still angry with anyone who hadn't done whatever he thought they ought to do. I don't remember what that was. I no longer had to cross the street when I saw him coming. He wasn't a happy man. Perhaps the pain of his gammy leg made him grumpy?

Sunday, March 10, 2024

Hannah in The Observer

Hannah Barnes, author of Time to Think, has written for the Observer about the malign influence of WPATH in the NHS. I recommend you read her article.

I've written to the editor about it.

Hannah Barnes again raised the disturbing issue of medically experimenting on children with psychological problems, and the malign influence of WPATH (March 10th). WPATH's standards of care were developed from crackpot sexologist Harry Benjamin's 1979 SOC in his 'Harry Benjamin International Gender Dysphoria Association', WPATH's precursor. It was all based on theory without evidence, and that hasn't changed.

What I find extraordinary is the lack of curiosity about the very recent explosion in transgenderism. Where did all these supposedly gender dysphoric adults and children come from? There've been an unknown number of transvestite men for years, but not children. Social contagion via social media was the likeliest stimulus, just as Anorexia and cutting have spread through imitation. It's a craze adopted by people for a variety of reasons. A high proportion of the affected children are autistic, perhaps looking for other outsides like themselves. Many adult males seem to be sexually motivated transvestites, coming out of their closets. But none of this is being questioned, even by those responsible for our national healthcare in the NHS. It's a national scandal, gradually being exposed by people like Hannah Barnes and the women who've had to resort to the law to protect their reputations after suffering trans-motivated discrimination at work. It has to stop.


Saturday, February 12, 2022

The political mess we're in, and can it be fixed?

My friend Tim, who's a great worrier and perpetually perplexed about life in general but politics in particular, shared The Guardian's editorial about John Major's criticism of Johnson on his Facebook page (he doesn't Tweet), lamenting the lack of trust in government that Johnson's responsible for. To be fair, Johnson didn't mess things up all by himself. One of Tim's other friends commented that the Tory Party's lost its way over the last 125 years, his having read a biography of Churchill recently, adding references to Lloyd George, who most young people have never heard of, and the Labour Party's failure to make the most of its post-war opportunities. He didn't mention the NHS, education or welfare. It was a bit like the Four Yorkshiremen sketch, and I visualised him in his armchair, all set to deliver a lesson from history, not having learned much from it at all.

The first democracy, in 5th century BCE Athens, allowed any citizen, apart from women or slaves, to vote on any proposed new law, but they had to turn up at the assembly and vote in person. If they didn't, and didn't like the new law, that was just too bad. Of course that's impractical now, even without the discrimination, but there were no parties in that democracy, though alliances would have been formed in the preliminary discussions. The system relied on the voters being informed, which is also much more difficult now, with so many conflicting points of view from so many sources. Political parties were founded to represent the interests of the different social classes at the time, and those have changed. Now they're a hindrance to true democracy, making it almost impossible for any independent thinkers to be elected while ideologues dominate the discourse.

Anyway, for what it's worth, which isn't much, since I'm resigned to the prospect of our politicians blundering on without achieving any radical change, this was my comment. What it boils down to is that we're stuck with a political system that doesn't work.

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There's no point raking up past history in the current circumstances, though it's important for those who haven't lived through it to know about it. What's urgently needed now, for many reasons, including the prospect of catastrophic climate change that's barely been addressed, is sorting out our antedeluvian political system. Party politics, when party membership has plummeted and is mostly composed of ideologues with a slim grasp of reality, inevitably results in small groups nominating incompetents like Johnson, for all the wrong reasons. It's not surprising that a huge proportion of the electorate is disillusioned and I hear many people who, like me, don't feel inclined to vote for any of them.

The party political system isn't fit for purpose, nor is our electoral system, and I fear that if this isn't recognised and dealt with we can look forward to more of the same, whether or not Johnson's ostensibly in charge. It could be better without him, though that depends on his replacement. Most of us won't get a choice about that.

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This is the link that Tim meant to share, John Major's view of the situation.


Monday, May 17, 2021

Soil

Older readers may remember a radio comedy called 'Beyond our Ken', starring Kenneth Horne with Hugh Paddick, Betty Marsden and Bill Pertwee. One of the characters in it was Arthur Fallowfield, played by Kenneth Williams, a gardening expert whose answer to any question was, "I believe the answer lies in the soil". I think of that often whenever I hear my son Nathan waxing lyrical about soil and its quality.

What's not funny is a general decline in soil fertility internationally due to intensive farming methods. It's no longer acceptable to apply masses of nitrate fertilisers and pesticides to boost yields, as has happened since the post-war years. They run off into waterways, pollute, and don't improve soil quality. Why should this matter to you? It matters to everyone, though most people don't think about soil, except as dirty, muddy stuff that sticks to your shoes. If soil quality is poor, crops fail, fields flood, and there isn't enough food to feed an increasing population. Millions of people are already going hungry, and the effects of climate change are making things worse.

Since Nathan took over the management of Deepdale Farm in North Norfolk in February last year he's become a soil evangelist. Read about what he's doing, think about what you eat, and buy organic.

Sunday, February 28, 2021

Email to Innocent, who sell fruity drinks, 14th February 2020

 To whoever's in charge of your business.

Dear Boss,

I'm the @Flashmaggie that someone in your organisation unfollowed on Twitter at the behest of a guy called Andrew, who claimed that I'm transphobic and could somehow tarnish your reputation by association.

I couldn't care less if you follow me or not and hadn't noticed that you did. The whole thing has blown up out of all proportion but, as you'll now have realised, a lot of people did care much more about it than me. Sorry.

But I do care that you apparently don't understand why people like Andrew, whoever he is, take it upon themselves to police the internet for people like me. I'm very concerned about the nonsense peddled by the Stonewall pressure group and the like that can have serious consequences for all sorts of innocent people, including women, children, transsexuals and trans-identifying people themselves. Some have been personally affected, by losing their livelihoods over false accusations, by being abandoned by their husbands, by having "treatment" that caused irreparable damage, by hatred and bullying, even death threats. Which brings me to my son, who's already been in touch with you because he's worried about the abuse and threats my opinions have attracted. He's waiting for a response.

I know that Coca-Cola is a Stonewall Champion, and there's probably not much you can do about that, but maybe you could inform yourselves by reading my blog, and following the link to an article by Helen Joyce at the end?

And please apologise to my son, who loves me and worries about me.

Margaret Nelson

__________

No answer...
but not surprising, considering that CocaCola is a Stonewall Champion with multiple ethical issues.

Wednesday, October 02, 2019

You either believe or you don't

I wrote the following as a series of Tweets but knowing how many believers are ready to complain about any suggestion that they're wrong about gender, I'm taking the precaution of saving them here.


Transgender ideology is like religion; you either believe in it, or you don't. I don't. I'd like to live in a secular society where religious people are free to believe whatever they like, but not to impose those beliefs onto others, especially children, or to expect special privileges, especially any that conflict with the rights of others. I don't believe that a virgin gave birth or that a man can. In fact, I know that neither can because they're impossible, so don't waste your time telling me I'm wrong.

I get along with religious folk perfectly fine if they're happy to let me be, they don't proselytise, they don't try to indoctrinate children (who are increasingly sceptical anyway), and don't expect me to adopt a reverential approach to their leaders. I judge people by how they behave and expect the same.

So when our politicians, who may or may not have a religious faith, behave as though this relatively new ideology should be accepted without question and not only afforded special rights, over and above those we already have, but rule us out of order if we disagree, you'll have to forgive me for thinking you're daft, and we've already got more than enough daft politicians. We need smarter ones, who'll question the evidence for claims of any description. We're already in enough trouble because of a general lack of scrutiny, of critical thinking.

I've never been very good at doing what I'm told or believing what I'm told. People like me have always annoyed authoritarians of all sorts because we expect to be given good reasons for complying. Where are the good reasons to believe about gender? I've yet to hear any.

As a funeral celebrant, I've included words of advice in my ceremonies; to do the least harm, not postpone anything that's really important, like helping someone you love to find fulfilment, and of course there's Horace's "Carpe Diem".

I might also have said, don't be a dick.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

The Gender Recognition Act consultation

Lex malla, lex nulla
A bad law is no law

It's impossible to provide answers to a government consultation based on fallacies, the main one being the existence of "gender", a bit like being consulted on the value of Father Christmas. I tried, and managed to provide answers to the questions they don't ask.

My concluding remarks:
This consultation is biased in favour of the beliefs of a small minority of psychologically unhealthy people who've adopted a catch-all explanation for their conditions, for a variety of reasons. The original act is deeply flawed. The proposed changes would make things worse. Transgenderism isn't like homosexuality; it's not an innate characteristic. It's a collection of ideas about what it means to be masculine or feminine between two stereotypes that are largely determined by the fashion and beauty industries. Just as the inhabitants of Fiji suddenly developed anorexia when TV became available on the island and they were able to watch soaps that featured characters with the disorder, transgenderism has spread through the popularity of socials media and the encouragement of those with a pecuniary interest in it. Who has a gender? No one.

Remember the false memory syndrome scandal? And how many people have conveniently forgotten it? It'll be much more tricky to forget about gender nonsense when you've further enshrined it in law, won't it?
A woman wrote on Twitter that her husband had responded to the consultation with a lot of words she wasn't sure they'd understand, like "paraphilia", but she thinks he refrained from writing "Bollocks!". I did too, though I was sorely tempted.

Anyway, you have a go.