DOG WHISTLE WHILE YOU WORK

Trojan HorseBack when Fleet Street still had some clout in dictating the mood of the nation, a regular tactic employed to garner headlines during a quiet week was the journalistic ‘sting’, whereby the likes of an avaricious individual such as, say, Prince Andrew or his estranged missus could be set up for an encounter with a hack disguised as an African prince or Middle Eastern potentate and thus expose themselves as self-aggrandising parasites prepared to sell their inherited prestige down the river for a few tax-free quid. At the time of these kind of manufactured meetings, there would be a palpable reaction from the public bordering on shock, whereas we’re all now so used to our public servants being bent bastards that we barely batter the proverbial eyelid when they’re caught out. It’s symptomatic of how low we’ve plummeted since more innocent times, I guess; we expect nothing less these days. The contemporary redeployment of these techniques by self-identified ‘activists’ can therefore be counterproductive due to the fact that the plebs have wised-up.

While it goes without saying that anyone who includes gender pronouns in their Twitter account is deserving of every ounce of contempt we can muster, anyone describing themselves as an ‘activist’ is equally asking for it; and when the latter attempt a sting of their own we no longer respond with shock and awe; we see it for what it is and reserve our contempt for the instigators of such stunts. Step forward Ngozi Fulani, a BLM-sponsored, Marxist ‘activist’ with an adopted ethnic moniker and culturally-appropriated wardrobe; over the past couple of days, she has maximised her fifteen minutes by doing the daytime TV chat-show circuit and milking every ounce of her encounter with one of Brenda’s former ladies-in-waiting at Buck House. In case you missed it, Fulani is the ‘activist’ who managed to add her name to a Royal guest-list on the pretext of representing a charity, though to many it seems she accepted the invite with the intention of locating racism at the heart of the British establishment. I often wonder if such characters have a tool-box akin to Batman’s utility belt, crammed with hi-tech gadgets designed to detect racism whether it’s there or not.

It would appear Ms Fulani certainly came prepared, primed with a prearranged agenda to lift the lid on the enemy and build a career on the back of it; to ensure success, she opted for native dress – native, that is, to various African countries. I’d imagine she knew full well that an elderly employee of the House of Windsor accustomed to meeting and greeting Commonwealth dignitaries would probably mistake her for an African ambassador of some sort; and she apparently arrived armed with a hidden tape recorder just to be on the safe side. It’s hard not to conclude that Ngozi Fulani went to this reception with a mission in mind; she may as well have been an agent programmed by some race-baiting branch of the SIS to carry out a task guaranteed to generate fevered discourse on social media and in broadsheet columns, thus further exacerbating an imaginary, unbridgeable gulf between black and white that is essential to dividing and ruling, not to mention upholding the myth of Britain as a racist hellhole obsessed with a long-gone Empire which only the over-60s can even remember the tail end of.

Since Ms Fulani’s version of events went viral, she has displayed the customary victimhood hallmarks, claiming she’d been ‘traumatised’ and ‘violated’ by her meeting with 82-year-old Lady Susan Hussey, who had slipped into a default polite conversation mode with this exotic-looking Woman of Colour; Lady Hussey understandably assumed – given the context – Ms Fulani was a visitor to our fair shores due to wearing the kind of garb commonplace amongst overseas invitees to such events. The dressed-to-kill Fulani honed in on an aged official, sniffing-out an easy ‘toxic’ target in a career move possessing all the premeditated intent of a grandchild mischievously coaxing a mildly right-wing opinion out of a grandparent around the Christmas dinner table. And we only have Fulani’s version of events due to the fact her version has provoked the inevitable cancellation of the only other person witness to it. That’s convenient, for it means the familiar, unquestioned narrative can be maintained free from contradiction.

As has subsequently emerged from the routine root through her social media history, Ngozi Fulani is a committed race-baiter who believes Meghan Markle was a victim of ‘domestic violence’ at the hands of her now-deceased in-laws; gaining access to the lion’s den behind enemy lines must have been like all her Christmases coming at once for said ‘activist’, and she clearly didn’t waste the opportunity when it was presented to her. The ensuing media storm in a chipped teacup has certainly given her the spotlight she evidently craved and has resulted in a demonised servant of more than half-a-century stepping down from her post with the compulsory grovelling apology and a notable absence of support from former gutless associates like that dim Woke marionette Prince William. Ms Fulani has apparently declared Lady Hussey’s forced retirement is ‘not enough’ – what precisely, one wonders, does this ‘activist’ want? A public procession along the length of the Mall in which Lady Hussey receives a hundred lashes? After all, Identity Politics is a religion that doesn’t countenance forgiveness and redemption. Even if Lady Hussey was strung-up for her heinous crimes and her severed head was displayed on a pike for all eternity at the entrance to London Bridge, it still wouldn’t suffice as punishment.

If any punishment needs dishing out, it should be directed towards Identitarian opportunists who promote sectarian dogma that will callously toss irrelevant octogenarians onto the landfill site of public opinion in pursuit of its nihilistic aim. I can do no more than defer to the wise words of Jonathan Meades before changing the subject: ‘To emphasise differences merely consigns people to their background, to where they’ve come from, to their tribe, their caste, their religion. It creates ghettos.’ Everything Ngozi Fulani accuses Lady Hussey of is everything Ngozi Fulani embraces; it is her raison d’être and has provided her with all the invaluable attention she’s received in the past 48 hours. She owes Lady Hussey big time.

CHRISTINE McVIE (1943-2022)

The two threads that run through both distinct incarnations of Fleetwood Mac are the drummer and bassist that gave this long-running transatlantic soapChristine McVie opera its brand name, but of equal importance is the unsung singer-songwriter who replaced the band’s original creative force Peter Green when he succumbed to post-LSD delusions in 1970. The Blues revivalists who morphed into a proto-Hard Rock powerhouse at the end of the 60s suddenly found themselves in a similar situation to contemporaries Pink Floyd upon the loss of Syd Barrett – who was going to write the hits? In the case of Fleetwood Mac, the moment Green departed the hits dried up, despite the handy fact that John McVie’s missus was a proven hit-maker with the band Chicken Shack. Christine McVie joined her hubby’s band at a point when their commercial fortunes nosedived, yet she stuck with them throughout the tricky early 70s; by the time they relocated to a more receptive California in 1974, the recruitment of two new members to a band with the kind of personnel changes that would put Spinal Tap to shame revitalised the enterprise and gave Fleetwood Mac a facelift that turned them into one of the best-selling acts of the decade.

Overshadowed by the dramatic theatrics of the Lindsey Buckingham/Stevie Nicks love/hate saga, McVie quietly churned-out some of the most memorable tracks on the landmark 1977 LP ‘Rumours’, such as ‘Don’t Stop’, ‘You Make Loving Fun’ and the immortal ‘Songbird’; lacking the photogenic flamboyance of Nicks, McVie got on with her job from behind the keyboard comfort zone and delivered the goods on the band’s succeeding albums, maintaining a low profile that perhaps robbed her of the recognition that has now belatedly come with her untimely passing at the age of 79. But, as with anyone capable of penning songs of such enduring quality, McVie is survived by her art.

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WOMAN’S WORLD

Wolf‘Hard Times’, the often-overlooked 1854 novel by Charles Dickens set in a fictitious Northern Powerhouse named Coketown, features the character of Thomas Gradgrind, a school board superintendent whose rigid adherence to cold, hard facts at the expense of imagination is drilled into the children in his charge; one of his star pupils is known as Bitzer, a humourless product of Gradgrind’s educational model. Towards the end of the book, Bitzer – who has matured into an emotionless bank clerk allergic to any appeal to humanity against which his education has immunised him – appears unmoved by Gradgrind’s change of heart, and Gradgrind belatedly realises the error of his ways. In many ways, the story is a morality tale based upon the ‘you reap what you sow’ maxim, but it could also be interpreted as a case of ‘be careful what you wish for’. The character of Bitzer is a warning of what can happen when a malleable individual is exposed to an immovable ideology at an impressionable age by those too full of their own righteousness to countenance the possibility that their utterly inflexible dogma might not be the be-all and end-all after all. But it is too late.

For some reason, ‘Hard Times’ sprang to mind when I was watching an interview on the ‘Triggernometry’ YT channel with Kelly-Jay Keen-Minshull, better known by her user-name of Posie Parker, the so-called ‘anti-Trans activist’ (© Wikipedia) who has endured a campaign by the MSM and social media over the past three or four years demonising her as a (Shock! Horror!) free speech advocate and campaigner for women’s rights. The interview included graphic descriptions of the kind of state-sponsored butchery which even Nazi surgeons would’ve regarded as a bit much, but brainwashed ‘Trans-teens’ are subjected to in pursuit of their perceived human rights, and was an eye-opener as well as further sad confirmation of the sorry state we’re in. But it also made me think of the long-term feminisation of the western world, something which is all around us (often in the most innocuous places), and something that has perhaps led us to where we are now, including the brand of insanity Posie Parker has based her public career in opposition to.

It made me wonder if the way in which traditional masculine virtues have been repeatedly rebranded in a negative light over the past two or three decades – AKA ‘toxic masculinity’ – could be indirectly responsible for the extremities of the Trans movement that Posie Parker is such a virulent opponent of. Whilst some men have been driven towards suicide by a society that regards their once-prized qualities as poison, others – specifically on the far fringes of the Trans cult – have dealt with the negativity by aping ‘feminine’ characteristics to the point whereby they come across as female caricatures, straight out of a sensationalistic 90s ‘Jerry Springer Show’ dealing with drag queens. But their freak-show personas make sense in some respects; it is almost as though they’ve realised the only way in which they can be validated as human beings in an increasingly feminised society is to transform themselves into women – even if that transformation neatly sidesteps all the awkward and uncomfortable biological factors that separate natural-born men from natural-born women.

As part of the illusion, they simply pretend to be in possession of these factors, such as pregnancy and menstruation – just witness the revamped unisex marketing of female-exclusive products like tampons in recent years – and their successful monopolisation of the victim narrative so prevalent within mainstream culture has guaranteed them the co-operation of a corporate world eager to signal its virtue; the near-religious worship of the Stonewall interpretation of LGBTXYZ values before which all have to bow down has enabled them to implement their non-binary fantasy into every strata of society and to indoctrinate another gullible generation in the process. But we already have one generation that has been taught the only way to get on and get ahead is to be a woman rather than a man. Over-representation within the MSM as a hackneyed method of compensating for past discrepancies has its undoubted drawbacks – even my mother has complained she’s sick of women presenting everything on television, particularly sports programmes; but this is one of the more noticeable results of submitting to the demands of radical feminism. There are no contemporary Des Lynam or Dickie Davies figures for granny to drool over anymore; they have to make do with the likes of Alex Scott because women obviously only want to see other women on their TV screens. A younger female friend of mine made a similar complaint that all the male presenters today seem to be gay, but that’s what diversity and inclusivity’s all about innit. TV executives used to make the same mistake when producing kids shows presented by kids; they didn’t twig that kids didn’t want to see other kids on the telly; kids actually want to see grownups instead of nauseating little brats they fantasise about punching.

There are far more serious unforeseen side-effects when one chooses to use radical feminism as a blueprint for society, however; is it any wonder some men conclude that avoiding the dreaded masculinity and embracing what they believe to be feminine traits is the way forward if social mores have been reorganised to fit the Rad Fem agenda? The ‘fashion acccessory’ Trans-fanatics that aren’t prepared to commit to the time-consuming surgical processes of actual transition but imagine wearing a dress and donning makeup is enough are the monsters that radical feminists have created. And this is the monster that has come back to bite them, for now we have men in drag encroaching into women’s spaces that legislation provoked by radical feminist doctrines has facilitated. So, we end up with a sadly ironic situation that has diminished hard-won women’s rights and has marginalised biological women to a reduced status within society once again – a place where they’re described as ‘bleeders’ or ‘birthing people’ in official literature produced by the likes of the NHS so as not to offend the Trans lobby, where the actual word ‘women’ itself has become so loaded that even a darling of the Left such as JK Rowling can be cast out, ostracised and blacklisted from polite society for daring to say it.

Posie Parker claims that the ultimate manifestation of ‘toxic masculinity’ is the adoption by some men of female trademarks in order to pass themselves off as women and to therefore be accepted by a western world that has remodelled itself along feminine lines – and she may well have a point. When we think of toxic masculinity we usually picture a pea-brained macho idiot who talks of women solely based on their physical attributes; but some of the unhinged Trans activists who turned up to protest outside the venues comprising Posie Parker’s recent US visit were – for all their superficial co-opting of visual female tropes – far more vociferous and vicious in their aggressive misogyny towards the actual women attending than a mob of MAGA hat-wearing rednecks. By exposing their surgically-manufactured breasts in a show of narcissistic exhibitionism and haranguing attendees, they did far more damage to their own cause than someone like Posie Parker could ever do; but it does make one wonder why such evidently mentally-ill individuals are so indulged in their imaginary worldview. Or is this the actual patriarchy in action, not the old-school, testosterone-fuelled male stereotype, but reborn as the wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing of imitation women – the worst kind of toxic masculinity?

The pendulum which once swung in a very masculine direction appears today to have swung to the absolute opposite, yet the one place it would work for both sexes is somewhere in the middle, a place where there is room for the old-style male and female archetypes as well as those that borrow a bit from both and blur the lines in a healthy fashion. But that’s not where we’re at right now, unfortunately; like Thomas Gradgrind, we’re confronted by a poisonous harvest of our own making.

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THE COLOUR OF MONEY

Pointing 2Like a stubborn dad repeatedly making a pig’s ear of repairing something in the house, determined not to lose face by calling in a professional tradesman, the knee-taking footballers cannot countenance entirely dropping the habit. Even though the virtue-signalling futility of it has seen the ritual reduced to specific showcase matches rather than a pre-match ceremony before every game, its presence remains. Then again, the FA are too full of their own noble narcissism to accept such a vacuous gesture is a safe pose compared to making a real stand against genuine injustices by, say, refusing to participate in the upcoming World Cup in the human rights haven that is Qatar. Similarly, rentagob Woke football pundit Gary Neville, notoriously swift to seize upon any imagined discrimination within the game, clearly sees no contradiction in accepting lucrative offers from the totalitarian Middle Eastern autocracy that has built stadia via slave labour – which pretty much tells you all you need to know about the hypocritical morality of a sport too eager to maintain the affluence to which it has become accustomed to put conscience before avarice.

Football authorities capitalised on the absence of uncouth fans and their dissenting voices when resuming play behind closed doors during the pandemic; the national game was quicker than any other sport to bombard viewers at home with divisive dogma and political sloganeering because it – as with every other institution that profits from a weaponised cause – knew any objections could be instantly dismissed as bigotry. And the moment supporters were allowed back into the newly-consecrated temples of ‘tolerance’, the inevitable objections to being preached at were predictably (and unjustly) branded as bigoted nostalgia for the bad old days of bananas being thrown at black players. The supporters’ beef wasn’t with Footballers of Colour, but with being lectured by wankers who view them as inconvenient scum; not that they’re given a break from it, mind. Watching ‘Football Focus’ these days is akin to being battered about the head with a copy of the Guardian, so relentless is the pushing of ‘the message’ with endless features on mental health issues or homophobia or misogyny or racism. Not that the programme is unique when it comes to BBC1, however.

Having been reluctantly forced to sit through a sample of Saturday evening BBC1 a few weeks ago, I discerned the latest box being ticked on the BBC inclusivity/diversity checklist appeared to be dwarves. There was one on ‘Strictly Come Dancing’, one on a trailer for a sitcom, and then one as a contestant on ‘Blankety Blank’. It goes without saying that there’s no reason whatsoever why dwarves should be excluded from such shows, but the fact three in a row featured within the space of fifteen minutes was obviously yet another example of the cynical – not to say condescending – BBC approach to a minority within society. You overload every programme with the minority-of-the-week to compensate for past omissions and then present a lopsided picture of that society, all the while patting yourself on the back for being such a Good Person. Many years ago, a friend of mine saw a thalidomide comedian at a small venue and told me how the audience was crammed with smug, self-satisfied middle-class punters laughing hysterically at every joke, demonstrably pleased at how they were in possession of so little prejudice that they’d treat a thalidomide comedian the same as any able-bodied comedian; only, they weren’t treating him the same; they were effectively patting him on the head.

This trend is never more apparent than when these types – and a fair few of them work for the BBC, let’s be honest – speak to any non-white guest on TV or the radio. One can almost count down the minutes until the ‘racism question’ gatecrashes the interview. Anyone white who has a black or Asian friend or neighbour would find such a line of questioning rightly ridiculous in ordinary conversation, yet the MSM presenter has to insert it in there as soon as possible. ‘Oh, you’re black, therefore you must experience racism all the time’. Yes, I’m sure the minute the interviewee steps out of the door he or she feels as though they’re in 1950s Alabama. Of course someone black or Asian will probably have experienced some form of racism in their lives, just as many women will have experienced some form of misogyny, many gay people will have experienced some form of homophobia and so on. But chances are other things far more interesting will have happened to them in their lives – or even merely ordinary, relatively dull things that everybody experiences. Not that the MSM want to know that, though; they need their precious victim narrative reinforcing, even if organisations that exploited it have belatedly been exposed as charlatans.

Suddenly, celebrities who could’ve been relied upon to ‘do the right thing’ a couple of years ago are openly questioning BLM. Fancy that – everyone from Kanye West to Sharon Osbourne. Ozzy’s missus wants her money back – good luck with that. They’ve just realised this unashamedly Marxist mafia that deliberately stoked division, were sponsored by everyone from ice cream manufacturers to the Mayor of London, and scammed a fortune from well-meaning individuals motivated by good intentions, using the cash not to improve the lives of the impoverished communities they purported to speak on behalf of but to feather their own multi-million dollar nests, aren’t saints after all. Well, some of us were pointing that out at the time, whilst Seattle neighbourhoods were burning and lockdown-breaking marches were laying waste to our city centres. The online reaction to famous names expressing their feelings of being conned has ranged from deafening silence to obstinate denial to confused claims these former fellow suckers have turned ‘right wing’ overnight.

But when you have a world in which medical students – such as those at Minnesota University – are forced to take an oath to ‘fight white supremacy, colonialism and the gender binary’, don’t be surprised that opportunists will spring up to build careers and generate immense wealth on the back of it. Not that spinning this shit is exclusive to seats of learning in the US, however. Only the other week, the Students Union at the University of Westminster announced it was getting into the colour bar business by declaring white students would be barred from its ‘Black History Month’ events, which will be ‘reserved for black students to encourage a safe space for discussions and honest conversation’. Dr Neil Thin, a lecturer at Edinburgh University, said in response, ‘It is bitterly ironic to see the rhetoric of “safe spaces” abused to justify racial segregation. Nothing is more likely to make social spaces unsafe than this kind of wilful sowing of interethnic suspicion and division.’ Indeed. Isn’t this…er…institutionalised racism?

Ditto the NHS. Amy Gallagher, a nurse in the final stages of a two-year course in forensic psychology, is suing London’s Portman Clinic following claims she had no choice but to participate in a compulsory 2020 online lecture titled ‘Whiteness – a problem of our time’. When she raised objections, Gallagher says she was threatened with suspension from her course. ‘They are forcing Critical Race Theory onto people,’ she says. ‘You’re not allowed to disagree with it or they will bully you for two years. The NHS is forcing someone to adopt a racist ideology and it needs to be stopped…what they describe as anti-racism is racism. What they describe as tolerance is an intolerance of anyone who thinks differently to them. Left unchallenged, such institutional bullying will only be emboldened.’ As with the long-overdue questioning of the ethics of child transgender clinics and the disturbing theories of their affiliated organisations such as Stonewall and Mermaid, it was only a matter of time before people began standing up to the toxic ideology that has infiltrated our institutions. There may be a long way to go, and many battles to be fought, but at least it’s a start.

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CULTURAL EXCHANGES

Iran 2Despite ‘The Sopranos’ and Scorsese movies, most Italian-Americans are not slaves to their inherited heritage, though they are selectively proud of it; like Irish-Americans, their affinity with an ancestral homeland they’re considerably distanced from by several generations and more than 100 years is really a sentimental ideal rather than something rooted in the lived experience of its realities. First and foremost, what they feel more than anything is American, probably because their immigrant forefathers didn’t want to be regarded as ‘others’; they wanted a piece of the American action and wanted to be integrated; their destination was a blank slate, unlike the homeland that had evidently offered them nothing. Some initially clung to the comfort blanket of the culture they’d left behind, but this gradually shifted into the background, only occasionally exhumed for a sporting event or a saint’s day. Descendants of Jewish communities in the US and over here have undergone a similar transformation; they too followed the same pattern, with each successive generation one further step away from those who coped with an alien environment by seeking solace in the religious symbolism, the mother tongue, and – perhaps the most enduring legacy – the food.

Likewise, distinctive dishes remain one of the most notable elements of a West Indian culture that has survived amongst a community with deep roots in the UK stretching back to the first decade after the War. The original pioneers of all these groups, but particularly the Afro-Caribbean, often found their new countries bewildering and occasionally hostile places to settle, yet they were eventually absorbed into their chosen home to the point whereby their children and grandchildren are today as native as the descendants of the indigenous population. Indeed, all the examples given could be regarded as ‘multicultural success stories’, for however strong the romanticised image of the original homeland remained as a badge of identity, it was to be gradually superseded in significance by the new society in which the first wave fought hard to have a stake. Slang has sometimes been adopted as a verbal nod to the old country, albeit purloined and twisted by youth; and sub-Jamaican patois eventually morphed into the standard lingo of adolescents of all colours attempting to cultivate a ‘street’ image, the one mercilessly parodied in the comic creation of Ali G. Innit.

Nevertheless, the rise of the hardest-working immigrants and their offspring up a social ladder to eventual acceptance succeeded because it eschewed ghettoisation, isolation and separatism. Sure, keep those cherished relics of granddad’s birthplace up in the attic or in the memory, but don’t weaponise them and let them hold you back from being a contributor to the society he fought to be a member of; instead, let those artefacts and those oral stories serve to show you how far you’ve come. That, surely, is what multiculturalism should mean? Not social apartheid, with self-contained, cocooned communities cut off from their neighbours of different races, inhabiting an imaginary facsimile of the homeland most have never lived in, having little or no contact with anyone beyond that community and being patted on the head by the white middle-classes for being so wonderfully ‘ethnic’.

The ‘Muslim Community’ is such a ghastly, catch-all term that lumps together many disparate groups who happen to share the same faith (regardless of its myriad forms), though it tends to operate in one context where the ruling cultural and political elite are concerned. And Muslims of a certain strain are the adopted pets of the elite – infantilised victims forever at the receiving end of this hideous, institutionally racist country that immigrants from numerous Muslim nations mysteriously decide to set up home in. Don’t even think about integrating to the point whereby you can progress all the way to holding one of the four Great Offices of State like a socially mobile opportunist! Stay in your lane.

What may well begin in cosseted faith schools and end in the industrialised grooming and raping of vulnerable ‘white trash’ children has been left to fester due to fear – fear harboured by the graduates of a system now entrusted with authority and reluctant to enforce it. Events in Leicester last weekend – and the East Midlands city itself is often held up as a multicultural success story by the usual suspects – showed the consequences of turning a blind eye. The kind of ancient sectarian hatred that has scarred the Indian Subcontinent for centuries – or has indeed done likewise via a different religion just across the Irish Sea – has now boiled over in the middle of England, with gangs of young Hindus and Muslims clashing like Mods and Rockers with God on their side. As police seemingly stood by and declined to intervene, the multicultural fantasy of the chattering classes went up in flames that have been fanned by decades of non-interference and appeasement.

Added to the combustible mix is a divisive dose of Identity Politics, whereby a single (and usually irrelevant) characteristic of the individual is multiplied across the group and thereafter utterly defines them all as one homogenous racial tribe pitted against another. And if it’s reported at all by the MSM, it’s seen through the manufactured prism of Islamophobia, with good guys (Muslims) being victimised by bad guys (Hindus). Ironic in a week which saw the majority of the nation feel more united than it has in a long time that this ugly side-effect of Identitarian separatism should erupt. Moreover, it’s equally ironic that this desecration of a cornerstone of the Woke manifesto should come at a moment when an actual Islamic State is seeing an angry uprising against the symbols of oppression the Guardianistas refuse to countenance as dehumanising at all. Young Muslim women are cutting their hair and burning the hijab, and they’re doing this on social media sites for all of Iran to see.

What sparked this wave of incredibly brave protest against the strictest interpretation of Islam’s doctrines was the death in ‘morality police’ custody of 22-year-old Masha Amini, who was arrested in Tehran for the heinous crime of displaying her hair in a public place. Within hours of being arrested, Amini’s State captors informed her family she’d fallen into a coma following a ‘heart attack’ and had been hospitalised; within three days, a perfectly healthy young woman with no history of heart trouble was dead. One imagines this is not an uncommon occurrence in Iran, yet the sudden death of Masha Amini has ignited tensions that have been simmering for a long time; dissatisfaction with severe measures that uphold Iran’s brand of Islam as dictated by the country’s rulers seemingly needed one grotesque incident to provoke civil unrest – and Iran now has it. Upwards of a dozen people have been killed during these violent street protests; riot police have opened fire on protestors, yet still the female population of a country that views them as second-class citizens are defying the weight of the State and tossing their hijabs en masse onto bonfires. One would think the democratic land of the free that is the West would celebrate and support this valiant rebellion against the ultimate repressive regime, no?

Well, unlike the disproportionate response to the admittedly brutal killing of a career criminal by a Minneapolis policeman, there have been no widespread Western protests over the death of Masha Amini or symbolic gestures of solidarity with the fearless female rebels of Iran; no, you won’t see footballers taking the knee for Masha or wearing shirts with Amini’s face plastered all over them. Sadly, unlike George Floyd – whose death nicely chimed with the Woke ‘White Supremacist’ narrative – Masha Amini was the ‘wrong’ kind of victim and the rigid league table of the Oppression Olympics doesn’t recognise the hijab as something that suppresses women’s rights, just like the misogyny of extreme Trans activism isn’t acknowledged. The twisted logic of the dogma in which all our institutions are indoctrinated is confronted by an insoluble conundrum when it comes to events in Iran, hence all those heads currently buried in the sand. One would like to think evidence all the way from Tehran to Leicester would highlight the gaping holes in the argument; but don’t hold your breath. Or burn your hijab.

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SEDUCTION OF THE INNOCENT

La RueThey might be stereotyped as gammon-flavoured ‘White Supremacists’ at worst or plebeian homophobes at best, but the parents concerned about the indoctrination of their prepubescent children into the extremities of Trans dogma are rightly up in arms that the educational authorities have allowed nurseries, libraries and primary schools to be infiltrated by an ideology that should be reserved for those old enough to make their own minds up. The parents have been left with little choice but to gate-crash the disturbing trend for drag queens to host an alternative ‘Jackanory’ for toddlers in some of our public libraries, promoting ‘gender fluidity’ and ‘queer role models’ before an audience far too young to grasp the intricacies of a philosophy that routinely outfoxes adults. Drag queens – occasionally entertaining foul-mouthed parodies of female sexuality and purveyors of camp sensibilities in the right context – have no place broadcasting Identitarian propaganda to pre-school children in a supposed ‘safe space’. And those parents who allow their offspring to be exposed to a trend (unsurprisingly) imported from across the pond are as misguided in their attempts to raise a generation without prejudice as parents in the past were in trying to beat traditional gender roles into children exhibiting signs of ‘effeminacy’ or tomboyish traits.

Along with bowing and kneeling before the ubiquitous Pride flag in an enforced ceremony of emotional blackmail that would raise a smile on the chubby countenance of Kim Jong-un, accepting extreme Trans beliefs without question has become a sinister strain of social engineering in recent years, helped in no small part by the successful lobbying tactics of a one-time gay charity that lost the plot a long time ago. That now-beyond saving bastion of unhinged activism called Stonewall has a strong foothold in the corridors of power and a disproportionate influence in the corporate world; it awards brownie points in the Top 100 Employers Index to businesses and organisations that slavishly adhere to its Workplace Equality doctrine in a desperate bid to evade social media blacklisting. The gender-identity mantra pursued with such aggressive fanaticism by Stonewall since around 2015 has been adopted across the board by virtually all of our institutions, and any dissenting voices are silenced by unleashing online hounds that take no prisoners, whether the critic is male, female, straight or gay.

Former British Olympic swimmer Sharron Davies has been fighting a brave battle against the desecration of her old sport as it has allowed mediocre male swimmers suddenly identifying as female to enter women’s disciplines and to utilise their physical advantages in order to claim the top of the podium when the medals are dished out. For her troubles, Davies has been subjected to awful levels of online abuse; but just as race-baiting activism often exposes the racism of its practitioners, the deep-rooted misogyny at the heart of Trans activism is similarly plain to see when natural-born women rebel against the deranged dogma pushed at them from all sides. Labelled TERFs – Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists – any woman opposed to men who abruptly declare themselves women without committing to gender-reassignment surgery, those who believe simple self-identification entitles them to overnight access into female-only spaces such as public toilets and changing rooms, is fair game for the same treatment received by Sharron Davies and – even more so – JK Rowling.

The insanity of being beholden to this fantasy philosophy is evident in the increasingly embarrassing activities of Police Forces online (activities that erode the last remaining vestiges of respect for the Force even further), as well as headlines describing a ‘male rapist’ whose victims were duped due to ‘his’ prosthetic penis; yes, of course, this rapist was a woman identifying as a man, for an actual man obviously wouldn’t need a fake prick to commit his vile crime. Yet, the fact the misleading headline portrayed her as a man was as disturbing a diversion into fiction as the fact she has to be referred to as a man during court proceedings and in any reporting of the case. This is how the 2010 Equality Act – one of the most abused pieces of legislation arguably ever passed by a British Government – has been twisted to fit the Trans ideology. OK, one can identify as anything one wants to, but that doesn’t mean the rest of the world has to fall in line with the individual’s personal preference; I mean, I could suddenly say I identify as an 18th century nobleman, but does that entitle me to turn up at the House of Lords in an ermine ensemble and demand entry to the chamber?

Yes, it’s mad enough when all of this is inflicted upon the voting-age public by academia, the media, the NHS, the Church of England, the Police Force and the worlds of sport and entertainment, but when children are subjected to it as well, something has to give. Parents who take it upon themselves to diagnose their kids as gender dysphorian and decide they need sex-change surgery are playing a dangerous game that could have lifelong consequences for their children. Take the case of Keira Bell, a young woman who a couple of years back won a High Court case against the now rightly-discredited (and soon to close) Gender Identity Service at the NHS Tavistock and Portman Clinic. Aged 14, the tomboy Bell came to believe this defining aspect of her personality meant she required gender reassignment when nobody told her it was perfectly fine to not be ‘girly’; after a mere handful of appointments at the said clinic, she was placed on a course of ‘puberty blockers’ whilst barely 16, her life in the hands of gender-identity ideologues who have espoused the belief that even 10-year-olds who don’t conform to gender stereotypes can undergo experimental treatments.

On testosterone at 17, Bell endured a double mastectomy at 20, yet shortly afterwards the damage done began to dawn on her. By this time, she was mature enough to decide personal issues around gender and sexuality for herself; but it was too late. She has since joined the lengthening queue of those who have ‘de-transitioned’, but the mental scars of her state-sanctioned mutilation will probably outlast even the physical ones. At times, the solution to Keira Bell’s adolescent confusion is chillingly similar to that practiced in Iran, whereby anyone suspected of homosexual leanings is automatically placed on the transitioning waiting-list; moreover, it’s also reminiscent of the kind of ‘chemical castration’ Alan Turing was subjected to in the 1950s, as though the G in the LGBTXYZ acronym is something to be discouraged; showing gay or lesbian symptoms when young is now seemingly seen as a green light for transitioning.

Confused teens in a mess due to a variety of tragic reasons have been sold the idea that changing sex is the panacea that will resolve their problems, with organisations such as the Gender Identity Service at Tavistock responsible for spinning such a dangerous yarn – though the likes of the NSPCC and Bernardo’s, establishments that are supposed to protect the interests of children, have been just as culpable in propagating this myth, along with the dubious Trans-youth lobbyists, Mermaid. And all are in the pockets of Stonewall, who have recently put forward the ridiculous proposition that ‘children as young as two recognise their Trans identity’. Stonewall already has a handy guide for parents and schools re children living as their ‘chosen gender’; along with primary school teaching materials selling fanciful theories as fact – such as claiming sex is assigned at birth by doctors rather than being determined by straightforward biology – it’s no wonder parents are waking-up to just how deeply the Stonewall agenda has been embedded in the educational system.

An acquaintance of mine who has spent the past twelve months or so transitioning from male to female took this life-changing decision following a slow realisation spread over several years. Children do not have the luxury of getting to know themselves in the same way, and any efforts to ‘sexualise’ them can also take them down some very dark roads indeed. However, it does appear that people are at last beginning to push back against this dogma; those in genuine need of help should be able to receive it, but those whose issues are not gender dysphorian should be steered well away from an ideology whose fantasy is not reality.

© The Editor

Website: https://www.johnnymonroe.co.uk/

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IN A SAFE SPACE, NO ONE CAN HEAR YOU SCREAM

vlcsnap-2022-06-28-01h10m06s215Whilst checking out Paul McCartney’s set on TV over the weekend and simultaneously ignoring predictably disparaging online commentaries (you’ll only be praising the few living legends left once they’re gone, guys), I eventually began to weary a little of the endless cutaways of Sebastian and Jocasta sitting on the shoulders of their uni sweethearts. I suspended my instinctive hostilities towards the gap-year gig-goers until remarking to a friend that the Glastonbury Festival was essentially Glyndebourne in a leather jacket; this followed on from my summary of it a decade ago as the indie scene’s equivalent of the Royal Variety Performance. The latter observation appears irrelevant now considering the said scene has failed to throw up a suitable headliner capable of drawing the punters in like the old guard, whose reliance on backing singers to ‘carry them’ is the best we can hope for when taking their advanced years into account, not to mention the inability of their lamentable heirs to deliver the goods. At the same time, all are within their rights to criticise, regardless of their ignorance.

After all, viewers of any live showbiz event in this day and age have to endure the tiresome parade of pop star and movie star f**kwits giving their ill-informed opinions on complex political situations of which their celebrity status – amazingly – does not necessarily translate as in-depth knowledge, regardless of their misplaced conviction we should sit in reverential silence and listen to their sermons. If these idiots are allowed a platform to air their half-arsed expertise, I see no reason why equally ignorant amateurs shouldn’t be able to do likewise on social media. It’s always those who know the least on the subject under discussion that want to lecture others on it, anyway, so the non-famous are just as qualified as the famous. Ironically, many of these were induced into hysteria at the prospect of bonkers billionaire Elon Musk purchasing Twitter; his stated intent to restore traditional interpretations of free speech to an outlet infamous for curtailing contradictions to the consensus in recent years provoked a memorably OTT reaction, though I do wonder if it was all simply a publicity stunt on the part of Musk to raise his profile even further – or a deliberately mischievous wind-up.

Many of the hilariously foaming-at-the-mouth responses to the Musk bid came from the same people who compared the Union Jacks draped in displays across London thoroughfares during the Jubilee to Swastikas in Nazi Germany – those who mysteriously don’t come to the same conclusions when the flying flag is the bloody rainbow one flapping in everybody’s face. There’s an argument to be made that the flag of a nation has a divine right to be displayed whereas a pretend flag has to earn its status through something other than enforced emotional blackmail; but it’s a point we’re evidently not allowed to make when each and every corporation and institution cynically latches on to the ubiquitous LGBTXYZ agenda as though they really ‘care’ and every terrified pleb is scared of being ostracised on Facebook if they don’t stress their support via profile pics.

I suppose when Boris undergoes a rare moment of truth-telling and states that women are not actually born with a penis, it gives such chickens a chance to criticise an easy target and restore their status as being on ‘the right side of history’, but this is an insecure security that is symptomatic of the age in which we live. Smugly delusional in their denial of reality, such cowards imagine the agents of social justice will somehow cease their crusade once all ‘undesirables’ are cancelled, yet they don’t seem to realise such agents won’t stop once they’ve excised ‘the enemy’, which is a shape-shifting entity with no end in sight. I won’t evoke the French Revolution simply because I make the assumption readers will be aware of how that particular historical event progressed from admirable idealism to ‘meet the new boss, same as the old boss’ in an exceedingly short space of time; yet, the recent case of comedian Joe Lycett – visited by Plod courtesy of a solitary complaint by one offended punter – shows how even the most on-song Woke troubadours are just as vulnerable to cancellation as those who don’t buy into the prevailing trend, something that perhaps underlines just how worthless signing-up to the prevailing trend really is.

Tapping into this climate, the Government’s proposed ‘Online Safety Bill’ has received a mixed response from those who stand to be affected by its proposals – whether conscious or no – and even a one-time Minister has now weighed-in with his size nines. Lord Frost, the former Brexit Minister, has urged his former Cabinet colleagues to think again when proceeding with this lamentable piece of kneejerk legislation. ‘A Conservative Government,’ he said, ‘should not be putting this view into law. The best thing the Government could do would be to slim down the Bill so they can proceed rapidly with the genuinely uncontroversial aspects and consign the rest to where it belongs – the wastepaper basket.’ He added that the proposed Bill was both ‘unsatisfactory’ and ‘un-Conservative’ and that it would be highly damaging to free speech as well as benefiting the ‘perennially offended’ seeking to be permanently protected from anything they happen to disagree with.

Frost makes the point that the Bill threatens to outlaw comments online that would be perfectly legitimate offline, and he’s not alone in his concerns. Other former prominent Tories such as Liam Fox and David Davis have been similarly frank in their assessment of the proposals. ‘The Bill could end up being one of the most significant accidental infringements on free speech in modern times,’ said Davis, though one can’t help but suspect the Woke mole in the heart of Government, Carrie Antoinette, is pushing the PM into giving his support. The Institute of Economic Affairs reckons the intended law has ‘scope, complexity and reach that are breathtaking’, for whilst it puts pressure on tech giants to curb odious online content re child pornography and ‘hate crime offences’, the interpretation of the latter is utterly subjective and down to where one stands. The Labour Party, whose leader can’t bring himself to own up to biological fact for fear of alienating potential metropolitan voters, is keeping quiet about the Bill, though that’s no great surprise.

I noticed Sir Keir was quick to virtue signal re the recent overturning of the Roe Vs Wade judgement of 50 years ago in the US, though – as some troublesome wag on Twitter pointed out – the Labour leader was curiously reluctant to voice women’s rights when it came to denouncing those named and shamed in the report into South Yorkshire grooming gangs belatedly published last week, most of which took place in towns and cities run by Labour councils. Similarly, professional virtue signaller and renowned smarmy creep Justin Trudeau was quick to register his outrage re Roe Vs Wade, yet – as was also highlighted on Twitter – the Canadian PM wasn’t so ‘your body, your choice’-friendly when it came to how those with-child were treated during the pandemic. ‘You tried to mandate I take a vaccine with unknown fetal side-effects while I was PREGNANT,’ said one tweet. ‘You sure as hell don’t care about bodily autonomy’.

Such tweets emphasis how vital online platforms can be as a method of registering dissent, and whilst Boris’s rancid administration has routinely demonstrated its skill in deflecting attention from guilty parties, attempting to sneak this inconsistent and ill-thought out legislation through Parliament is burying bad news on a grand scale. The damage such a Bill stands to do to a nation that established the notion of free speech throughout the Anglosphere is incalculable, though maybe the damage has already been done and this is simply the official seal of approval.

© The Editor

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TALKIN’ ‘BOUT MY CANCELLATION

Casper‘I pms at these,’ is not perhaps a statement that will be forever enshrined in the annals of great quotes. The person who said it went by the name of shazza, whoever shazza may be. But shazza is nevertheless a notable figure to me, for his/her comment was the last to ever grace a video on my YouTube channel, the final person provoked into saying something after enjoying one of my offerings on a platform that had twelve long years of providing satirical and/or bawdy entertainment for the masses who were incapable of raising even a moderate titter at the woeful excuse for comedy that television serves-up these days. Unfortunately, the history that shazza made with this brief comment on the most recent instalment of ‘Buggernation Street’ is a history that has been erased from the books, for Sillycunt Valley’s very own Ministry of Truth has excised yours truly from the platform as of late Wednesday evening. I’m not playing the victim here, btw; I just figured you might find this story interesting.

Long-term readers of the Winegum or viewers of my channel might recall I walked away from YT in 2019 after a dispiriting couple of years in which all my videos were demonetised as several others were blocked and banned; I stopped uploading new material, but left what was still on there for those that routinely watched the same favourite videos over and over again. As far back as 2016 I was noticing pernicious changes creeping into YT as the corporate world belatedly became aware of the platform’s potential to sell ‘product’ and began issuing copyright strikes left right and centre at the independent creators who’d made YT what it was in the first place; I even wrote an early post about it, one that still attracts views, and this was penned when I used to receive an admittedly small income from YT – not much more than around £150 a year. Then, overnight, all the videos I received that income from were demonetised. The new regime was making its insidious presence felt.

Rick Beato, an American record producer with an informative and engaging YT channel, recently issued a video in which he berated Don Henley from The Eagles for whining over ‘loss of earnings’ due to fans sharing snippets of Eagles tracks on YT. Beato correctly pointed out the absolute pittance of royalties Henley could claim should anyone dare insert fifteen seconds of ‘Hotel California’ into a video would be something to put Spotify to shame – a handful of cents at the most. He went on to underline the ludicrousness of this farcical copyright circus by playing a few bars of the piano intro to ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ in the wrong key ala Les Dawson simply because he couldn’t even play the proper bloody melody himself without being slapped by a strike, let alone using the actual Queen recording on the video. This has been one of the moves that have reduced YT to merely another corporate tool, yet so dominant is the platform when it comes to its specific market that it continues to put other video platforms in the permanent shade. It remains the go-to medium, just as the BBC used to be whenever a major news story broke.

In a way, this is the double-edged sword of YT – as a creator, one is hampered and restricted by the rules and regulations that require expert navigation in order to avoid a copyright strike; yet, at the same time, one is guaranteed a huge audience that no other online video platform can compete with. Despite my reservations, this was the main reason I returned to YT after a two-year absence in 2021; I simply couldn’t ignore the massive upsurge of views and tsunami of new subscribers that appeared to have been a side-effect of lockdown. It would’ve been foolish to spurn this unexpected and enthusiastic fan-base eager for new videos, so I gave them what they wanted by reviving what became my signature series, ‘Buggernation Street’. No new episodes of this Derek & Clive-like take on the early 70s incarnation of a rather well-known TV soap opera had been produced for six years, but once I was back on the grubby cobbles it was as though I’d never been away.

Of course, the filth for which ‘Buggernation’ is infamous is all in the mind – it’s down to the often-horrific imagery that materialises in the viewer’s head as a consequence of the dialogue I insert into the characters’ mouths. There’s no on-screen nudity or sex of any kind in a single episode of the 42 that ended up being produced; it’s merely suggested in the most explicit manner possible – and it makes people laugh at the same time; indeed, how could they not laugh at the thought of Maggie Clegg treating Alf Roberts to a spot of water-sports or poor old Stan Ogden being forced to bend over as Hilda shoves a police truncheon where the sun don’t shine? It’s patently ridiculous and that’s what makes it work as comedy. The simple suggestion of something depraved going on behind the net curtains is enough to provoke the viewer’s imagination, and the viewer doesn’t need to see on screen what’s being described. Putting any of that on screen would lead to an instant ban and it would be rightly labelled pornography – especially as the YT of today has clambered up on top of the moral high-horse and laughably appears to regard itself as a barometer of family-friendly decency.

When YT took it upon itself to remove my entire channel without warning – rather than ban a handful of videos I could have easily uploaded to another outlet like Vimeo – their reasons for doing so suggested the images placed in their heads by ‘Buggernation Street’ were too much for their fragile sensibilities; they then, like some satanic abuse fantasist, appeared to believe they had actually seen these images in my videos. ‘This account has been terminated due to multiple or severe violations of YouTube’s policy on nudity or sexual content.’ There was no nudity, and any sexual content was of a purely verbal nature – end of. I pointed this out when I appealed, but their response was ‘YouTube is not the place for nudity, pornography or other sexually provocative content’. Yeah, that’s why I didn’t upload any. Just in case I mistook YT for CBeebies, I always ticked the box stating my videos were for adults only, YT’s equivalent of the old-fashioned X certificate. But, of course, their decision had f**k-all to do with nudity or pornography.

Ever since my channel began attracting viewing figures that elevated it above the best-kept-secret cult it had been for a decade, it was undeniably brought to the attention of the Identity Politics Gestapo that run all media today. And what probably signed my YT death warrant was a video that mocked all they hold dear, a spoof BBC1 trailer for ‘Wokeday Evening’. The glaring difference between YT and other video platforms was never better highlighted by the viral success of this particular video. It had originally been published on Vimeo a couple of years ago and attracted virtually no attention at all; remixed and expanded, I decided to temporarily shelve my ‘Buggernation’-only principles when it came to YT uploads and enabled ‘Wokeday Evening’ to be seen by the widest possible audience. Views shot through the roof as it was tweeted by numerous media personalities not exactly beloved by the Woke mafia, and I would imagine a sizeable number of complaints were registered with the YT upholders of online standards, double and otherwise.

Not only can I not start another channel on YT, but I’m also prevented from subscribing to anyone else now; I can’t even comment on or ‘like’ the efforts of others. In YT terms, I am officially a non-person, of whom all traces have been wiped. The thought of adopting a new identity and sneaking back on there is not one I relish, for nothing will have changed; I’d only be confronted by the same bullshit that provoked my two-year exodus in 2019. YT must have missed the money they made from cramming ads into my videos during my absence, but they’ve made a hell of a lot more from me over the last twelve months. Well, f**k ’em. They ain’t making any more. And, if nothing else, I now know from personal experience that cancel culture is not some right-wing fantasy; it’s for real, alright.

© The Editor

Website: https://www.johnnymonroe.co.uk/

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THE FINAL CUT

CutsAs with the current shameless shower at Westminster, nothing really surprises where the BBC is concerned anymore. Often, it exceeds itself and reaches a point whereby satire is superseded and rendered redundant, such as the case of the weekly Woke lecture masquerading as ‘Doctor Who’; the anticipated outrage of casting of an actual man to succeed the world’s worst actress as the lead character was eased by the fact he’s both black and gay (two boxes ticked), not to mention a Transwoman of Colour as his sidekick; job done! One can almost picture the planning meeting – ‘Have we left anyone out?’ The cynical and counterproductive ‘positive discrimination’ approach of the Corporation’s relentless Diversity & Inclusivity agenda is perhaps one small reason why viewers have had enough. Even if the divisive issue of the licence fee is put to one side, this obstinate kamikaze mission of Beeb management and programme-makers merely underlines how those entrusted with salvaging the BBC’s dwindling reputation don’t really understand the reason why it acquired that reputation in the first place.

Take BBC3 – in its early years an innovative digital channel that didn’t always get it right, but would occasionally produce a series that progressed all the way to primetime BBC1, like ‘Little Britain’. When it was dropped from the ‘linear’ schedule a few years back and became an online-only service, the BBC was actually showing a rare moment of awareness re the viewing habits of BBC3’s target audience. The decision to bring it back as a proper television channel when most youngsters watching it don’t watch it on TV was a bewildering move; even worse, however, is that the content of the channel has plummeted to the point whereby the likes of ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ – a show that makes 90s Channel 4 series ‘Eurotrash’ resemble Kenneth Clark’s ‘Civilisation’, and quite possibly the most unwatchable TV programme I think I’ve ever encountered – is one of its lynchpin shows. As an angry letter to the Radio Times might proclaim, I don’t pay my licence fee for this.

Celebrating its centenary whilst under siege from a government that has made no secret of the fact it wants to scrap the traditional funding model of the Corporation, how do the mandarins at Broadcasting House respond to the dilemma? Well, having squandered millions on a new outdoor set for a soap with viewing figures a pale shadow of its 80s and 90s heyday, the Beeb’s plea of poverty is manifested as taking the scissors to areas that actually justify the BBC and show how it can still do some things better than any other broadcaster. This week, plans were announced to axe two television channels from the small screen that have both, at one time or another, made the paltry payment for the BBC (compared to the cost of subscription fees for streaming services) worth forking out for. Although I’m completely the wrong demographic for CBBC, not being a child during its existence nor having kids of my own to watch it with, I recognise the channel has continued the long tradition of the BBC for producing quality children’s entertainment, and its success amongst younger viewers swiftly vindicated the initially controversial decision to remove children’s programming from BBC1 to an entire channel of its own.

Although the announcement made by BBC DG Tim Davie declared the permanent migration of CBBC to the iPlayer wouldn’t come about for another three years, it’s not so much the fact that a television channel will become an online-only entity in an age when viewing habits have radically altered and its audience mostly watch their shows that way today anyway, but cutting financial corners invariably means a drop in quality. That has already happened with the other channel included in this ‘restructure’, BBC4. As BBC2 – the original BBC TV home for shows that rarely attract large audiences but break new ground – had become more dependent on reality-style programming, BBC4 emerged as a genuine jewel in an increasingly tatty crown when it debuted in the early 2000s. Its first decade or so was marked by superb, intelligent documentaries – especially in the fields of music, the Arts and history – as well as one-off dramas and the airing of cult Scandi Noir series such as ‘The Killing’ and ‘The Bridge’, with the latter being difficult to imagine being given a chance anywhere else at the time. For viewers long disillusioned with the line-ups of the dumbed-down mainstream channels, BBC4 was a true alternative breath of air that reminded them how the BBC could still deliver the goods and make a rather antiquated pastime such as sitting down to watch the telly of an evening something worthy of retaining.

However, in the last round of cost-cutting, the BBC4 budget was slashed and it was essentially reborn as a dispensable vintage repeat channel, like UK Gold with a media studies degree. Archive programmes afforded routine reruns on mainstream channels and reminders of its own recent glory days via regular re-screenings of old BBC4 docs added up to a sorry excuse for what the channel used to be; it was as though the BBC were deliberately winding it down in preparation for the expected removal from the linear TV landscape. BBC4 was once, along with Radio 3 and the non-Wokeday morning schedule of Radio 4, one of the few BBC outlets that maintained the gold standard the Corporation set itself decades ago; ditto the World Service, which appears to be another misguided casualty of the latest cutbacks. It was no easy task to make sense of the predictable Birt-speak jargon constituting the majority of Tim Davie’s announcement, but it was evident those BBC platforms that ooze quality yet attract a more select audience were doomed to bear the brunt of these cuts.

Certain foreign language sections of the World Service – one of the building blocks crucial to establishing the BBC’s global reputation – will disappear from the traditional airwaves and will henceforth be solely accessible in a digital format; and Radio 4 Extra will be joining CBBC and BBC4 as an online-only operation, whilst the Long Wave option, much to the chagrin of listeners to ‘Test Match Special’ and the Shipping Forecast, will effectively cease to be an opt-out of separate content to the FM schedules. In other news, the BBC’s UK and its World 24-hour news services will merge into one; ‘We are England’, the short-lived replacement for the award-winning and much-missed regional series, ‘Inside Out’, will be axed by the end of this year; local BBC news branches in Oxford and Cambridge will be absorbed into their Southampton and Norwich equivalents; and unique institutions such as the BBC’s numerous orchestras will have to find alternative funding.

The online exile of some of the BBC’s channels belies the fact that the majority of the BBC’s output is still largely consumed via ‘old-fashioned’ radio and television sets rather than mobiles, laptops or iPads – and by an audience mostly more mature than those who would actively seek out the likes of ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ – yet the BBC, with its head firmly buried in the metropolitan sand, once again ploughs on regardless, in desperate search of some imaginary Yoof viewer and listenership who tune in exclusively to the iPlayer or BBC Sounds and can only enjoy the kind of lowest common denominator trash that ITV and Channel 4 have long since cornered the market in. The Corporation’s apparent aim is to be a ‘digital first’ organisation – which is one of those overused and tedious contemporary phrases like ‘hub’ that make you want to eat your own sick; perhaps blinded by past loyalties, I’ve stuck up for the BBC many times on here because I believed in the overall ideal of the BBC, clinging to what it once was and imagining what it could still be. But my patience, as with many viewers and listeners, is rapidly running out. By the time the channels mentioned have transitioned to their online incarnations, will anyone still be watching or listening?

© The Editor

Website: https://www.johnnymonroe.co.uk/

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TAINTED BY ASSOCIATION

ProtestNow there’s no longer anyone left alive to separate fact from fiction, we’re pretty much stuck with the myth of the World War I Home Front, whereby each Zeppelin raid was followed by the communal kicking of Dachshunds on the street and the smashing of shop windows bearing Germanic names. Whether or not this actually happened doesn’t seem to matter anymore because all our great-grandfathers and great-grandmothers (who might have been witness to such incidents) are gone; it’s become absorbed into the second-hand narrative of a conflict too far away to bear any relevance to the here and now. But we do know for certain that anti-German sentiments forced our very own royal household to change their family name, wary that Saxe-Coburg–Gotha was a tad too Teutonic a moniker to rally round when the King’s own cousin was responsible for starting the whole bloody mess in the first place; if the newly-christened House of Windsor could decline sanctuary to the Tsar (when he was supposed to be our ally), its commitment to the preservation of Albion in the face of foreign aggression seemed pretty sound – and few foreigners were more aggressive towards Albion in the 20th century than the Germans. Chances are, then, some of the myths re opposition to all things German are rooted in truth; war has a habit of legitimising bigotry, after all.

At this moment in time, when war rages in Europe once again, the division between the good guys and the bad guys is as crystal clear as ever and it is now officially OK to badmouth Russians without fear of an Identitarian comeback. Whilst mocking or criticising China – whose terrible human rights record far exceeds that of Russia – leaves the guilty party open to accusations of racist punching-down, doing likewise to the Russian people and their culture is perfectly acceptable; indeed, it’s practically compulsory. Just as any prominent black spokesperson (especially in the US) is fair game to be subjected to old-fashioned racism in the emperor’s new clothes of anti-racism should they dare offer a critique of the BLM agenda or deny the perceived oppression that comes with the colour of their skin, to voice the opinion that anything Russian isn’t necessarily tainted by the Putin brand is to unleash the contents of one’s bladder on the Ukrainian flag, which (lest we forget) is this season’s must-have fashion accessory.

I’m not really surprised that the illiterate stupidity of the present day has bled into the invasion of Ukraine and reduced it to merely another branch of the culture wars from the West’s perspective; but the facile nature of the popular response is depressingly symptomatic as to how everything today has to be translated into black & white symbolism bereft of any shades of grey. I wonder how many of those advocating the blacklisting of all things Russian have even read anything by Dostoevsky or listened to anything by Tchaikovsky or watched anything by Eisenstein. It’s like being a fan of The Beatles means you’re a cheerleader for Boris Johnson, simply because both are Brits (even though our PM was actually born in NYC); it’s infantile, ignorant and ill-informed, and the current vogue for associating anything Russian (however antique) with Vlad’s war machine is as vacuous a gesture as Sainsbury’s shelves being stripped of vodka. Maybe we should all wait for St Bono to write another poem on the topic, whereby he can compare Volodymyr Zelensky to any acceptable cultural hero undamaged by SWJ revisionism; and then we can have that deluded and deranged cadaver Nancy Pelosi recite it live on CNN.

It’s interesting how an otherwise-despised strain of jingoism, so derided when it waves the Union Jack during the Last Night of the Proms, can receive a free pass when it comes to anti-Russian feeling; we might be ashamed to celebrate our own nation’s achievements, but it’s fine to denounce those of another in the name of ‘freedom’. Coming as this does from countries whose governments have done their utmost to obliterate civil liberties over the past couple of years of pandemic paranoia, it’s hard not to greet such developments with cynicism. I suppose, though, this is the natural outcome of an age in which cancel culture is second nature; that all Russian cultural exports – whether they emanate from pre-Soviet Russia or the USSR itself (neither of which have any bearing on present-day Russia) – are subject to a blanket ban simply due to their geographical origins is patently ridiculous, but it’s not really that different from the way in which the artist is now regarded as inseparable from his art – one thinks of the likes of Phil Spector, for example. Any hopelessly naive hopes that the Woke mindset would be extinguished by Covid have been dashed once again by the fact that every reaction to every crisis now is merely a further extension of the Identity Politics philosophy, whereby everyone is defined by increasingly narrow criteria, lumped in together on the basis of race, gender, sexuality or nationality, whether or not that has any relation to their individual personas.

Apparently, the legendary Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin is the latest posthumous victim of the current wave of Russophobia; true, the vapid virtue signalling that demands the anglicised spelling of Kiev becomes the more native Kyiv in the context of a dish that has little to do with the location it derives its name from is partially understandable from the point of view of the contemporary Western diet; but what on earth does the first man in space – who died as long ago as 1968 – have to do with any of this? Ah, but he’s Russian, so it’s okay to belittle his considerable achievements – achievements that would’ve made it undeniably harder for Neil Armstrong’s one small step to take place just eight years after Gagarin completed a full orbit of Earth in the Vostok 1 capsule and became the most famous man on the planet overnight at the height of Cold War tensions in the early 60s.

Gagarin’s sole venture into outer space took place the same year of the Bay of Pigs fiasco and just the year before the Cuban Missile Crisis, yet the humiliation he inadvertently heaped upon the West didn’t dent his global popularity; people were grownup enough back then to recognise Gagarin was being manipulated as a Soviet propaganda tool and didn’t hold his birthright against him. Admittedly, 60 years ago it was something of a thorn in the side of the American Dream that the USSR appeared to be leading the way in the Space Race; Gagarin’s groundbreaking exploration of the atmosphere came hot on the heels of Sputnik paving the way for the satellite age, all of which piled pressure upon NASA to fulfil the promise of JFK during his inauguration speech, that of putting an American man on the Moon before the end of the decade. But Yuri Gagarin rose above the East-West politics of the era, with his achievement accepted on a human scale that transcended nationality; film footage of the rapturous reception he received for a visit to characteristically rainy Manchester just three months after his historic flight into orbit is testament to his universal popularity.

Kennedy may have barred Gagarin from making a similar jaunt to the US, but that was simply politicking; most saw Gagarin for what he was – an international hero whose nationality was secondary to his place in mankind’s history. However, the current climate will probably bar any eulogising of Laika – the brave little oblivious pooch whose doomed 1957 journey into space enabled Yuri Gagarin to follow suit – before too long, for an annual event organised by the Space Foundation in America that ordinarily honours Gagarin by calling it ‘Yuri’s Night’ has dropped his name from the get-together; at the same time, a statue of Gagarin in Luxembourg (again, demonstrating how his appeal stretched way beyond national or ideological boundaries) has been covered up, presumably lest the sight of him suggests the Grand Duchy is pro-Putin. Cultural boycotts of apolitical Russian exports didn’t take place during Cold War I, so we certainly don’t need them in Cold War II. If anything, the ‘1812 Overture’ should be the theme tune of the moment, proving as it does that there’s far more to a nation than any warmongering philistine who happens to control it.

© The Editor

Website: https://www.johnnymonroe.co.uk/

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BEWITCHED, BOTHERED AND BEWILDERED

BewitchedThink about it for a moment: when the Leader of the Opposition can’t even define what a woman is, we have to accept we’re somewhere we haven’t been before. A war, by contrast, seems disturbingly familiar, something as regular as night following day; an instinctive revulsion towards conflict is as old and deep-rooted as conflict itself, so our collective response to it is a relatively universal one. Yet to have a prominent political figure with ambitions to be Prime Minister incapable of publicly admitting that men don’t have cervixes and don’t menstruate is the kind of development to which we have no prepared reaction on account of few anticipating we would get to this plateau of preposterousness. Even those of us who picked up on the genesis of the unhinged religion that is Identity Politics long before it seized control parodied it in the assumption a spoof would never be out-spoofed by real life. However, numerous satirical shorts of my own, produced back in the distant days of the 2010s – when we hadn’t quite scaled what Rod Liddle has referred to as ‘Peak Wank’ – are routinely discovered by newcomers to my YT channel, shocked and amazed that videos up to four or five years old can seem so relevant to the here and now.

The fact is I was satirising the embryonic Identity Politics of the era, exaggerating them beyond reality and knowing all the time my takes on them were deliberately ridiculous. Fast forward to 2022 and not only do we have the man who wants to rule the country struggling to own up to biological fact, but his increasingly deranged Caledonian comrade north of the border is surpassing satire once again. Anyone who remembers my ’25 Hour News’ series might recall a story in which the Met were poised to charge half-a-dozen dead Vikings with gang-raping a dead Saxon maiden, overlooking the fact all parties had been deceased for several centuries. Another video was a BBC1 trailer informing viewers of various virtue signalling acts in remembrance of events that occurred long before living memory – a minute’s silence for victims of the Black Death, a memorial service to honour the victims of the Battle of Waterloo, a tribute concert to the victims of the Thirty Years’ War, a charity football match raising money for the victims of the Battle of Agincourt and so on. All patently ludicrous, but parodying the contemporary vogue for wallowing in victimhood, misery and suffering, regardless of how irrelevant the pain of the past is to the present day.

Ah, yes – the present day, the day in which satire is rendered redundant (and, knowing the Scottish National Party’s penchant for criminalising humour, probably outlawed). Step forward once more, wee Ms Krankie. Considering the damage done to Scotland by the SNP’s pandemic policies – not to mention all the nation’s problems that were being summarily neglected with spectacular ineptitude even before the coronavirus exposed Nicola Sturgeon’s totalitarian tartan – the latest public announcement from the First Minister exceeds all expectations. Last week, Sturgeon decided now is the right time to issue a public apology on behalf of the Scottish Government for those unfortunate Scots tried and executed as witches. In case you’d forgotten – which is understandable, considering you had yet to be born – the last recorded evidence of a Scottish person being put to death for the crime of witchcraft was in the Year of Our Lord Seventeen Hundred and Six; just to clarify the urgency of the apology, that’s 316 years ago.

Well, witch-hunting was even more popular in Scotland than England back in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, with three times as many witchcraft prosecutions taking place there than south of the border; it’s estimated around 1,500 ‘witches’ were put to death by the State in Scotland, helped in no small part by the first sovereign to rule both kingdoms, James I of England (and VI of Scotland). Obsessed with the threat of the occult and the presence of necromancy in the country of his birth, James established royal commissions to hunt down witches, he supervised the torture of them when captured, and he even wrote a melodramatic book on the subject, ‘Daemonologie’; as kings were then viewed as God’s representatives on earth, his rant was taken by many as Gospel. The only positive legacy of the book is that it allegedly served as an inspiration for ‘Macbeth’; its more immediate impact was to further legitimise James’s beliefs and reinforce the barbaric punishments inflicted upon those suspected of supernatural practices that had been enshrined in law since the passing of the Witchcraft Act of 1563 – an Act not finally repealed until 1736.

There’s no getting away from the fact that the fatal punishments inflicted upon those convicted of witchcraft were brutal – though it also has to be remembered that most executions at the time were not necessarily renowned for their humane manner: hanging, drawing and quartering, being burned alive at the stake, beheading – all featured in the executioner’s handbook and offered spectators a wide variety of blood-sports when they turned out in vast numbers come match-day. Torture was deemed a legitimate means of extracting a confession before the accused met his or her maker, usually achieved through employing sleep deprivation or the occasional tools of the torture chamber such as the crushing of feet in an instrument known as ‘the boots’ – a treatment memorably endured by Oliver Reed in Ken Russell’s ‘The Devils’.

The unique Scottish approach to detecting witchcraft included a method known as ‘pricking’, whereby the belief that a witch could feel no physical pain enabled professional pricks – or prickers – to insert needles and pins into the accused’s flesh, although the sadistic fraudulence of this practice eventually played its part in bringing about the end of witchcraft as a crime punishable by death. Yes, it was a horrible and hysterical period of British – and particularly Scottish – history, characterised by waves of superstitious fervour such as the Great Scottish Witch Hunt of 1597, when around 200 people were executed over a period of seven months.

Although some men were tried and put to death as warlocks, most of the victims were women, and modern perception of the whole bloody escapade is to view it through the prism of the historical oppression of women by men. Yes, it is true that these incidents tended to take place during times of economic crises, the times when scapegoats are often sought by authorities as sacrificial lambs in order to deflect attention from their own failings; but the fact women suffered far more than men suggests a pervasive fear of women asserting any form of independence within communities, such as being midwives. The nature of the charges also implied a deep-rooted paranoia surrounding female sexuality, as many of the examples of ‘witchcraft’ cited were connected to sexual spells allegedly cast upon blameless men by the wicked accused.

In recent years historical witch-hunts have become inserted into the feminist narrative, and the religious-like fanaticism of extreme activists dedicated to the Identity Politics faith has been manifested in the targeting of blasphemous heathens, using tactics that are reminiscent of the way witch-finders pursued their victims; at the same time, the cult of victimhood so central to the Identity Politics philosophy has portrayed the pursuers as the victims rather than the pursued. In this respect, a revival of interest in ye olde witch-hunts is certainly timely. So deep were the scars left by this era that the term ‘witch-hunt’ remains one still used whenever the mob is stirred into illogical mania by an irresponsible individual or group of individuals with a vested personal interest in the persecution of innocents, though the continued use of the phrase doesn’t mean the age of the actual witch-hunts has any relevance to, or bearing on, the lives of anybody lived in the last three centuries. One would imagine there are more pressing issues pertinent to 2022, though someone forgot to inform Nicola Sturgeon.

© The Editor

Website: https://www.johnnymonroe.co.uk/

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