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.

© The Editor

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THE WRONG ARM OF THE LAW

Old Coppers‘It can’t get no worse’ – John Lennon’s characteristically sardonic counterpoint to Paul McCartney’s optimistic declaration that ‘It’s getting better all the time’. Unfortunately, neither 55 year-old observation seems apt at the moment – at least not if one subscribes to the dominant narrative. It would appear it’s far from getting better and it certainly can get much worse. Visible reasons to be cheerful are thin on the ground where this narrative is concerned, but it’s one that serves a purpose and has done since the spring of 2020. That said, lack of faith in the future goes way beyond Project Fear, for there’s undoubtedly a persistent sense of insecurity induced by the fact the public bodies entrusted with keeping us safe and secure are currently found wanting. And this insecurity would appear to be well-founded.

Alas, it’s easy to resort to shoulder-shrugging indifference when holier-than-thou hypocrites using their public servant status as a shield against scrutiny are caught out yet again at both local and national level; so, a politician has been feathering his or her nest with taxpayer money – so what’s new? The current Chancellor of the Exchequer – a man not necessarily renowned for sticking to his guns – one day tells us we can use as much energy as we like this winter and the next tells us we may have to choose between keeping warm or having dinner; and then it emerges he claimed on expenses to heat his stables. I didn’t realise his day-job was being a rag & bone man, but there’s public service for you. Should we be surprised? I doubt it. Should we be angry? Of course, but what’s the point when nobody is ever held to account?

North Korean-style displays of support for the NHS were encouraged during the pandemic, yet anyone who has tried to gain an appointment with their GP since then has probably been left crossing their fingers and hoping they stay fit and well – never mind having to set aside an entire evening bleeding on the carpet whilst waiting for an ambulance to arrive. A national treasure that converts the billions governments throw at it into layer-upon-layer of imaginary job titles that have less to do with saving lives than enforcing ideology doesn’t exactly enhance the cherished and antiquated ideal of the NHS that has continued to cast a long, sentimental shadow across the subject ever since private-public partnerships made such sentiment irrelevant. Add to that the staggering fortunes made by those unscrupulous individuals and outsourced companies who enjoyed a ‘good pandemic’ by winning uncontested contracts to distribute items that were supposed to counteract Covid and it’s hard not to be possessed by incurable cynicism. Oh, and probably best to keep a box of paracetamol in the medicine cabinet, just in case you succumb to toothache; failing that, a long piece of string. It’s not as if you’re going to be able to access a dentist, is it?

It can also feel like every day we’re confronted by headlines concerning the perpetrator of some awful barbaric crime, with said criminal having committed said crime shortly after an early release back into society, despite having a CV of similarly grotesque offences to his name. The sentence imposed upon him may make do while ever the gibbet remains a museum piece, but the disproportionate influence of dubious do-gooders on the parole board and the questionable interventions of reprehensible members of the psychiatric profession suggest ‘human rights’ only apply to perpetrators and are not applicable to actual victims. Should the criminal have no track record of appearing in known-rogue’s galleries before being nicked, a soft sentence swayed by a defence playing the mental health card ensures he has little to fear when it comes to crime and punishment. After all, even paedophiles are attempting to legitimise their perversion as a human rights issue by reclassifying themselves as Minor Attracted Persons.

Anyone who isn’t what the police and MSM have decreed to be ‘the right kind of victim’ has probably come to the conclusion that dialling 999 and reporting being triggered by a meme on Twitter is more likely to guarantee a rapid response than a bog-standard burglary. A recent ‘Triggernometry’ interview with ex-policeman Harry Miller – the man who, you may recall, mounted a successful legal challenge against Humberside Police after they advised him to ‘check his thinking’ – was compelling and frightening in equal measure. In it, he described his arrest while attempting to prevent the arrest of an ex-serviceman whose heinous crime was re-Tweeting an image of the BLM variant of the Pride flag rearranged to resemble a swastika; considering the manner in which this ubiquitous flag is strung across our city streets in a fashion that has distinct parallels with many a strasse in the 1930s, it seems a fair – not to say satirical – comparison to make. Not so in the eyes of the College of Policing, which seeks to recruit graduates whose university grounding in unthinking groupthink means they’re already indoctrinated and primed to vigorously enforce a specific dogma.

Miller spoke of how he quoted the actual law to the blank-eyed automatons who cuffed him, yet was complemented with ignorance of it as they obeyed orders in the tradition of the Fatherland; he even had to remind them to caution him as they recited from their own exclusive rulebook. I suppose anyone whose park-bench picnic was gatecrashed by an over-officious officer governed by this unlawful manual during lockdown will recognise the scary signs. The ex-serviceman was arrested as intended along with Miller, and the former was offered an alternative to prosecution: a ‘re-education course’. So, not only was the Chinese model ideal for the pandemic; it works for policing too. When the police are caught on camera warning intimidated lesbians to remove themselves from Pride parades whilst allowing aggressive Trans activists to remain – presumably so they have someone to dance the Macarena with – it’s glaringly apparent where their priorities lay. The behaviour of the police during lockdown seemed to be a dummy-run for this form of politicised policing and now they’ve made it abundantly clear their role is that of the private army of the ‘minorities’ the College of Policing has chosen to ring-fence in order to appease the lobbyists with the loudest voices and the fiercest foot-soldiers.

The contract between police and public is unravelling before our eyes. If the people can no longer rely upon the police for protection and to come to their assistance in the event of a genuine crime (as opposed to someone being offended), where does that leave us – vigilantism? Having the police rebranded as the paramilitary wing of the Identity Politics brigade allows no room for traditional common sense, something Harry Miller raised with the Chief Constable of the Force he rightly defeated in court. When Miller recalled the response of said copper, he summed-up the skewered approach of policing today; the top cop informed Miller common sense was not ‘an appropriate tool’ for a police officer. It may well be self-evident in any of the DIY videos that capture modern British policing in action online, though it’s still chilling to have it said out loud.

But the example of what’s happened to the police is merely the most extreme to befall those public bodies people could once depend on to do their jobs for the benefit of all society, not just the tiny minority of it that screams the most when its narcissistic feelings are hurt. If the people have no trust or faith in the police, the legal system, the NHS, the mainstream media and politics, they basically have no investment in society as a whole, one in which we are all supposed to have a stake. It’s every man for himself and f**k your neighbour because he’ll do it to you if you don’t do it to him first. That is not a healthy recipe for the future, regardless of whether or not all or none of the gloomy soothsaying currently being engaged in comes to pass.

© The Editor

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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

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LUNATIC FRINGE BENEFITS

AliceIn case you missed it, last week saw the long-awaited announcement that M&S staff members will henceforth be wearing their preferred gender pronouns on badges (which has no doubt been demanded by all the old ladies who purchase their bloomers at the company’s branches); but at least the relentless imposition of a particular agenda on the public by corporations and institutions without prior consultation has momentarily paused at one of its main offenders. It may still be tediously ticking the diversity boxes with regards to its programming, but the BBC has belatedly pulled out of a questionable commitment to the dubious aims of the increasingly unhinged LGBTXYZ charity Stonewall. Yet should the national broadcaster have even signed-up for a programme run by an organisation which has become a platform for the most fanatical, zealous and nasty of Trans-activists, thus negating any reasoned debate on the issue across the allegedly impartial BBC?

Being a member of Stonewall’s Diversity Champions scheme may have won plenty Woke Brownie points in the social justice citadel of Broadcasting House, but the objectives of Stonewall can hardly be said to be reflective of the BBC’s dwindling (not to say ageing) audience. The appalling report that recently appeared on the BBC News website on how some young lesbians are being pressurised and bullied into having sexual relations with Trans-women for fear of being ostracised by pro-Trans social media hounds was a shocking eye-opener, not to say a surprising story to emerge from a news outlet so seemingly in thrall to the LGBTXYZ agenda over the past few years. Yet, perhaps its mere appearance was a positive sign, an indication of a conscious step back from a wholly biased campaigning role which isn’t something a publicly-funded broadcaster should be committing itself to.

The Diversity Champions programme is one of the many ways in which Stonewall has bought itself a foothold in several public institutions, influencing policy and effectively ring-fencing itself from criticism. By signing up to the scheme, the Beeb was required to pay the charity for ‘advice on creating inclusive workplaces’, a line straight out of the satirical BBC comedy series of a few years back, ‘W1A’. The fact that Ofcom and several government departments have already withdrawn from promoting this scheme perhaps made it easier for the BBC to pull out; naturally, however, this hasn’t prevented the predictable backlash from the usual suspects. The industry union, BECTU, reacted to the announcement by saying the decision would be ‘incredibly damaging to the morale of the LGBT workforce and will negatively impact the BBC’s ability to attract talent in the future.’ A strange choice of wording, there; surely talent is secondary when it comes to hiring new faces at the BBC?

What counts over talent at the BBC is the colour of one’s skin or one’s sexual preference or one’s gender, even though none should have the slightest bearing on one’s ability to do the job. If only talent were the main priority when it came to recruitment, perhaps more of the Corporation’s output would be worth watching because hiring would have been done on the basis of merit rather than any tokenistic quotas that require fulfilling. Mind you, the Beeb isn’t unique; English Touring Opera’s decision to make half of its orchestral players redundant solely because they’re not ‘ethnic’ enough is a case in point. Being denied employment due to the colour of one’s skin – didn’t that used to be called racial discrimination? And here’s me thinking all that had long since been outlawed.

Imagine a football team being put together based not on the abilities of the players, but because they ticked boxes unconnected to that ability; an insane proposition, but no more insane than an orchestra recruiting musicians on the same grounds. Perhaps even without throwing its lot in with Stonewall, the BBC remains entirely at home in an entertainment industry that can essentially draw-up a McCarthy-like blacklist of writers, directors, performers and artists with the ‘wrong opinions’ and/or ‘identity’ and continue to hire and promote mediocrities whose qualification for their positions is utterly unrelated to ability.

Still, the BBC would do well to be a tad more selective when it comes to ideological bedfellows. Stonewall has hardly covered itself in glory of late, losing many of its long-time supporters to newer organisations formed out of frustration with the direction Stonewall has been moving in – organisations such as the LGB Alliance, which Stonewall (and the Labour Party) has all-but labelled a far-right extremist anti-Trans ‘hate’ group. But charities need to be careful in adopting holier-than-thou stances. Recent exposés of the way some major charities are run – from Kids Company to the sexual exploitation of the natives by Oxfam employees to the revelation of the Aspinall Foundation (the wildlife conservation charity of which the PM’s missus is an employee) paying £150,000 in ‘interior design services’ to its chairman’s wife in 2020, has shown that many groups beginning with good intentions have morphed into organisations extolling all the immoral virtues of big business.

Perhaps it’s no surprise Stonewall has deviated so far from its original intention; when men can marry men and women can marry women and the age of consent is the same whichever way you bend, an organisation built to fight battles that have all been won has had to seek out – or invent – new battles to validate its existence. However, throwing its lot in with the Trans lobby – and its most bonkers fringes – has undoubtedly damaged the brand. Lest we forget, this is a charity that in prioritising one tiny minority provoked the split that led to the formulation of the LGB Alliance, which has provided a refuge for those now-marginalised within gay circles, especially lesbians. Whilst there is undoubtedly a touch of the Judean People’s Front and the People’s Front of Judea about this on the surface, some of the LGB Alliance’s statements on the kind of extreme policies pursued by Stonewall – the kind that alienate outsiders and can foster latent homophobia – sound pretty sensible and are far closer to what Stonewall used to represent before it went a bit mad.

The LGB Alliance is more in line with majority thinking in that it opposes some of the more fruitcake theories that are being bedded into the workplace environment and (more worryingly) in that gender identity social engineering lab, the classroom. The Scottish Government thinks it’s okay for children to decide what gender they are and parents don’t have to be consulted at all; similarly, they believe a biological man suddenly declaring he’s a woman without going through all that troublesome, time-consuming surgery (a process that indicates genuine commitment to the cause) has to now be recognised as a woman in law, giving him a free pass into the private spaces of actual women – and young girls, in the case of changing rooms. There’s now even a small movement emanating from (perhaps inevitably) California which demands the ‘negative’ term paedophilia be replaced with MAPs – Minor-Attracted People. ‘South Park’ beat them to it 20 years ago in an episode featuring NAMBLA, the North American Man/Boy Love Association. Whenever ‘liberalism’ gets to the point it’s at right now, it always ends up back at the Paedophile Information Exchange.

At the moment, one could very easily conclude the West is a society sliding into decadence as its achievements are fashionably trashed and its institutions infiltrated by an Alice in Wonderland design for life in which (as someone once famously said) 2+2=5. Logic be damned as we reach the point that historically characterises the death throes of that society. When female crime figures soar because male villains in drag are listed as women and the further education system is so f***ed-up that female students struggling to cope with the financial demands of university are being offered courses in ‘sex work’ to make ends meet, we say no more because to do so is to be denounced as a bigot. But this isn’t just madness – this is M&S madness.

© The Editor

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REAPIN’ & SOWIN’

Haters‘It’s not censorship when a private company decides to remove you from their platform. You don’t have an inalienable right to a Twitter account.’ So spoke the social media account of one Gary McGuiggin from a position of smug detachment in June 2020. A year or so later, in response to the 24-hour deletion of the YouTube account of ‘progressive’ left-leaning online news outlet Novara Media, the same account declared, ‘Whether or not you agree with what we publish, it shouldn’t be the whim of giant tech companies to delete us overnight with no explanation.’ Fancy that. It’s apparently okay if Talk Radio’s YT channel vanishes in the blink of an eye for daring to question the Covid consensus or if a former US President is permanently censored, what with cancel culture being a figment of the right-wing imagination and all that; but Voltaire’s oft-quoted line re freedom of speech is evoked yet again now that those for whom empathy only comes into play when their own platform is abruptly removed have felt the full force of that which they have long been in denial of. Yes, the incredible revelation that big tech is a tad too big for its boots has finally hit the left and we all have to erupt in collective outrage at the news. Pity we didn’t do so when supposedly ‘right’-leaning outlets were receiving the same treatment for months.

Not unlike the way in which Rad Fem tactics have now been turned on Rad Fems themselves via the Trans lobby, the sudden utilisation of cancel culture against those who foolishly imagined they were immune from its toxic touch has been a lamentable but sadly necessary act, if only to make the previously-unaffected aware that nobody is ring-fenced once a series of illiberal victories have been achieved. Amazing as it may seem, the news that giving an inch means a mile or more might be taken by those for whom compromise and capitulation is never enough has opened the blind eyes of the chattering-classes now that the realisation has dawned that tossing them a few token right-wing scraps won’t satisfy the ravenous appetites of the serial censors. Once they’ve acquired a taste for it, they won’t settle for crumbs.

Of course, anyone with any knowledge of the past will know this has all happened before. The McCarthy witch-hunts of 1950s America had begun with rooting out reds under the bed and eventually descended upon the unimpeachable reputation of FDR, trashing the legacy of a revered President as those falling under the spotlight of the fanatics they’d supported belatedly came to realise that nothing was ever enough for them. It shouldn’t take the overnight disappearance of a prominent pro-Corbyn, ultra-Woke mouthpiece before those who had been content to observe the muting of opposing voices decide this kind of thing is bad news; but it would appear it has to happen to them before they realise it’s not a good idea to silence freedom of speech in a democratic society. Fine if the speech being censured is speech that doesn’t chime with your own ideology, but apply the same principles to yours and it’s suddenly out of order. Well, tough titty, mate. It’s not advisable either way. But perhaps yesterday’s events re Novara Media can serve as a contemporary cultural equivalent of the decisive moment in 1975’s ‘Genesis of the Daleks’ when Davros pleads with his creations to have pity just before they exterminate him.

The fact that an established comedian such as Dave Chappelle over in the States has roused the ire of frothing-at-the-mouth Trans activists simply for daring to tell a few jokes should have been a warning sign in itself; footage of protests outside Netflix HQ in which the mental mob included a screeching harpy repeatedly screaming ‘Repent, muthaf***er!’ at an opposing voice should have been enough to convince anybody with half-a-brain that these people are pseudo-religious zealots that can never be appeased. The reaction to Chappelle’s recent Netflix special has been predictably disproportionate, for as far as I know the comedian himself didn’t spare anyone from his latest routine – just as predecessors such as Dave Allen, Billy Connolly, George Carling or Lenny Bruce never did; that’s comedy for you. That the only ‘persecuted minority’ to take umbrage at Chappelle’s act should have been the Trans lobby is interesting, considering this particular lobby has the whole of the corporate Western world on its side, not to mention every non-corporate institution (see LGBTXYZ Cars in the British Police Force, let alone ‘rainbow’ zebra crossings); that’s some persecution. Chappelle himself, a prominent black celebrity in the States, has even been accused of ‘white privilege’ by these purveyors of the insane dogma that characterises the most fanatical fanatics, and surely that tells you all you need to know about where we are – a world in which even august medical institutions like the Lancet can’t bring themselves to use the word ‘women’ in their literature just in case they might offend the self-appointed spokespeople of a few chicks with dicks.

As has been pointed out in recent posts, past groups pooling resources to stem the tide of ‘liberal’ progress tended to emanate from the middle-aged and the conservative right, whether religious Republicans across the Atlantic or suburban Tories over here. They were traditionally seen as upholders of authoritarian opposition, eagerly sponsoring the relentless pursuance of The Rolling Stones for their recreational drug use in the 1960s or cancelling every date on the first nationwide Sex Pistols tour ten years later. Their antipathy towards the changing of the guard was generally rooted in the increasing insecurity of their own fixed worldview, seeing power slipping away from their grip as everything they’d complacently held dear since the triumph over fascist forces in the 1940s was gradually deconstructed by war babies keen to build their own society from the uninspiring ashes they’d inherited. Back then, powerful opposition groups controlled the press, the mass media and every organisation with any clout in the country – just like their inheritors do in 2021, something that brings the victim mentality so beloved of the 21st century Puritans into question.

Today’s equivalents are less easier to define in quite the same way as one could define those of the 60s and 70s; what were once seen as positive and radical organisations such as Stonewall have now become far more reactionary than their predecessors. Most have evolved into an illogical establishment prioritising and elevating favourite minorities over a far wider demographic, inadvertently re-establishing all the barriers that had been torn down in the lengthy fight for gay rights, just as so-called ‘anti-racist’ groups in the US appear determined to revive racial segregation. Challenge any of them and you will feel the full force of those who are making a living from division and want to retain the current status quo as strongly as the elderly ladies and gentlemen did when they sought to crush the ungrateful yobs of half-a-century ago. Funnily enough, their predecessors also coloured their hair, albeit preferring a blue rinse to the pink shades favoured today; but I digress.

That the baton of authoritarian censorship should have been passed from right to left over the past decade hasn’t sat easy with those of us who would once have regarded themselves as left-leaning in the belief that one side was more conducive to freedom of expression than the other. But as the Labour Party carries on screaming for the reintroduction of the most severe pandemic restrictions and its leader thinks it wrong to state the biological fact that women have cervixes and men posing as women don’t, it’s no wonder the Party is being deserted by the masses and now only speaks for a narrow, metropolitan minority that won’t tolerate the questioning of its dubious wisdom. That one of its most vocal online mouthpieces should now have fallen to the same censorious (and previously-tolerated) practices of big tech that has already wielded its power over mouthpieces from ‘the other side’ has maybe – finally – awoken the left to the dangers of selective free speech. We can but hope.

© The Editor

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

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ALL GIRLS TOGETHER

Bernard BresslawAlthough it’s always been intrinsic to the Great British Summer, it’s nonetheless still going to take time getting used to the return of Wimbledon next week after two years’ away. Politicians and media types may well be doing their utmost to convince us things are all-but normal again, but those of us at street level know this is bullshit. The resumption of annual events in the sporting calendar is, I suppose, a good way of projecting the illusion of normality, though it’ll be interesting to survey the composition of Centre Court a fortnight from now to see how many empty seats there are and how many of those filled are filled by punters looking like they’re poised to perform a surgical operation; that’s not normal, and let’s not pretend otherwise. Anyway, after a cancelled 2020, a regular viewer of the drama at the All-England Club such as yours truly will have to reacquaint himself with the stars of the sport now that many of the names that have dominated tennis for the last couple of decades have either hung up their racquets or are nearing game, set & match for good.

Having experienced something of a Golden Age over the last 20 years, the men’s game seems to be in something of an uncertain interregnum at the moment, with no real eye-catching challengers to the ageing triumvirate of titans who aren’t yet being edged off the court in the way they surely should be by now. In the past, when the chaps seemed to be going through the motions, I often turned to the women’s game; it was far more entertaining to tune into the girls during the deadly dull Pete Sampras era, though I’d be hard-pressed to name more than three or four top women players at the moment. Perhaps it’s time to relax the rules a little, to place tennis in line with other sports that have decided possession of a vagina is no longer a prerequisite to compete in women’s events; if one’s testosterone level is low enough, you’re in, luv. An apparently average weightlifter who goes by the name of Laurel Hubbard struggled to shine when competing against his fellow fellers – until he decided to declare himself a lady in 2012 and his/her career suddenly took off; Hubbard has now been selected to represent New Zealand in the forthcoming Tokyo Olympics.

Let’s be honest – it would have to be one of the English-speaking nations to have taken this unprecedented step; after all, only the Anglosphere appears to have bought into this bullshit. Watching the opening moments of the delayed Euro 2020 tournament, what a relief it was to be spared a visual lecture when the Italy and Turkey teams responded to the referee’s whistle by kicking off the game rather than striking a pose implying they were about to ask for each other’s hands in marriage. The mother tongue of Planet Woke is English – sad but true. When the FA proclaimed in no uncertain words that anyone booing the taking of the knee was racist, the participating teams from mainland Europe must have rolled their eyes along with the majority of football fans in this country. The first England fixture at Wembley saw the usual misguided virtue-signalling entered into, yet the fact the Croatia players didn’t follow suit made England’s insistence on slavishly sticking to the pose look even more stupid. And fans booed, of course. Maybe they’d just come to watch some sport as opposed to a party political broadcast.

Anyway, the presence of a ‘Transgender’ athlete in Tokyo will be, I guess, viewed as another victory for the Identitarian crusade as the politicisation of sport continues unimpeded. It’s interesting that the first sport affected by this issue to fall under the global spotlight is one notorious for the less…er…feminine attributes of its participants. Those of us old enough to have memories of Iron Curtain countries participating in Olympic events, when the likes of the GDR entered female athletes so pumped-up with performance-enhancing chemicals that many of them were more masculine than the athletes competing in the male event, won’t be surprised that weightlifting has led the way in the bending of biological qualification. Apparently, the IOC guidelines specify that surgery is not necessary as long as a transgender athlete’s testosterone levels remain below 10 nanomoles per litre for a full year; this doesn’t appear to take into account the standard female levels of testosterone average between 0.3 and 2.4 nanomoles per litre, suggesting there is immediately an advantage for male competitors competing against female ones. And that’s not even mentioning all those aspects of physical male development from puberty, those of height, weight, muscle and bone density – which non-surgery transgender types still carry – that make a man (whether or not he decides he’s now a woman) a far stronger individual than any natural-born woman.

There are many sports whose sex-segregation has always seemed to me like a hangover from another era, ones I often feel should be open for men and women to compete against each other on a level playing field – golf, for example; or snooker; or darts; maybe even Formula One. None of these are exclusively dependent on physical strength, a quality that will always give a man advantage over a woman. If female jockeys can compete against their male counterparts – and win, as was demonstrated at this year’s historic Grand National – I don’t really see why the sexes should be divided in any of the specific sports mentioned. In the more athletic events that emphasise the physical prowess of the participants, however – and the headline-grabbing ones at the Olympic Games tend to be these – women’s sport is in danger of being reduced to a laughing stock. By all accounts, the moving of the goalposts in track & field at high-school level in the US has resulted in a predictable success rate for boys identifying as girls; the actual girls are naturally a bit miffed by this, seeing potential paths to Olympic glory being suddenly blocked by blokes. So much for Girl Power.

New Zealand’s transgender hero (heroine?) Laurel Hubbard is 43-years-old; I suspect he/her wouldn’t have got anywhere near selection for Tokyo in his/her former guise, yet the fact a competitor in their early 40s has got there at the expense of a genuine female weightlifter in her 20s highlights the farcical nature of allowing past-it men to take this backdoor route to the Olympics and depriving women in their prime of the opportunity in the process. Does that seem like a fair example of the Olympian ideal, let alone a triumph for feminism? Of course, weightlifting being an individual – as opposed to team – event means we have yet to see the extreme ludicrousness of this trend, though it’s only a matter of time. I can’t help thinking of the Python sketch in which John Cleese plays a brain-dead, knuckle-head boxer whose big fight comes against a little girl in pigtails (played by Connie Booth); the fight itself basically consists of Cleese repeatedly flooring his hapless opponent with one simple punch over and over again.

When tennis legend Martina Navratilova spoke out against what was happening, she was exposed to the full force of trans-activist trolldom, which just goes to show even someone who arguably did more to raise the level of athletic excellence in women’s sport than anyone before or since – and did a hell of a lot to forward the cause of gay people in sport, lest we forget – is not immune to being shouted down and silenced. A separate transgender category in sport would seem a fair compromise, though would this enable Laurel Hubbard to grab gold? Any TV sports presenter or commentator confronted by the sight of the New Zealander strutting his/her stuff with the weights in Tokyo will probably feel as though they’re commentating on a state funeral, over-mindful of not saying the wrong thing or making light of the sight for fear of being delivered their P45 the following day. So they will have to pretend this is just, like, normal – as will the team covering Wimbledon when greeted by half-empty stands peppered with masked punters sat in isolation from one another. As Jimmy Greaves used to say, it’s a funny old game.

© The Editor

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

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WALKING THE DOGMA

It was hardly a great shock that the candidate to make way for the final three in the Labour leadership race was Emily Thornberry. Nobody could really imagine Lady Nugee – the embodiment of the middle-class metropolitan champagne socialist looking down her nose at the proles – winning the contest, let alone presenting herself to the electorate as a potential Prime Minister. But it was interesting when she joined the other candidates on last week’s ‘Newsnight’ debate that she was the only one who expressed reservations over the latest diktat from the Momentum Politburo; regardless of her own political shortcomings or her failure to secure the endorsement of a leading union, it’s possible Thornberry ruled herself out of the race the moment she publicly doubted the unquestioning acceptance of what goes by the catchy name of ‘The Labour Campaign for Trans Rights’.

This proposal is the epitome of the dogmatic obsession with Identity Politics that helped deter great swathes of traditional Labour voters from sticking with tribal loyalties during the last General Election. It essentially declares the outlawing of debate around the transgender issue, demanding unswerving obedience to the 2+2=5 logic of the most intolerant Woke extremism when it comes to this particular topic. It gives the green light for another party purge should any member dare challenge the ‘trans-women are women’ mantra, promising expulsion of all bigots in the process – and be in no doubt that if you venture to question anything in the edict, you are a bigot. If you have the gall to raise concerns over men in drag invading women’s private spaces – such as toilets or changing-rooms – you are beneath contempt; if you argue that simply declaring one’s self female without actually possessing the necessary biological components is ridiculous, you will be exiled from both the party and polite society.

Emily Thornberry stated she was uncomfortable with the possible impact on women’s rights, and this Trans manifesto labels two campaigning organisations, the LGB Alliance and Woman’s Place UK, as beyond-the-pale ‘hate groups’. Both have what, until very recently, would have been regarded as not-unreasonable aims – putting forward the legitimate concerns of gay and female groups respectively as the establishment shuts down debate around an issue that places the interests of a tiny minority of unhinged activists over the majority of fairly liberal-minded people. Maybe Thornberry has belatedly realised that, as with all branches of Woke activism, surrendering to one demand is never enough. Those who ignore this fact do so at their peril.

Comedy writer Graham Linehan, for example; he was happy to line-up with the SJW stone-throwers and condemn ‘Nazi pug’ YouTuber Count Dankula as a fascist deserving of imprisonment, yet the moment the co-creator of ‘Father Ted’ raised doubts over extreme Trans ideology, he found himself on the receiving end of the kind of online abuse and career ‘blacklisting’ he was content to see inflicted upon Dankula. The Labour Party should take note of this, but it won’t.

That the party still posing as Her Majesty’s Opposition should draft a document that is an inflexible proclamation of intolerance towards anyone who feels groups Labour has traditionally been supportive of have been unfairly demonised in favour of one over-exposed and ring-fenced subculture shows the party has learnt even less from December’s devastating defeat than imagined. That the three candidates left in the leadership race have fallen over themselves to earn PC points by signing their names on the dotted line is akin to a three-way suicide pact re any hopes of recapturing office. No surprises about Rebecca ‘10/10’ Long-Bailey or Keir ‘Believe the Victim’ Starmer, but it was a bit disappointing Lisa Nandy succumbed so readily, as she’s so far been the sole promising contender. But needs – AKA careers – must.

The outspoken women’s campaigner who goes by the name of Posie Parker has felt the wrath of the powerful pro-Trans lobby by being banned from Twitter and declared a witch; yet, amidst her occasionally provocative-for-the-sake-of-it outbursts, she does make a valid point on the subject of oversensitivity within the Trans-extremist camp. She notes that women become accustomed to attracting and arousing the male eye from the moment they hit puberty and their physical attributes are suddenly visible; therefore, by the time a woman reaches her 30s, she has had ample time to get used to the kind of treatment she stands to receive from some members of the opposite sex and has developed means of dealing with it.

A man in his 30s, on the other hand, who suddenly declares himself a woman and believes simply dressing as a woman is all it takes to be accepted as one, is singularly unprepared for the fact that the rest of the world might not have come to the same conclusions as him. Cue abusive reactions on the street or in the workplace, leading to a narcissistic persecution complex and a belief that ‘coming out’ as a woman makes him/her the most discriminated-against individual in society. Yet, a discriminated-against individual whose cause has the support of politicians, academia, the media, the BBC, the chattering classes, Silicon Valley – and the police force. That’s pretty substantial support for a minority.

Posie Parker was photographed last week standing beside a man whose sinister investigation by Humberside Police demonstrates just how far the sentiments laid out in the Labour Campaign for Trans Rights have infiltrated our public bodies and institutions. Harry Miller, a former policeman himself, had challenged Trans ‘wisdom’ on Twitter and received a phone-call and visit from a graduate of the Trans-awareness school of policing for his troubles. Whilst informed he had committed no crime, Miller was nevertheless logged as someone who was guilty of a ‘non-crime hate incident’, as an offended individual had contacted the police over his tweets; the Humberside Police therefore needed to ‘check his thinking’. Scary, eh?

Outraged over this Orwellian interpretation of crime (or non-crime), Miller wouldn’t let it lie and decided to take the thought-police to court. Mercifully, he won. Mr Justice Knowles, the judge at the High Court, delivered a necessary indictment of this abuse of the law in his summing-up. ‘In this country,’ he said, ‘we have never had a Cheka, a Gestapo or a Stasi.’ He added ‘I find the combination of the police visiting the claimant’s place of work, and their subsequent statements in relation to the possibility of prosecution, were a disproportionate interference with the claimant’s right to freedom of expression because of their potential chilling effect…the claimant’s tweets were lawful and there was not the slightest risk that he would commit a criminal offence by continuing to tweet.’

The ruling on Miller’s harassment by Humberside Police simply because he expressed an opinion online that one person was ‘offended’ by is undoubtedly a much-needed victory for free speech at a time when free speech is under its most relentless assault in living memory. The likes of the moral-crusading Festival of Light had a few powerful friends in the 70s, but could never claim the clout today’s opponents of freedom of expression can command. If the increasingly-ludicrous demands of Woke culture go unchallenged, more and more open-minded people who have always regarded themselves as reasonable and liberal risk being edged further to the right because the left has become a refuge for every cult crackpot who views everything through an ism prism. And they won’t vote Labour again.

© The Editor

SHE WHO MUST BE OBEYED

candy-darlingFirst it was Germaine Greer, now it’s Jenni Murray. Their crime? Daring to voice an opinion that contradicts the doctrine of the new order consensus, specifically the clause that declares we must never question the authenticity of men who have undergone gender reassignment surgery and must automatically place them in the same category as women who were born with full female anatomy. And this despite the fact many Trans-Women invite such distinctions. No doubt the po-faced funereal spectre of Professional Northern Trans-Woman Paris Lees will be prompted into one of her regular ‘Channel 4 News’ or ‘Newsnight’ comedy turns in response, hurling the ‘old bigot’ slingshot at the latest target.

The veteran ‘Woman’s Hour’ presenter who has provided the serial offence-takers with a new hate figure is 66 years-old; Germaine Greer is 78. Unlike their hysterical detractors, both women were born into a world that had clearly defined boundaries based on class, race, sexuality and gender; and Greer in particular played a hugely significant part in changing the perceptions of those boundaries where gender was concerned, far greater than her twenty-something critics could ever imagine. She and Murray have been witness to arguably the most revolutionary breaking down of those boundaries that the western world has ever experienced; and it has happened in the space of barely half-a-century.

More than one generation has had to overturn all its inherited beliefs and opinions on society’s so-called ‘minorities’; and this takes the kind of time that those born into a world where the contemporary consensus holds sway have no comprehension of. To use just one personal example, I recall my mother expressing her embarrassment when my deaf granddad (her father) used the word ‘nigger’ loudly in a supermarket, yet she herself still uses the word ‘paki’, which makes me wince every time she says it. That she could find ‘nigger’ unacceptable whilst simultaneously not thinking the same of ‘paki’ highlights how her own inherited beliefs and opinions have changed, albeit not quite reaching the acceptable standard demanded by the speech police.

Expecting the grandparent generation to mirror the approach to what can and can’t be said in either public or private discourse as practiced by their grandchildren is not that different from expecting them to have unnaturally coloured hair, piercings and tattoos. The under-40s blame game from the losing side in the EU Referendum, reserving Remoaner vitriol for pensioners who had the audacity to hold a different point of view, largely based on life experience and a wider knowledge of the lengthy European project rather than ‘racism’, was a telling demonstration of that generation’s narcissistic refusal to accept there are contrary opinions to their own; and this extends into other facets of life in which their inability to respond to these contrary opinions with nothing more than lazy labelling is revealing a worrying absence of emotional maturity.

If a trans-woman wants to be recognised and accepted as a ‘real’ woman, why is there the need for the ‘trans’ prefix? One is either a trans-woman or a woman; one cannot be both, surely? It’s almost as though some want the benefits each can bring – acceptance as belonging to the sisterhood yet also requiring ‘special treatment’ that a natural-born woman is exempt from. Here’s your cake, and you can eat it too! I’ve met a couple of women in my life who were born male, and I wouldn’t have known if I hadn’t been told. To me, both resembled middle-aged Avon Ladies and they seemed happy in their skins, which is great; they weren’t declaring to all and sundry that they were spokeswomen for the LGBTRSVPABCXYZ community and demanding to be treated as a Third Sex.

The majority of men who have endured male-to-female surgery do so because they genuinely believe themselves to be women trapped in men’s bodies; therefore, once they re-emerge from hospital, their bodies are finally in-synch with what their heads have always held to be true and they are, to all extents and purposes, now bona-fide women. Yes, they have no menstrual cycle and cannot get pregnant, but other than that, there’s little to distinguish them from women whose bodies were compatible from day one.

I don’t believe the constant carping from militant Trans-Women or those professing to speak on their behalf really has anything to do with gender identity, more another example of the contemporary craving to sign-up to an officially designated minority, to uphold the trend for comfortable pigeonholing and membership of a ‘victimised’ collective that can gather together and share placards.

The original 70s Gay Liberation movement in the US often saw conflicts between those who preferred the traditional masculine male role model and those who revelled in their feminine side; the latter was seen as ‘letting the team down’ by camping it up and aping the flamboyant vanity and cartoon frivolity of girlie girls, thus reinforcing the archaic effeminate stereotype. But there was still room for both in the battle for acceptance. Today, any prominent gay media man, whether Stephen Fry or Peter Tatchell, faces the threat of the no-platform treatment if they dare to say anything that shatters the facade of everyone being in it together. Ridiculously, they can be labelled ‘homophobic’ just as Germaine Greer can be labelled ‘misogynistic’.

Virtually all of the men or women who have been targeted by the speech police in the last couple of years have been over-45 at least, and most were on the frontline of the actual battles that obliterated the old boundaries, something their wet-behind-the-ears opponents have benefitted from. More was achieved by ‘The Female Eunuch’ than mixed-gender lavatories, so it’s time the kiddies cut their predecessors some slack and stopped trying to impose their own rigid framework on generations that were far more fluid and broad-minded when it came to sexuality and whether or not their own predecessors agreed with them.

© The Editor

NO COUNTRY FOR SQUARE PEGS

wilf-lunnWhen people speak of the Great British Eccentric being a dying breed, most of the examples given of the species do tend to be over a certain age – 50, at least. Granted, there are a few defiant exceptions (certainly in terms of dress, someone like Paloma Faith, perhaps), though the famous names that spring to mind are usually past their half-century. I think the claims of the species bordering on extinction aren’t too far-fetched in that it’s hard to foresee another generation spawning any. It isn’t just the large-scale homogenisation of genuine individual thought and/or appearance within society that could be held responsible, nor the fact that every suspected ‘Paedo’ exposed by the press is painted as ‘a bit weird’ because he doesn’t adhere to an imposed dress-code (thus marking out sartorial originality as totally toxic); but when any potential eccentricities surface in children today parents, teachers and doctors alike are a tad too quick to diagnose a ‘syndrome’.

You may or may not have heard of Oppositional Defiance Disorder, but that is the tag that has now been attached to children who misbehave – yes, fancy that! Children misbehaving and refusing to do as they’re told! What an uncharacteristic behavioural trait! Children doing what children have always done can no longer be just that; there has to be a medical condition to cover all eventualities that can be tamed with both medication and counselling.

The feminisation of our leading institutions, along with the box-ticking bureaucracy that negates common sense, seems determined to prevent little boys in particular from being little boys. There is also the plethora of self-help ‘how to be a perfect parent’ publications, an entire literary industry that has had a pernicious influence on the attitude towards children and remains in perpetual denial of the fact that some of them are strange little bastards.

Ever since the recognition of dyslexia as something to be distinguished from basic stupidity, there has been a conscious rush to judgement on classic childhood symptoms that veer from the desired ordinariness that is a by-product of perfection. All the numerous minor strands of autism are examples of this, and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is another that has now become utterly accepted as a bona-fide syndrome, a condition that is hastily diagnosed and in many cases treated with a course of medication. In recent years, the transgender issue has also reared its head, especially amongst right-on parents who seize upon any indication of effeminacy in their little boy as a sign his ‘true’ sexuality must be determined by them before he’s even hit puberty.

The dangerous fad for labelling every aspect of a child’s natural behaviour a syndrome is a panicky response when so many are afraid of standing out from the crowd and expressing any notion of individuality that contradicts the consensus. The ghastly competitiveness of parents that rests on one-upmanship faces a severe threat if their little angel is exhibiting any signs of being ‘different’, so a convenient pigeonhole that is accepted as a syndrome by the teaching and medical profession is an easy solution to a problem that doesn’t actually exist.

Like most of us, I grew up around many children who displayed personal eccentricities that would now probably have a ready-made diagnosis on hand. One girl I was at primary school with used to bite her toenails. I wonder what that would be categorised as today? Keratin Carnivore Disorder? And I suspect we all knew one or two who would eat their own bogies. Mucus Consumption Disorder? Keeping children on a tight leash and denying them the freedom to express themselves through the kind of behaviour adults aren’t able to get away with is a modern trend that only has a few caveats, such as when it comes to ‘artistic’ expression – which basically amounts to those bloody awful pictures proud parents stick on their fridges as a sign of what creative geniuses they’ve spawned.

But genuine creativity often goes hand-in-hand with unconventional outlooks and attitudes that are commonplace amongst children and rare amongst adults; the adults that retain them are ones that resisted having them drilled out by the educational system. It must be harder than ever to uphold such resistance and be a little Winston Smith today, however.

Not only does one have to risk being diagnosed with a syndrome and being forcibly drugged to wash the nasty thoughts away, but there is also the league table-obsessed educational system itself, which like all institutions – whether the NHS, DWP, police force or legal profession – has become a training camp for the appliance of politically-correct robotic responses in which impromptu personal judgment not listed in the script has no place. The fear of litigation or ostracism enables such Orwellian Ministry systems to flourish unimpeded by common sense and ideas that risk being labelled that most dreaded of contemporary ailments, eccentric.

That each new crop of recruits to these institutions now instinctively follow the rulebook to the letter of the law (and probably had early resistance suppressed by a syndrome diagnosis and accompanying medication) means the likelihood of the Circumlocution Offices the institutions have gradually evolved into ever reverting to what they were before virtually zilch. Anyone at the frontline of having to deal with said institutions will know what an uphill struggle it is to make representatives of them understand that everything they’ve had programmed into them is counterproductive to an actual result. Add the inherent conservatism of social media as a further tool for falling into line and it would seem any future eccentrics that are lucky enough to slip through the net will be few and far between. And our society will be all the poorer for their absence.

© The Editor

GOODBYE SAM, HELLO SAMANTHA

DragI’ve spoken before of pushy parents projecting their failed ambitions upon the vanity projects they call children, of vicariously living thwarted dreams through offspring, regardless of how unfair a burden it is for that offspring to carry. I’m not speaking of it again, though certain aspects of a new odious development remind me of it. This is parents picking up on a particular personality trait in their mini-me’s and coming up with a psychological diagnosis that ticks the PC boxes and enables them to advertise their right-on credentials by using their children as a sandwich board. I’m talking about parents who come to the decision that any characteristics of the opposite sex displayed by the kids evidently means the kids are gender-dysphorian, non-binary, tiny tot trannies.

I used to go to school with children, so I can recall what they were like. There were always boys who were routinely called ‘cissies’, the ones who appeared to have no male friends in the playground and always hung out with the girls, doing as the girls did; moreover, there were always girls who rejected girlishness and preferred the rough ‘n’ tumble of male company. The Nancy Boy and the Tom Boy are enshrined as archetypes in British pop culture, from Dennis the Menace’s effeminate nemesis, Walter the Softy to ‘George’, Enid Blyton’s butch little ball-breaker in ‘The Famous Five’. Both were defiant aberrations, going against the stereotypical grain; both may have grown up to be gay. But being in closer contact with their respective feminine and masculine sides than the majority of their contemporaries didn’t necessarily mean either wanted to eventually assume the full gender reassignment process. They were unselfconsciously taking a stance against what society defined as masculine or feminine.

I’m not ashamed or embarrassed that I’ve always been ‘in touch with my feminine side’, nor should I be. I’ve always believed a man who aggressively fights it is half-a-man, in denial of what is a biological truth. When that femininity is manifested as visual flourishes of a kind that an overtly masculine male culture reacts to with hostility, it’s not the easiest brand of honesty to embrace; but to volunteer for a two-dimensional testosterone straitjacket is not in my nature, and I’d be less of a man if it was. Any past problems I may have had with being a man were, I can now see, a direct consequence of being presented with such a limited portrait of the sex. The hair is short, the clothes are colourless, the drink is beer, the passion is sport, the libido is triggered by the Page 3 Girl; and any deviation from the rulebook is precisely that – deviation. But as I instinctively reject imposed rulebooks in other aspects of life, why should gender be any different?

Ironically, the haste with which some misguided parents are now prepared to redefine their sons as daughters (and vice-versa) at the slightest hint of a preference for aping the opposite sex plays straight into the hands of the narrow male/female stereotypes they smugly imagine they’re challenging. Little Sam prefers to play with the girls and their dolls, therefore that must mean he’s a girl trapped in a boy’s body; we must start calling him Samantha and send him to school in a skirt next term while letting his hair grow long; that, after all, is the extent of what a girl is, isn’t it? If we swap one set of gender clichés for another, then everyone will then know he’s a girl. No shades of grey there, just black-and-white boys and girls where there is no room for the Nancy Boy or the Tom Boy, those genuine rebels.

Girls and boys pass through numerous phases as they grow-up; that’s what growing-up is about. I changed the comics I read on a virtually monthly basis; one week I was in love with Joanna Lumley in ‘The New Avengers’; the next, I was in love with Jaclyn Smith from ‘Charlie’s Angels’. My female cousin’s bedroom wall had a different pin-up staring down at me every time I visited. ‘I thought you liked David Cassidy?’ ‘No, I like David Essex.’ The first song I apparently proclaimed to be my No.1 ‘Desert Island Disc’ was ‘Yellow River’ by Christie; 46 years later, I can honestly say I’ve never cared for it since it was a chart-topper in the summer of 1970. Anyone with anything about them experiences life as a permanent state of metamorphosis, changing opinions on subjects every ten years or so; a great deal of what I thought at 18 I now consider bollocks – and it’s only right I should. The concept of development being frozen at any age is a particularly horrific one for me, let alone life choices being set in stone by parents when still a child and some distance from even puberty, let alone adulthood.

Gender identity is an especially delicate area of a child’s life for parents to play with, far more serious than them mapping out their child’s career or drilling a religious belief, a forced dedication to a musical instrument or a specific sport into them. More than anything, it is something the child needs to formulate when it has experienced a little bit of what life has to offer beyond the nursery or the playground, when it actually ceases to be a child and can be classified as an adult. There’s nothing wrong with a boy finding more affinity with girls or a girl finding more affinity with boys; by surmising this implies a desire to actually become that which the child has an affinity with is to expose a parent’s own limited awareness of the rich variety of what being a boy or a girl actually has the potential to encompass.

© The Editor