Election Night

And so the wait begins. I’m not staying up for results; as I have said to a number of people over the last few days: I prefer to experience the inevitable existential dread over a cup of coffee in the morning.

And yet I am nervous. I have been deliberately avoiding the news and social media today as far as possible. As an unashamed Leftie and member of the LGBTQIA+ community I am scared for what another five years of right wing rule will bring.

I work with and serve people who have had their lives torn apart in the last ten years of Tory rule. I am worried over the language of division and hate that colours so much of the conversation around me.

I hope my fears are baseless. I hope my visions of the near future are wrong. I ardently hope that whatever tomorrow brings will actually lead to a brighter place for us all.

Please let me be wrong.

Brain Freeze

I don’t like to comment on politics – it’s such a disastrous mess across the entire spectrum. I also don’t particularly hide my leanings towards the left end of the spectrum, and my attitude towards Brexit can be fairly summed by the blog article I wrote at the time of the result. To save you the effort of checking back a couple of years of entries: it basically consisted of the word ‘fuck’ around 100 times.

I work in a library, and generally believe and attempt to work towards uplifting and inspiring people to be the best that they can be, and to make the place at least a bit brighter.

So to see the utter mess that is our news and politics in the UK leaves me quite angry and distressed – but I’m damned if I can formulate any coherent response or remedy to the morass of panic that seems all around. And so my bain freezes – and part of me wonders if that might not actually be the point of it all in some quarters, to hope that my paralysis will get in the way of protesting effectively at a given course of action.

I’m tired of being tired of the politics of outrage

Uneasy Malaise

My enthusiasm and joie de vivre are both pretty suppressed at the moment, and it’s taken me a while to compose my thoughts around recent events. The murders at Pulse in Orlando, and of Jo Cox MP in West Yorkshire are both resonating with me on two counts.

Firstly they both took place in or just outside what are generally considered as safe places. Gay clubs are often one of the few places where people can be themselves, especially if their families or neighbourhood are unsympathetic or outright opposed to their rights to even exist, let alone love who they love.

Libraries, despite what feels like a concerted assault by government, are community hubs serving everyone, helping those in need to help themselves with information, access to resources, and sometimes physical space to avoid a hostile outside world. Local and national politicians use them for surgeries because they know libraries are seen as a neutral meeting ground, and they go where people will feel safe enough to talk.

The second resonance comes because in each case, the perpetrators of the actual murders are being tarred with a variety of brushes to suit political ends. Mental illness has again been suggested as a factor in each crime, but at the same time there seems to be a reluctance to address whatever has triggered these horrific attacks.

On both sides of the Atlantic, rhetoric and hatred has been allowed to hijack public debate. Right wing media has joined in fanning dismay and prejudice, and the sad fact is that those of us who suffer from mental illness can find ourselves being even more sensitive to the outrage and bile than whoever cares to label themselves as ‘normal’.

In such a toxic mix of cheap outrage and manufactured hatred, it’s not hugely surprising that some people snap. Whether it’s due to self-loathing and feelings of powerlessness, an inability or unwillingness to ask deeper questions, or someone planting a seductively easy target in front of them in their confusion, there’s only so much frenzy that people can let slide off their shoulders before they begin to identify with it.

The real shame is that those peddling the hate won’t see that they’ve done harm, or do anything to change their ways. It’ll all just get used to justify the next wave of distorted crap that sells us all down the river.

So you’ll excuse my lack of humour at the moment I hope. Normal chirpy facemasks will be resumed in due course. Your challenge, should you accept it, is to see what you can do to level the playing fields and do some good in the world. What are you waiting for?

An Esoteric Content Censorship Primer

I don’t usually jump in on public debates like this, but I have a grave concern about the way that this legislation in the UK has been drafted and sold. In particular I believe that the use of the word esoteric by the people who drafted it has been used in a very different way than the spiritual use that many people are familiar with and this is causing considerable problems. This alone should be a warning sign that insufficient care has been put into being precise about the remit of the legislation, and that deliberate vagueness is once more being used to erode freedom of information.

Have a look and see what you think…

Original graphic published at http://www.reachinglight.com.

Infographic: UK Filter to Block ‘Esoteric Content’ - Worldwide Implications