BBC Panto Time: Farage vs. Brand

It’s getting close to panto season, so the BBC gave us an suitable episode of Question Time. The panellists were as follows:

  • Rags to Riches everyman played by Comedian Russell Brand.
  • Immigrant hating Villain played by Nigel Farage.
  • Mary Creagh: One side of a comedy duo who speaks only in Labour buzzwords and catchphrases.
  • Penny Mordaunt: The other side of the comedy duo who speaks only in Conservative buzzwords and catchphrases.
  • Camilla Cavendish: Times Journalist. Perhaps she was there as a straight man.

Curtain opens and we get a jolly scene about whether there’s too much petty adversarialism in politics. “Oh yes there is! Oh no there isn’t!” Suggestions that the ugly sisters are indistinguishable, and both of them say pretty much the same thing about how very different their policies are.

Things get a lot more exciting when we get onto immigration. “Is the country full”. The panto villain declares it is, and how he wants to throw all the immigrants into the sea. Or maybe introduce a system of quotas where we allow people with important skills to come in on a visa but not everyone.

Highlights include the fat man. Tells Russell he has a destiny! A Destiny to stand for parliament! To fight for what’s right! But he’s interrupted by a blue dragon screaming her terrible roar of “Racist!! Racist!!”

After that we seemed to lose the plot a bit. Camilla Cavendish constantly using facts and arguing for a moderate position and getting somewhat drowned out by the noise. More of the step-sisters bickering about whether they should have part-privatised 17% of the NHS or whether 18% should be in a public-private partnership.Ultimately nobody really cares what the supporting actors say. The bickering sisters amuse us for a while but they never delight us. The straight man and the mentor tend to move things along but who do we really care about?The Hero. The Villain.Brand genuinely does seem to care about people but he is not good at expressing himself. He’s clearly frustrated that people are focussing on the wrong issues. He’s not doing any favours by attacking Farage before he’s ready. Nigel Farage can beat him off without blinking. Farage has the people enthralled. But they’re the people, not his evil minions. The people certainly think he’s the good guy. You need to win them over first. Painting him as a panto villain doesn’t work in the real world.


Where are the big ideas?

The industrial revolution led to the most sudden increase in economic growth ever. Suddenly the nations of Europe were rich. And while we may criticise them, in may ways they used this money well. There was enough money that society’s problems mattered! The Victorians built sewers! They set up houses for the poor! They formed an organised police force!Not to mention the infrastructure investments such as canals, railways and telegraphs. A legacy that endures today

After the Second World War, Britain changed. Socialism had been encroaching for years. The working classes were getting a mite peeved by the rich doing none of the work and getting all the money. So first chance they got, they threw out the toffs and elected the Labour Party. One of the most enduring legacies of this government is the NHS. Free healthcare for all! There were other reforms, but the NHS was the big one and the one that stuck.

Across the Atlantic there was a new-found sense of optimism! Nuclear power was the way forward. The US was leading the way into space. In a massive development program, we saw a  man on the moon for no other reason except to prove that it could be done and done by an American! This is still seen as one of mankind’s greatest achievements.

We see nothing like this in the 21st century. Orion is our best bet but where’s the drive? Where is our grand vision? What will be our legacy to future generations? Who will look back at the early 2000’s and say “That was when things happened!”

I’m not misandrist, but…

Something that seems to be doing the rounds on facebook is: misandry isn’t real, dudez
What a tosser! This prick is insisting that all gendered insults are mocking women. So why have I managed to insult them twice already using words that are seen as inappropriate to apply to a woman?
I can think of several ways I’ve been mocked because of my gender. Hell, we tell boys they’re made of slugs and snails and puppy dogs tails at primary school. There’s a perception that we’re idiots who care about nothing but football and beer. And you know what? I can deal with that. But I don’t care if you call me a girl either. It’s pretty harmless. I can even tolerate the pathetic “Dudebro” term that gets thrown around so often.
Here are some insults I’ve heard applied to men in the last couple of weeks that I do find offensive:
  • Mansplainer.
  • Sexist Pigdog.
  • Schrodinger’s rapist.
The first is dismissing me as having nothing to say because of my gender. The second is abuse masquerading as offence. The third is telling me that I’m something that is indescribably hateful to decent society. All of them are targeted only at men. Usually they come from a fairly nasty type of extreme feminist, who wants to deny they’re man haters. This is hateful language.
Misandry is real. And it hurts.

Permitted opinions are X, Y and Z

Controversial UKIP event on the University of East Anglia campus postponed amid “review”

Only a week after Oxford university’s quite cowardly decision to cancel a debate because of student pressure, University of East Anglia students have decided that political debate is not permitted.

You can see the petition here. The level of doublethink is vile.

To call this an assault on freedom of speech is an error.

This is exactly what it is!

This is about asking the question: who decides? Who can take part in politics? Do students feel responsible for their campus? What does safety mean to people on campus? What is the boundary?

Looks like you’ve answered that question. You do! We’ve learned that immigration is not a valid topic. I trust then, that you think that the situation we have right now is perfect. Our immigration system is beyond criticism, and it should never change. Is that the way you feel?

You do not promote debate by censoring and silencing people. Universities are meant to be a bastion of freedom of speech not freedom of speech that you find tolerable.

Feminism Demands Totalitarianism

If you’re going to post clickbait headlines then so will I. I am, of course, referring to this article:

If men feel entitled to tell women when feminism has gone too far, *it hasn’t’ gone far enough*

Look at any society where one group is beyond criticism of another.  Are any of them healthy, thriving democracies? Is the endgame really a feminist Caliphate?

Your movement is never beyond criticism. Everyone is entitled to criticise! And yes, we will be critical of your criticism! Andrew Lawrence was indeed criticised by the right. He himself was critical. You are critical of the right wingers who attacked him and I am critical of you. This is not a misrepresentation of free speech. This is what free speech is!

I am indeed outraged. I expressed my outrage at your outrage. You have options. You can address my outrage; take it to heart; change. Be a better, more considerate person. Or if you don’t want to, you can tell me to get stuffed. You have that right! You can even be outraged yourself.

Nobody has the right to tell you what you can and can’t say. That right does not extend to put you above criticism for what you choose to say.

“Rioting is Bad”. Dicuss…

The store owner who was robbed by Michael Brown had his store looted.

This man did nothing wrong. He is the only person who can be said, undeniably, to have been a victim in the whole affair. His only offence was to own a shop that Michael Brown decided to rob.

I personally have no idea whether what happened the night Michael Brown was shot. It is undeniable that there are serious problems with police rules of engagement. I damn well hope Ferguson does a full investigation into how this can happen.

I expect anger. Those who are cheated should be taking to the streets, shouting, demanding things must change, but as soon as you commit violence, you are a criminal and deserve to go to prison. This is surely a sentiment that everyone shares, right? No. We get sentiments like this

I’d have ignored it were it not for the sheer number of retweets! Even from people I usually consider sane!

Is it worth rioting over? Is it worth looting the store of a man who was robbed in retribution? Did this store owner deserve it? Is he part of the establishment that shot this young man? This is not about justice for Michael Brown or preventing this from happening later.

These aren’t Michael Brown’s supporters. These are thugs who like violence and like looting.

So if you want to take the position of “rioting is good” then go ahead. Make your argument.