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Month: May, 2015

Women’s Rights And Wrongs

You’re about to read 2571 contentious words.
Oh, hell, let’s slap a rasher of bacon on that sausage, you’re about to read 2571 contentious, opinionated, feminist words.

I am not a Feminist, and no amount of weepy-faced, crayon-drawn placard holding photos is going to change that. These words are feminist because they relate to the attitudes and values held typical of women and women are the cultural representation of the feminine.

These words are opinionated, because they are my opinions. This is my little corner of the world, and I’m about to let some personal rage out, so brace yourself. The odds of you reaching the end of this without being offended are very slim.

These words are contentious, because they are about physical and sexual assaults on women. My blog is mainly lighthearted, because I’m usually too much of wimp to tackle anything serious. Although I write in a flippant manner here, I do not take this particular subject lightly at all.

Are we sitting comfortably? Then I shall begin:

Something needs to happen in the world of young women, they need to stop putting themselves at risk. They are damaging themselves, they are damaging the world and they are pissing me right off.

Too many sexual and physical assaults of young women happen because they put themselves at risk. I’m not talking here about domestic abuse, or rape by someone a woman knows and trusts; I specifically mean assaults and rapes that happen at the hands of strangers when women are drunk or on drugs.

I will award the prize of an 8lb gammon steak to the first cunt who shouts ‘VICTIM BLAMER!’ at me in a shrill voice. I can only start to think about blaming a victim once they have become a victim, I’m a Preventative Measure Monitor, I don’t want there to be victims.

I don’t just have an idealistic view of how the world SHOULD be to mean there are no more victims, I actually want there to be less victims, starting now. I’m not comfortable with a level of sacrifice to expedite cultural change, that’s what WORDS are for, I just want there to be no victims at all, starting today.

My main issue with young women is their consumption of drink/drugs.  Don’t get me wrong, in my younger days, I knew how to party. I liked drugs and I took them, they were great. I have never been a huge drinker, it seems like a hard drug to handle, but for the purposes of this rant, we’ll assume drink and drugs are one and the same, in that they get you mashed-up if you overindulge.

In my party days, I enjoyed a good mash up, I’ve been so wrecked before now that I (apparently, I have no memory of this) spent three hours chatting up a potted spider plant, and cried at the wrenching separation anxiety when my friend said it was time for her to drive me home. My sober friend.

Before I’d got mashed that night, even at eighteen years old, I had a plan. It was my turn to get disgusting, and it was my friend’s turn to get us home safely. Our night out was actually at a house party of another friend, meaning the only time we were outside alone was on the driveway between the front door and the car. If we’d been out in town, or somewhere public, I would not have got so wrecked. I have always been keen to minimise my risk.

I’ve never really been comfortable out on the town under the influence of anything. I have done it when there has been a large group, and we were staying within a busy area. I will not, under the influence of drink or drugs, walk alone, or in a small group anywhere unknown, unclear or unlit. Actually, I won’t do it sober. I like to minimise my risk.

On the rare occasion I do go out to meet friends alone, I have never, not one time, been left without a plan of how to get where I’m going, or how to get back. I never spend my cab money on booze, and if I feel I’m getting a bit too tipsy, then it’s hometime, even if it’s 9pm. I will never use an unlicensed taxi to save money, and I’ll only use a bus if I don’t have a long walk at the other end. I keep flat shoes in my handbag and wear them on the way home so I can leg it if I need to. I will minimise my risk.

I may sound like a right kill-joy, but frankly, I don’t care one iota, I’ve never been assaulted and/or raped, and I still think I’m lucky, even when I have accounted for risk at every available turn. Why do I think I’m lucky, and not just being rewarded for minimising my own risk? Because rapists maximise their opportunities; I could do everything right, and still be attacked, so I know I’m lucky.

These ideals of self-protection were natural to me and my friends, and I assumed every young woman would account for their own vulnerability and attempt to redress the balance, but I can see with my own eyes that many do not.

I cannot list all the anecdotes I have about peeling young women off the floor in clubs, intervening in blatantly rapey attempts from opportunistic men, stopping my own taxi to collect a young girl wandering pissed down deserted roads at 3am, arranging ways for them to get home, taking them home, giving them money, stopping them drinking when they can’t even speak, stopping them getting into cabs with strange men… the list goes on. I shudder to think of all the balls I’ve dropped, of all the young women that escaped my beady eye on a night out and were either attacked, raped or murdered that night, all for the want of a safety strategy.

I am a hard woman, but sometimes, I get very upset about this issue.

Women are putting themselves in unnecessary danger all the time and then saying it is their right, to be pissed, alone and wearing stupid heels in a dark part of town in the middle of the night. It is not your right to do this and then avoid all responsibility for any consequence, if you think it is, you are an idiot.

I will not go so far as to say that women who do this deserve to be attacked, no-one deserves to be assaulted, but I think they deserve it more than I do, because I minimise my risk.

That’s pretty harsh, right? Well, yes, but it’s how I feel.

There is always risk. I have worked nights for a decade and I have had to walk home alone at the end of my shift, several times. It was not the best way to minimise risk, but I am not an advocate of fear.  Women have to live normal working lives, and get about in the world on their own. Life is risk, but my problem is with women who are inebriated and alone. Work/family/school are good reasons to shelve your fears, partying is not. Getting mashed in public, around strangers, with no support network is the highest order of stupidity and lack of self-respect.

It is my opinion that women who behave like this, especially ones that do it regularly, obviously have less care for their bodies than I do, and deserve to be attacked more than I do. Under their own volition, they have demonstrated total lack of care for themselves, and yet they will be shocked and horrified if anyone else treats their body like a dump. Before you take your first drink, you know there are nutters out there, you know that you could do everything right and still be assaulted, that doesn’t change just because you get sloshed.

It’s a numbers game. The more times we put ourselves in a risky situation, the more likely it is there will be an adverse outcome. That is very simple to understand, and yet so many women are championing the condition of lack of care. I believe that if you entirely deny a woman’s responsibilities to herself, you are an advocate of rape scenarios.
Don’t advocate the rape of women and then tell me you’re ‘a Feminist’, I will punch your stupid face.

What the fuck are we doing to ourselves?

I am so sick of hearing what women ‘should’ be able to do without being assaulted. I should be allowed to be half dressed, I should be allowed to be pissed, I should be allowed to be alone at night in a strange place and not live in fear of assault. Yes, you should be able to, but you’re not. Life sucks, make a plan and get a fucking helmet.

There are some awful people out there. There always has been, and there always will be. There is no eliminating assaults, rapes and murders from the world, there is only minimising the risk to oneself and loved ones.

Living so close together in a cohesive society has its obvious benefits, but it lulls us all into a false sense of security, like somehow our urban jungles are safe, and all the other animals are like us. This is dangerous thinking, we are not one big happy family, and some of the other animals are preying on you. Getting whacked up and then sauntering into their lair is risky; it’s entirely your right to take a risk, but you have to then accept some responsibility.

When I think of all the women who have been assaulted by people they know, in entirely unpredictable situations, in an environment where they could not have further protected themselves against risk, I want to cry. These women are inarguably victims, they have no responsibility for their situation, and yet these awful things have happened to them. If they can witness a young woman out, alone and drunk without feeling resentment that they were the victim and not the careless drunk girl, then they are a better woman than me.

I find it an insult to the women who had no escape to lump the crime against them in with the assaults against drunk women who have made no attempt to protect themselves. Feminists and their supporters love to say there is no distinction between physical and sexual assaults on women, but I am categorically, openly, and loudly disagreeing with this.

In an attempt to sweeten the bitterness on the palate, I will use an analogy here:
You and a friend are doing a parachute jump together. Your friend decides that she’s not going to use the parachute, she’s going to rely on something else breaking her fall, she’ll think about it when she gets there, it’s her choice, after all, it’s her life. You both jump; one with her parachute, and one without. If one of you is going to be seriously injured, or killed, do you think you or your friend deserve it more?  When she splatters all over the ground, is it 100% the fault of gravity, or should she take some blame for not wearing her parachute? Even if she survives unscathed, is it right that she recommend to others that they should jump without a chute?

We can all sit around, scratching our minges and saying “it’s men’s fault” as much as we want, but that will not actually reduce the number of assaults on women. There may be an historic, cultural argument to lay some blame on men for the current situation, but that is a different topic and of no practical use in the here and now.

The majority of adult men are at least as disgusted with some of their gender’s behaviour as women are. Not all men are violent, and not all penis-bearers are potential rapists; yet again, noise from Feminists dilutes an issue.
We cannot blame an individual man, until he becomes an attacker, and then, for that one woman, it is too late. I don’t ever want it to be too late for me, my friends, and their sisters, their daughters, or their wives.

If all women stopped putting themselves at risk under the influence of drink/drugs and lack of support planning, then the number of assaults would drop. I do not believe these opportunistic attackers would start knocking on random doors looking for someone to rape, I’m sure some would, there’s some bad bastards out there, but overall, there would definitely be less assaults on women.

The constant stream of bullshit about ‘women’s rights’ being inclusive of them doing whatever the fuck they want, whenever the fuck they want and then blaming phallocentricity when it goes tits-up is overshadowing a more important issue of the women who are assaulted when they are doing everything they can to avoid the dangers of the jungle. These are the women who deserve our attention.

There is so much defence for a woman who claims she has been raped but cannot remember anything because she chose (ie not spiked) to get off her skull and not organise a safe way home that night and ended up going back to a stranger’s house on her own. I believe defending this woman’s actions is as bad as defending the rapist’s actions, because it advocates assault scenarios.

If you say a man should go to prison at the call of rape from a woman who cannot remember anything through her own choices, then you are saying that a woman’s responsibility begins with her report of the rape/assault, and I do not think that is a good lesson for young women. You are saying that the problem STARTED with him raping her, when actually it ENDED with him raping her, she STARTED it herself. If she’d not had those last four drinks, and got a taxi when her three other mates left, he may not have had such a clean opportunity to be an attacker, or she a victim. She’s probably started it on many occasions and on this one, she was very unlucky, but we women need to start admitting to ourselves that the more we gamble, the more likely it is we will get unlucky.

I appreciate some of this is brutal, but it is my truth of principle, and I can’t help that. I’ve singled out women here because it’s an issue I’m passionate about, but the principle applies to all people, all the time. We need to shake the Nanny State mentality that somehow we’re all owed protection and security, when we need to establish it for ourselves every day, in a wide range of situations. I will never challenge anyone’s right to do whatever they want, but I do challenge them totally passing responsibility when something goes wrong after they made a succession of increasingly bad choices.

Stop telling young women it’s okay to put themselves in dangerous situations. Stop telling them it is ‘their right’.
If a young woman is so naive about the world that she actually buys into that crap, then you are partly responsible for any assault on her, because you gave her bad information about the reality of a horrible situation; you have sold her a vicious wrong under the guise of “Women’s Rights”.
Stop. Please, please, just stop.

The Kings of UKIP

I’m a middle-class liberal, so I hate UKIP and everything and everyone to do with UKIP; I must do, it’s in the hand-book.

I hate UKIP so much, I’ve had a moral dilemma over wearing purple clothes at the same time as having blonde hair, lest someone mistake me for a UKIP sympathiser.

UKIP are composed entirely of racist, homophobic and misogynistic morons, aren’t they? That’s what the papers I read write, that’s what the intelligent and educated people I follow on Twitter tweet, that’s what I think; I hate everything to do with all UKIP supporters.

Then I met Paul White, the UKIP Candidate for Fylde, and I didn’t hate him. Oh shit.

Paul runs a BnB in Blackpool, and I went there this week, to get drunk and buy some seaside rock in the shape of a penis. I have a big, important life, you should be intimidated. We booked his venue having no idea that he was a UKIP candidate, there was no mention of this on the website. Had there been, I wouldn’t have booked it, and I probably would have had a prolonged discussion of how terrible it is that people have fascist political leanings and are still allowed to run a business in 21stC Britain. I would have made a clever joke about Hitler running a Gregs, had another glass of Merlot and then gone to bed, having booked a room in a nice, non-genocidal establishment.

Paul greeted us as we arrived, and I was instantly thrilled to see that he was reminiscent of Barry Chuckle. I attempted a ‘to me to you’ moment with my suitcase, but he was having none of it. He’s a friendly guy, warm and welcoming, a perfect hotelier personality, and he showed us his well-stocked bar and clean restaurant.

I’d gone with my sister and my friend, and we’d booked a triple room. On arrival, it transpired that this was not the single and bunk beds we’d hoped for (retro!) but one single and one double bed. None of us wanted to share the double bed, so we started arguing about it, like children, in the bar of the hotel. Paul stepped in and said he had a very small single that was empty and that we could use it at no extra cost. Unaware of his UKIP leanings at this point, enamoured by his Chuckle brother vibe and impressed by his generosity, how could I not like Paul at this exact moment?

He showed us to our rooms (2 for £75 including 3 breakfasts), and they were immaculate. I’ve stayed in a few BnBs in Blackpool and this was the best by a prize-bingo mile. The attention to detail was unbelievable; there were tiny little bottles of all sorts of things, the décor and bedspreads matched, there was a wide range of complementary in-room treats to drink/eat. I made a comment to Paul that his wife was obviously responsible for these details and he was wounded! It was all him.

We mooched out for dinner, had a couple of drinks in off-peak, ghostly Blackpool and then came back to the hotel for a few more drinkies. I have always been partial to a brandy coffee, but I don’t expect to see it on a BnB bar menu at midnight. Paul had dressed up for the evening, and he was wearing a yellow and purple striped tie. I didn’t notice, because I was too busy moaning about how hard it was to get a decent brandy coffee in this town.

Paul disappeared and made two perfect brandy coffees, complete with tiny chocolate shavings on top. I was starting to love this guy a little bit and I asked him how his evening had been, I may have been flirting, it’s hard to tell with me.

He told me he’d been to a meeting as part of his duties as a local candidate for UKIP, and a little bit of cream dribbled out of my nose as I realised that I was having a nightcap with a fascist. He asked me if I’d noticed his tie, which of course, I hadn’t.

We entered into an interesting discussion that lasted some time. I liked his approach as a politician; when I asked him questions, he didn’t always have an answer. At one point, he actually got up and got a copy of the UKIP manifesto to help him clarify his points. He was genuinely passionate about the cause of his party as it had been presented to him.

I would vote for Paul. I can’t, because he’s a UKIP candidate, but I’d vote for him as a politician. I’d love to see a party leader respond to a question with “Hmmm. That’s a good point. Let me think about that and read this before I answer”.

Paul is not racist, homophobic or misogynistic. Paul is not a fascist. He’s been very ill and he genuinely loves and values the NHS. He has a family, with young grandchildren, and he is obsessed with them having the best future possible. Paul is really nice man who works very hard; if every UK citizen (including our top politicians from all parties) had his work ethic, Britain would be in less trouble right now.

When I talked to Paul about the policies of his party, he explained them very differently from the liberal media, of course he did, it’s all a circus. The point is, he was genuine in what he was saying, he was not trying to garner votes with a disingenuous voice, he was 100% sure that his party could make Britain better for working people.

Paul didn’t swing my vote, I won’t be voting UKIP. That’s not just because I’m a liberal, it’s because UKIPs policies have extreme physical and practical consequences for the UK, important beyond even the moral implication of withdrawing aid and amnesty to other non-British humans. I’m quite happy to attempt objectivity when thinking about politics.

Honestly, if we could definitely improve Britain by leaving the EU, closing our borders and shipping out a load of established Polish families, I’d probably vote for it. But UKIP, like every other party, can’t actually explain HOW they will achieve the things they say they will. None of the parties can actually show where money is coming from any more than they can explain where it’s gone.

None of the parties have addressed the issue of lobbying the EU Parliament to make moves to change legislation that allows massive corporations to have a tax-free party in Europe whilst European citizens go hungry and die waiting for hospital treatment, or whilst disabled British citizens are forced to relinquish live-saving benefits.

I had a great time at Paul’s BnB, but I was left feeling doubtful if I should recommend it to anyone, purely because of his UKIP leanings. His hotelier skills are second to none, should I attempt to punish his business because of his political leanings? I may never have even found out that he was a UKIP candidate, I wouldn’t have thought twice about recommending his establishment then.

I don’t think I was rude to Paul during our discussion, but it would have been very obvious that I did not approve of his political views; I directly called him a hypocrite at one point. The next morning, he cooked me a delicious breakfast with a big smile.

Meeting Paul made me double check what ‘liberal’ meant to me. My first response to any mention of UKIP is not a liberal one. If I am to continue describing myself as a person of liberal views, then I need to check that response in myself, and quickly.

Admittedly, it’s election day, and I’m probably just a bit overexcited. Politics never seems so relevant as in the week of a general election, but I need to remember who I am.

I am tolerant. I am balanced. I will not allow an instinct of hate towards another human just because he acts or thinks differently to me.

If I’d arrived at The Kings in Blackpool, and it had been a purple building called “The UKIP Stopover”, I would have turned around and gone home, and would have done myself out of a night in a fantastic establishment as a result.

If I’m going to look at one part of a human being, and based solely on that, make a judgement about who they are or what they deserve in life, without further examination, then I am doing exactly what liberals should denounce in others. Meeting the UKIP candidate reminded me how easy it is to get whipped up in political hyperbole and become hypocritical.

Paul is a nice man, he runs a tight ship, and if you’re ever in Blackpool, I officially recommend his hotel. I do Believe In Britain, I believe her citizens have the right to hold any political beliefs they want, without fear of reprisal in any form outside hearing other opinions on politics.

Meeting Paul may not have affected my vote, but it was a timely reminder of the best reason for a democratically elected government in the first place. I don’t want to see UKIP running the country, but I will always vote for their right to try. I will always be a liberal, and I hope no amount of election media persiflage will ever make me forget that again.