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My name is Nick Grant and I have manic depression. I write every day about living with bipolar disorder. I've written and published more than 1.3 million words

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Step Ten: Don't Suffer Fools

10 min read

This is a story about the hard-of-thinking...

Doorway

I have a friend who can only be described as a racist and an anti-feminist. It's worth letting that sink in for a second, and then repeating. I have a friend who can only be described as a racist and an anti-feminist. How can this be possible? How could I be friends with a racist anti-feminist?

At first, this friend began to announce his anti-feminist views publicly on social media, which was a shock to me, because I had presumed he was an educated left-wing metropolitan liberal elitist, like myself: a product of the university system, and therefore his political viewpoint and stance on such matters as racism and sexual equality could be presumed to be correct. My presumption was wrong. He began by strongly asserting his anti-feminist stance, suddenly and shockingly, in a very public manner. I did not know how to react, except through a combination of condemnation and ignoring it.

Then, this friend began to indicate a right-wing viewpoint very publicly, on social media. This was perhaps less of a shock, given that he had shown himself to hold views which I despised, on the subject of sexual equality, but it was still nevertheless, shocking to see somebody who I considered to a be well educated, erudite and thoughtful individual, sharing content which was so right wing that it was bordering on outright racism. I did not know how to react, so I used a combination of condemnation and ignoring it.

Then, this friend became openly racist, in public, on social media. This was again, shocking, because I never imagined that I would ever encounter a racist amongst my small group of hand-picked friends, almost all of whom have enjoyed privileged socioeconomic advantages, university educations, professions and share a similar set of politics and values. I did not know how to react, so I used a combination of condemnation and ignoring it.

After my friend had spent some considerable length of time espousing views which I found vile and abhorrent, I was faced with a choice: should I cut all ties with this friend? It seemed to me that I was duty-bound to do so. My upbringing had provided no explicit guidance on how to handle this precise situation, but it seemed as though the right thing to do would be to pretend as though I had never been friends with my friend, and to distance myself from them as much as possible; to cover up the fact that we were ever friends and to sever all ties. It seemed like I was supposed to eject that person from my bubble.

I realised that if I did eject that person from my bubble, then I would never have any insight into the mind of an anti-feminist right-wing racist, and I felt that it would be detrimental to me, given the homogeny of the views of my other friends. The views of all my other friends are all so broadly similar, that I had never encountered a viewpoint which I felt compelled to condemn, much less acknowledge existed: in my liberal metropolitan elite world, I thought that racism had been defeated, along with sexism and anti-feminism. I thought that there were only small pockets of knuckle-dragging racists to be found in the poorest and most deprived communities, where the poor brutes knew no better so I was perturbed that a person who had enjoyed such socioeconomic advantage might turn out to be such a racist and anti-feminist.

I invested a substantial amount of energy in condemnation of my friend's views, attempting to persuade him to change his ways, but I made little progress.

I considered again, whether the wise course of action was to abandon the friendship and to block him on social media; to distance myself from him and to pretend that we had never been friends. Again, I felt as though I was committing some kind of immoral act, by not tossing our friendship into the dustbin - something I felt a weight of expectation to do without hesitation, the moment that any friend said anything which was remotely incorrect according to liberal dogma. Racism, certainly, is the ultimate taboo and I knew that it must carry the harshest penalty - immediate ostracisation, and denial that we were ever friends; immediate castigation and abandonment.

Yet, I did not abandon the friendship.

Does this make me a racist sympathiser? Do I endorse my friends anti-feminist views? Of course not. Do not be so ridiculous.

Recently I've had the opportunity to probe the origins of my friend's views, and quite quickly discovered where he had erred. He enthusiastically cited the extremely strong link between race and crime, in the United States - particularly that black men are disproportionately incarcerated versus the overall number of black U.S. citizens in the general population. This, for him, was concrete proof that "the races are different" and therefore his racism was justified. Naturally, I pointed out that correlation does not equate to causation, and by far the biggest cause of criminality is poverty - the race argument is null and void: the statistical link disappears when we control the wealth variable.

My friend persists with arguments, born in the time of the eugenics movement, and pseudoscience which is regrettably ubiquitous, which appears to provide legitimate research proving a link between race and IQ. Of particular fascination to my friend was any data which showed that black people had significantly lower IQ than white caucasians. Naturally, I pointed him in the direction of how these dreadfully low-quality academic papers were published in fringe journals, bankrolled by racists, and received little or no peer review; their findings utterly discredited and the quality of the work found to be nothing better than abysmal.

My friend and I have regular conversations, and each one is at least interesting which is far more than can be said for any discussion I might have with fools who hold viewpoints, simply because of anecdotal evidence, or because the liberal media finds the narrative to be particularly popular with its readership. If I was the editor of a left-wing newspaper, read by wealthy metropolitan intelligentsia, of course I would publish news stories about black lesbian disabled homeless women being raped and murdered by the patriarchy, because outrage sells newspapers. However, the anecdotal evidence gathered by those of us who wander around with a bleeding heart - myself included - does not have any validity, beyond our own confirmation bias: we seek out so-called evidence to reassure ourselves that our values and beliefs are correct.

My patience has run out for idiots who waste my time, parroting media narratives instead of using their so-called intellect to direct their energies towards the truly important issues. Racism, domestic violence and sexual discrimination are very real and they cause terrible suffering, but to mistakenly believe - as so many do - that women, for example, are at greater risk than men, is demonstrably absurd and grossly incorrect. Men are 85% more likely to be violently assaulted. 79% of all murder victims are male. Again and again, the exhaustive research has overwhelmingly and incontrovertibly demonstrated the truth all around us, yet there are wilfully ignorant idiots on both the left wing and the right wing, who continue to perpetuate myths and lies. My friend the racist is just as bad as the former friend who chose to block me, because she preferred to live in her bubble, believing that women are the victims of the majority of violent crime and murder, when in fact the polar opposite is true.

My friend the anti-feminist racist is wrong to hold the views that he does, and I hope that one day he might be persuaded by the overwhelming evidence and convincing research, but at least he is still talking to me and I am still able to challenge his erroneous thinking. The woman who I thought of as a friend, who would characterise herself as a feminist, has actually proven herself to be sexist: to deny that male victims of violence and murder far outnumber female victims, is pure delusion, driven by sexism. To block me on social media and to pretend our friendship never existed is quite typical of a sexist or other person who holds abhorrent views which they do not wish to be challenged. Only by remaining in our isolated bubbles can our wilful ignorance persist. I have lost any further opportunity to persuade - with great ease - my former friend, the sexist, of the overwhelming body of evidence which shows the appalling situation suffered by male victims of violence and murder. This is a predictable characteristic of weak-minded fools who rely too heavily upon the media to instruct them on how they should think, in place of an intellect which they sadly lack.

My energies are presently consumed with work, health and of course, having a brief period of sobriety, which these steps partly document.

My point this evening is simple: the world is full of idiots, and one should rely upon high quality evidence and research, not popular opinion within your social media bubble. Of course, one must be careful not to fall afoul of pseudoscience and the temptation to draw incorrect conclusions from raw statistics, but provided you keep a group of intelligent friends around you, then you will at least have a better chance that any mistaken beliefs you hold might be corrected. The ignorant idiots who wish to surround themselves with likeminded fools, are no loss, and no effort should be expended upon them. I am glad that I am friends with somebody who holds detestable views, and I feel no regret for losing the friendship of somebody who holds no views at all other than the media narratives which are pedalled by the limited sources upon which they rely on, in the absence of their own intellect.

In closing, we should be reminded once more: men suffer dreadfully. The life of a man is virtually worthless. That suicide should have been allowed to become the biggest killer of men in the prime of their life, with few tears shed, is an awful state of affairs, and it is accompanied by other terrible things: 97% of workplace deaths, 78% of all murders, 75% of all suicides, 65% of all violent assaults... the list is virtually endless. Men are overwhelmingly the victims, yet this is not the impression which a person would gain, if they keep themselves inside their bubble.

It's vitally important that I maintain perspective, given that my life is at stake. This sounds hyperbolic of course, because we have been brought up to believe that men are strong, when demonstrably a man's life is extremely precarious - the evidence is overwhelming.

During the last couple of days of my "Sober October" I'm particularly mindful of the precarity of my existence, combined with a great deal of stress regarding my work and a matter which hangs over me, threatening to end my career. I feel unwell. I am in need of some winter sunshine. I need to take a break, having worked very hard for a lengthy sustained period. My future hangs in the balance and my health is fragile; my efforts and energies invested to reach this point presently count for nothing - no safety or security has been achieved, and things are as uncertain as they ever were.

With this in mind, it is with very little regret that I refuse to suffer fools gladly and lose so-called friendships, to whomsoever proves to be immovable in the face of overwhelming facts, preferring instead to treat me with sexist contempt and hold little regard for the danger my life is in.

Survival is paramount.

 

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Getting Rich From Racists

5 min read

This is a story about happy hedging...

Pro-EU March

Frightening numbers of racists feel emboldened by Nigel Farage, Donald Trump, Brexit and the alt-right, such that "immigration control" has turned into outright xenophobia, Islamophobia and generally abhorrent views that any non-white should be deported. It seems OK to say openly in an office to a work colleague that you're against the idea of an asylum seeker fleeing a warzone - fleeing persecution, torture, murder - shouldn't be allowed to receive the assistance which we should offer to the unfortunate victims of conflicts which the UK illegally started.

Frightening numbers of these racists are turning out en masse to vote for political parties which don't even have manifestos - their manifestos are unwritten, because if they wrote down the values that they really stood for then they would become proscribed organisations and their leaders and members would be prosecuted for hate crimes.

Tonight, there's a chance that The Brexit Party will gain its first member of parliament. We should remind ourselves that the leader of The Brexit Party stood proudly in front of a giant billboard showing Syrian refugees fleeing for their lives, proclaiming that the UK is at "breaking point" with the amount of asylum seekers in the country. This is pure unadulterated racism. The UK has processed fewer than 30,000 asylum applications, while Germany has processed far in excess of a million. How can the UK be at "breaking point" when Germany has taken at least 40 times as many asylum seekers? Why is immigration even considered to be an issue in the UK, when we're the 5th largest economy in the world? It's pure racism: hatred of people because of their race.

I placed a bet in 2016 that the UK would vote to leave the EU. I received extremely favourable odds.

I placed a bet in 2016 the USA would vote to elect Donald Trump as their president. I received very favourable odds.

I placed a bet in 2017 that the Conservatives would get the most votes in the UK general election. I received favourable odds.

I placed a bet on May 23rd that The Brexit Party would get the most votes. I received reasonable odds.

I placed a bet today that The Brexit Party's candidate for Peterborough would be elected as MP. I received acceptable odds.

Each of my bets has been a simple bet: that most people are racists and most people are dishonest. If you ask a person "are you a racist?" they will invariably answer "no", but if you ask a person if an asylum seeker deserves to find safe haven in the UK, or whether they should drown in the sea, most people will think that they should drown in the sea, or die in the warzone they're fleeing.

Each time I place a bet, I take the winnings from the previous bet and place those winnings onto the next bet. My winnings have substantially accumulated.

I'm getting rich from racists.

I shouldn't thank the racists for being racist, because I would much prefer it if my fellow citizens would stop being racists, but I have little ability to influence their abhorrent views. I have very little ability to stop racists from being racist, so I am vocally outspoken against racists like Nigel Farage, Donald Trump, Marine Le Pen and the whole shower of sh*ts who support them. I also bet as much money as I can afford to lose on the outcome that I least want to see: that the racists continue to thrive in this climate where the condemnation of racists and racism seems to have been replaced with outright unashamed undisguised blatant racism; where people are openly racist in every part of UK life.

I have to suffer a dreadful racist at work, but at least I'm being financially compensated.

Does it seem immoral to profit in this way?

Perhaps I will take my substantial winnings and use them to fund anything I can do to stop the rise of racism. I can spend the money going to anti-fascism protests, anti-Trump protests, and anything I can do to promote progressive, inclusive politics, which condemns racism and introduces laws to prosecute those people who would gladly see asylum seekers drown in the sea, rather than offer them safe haven. The UK is very much not at "breaking point" unless we are referring to the emboldenment of racists.

I will be bitterly disappointed to see The Brexit Party gain an MP in parliament, but I will also be significantly richer, which will not make me any less sad about the sorry state of the United Kingdom, and its vast hordes of horrible disgusting contemptible racists.

Perhaps you think I should be spending my money directly on supporting the political parties who oppose racism and have the resources to fight men like Nigel Farage and Donald Trump, but it seems like a rational economic decision to me, to enrich myself... hopefully to the point where I can afford to dedicate my time and effort to fighting against these horrible people and their horrible supporters.

Rejoice with me tomorrow, if The Brexit Party is defeated, even though I will have lost a very large sum of money. I don't care about the money. I just want the racists to stop being racist and f**k off.

 

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Godless

10 min read

This is a story about faith...

Church

I have far too much of a skeptical inquiring mind to foolishly believe that religions are anything other than a terrestrial invention, born in the minds of mortal men who were afraid of death, during unenlightened pre-scientific times. I've had access to far too much knowledge and information to ever believe in fairy tales about omnipotent sky monsters. However, it does mean that my existence is pretty absurd and meaningless. Religion gives a sense of community and belonging - those who have chosen to follow a particular faith are able to identify others who believe the same weird things, because of their weird customs, their weird traditions, their weird buildings and the weird books they read. It must be nice to have that sense of belonging, and to strongly believe that there is order, purpose, meaning and easy-to-grasp comforting explanations for everything that happens in our otherwise hostile and chaotic universe... it's all part of God's plan.

I used to pity those who have religious faith as deluded simpletons. I used to want them to wake up and consider the evidence - or lack thereof - and to have a scientific awakening; to become atheists. However, I think it's those who don't subscribe to any kind of philosophical or theological framework, who should be pitied. What do you believe in if you know - from the overwhelming weight of empirical evidence - that the universe is nothing more that a cosmic accident; the byproduct of the universal laws of physics and nothing more. Why are we here? What meaning and purpose is there? Humanity will be wiped off the face of the Earth and everything that we ever thought was important will be erased; as if it never existed. We're not even a microscopic speck in the unimaginably huge - and ever-expanding - universe.

The author Douglas Adams wrote in one work of fiction, about the worst torture being to be shown the entire universe all at once such that you fully perceive your own insignificance, which would blow your mind and destroy you. So many good novelists are more imaginative than our best scientists, and they foresee the cultural and social problems which the inventors of new technology don't, because the inventors are too in love with their creations. Our thirst for knowledge, and the invention of the biggest and most complicated machine ever built, which connects most of humanity in a world wide web - the internet - has not brought with it any comfort, unlike religion. Having this incredible information vault accessible anytime, anywhere, along with the ability to communicate and connect with anybody, is something which no engineer who built the internet thought might lead to incredibly awful social and cultural problems. Engineers are utopians, but they invent things not ideas, philosophies and belief systems. Engineers created the internet and they left it up to others to decide what to do with it; they've left it to us to make sense of things.

Google and Wikipedia appear to be unopinionated. In theory, you can use Google and Wikipedia to simply discover the information which you're looking for, and consume it. In theory, Google and Wikipedia will not tell you that certain ideas are heretical, or ascribe a sinfulness to the pursuit of certain knowledge. You're free to search "anal fissures" out of pure morbid fascination with the disgusting and depraved, and you won't be judged - it's all just between you and the computer. You can ask Google the questions that you would have asked your priest 100 years ago, and Google will give you the information so that you can make up your own mind. In fact Google is giving you the information that the most people clicked on, and some information which has been growth hacked by people with a commercial objective. Wikipedia presents the prevailing consensus of opinion in academia, with some degree of peer-review process, however it's just the opinion of the handful of people who wrote the particular page you're reading.

None of the stuff you read online is informed by an over-arching unified goal of shepherding the flock towards a state of existence deemed better than pure anarchy. Perhaps certain online news sources have editorial leanings which border on the paternalistic, but the vast majority of what's published online is done so to satisfy the particular individual's personal goals, and not as part of any master plan.

You might think it's the role of the government to think about the future of society and civilisation, and the government will be strongly opinionated about the purpose and meaning of our lives, but in fact governments are simply the victors in a commercial popularity contest, driven by individual egos and the survival needs of the massive party-political organisations. As such, governments simply parrot back whatever the people are demanding.

Progressive policies which have advanced our society have not come about because people demanded that we drag ourselves out of the dark ages, but in fact as a result of opinionated elites pushing through changes in the law which were not at all popular with the public. The death sentence is not something the public wanted to see repealed. The public are barbaric baboons and the idea that true democracy would lead us towards a progressive liberal utopia is completely wrong - instead we'd legalise xenophobia, racism and the persecution of minorities, if we left it up to the masses; mob rule.

It's wrong to assume that we have within us a moral compass; a strong sense of right and wrong and social justice. It's wrong to assume that people are basically good; they're not. People are selfish assholes. People are only interested in them and theirs, at the expense of anybody who's not like them. People are just dirty beasts with fancy clothes.

Yes, I'm pro paternalistic elitism. I'm pro social engineering. I'm pro giving people what's good for them, even though they don't like it and it's not what they want. Any move towards greater democracy is a move towards barbarism and the collapse of civilised society.

In my experience, people want simple fables; they want to believe in goodies and baddies; they want to believe in a black and white world, where everything can be simplified into easy to digest nonsense, which strips away all the complexity of reality and replaces it with comforting falsehoods. In my experience, people want to believe in lies, because lies are easier than hard truths. In short, people want religion.

Nobody much cares about the universal laws of physics and the optical illusion which makes solid objects appear to be solid, when in actual fact they're made of mostly nothing; a scattering of particles with indeterminate positions. People don't want to know about the deeply unsettling subatomic world, where things behave in non-intuitive ways. People want to believe that the world is a magical, mysterious and unknowable place, invented by a sky monster, because it's easier than grasping quantum mechanics.

Nobody much cares about the complex history of humanity and all the inter-breeding that's gone on, such that there are no 'pure blood' races. People just want to separate into "us" and "them". People want to belong to clubs, clans, tribes, nations, parties, teams, dynasties and every other conceivable way of slicing and dicing ourselves, such that we feel part of something. People want to hate. People want war and they want to dominate.

Nobody much cares that there are perfectly viable ways to divide our wealth and peacefully co-exist. Nobody much cares that billions of people could have their standard of living dramatically improved, at the expense of greed and selfishness. People want to live under hierarchies; they want to worship prophets and elevate ordinary mortal men to positions and status which are obscene and unjustifiable. Do you really think that a TV pastor deserves to live in a huge mansion while there are people starving on the streets? That's what people want - they want the haves and the have-nots.

Our terrestrial mortal destiny is in our own hands, and we know - in our heart of hearts - that when we die it's all over. There is no afterlife. There is no promised land. It's all bullshit that was invented to lessen the fear of death and make our lives of suffering appear to have some meaning in an otherwise ludicrously absurd existence. In the end you. just. die.

If our destiny is in our own hands, why aren't we making our existence on Earth into a more pleasant experience? Why aren't we bothered about making the most of the short time we're alive? Why are we content to have so much struggle, pain and suffering? We're quite capable of alleviating that suffering, but there's no will to change. We busy ourselves with absurdities, like getting jobs as bakers so that we can earn money to afford to be able to buy a slice of bread, from one of the loaves which we baked. We've constructed ludicrous inefficient systems which only serve to enslave us and make us desperately unhappy.

Of course none of this is God's plan. If there is a God - which there isn't - then why would He have us punching made-up numbers into a spreadsheet, at a desk, in an office, in the middle of a concrete jungle? Why would He have us exchanging pieces of paper with each other until the day we die? Why would He have made the money lenders into the richest and most powerful people on the planet, when His son was evidently not a big fan of usury when he drove those money lenders out of Herod's Temple?

Those who are afflicted with the madness that is religious faith might in fact be onto something, because at least their lives have meaning and they're looking forward to something, as opposed to enduring awful suffering until the day they die. We end our lives afraid and in pain and we know we're not going to see our children and grandchildren again. It might be insane to believe in an immortal and everlasting afterlife, but it's a damnsight better than anything on offer in a world run for the sole benefit of the mega-rich, which we have willingly allowed to come into existence.

In a godless universe with no afterlife, what's the meaning and purpose of anything? Nothing has any meaning. You might as well go and commit whatever crimes you want, because we all die anyway. You might as well indulge hedonistic pursuits to the maximum, because none of us are getting out of this alive.

In a world without religion, what fills that void? It can't be the pursuit of wealth, because that's even more insane.

 

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LGBTQQIP2SAA

9 min read

This is a story about individualism...

Disguise

It's fun to dress up. It's fun to put on a silly voice. It's fun to wear make-up. It's fun act camp; to mince around. It's fun to belong to a subculture; to be able to identify with your 'kind' - your clan or tribe. It's fun to think of yourself as special and different. It's fun to have a sense of belonging and a strong sense of identity.

Take a walk down Old Compton Street in London's Soho and you'll see lots of men with shaved heads and moustaches wearing white sleeveless T-shirts. They call them clones. The clones are kinda über-masculine - they're generally stocky, muscly men and their bald heads and moustaches accentuate their extreme masculinity. They're so masculine that they live in an all-male world. There's a kind of hyper-sexuality to the clones coupled with a general sense of aggression and strength. It's notable that the clones appeared on the scene before the acronym LGBT started to gain all the additional letters, and vast numbers of teenagers started to become non-binary and pansexual.

In a world of toxic masculinity the pressure on cisgender (i.e. straight) white middle-class men has become unbearable. Born with original sin which means that to whisper "me too" when entering the highly charged arena where everybody claims to be an oppressed victim, is to be aggressively abused by every identity group, from feminists to LGBTQQIP2SAA gender-queers. "Check your privilege" we are told, when it's blatantly obvious that only a very tiny minority of white straight men are the ones who wield any power and control. It's highly unpleasant to be blamed for a situation that I neither created nor supported and I have no power to change.

Viewed as a "success object" I'm regularly asked about my ability to provide, which is like having somebody lecherously staring at my breasts. "Do you own your own home? What car do you drive? Do you have a well-paid job? Do you have a prestigious job title?" I'm asked, with a complete lack of subtlety that I'm being probed to find out if I'm wealthy and conventionally successful or not. It's like having my bum pinched or squeezed. It's like having a lewd pervert mentally undressing me.

I cringe with embarrassment that I wrote a blog post [now deleted] entitled "Feminazi" once, with only a hint of irony. I was trying to annoy an ex because I was in a messed up state - very unwell - and I was suffering some rather strange thoughts and ideas. I'm making excuses where none can really be made, but that's what I did, and I'm ashamed of myself. In the blog post I listed all the many disadvantages of being a man, such as 97% of workplace deaths, 99% of combat deaths, 79% of suicides etc. etc. Those things are all very good evidence that modern man has a pretty tough gig, but I was flirting with misogyny at times and presenting my beliefs with an unhealthy amount of anger and bitterness driving what I was writing.

I wish I was gay.

I've wished I was gay for a very long time. I've tried my very hardest to be gay but it's just not for me, unfortunately.

The reason why I want to be gay is that I've found the homosexual world to be more to my liking than the world in general. I like the quick and easy casual sex of Grindr. I like the flamboyancy and femininity of acting camp. I like the 'scene' and the identity that being gay brings - they don't have "hetero pride" parades, do they? I mainly like the fact that I can be ogled as a sex object and be passive, with potential sexual suitors buttering me up and massaging my ego, and all I have to do is decide who I want to have sex with. In the hetero world as a cisgender man, it's stressful taking risks, making the first move, trying to impress and having horrible knock-backs; it's a lot of pressure to present yourself as eligible and successful, and having gone to all the effort of getting a girlfriend there can be power struggles, with sex and children used as pawns and men are the usually the ones who lose out.

Of course by now, you're probably screaming at the screen that it's harder being a women, gay, trans or whatever particular thing it is that you identify as. You're probably very offended. You probably believe that my opinion is somehow encroaching on your rights and that I'm stealing valuable airtime which needs to be used exclusively by oppressed minority groups.

Everything I write, I worry that I'm somehow veering dangerously towards opinions that would be more at home on Brietbart. I consider myself to be an open-minded lefty liberal who's been through bi-curious periods of life and is quite comfortable with my identity, insofar as I don't think I'm homophobic or transphobic. I really don't think I'm a misogynist, although I admit that I rather bristle with annoyance that men's issues cannot be openly discussed without aggressive hostility being directed towards men who are suffering some very real and extremely horrible issues, and simply want to share their opinion and experiences. Obviously, to be lumped together with the likes of Donald Trump because I'm also a wealthy white man, is quite offensively racist - I'm not part of the so-called patriarchy just because of my skin colour and socioeconomic circumstances.

All these things are unspeakable.

I'm quite well aware of experiments such as this one: Two groups of psychiatrists are given identical case notes on a fictitious person, but one group is told that the person is black, and the psychiatrists in that group will view the fictitious person as much more violent, suspicious and dangerous, even though the only difference in the available evidence is skin colour. Clearly, people of colour still experience dreadful prejudice and discrimination, but we should be able to discuss other instances of prejudice, discrimination, oppression and abuse without considering certain things to be 'off limits'. I know that anybody who said "all lives matter" in response to the Black Lives Matter movement, was heavily criticised for seemingly undermining the central point: that black people suffer a grossly disproportionate amount of police brutality, incarceration and general mistreatment by the criminal justice system. I don't write in reply to movements which seek to reduce rape, sexual assault, discrimination, racism, bigotry, homophobia, transphobia, hate crime, oppression, exploitation and all the other awful things that are going on in the world; I write in addition. Holding and expressing my opinion does not diminish, discredit or undermine anybody else's struggle.

I'm on extremely dodgy ground.

I feel vastly outnumbered. I can't count myself amongst the angry white working-class disadvantaged men who swill lager and spout racial hatred with a St. George's flag draped around their chubby shoulders. I can't count myself amongst the highly-educated metropolitan liberal middle-class elites, although this is the group I most closely identify with. I can't count myself amongst the homeless addicts and alcoholics, although this is the group I'm most socioeconomically closely related to, surprisingly. I've tried my very hardest to be gay but I'm clearly not able to join the LGBTQQIP2SAA club, despite my best efforts. I know that there are men like me - at least in terms of gender, sexual preference, skin colour, education and wealth - who have successfully infiltrated feminism and groups of Social Justice Warriors. Perhaps I could ally myself with a group of outraged individuals and add my angry and aggressive voice to the unified noise that they create. I would certainly like to feel that I safely belong to a group, rather than being an outlier who holds very untrendy opinions which could even be mistaken as similar to those held by horrible gangs of knuckle-dragging thugs.

Am I a racist, bigot, homophobic, transphobic, misogynistic fully paid-up member of the patriarchy, responsible for the oppression of all the very many minority identity groups who'd gladly queue up for an opportunity to abuse me? I certainly lose a lot of sleep at night worrying that I've unwittingly wandered into the less extreme fringe territory of the groups that I detest: the right-wingers.

I'm somebody who's had a lefty liberal multicultural upbringing, and who has been open minded to the point of being almost a terrorist apologist, so desperate am I to distance myself from the Islamophobia sweeping the UK and US. I'm somebody who's always aspired towards equality in the workplace and at home, and has lived and worked in environments more diverse than any other place on the planet: 110 languages are spoken in London, which is twice as many as the next most multicultural city. Is it possible that I'm actually the enemy? Is it possible that I don't know myself at all, and I'm actually chomping at the bit to get swastikas tattooed all over my body and then go tell some women to get back in the kitchen, before kicking a transexual to death?

What has happened in the world where I feel like I've done something wrong and I'd better keep quiet for fear of causing offence and becoming a target for abuse? Why do I feel like I'm speaking the unspeakable? Why do I feel like I'm uttering heresies which no member of the lefty liberal metropolitan elite should ever utter? Why do I feel like I'm risking further isolation, loneliness, exclusion and being viewed as the enemy by people who I like and respect?

I wonder what my right-thinking right-on friends would say if they read this. I fear that they think I've been driven into the arms of the Brietbart brigade and I've become a nasty horrible right-wing scumbag. Is that possible? Have I missed something? Am I sleepwalking into enemy territory?

 

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Cool Britannia

9 min read

This is a story about indoctrination...

Dunkirk IMAX ticket stub

I wrote a lengthy Facebook post on Sunday morning, condemning jingoistic rhetoric, especially in light of the emboldenment of closet racists by Brexit & Donald Trump. As our fathers and grandfathers who served in the armed forces during World War II die, I am angry that we seem to be left with a bunch of deluded nationalist wankers who think that warfare is a glorious thing. There are no winners in war - only one group getting to impose terms on another.

As children disengage from education and unjustly inherit a hopeless future of minimum wage zero-hours contract McJobs, we have witnessed the rise & rise of the Call of Duty series of computer games. The aggregate profits from Call of Duty, vastly eclipse all the money taken at the cinema box office & DVD sales, for war movies.

If you learn about warfare from computer games, not from history lessons, then you gain the false impression that wars are won by individual soldiers' heroic actions. The story told by computer games is that war is exciting entertainment and one man can be victorious against insurmountable numbers of enemy forces. When playing a computer game, you don't have the visceral fear that you are going to be wounded or killed. There's no risk to your life or health and you don't hear the screams of people, as they bleed to death in agony. When you kill a 'virtual' soldier you know they're not real - they're not human like you are. All humans have a family; you and the 'enemy' bleed red; everybody is equally shit scared of death and injury.

When we learn about history at school in the UK, it's all about World War I and World War II. We're taught about the USA sending cannon fodder for the D-Day beach landings. The Brits talk about 'winning the war'. The Yanks talk about 'helping the Brits win the war'. Due to Cold War propaganda, it's now no longer acknowledged that it was the Russians who conquered Berlin and cornered Hitler in his bunker, where he committed suicide. The fact is that Nazi Germany fought on too many fronts and over-stretched itself.

It's hard to conceptualise a war of attrition - trench warfare - like World War I, when ground troops would be sent 'over the top' only to be shot to pieces by machine guns. Through the genocide of the Native Americans and happy geographic accident, the USA has been able to pour trillions of dollars into the development of weapons of mass destruction. Nuclear bombs were dropped by the USA, killing hundreds of thousands of innocent Japanese civilians - men, women & children. The USA has a romanticised a kind of warfare that's cowardly, clean and clinical - dropping bombs on a defenceless 'enemy' thousands of feet below.

Every decisive weapon that has ever been developed in history - from the pointy stick to the suicide bomber - has conferred not only a military advantage but also a psychological one. If you've ever been prodded with a pointy stick, it's not very nice and it makes you wish you had a pointy stick, with which to at least defend yourself, if not to get revenge on the person who prodded you. If you have ever prodded an unarmed person with a pointy stick, then you are joining the ranks of every man who ever carried a spear, slingshot, bow & arrow, dagger, sword, musket, rifle, pistol, rocket launcher or machine gun. Weapons turn an ordinary animal that can only fight with teeth & claws, into an increasingly powerful combination of man & machine, capable of mass murder. The arms race is a natural reaction to armed oppression.

I like to think of myself as a cosmopolitan Citizen of the World, as opposed to a nationalist. Racists with the St. George's flag draped around their shoulders make me want to vomit. However, the educated middle-classes who work well-paid professional jobs, have many things of value - houses, cars, cash in the bank, stocks & shares, holiday homes and a bunch of other stuff too - but English white trash have nothing: no hope of a better life, and their life is dog shit anyway. The most valuable thing that an English 'chav/pleb/prole' has is their British citizenship, which entitles them to welfare benefits, free healthcare and social housing. I can somewhat understand why the Brexit brigade wouldn't want to share the only thing they've got in their life that's got any value: their UK government handouts.

I watched the Christopher Nolan film Dunkirk yesterday. I saw it at an IMAX cinema, shot on 70mm film (well, the digital equivalent anyway) which made it an immersive experience. I didn't expect it to affect me emotionally. I honestly could not have given a fuck whether Private Ryan was Saved or not.

I've been a keen sailor/yachtsman, since childhood. There's something inescapably British about living on a small island. I've spent lots of time at sea, and I have no illusions about what a formidable impasse any stretch of open seawater presents, even in the absence of man-eating sharks. The English Channel - where I've sailed and kitesurfed more than anywhere in the world - is one of the windiest places on Earth and has some of the biggest tides, which create dangerous fast-flowing currents that exceed the maximum speed of many boats.

In the film Dunkirk, when the flotilla of British fishermen and amateur pleasure boaters, appeared on the horizon - to evacuate the beach packed with 400,000 troops, surrounded on all sides by advancing Nazi troops - I was crying like a baby. This is a true story. 326,000 troops were evacuated by a hastily assembled hotchpotch of any vessel that was capable of making the channel crossing and getting close enough to the beach for soldiers to clamber aboard these motorboats, fishing trawlers, sailing yachts and every other kind of boat you could imagine.

Land of Hope and Glory or God Save the King did not play as the soundtrack, nor did Rule Britannia or any other overtly patriotic clichéd music. Dunkirk wasn't plastered with Union Jacks or other national symbols. However, when the film is about to end, the soundtrack finishes with a subtle reboot of Edward Elgar's Variation IX "Nimrod" which is played grave. The orchestral piece is played so slowly, that few would be able to immediately identify the chords, name the work and its original composer.

I don't wear a poppy on Remembrance Sunday and I don't watch any of the television coverage, let alone attend the ceremony.

The British Legion has metamorphosed into something that's got an unpleasant association with racists, and is on the same spectrum as the British National Party (BNP), the English Defence League (EDL) and Britain First. I have a knee-jerk reaction that causes me to reject the flag-waving nationalism that inversely correlates with the economic prosperity of our once-great nation and empire. Nationalism breeds bigotry and xenophobia, which leads to hate crimes and racially motivated atrocities.

Of course, to feel guilty about slavery, the conquest of nations, genocidal massacres, imperial aggression and oppression of whole nations - hundreds of millions of people - is not something I can take any rational personal responsibility for. I wasn't alive when the British gunned down over 1,000 unarmed Sikh men, women & children, who were peacefully gathered in Jallianwalla Bagh public gardens. I protested against the invasion of Iraq. I've protested against every war that Britain has fought, since reaching voting age - when in theory, all wars became fought in my name, as a member of the UK electorate. In a democracy, the blood of the innocent is spilled on every citizen's hands.

However, something about my upbringing in Britain has clearly indoctrinated me, as I was so deeply emotionally moved by Dunkirk. Perhaps living by the sea and being a keen dinghy sailor, yachtsman and kitesurfer, has given me an appreciation for the treachery of the oceans and the difficulty of evacuating 326,000 soldiers, trapped on a beach, to a place of safety. I can directly relate to feelings of every yacht skipper towards the safety of their crew and the duty of care that is morally owed to anybody who is in need of assistance - the sea is a cruel and deadly place, and to return crew, passengers and shipwreck victims to safe dry land is a responsibility felt amongst all captains and skippers.

Watching a very British war movie, doesn't make me want to build a wall and turn the United Kingdom into a fortress; I don't want to deport every Muslim and Eastern European; I don't want to racially abuse people who weren't born in England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland; I don't want to EVER say that "national security" is a justification for the infringement of the sovereign rights of another nation state, through war, invasion, dropping bombs, drone strikes and UN economic sanctions that cause disproportionate suffering to innocent civilians. I didn't rush out of the cinema, and immediately want to punch the first foreign-looking person that I saw.

I'm obviously conflicted. It was a wake-up call, that I've been so subtly indoctrinated, that I'm not even aware of my own Britishness. I hope that doesn't mean that I'm more of a closet racist than I care to admit to myself or others. Am I really just as bad as Trump supporters and neo-Nazis, beneath my cultured & educated, compassionate liberal metropolitan tolerant & inclusive veneer?

It's a dichotomy, but I feel like I can watch a historically accurate dramatisation of true events, and be emotionally moved, but yet also stay true to my values: condemnation of nationalism and Donald Trump's undiplomatic rhetoric; and peacefully protesting against war and opposing racism, wherever I see it.

 

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Opinion Polls and Bookies' Odds

3 min read

This is a story about inverse correlation...

Marine Le Pen

I want to talk about three past votes, and two future ones: Brexit, Trump, Geert Wilders, Marine Le Pen and the UK General Election.

Brexit and Trump followed a very neat pattern of anti-correlation with the expected result. The opinion polls showed that the UK was going to vote to remain in the EU, as well as showing that Hilary Clinton was going to win the US presidential election. The bookmakers' odds showed that most people were betting in line with the opinion polls, so the odds were short on remain & Clinton, and long on Brexit & Trump.

Geert Wilders and his far-right PVV party were clear favourites to win the majority of seats in the Dutch election. The opinion polls and the bookmakers were in PVV's favour. Again, we saw anti-correlation, with PVV failing to secure a majority and Geert Wilders being dealt a long-overdue blow. It was encouraging to see racism, bigotry and the far-right's rise and rise, finally falter.

France's Marine Le Pen is behind in the opinion polls and has long odds offered at the bookmakers. Does this mean that the pattern of anti-correlation is going to continue, and our nearest continental neighbour is going to vote for an extremely right-wing president?

Opinion polls are flawed when it comes to voting for racists and bigots. People are not going to openly admit to their abhorrent views, but when they have the anonymity of the voting booth, the truth is revealed: the west is much more racist than it cares to admit.

The Conservatives have styled themselves as a centrist party, but one must always be mindful that their roots are right-wing. It's no accident that Eurosceptic, anti-immigration, bigoted and racist views have come to dominate the political landscape during the time they have been in government.

If, instead of asking the question "should the UK remain a member of the EU?" we had asked "would you kill somebody if you could get away with it?" and people had voted "yes" in the anonymity of the voting booth, should we legalise murder because it has a democratic mandate? Fundamentally, I think there is a nanny state role to be played when it comes to civilising the barbaric and abhorrent aspects of the knuckle-dragging masses. Ask a stupid question, get a stupid answer.

Looking at the upcoming general election, the outcome is not going to be that interesting. In the year that the Lib Dems formed a coalition with the Conservatives, I had placed a bet on the Lib Dems at odds of over 500 to 1. Right now, you can only get odds of 60 to 1, which are still very long odds, but nowhere near as long as they have been in the past. Odds on Labour of 18 to 1, in what is widely considered to be a two-horse race, are very generous indeed. Perhaps Labour will surprise pundits and all those truly left-wing socialist people who get laughed at for being wide-eyed optimists, will no longer be ignored.

The next couple of months are going to be very interesting, to see if the pollsters continue to get things completely wrong, and that there's plenty of money to be made by betting against the favourites.

 

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Do You Feel Safe Now?

7 min read

This is a story about the right to bear arms...

Police horse

Defence budgets are soaring. The UK is spending £205 billion to upgrade the nuclear deterrent. The annual NHS budget is half that amount. We could give the NHS an extra £350 million per week, for over 11 years, instead of spending our money on weapons of mass destruction.

There are two vans full of armed police parked outside Canary Wharf station, every single working day. I pass them on my way to work. Now, there are also mounted police.

Our foreign policies are abhorrent. The rhetoric used by politicians and the media has whipped up a frenzy of nationalism, xenophobia, bigotry and racism. I used to be proud that Britain was a diverse and inclusive nation, but now I'm embarrassed to discover that there is a marginal majority who have this crazy idea about raising the drawbridge and lowering the portcullis: fortress England.

I saw a meme the other day that asked what the hell is wrong with you if you're so afraid of ISIS that you're not prepared to grant asylum to women & children who are fleeing ISIS. It's a damn good point well made.

The great success that is hidden in the decline of the British empire, is that we managed to leave things in relatively good order. The partition of India and Pakistan was mostly successful, except for one stupid idiot who had no idea about the Kashmir region, but drew the border anyway. Britain is still on good terms with both India and Pakistan and I have no problem getting a visa to visit either country. I've been to India many times and they've embraced English as an official language. The railway system and a lot of other bureaucratic systems are run exactly as they were under British rule.

Again, when Britain left the Middle East, Gulf States and North Africa, after World War II, it was a masterclass in diplomacy and how to divide and rule areas that would otherwise be torn apart by internecine strife. Yes, it's true that dictators were installed. However, before the Gulf War, there was a thriving middle class and excellent infrastructure, not only in Iraq but throughout the whole Middle East. The standard of living in Libya was amazing. Bashar al-Assad brought the Internet to Syria in the mid-nineties, and Assad was somebody who the British had excellent diplomatic ties with: he was one of our best friends in the region.

Britain's policy had always been to rule through diplomacy and bureaucracy. Britain's policy was not one of invasion, conquest, occupation, arms races and domination through sheer military might. The reason Britain had a huge empire is because we are a mercantile nation, who negotiated many trade deals and established much of the flow of goods over land and sea that we see today. Britain didn't want war. Britain wanted to be friends with everybody, so they could trade with the world.

Now, with the American 'shock and awe' tactics, with SCUD missiles raining down on innocent civilians from hundreds of miles away, with no warning, we're fucking hated. Can you imagine that? Can you imagine not even hearing the approach of an aircraft, seeing the falling bomb and having a second to duck and cover? Can you imagine you're sitting there watching TV, and the next thing you know your house is rubble and your whole family have been killed or maimed?

The American occupation, or simply their military presence, in the Middle East was highly offensive and threatening. America likes to flex its military muscle. America likes to boast about its cutting-edge 'defence' technology... which we all know means offensive weapons.

Where's the fucking bravery of warfare, if you're controlling a drone from some air-conditioned office type place, in a building in America, blowing up people in a country thousands of miles away? How that fuck is that being a brave soldier?

And so, we saw the birth of asymmetrical and guerrilla warfare. What we call insurgency is simply the only way that the occupied nations stand any chance of fighting back against the invading forces. The people who we call insurgents are really freedom fighters: fighting for the freedom from invasion and occupation by the country with the world's largest 'defence' budget - America.

I'm going to keep putting 'defence' inside inverted commas like that, because it's not fucking defence. Those weapons get used for offensive purposes far more than for defensive purposes.

The top selling guns in America are hand guns. The top gun retailer is Walmart... we know them as ASDA supermarket in the UK. The top selling bullets are rounds that go in hand guns. What the actual fuck? Surely 1 bullet equals 1 dead person, if you're using a hand gun. I can't imagine that anybody goes hunting deer with a hand gun, can you?

This culture of fetishising deadly weapons - brandishing them and carrying them on the public streets - has become ubiquitous. Giving guns to every ordinary policemen and women. Encouraging people to own a gun at home and introducing laws like stand-your-ground have caused a massive spike in the number of guns and bullets sold, and the number of people who are killed in shootings.

My fear is that Britain moves closer and closer to the American model of foreign and domestic policy.

I would hate it if our police were all armed with guns. No policeman should be judge, jury and executioner. I would hate it if private citizens were allowed to own handguns, which serve no purpose other than to shoot people. The self defence argument crumbles to dust if you can keep guns out of everybody's hands. I would bet you that 99 out of 100 burglaries in the UK are committed by people who are not carrying guns.

The more the rhetoric and the hate ramps up, and the more our strong historical positive diplomatic relationships with many leaders in the Middle East deteriorate, as well as the whole region descending into a chaotic power struggle, the more that Britain becomes a proxy target for the many many people who hate America, because America killed their children, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, parents, cousins, friends and countless other innocent victims of cowardly missile, bomb and drone strikes.

"Don't shoot until you can see the whites of their eyes" they used to say. Soldiers used to have to live with the horror of knowing they'd taken the life of another human being. Now, your drone controller hops in his car and drives home to his family, at the end of his shift. He has no idea what kind of carnage and destruction was unleashed in the aftermath of his drone strike. He has no idea whether the intelligence was correct, or if he just murdered a bunch of innocent people.

The American way of doing things is not making me feel safe. Donald Trump does not make me feel safe. Border controls and slamming the door in the face of people fleeing persecution and war, does not make me feel safe. Dropping bombs on Syria does not make me feel safe. The 'special relationship' with America does not make me feel safe.

We belong to Europe, and we owe it to our former colonies to maintain peace and stability. We are fucking up two of our greatest postwar achievements, and letting America ruin world peace.

I don't feel safe.

 

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A Brief History Lesson

19 min read

This is a story about conflict...

Partition

Israelis, are you fucking colour blind? The United Nations partitioned Palestine, to create the state of Israel in 1947. Stay behind your fucking border and stop killing Palestinian children with your American planes, bombs, guns, tanks, helicopters and every other piece of advanced military hardware that you have, to terrorise poor people who only have sticks and stones to defend themselves.

Israel, you have nuclear weapons, so the Arab countries that are in your proximity have a right to have them too, to defend themselves. You can't continue to bully and fuck over the poor nations in the region. You've got your territory. It's time to stop being such genocidal maniacs and total arseholes. You're the fucking reason why we have terrorists, along with your American sponsors.

Quit your fucking boo-hoo-hoo about the holocaust, and crying "ANTI SEMITE" whenever the international community criticises your atrocious violation of United Nation resolutions and your brutal assault on your impoverished neighbours. The Jews aren't the only group to have suffered a genocide. Check your fucking history books and have some fucking humility. Ever heard of the Khmer Rouge and the Cambodian Genocide? Quit your fucking self-pity and stay the fuck within your borders. Get the fuck out of Palestine and stop killing children.

Map

Can you see lines on a map? Can you read? Does the name of that place you're bombing or invading have the name of your country on it, or somebody else's? Why do you think that these places have existed for long enough to have borders and names? Do you think it's because some kind of peace and stability in the region has been achieved: an uneasy truce?

So, Saddam probably gassed some Kurds. So fucking what? Boo fucking hoo. Sadam kept a lid on the Sunni vs. Shia bullshit, and kept the fucking Kurds at bay. The goddam Kurds are the thorn in everybody's side: just ask the Turkish. They're like those fucking nutjobs who think Cornwall should be independent from the UK. Bunch of nutters.

The Assads aren't exactly chuffed about American troops occupying the Middle East. How would you like it if some bunch of trigger-happy jumped up twats decided to live in part of your fucking house? Hafaz el-Assad was quite successful at getting the Americans to fuck off. Bashar al-Assad was doing quite a decent job of building a modern Syria, until neighbouring Iraq got illegally invaded and the whole fucking region was thrown into chaos, allowing 'rebels' to have a stab at trying to grab power through violence and coup attempts.

You can dig up dirt on any government, which is trying to maintain stability and control. The longer the region is left to stabilise, the less brutal the government has to be. I'm no fan of the Tory regime, with the evil dictator Theresa May. I would be locked up as a political prisoner - persecuted - for my right to rebel against the government by getting a gun and trying to take power by force. How can people be expected to live under such appalling conditions?

Afghan

Afghanistan. Ever heard of this shitting place? I'm sure you've heard tales about how easy it's been for countries to take it over and control it. There's lots of history about how the British found it really easy there, and definitely didn't get totally massacred. Then the Russians were there and they had an absolutely wonderful time and didn't have any problems at all. Finally, the Americans decided that they'd have a go at this super soft target, because of the simplicity of the task of conquering this country with a long history of being easily dominated by massive military might. Yes, history has definitely shown that massive numbers of British, Russian and American troops, with all their military hardware, can easily control this strategically important country on the Silk Road. Nobody ever got their arses kicked... presumably. I'd need to check the history books, but I'm sure that it's written down somewhere that this is a totally cool place to invade.

You want to move goods from East to West, but there are only so many passes through the mountains where it's possible to get truckloads of whatever it is you're transporting, to be traded in the Middle East and Europe via Afghanistan. Maybe you've heard of the Khyber Pass and the Silk Road. It's pretty strategically important to have land-based supply chains.

Afghanistan looks innocuous enough on the map, but it's actually super important for anybody who doesn't want to be forced to deal with the Ruskies in the North.

Libya map

You know sometimes you hear the name of a country and you think "I really want to bomb that country, just because I don't like the name". Sometimes you think "god damn, there's a country with some really nice infrastructure and a thriving economy... we really should bomb the shit out of some of their stuff". That's what Americans think when they hear Libya.

In 1986, three people were killed in a nightclub bombing in Berlin - which is in Germany by the way - so the obvious response was for the Americans, who live nearly 5,000 miles away from Germany and over 6,000 miles from Libya, was to bomb the shit out of the Libyans.

Iran map

What about this poor bastard, Iran? The country that the US just won't leave the fuck alone. Oil rich and with a highly educated population, Iran has managed to get close to being able to defend itself, despite the US's attempt to use the monarchy to control the population for their own advantage. When the Shah started backing his Arab allies, especially as part of OPEC, the West had no more use for this puppet, and he was driven into exile. Ever since then, endless boo-hoo-hoo propaganda bullshit about how awful it is that now rich twats in Tehran have to act with some cultural sympathy, is fed to us in the West, while internally the country prospers as best as it can, despite bullshit sanctions designed to stop Iran from being able to stand up to the bullying imperialists, and be a strong Arab ally in the Middle East, to counter the disproportionate force of the genocidal Israelis.

In short: the world is a safer place if Iran gets nukes, because then the Israelis might have to stop acting like such utter cunts. If the Yanks and the Israelis stop pissing off the Arabs and destabilising the whole of the Middle East, then terrorism goes away and we all have a nice peaceful co-existence.

Basically, history since the end of World War II pretty much goes like this:

  • State of Israel created so that persecuted jews have somewhere to call home
  • Israelis start being right bunch of cunts, with American weapons, and pissing off all their fucking neighbours and threatening them with nukes and stuff
  • Invasion of Middle East and illegal occupation of countries, pisses of some really poor people
  • Americans and American-armed Israelis start killing Arab children and generally acting like fucking Nazis
  • Americans jam their thumb up the arse of the Arabs and smear pooh all over their face, just to piss them off
  • Israelis keep leaving human faeces on the doorstep of every Arab home
  • Eventually, the incredibly poor people who don't have any weapons start chucking stones at the occupying forces, with their body armour and tanks.
  • The Yanks and the Israelis start ethnic cleansing, blowing people and shit up and generally pursuing a policy of terrorism.
  • A tiny handful of extremely pissed off Arabs blow up some planes, nightclubs, army barracks and other targets, in attempt to get the invading and occupying forces to fuck off out of their countries.
  • The Israelis decide to invade and occupy parts of Egypt and Syria, just because they fucking can, because the Americans are backing them and they've got far superior weaponry. They even threaten to nuke the Egyptians.
  • The Americans invade and blow everything to fucking pieces and completely destroy all peace and stability in the region.
  • Some US government shit that shouldn't have even been in Libya gets attacked. Big deal. Get the fuck out of Benghazi - check the map... it's in Libya, not the United States.
  • The Americans blow up a convoy allowing the Libyan leader to be lynched, after already destabilising the whole place by selling guns to both sides.
  • "Regime change" is a synonym for "unleashing an unbelievably awful power struggle".
  • All the fucking nutters that Gadaffi, Saddam and the Assads kept under control, start fucking up the peace and stability of the region.
  • Iran is aggresively and relentlessly fucked over, because they're trying to defend themselves from American-sponsored Israeli aggression.
  • The policy of supporting the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestine and Golem Heights in Syria, allowing the Israelis to threaten the Middle East with their nukes and generally act like total Nazis, and whinge about anti-Semitism, while committing atrocities, continues to aggravate the Arab world
  • Even a white middle-class British man who was born in Wales and grew up in Oxford, can sympathise with how fucked over the whole Arab world is by the Americans and the Israelis, and can understand why they would fight back by throwing stones or even suicide bombing
  • Every fucking nutjob thinks their particular ethnic region should be an independent country, even though they couldn't organise a piss up in a brewery, let alone agree how to divide the land and self-govern. The Kurds attempt to fuck Turkey and Syria up. Various religious nutters try to enforce their bullshit patriarchy on whole developed countries, because they're not getting enough sex.

You could say it's all about oil, but in actual fact, all those petrodollars had built some amazing infrastructure and raised living standards exceptionally high in the Middle East. The middle classes were thriving. Educational standards were amazing. The 'developing' world was threatening to become a bit too developed. The Yanks decided to bomb and destabilise, invade and occupy, until the whole of North Africa, the Middle East and the Gulf states were totally fucked, and collapsed into internecine conflict.

In 1973, the world got a very clear message from the Arab world: don't fuck with us, because we can turn off the oil taps. The Arab world asked to be treated with some fucking respect, because they wield some power too. The Yanks didn't like that very much.

The Brits had done a decent enough job of chopping up the Middle East and installing some rulers who would give the region some stability. OK, so it was stability achieved by machine-gunning large numbers of religious nutjobs, like the pesky Wahhabists. OK, so a few militant Kurds needed to be liquidated. Call it collateral damage. You can't argue with the fact that it was at least peaceful after World War II, thanks to the Brits understanding the history and culture of the region very well.

The Americans are a bit stupid when it comes to the definition of terrorism. When the IRA would blow up a pub or a hotel or something like that, that wasn't terrorism. When the Israelis would terrorise all the impoverished people in the Middle East using American high-tech weaponry, that wasn't terrorism.

Israel and the Americans got annoyed that somebody threw a rock at them that harmlessly bounced off their kevlar body armour, so they decided they'd better take over the management of the Middle East, by bombing the shit out of everybody, killing civilians without giving a fuck and getting rid of 'regimes' that kept the whole region stable.

Obviously, it pissed the Yanks off that they were asked nicely to respect other countries and treat them with decency. Obviously, it pissed the Yanks off that they couldn't just take everything they wanted, whenever they wanted it, while the whole world starves in squalor and they live in opulent luxury. After the indignity of having to pay slightly more for their petrol in the 1970s, they decided to destroy an entire continent's living standards and directly and indirectly kill millions of people, just because they wanted to feel like a "big guy".

More of the history of the Middle East and North Africa is about the Brits and the Americans being able to sell weapons and supply the Israeli military, than it is about oil. Oil only enters the equation, because the cartel of OPEC pisses off arrogant Americans, who think they're the boss of everything and need not show an ounce of respect or diplomacy towards anybody.

So, if you were wondering why we have to suffer Nazis like Nigel Farage, Donald Trump, Geert Wilders, Marine Le Pen and other truly deplorable twats who threaten to destroy the peaceful world we've been able to enjoy since the last world war, then the answer is: because America has totally screwed up the Middle East, with Britain tagging along for the ride, even though us Brits actually stabilised the region in the first place.

There's so much disproportionate revenge from the United States, using weapons of mass destruction. You kill one of their soldiers who's invaded your country and is occupying your land, and they'll drop an atomic bomb on hundreds of thousands of your civilians. That's the kind of bloodthirsty evil shit of a country that we're dealing with: a bully that's armed to the teeth, and will inflict horrible death and suffering using any excuse.

If you want to know why we can't all get along, why we have all those security checks at airports and we're scared of Arab-looking men, it's because we fucking deserve a good kicking. We've been part of America's global campaign to be an absolute dick to everybody with a brown face, kill mind-boggling numbers of innocent people and cause unimaginable suffering, in the interests of imperial arrogance.

How much, exactly, do you want to have? The 1950s sounded pretty awesome, and the 1960s too. Why not stop there? Why go marauding all over the globe, fucking up other people's shit? Why on earth does America need to flex its muscles and bully impoverished nations?

The Brits seemed to develop a smidgen of humility, and stop pissing the Irish off so much. Ireland is Ireland. The British invasion and occupation of Ireland is something we should apologise for and be ashamed of. You can see what a bad attitude the Brits had, when you look at the Argentinian Malvinas, which fucking arrogant Brits seem to think are somewhere off the coast of Cornwall and are called the Falkland Islands.

Empires are one thing, but fucking with the stability of a region is quite another. The American quest to fuck up Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya and just about anywhere else that's peaceful and prosperous, but doesn't buy much Coca Cola and McDonalds, is the reason why we have these 'national security threats'.

So, 52% of the UK population are intent on fucking up the unity of a peaceful Europe, because they don't like immigrants and refugees, and they're fucking paranoid about terrorism. But think about why people might want to hurt us, or might want to come here: because their home countries got fucked up by us, as part of an American-led campaign to keep the poor in their place. Americans can't feel prosperous unless they're making somebody else suffer.

A billionaire reality-TV star, who's completely useless as a businessman, having been bankrupt many times, has now been elected leader of the 'free' world, by being a racist; a Nazi. How did this come about? What kind of world has resulted in building massive walls, revoking visas and banning visitors from certain countries? How on earth does any of this not sound like we're just repeating the mistakes that led to world wars?

This is not democracy in action. This is awful. The marginal Brexit victory, and the technical victory of Donald Trump - he got less votes overall - does not show the will of the people. It shows the disgusting attitude of the people. These weren't votes... this was an opinion poll that showed that there are a terrifying number of racist cunts in our midst.

Democracy and capitalism are not only failing, but they're giving credibility to awful things. There's no way I can respect a vote to abuse immigrants. There's no way I can respect the portion of the electorate who want to do awful things to their fellow human beings.

Try to remember that the Nazis didn't take their power by force. Try to remember that we all have an individual responsibility to vote with our conscience, not with malice, xenophobia and bigotry. It takes effort to be kind and humanitarian, but we have a responsibility to act with decency; both collectively and individually. It's a terrible thing when a gang of thugs starts throwing their weight around, and thinking it's OK because there's safety in numbers.

We may well find that democracy is completely flawed, when people turn nasty, because they're protected by the anonymity of the voting booth. Imagine if there was a permanent public record of how you voted: you could be held jointly responsible for the damage, suffering and deaths you caused through your nastiness, thinking that you could get away with it. Imagine being prosecuted for a crime against humanity, because you voted for something so evil and selfish, that was harmful to so many people.

It's our job as citizens of democratic countries to curb the warmongering ambitions of our political leaders. Every prime minister and president wants a war to call their own. It's our collective responsibility to muzzle these dangerous dogs. These wars should not be fought in our name, even if some of us are stupid enough to be swayed by the propaganda.

Take another look at recent history, and try to look at it without the Hollywood bullshit, that tells us the world is made up of good guys and bad guys. Why don't you find out what it was really like to live in Iraq under Saddam, Syria under Assad, or Libya under Gadaffi, before these places were torn to shreds by forces unleashed when America and a few allies - like us Brits - attacked, invaded, bombed, drone struck and generally destabilised.

Take another look at why the 'bad guys' - who are far fewer than you might imagine - want to 'kill us'. Think about motive. Think about what we might have done to other countries, that makes our own countries a target for retaliation. Think about what injustices we perpetuate, oppressing people. What can these unarmed victims do, in the face of these invading armies who have all the latest high-tech weaponry? 

Re-tell the story, without bleating on about the holocaust - it was a long time ago, by the way - and painting this demonic figure of 'radical islam'. Let's hear the story about illegal invasions, occupation, aggression of militarily superior nations against impoverished nations with limited ability to defend themselves. Let's hear the story about the bullies beating up anybody who's advancing and improving: keeping things unfair; unbalanced.

If having nukes means that you act with kindness, restraint and generosity, then maybe it's OK if only a few nations have them: countries that set a good example for the rest. However, having nukes seems to make a country act with aggression, arrogance, cruelty and a thirst for world domination. Therefore, the only solution is for everybody to have nukes, so nobody gets bullied. The other solution would be for every nation to give up all their nukes, but that ain't ever going to happen.

Anyway, everything looks like it's about to blow. Everywhere I look, things are fucked. Greece and Italy are in big economic trouble. Turkey is so strategically important, but also in the middle of a massive power struggle. Iran is exercising its rights as a sovereign country to develop weapons to defend itself, but America doesn't need much of an excuse to start wars and fuck countries up. Iran's probably one of the last stable proper Islamic republic democracies in the Middle East: the Iranians voted "Yankee go home". As the weather warms up, the huge movement of migrants will start again. The French are pissed off with having everybody trying to get to the UK, fucking up Calais. A wave of right-wing Nazism threatens a clean-sweep across the globe: Le Pen and Wilders joining the likes of Farage and Trump, in a world that thinks that racism is suddenly OK now. All it's going to take is one trigger event - a stock market slump, economic calamity or a major act of terrorism - and a massive domino effect will be triggered. Take a look in your history books and tell me what's happened before when people feel poor and insecure. Fuck the stats: the reality is that most families are just about managing, and it's fucking stressful. Something's gotta give.

Debt levels are unsustainable, suicides are soaring. All the omens are very bad. There's definitely a whiff of the 1930s about what's going on, with hints of another Great Depression and the rise of fucking insane nationalist Nazi parties. It all makes me feel rather nauseated.

I reckon we've probably got one chance to step back from the brink of disaster, but nobody seems to be capable of saying "ooops, I was wrong. I made a mistake". Nobody seems to want to say "look, I know that so-and-so won on a technicality, but really, I don't think our democracy should be run by a bunch of racist cunts".

Everybody's too busy just about managing to be able to understand what's really going on and act with some human decency, rather than having our emotional buttons pushed by the very people who have exploited us and pushed us to breaking point.

Why are you not more worried about history judging you to be one of the bad guys, than taking a clear stand and fighting for what's obviously the right humanitarian, compassionate thing to do?

 

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#NaNoWriMo2016 - Day Four

11 min read

Poste Restante

Contents

Chapter 1: The Caravan

Chapter 2: Invisible Illness

Chapter 3: The Forest

Chapter 4: Prosaic

Chapter 5: The Van

Chapter 6: Into the Unknown

Chapter 7: The Journey

Chapter 8: Infamy

Chapter 9: The Villages

Chapter 10: Waiting Room

Chapter 11: The Shadow People

Chapter 12: Enough Rope

Chapter 13: The Post Offices

Chapter 14: Unsuitable Friends

Chapter 15: The Chase

Chapter 16: Self Inflicted

Chapter 17: The Holiday

Chapter 18: Psychosis, Madness, Insanity and Lunacy

Chapter 19: The Hospitals

Chapter 20: Segmentation

Chapter 21: The Cell

Chapter 22: Wells of Silence

Chapter 23: The Box

Chapter 24: Jailbird

Chapter 25: The Scales

Chapter 26: Descent

Chapter 27: The Syringe

Chapter 28: Anonymity

Chapter 29: The Imposter

Chapter 30: Wish You Were Here

 

4. Prosaic

Senility seemed to reveal hidden racism inside some of the sweetest old men. Every Friday evening at the hospital, the last weekday shift would hand over to the first weekend shift. Weekend shifts were mostly covered by agency staff. Many of the agency nurses were of African descent, which was a fact that failed to escape the notice of otherwise unobservant geriatric patients.

"I am a nurse. I am a fully qualified, registered nurse" one of the agency nurses stated calmly to an irate patient. This was not an uncommon situation she had to deal with.

"How can you be a nurse? You're not even English" said a man, his voice raised.

Lara could hear the conversation between nurse and patient from down the corridor. She had her coat on and was carrying her handbag. She was now making her way out of the building to the car park. Her working week was over. She had a tough decision to make: did she continue taking the most direct route to the lifts, or did she turn around and take the back staircase down to the basement, and walk round the hospital to the staff car park? She decided to press on. Her uniform was mostly covered by a long coat.

"Nurse! Nurse!" shouted the old man, as Lara scurried past an open door, keeping her eyes fixed straight ahead. Glass windows either side of the door allowed anybody walking along the corridor to be easily be seen from the ward.

Lara knew that the old man was trying to get her attention, but she also knew that nothing could be achieved by involving herself in the altercation. The old man would never accept that not all nurses looked like Florence Nightingale and Britain had become a multicultural society during his long lifetime. Tragically, it was part of the job description, that agency nurses would have to deal with this kind of mistreatment over the weekend, when the familiar weekday staff were mostly not working.

Stepping out of view into the lift lobby, Lara felt a twinge of guilt for not taking the stairs, but this was outweighed by the sense of relief that the weekend was beginning and she could start to relax. A pair of metal doors slid open and Lara squeezed into the lift. Leaving the building at this time was always busy. Every lift going down would be packed full of people.

The hospital was a modern monolithic white cube, 5 storeys high. It was the largest hospital in the county. Built on the outskirts of town, the hospital was surrounded by a sprawling car park, divided into short stay, long stay, and far away from the main building, a car park for the general staff members. Near the staff car park was a second building in the same architectural style as the hospital, but much smaller. This was the accommodation block where many of the younger nurses lived.

As Lara reached her car, a group of young women spotted her and started calling her name and waving for her to join them. One of the group sprinted over to where Lara stood, frozen, car keys in hand.

"Will you join us for a drink?" asked Lara's friend, Anne.

"I'm sorry, Anne, I've really got to be getting home. Neil's not well" Lara replied.

"Still?" Anne asked, slightly shocked.

"Yeah. Don't know what's wrong with him. I hope he's been to see the doctor today"

"Oh dear. Well, maybe you'll come out another time?" Anne asked brightly, clearly not wanting to stress Lara out any more and slowly backing away to rejoin the group.

"Sure" said Lara, relieved that Anne could see she was keen to get going.

Anne skipped back to her other friends. Lara knew most of them. They were all a little younger than Lara and they had bonded through living together in the staff accommodation block. They had been very welcoming and friendly and Lara was grateful for the opportunity to socialise outside the group of familiar couples that she and Neil spent the majority of their time with.

Jumping in her car as quickly as she could to avoid any further attempts to pressurise her to go out for a quick drink, Lara gave an apologetic wave as she drove past the group on her way out of the car park. Young and carefree, full of energy, all her workmates waved back enthusiastically. Lara's heart sank a little, because she knew how much fun and refreshing it was to spend time with them.

Pleased to find a parking space quite near her house, Lara was also pleasantly surprised to see that there were lights on downstairs. This was the first time this week that she'd returned home to any signs of life.

Opening the front door and stepping into the hallway, Lara hung her coat on the coat rack and dumped her handbag on the floor. The door to the snug was open and Neil was sat on the large sofa, studying a large piece of paper covered with tiny print. The paper had many creases in it from having been folded up very small. On the coffee table sat a small white cardboard box with a printed prescription label on it. There was also a small white paper bag, emblazoned with the logo of their local chemist, open on the coffee table too.

Neil seemed engrossed in reading the tiny print on the piece of paper. It had also become their custom that week for Lara to have to initiate any conversation.

"So, I take it you went to the doctor?" she asked.

"What? Er, yeah. I got this" Neil distractedly replied, as if the rest of the story was implicitly clear.

Lara stifled a sigh and went upstairs to get changed out of her work clothes. Clearly she was going to have to drag the rest of the details out of him. Frustration replaced a sense of relief that Neil was up and about and had finally sought a doctor's opinion.

Unhurriedly making her way back downstairs, Lara sat down next to Neil on the sofa. She was close, deliberately invading his personal space in the hope of waking him from his trancelike state, studying the leaflet that must have accompanied the medication that he had been prescribed. Neil paused and looked her in the eye for a fraction of a second, but then feigned continuing to read his leaflet.

"So, what happened, at the doctor?" Lara patiently asked.

Neil went to answer but then held his words back. He opened his mouth as if to speak but then froze and it became clear he didn't know how to begin. After a moment, his face flushed and he started to blurt out words.

"They called my name. I sat down. Asked how she could help. Burst into tears. Couldn't stop crying" Neil haltingly said. He was emotional, but he didn't seem like he was on the verge of tears. He seemed somewhere between embarrassment and confusion.

After a moment, he seemed to calm himself down and he began again, more relaxed than before.

"The doctor said it was OK and I should take my time. I started to tell her that I couldn't get up in the mornings. I couldn't face going to work. I couldn't face the world. I was tired. So very tired"

He took a breath. He was blurting his words out very quickly.

"She asked how long it had been going on for and I told her a few weeks..."

"A few weeks?" Lara now interjected, even though she was clearly cutting Neil off mid-sentence. Her mouth hung partly open, further betraying her shock.

"I mean the tiredness. Not the getting up" Neil replied.

"Yes, but why didn't you say something before?" said Lara in a tone that was concerned, not angry. She was reacting reflexively, but she knew she had to try to control herself if she wanted to avoid upsetting Neil.

"The doctor. She said I sounded as though I was depressed and anxious" said Neil, ignoring the question. "She asked me if I had heard of flux-o-tin" he said.

"Fluoxetine?" asked Lara, enunciating the syllables - flew-ox-ah-teen - with a little emphasis, but not so much that she would sound patronising.

"Yeah, that one" replied Neil. "She said that many patients found that it helped them when they were feeling anxious about things, like work stress, as well as low mood. She said that my symptoms could be caused by an imbalance in my brain chemistry, and fluoxetine often helped to balance it out" Neil continued.

"Yes, I know fluoxetine. At work I have to help patients take their prescriptions that they bring from home. Quite a lot of them take fluoxetine. It's the same as Prozac" Lara said.

"Prozac? Well why doesn't it say that on the box or any of the leaflets?"

"Sometimes the pharmacy gives you a branded medication, sometimes they give you a generic version. At work we have to learn both the brand name of the medications as well as the active ingredient" Lara explained.

"But everybody's heard of Prozac" Neil stated, his voice now tinged with a degree of frustration.

Neil sat forward on the sofa and cast the leaflet he had been holding onto the coffee table with a dismissive flick of the wrist, before slumping back, looking away from Lara and staring up at the ceiling. Lara had seen this kind of reaction before at work when she saw doctors speaking to patients; normally young men. It was a kind of shock and disbelief; denial even. Lara couldn't understand why Neil was having this reaction now, with her, rather than earlier with the doctor.

"So I'm on Prozac. Great!" said Neil, his voice dripping with sarcasm.

"You know I've got to take this stuff for at least 6 weeks?" he said, now shaking the small white box at Lara, which rattled with the sound of the pills inside in their blister packaging. The question was rhetorical. He needed to vent.

"I felt relieved when the doctor signed me off sick for another two weeks, but now I don't know what to feel. Can you believe that the doctor even asked me what she should write on the sick note? Stress, anxiety, depression or just mental health problems. I didn't know what to say. She put me on the spot. I said she should write stress"

Lara reached for his hand and squeezed it. She made a sympathetic face.

"They're doing some blood tests too. Could be an under-active thyroid. Won't know until next week, but that's more what I was expecting, you know? Something physically wrong with me"

"I hate to bring this up, but we had planned to have dinner with Russ and Katie tonight. Do you want me to cancel? I'll ring them and come up with some excuse" Lara gently offered.

"I don't know. I don't know anything anymore. I'm confused. I'm upset. I'm frustrated" said Neil, standing up.

Looking down into Lara's eyes as she sat on the sofa, she sensed Neil's care for her and his awareness of her feelings too, but his thoughts were in turmoil. He turned and went upstairs. She heard him kick off his shoes and get into bed.

Neil was asleep, fully clothed, when she joined him in bed a little later. She guessed that it must have been an emotionally exhausting day for him. Perhaps it was side-effects from the medication.

 

Next chapter...

 

The Definition of a Hero

8 min read

This is a story about warfare...

3D Printed Gun

What you're looking at is a 3D printed gun. The gun can only be fired once, but it only takes one bullet to kill another human being. I could decide that my life is more important than yours, and murder you.

We often forget that decisive weapons are the reason we sit in idle luxury, while another half of the world don't have enough to eat or clean drinking water. We have essentially already built the walls that protect the wealth that we have plundered. The world has been divided into 'haves' and 'have-nots'. Lucky you for being born into the group of 'haves'.

Try to remember that: what you have is down to pure blind luck, not divine right, not the glory of your ancestors, not hard work and not personal sacrifice.

Anybody who glorifies war is an idiot.

Wars are not won.

There are no winners in war. There is no such thing as 'victory'. The only thing that comes close to a 'victory' of sorts, is when both sides willingly lay down their weapons and stop fighting. The only heroes are those who bravely disobey orders, and those who resist the urge to kill, maim, torture, rape, pillage and otherwise exercise dominion over their fellow humans.

There are painfully obvious psychological tricks that are being used by power-hungry megalomaniacs, who are intoxicated - drunk - with a kind of nostalgia for national glory, victory on the battlefield, defeat of an 'evil invader'.

As an animal, I wish for people who share little of my genetic material, to perish so that more of my genes will be propagated. My 'selfish' genes quite literally code for murderous intent towards people who don't look like me.

Race is an obvious way to divide into tribes of genetic similarity. White Europeans, and all those black-skinned Africans. White Europeans, and all those bearded Arabs. White Europeans and those dusky-toned Indians. White Europeans, and all those slanty-eyed Asians. White Europeans and those plains-dwelling Red Indians. White Europeans and those rainforest-dwelling tribespeople.

Now, because we're living in a post-slavery, post-apartheid, post-colonial, post-imperial age - supposedly - we are now indoctrinated into the belief that we have a national identity. We salute flags. We stand for national anthems. We dress up in uniform. Our heads of state are rammed down our throat around the clock: their faces are on every coin, every banknote, every postage stamp. Our schools teach no history except "victory" against some imagined enemy. Our media tell no story, except how badly the human rights are violated in countries that do not follow the doctrine of 'democracy' and capitalism.

"I'm not a racist, but Britain is full" say the racists. "We're just a small island and our infrastructure can't cope" say the racists. "I'm not a racist. I just want to protect the British way of life" say the racists.

What do you think would happen if a migrant ate fish & chips or a roast dinner? Do you think a migrant couldn't be kept warm and dry in a thatched cottage? Do you think that a migrant couldn't enjoy a game of cricket? Do you think migrants can't drink cups of tea, or eat a scone with cream and jam on it?

All the things that you think of as British are actually just things that can be enjoyed by any human being. We all have the same needs. Just how British are you, anyway?

I don't even know who my biological grandparents on my mum's side were. For all I know, I might be genetically descended from immigrants. In fact, the Brits are a mongrel race anyway: Romans, Vikings, Normans, Saxons, Celts.

So, borders, flags, passports, nationalities... these are just bullshit made-up things.

"Defence" is a synonym for "guarding the wealth that we have plundered". If you are guarding your wealth, you are refusing to share. As Ghandi said:

"The world has enough for everyone's need, but not enough for anyone's greed"

The panic over the migrant crisis is easy to explain: the ruling elites didn't share enough of their wealth domestically. Even though a "poor" person in the UK is not poor by global standards, they still feel very poor indeed. Asking the poor to share, when they're already hard-pressed and feeling insecure, is not fair and it doesn't seem possible. We already have a housing crisis, a pensions crisis, a financial crisis. We already have problems with underemployment, unemployment and feel like our wages barely stretch to meet our cost of living.

Ostensibly though, there is a racism problem.

Having well-educated French, German, Italian and Spanish people coming to the UK to make your coffee and wait your tables, was not a problem for you, because it was white faces with cute accents.

However, seeing groups of young Arab men does trigger a whole host of fears that have been created by jingoistic faux-nostalgic nationalistic scaremongers, who want you to buy their right-wing newspapers, or vote for their right-wing political party.

The whole "war on terror" has done a remarkably efficient job of convincing people that their 'way of life' is under attack. People who are fleeing persecution, or migrating for economic reasons, are seen as a comparable enemy to Nazi Germany, with the same kind of "we will fight them on the beaches" kind of nationalistic bullshit being peddled.

In actual fact, what is happening is that the inequality is simply too great, in a world that's hyperconnected by the Internet. I mean, damn, if you lived in a mud hut with a straw roof, and you saw an episode of MTV's Cribs, wouldn't you be convinced that every man in the West lives like a prince in a palace?

Whose way of life are you actually defending, anyway?

Do you live in a palace? Do you have a basement full of gold bullion and vintage wine? Do you have priceless artworks hanging on your walls? Do you have supercars? Do you have superyachts? Do you have private jets?

No, of course you don't.

Pyramid scheme

You're being used you fucking dumbasses. You're being told that your way of life is under threat, but really you're just being used as a human shield to allow the plutocrats to defend the vast wealth that they could never even spend in a million lifetimes.

There's a choice: you can arm yourself to the teeth, and try to hold onto the vast riches that are far more than you need, or you can move to a model of equality; sharing. If we have a culture of sharing and equality, then there isn't going to be a horde of migrants at the gates clamouring for a few bones from the dinner table, a few crumbs from the cake.

The UK's highest paid CEO is paid 2,500 times more than the average salary.

It's a pyramid scheme, and the ordinary people of the UK are upset about having to share the crumbs, because the crumbs are all we get at the bottom of the pyramid. What we're saying, when we say "Britain is full" is that we can't share any of our crumbs from the cake, because all we have to eat are a few crumbs anyway.

It's easy to point at how wealthy Britain appears to be in global terms, but an average salary is not the same as a typical salary. In a normal distribution, most people would earn the average salary. However, most people earn less than the average salary. The average is skewed by the high earners. The reality is that even an average salary can't afford to pay for an average price house, but a typical salary can't buy a house and barely meets the cost of living.

Looking at the typical example is a lot more important than looking at the average.

It's because the typical person is experiencing very real hardship, that we have arrived at the point of multiple crises hitting all at once: the day has finally come where the plutocrats will have to convince us to fight to defend their wealth, because the world's poor are becoming more informed via the Internet, and are quite rightly demanding that they have a more fair share of the common wealth, that we are all equally entitled to.

So, don't get all sentimental and caught up in the propaganda: the flag-waving and the talk of 'heroes' and attempts to stoke up nostalgia for wartime. War is awful. War is unnecessary.

The fight we need to have is with the plutocrats, to smash open their bank vaults and share out their wealth.

The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. Period.

 

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