Posts Tagged ‘Demonstrations’

Megaphone Urges People to Join Protests Against Sunak’s Anti-Strike Legislation

January 31, 2023

Rishi Sunak, our unelected Prime Minister, has pushed through parliament his wretched anti-strike legislation. Put working people are organising to push it back. I got this message from Megaphone, the internet campaigning branch of the TUC. There’s a wave of protests planned for tomorrow, and the Megaphone is naturally keen for people to get involved.

‘David,

Last night, the government rammed its shameful anti-strike bill through the House of Commons.

Instead of tackling the cost of living crisis, the Prime Minister is attacking key workers and clamping down on our most basic rights. 

The campaign to protect our right to strike does not end here. The Bill will now be debated in the House of Lords and there is still time to have these laws scrapped. But that will only happen if we take to the streets. 

On Wednesday February 1st (tomorrow!), working people are coming together at rallies and picket lines up and down the country to defend our right to strike. 


We now have more than 80 events registered on Megaphone, with more being added every hour.

With close to half a million workers on strike tomorrow, it’s the biggest day of industrial action in a decade.

Let’s march together to show our teachers, firefighters, civil servants, rail workers, NHS workers and countless others that we support their action to defend pay, jobs and services. Let’s send a clear message to the government that we will not be ignored. 

Defend the right to strike:

Find a Feb 1st action near me!

Enter your postcode to find your closest event. 

It’s so important that we can strike for fair pay, safe conditions and to protect each other. Without this, we have no right to choose.

As the cost-of-living crisis continues to hurt workers everywhere, we need to be able to stand together and choose to strike when we must.

Join an event near you on Wednesday, February 1st.

In Unity,

Anthony

Megaphone UK’

The protest in Bristol starts at 10.45 am and is at Defra Horizon House, BS1 5AH. I really don’t know where that is, and am unable to attend due to sickness. But I am full square behind the protesters in Bristol and elsewhere in the country.

Get Sunak and the Tories out!

Reform Party Promising to Protect British Freedoms against the Government, the EU and Unelected Organisations

January 20, 2023

Okay, I just found a brief video on YouTube, posted eight days ago, on Nick Buckley’s channel. Buckley’s a former police officer and campaigner against knife crime, who’s appeared a couple of times on the Lotus Eater’s channel. I wasn’t surprised then, when he posted this video interviewing Richard Tice about Reform’s ‘Eight Principles’. In the video, however, he only talks about four of them. These are largely about protecting British democratic rights against the threat of the state and unelected organisations and quangos. According to Tice, Brits are aware that they’re born free and have inalienable rights unlike in the EU. Thus, Brits are able to whatever they like unless prohibited, while in the EU they can only do whatever the EU tells them to.

The irony about this is that the idea that humans are born free comes from a continental philosopher, Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Rousseau has been condemned as one of the founders of totalitarianism. One Conservative American group made Rousseau’s The Social Contract one of the most evil books of all time alongside Marx and Engels’ The Communist Manifesto. The philosopher Isaiah Berlin included him among his Six Enemies of Freedom and the Lotus Eaters have also put out videos attacking him. But Rousseau’s book begins with the words, ‘Man was born free yet everywhere he is chains.’ The idea that you should be free to do whatever you want unless the law says otherwise, I think comes from John Locke a century before, and is the foundation of modern liberal ideas of freedom. However, other European philosophers also had views similar to Locke’s, that the state should be limited to the role of a night watchman, in the sense say that it should protect its citizens’ lives and property, but otherwise not interfere. This is the view expressed by the German philosopher Wilhelm von Humboldt in his Grenzen Der Wirksamkeit der Staat – ‘Limits of the Effectiveness of the State’. I don’t know what the underlying philosophy of government of the European Union is. I suspect there isn’t one beyond harmonising various trade and other regulations between member states and allowing for the movement of labour and capital. The original intention was to create a united trading bloc to preserve western European economic independence from America or communist eastern Europe. The Eurosceptic right has frequently ranted about the EU being some kind of totalitarian state with comparisons to Nazi Germany and communism, but I’ve seen no evidence to support it. And rather than limiting freedom, I think the EU believes it is actively creating and nurturing freedom in its member states. Such as when it condemns Poland and Hungary for their legislation banning homosexuality and gay rights.

Now let’s go through the principles as explained by Tice and Buckley in the video.

  1. The state is our servant not our master.

I don’t believe any believer in liberal democracy, whether of the left or right, would challenge this. The only people who would are either Fascists, following Mussolini’s pronouncements that the individual is nothing before the state, followers of Hegel’s dictum that ‘the state is the divine idea as it exists on Earth. We must therefore worship the state’ and supporters of Soviet Communism before Gorby’s brief reforms. However, in the context of Reform, a party of the right, it seems to me that this is yet another bland statement intended to justify further privatisation and the expansion of the power of private industry and the destruction of the welfare state against working people, the poor, the unemployed and disabled.

2. Lend us your power and we’ll give you back your freedom.

This could be said by just about any political party, even those which were real enemies of freedom. Hitler, in one of his rants at Nuremberg, declared ‘Everything I am, I am through you. Everything you are, you are through me’. The Nazi party anthem, the Horst Wessel song, also has lines about German freedom. Hitler also talked about preserving freedom through separating the different spheres of party and state and preserving private industry, though in practice under the Nazi regime the party and state apparatus were intermeshed and private industry ruthlessly subordinated to the state. Mussolini also made speeches about how the freedom of the individual wasn’t limited under fascism, except in certain ways, all of which was equally rubbish.

3. People are free.

This means, as he explains, that people naturally hold certain rights and liberties that should always be protected and defended. These include freedom of speech, religion and conscience. This does not mean that certain types of speech have no consequences. I interpret this as meaning that he feels that people can say what they want, but people are also free to express outrage and take action against others for offensive or dangerous speech that is not otherwise banned by law. Tice goes on to say that in practice, while people believe in this principle, they negotiate to give up a certain amount of this freedom with the state.

I think here he means particularly the legislation on hate speech, which in his view prevents proper criticism of certain protected groups in order to combat racism, homophobia, transphobia, misogyny and so on. He has a point, as opponents of gay rights, who have made their opposition very clear in speeches, often quoting the Biblical prohibition against it, have been arrested. In Scotland Maria Miller, a gender critical woman, was arrested for hate speech simply for putting up stickers with the slogan ‘Scots Women Won’t Wheesht’, meaning that they wouldn’t be silent, in her campaign against the proposed gender recognition legislation north of the border. In my opinion, arresting someone for saying that goes beyond a concern about stirring up hatred against trans people into active attempts to police thoughts and opinions about trans rights.

But there are good reasons behind the legislation banning hate speech. In the case of racism, it’s to prevent Nazi groups stirring up hatred against vulnerable minorities like the Jews, people of colour and gays, all of whom have been or are targets of abuse and physical assault.

4. National Sovereignty

This means protecting British traditions, institutions and culture from enemies both external and internal. The external foes include the EU. The internal threats to British tradition and democracy are unelected pressure groups and organisations. These include big tech and companies like Google, Twitter and Facebook. This is a fair point. These organisations can and do censor material posted on their platforms. The right have been complaining about their posts disappearing or the algorithms governing their availability in searches being altered so that they become invisible, but the same censorship is also inflicted on the left. If Tice and his crew get the chance, I’ve no doubt they’ll demand greater freedom of speech for their supporters while maintaining or even strengthening the censorship against their opponents on the left.

Other threats, unsurprisingly, are the European Union, while among the unelected organisations wielding power he puts the environmental groups Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth and the gay rights organisation Stonewall. Tice states that a few years ago Greenpeace published their manifesto for Yorkshire, which was a diatribe against the car, and therefore, in his view, an attack on the automobile industry in west Yorkshire. One of the accusations the extreme right is throwing at environmental groups is that they wish to ban cars and private transport as part of their plan to establish Green Communism. He also includes Stonewall and the massive influence it wields, although no-one has elected it. There is a problem with Stonewall in that the advice it has been giving to companies, the government and the civil service has been wrong. They deliberately gave a wrongful interpretation of the legislation covering trans issues which was very much what they wanted it to say, not what the law actually did. As a result, a number of groups cut their connections to the organisation.

But unelected groups like Greenpeace, Stonewall and so on acquire their power through possessing, or being perceived to express, expertise and competence in particular issues. In the case of Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth, it’s the environment. Amnesty International is respected because of its thorough investigation and documentation of human rights abuses, even though governments may pay no attention to its findings. Stonewall is taken notice of because it speaks, or claims to speak, for Britain’s gays and articulates their concerns and recommendations to combat prejudice.

Even in the 19th century governments had to pay attention to popular protest organisations, such as the massive abolitionist campaign against slavery, the Anti-Corn Law League set up by Cobden and Bright to have the corn laws repealed so that the price of grain would fall and working people able to feed themselves. There was also the anti-war protests against the Crimean War led by John Bright and others. There are problems with unelected groups exercising power beyond their competence or suitability, but modern governments have always had to deal with organised groups. Tice’s singling out of the environmental groups and Stonewall seems to me to be as much to do with a hatred of their views – the Brexiteers are full-scale behind the right of private industry to trash this country’s green and pleasant land – than with their supposed power outside of the formal sphere of elections. I doubt that Reform would ever go as far if they were in power, but it reminds me more than a little bit of Mussolini’s statement that there should be ‘nothing outside the state, nothing against the state’, and similar bans on private quasi-political organisations in Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union.

But what you’ll also notice is that these principles tell you absolutely nothing about how Reform as a party intends to act on them, except by reading the lines. What does Reform intend to do about the health service? Not said. I suspect, in fact, that as a party of the right they’ll want to privatise even more of it. What about the welfare state and the scandal of millions of people using food banks? No answers there, either. I suspect, however, that in practice you’d get more mantras of encouraging people to be independent, find work and so on, coupled with rants about welfare scroungers. What about industry? Again, the reality is almost certainly that they want more deregulation. Well, we’ve had four decades of Thatcherite privatisation and deregulation, and the result is the mass poverty and failing economy we’re now experiencing. Industry should be acting for the good of society and its employees and not just shareholders and senior management. This means limiting economic freedom, but as the Liberal journalist J.A. Hobson said, in order for the mass of people to be free you need to limit the freedom of the rich. Which is obviously toxic to the Conservatives and other parties of the right.

To sum up, what Reform seems to be doing with these principles is to try to position themselves as defenders of traditional British liberties against the threat of the evil EU and pesky Green and gay groups. But this hides an illiberal ideology that views such groups as somehow subversive, would probably remove the obstacles against real, dangerous expressions of racial and other prejudice, and which would promote the interests of private industry against ordinary Brits.

We can’t afford to be taken in by sweet words hiding their true intentions.

We Own It Appealing for People to Attend Planned Protest Against NHS Privatisation

January 20, 2023

I’ve also had this email from the pro-NHS, pro-nationalisation organisation, We Own It about a planned demonstration they’re holding against the privatisation of the NHS in February. They’re appealing for people to go to it. I can’t, due to expense and illness, but I’m putting it up here in case there are people interested in it, who may be able to attend.

‘Dear David,

BREAKING: private health companies donated £800,000 to the Conservative Party over the last decade. Now we know why the government is doing nothing about NHS privatisation!

A recent Oxford study linked NHS privatisation to the preventable deaths of 557 people.

It is time to make the government feel the power of organised people over organised money.

Can you sign up to become one of 557 people in Parliament Square from 2 – 4pm on Saturday, 25th February demanding an end to NHS privatisation?

So far, 541 people have signed up. We need 89 people to reach our final goal of 630 (that is, 557 people representing the victims of NHS privatisation, 43 people to help carry signs and banners and 30 stewards to help manage the event).

Sign up to become one of the remaining 89 people on Saturday 25th February in Parliament Square

You are involved in our NHS campaign because you believe that our NHS should work for people, not the greedy private companies that donate to the government.

Unite the Union, Just Treatment, Doctors for the NHS and Socialist Health Association fully agree with you. That is why they are now supporting our action.

It is time we make the government feel the power of organised people over organised money.

We want to bring together 557 people representing the 557 people whose deaths are linked to NHS privatisation to put on a powerful display that can get into the papers.

More press coverage means more pressure on the government. The more of us there are at the action, the more likely the action is to get press coverage.

We need 89 more people to reach our goal. Can you sign up now to join us?

Sign up to take action from 2 – 4pm on Saturday 25th Feb in Parliament Square

Because of the incredible efforts of our NHS nurses and ambulance workers who are fighting to save our NHS, the government is already feeling pressure.

With the recent study that links NHS privatisation to 557 preventable deaths, there is no better time than now to pile onto that pressure they are feeling.

The government already knows that over 75% of the public, according to our last poll, want to end NHS privatisation. But they don’t feel that people will fight to see that happen.

You can show them from 2 – 4pm on Saturday 25th February in Parliament Square that you will.

The more people join this action, the more powerful it will be. The more powerful it is, the more likely it is to receive coverage from the press.

This coverage will pile on the pressure on the government and start forcing them to take action.

I will stand up and fight to force an end to NHS privatisation

We need 557 people to represent the 557 people whose deaths are linked to NHS privatisation, according to a recent Oxford study.

But we need even more people to make sure the action is big and effective. So after signing up, please send the link to your friends and family, especially those who live in London and ask them to sign up too.

Thank you so much for always standing up against NHS privatisation.

Cat, Johnbosco, Matthew, Kate – the We Own It team

PS: 30 years ago today the British Coal and British Rail (Transfer Proposals) Act 1993 was passed, paving the way for privatisation of our railway. We’ve put together a list of 30 top failures of rail privatisation from the last 30 years. Take a read and share with friends and family.’

Open Britain on the Tory Attack on Democracy

January 17, 2023

I got this email from the pro-democracy organisation, Open Britain, on the Tories’ continued campaign against democracy in our fair country. It runs

Dear David,

Over the last four years, we have witnessed a rapid reduction in the fairness and inclusivity of UK politics. Rishi Sunak seems determined to continue Boris Johnson’s all-out assault on the rights, institutions, and norms designed to hold the government to account. Academics have a term for this process: “democratic backsliding”.

It’s worth reflecting on recent years through the lens of backsliding to understand where Johnson, Truss, and Sunak are taking us – and how low we’ve already sunk. Researchers at University College London have identified the following critical elements of backsliding:

  1. Breakdown in the norms and standards of political behaviour
  2. Disempowerment of the legislature, the courts, and independent regulators
  3. The reduction of civil liberties and press freedoms; and/or
  4. Harm to the integrity of the electoral system 

On the first element, it’d be nearly impossible to deny that norms and standards in UK politics have become warped beyond recognition, largely thanks to Boris Johnson.

The sheer quantity of Johnson’s absurd lies to the public. The blatant PPE contract corruption. The unlawful attempt to prorogue Parliament. The repeated partying throughout the pandemic. Truss’ appointment of Mark Fullbrook as chief of staff. Rishi Sunak’s refusal to sack Suella Braverman amid egregious security violations. Take your pick.

But norms have also been eroded at a deeper level. The government now appears comfortable with breaking international law whenever it suits their needs.

The Internal Markets Bill (2020), the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill (2022), the planned Bill of Rights Bill, and the plans to offshore asylum seekers to Rwanda all undermine the UK’s long-held reputation for upholding international agreements on human rights and trade agreements (many of which UK ministers and officials helped to draft). Our government is clearly quite comfortable ignoring its citizens and the international community. It’s safe to say that the first box on that list is checked.

On the second element, backsliding may not be as apparent, but close inspection reveals some seriously concerning changes here too.

The government has attracted robust criticism from the Hansard Society for rushing bills through Parliament and abusing the ‘statutory instruments’ mechanism to limit Parliament’s ability to scrutinise bills properly.

They have also drawn widespread criticism for taking steps that inevitably undermined the powers and independence of the Electoral Commission. Boris Johnson removed the Commission’s powers to prosecute and attempted to give a (then) Tory-dominated committee control over its operations, and a number of Conservative MPs even called for its abolition.

It’s not just the Electoral Commission either. Former Commissioner for Public Appointments Peter Riddell also accused the government of “packing” appointment panels to blatantly place political allies in the House of Lords.

On the third element, we’ve also seen that this government is willing to toss aside fundamental rights and freedoms when they become politically inconvenient. The Policing Act (2022) was a significant affront to our right to protest, including giving police the right to shut down “noisy” protests.

That is now followed by the Public Order Bill (2023), currently in the Lords, which seeks to expand these measures further, giving police the right to pre-emptively crackdown on protests before they happen and keep registers of known activists based on facial recognition data. If that’s not an infringement of civil liberties, then nothing is.

And let’s not forget Dominic Raab’s grubby plans to overturn the Human Rights Act. 

We’ve also recently seen the press and the labour movement under fire from the government. Several journalists were arrested while covering climate protests last November, despite showing valid press IDs. And the government’s plans to privatise Channel 4 last year – finally abandoned under public pressure this January – and their continued hostility towards the BBC betray an instinct for threatening vital public news services when they are perceived to be getting in the way.

The Sunak government’s latest priority is to crack down on the right to strike by introducing government-set minimum service standards, once again choosing authoritarian mandates over dialogue or compromise. It’s hard to deny backsliding is also occurring in this area.

On the final element, it has been clear for some time that the integrity of the voting system used for general elections is in jeopardy. The Elections Act (2022) now requires voters to show ID at polling stations, something that creates a barrier to legitimate electors being able to exercise their democratic right to vote. Worse, the government’s choice of valid ID seems to disadvantage people from demographics less likely to vote Conservative. That bill also mandated the use of FPTP for Mayoral and Police Commissioner elections, entrenching a broken system that does not accurately reflect the true will of the electorate. 

It’s clear that the UK is indeed in a phase of democratic backsliding. But that doesn’t mean we have to continue on this path. 

As we move forward in 2023, OB will continue to work, alone and with partners who share our ambitions and values, to ensure UK democracy is striding forwards, not sliding backwards.

The Open Britain team

P.S. We and a number of partners in the democracy sector are working to put pressure on Labour to commit to making the changes we need to renew our political system. You can help right now by signing our joint petition here to get Keir Starmer to support proportional representation.

Add to this the secret courts that Dodgy Dave Cameron pushed through, in which you can be tried in secret, without you or your defence knowing the identity of your accusers and evidence withheld from you if the authorities deem it necessary for reasons of national security, and we really are heading towards what some commenters call ‘a democratic deficit’.

I didn’t realise this, but the tribune was the Roman magistrate charged with defending the rights of the plebs and the army. Hence the phrase, ‘a tribune of the people’. The late 18th century French revolutionary communist, Gracchus Babeuf, also recommended a panel of officials charged with making sure local politicos performed their duties. If they didn’t, their constituents had the right of recall and out they would go. I like this idea, and the fact that the Romans knew that you needed officials to protect democratic rights and freedoms shows, in my opinion, just how wise they were. Not wise enough not to be ruled by a bunch of raving psychopaths, but you can’t expect too much from past ages.

Boris claims to be a great admirer of ancient Rome. It’s a pity the tribunes aren’t one of them. Instead from the Tories we get a lot of bluster about democracy and free speech right when they trying to undermine all of it.

Charles James Fox’s Solution to Social Unrest – Listen to the Protesters and Address Their Grievances

January 9, 2023

In his 1792 speech to the parliament in which he denounced the government’s closure of the various republican and democratic societies supporting the French Revolution and attempts to dictate British public opinion, Fox also stated what he would also do to solve the social unrest then breaking out. His recommendation was simple: actually listen to the protesters and do something to solve the issues against which they were protesting. Moreover, he stated that he believed strongly that every man should be able to approach parliament with their complaints. He said

‘But, it may be asked, what would I propose to do in times of agitation like the present? I will answer openly. If there is a tendency in the dissenters to discontent, because they conceive themselves to be unjustly suspected and cruelly calumniated, what would I do? – I would instantly repeal the Test and Corporation Acts, and take from them, by such a step, all cause of complaint. If there were any persons tinctured with a republican spirit, because they thought that the representative government was more perfect in republic, I would endeavour to amend the representation of the Commons, and to show that the House of Commons, though not chosen by all, should have no other interest than to prove itself the representative of all. If there were men dissatisfied in Scotland or Ireland or elsewhere, on account of disabilities and exemptions, of unjust prejudices, and of cruel restrictions, I would repeal the penal statutes, which are a disgrace to our law books. If there were other complaints of grievances, I would redress them where they were really proved; but above all I would constantly, cheerfully, patiently listen. I would make it known that if any man felt, or thought he felt, a grievance, he might come freely to the bar of this House, and bring his proofs: and it should be made manifest to all the world that where they did exist they would be redressed; where they did not, that it should be made evident. If I were to issue a proclamation, this should be my proclamation: ‘If any man has a grievance, let him bring it to the bar of the Commons’ House of Parliament with the firm persuasion of having it honestly investigated.’ These are the subsidies that I would grant to government.’

In Alan Bullock and Maurice Shock, The Liberal Tradition from Fox to Keynes, (Oxford: Clarendon Press 1956) 3.

Definitely a lesson for Rishi Sunak, who does not want to listen, let alone do anything to address the strikers’ complaints, except to make it difficult for them to strike.

Charles James Fox’s Denunciation of Government Attempts to Tell Brits What to Think

January 9, 2023

There are forces on both the left and right that are trying to limit and control free speech in this country. The Tories have always used the power of the right-wing press, of course, but this is coupled with laws designed to severely restrict strike and public demonstrations. This is coupled with the strong conservative bias of some internet platforms, which deliberately manipulate the algorithms governing what people searching the internet may see in order to bury left-wing blogs.

‘The great 18th century Whig politician, Charles James Fox, denounced the government’s attempts to close the various societies and clubs that supported the French Revolution and demanded constitutional change over this side of the channel, in a speech made before the house in 1792. This included the following stinging passage.

‘But what, Sir, are the doctrines that they desire to set up by this insinuation of gloom and dejection? That Englishmen are not to dare to have genuine feelings of their own; that they must not rejoice but by rule; that they must not think but by order; that no man shall dare to exercise his faculties in contemplating the objects that surround him, nor give way to the indulgence of his joy or grief in the emotions that they excite, but according to the instructions that they receive. That, in observing the events that happen to surrounding and neutral nations, he shall not dare to think whether they are favourable to the principles that contribute to the happiness of man, or the contrary; and that he must take, not merely his opinions but his sensations from his majesty’s ministers and their satellites for the time being! Sir, whenever the time shall come that the character and spirits of Englishmen are so subdued; when they shall consent to believe that everything which happens around is indifferent both to their understandings and their hearts; and when they shall be brought to rejoice and grieve just as it shall suit the taste, the caprice, or the ends of ministers, then I pronounce the constitution of this country to be extinct.’

In Alan Bullock and Maurice Shock, eds., The Liberal Tradition from Fox to Keynes (Oxford: Clarendon Press 1956) 1.

And I think Starmer could also learn a lesson from this about telling Brits what to think about events in foreign countries.

Lachlan Stuart Defends Women’s Rights Against Trans Ideology at the Left-Wing Labour ‘Expel Me Rally’

December 23, 2022

There’s been a new, serious development in the battle over women’s versus trans rights. Yesterday the Scottish parliament passed their gender recognition act, which lowers the age at which people can declare themselves trans to 16 and further limits the time required to live as a member of the opposite sex and the medical supervision also demanded to make it easier for trans identified people to be officially recognised as members of their declared sex. The issue is enormously controversial. Feminists and other people across the political spectrum have criticised the trans ideology because of the way it impinges on women’s sex based right. The ideology and legislation based on it demands that trans-identified men should be given comprehensive access to women’s spaces, which raises problems for women’s safety, privacy and dignity.

Already some men are claiming to be trans, according to the Scottish Daily Record to get transferred from men’s to women’s prison. According to the Record, these men do precious little to behave like women in jail and when they come out revert to identifying as men. There is also the problem that some of those men are violent sex offenders against women and girls. In Scotland this includes a hulking 6/3” brute who tried to indecently assault a 12 year old girl in a public toilet. Black American anti-trans YouTuber Karen Davis has pointed to 50 to 60 per cent of incarcerated transwomen being there for sex offences. She put up a post the day before yesterday commenting on a report that an American female prison officer is suffering from PTSD thanks to being ordered to monitor a trans-identified man on suicide watch, even when he relieved himself or masturbated. This brought back personal memories of sexual abuse. From the newspaper account, the woman was a conscientious officer serving in a women’s prison. She had absolutely no problem watching the female inmates at risk from suicide, self-harm or banging their heads. The prisoner in this case demanded that female officers were part of the team watching him.

I do feel that he did so deliberately to cause upset to the female officers. Way back in the 1980s I read a piece about the cons in male prisons, who masturbated in front of female officer. They were nicknamed ‘gunslingers’ and there seemed no way to stop them doing it. Not even making them wear pink prison uniformed helped. The laws allowing transwomen into the female estate was clearly passed with the best of intentions. I can easily imagine that men’s prisons, for unaggressive, feminine men, let alone those who genuinely identify as women, would be hell. But I feel that very evil, predatory male offenders are abusing it to gain access to vulnerable women.

There are similar questions over hospital care, particular women requiring intimate treatment and would naturally prefer that this is done by someone of their own sex. It is also a problem in sports and sports changing rooms. One of the complaints by Lia Thomas’ teammates was that he was persistently naked in front of them, leading to their obvious embarrassment and discomfiture. Some women are also required by their religion not to be seen by men in an undressed state. Kelly-Jay Keen and her people from Standing For Women held a rally at the open air swimming baths in Hampshire. There were three such baths. One was for men only, another for women only and a third that was mixed sex. The women’s baths had open up to transwomen and this posed a problem for Orthodox Jewish and Muslim women, who could not share it with men, even those who identified as women.

I gather that the passage of the law resulted in angry scenes at the Scots parliament. One irate feminist lifted her skirt to reveal her private parts. A petition has been started to repeal or amend the new act. There is also the question how it will be received by the Westminster parliament and whether Rishi Sunak will overrule it. And if he does, what will this do to the UK? There are theories that Sturgeon is using the act to widen the divide between Scotland and the rest of the UK as part of her independence campaign.

There are also deep implications for the political parties. It’s an issue that crosses the political divide, but conservative activists like the American YouTuber Matt Walsh consistently misrepresent opposition to gender ideology as coming solely from the right. The EDIJester, however, put up a video about it yesterday stating that he has no confidence in Sunak to combat the act and the advance of the trans ideology. He states that if Sunak doesn’t overrule it, then critics of the gender ideology will have to look to founding separate political parties.

Kelly-Jay Keen has already taken a step in that direction with her decision to stand against Keir Starmer under the Standing For Women banner at the next election. Starmer has fully embraced the trans ideology, which has led to several awkward scenes. When asked whether women have cervixes, he replied that it wasn’t a question that should be asked. Other senior MPs have dodged answering the simple question ‘What is a woman?’ Keen was originally going to stand against Eddie Izzard if he got selected as the Labour candidate for Sheffield, This didn’t happen, and so she’s decided to go after Starmer. She particularly feels that Labour under him has betrayed women. At the last Labour conference, trans activists were allowed a platform, but the LGB Alliance, which campaigns exclusively on gay issues but not trans, was excluded from having a place.

This is why I’m putting up this video of Labour policy-maker and gay rights activist Lachlan Stuart speaking at the 2020 ‘Expel Me’ rally. Stuart was a member of Corbyn’s team that included comprehensive support for trans rights in the manifesto. After the election, which he thinks gave people like him enough rope to hang themselves, he went back and reconsidered his opinions. He has now reversed them because of the above issues of women’s privacy, particularly regarding medical care. He states he is haunted by the idea of his mother being examined for cervical cancer by a man. He states that his research uncovered numerous cases where women were abused or disadvantaged by the policy. He was also very concerned at the way the treatment for people with problems with their gender identity only seemed to go in one direction – to transition. He also makes it clear that when he dug into the issue, he found a network of lobby groups and the persecution of doctors and other health professionals who dared to challenge the ideology.

Stuart was a member of the gay rights movement and the solidarity campaign between gays and miners back in the 1980s. He describes campaign against Thatcher’s Clause 28, which sought to ban the promotion of homosexuality in schools. Considering Thatcher’s own association with fascists like Chile’s General Pinochet and the outspoken hatred of gays by many Tory MPs, there was a real fear that this would lead to renewed persecution. He talks about the Solidarity with Miners campaign, and urges his audience to watch the British film, Pride. He states that they didn’t no-platform some of the extremely bigoted and homophobic miners, and speaks with real pride about the first cheque his organisation received from a Welsh miners’ union. He also talks about the way trans activists have distorted some of the policies in the manifesto. This was a clause which committed the party to age appropriate and respectful sex education. This is a real issue, as some schools have been pushing teaching children about gender identity at primary school. He also states that the policy was also meant to educate children that violence against women is unacceptable. But the clause has been taken and expanded by the trans rights activists to mean educating children about trans people at any age.

He also talks about the way his new criticism of the trans ideology has resulted him losing friends and support from other organisations and party members. Stonewall backed away, and Dawn Butler stopped taking his calls. But he remains determined to carry on. And if the party don’t like, they can expel him.

This could become an important issue for all parties at the next election. Kelly-Jay Keen intends to use her position as an aspiring MP to get round the ban that councils and other organisations have imposed on her campaigning. A few years ago she paid for the dictionary definition of woman as ‘adult human female’ to be displayed on a billboard in Liverpool. This was taken down on the orders of Liverpool council, which ruled that it was hateful.

Gender critical feminists are unfairly accused of being fascists by the supporters of the trans ideology. This is flat wrong, but there is a real danger that this issue is being exploited by the right and the extreme right. This includes the real fascist outfit Correct, Not Political. They stage counter demonstrations against Drag Queen Story Hour, gay rights marches and environmental, socialist and trade union rallies, along with anything they think is ‘commie’. Their livestreams begin with old footage of Mosley and his Black Shirts marching, in uniform and with the ‘Roman’ salute, all to the Adagio for Strings, as if it was a tragedy these ratbags were rejected by the British working public and rounded up by the government and interned on the Isle of Man. They’ve also posted discussions suggesting they believe in the stupid, noxious and murderous conspiracy theories about Jews and Masons. And unfortunately, one of the places they targeted for a protest was a library near me in south Bristol, which was staging a Drag Queen Story Time.

While I profoundly disagree with the trans ideology, I don’t want to see trans people persecuted. I’ve no doubt the majority are decent people who just want to get on with their lives. But there are fears that ordinary trans and gay people will suffer from a terrible backlash because of the very visible support for the ideology by intolerant activists. I don’t doubt that if they had their way, for example, Correct, Not Political would round up trans people and gays for imprisonment. There are signs that might be happening in America because of the controversy over Drag Queen Story Hour. I came across a report on YouTube that a Democrat politician in New York, who supports it and went to a drag show, had his offices and home vandalised with accusations that he was a ‘pedo’ and a ‘groomer’.

We need to keep this debate well out of the hands of the far right. And there is obviously a place in it for left-wing activists, because people like Stuart are serious when they state that they tried to reconcile their new opposition to trans ideology with support for them as a minority. Quite apart from the absolute need to protect ordinary, decent people from victimisation and prejudice because of their sexuality or gender identity or expression.

Mother Clare Page Suing Over School Secrecy and Indoctrination

November 18, 2022

Clare Page is the mother of two daughters at Haberdashers’ Hatcham College. Her story has been mentioned by the EDIjester and she has been interviewed by Calvin Robinson of the New Culture Forum and Dr Anna Loutfi of the Bad Law Project on Reclaim the Media, which is connected to Laurence Fox’s Reclaim Party. She’s trying to sue the school or local authority to get them to reveal the lesson plans for the Personal and Human Development course at her daughters’ school and the identity of the person who taught it. She has very good reasons, as the school does seem to have a very hard left approach to teaching human sexuality and gender and racial politics. She became concerned when her daughter told her that they had been taught that society was heteronormative, and that this was bad. The EDIjester, in his video about this, stated that all heteronormativity means is that there are more heterosexual than gay people. And this is how it should be, as heterosexuals gave birth to the next generation of gay men, and without that, there wouldn’t be any younger gay blokes for him to chase. They were also told that the proper response to heteronormativity was to be sex positive and embrace all forms of sexuality. There’s clearly a moral problem there. Calvin Robinson made the point that this excluded people of more traditional views, for whom sex should be kept within marriage or a loving, committed relationship. The attitude seemed to be, however, that everything was alright provided it felt good. These lessons were delivered by an outside provider, the School of Sexuality Education, previously Sexplain. The lessons were given to 15- and 16-year olds, who were given such tasks as make lists of the way they would talk about which aspects of sex they enjoyed to another child in their class, as a way of making them less reticent about talking about sex. As Page said in her interview with Loutfi, this sexualised children, who may otherwise not have been so and were unprepared for it. The EDIjester, on the other hand, remarked that it was a bit pointless telling teenagers sex was fun, as they already knew that. The schoolchildren were also told that for more information they should watch the satellite/cable series Sex Education, even though this was rated 18+ and therefore inappropriate for them. The organisation’s website was also inappropriate for children, as the company also sold sex toys, pornography and tips on anal masturbation, all of which was available to the kids consulting the site at the click of a mouse. Page tried to get hold of the lesson plans from the school, but all she got in return were the titles of the various lessons. She, and the school itself, were told by the School of Sexuality Education that they were not going to release the information because of copyright confidentiality. There was an option briefly discussed in which she could go in and see the lesson plans but would not be given copies. She found that unacceptable because it would prevent her from contacting the authorities over specific points or discussing them with her daughter if she did not have the documents to hand. The school also refused to give them on the grounds that, she later found through freedom of information requests, the school and the SSE had been corresponding with each other over whether she was harassing the company and its staff. She complained to the school governors, but they couldn’t give her a decision about the lesson plans because they weren’t given copies of them either. The point was made by the jester that in this instance the school was prioritising the commercial interests of an outside provider over the democratic right to free speech and debate. There is also a commercial conflict of interest in giving the teaching contract to a company that also sells porn and sex toys.

The school was also teaching Critical Race Theory. Page’s daughter was told that she had White privilege. This was all right, but what was not all right was denying that this privilege existed. The children were also told that Black lives were viewed as lesser and expendable by the government and law enforcement. It wasn’t clear whether this referred to Britain or America or both. The sources for these assertions were similarly obscure. Sometimes searching for them on Google revealed they came from teenage magazines, sometimes the sources simply couldn’t be found. This racialised the school in a way that it hadn’t been before. Page states that her daughter was referred to by her race in a not-altogether friendly fashion, but this could have been simply playground banter. But she said that it introduced racial division into a school that had previously been very non-racist. The children were also taught that Whites were racist because of previous abuses, and that White people held all the social and economic power. The school curriculum itself would be biased as it was probably created by middle-class White men. They were also told that racism against White didn’t exist.

The history taught was heavily biased to niche Communist history before it got to the level when the national curriculum took over. Page’s daughter was taught that, in the period leading up to the Second World War, Hitler’s main opponents were Communist guerrillas in Cameroon. It was only several weeks later that they were taught about Nazism and the Jews.

Robinson also, unsurprisingly, wanted to know if there was a general anti-Tory bias at the school. Page agreed that there was. One teacher wore a pro-Corbyn T-shirt. Her daughter told her that she had been told to vote Labour. One of the schoolchildren had also thrown a milkshake at Michael Gove during an Extinction Rebellion demonstration, for which she was congratulated by the other schoolchildren. Back to race, a rap song with the refrain, ‘Our Prime Minister is racist’ was played in class with no comment.

Page herself comes across as reasonable and conciliatory. She stated that nobody really wants to sue their school, and that she would like these kinds of issues to be subjects that schools and parents could explore together. She also made the point that all indoctrination was wrong, regardless of whether it was far left or right, and even if we agreed with it, because it could all be turned around.

I am not a member of and certainly have no interest in joining either the New Culture Forum or the Reclaim Party. The New Culture Forum are the civilian wing of the Institute of Economic Affairs, who are a hard-right Thatcherite outfit that would like to privatise everything, including the NHS. Reclaim are also likely to be right-wing economically. But I think they are absolutely right to tackle the issue of woke political indoctrination in school. As for the teachers who teach it, EDIjester has remarked that they probably don’t understand it or the issues themselves. They’re too busy teaching, and so simply go along with whatever they’re told by their superiors. I find CRT to be an entirely fraudulent discipline and fear it is going to do enormous damage with its teaching. As for the material about sex, Page said in the interview with Loutfi that it was a case of a uniform attitude where it was inappropriate. Some children no doubt needed such explicit information, particularly if they were in danger. Other children weren’t ready and so it wasn’t suitable.

These are all major issues, which at least need to be discussed openly without highly biased organisations and private companies demanding silence and compliance for reasons of commercial sensitivity.

Here’s EDIjester’s video on it. Warning – there is more than a little bawdy humour.

The New Culture Forum’s video is entitled ‘Anti-White Racism Doesn’t Exist’: My Kids’ School Refused to Show Me What They Were Teaching’ and is on YouTube if you want to look at it.

The Reclaim the Media video is ‘What’s Being Taught In Our SCHOOlS – The Bad Law Show – Clare Page.

Protests Planned Next Month Against Abysmal Bus Services in Bristol Area

November 18, 2022

The Bristol Live news site has reported that the campaign group, ‘Reclaim Our Buses’ is planning to hold a campaign next month against the grotty service provided by the bus companies in the greater Bristol after Worstbus, sorry, I mean Firstbus cut 178 services last month and nearly 1,500 journeys were cancelled this week. The article by Yvonne Deeney, ‘Huge protest over how Bristol and Gloucestershire buses are run to take place next month’ begins

‘Next month bus users from Bristol and South Gloucestershire will hold a protest to demand buses are taken under public control and run as a public service by the West of England Combined Authority (WECA). This comes after 178 First bus services were scrapped last month in the West of England in addition to a further 1,450 bus journeys cancelled each week.

The campaign group has written an open letter calling on Metro Mayor, Dan Norris and all WECA group leaders to suspend the deregulated bus market and provide a franchised bus service. Currently 768 people have put their name to the letter with most of them commenting on the personal difficulties the poorly run bus service has caused them.

Laura Fogg-Rogers is among those leading the ‘Reclaim our buses’ campaign which will hold its first public demonstration in Kingswood next month . The environmental researcher and mum of two, who lives in Winterbourne, said people in her community are furious about the buses which have resulted in job losses and children getting detentions for being late.

READ MORE: First Bus just cancelled 1,450 Bristol bus services a week until at least April

Ms Fogg-Rogers sits on the steering committee of The West of England Shared Transport and Active Travel Network (WESTACT) who are campaigning for better public transport in the region. She said the franchising model has not been implemented in the region because the various local councils who make up WECA have failed to communicate, so they will be targeting council leaders next month in South Gloucestershire to demand cross party talks take place to initiate a franchised bus model.’

For more information, see

A few weeks ago I put up my own petition on 38 Degrees requesting councils be given the power either to franchise buses or return then to public ownership. This should be at https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/give-bristol-and-surrounding-councils-power-to-run-buses?share=31232eb0-e84c-43d5-9388-cd3becf235a8&source=email-share-button&utm_medium=socialshare&utm_source=email

And the reason Firstbus is giving for cancelling all these services is that they can’t get drivers. Some of this is because drivers can make far more money driving HGVs. And I think part of it is another consequence of the lack of foreign workers due to Brexit.

American Transpeople Joining Gun Clubs Against the Coming ‘Trans Genocide’

November 8, 2022

This is both weird and alarming. Karen Davis is a gender critical Black American woman, who gives her critique of the trans cult and its excesses on her vlog, ‘You’re Kidding, Right?’ on YouTube. She’s a musician and a music teacher. I think she teaches special children. She’s also been a care worker in a social club for schizophrenics. She has an excellent grasp of the medical literature and frequently cites relevant papers on the damaging side-effects of puberty blockers, gender transition surgery and the mental and physical differences between the sexes that persist despite the surgery and hormone treatment. She’s an important voice in the debate, but I deliberately haven’t posted her here. This is because she has very strong and uncompromising views, expressed in similarly strong language. And I don’t want to offend any of my readers unnecessarily.

Yesterday, however, she made a couple of posts reporting a very alarming development. It seems some American transpeople have worked themselves up into such a state of fear over an imagined coming genocide that they’re joining a set of gun clubs, ‘The Pink Pistols’, set up by gay people in the early 2000s in order to teach them to shoot in order to protect themselves. This came out when she was talking about the reaction among some trans people to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ passage of a law in Florida banning gender treatment for minors. This forbade doctors and clinicians from putting trans-identifying children on puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones or surgery. This is important, as gender surgeons have been performing mastectomies on girls as young as 12. DeSantis is a Republican, and while I generally despise the Republican party, I think he’s done the right thing about this. Children are way too young to be able to make responsible decisions about such life-changing medical treatment. After all, we don’t allow kids of 12 to buy tobacco or alcohol, and over here they can’t buy glue at that age. It’s also the case that 65-85 per cent of children with gender confusion actually grow out of it, usually settling down as gay men or women. There’s real concern among part of the gay community that gender reassignment surgery is being used by homophobic parents as a kind of gay conversion therapy. If this is the case, then it’s as nasty as the historic gay conversion techniques involving electric shocks, isolation, starvation, sleep deprivation and other sadistic tortures. I don’t doubt that there are some people who really need trans therapy and medical treatment, but there are also very many who don’t and for whom it is inappropriate and damaging.

The people on one of the trans chatrooms visited by Davies, however, interpreted DeSantis’ legislation as the first steps towards the trans holocaust. One poster, InnocenceClaire, said that she was having fantasies of killing people. Her partner was in the navy, and she was concerned about having to shoot members of the US military when the state openly began killing trans people. She was also thinking of emigrating to Canada. Someone then suggested she join Pink Pistols, which is the subject of a further vlog post by Davies.

Okay, I’m very definitely someone who believes very strongly in gun licensing and restrictions on firearms possession. But I honestly don’t blame gay Americans for setting up their own gun clubs considering the violent persecution gays have suffered and still do in some quarters. Western society is much more tolerant now than it was when I was growing up. But I’ve been told by American friends that even though homosexuality has been legalised at the federal level, many individual states continue to have laws against homosexuality. And I don’t doubt either that transpeople get their share of abuse and violence. While drag has been part of British pantomime and the Music Hall tradition since the 19th century, it was illegal for ‘men to walk about in the clothes of the opposite sex for immoral purposes’, as the act put it. I don’t know when it was legalised. One of the gobbets we had to read in a book intended to help young people navigate their way into adulthood in RE when I was at school was about a young transvestite bloke in prison. In the 90s Private Eye in its ‘Funny Old World’ column published the obituary of an older transvestite, who had been frequently up before the beak. And the violence and abuse against trans people was covered in the small press magazine Aeon – the Magazine of Transkind. One of the great commenters here has posted a link to a BBC report on the abuse a transwoman received from a mob after an ambulance arrived to take her to hospital in this country.

But from what I can tell, most of the violence, abuse and threats of violence in this controversy come from trans rights activists, who may not be trans themselves, against gender critical feminists. Maria Maclachlan of the ‘Peak Trans’ vlog was the victim of one assault. A feminist protest in Spain against that country’s new gender identification laws had to be abandoned because of the menacing mood of the trans counterprotesters. There has been a lot of argy-bargy from the trans activists at the rallies Kelly-Jay Keen has held in Britain, including Bristol and Brighton. One of the trans rights activists there set off a smoke bomb and another was arrested with a bag of knives. Keen is on a campaign tour of America. She wanted to speak in Portland, but received hostile, threatening messages and was told by the cops that they wouldn’t be able to protest her. She wisely called it off. Now there have been social media posts smearing her as a member of the Proud Boys. Similar threats and attacks have happened to others. There was outrage a couple of weeks ago when Fred Sargent, a senior member of the American gay community and a veteran of the Stonewall riots, was knocked to the ground at a Pride march and had coffee poured on him because he was carrying a banner stating that transwomen weren’t women. And there were any number of posts on Twitter by people posting about how TERFs – Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminists – were fascists and Nazis and should be killed.

In fact, the violence actually suffered by transpeople in Britain in America is small. I think in Britain three trans people were killed a couple of years ago, and there have fortunately been no more murdered since. According to Davis, 36 trans people have been killed in the Land of the Free this year. That’s obviously 36 too many, but it’s a tiny number compared to the 1,800 women murdered by their parents, often after they’ve given birth. Gender critical feminists aren’t fascists and there no trans holocaust.

I am not saying this to vilify transpeople, only to make the point that there are parts of that milieu that is violent and abusive. My fear is that this section of the trans community will tool itself up with firearms and bring them to demonstrations, like other armed groups. I can remember a couple of years ago when a militia group turned up to face down Black Lives Matter protesters. There was a stand-off, but mercifully no-one was shot. My fear is that some trans protesters equipped with firearms won’t exercise similar restraint, not if they really believe that TERFs are Nazis. And that would be a catastrophe. Apart from the loss of the life, many gays and transpeople are afraid that the militancy and extremism of the trans rights movement will provoke a backlash against all of them. That could very well come true if someone is shot at a rally. I really hope cooler heads prevail.

For further information, see the posts ‘MTFs ARM IN RESPONSE TO FLORIDA MOVE TO PROTECT KIDS’ and ‘FEMALE IMPERSONATORS GET GUNS WHILE REAL WOMEN GET KILLED’