I don’t believe the Labour Party administration are rigging the leadership election to keep Jeremy Corbyn from winning. I don’t think that’s what they’re trying to do, and I don’t think they’d succeed in doing it if they tried. I think Jeremy Corbyn’s likely to win: if he loses, it won’t be because of the Labour Party’s purge of voters.
We’ve seen in the US since Bush was awarded the victory in November 2000, that a determined group of people with the power to have hackable e-voting machines built and installed, the power to ensure legal investigations are only used against the opposition, the power to shut down voter registration for the opposition, and of course the power to “cleanse” electoral rolls of voters likely to choose your opponent, can deliver victories for the Republican Party: the outright vote-fixing may be mathematically detectable.
I don’t think that’s what’s happening in the Labour leadership election.
On Tuesday 8th January, Suzanne Moore’s essay on the power of female anger went up on the New Statesman website. I read through it, liked it, winced at one line in it, and glanced at Twitter and saw I had not been the only one to like, but to wince. I also saw Moore’s reaction to the polite criticism she was getting, and I thought “Someone should explain to her why this is going to get people upset” and in this spirit (and because it seemed an appropriate article for LGBT.co.uk, for which I am contracted to Write Stuff) I wrote No, Not Moore Transphobia, pointing out too that a conversation about #TransDocFail had been going on before the article with the unfortunate line about “Brazilian transsexuals” went online.
I swear, I thought this was all going to calm down within a few days. Suzanne Moore did get a couple of very awful tweets (“cut your face off” / “you should have your head cut off”) were, while not (in my view, and I wouldn’t blame Suzanne Moore for differing in that) serious call-the-police threats, they were wretchedly unpleasant things to get – as unpleasant as the “cut your dicks off” line Moore tweeted – and I blocked both of the senders. But, most of the comments Suzanne Moore was getting initially were on the lines of “That line about Brazilian transsexuals is problematic” and I thought that once she cooled down, read the open letters and blog posts written by women for whom (I assumed) she could feel nothing but respect, she would have to admit; she screwed up.
What I didn’t think of either – and should have – was that the situation for trans women in Brazil was not going to get any better just for Suzanne Moore taking up all the media attention possible and claiming this was all about her hurt feelings. The distress of the privileged is real distress, even if it is different in scale from injustice. Moore was celebrating the anger of women: shouldn’t she get that anger is splendid even when it was directed at something she wrote?
Toby Young is a man who has always played the game of life at the lowest difficulty setting there is, but is quite convinced that it’s purely a matter of skill that won him all his high scores.
At my high school, between 14 and 16, timetabling was everything. No one was allowed to do more than two sciences or more than one language: everyone had to do English and Maths: I couldn’t do History and Latin, because the timetables clashed: I chose Chemistry and Biology and so couldn’t do Physics: out of several unpromising options I took Drama, which was offered as an O-Level, and if nothing else let me discover I had an extraordinary capacity for memorisation and taught me the basics of public speaking: but thanks to the rigorous timetabling, I had to do a CSE in the seventh slot on the timetable sheet. (My mum urged me to do secretarial studies or child care, both of which she felt would be USEFUL, and I ended up doing art, which probably wasn’t but I had much more fun.)
Only three years later, I discovered when trying to find out what my grade had been, that CSE grades didn’t matter to anyone except the student and their parents. Nobody could tell me: I don’t know if any record was kept outside the school.
The Department of Work and Pensions say
“We will be contesting these cases vigorously. These schemes are not slave labour. They play an important part in giving jobseekers the skills and experience they need to find work. It is entirely reasonable to ask jobseekers to take real steps towards finding work if they are claiming benefits.”
Jamieson Wilson, 40, is a mechanic. He has been unemployed (according to the AP story) since 2008. His Job Centre decided that the entirely reasonable way of “helping” him with the skills and experience he would need was to spend six months doing 30 hours a week unpaid work … cleaning furniture.
Cait Reilly, 23, is a geology graduate who had arranged voluntary work for herself in a local museum. She had been signing on since August 2010. Her local Job Centre had not expressed any criticism of her efforts to find paid work, helpful or otherwise, but in January decided to “help” her with two weeks unpaid work, five hours a day, sweeping floors, cleaning shelves, and stacking goods for sale, at the Poundland near where she lived. Continue reading
This is Toby Young, writing of Milly Dowler, in anticipation of his new job writing a weekly column of crap in the Sun on Sunday, the new News of the World:
This is the old News of the World, back when News International believed themselves to be untouchable:
The papers state that from 2008 on, the News of the World had a legal obligation to “preserve all relevant evidence” of phone hacking because it had been notified of civil claims that were pending.
But in Nov 2009 it created the “Email Deletion Policy” to “eliminate in a consistent manner across News International (subject to compliance with legal and regulatory requirements) emails that could be unhelpful in the context of future litigation in which an NI company is a defendant”.