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Category: Ranting (Page 1 of 2)

Privilege

I have a range of mental health problems. Depression, its bosom buddy anxiety, and pretty serious attachment issues have been a part of who I am for as long as I can remember.

Why? Well, I went to boarding school. Yes, I’m posh – well, sort of. I’m an FCO kid. I was privately educated, at enormous expense. And it destroyed me for life.

Yes, I’m aware of my “privilege”. And it has opened doors. I’d be lying if I pretended otherwise. But consider this.

Imagine a rather shy and introverted little boy, aged 8 or 9, who has overnight and for reasons he doesn’t really understand lost his home, his family, his personal space and privacy, his freedom, his safety and his access to anyone who cares about him or any sort of affection or comfort or solace whatsoever, all in one fell swoop.

Imagine that he then finds himself trapped in a relentlessly hostile environment where nobody is on his side and nowhere is safe, and where there’s a good chance that at any moment someone will beat the shit out of him because they feel like it or because it’s funny.

Imagine that is then his life until adulthood.

Honestly, it’s like a bereavement. Not all kids survive it – anecdotally, most boarding schools see at least one suicide attempt every year. Certainly, my own did. Some succeed. The ones who don’t are quietly removed. Either way, the whole thing is brushed over.

If you do survive, then you emerge a changed person. Tough, self-reliant and self-sufficient, certainly. The hoary old cliché about the regime being “character forming” is certainly true, as far as it goes. But you are also completely closed, defensive and wholly incapable of empathy or normal human relationships. You don’t love anyone or anything. You can’t. To survive that decade, you had to kill the part of you that feels, or bury it so deep that nobody else can get to it.

This is how the (in)famous English “sang froid” / “stiff upper lip” is created. By systematically brutalising and traumatising small children.

I survived, but the long-term effects on me have been pretty profound. It’s controlled and stabilised with medication; a cocktail of Sertraline and Mirtazapine seems to keep me relatively uninterested in offing myself, but even with the meds, I struggle.

Now, recall that the people who are the product of this system, these broken, stunted souls … they run the country.

Explains a lot, doesn’t it?

Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?

My daft old country is leaving the EU in just over an hour’s time. Nobody really seems to be able to explain why, or what doing so is supposed to achieve.

I’m furious, obviously. Being European is my birthright, and that of my children, and it has been taken away by a bunch of grotty little spivs with a few slogans, a lot of Jingoism and not much else.

History will judge the cretins who voted for this. They have done enormous, and possibly irreparable, harm.

We’re supposed to “get over it”, apparently. I will not. Every single person who campaigned for Brexit, and every single person who voted for Brexit, is culpable. They have harmed me and mine, and they take pride in it. I see no reason why they should be forgiven.

Just as I predicted …

… Google’s response to the so-called “link tax” (aka article 15 of Directive 2019/790):

https://webmasters.googleblog.com/2019/09/more-controls-on-search.html

Which – leaving aside for the moment that fact that art 15 expressly doesn’t apply to links per se, and in fact is aimed at the practice of scraping snippets of third party websites for aggregation and presentation in search results, so calling it a “link tax” is kind of bollocks – is exactly how I predicted Google would respond. Here’s what that blog post actually means:

“Hey there publisher buddies! Great to see you! Love your work! Say, some European dudes are saying we’re not allowed to scrape all your stuff for free without asking any more, so if you’d just opt in to letting us carry on doing it then that’d be great. What? No, we’re not going to pay you. Don’t be silly. We’re Google. No, of course you have a choice. But, y’know, I bet all your competitors will be cool with it, and you wouldn’t want to drop down the search rankings now, would you? No. Thought not.”

Google, 2019 (possibly)

I mean, I don’t know what the people who framed art 15 were thinking. Did they really think Google wouldn’t spot the lacuna in their precious new law? Well, I call it a lacuna. It’s really more in the nature of a massive loophole you could drive a fucking bus through.

It’s such a burden, being right all the time.

FFS Labour

I woke up this morning to read this:

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/sep/20/momentum-bid-to-abolish-deputy-leader-tom-watsons-post

Seems those Momentum clowns have decided that purging the party of doctrinal impurity is more important than any of (1) effectively holding the government to account (2) dealing with the national crisis or (3) y’know, actually winning an election so as to start undoing some of the last decade of abuse.

The spin coming out of the bots and the parrots this morning seems to be that this move is all about party democracy and organisation, nothing to do with the person involved. Puh-lease. Frankly that’s about as convincing as the government’s protestations that proroguing Parliament for 5 weeks is necessary to prepare a Queen’s Speech. Or indeed the Gamergaters’ claims that “actually it’s about ethics in journalism”. The fact of the matter is that Momentum won’t tolerate anyone who stands up to Saint Jeremy.

Yes, Watson is a bit of a rent-a-gob who’ll go to the opening of an envelope. He is, after all, a politician. Yes, he gets it wrong sometimes. He is, after all, human. But he is a formidable speaker and campaigner and an effective administrator, and whether or not Momentum likes it Labour will need to win back the moderate centre-left if it is to have any chance of winning an election. Spitefully kicking Tom Watson out of the leadership really isn’t going to achieve that.

I need a new project

Sooooo … I’m bored. I have no right to be, but I am.

I have a great job. It’s really well-paid, I work more or less when I want to, where I want to, on what I want to. My team are amazing.

I have a great family. My wife is a wonderful woman and I love her to distraction. My children are clever and funny and brilliant and adorable.

I am in the fortunate position of being able to indulge my hobby. I have literally every retro computer and console I could possibly want. I’ve built a really great home network, with Plex, and pi-hole, and great telephony, and mesh WiFi, and the fastest broadband available in my postcode.

And I’m bored. I need something else to work on. I need a project.

Christ, what an ungrateful shit I am. Aaaargh.

Eton Mess

I am not Jeremy Corbyn’s biggest fan. Not at all. I have a whole ribcage’s worth of bones to pick with him, on subjects ranging from his apparent tolerance of anti-Semitism in his party to his utter uselessness at the dispatch box. Rarely has Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition been so thoroughly ineffectual at holding government to account. Corbyn is a formidable campaigner and there is no denying the devotion he elicits in some quarters, but I would much, much prefer that the Labour Party I have voted for all of my life were led by someone who can manage people as well as inspire them, and who can get things done as well as protest about them. Someone like Yvette Cooper or Tom Watson. Hell, someone like Ed Miliband would do (although I still think the wrong Miliband brother won that contest, and I still think that a lot of the reason we are in this situation comes down to Ed looking a tit while eating a bacon sandwich).

Nonetheless, right now I would roll out the red carpet and hang up the bunting at the prospect of a Corbyn government, because it would mean an end to this inept, obnoxious, divisive, vicious and ever-shrinking cabal that is all that remains of the once proud Conservative and Unionist Party.

It comes to something when a former Conservative prime minister is so strongly opposed to the policy of a current Conservative prime minister that he actually seeks judicial review of that policy. Yet that is exactly what John Major is doing.

When John Major and Jeremy Corbyn are on the same side of an argument, you know something is up. When the Prime Minister deliberately sets himself on a collision course with the House of Commons and its Speaker (another Conservative, as it happens), you know these are not normal times. When a sociopathic SPAD threatens every Conservative MP with deselection if they try to stop the government proroguing Parliament in order to prevent it averting a national disaster that the government is hell-bent on pushing through for no reason that anyone can really remember any more, we are really in unprecedented territory.

A colleague told me on Friday about a restaurant he went to recently, where on their dessert menu they had renamed “Eton Mess” to “Brexit”. Rather apt, I thought.

Anyhow, floreat Etona. And fuck everyone else, apparently.

TFW …

… your wife and children are off on a lovely camping holiday by the sea, and you’re scrubbing dogshit out of the dining room carpet. For the second time in as many days. That.

(Srsly, poor doggy is clearly not in a good way. Can’t get him to a vet until tomorrow though. Hmph.)

I think I know what’s gone wrong

Anyone who’s been paying attention knows that This Sceptred Isle ™ is in deep, deep doo-doo, and it’s easy to blame social media, or jingoism, or the endless stupidity of The Great British Public, or Aaron Banks and his odious “Bad Boys of Brexit”, or the Tories, or Corbyn, or whatever. And I’m sure that all of those things have played their part in our spectacular downfall, but I don’t think they’re the root of the problem. I think it’s this:

The people in charge are just like me.

Now, I’m a reasonably “successful” person; partner in a law firm, big old house, two kids in private school etc etc etc. And the thing is: I still don’t know what the hell I am doing, I do not have a handle on life or on my responsibilities or on the world or my place in it. Not at all. I am just making it up as I go along, winging it and somehow or other I seem to have got away with it so far.

And the government – the proverbial “them” – ministers, MPs, civil servants, senior officials of one stripe or another – they’re all, all of them, doing exactly the same thing. There is no secret cabal of calm, well-spoken chaps (because let’s be honest, they’re all chaps, right?) in good suits with their hands on the tiller, who will somehow make it alright. There are no adults in the room. There’s just a bunch of people like me. And they’re all terrified, and not one of them has the slightest idea what he or she is doing, any more than I do. They too are just winging it, telling people what they want to hear, and hoping for the best.

God help us.

On Boris Johnson

I was going to write a great long screed about how Godawful this man is and how dreadful it is that a handful of complacent parochial Boden-clad shitsacks from Tunbridge Wells, who can’t describe someone as “black” without whispering the word and who secretly think we should bring back hanging, are going to make him our Prime Minister and there is absolutely nothing that I or anyone else can do to stop it.

But really, it boils down to this: Boris Johnson is basically a slightly more rubbish version of Donald Trump. If that doesn’t make your blood run cold, then I don’t know what will.

Although, he does have slightly better hair.

UPDATE: Please don’t make this ludicrous mendacious vacuous tit Prime Minister. Please:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/uk-politics-48766451/boris-johnson-i-make-models-of-buses

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