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The Strange Case of Ella Whelan
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 14, 2016 12:03 am    Post subject: The Strange Case of Ella Whelan Reply with quote

Caroline Criado-Perez has received death and rape threats from internet trolls for campaigning to have Jane Austen's head on bank notes. Two people have been convicted over this.

The classicist Mary Beard notes that for a certain kind of troll, the content of what a woman says is irrelevant. It is that she dares to make any public comment at all that drives them to frenzy.

Beard should know. A troll has threatened her, ''I'm going to cut your head off and rape it.''

The feminist comedian Kate Smurthwaite is not popular with my relatives who believe in aroma therapy and calling down angels. She is a blunt atheist.

I find her incisive deconstruction of mumbo jumbo thrilling. So I was pained when she stated on 'The Big Questions' that she had received death and rape threats from trolls. She spoke of people who had been hounded into taking their own lives by trolls.

She had been driven to abandon her usual detached stance. She stated sharply that the trolls should be in prison.

This led to a shouting match. One of the trolls' unrepentant gurus was in the studio.

The self hating gay, Milo Yiannopoulos says he was driven to homosexuality by 'nutty broads' but would love to be cured of it. Milo is proud that he has convinced his followers that cancer is preferable to feminism.

Supporting Milo in the studio was a scrubbed young female, the recent Sussex graduate Ella Whelan. She wore almost uglifying glasses, an unflattering top with horizontal stripes, and no discernible make up.

Those who judge on appearances might expect her to take a pro-feminist stance. But she did not.

She dismissed what she saw as emotionalism with the words, ''Are you a woman or a girl?'' Rape and death threats online are 'only words.' She would not be scared unless there was someone in the same room threatening her with a knife.

She campaigns for freedom of speech no matter what. She was proud of causing offence online. Yet she appeared to accept that abusive words had no intrinsic value, and advised the offended to block them.

In a previous discussion, an adult from an organisation for those abused in childhood, had referred to organised child abuse as a 'holocaust.' I did think myself that his communication skills were not his strong point.

Ella Whelan accused him of using 'hysterical' language. Perhaps she was contradicting her professed philosophy here. If she was really a free speech advocate no matter what, shouldn't she have tolerated what he had to say, however irritating she found it?

People are often criticised now for saying how awful something is. Obama was criticised for alluding to the suffering caused on 9/11 as if it amounted to a logical fallacy or as if talking about emotional pain was in terrible taste.

Ophelia Benson was criticised for making an 'emotional appeal' about a little girl stoned by Islamists. Now, Kate Smurthwaite is rubbished - or 'owned' as the bullies gleefully call it - for daring to complain about a campaign of abuse.

I fear we are seeing the rise of a fallacy not unlike that of logical positivism - the idea that language should only be used for certain limited purposes. According to this mindset, it is not legitimate to express feelings or emotional responses. They are somehow unreal.

Liana Kerzner has had bruising encounters with Milo Yiannopoulos. It was the least of it that he accused her of getting her tits out for a living.

She says it is an unhealthy modern trend to criticise people for expressing sincere emotions.

Ella Whelan is obviously not really in favour of freedom of speech per se, as she finds this sort of talk unacceptable. She just thinks we should all be forced to tolerate hateful verbal abuse.

She is wrong to think that it is a new departure to treat threats to kill or to commit sexual violence as a criminal offence. I think she is confusing speech with thought crime.

In a landmark case, R v Ireland - Ireland was the surname of the defendant - somebody was convicted of GBH for causing a woman psychiatric injury by constantly pestering her on the phone. It was held that it was bodily harm as your body includes your brain and nerves.

You can think whatever you like. Speech is a bit different.

Freedom of speech is great. But it ends when it manifestly violates the rights of another person.

We may doubt that Ella Whelan herself would really be insouciant in the face of internet rape or death threats. If so, she's very unusual.

As for Milo Yiannopoulos, he's a mimosa blossom. When an ex-employee asked him for the money he owed her, he didn't think of saying, ''The cheque's in the post.''

He replied that he was surprised she was able to ask, considering how many cocks she usually had in her mouth. But he complained in an interview about nasty people who said he was a 'cunt' or had 'archaic' attitudes.

He doesn't like it up him - not figuratively anyway.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 14, 2016 2:02 pm    Post subject: Only Words Reply with quote

To see Milo Yiannopoulos preening with his terrible hair and vacant face, totally cleansed of thought, is fascinating but repellent. Similarly, his glittering malice can be genuinely funny but he is comical, not witty.

His gibes about tits and cocks are not upsetting. They're just unimportant vulgar abuse.

But when he is invited on to Newsnight to oppose a female science writer, we might ask: what are his qualifications?

He's come on to say that male and female brains are different, and women can't think scientifically. He has no evidence to back up his words. There is considerable evidence against it.

Milo has no background in science. He has just dropped out of both Oxford and Manchester Universities.

In Victorian times, it was said that girls couldn't do Latin. So what did women in Ancient Rome speak? Sign Language?

When Llanelli Boys' Grammar School went comprehensive and took in girls, the Latin teacher was shaken up when a girl had 99% in the Christmas exam. He exclaimed, ''Girls aren't equal to boys! They're superior!''

Milo has set up the 'Milo Yiannopoulos Scholarship'. It is 'exclusively available to white men who wish to pursue their post secondary education on equal footing with their female, queer and ethnic minority classmates.'

Milo was standing up for Tim Hunt on The Big Questions as he saw it. Hunt had resigned after making some uncomplimentary remarks about women in science.

Milo blamed Connie St Louis for persecuting Tim Hunt. She was an African American journalist who had reported his remarks. Connie was present in the studio.

She said she had now not only received misogynistic abuse on the internet. She had also been sent images of monkeys with her face superimposed on them.

Milo did not go as far as applauding this racist hate mail. He said he wouldn't want to be in the same room as people who behaved like that.

But he wouldn't take any responsibility for it or say it should be prevented. Milo had recently been unverified by Twitter because of his offensive posts.

Connie St Louis became a little carried away. She said it was because he had incited assassination. After the programme was over, someone put her right on this. She has apologised.

Wild horses couldn't drag an apology out of Milo. He still calls her, with amusing tautology, a 'lying liar' although it looks like a genuine error.

Since the show, Ella Whelan has put posts on the net, stating that Kate Smurthwaite's angry and frustrated tears contained more salt than the Dead Sea. I suppose she meant they were crocodile tears. But they looked genuine to me.

Ella Whelan gloated online about how the 'feminazis' had been ripped apart,using sadistic and violent imagery. But when challenged she said that abuse was 'only words' and accused Smurthwaite of 'playing the victim.'

She would not take responsibility. It was obviously the wrong tack to mention that other people had been driven to suicide by trolls. Ella Whelan would say that was their own choice entirely.

She said on the net that it was 'sick and wrong' to say that government cuts caused deaths. If people chose to commit suicide rather than endure them, nobody was making them do it.

In dismissing the concept that anyone has any responsibility for anyone else, she said that 'feminist censoriousness will eat itself.' But I thought you believed in freedom of speech straight down the line, Ella.

So you have to tolerate censoriousness just as you expect Kate to swallow abuse. And you shouldn't have said that it was 'sick and wrong' to make any accusation because that is an attack on freedom of speech.

Oh no, wait a moment, yes you should have done. Because you were exercising your own freedom of speech. This doesn't really work, does it?

It is amazing what can get in under the cover of freedom of speech. Mark Collett, a student at Leeds University belonged to a group that advocated freedom of speech. One of the members was expelled for joining the BNP.

Collett thought this absurd and contradictory. He accepted an invitation from the ex-member to attend a BNP meeting. He is now an active BNP candidate who exercises his freedom of speech by calling brown people 'cockroaches.'

A Renaissance Pope thought that 'freedom of conscience', the right to think what you like, was 'the worst thing in the world.' Most of us would now accept that your mind is your own.

But words are a bit different as they have an impact on the real world as actions do. If words are 'only words', not important at all, why did Milo object to Connie St Louis telling lies about him, if that is what she was really doing? Lies are only words.

If you really support freedom of speech in all circumstances, shouldn't you accept that everyone has a right to lie and to commit fraud? They are only words. And why, Ella, if you have such a low opinion of words, if you think they are utterly trivial, do you set so much store by them?

Why do you make a holy cow of words that are not even part of a reasonable discussion but just personal abuse? If you have nothing to say but insults and threats, you haven't even lost the argument. You don't have an argument.

There are no intelligent trolls. Research indicates that they tend to be sadists and psychopaths. They should no more be given a free pass in the virtual world than they would be in the street.

Some teachers in British schools may have given kids the impression that they have an inalienable right to freedom of speech. But if they did, it was -well- just words.

It was hot air. If the pupils had put it to the test -say- by calling the headmaster a fat wanker, they would probably have found that you can't say literally whatever you like with impunity.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 14, 2016 4:27 pm    Post subject: y fradwres fach Reply with quote

Ella Whelan's physical presentation on the Big Questions was mousy. So it's a bit of a surprise that she's put up nude pictures of herself on Facebook.

I don't object. I've done nude life modelling. She looks OK but nothing special.

Ella Whelan supports Justice For Men and Boys (and the women who love them), a political party set up by Mike Buchanan to oppose the Women's Equality Party. Buchanan believes that although men make up 71% of MPs, they are underrepresented in Parliament. He thinks rape laws are just a way of oppressing innocent men and boys.

He uses dodgy quotes from the Daily Mail. He showcases on his website, 'The Fraud of Feminism', written in 1913 by E Belfort Bax.

This 'strange moonbat' believed that women were already unfairly privileged by the state, and shouldn't have any more rights. This was at a time when hardly any country in the world allowed women to vote.

Buchanan agrees completely. He has links to sites which explain why women shouldn't vote.

In 'Feminism - The Ugly Truth' Buchanan likens the women's movement to Nazism and fascism. His website hosts slots such as 'Gormless Feminist of the Week', 'Whiny Feminist of the Week' et al.

Ella Whelan contributes articles such as 'Why I am not a Feminist', and expounds that the Women's Equality Party is for 'ladies too nice for politics.' She gripes that 'feminists are hell bent on giving God a sex change.'

I have attempted to click on these articles but they won't appear on the screen. This leaves me in the dark about how her arguments develop.

I can only guess at why she objects to God having a make over - I mean a sex change. Is it that it is blasphemous?

God's existence has not been established, let alone 'his' sex. We call him 'him' for convenience. 'It' is a bit impersonal.

It's just conventional usage. He could just as well be called she. And, after all Ella, if you seriously believe in a God who literally has a penis and testicles and a mid life crisis, you're a bit infantile, aren't you?

Of course you could say that the Olympian gods were all too human - like characters in a soap opera. Aphrodite was definitely female and Zeus male. But they are fictional.

Richard Carrier, while expounding the Christ myth theory in a lecture, told us that the first prototype he could find was Inanna a daughter of God in the Epic of Gilgamesh. Is Persephone another dying and rising demigoddess? Most of the pre-Christ Christs are sons of God. It really doesn't matter.

I've heard that a god on Easter Island had a female to male sex change in the fifteenth or sixteenth century. Who cares?

Similarly with the tellytubbies, Po and Lala are female, and Dipsy and Tinky Winky, male although the latter is a bit camp. But it's not important.

Perhaps there is something a bit irritating about Neo-Pagans, who were at Greenham Common, babbling about 'the Goddess' or setting up womb workshops.

The solution is simple. If this sort of thing gets on your tits, don't attend.

Ella Whelan must have a very low opinion of her own sex if she signs up to Buchanan's manifesto. Yet she expects women to be strong and resilient.

She thinks the real scandal about Simon Danczuk being hauled over the coals for sending suggestive phone messages to a 17 year old girl is that it 'infantilises' women. OK, a 17 year old is over the age of consent.

But were these attentions welcome? If Whelan doesn't think that rape threats are a legitimate cause of complaint, no wonder she doesn't give a toss in this case.

But strangely, she does have sympathy for the imaginary grievances of Mike Buchanan who definitely plays the victim. He thinks men and boys have been reduced to a status of subhumanity by feminists.

Don't get me wrong. There are areas in which men and boys get a raw deal. There is a case for an insightful men's movement.

But this is not what we have here. In blaming women for everything, instead of taking responsibility, Buchanan and his ilk are worsening their problems.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 14, 2016 7:31 pm    Post subject: infuriating Reply with quote

Tom Mendelsohn says that Milo Yiannopoulos is the 'infuriating poster boy of white privilege.'

Mendelsohn writes, 'The internet's greatest legacy is legitimising and disseminating what were once fringe ideas from far right cranks. Before we had the internet, no one knew what men's rights were. After the internet, we have people like Eliot Rodger conducting mass murder because it's taught him that women somehow owe him sex.'

He continued, 'Similarly, the language of white privilege...Milo Yiannopoulos, a vainglorious rightist agitator...is making a very successful and lucrative career out of stamping down on minorities by co-opting the language of liberation.'

We did see the odd outbreak before the internet. It's hard to forget the struggling student who went on the rampage in a university in Canada just before Christmas 1989, gunning down the female students whom he accused of being feminists.

At least one of them said ''No, I'm not.'' She was shot dead anyway. Their crime was being female and doing better than he did academically.

I have heard that it is not uncommon in the Muslim world to blame 'the Jews' when you fail your exams. This was a variant on the same mindset, where instead of looking for solutions to your problems, you look for scapegoats.

I'm afraid a lot of men's rights discourse is misogynistic and incredibly offensive. But this is not the full picture.

There has been a split in the men's rights movement. The part that is not full of anti female rhetoric is fairly sane. And there are some fair points.

If the police are called out to an incident of domestic violence, they will just about invariably arrest the man, if it is a heterosexual couple. Yet he could be the victim for all they know.

Life expectancy is shorter for men all over the world. This may be partly for genetic reasons. But it could be that they are expected to do more dangerous jobs.

Men have to pay more for car insurance if not for anything else.

Traditionally if the Titanic was about to sink or a similar disaster was in the offing, the cry went up, ''Women and children first.'' I've no problem with children first as they have their whole lives ahead of them.

But there is no rational reason for women to be first unless they are heavily pregnant.

Except in places overcome by craziness like Islamic State or witch craze Europe, men are usually given much harsher prison sentences, and it is less controversial for them to be executed.

None of these things is the fault of women. Most of them go back to the time when men were running the show and felt they had to be chivalrous to women.

Ironically most mainstream feminists, as opposed to extremists, would disapprove of these examples of discrimination against the male sex. It is the feeling that you have to be macho and tough and able to look after yourself that has given rise to these discrepancies.

Patriarchy, in the sense that feminists use the term, is stressful for men. It's tough at the top.

One of Buchanan's main gripes is the higher suicide rate in men. I do hope Ella Whelan is not hypocritical enough to support him in this as she won't accept personal or societal responsibility for suicide generally.

Whatever is to blame, it is certainly not feminism. Russell Davies wrote an extremely interesting book 'Secret Sins' about the shadow side of life in Carmarthenshire at the turn of the twentieth century.

The literature of the time made out that it was sensitive young damsels who were especially suicide prone. People may have believed this reflected reality. But it did not.

If you check the records, it was young men who were at greatest risk of taking their own lives even then. And this was long before women could even vote.

I don't know what the cause was but it may have been that boys were brought up to be emotionally illiterate. They would constantly hear, ''Big boys don't cry.''

Somebody in my family had to go upstairs to find a place where he could cry undetected after the cat died. If his parents had known about it, they would have ridiculed him.

He now has no understanding of his own feelings or those of anyone else. He was brought up to think that if he ever became less than perfect or even became ugly, he would have no right to exist.

He says in a matter of fact way that he has chosen the spot on the mountains where he will top himself when the time comes, when he has outstayed his welcome.

Then there is talk of a crisis in boys' education. This is interesting. Girls are implicated but only indirectly.

In the late 80s I did a course on education at Cardiff University. This was pre-crisis.

We heard that girls did better than boys in all subjects - except maths which was seen as 'unladylike' - until just before the school leaving exams. This was because girls were brought up to be conscientious but boys were expected to be mischievous and defiant.

Then just before the exams, it was all change. Girls intuited that their parents didn't want them to succeed academically.

That would be unfeminine. So they slacked off.

Boys realised that their parents had put all their ambitious hopes into them. They were expected to do well.

So they put a spurt on and outperformed girls for the first time when it really mattered.

This was seen as a bit of a problem by educationalists. But society as a whole neither knew nor cared.

We have now had a sea change. Parents want to have smart girls. Girls are the new boys.

But now that success is girly, boys don't want any part of it. School is not cool for boys.

Rebecca West was a feminist in the days of the suffragettes. She wrote for the 'Freewoman' and eviscerated the prose of E Belfort Bax.

By the time she was in Yugoslavia, working on 'Black Lamb and Grey Falcon', she agreed with Oswald Mosley that the better girls did, the feebler boys became. She began to think that girls' potential should be sacrificed to give boys confidence.

But, of course, there should be no sacrificial sex. If boys respected girls more, they would be happy to emulate their success.

We don't want either sex to keep the other in subjection. What we need is equality and fraternity - and liberty!

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 14, 2016 8:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Marianne,

you are recklessly raising the tone of Y Repwblic : I feel that I must now try harder ... will this be in accord with your theory of the correct outcome of the competition between the sexes - or do you feel that you will slacken off as a result ?

But if we can not blame each other's sex - can we blame the government ?

Can we argue that the imbalance of the sexes in parliament can justify that ?

Nice thread.
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 14, 2016 10:21 pm    Post subject: skunk Reply with quote

Hi Dai, this thread is not a competition so don't feel challenged. I'm glad you approve.

I thought you might not like some of the vulgar terms and trenchant opinions on certain individuals. But since you don't object, I'll continue.

Ella Whelan has aligned herself with the most repugnant bullies and bigots. She has relished 'ripping apart' women who identify as feminists.

She has also graduated from Sussex University. I wonder if she knows how much she owes to people like Sophia Jex-Blake who fought to open university education to women.

In late Victorian times, doctors argued seriously that opening higher education to women would lead to 'race suicide.' The blood would be going to their brains so they would be unable to menstruate and would become infertile.

When women were first allowed at Edinburgh University, some of the male students showed graphically what they thought of female intellect. They let loose a flock of sheep in a lecture theatre.

The lecturer took the opportunity to throw the women out but he let the sheep stay.

The University of Wales was quite remarkably advanced in admitting women to all degrees from its inception. Women weren't awarded degrees at Oxford until 1920 and it did not happen at Cambridge till after the Second World War.

Even in the 40s, some lecturers refused to mark women's essays, or addressed a mixed gathering in a lecture theatre as ''Gentlemen'' in a marked rather than an absent minded way. This was absurd as women had been attending lectures and sitting the exams since Victorian times.

They earned degrees. But they weren't given them!

The name of the senior wrangler would be announced. He was the best male maths student of his year. Several women might have beaten him in the exam. But that was immaterial.

A book and TV series on Sophia Jex-Blake was called 'The Walls of Jericho.' Throughout the nineteenth century, people fought frustrating battles against lecturers and judicial decisions hell bent on keeping universities woman-rein.

It was all the more frustrating as judges didn't bother to adduce rational arguments which you could oppose, but just cited a tradition of exclusion.

Some of the best people sweated blood so that a person with the same sex chromosomes as Ella Whelan could get a university education and an interesting and fulfilling life instead of being a skivvy.

She takes it and then she spits on them.

Della was a bit offended that Dame Ellen Macarthur said, ''Not really'' when asked if she identified as a feminist. Perhaps it does sound a bit rude.

But I try to see it in a positive light. We have arrived at a place where she has no idea how bad it used to be. She is genuinely unaware of what she owes to brave trailblazers. That is a victory.

There's not the same excuse for Margaret Thatcher who asked seriously, ''What has the women's movement ever done for me?'' It only gave her the right to vote and to stand for Parliament - oh-and to leave Grantham to read chemistry at Oxford.

I had thought that perhaps we should embrace the post-feminism of Ellen Macarthur, that there was no need to talk in these terms any more. But since Ella and her cronies have instigated a backlash, we can't relax. We have to remain vigilant.

With Ella, we have something worse than a lack of awareness or gratitude. After all, gratitude is the hardest emotion in the world to sustain for long. It's not realistic to expect much of it.

This little weasel has savaged decent people who support reason and humanity. And she feels no shame.

She has only a limited range of emotions. A capacity to feel guilt is something she doesn't appear to possess.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 14, 2016 11:54 pm    Post subject: Spiky Reply with quote

Ella Whelan contributes to the Spectator but her main home is at the internet magazine Spiked. This comes across like a venue for teenage right wing libertarians.

Imagine my surprise when I discovered it was the new incarnation of Living Marxism which went bankrupt in 2000!

I don't know if Ella has stamped her mark on the magazine, or, as we may think more likely, it has put its brand on her. If she is parroting the party line, all is revealed about her mania for free speech.

Living Marxism was slain when it lost a libel case against ITN. ITN had shown Bosnian Muslims in a concentration camp during the Yugoslav war.

Living Marxism's knee jerk reaction was to oppose intervention as 'imperialist'. They said there were no concentration camps. A few people were standing voluntarily behind barbed wire.

They could go whenever they liked.

Living Marxism objected to seeing the Muslims as victims and the Serbs as the oppressors. In a line that could have been composed by Ella Whelan herself, they warned against a tendency to moralise.

Yeah, what's there to moralise about? It's only genocide.

Then Living Marxism was presented with a bouquet of barbed wire by ITN, libel damages that closed them down. Noam Chomsky felt inappropriate sympathy for Living Marxism.

He thought ITN had been nasty to them. Now, now Noam, we don't want any moralising.

Journalism lecturers constantly impress on students the need to check their facts -check, check, check. That's just what Living Marxism didn't do.

Instead of learning anything, Spiked is playing the victim. It stands for an end to laws on libel, hate crime and incitement.

We now have an insight into Ella's attitude to the adult survivor of child abuse. Spiked doesn't think we should be harsh to paedophiles.

It sounds quite sensible that they're concerned about mob violence. Or it would do if they did not favour incitement against innocent people.

Spiked opposes 'therapy culture' as the victim is central. Rationality and logic are replaced by emotion and feeling.

We can see that Ella and her colleagues make big efforts to avoid acknowledging other people's emotions and feelings. But what they can't see is that they are no more cognizant with rationality and logic.

Not checking your facts about genocide and then playing the victim ain't logical. Enabling those who threaten innocent people with death ain't logical.

Nor is it very logical after the floods to continue saying that the scientific consensus on global warming is 'hysterical' and 'exaggerated'.

It's not hysteria. It's science.

Ella dear, don't flatter yourself. You're not a great logician. You're callous.

Is Ella Whelan a real person at all? Or is she Spiked's puppet? Has she ever had an original thought?

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2016 2:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Food for thought there ... I am guilty of knocking out posts on the basis of a couple of facts, an argument and a joke : I feel a trifle guilty occasionally about spending more time on crafting what Daf dismisses as " whimsicality " - and his accusation is not far off the mark - but then our own responses to things are facts in themselves ... I do not see Y Repwblic as a news service ( although it was intended to be a neutral space to publish news of whatever people wanted to convey to others originally ) and so journalistic standards do not apply - but in terms of the conversations we have always had, to display our sensibilities and our ways of looking at things : to discover how people are feeling about things, those people who self-identify themselves as " Republican " - whatever they mean by that ... hence censorship is contrary to the purposes of the board ( albeit posts which threaten the continued existence of the board are a problem.)

I wonder whether you caught this S4C biographical documentary on Sian James which is available on-line for another week ( until 24-01-16 ? ) - ?

Sian James : O'r Streic i'r Senedd - http://www.s4c.cymru/clic/e_level2.shtml?programme_id=528750845

[ The film PRIDE is based on Sian James & Co - ]




That account of things leaves me with ambivalent feelings : the housewife who became a politician and talks a great deal of " values " but really there is no mention of any politics in this and I can not but help feeling that despite her apparent credentials she was / is one of " Blairs Babes " and all ego - no ergo ... She reminds me in a way of my sister who claims that nothing was expected of her by our parents besides a suitable job and an appropriate marriage and her drive to achieve things was all to do with defiantly proving that she was superior to me - which I freely admit : she is cleverer than me and has used all of her superior intelligence and education for various disingenious purposes ... Lil' Sis joined the Labour & Cooperative Party in London and asserted to me that it was all different there, that getting rid of Clause 4 had changed nothing and and and - and once Blair got elected she soon came around to my point of view albeit that she only agrees that the Blairites told everyone a pack of lies, not that she agrees with my remedy ... I do not know what she thought of " Blair's Babes."

For the benefit of our foreign audience - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blair_Babe

Blair Babes or Blair's Babes are the 101 female Members of Parliament from the Labour Party elected to the British House of Commons in Labour's landslide general election victory in 1997. ... Images of the new Prime Minister Tony Blair with 96 female Labour MPs on the steps of Church House in Westminster, were widely publicised, giving rise to the term Blair Babes. ... The sociological implications of the term and the experiences of Labour's women MPs were extensively analyzed by Sarah Childs in her 2004 book New Labour's Women MPs: Women Representing Women.


Drawing on in-depth interviews with more than half of the new Labour women MPs, Sarah Childs reveals how these women actually experienced being MPs, and explores whether they acted for and like women – in their constituencies, in parliament and in government. She presents important insights into theories of women’s political representation, showing that the relationship between women’s descriptive and substantive representation is complicated, that party and gender identities are crucial, that women’s differences must be acknowledged and that it might not always be possible for women representatives to act for women even if they want to.


Female MPs who complain about how macho politics are not the victims of sexism but simply ‘useless’, Ann Widdecombe has claimed. ... 101 Blair Babes might as well have been 101 Dalmations, she says ... Miss Widdecombe said too many of them thought they were treated rudely by opponents because they were women – when I fact they just were not very good. ... She added: ‘I do urge women who are interested in going into politics not to enter it with this tremendous sense of grievance.

Talking above about the expectations of parents towards sisters compared to brothers : you might be interested in the unexpected sting in this tale -

( A discussion of the life and work of the children's writer and adult's poet ) T LLEW JONES - http://www.s4c.cymru/clic/e_level2.shtml?programme_id=521162941
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 22, 2016 11:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Internet trolls are bad and should be banned.

Can anyone compose a form of words that legally seperates trolls from just saying "FU and the horse you came in on"?

Obviously, sending 50 emails tweets etc proves troll.

Obviously, fun and interesting insults prove not-troll: at the sound of a bell, your first-born's willy will turn black and drop off.
Liberty - Equality - Fraternity : Aux armes, Citoyens !

War is Politics by other Methods - General von Clausewitz
Politics is War by other Methods - Some guy on the Internet
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 23, 2016 9:28 pm    Post subject: Srictly Ann Reply with quote

When I first became aware of Ann Widdecombe's existence, I had the impression she really was Doris Karloff, a horror movie character with 'something of the night about her' as she said of Michael Howard. I also saw her as a female misogynist.

She was infamously responsible for women prisoners having to give birth in handcuffs. When she was told that the C of E had voted for women priests -say- 45 minutes previously, she said, ''Then I ceased to be a member of the Anglican Church exactly 45 minutes ago!''

She thought the decision terrible, and was ostentatiously baptised as a Roman Catholic. She had always hated the name Ann, and hoped to be re-baptised Hugh after Hugh Latimer. She was told, ''No, you can't have him because we burnt him.''

She reminded me of Lady WhiteAdder in the Elizabethan series of Blackadder. Lady WhiteAdder wore what looked like a white nun's habit, with two vertical wooden crosses positioned on her shoulders and one on her head.

Blackadder put up with a visit from her as he was hoping for an inheritance.
It was hard work. If he said anything of which she disapproved, she slapped him in the face, shouting ''Wicked child!''

It was impossible to tell what would set her off. She even disapproved of Blackadder's chairs. She said, ''At home, Nathaniel [her husband] sits on a spike!''

''And you yourself, Lady WhiteAdder?'' asked Blackadder meekly. ''I sit on Nathaniel. Two spikes would be an extravagance.''

Ann Widdecombe even had a passing physical resemblance to Lady WhiteAdder. She went into politics to 'fight socialism.'

I was at a pub quiz where we were asked, ''Who pricked her finger and slept for a hundred years?'' Someone shouted out, ''Ann Widdecombe''.It sounded about right.

Dafydd ap Geler Thomas and I once had the radio on in the background. Ann Widdecombe was railing against employers who turned people down for jobs because they were ugly or common or - in a way irrelevant to the job's requirements- disabled or female or middle aged. She thought these frivolous objections a terrible violation of the right to be respected on your merits, and treated with dignity.

''Good God, is that Ann Widdecombe?'', I said in a dazed way when I recovered the power of speech. ''We've had Ann Widdecombe saying all shall equal be'', agreed Dafydd in disbelief.

At this time Ann Widdecombe was not bothered about her appearance as long as she was neat. She was overweight and frumpy.

''So what?'', she said stoutly. After she began appearing on TV series she did ditch her Plain Jane and No Nonsense style for a softer, more aesthetic look.

In so far as observers may be right in feeling she has some disdain for other women, it may be that they spent so much time talking about make up and nail varnish and uplift bras. This kind of conversation is so boring it can induce a coma.

It's nice to look nice but not to drone on for hours about how you achieved it. It's better to have no make up or lingerie at all if that's what it takes to make your conversation more dynamic.

And it was all for the purpose of sexual attraction. Ann said ''Sex is yuck''. She told Louis Theroux off for his impertinence in asking her if she was a virgin, but it's a not unreasonable inference.

Ann read Latin at university. No wonder if she found other women frivolous and irritating.

Ann found in her early career that if she tried to achieve anything, local people would oppose change for the sake of it. She received bags of hate mail and became extremely thick skinned. She was indifferent to cruel personal remarks about her appearance, and lost weight only when doctors advised her that it was essential for her health.

After Blair's Babes entered parliament, they would ask Ann tremulously, ''Have you noticed how rude the men are to us?'' ''Yes, and have you noticed how rude they are to each other?'' retorted Ann. She said one Blair Babe was convinced she was picked on because she was a woman.

Ann thought the real reason was that 'she was useless and easy to rough up.' She may not be entirely right. It's said that male MPs often teased women when they were speaking by holding handfuls of air in front of their chests to represent tits the size of melons.

I wouldn't say that was hurtful but it does perhaps put you off. It's like something in 'Life on Mars.'

According to Dai, Ann thought the 101 Blair's Babes might as well have been the 101 Dalmatians for all the use they were. Others called them 'the Stepford wives'

It seems unlikely they were literally that useless. But it must be remembered that for many centuries there were male MPs who didn't even have to canvass because their family owned a pocket borough or even a rotten borough that was at the bottom of the sea.

It was feared that in the 80s, the cabinet consisted of Mrs Margaret Hilda Thatcher, and several men in suits, interchangeable with each other. In the notorious 'Spitting Image' sketch, Margaret Thatcher and all her cabinet are in a restaurant.

She wants her steak rare. ''And what about the vegetables?'' asks the waiter. ''They'll have the same!'' is the response.''

Our local MP knew that 'they'd vote for a donkey in Llanelli if it was standing for Labour.' So he didn't need to make an effort.

He was not a good one for surgeries. Even the local paper woke up eventually and said he was 'useless and a waste of time'.

I am honestly not being facetious when I say that it may be an achievement that useless or mediocre women can rise as far as useless and mediocre men. Yes, the power will often go to your head, and it will be about egoism instead of getting things done but it was ever thus.

Ann thinks contemporary feminism is 'a big whinge', but feminism is not a dirty word for her as it is for Ella. She saw the point of feminism in the 70s.

'An employer could still advertise a job with two different rates, one for men and one for women. It was lawful to be told that [a landlord or letting agency] was only renting a flat to men or to married couples. You could be denied a flat or asked for your husband's signature on an HP form.'

She said, ''Of course I saw a need for feminism. And I'm still a feminist in the 1970s sense that we need equality of opportunity. But frankly we've got it. And we haven't a clue how to deal with it.''

She thought that instead of whingeing, Margaret Thatcher, Edwina Currie, Shirley Williams and Barbara Castle just got on with it. Of course Ann is not consistent.

She's not doing herself any favours when she appears on 'Intelligence Squared' to support the Catholic Church, and reads out the Ten Commandments 'as if she wrote them herself.' A young man, a student type, asked her why she thought it was appropriate for her to be an MP, but didn't approve of women priests.

''That is a very ignorant question!'', she replied charmlessly in her deep, rather gruff voice. She said that a woman could no more represent Jesus than a man could be the Virgin Mary.

It didn't make any sense to me, especially after hearing that Jesus is just a rehash of Inanna and Persephone. But to her, the lucidity of her case is evident.

When George Carey, the then Archbishop of Canterbury asked her the same question, she was thankful she had left the C of E. Archbishops didn't seem to know anything about theology these days!

Ann became an agony aunt in a newspaper and later on TV. Sometimes her stringent straight talking was actually helpful.

You would see her on her TV show, delivering an apostrophe to camera about the public who had no backbone, who wanted this that and the other, including abortions because they couldn't take reality. ''Oh Mummy, make it better!'' she wailed in imitation.

But when she was in the presence of real people, her underlying kindness came to the fore. A mother might be yelling at her daughter.

After she had reduced her to tears, she would sneer that they were crocodile tears. ''No, these are real tears'', interjected Ann.

A young man was determined to have his whole face covered in a tattoo. He wasn't bothered that it would upset his girlfriend.

In fact, that was an extra incentive. Ann worried, ''Is he a male chauvinist?''

Notoriously, she was on a show with 'Shameless' Mick Philpott who already had an attempted murder conviction. He had loads of young kids, one a year, by a downtrodden wife and mistress he was running concurrently. He had already shown himself up on the Jeremy Kyle Show.

Ann noted his contempt for women when he told her he serviced his women on alternate nights. It's not an unusual term but she would have preferred 'make love to' or 'sleep with.' It was as if he was talking about animals.

He addressed her casually as 'Bitch.' She can be seen flinching and backing away at one point. She obviously feared violence.

She was amazed the mistress had the spirit to leave him later. After he started a house fire which killed the kids in a crazy attempt to get her back, Ann was asked if she hadn't intuited he might do something like this.

She hadn't. But if she and Jeremy Kyle hadn't given him the oxygen of publicity, he might have kept on a more even keel.

Ann is proud of making detention centres the default response to asylum seekers. She supports disability rights and thinks doctors should be more humble.

She has strict inflexible standards. She discusses euthanasia sensitively in one of her novels.

She wouldn't want to dress in a way that would make Queen Victoria blush. She appeared in a spangly costume on a 'Strictly Come Dancing' show, and a slim slight young man picked her up and swung her round his head to the tune of 'Wild Thing' while she hung there like a sack of potatoes.

She is anti-abortion, anti-hunting, pro-capital punishment, anti-gay marriage - but has gay friends- and is pro-blasphemy laws.

It may show hubris on my part to assume to speak for this complex and contradictory character. But I will anyway.

She has a thick skin but I don't think she would agree with Ella Whelan that an internet campaign of threats to kill and commit rape is acceptable. She would definitely not agree with 'Spiked' that we should not give any humanitarian aid.

She told an Irish journalist how she had wept when she met lepers in Ethiopia. She had 'no patience' with those who say we shouldn't give foreign aid.

On one of her TV series, Ann met a young woman who always carried a knife. She had stabbed a guy who had jostled her in a bar - it had probably been accidental. Ann asked if she didn't now worry about his prognosis.

This woman shocked her by her inability to see the victim's humanity. She had no empathy. It was like a Nazi talking about a Jew in 1933.

Ella has proudly put videos of her secondary bullying of Kate Smurthwaite all over the net. She has zero empathy.

She doesn't even think the victim has a right to speak. And this is her idea of standing up for freedom of speech!

Ann Widdecombe is a maverick politician because she frankly says what she thinks instead of lying her head off. I don't think her 'strict' attitudes are necessary or particularly desirable.

I don't agree with her about much but I don't think she has much in common with the staff at Spiked. I think she would be appalled by Ella Whelan.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 27, 2016 6:27 pm    Post subject: wrong Reply with quote

Since writing the above post which is almost admiring at times, I've discovered that Ann Widdecombe has now moved to a completely denialist position on climate change, calling it 'nonsense.' To that extent, she is in agreement with Ella Whelan and Spiked.

She had had some doubts about climate change and was totally converted to denying science after reading Nigel Lawson's amusingly titled 'An Appeal to Reason.' I had previously thought that Ann might have quite good reasoning powers when she was not misled by religious dogma. Religion often leads to intellectual distortion.

After all Ann read Latin at university before doing a masters in philosophy among other things. Teachers always said that an ability to do Latin was proof of having a strong logical mind. But perhaps this was just something to say, and the real purpose of it was to keep the Latin teacher in a job.

Ann also thinks homeopathy is great. Perhaps her problem is that the nuns at her convent school knew little or nothing about science, and didn't teach the scientific way of looking at the world.

Or maybe she is naturally weak at assessing evidence. I'd been thinking she was more emphatically herself than the Blair's Babes were themselves. It can be hard to tell them apart. It's amusing to meet someone like her. ''What a character!'' you might exclaim in awe.

But sometimes we need people who are less sure of themselves but have more knowledge and reasoning capacity. It's no use being convinced you are right when you're wrong. That makes you a real menace.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 27, 2016 11:30 pm    Post subject: a vainglorious cause Reply with quote

Ella Whelan's stance on other women is vainglorious. But it is not without precedent.

Bertrand Russell stood as a parliamentary candidate in the late nineteenth century on the female suffrage ticket. He was surprised that so many women opposed it.

Queen Victoria was a sly political manipulator. But she opposed the 'mad wicked folly of women's rights', thinking women would become the most disgusting of human beings if allowed to 'unsex' themselves.

Mary Augusta Ward was a niece of Thomas Arnold who did so much to destroy Welsh through the school system. She set up lectures for women which were the first approach to opening up higher education to female students. She also opened crèches for the convenience of working women.

Adhering to an unattractive custom of the time, she was known as Mrs Humphrey Ward. There was also an actress known as Mrs Patrick Campbell. Mrs Ward was a popular novelist in her day. 'Robert Elsmere' featured a rationalistic clergyman.

Obscurity claimed her because she was on the wrong side of history. She spoke against the suffragettes.

She organised a petition against women being permitted to vote. The prominent women she persuaded to sign it included Beatrice Webb and Julia Stephen, the mother of Virginia Woolf. Webb later recanted.

This was a bit absurd. If women's opinions were unfit to be heard in Parliament, why were MPs expected to take any notice of a petition signed by these numskulls?

Mrs Ward said that women were not 'natural voters.' So why was she expressing political opinions? Wasn't that very unfeminine of her?

The whole point was that she thought the suffragettes were 'unwomanly' as did so many others. A Christmas cracker joke said, ''Why is Mrs Pankhurst like a she bear?''

The punch line was terrible even by the low standard of Christmas crackers. I won't inflict it on you but it included the words 'barely a woman.'

Rebecca West said that womanliness was an attribute that was always claimed with aggressive intent. Her sister had tried to sell a copy of 'Votes For Women' or 'The Suffragette' to a well dressed middle aged lady.

With superb energy and vigour, the woman brought down her furled umbrella on the sister's head as she exclaimed indignantly, ''Thank God I am a womanly woman!''

A woman who wanted power in those days could become a suffragette, but it was so much easier to assault and harangue the women who did so. That was a ready made role that allowed you to vent your spleen without forfeiting social approval.

Ward and her followers did not just mean that it is unladylike to chain yourself to railings or break windows or charge the House of Commons or spit in the faces of policemen. She was appalled that some suffragettes were lesbians, notably Dame Ethel Smythe, the composer who wrote 'The March Of the Women.'

Some today still say approvingly 'Feminism is the theory. Lesbianism is the practice.' A few feminist psychotherapists may try to convince their female clients that they need to become lesbians.

I wouldn't approve of the latter because it is manipulative. It is imposing your own preoccupations on your patients which is probably not what they need.

But lesbianism had always existed anyway, even if most people had never heard of it. It's nothing to be scared of, and it was a distraction from the points at issue.

Emily Wilding Davison who threw herself under the king's horse received horrible hate mail, sacks of it. But as she never recovered consciousness, she was not aware of it.

Joe Haines, who famously met Robert Maxwell at the airport so he could carry his bags for him, kept up the abuse. He claimed Davison was mad, citing the disrespect with which she was treated in prison as evidence.

The warders threw buckets of water over her and subjected her to force feeding. This would not have happened if she hadn't been a loony.

This is a non sequitur. It doesn't look as if Haines had a very enlightened attitude to mental illness, incidentally.

A youth put up some nasty stuff on a message board on the centenary of Davison's death. it was mainly about what it said about female intellect that she thought she could stand in front of a galloping racehorse coming round a blind bend, and stop it.

I'll just mention here that Yiannopoulos and Buchanan are mistaken in thinking it's in men's interests for women to be oppressed. Activists in the Third World say that if you educate a man you educate one person. If you educate a woman, you educate a family.

What possible use can it be for a boy to have an ignorant mother? In another post I mention the surname Widowson. The first man in the family to have that name was probably dirt poor.

His mother as a widow, found it hard to support him. But that needn't be the case now.

If a working man has a stroke, what good does it do him if his wife can't get a well paid job? Freedom is indivisible always.

To return to the Davison story, we all know that horses will try not to step on people or trample them, even on battle fields. Film coverage shows that the horse was coming too fast to stop so it tried to jump over the woman's head.

It turned a somersault and the jockey, Harold Jones, was thrown. But he was not badly hurt - not physically that is. Like many a train driver who can't stop in time when someone is lying on the track, he couldn't get the face of the other person out of his mind.

Jones attended the funeral. He also attended Emmeline Pankhurst's funeral in 1928 and laid a wreath. He obviously hoped it would be cathartic. It wasn't.

As late as 1951 - when Pankhurst's battle was long won - he was found dead with his head in the gas oven. Harold Jones was a martyr who is rarely remembered.

Troublemakers may try to set one sex against another. Perhaps it's an attempt to divide and rule.

It's crazy to succumb. We're all in it together.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 28, 2016 2:28 pm    Post subject: Miss Beale and Miss Buss Reply with quote

Perhaps it was Matthew Arnold who laid into Welsh through the school system and Thomas Arnold who was the headmaster of Rugby School. In Elizabeth Gaskell's novel 'Ruth' published in 1853, the eponymous heroine is taken on holiday to North Wales by her lover. For them, it is a bit like Switzerland.

The mountains are epic, and they don't expect the natives to understand anything they say except perhaps the hotelier Mrs Griffiths and she won't understand much. The lack of a common language makes it a foreign country in every way.

Mr Benson, an English tourist who comes to Ruth's rescue when she is deserted by her lover, tries to impress by showing how he can communicate with the natives. He is especially proud that he has been mugging up on soft, nasal and aspirate mutations which are the sticking point for many a would be learner.

He regales a local peasant with what he takes for an impressive command of the vernacular. The peasant looks confused. He has obviously failed to grasp the semantics somehow.

Mary 'Molly' Thomas who was born in London in 1866 to a Welsh father and Cornish mother adored childhood holidays in Cornwall but had no inkling of Cornwall's Celtic heritage, putting linguistic and cultural peculiarities down to Phoenician invaders. The family never went near Wales.

Her father said ''It's always raining cats and dogs in Wales'' which put them off. He did once surprise them by singing 'The Bells of Aberdovey' in Welsh.

In the 1880s, Molly who was now a qualified teacher was engaged to a young Welsh lawyer Arthur Hughes. She was going to stay with his family.

Molly boarded the Aberdovey train. 'And now I was met by one of the surprises of my life. The women began to talk...and it was all in a foreign language. The bits of Welsh that my father and Arthur taught me I had thought to be quaint survivals, and had no idea that people talked like that all day.'

When she is in North America on holiday, she is surprised that African Americans wear clothes like other people. Perhaps she was unusually ignorant for a middle class person as her father's great idea was that boys should go everywhere and know everything and girls should go nowhere and know nothing.

Her four elder brothers went to the Lord Mayor's Show, Madame Tussauds, the Tower of London, music halls, the Oxford and Cambridge boat race and a place called the Agricultural Hall. She was never even taken to a pantomime.

I don't think this was very usual. Elizabeth Grant 'the Highland Lady' remembered childhood visits to the theatre when she was in London at the beginning of the nineteenth century.

What was not unusual was that Molly's mother had a rule 'Boys First'. Molly came last in distribution of food and sweets. She was also expected to wait on her brothers, fetch things left upstairs 'and never grumble let alone refuse.'

This was old fashioned even then. Molly's mother came in for severe criticism from relatives. At about the same time, Flora Thompson, who later wrote 'Lark Rise to Candleford' was surprised that her town cousins did not expect boys to look down on girls. They gave up their seats for them, opened doors for them and said, ''Ladies first''.

Molly's father died mysteriously when she was eleven, his body found on railway tracks. After that she was able to go to the North London Collegiate School run by Frances Buss.

Frances Buss had herself attended the awful Yorkshire boarding school, pulled apart by Charlotte Bronte in 'Jane Eyre.' It didn't put her off education.

With her colleague Dorothea Beale, she was a pioneer of serious academic education for girls. Somebody, uncomprehending of their lack of interest in girly romance, wrote:

Miss Buss and Miss Beale
Cupid's darts do not feel
How different from us
Miss Beale and Miss Buss.

It was as if educated women were freaks on a par with educated fleas. Frances Buss was the first woman to be called 'headmistress.' Molly wrote, 'Hard as it is to realize today, a well educated and cultured woman teacher was extremely rare.'

Frances Buss' school prepared Molly for a decent career and enabled her to become an education inspector after her husband Arthur Hughes was run over and killed by a hansom cab.

But Molly was put off by the petty rules and Miss Buss' reputation as a verbal bully. She later became a convinced anti-feminist.

She wrote that Frances Buss had 'no school to copy, no precedent of any kind...All the hitherto satisfactory ideals of accomplishments and 'finishing' must be wiped out. But what was to take their place? While the education of boys had been gradually shaped from ancient times, engaging the attention of philosophers, that of girls had as a rule no other aim beyond making them pleasing to men.'

Molly continued critically, 'This idea was to Miss Buss anathema, and she failed to see all its great possibilities when really well done. To be deeply pleasing to a husband, and widely pleasing to other men, seems to me as good an ideal as a woman can have. But instead of facing squarely the real needs of wives and mothers, as the vast majority of girls were to be, Miss Buss seized the tempting instrument at her hand - the stimulus to mental ambition offered by outside examinations.'

'By this means' continued Molly,' the curriculum was ready made. And thus, for better or worse, the education of girls became a feeble imitation of what the boys were doing, for the public examinations made no distinction of sex, and no woman's voice was heard at the examination board.'

We can't doubt, that Molly really thought it was 'for worse.' She would have been delighted with the report called, with unintentional irony, 'Half Our Futures' published as recently as 1963.

This concluded that few girls in secondary modern schools had much interest in or capacity for academic subjects. So the curriculum should concentrate even more heavily than before on tidying, dusting and cleaning the school flat, and pouring out tea for imaginary husbands.

In the 80s, I became aware of a C Brewer who wrote a crude and offensive letter to the 'Gair Rhydd', the Cardiff University paper to abuse women who sought abortions. For some reason, most people assumed C Brewer was a man.

They were wrong. Someone on a Philosophy course with C Brewer was disconcerted to hear her say that she agreed with Rousseau that girls' education should concentrate on making them useful helpmeets to men. The other person thought, ''Well, if that's your opinion, what are you doing at university?''

Perhaps it's that people don't include themselves in their strictures. According to Sara Delafield, schoolchildren tend to be very sexist about the opposite sex, fairly sexist about other members of their own sex and not at all sexist about themselves.

The same girl who wants to be an astronaut will be a bit shocked that another girl wants to be an engineer as it's not very ladylike. She will point at the boy who plans to be a ballet dancer and jeer, ''Sissy!''

I'm proud to say I didn't laugh at the boy in my class who wanted to be a dog when he grew up. I was too gobsmacked to react openly.

Some present day readers dote on the autobiographical writings of Molly aka M V Hughes, such as 'A London Child of the 1870s' and 'A London Girl of the 1880s' because they bring to life an era now disappearing fast into history, and they're full of homely details about mondegreens and other childish misunderstandings. They show that children living in a completely different world from ours, are not much different from kids of today.

If you can put the old fashioned attitudes sometimes expressed out of your mind, making allowances for the era, they can be quite charming. But charm is not Ella Whelan's strong point. Nor does she intend it to be. She's proud of offending people because she can't make a mark any other way.

We have to make a distinction between anti-feminists like M V Hughes who were just ordinary people of their time, and were probably basically harmless, and the really nasty misogynist campaigns of today.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 28, 2016 7:07 pm    Post subject: meaning and direction Reply with quote

We can see that the idea found in the Eden myth that woman was created as an afterthought, to be a useful helpmeet to man, persisted long after the myth was exploded. In this worldview, a woman is not put on earth to live her own life but to look after other people.

There will always be people who need looking after, and I don't say it's ignoble to do it. But in the early twentieth century, the idea that a working class woman should have any leisure at all was bordering on controversial.

An old saw had it:

A man's work is from sun to sun
A woman's work is never done

My adoptive mother used to wander round the house, moaning the second line from this. She also groaned, 'There once was a woman who always was tired/ She lived in a house where help was not hired.'

This had an extremely negative effect on me. It didn't occur to me that it was possible to sip delicately at housework. I thought that if you once got into it, you would never be able to stop.

So I never started. And that's one reason why we can't find the TV let alone the remote control in our house.

Rebecca West said she had never been able to work out what a feminist was. All she knew was that people called her a feminist whenever she said anything that distinguished her from a doormat or a prostitute.

At that time, it probably meant someone in agreement with the suffragettes or at least their aims.

According to George Bernard Shaw, the reason the Liberal prime minister Asquith didn't want women to be able to vote is that he did not think they were the female of the human species but a different and inferior species. His wife Margot agreed with him.

I get irritated when a friend with a tenuous connection to the Asqutihs says that Asquith was 'very fond of the ladies.' Asquith was very fond of taking the hand of some naïve debutante and forcing it down the front of his trousers.

If he was alive today, he would be being investigated by Operation Yewtree.

Mrs Ward wrongly saw the suffragettes as terrorists, as did Clare Balding a few years ago. They did attack property but they certainly posed no threat to human life, even if one of them did attack a politician with a horse whip.

For a long time it was said that feminism had failed. The suffragettes had had a pyrrhic victory. Women were eligible for positions they almost never took up.

Then the late 60s and 70s saw a second wave of feminism. It's not that it wasn't needed, but some proponents did become a little extreme, such as the separatists who would have nothing to do with men, not even their own sons.

The feminist theologian Mary Daly wrote some amazing if difficult books. But while her use of language was challenging and thought provoking, it does remind you that constant punning can be a symptom of schizophrenia.

She was finally fired from a Boston college for refusing to allow two male students at her feminist ethics courses in defiance of anti-discrimination laws. She said ''I'm not interested in men.''

Some of her earlier stuff is sane but she obviously toppled over into anti-male sexism. This is no good.

Perhaps most people see feminism as an extremist anti-male ideology in its entirety, although people like Mary Daly and separatists are very rare, and they don't have much influence.

I don't go for the idea that women are naturally more co-operative and will not shout over each other as politicians.

It's a positive take on old sex stereotyping. If you've been told you're nothing, it's comforting to tell yourself that you are in fact superior if only in reasonableness and gentleness.

But a look at the real world will tell you that we're all different. Some women are as gentle and reasonable as a Molotov cocktail.

A lot of young women will say ''I'm not a feminist'' or ''I could never be a feminist!'', perhaps thinking it entails wearing dungarees and Doc Martins, having a short back and sides haircut and compulsory lesbianism.

They will usually add, ''Although, of course, I do believe totally in sexual equality!"

This is the best time to break it to them , ''But that is what feminism means!'' Of course there may be extreme versions which are not desirable, but they are not at all representative.

I know a rather angular woman who lectures in psychology. She is often angry because she thinks that endemic sexism is preventing her getting ahead at work. I don't know if she's right.

Surprisingly, she married because she was pregnant as late as the 90s. She altered the courtesy title on her plastic cards from Miss to Mrs but kept on using the same surname.

She rejected the usual custom on principle. I quite agree with her.

I also dislike surname change on marriage although not as much as she does. But apparently, this attitude is considered extreme or at least cutting edge.

She told me she was glad both her children were boys. It would not be fair to bring a girl into the world. Life would be so awful for her.

Yet this woman denied being a feminist. She said ''I'm an egalitarian'' as if the two things were mutually contradictory.

Della told me off for not identifying as a feminist. I said, ''I suppose I am a feminist really but I don't like to volunteer the information as it's open to misinterpretation. I'm a feminist in the old fashioned sense of supporting equality, but then I would also support equality for everyone, not just for women.''

There's another reason why I'd be a bit embarrassed to call myself a feminist. Apart from being bizarrely undomesticated, I don't live up to the archetypal image. I don't look like a gladiator or Xena Warrior Princess.

I don't lack moral courage but I am not only a physical wimp. I have an all pervading anxiety problem.

Paraphrasing Elizabeth Tudor's Armada speech, Dafydd ap Geler Thomas remarked sarcastically, ''You have the body of a weak and feeble woman but you have the heart and stomach of an even weaker and feebler woman!''

Milo Yiannopoulos and Mike Buchanan say that feminists hate men. At least one feminist, Mary Daly really did hate men when she was alive, but most feminists do not. Some women hate men but would never think of identifying as feminists.

In turn, Yiannopoulos and Buchanan hate feminists. They have stirred up their followers online to make hateful remarks against 'feminists'.

I have to assume that this is a code word for women. In essence, they are just misogynists. They hate women because they are women.

Ella Whelan says she is a humanist not a feminist, again as if they were mutually contradictory positions which they are not. This is in slavish adherence to the line at Spiked that they support humanism.

Presumably, this doesn't imply atheism or agnosticism, as she is upset at God having a sex change. Nor does Ella appear to subscribe to Yuval Noah Harari's definition of liberal humanism.

This is based on the idea that 'humanity' is individualistic and resides within each individual Homo Sapiens. The supreme goal is to protect the inner core and freedom of each Homo Sapiens.

Nor does she uphold the great value of Socialist Humanism which is that 'humanity' is collective and resides within the species Homo Sapiens as a whole. According to this, the great commandment is to protect equality within the species Homo Sapiens.

Presumably she doesn't subscribe either to the evolutionary humanism of Nazism or she wouldn't refer to her perceived enemies as 'Feiminazis' when she gets off over ripping them apart.

What this little shit does endorse is closing down talk in favour of equality by ripping the core out of the heart of every Homo Sapiens of good will.

When she announces that she is a humanist, it is just something to say. It doesn't really mean anything.

Self styled feminists can include women like Naomi Wolf who thinks abortion is sometimes necessary but is homicide. We should bravely acknowledge it and reach out to those who are anti-abortionists.

Ann Widdecombe calls herself a feminist but only in a restricted 1970s sense. She also disapproves of abortion in almost all cases and furthermore disapproves of women priests for some arcane reason.

Germaine Greer is perhaps the person we would all visualise as an archetypal feminist. Yet she has jeered at Julia Gillard, the Welsh born prime minister of Australia for having a big arse and at an Indian actress for having self respect.

Greer has trivialised rape, and approves of Female Genital Mutilation although she used to disapprove of bras.

Perhaps it's a word that's ceasing to have much meaning. As for myself, I would describe myself as a despairing humanist.

I care passionately about maintaining equality within the species Homo Sapiens. But I don't have a high opinion of it. I think it should be renamed Homo Stupidus.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 28, 2016 9:28 pm    Post subject: The Strange Case of Milo Yiannioulos Reply with quote

Milo Yiannopoulos sees himself as a 'provocateur.' He likes winding people up for fun.

We can see him on an informal talk show, giggling about how he enjoys taking a rise out of atheists. Perhaps the main joke - and it's a very small one - is that everything about his demeanour would convince you he was himself an atheist.

Similarly, when he was asked about homophobia in the English countryside, he confused and wrong footed the questioner by denying he was aware of any homophobia in rural areas, turning it into a defensive rant about how friendly and accepting country people are.

You are left with the feeling that you were being an awful bigot in ever suspecting that they might be anything else.

But Milo has apparently encountered homophobia at home. He wasn't welcome in his mother's house after it became obvious he was gay.

So he stayed with an older woman who didn't turn a hair when he came in in a Cleopatra costume and wrapped himself in a carpet, sighing, ''Where's my Rex Harrison?''

The first time I knowingly encountered David Starkey on TV, people were phoning in to talk about gays in the military or some such topic. Somebody began by saying, ''I don't like to call them gays. I like to call them homosexuals.....''

David Starkey responded with icy politeness, ''Well, wouldn't you really like to call them something much ruder than homosexuals if it wasn't that you are on the air?''

The bigot rang off straight away. It was awesome. I would love to be able to cut through the crap with a sharp verbal blade like that.

I didn't know then that Starkey was gay, and he wasn't very tolerant on other subjects. Nor is he now much of an exponent of gay rights.

David Starkey was on 'Question Time' when someone asked about Christians turning gay couples away from guest houses.

Probably all the panellists sided with the anti-discrimination line - all except David Starkey. He thought that in imposing tolerance, we were guilty of liberal bigotry.

He said that he'd been an adult when male homosexuality was still totally illegal. He had been in crypto-gay clubs when they were raided by the police.

It hadn't done him any harm. It had made him what he was today! He obviously thought that there was something good about what he was today.

He is a bitter, twisted old sod! He and Milo have identified with the oppressor. This is a symptom of a deep emotional wound.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 28, 2016 10:26 pm    Post subject: Go away Ella! Reply with quote

I'm sorry to say that Ella Whelan was on 'The Big Questions' again this morning. One of the discussions was 'Does Inequality Work?' ie is it a good thing as it is an incentive.

Someone commented that forty years after the Sex Discrimination Act, women are working at the same jobs as men for 80% of the pay. So in effect, from now 28 February to 03 March, women are working for free.

Ella Whelan denied that women were ever underpaid. She said that women in their twenties and thirties are earning more than men. If she is right, everyone else has been wrong about the pay gap.

I assume she is either knowingly lying or is repeating some garbage from Mike Buchanan without knowing what she is talking about.

She criticised those who spoke about the poor in an 'emotional' way, using words like 'crying', 'whingeing' and 'emotionalising.' Also, in a very Milo like way, she appeared to turn the tables on the opposition by accusing them of making the poor out to be helpless.

Later, she said that it was because of environmental activists that people in the third world had to put up with manky goods, a statement that has its roots in conspiracist thinking.

Ella obviously thinks emotions are a bad thing - and she was speaking today in an extremely toneless unemotional way - and the tragedy is that this has not brought her any nearer to empirical facts.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 29, 2016 10:55 pm    Post subject: nonsense Reply with quote

I had a friend 'Jeff' who had serious emotional problems as a result of an unhappy early life. He had problems with women and children because his mother was mad and hated him, and he had hated being a child.

So, for instance, he went into a hotel where there were kids running around in the foyer and started shouting, ''Get all the fuggin' children out!'' He thought that was a reasonable way to behave. He's also written to the council to complain about nursery rhyme recitals for kids in public libraries.

He thinks that women should be forced to give birth with no pain relief to discourage them from bringing more pesky kids into the world. He doesn't seem to know that it takes two people to make a pregnancy. On his really bad days, he thinks everyone should be sterilised.

I mentioned the crap I'd been given by nasty kids on a notorious estate while going round with surveys. His opinion was that feminism was to blame.

This might sound like a wild flight of the imagination. But to him it was obvious.

He said that the idea that women as well as men could have careers had left us with a lot of unsupervised feral kids.Of course, he didn't know anything about these kids' families. I doubt that they had any parents in work.

His opinion has its roots in concerns about latchkey kids that go back at least as far as the 50s.

But it is nonsense. You only have to look at books by Iona and Peter Opie on the lore and language of schoolchildren or children's informal games in street and playground to know that children in the past had much more freedom to wander unsupervised than they do now.

If you look at the literature on Mary Bell, the eleven year old girl who strangled two boys aged two and three in the late 60s, it will be obvious that working class mothers in Newcastle allowed their children of a few years old to play in the street for hours. They had no adults hovering anxiously over them.

In those days, there was little awareness of stranger danger, and children would have been taught to cross the road safely and then left to get on with it. Children were usually trusted to go to school and come home by themselves. A mother who insisted on picking her child up would have looked weirdly overprotective.

My adoptive mother really was overprotective but even I was allowed to play with my friends in the streets for hours as late as the early 70s, at a time when she was not in employment. In the days before ipods and electronic games, there was little incentive to keep children at home except the TV and the joys of playing in your own garden.

So we must dismiss Jeff's scenario as a myth. Of course if you dislike an ideology on a gut level, it's tempting to blame it for everything.

Somebody else who has spent more time on internet conspiracy sites than is good for him told me that feminism was invented by the FBI - or was it the CIA? There didn't seem any point in trying to disabuse him of this impression.

Obviously, he sees it as negative and sinister which is a shame. He also thinks some shadowy elite has foisted it on the world for some nefarious reason. The great thing about conspiracy theorists is that they don't think anything could have been invented at the grass roots level by ordinary people.

Nor do they think that anything comes about by chance. Everything has been foreordained by a mysterious cabal which never makes mistakes, which micro-manages everything and is immune to any possibility of unintended consequences.

That sounds like a very interesting world. But it's not the one we live in.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 02, 2016 12:45 pm    Post subject: the dark side of the moon Reply with quote

Feminism is a word that has fallen on hard times. Perhaps it needs a makeover. Maybe it should be called something else.

It has almost totally negative connotations, although almost everyone in the west, female and male, is a feminist according to the definition that was current a hundred years ago. Whatever it is called, we need it or something like it.

My adoptive mother thought she had been put on earth to look after other people. She had no interests of her own and wasn't a very interesting person.

When I was about four I heard her saying that in her day there had been no childhood. You went straight from being a baby to an adult.

We all have very literal minds at four. I thought she really went straight from being a baby to an adult. But what she meant was that that was what it had felt like.

As soon as she could walk she had adult responsibilities. She would feel absolutely guilty if she didn't rush to put -say-a pot of jam on the table when it was being laid.

Her self concept was that she was a lovely helpful person. But she did have a lot of underlying anger.

She devoted herself to the children she had adopted and really wanted to live their lives for them. So if she offered you something to eat or drink and you politely declined, she would keep on offering it to you for ages like Mrs Doyle in 'Father Ted.'

When my sister had toothache she wanted to go to the dentist with her to explain what the pain was like. She didn't think my sister could manage it although my sister was much more articulate than she was.

Similarly, she seems to have gone round to the workplace of my sister's boyfriend and created a scene which destroyed the relationship just because she was jealous. She later said smugly and happily, ''You'll never forgive me for putting a stop to that, will you?''

The natural selfishness that had been ruthlessly driven out of the door had come back in through the window. And it was wearing a disguise called concern.

When my sister was 22, someone suggested to my mother that she might one day leave home. Her eyes overflowed with tears.

I later questioned her on this. She said she wouldn't mind my sister leaving home to marry but she would hate her to leave home because of bad feeling as if there was no third option.

Of course, there was no chance of her marrying in our mother's lifetime. The latter frightened all her boyfriends away.

When my sister was 18, she once spent all day with her friends. Our mother could cope with that.

But when it happened again the next day, our mother appeared at dinner with her face red and swollen. She had obviously been crying all morning and continued to sit there snivelling.

She later shouted at my sister, ''We're worried about you!'' Similarly, she drove my friends away by causing scenes and tried to get a cabal of influential adults organised to prevent, at all costs, my going to university.

I think she may have 'accidentally' thrown away some of the academic notes I made before my A levels but I am not sure. When I had already gone, she resorted to constantly pestering her GP on the phone to 'moan and groan' about the situation as one of his colleagues let me know later.

At the time we appreciated that she was over protective but took it all for granted. Now it seems not only pathological but wicked.

If every man and woman is or should be a star, she was more like a black hole. She had a potentially big personality that had collapsed in on itself. It had a massive gravitational force that could destroy anything that came near it.

You might think her behaviour was self defeating as it destroyed trust, and made it impossible to have a decent relationship with her. But she had zero interest in human relationships.

She wasn't interested in people as individuals. She wanted a role to validate herself. If her children were allowed to grow up, she would be redundant.

If only she had been allowed to develop her own interests and see herself as central in her life, she would paradoxically, not have been so monstrously selfish.

My adoptive mother literally didn't know the meaning of feminism. She referred to a camp man as being a feminist. She meant that he was effeminate.

Maybe she didn't need to know the word. But had she been brought up with a healthy self concept, she would not have become so warped, frustrating herself and others.

There's nothing that works against you that can't work for you in some circumstances. As women were traditionally grossly underpaid in the workplace, the custom was that the man would pay when a heterosexual couple went out together.

This is a custom that has long survived the Equal Pay Act and the Sex Discrimination Act. Perhaps it is not entirely inappropriate as the pay gap has still not closed according to everyone except Ella Whelan.

But some women will fiercely reject being paid for. I used to reject it myself but I succumbed well over 20 years ago. I plead poverty when justifying it to myself.

Della who outwardly identifies as a feminist makes quite a living out of being taken out to eating places and places of entertainment by men who pay for her. She is in great demand but can't make much of a conventional living due to bipolar.

Perhaps it is not wrong as they are willing to do it. But we can get the feeling that she is stringing them along, and that it is becoming extremely exploitative at times.

What is absolutely ridiculous is the situation with a friend or former friend I have been referring to as Judy. Judy did have some qualities that made us want her as a friend.

But she has become increasingly overcome by mental illness and her good qualities are not really apparent any longer. This is not her fault but she can be very hard work. It's not just that she is an unrewarding and difficult companion.

Because of her delusions, she could get you into trouble. Sometimes she does get you into serious trouble. She tolerates bad and false friends but is not very nice to her genuine friends.

One of her stalwart friends who has been very generous with his time is a former academic who is down on his luck and is too proud to admit his poverty.

She is oblivious to it, and I can't tell her. He wouldn't want me to, and she couldn't be trusted with the information.

She has a lot more money than he does. She also owns property. But she expects him to pay for everything when they go out together to a greasy spoon café or a decent restaurant.

Moaning to me on the phone, she justifies this by saying, ''I'm a woman and he's a man.'' And he is not even romantically interested in her.

I thought but did not say, ''Well, Judy you should be thankful he's spending any time on you at all. He's only doing it out of kindness. He's not getting anything out of your company. He should be paid for it. To expect him to pay for the privilege just shows you're not living in the real world.'

It sounds harsh but Judy is a liability not an asset. Although she has delusions, they are not imaginative. She's extremely conventional to the point of making enemies of those who aren't.

There's no point in telling her that a custom that would be very convenient for her is not set in stone. It just came about contingent to a set of historical circumstances that no longer always apply. And it would be unjust and cheeky to demand compliance with it in this case.

In sum, you don't have to label it feminism. But sexual equality is good for everyone. It makes for a healthy society.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 02, 2016 8:02 pm    Post subject: aphorism Reply with quote

Ella Whelan may be a meat puppet who functions as a mascot for Spiked.
In contemplating this contemptible creature and the person who may have their hand up her arse, three aphorisms come to mind:

To oppose cruelty, you first have to recognise it.
Bullies are ignorant; they don't know why they behave as they do.
A wise man fears his least [important] enemy.

Ella stands up for what she grandiloquently terms freedom of speech by which she means verbal bullying. But she does not approve of freedom of thought or freedom to experience your own feelings.

She obviously thinks that compassion which she terms whingeing should be proscribed at least when it comes to public policy. She also disapproves of 'emotionalising' as this can be seen as a branch of therapy culture.

But the fact is we all have emotions. They can't just be destroyed by an act of will.

You can refuse to acknowledge your emotions. But it's not usually considered good to have your thoughts cut off from your emotions. In fact, this is the classical definition of schizophrenia.

If you did succeed in shutting down your emotions, you would be more like a robot than a human being. In what way would that be desirable?

Perhaps Ella is the first person ever to achieve this. She does present as an android.

I would suspect that she and her followers and manipulators do have emotions, even if they don't have access to them. Why else are they persecuting people online and telling straight lies about pay rates, genocide and the like?

There is no logical reason to do it.

It's not logical to go out of your way to make enemies of people who otherwise might be quite well disposed to you. Chaucer, paraphrasing Cato said, ''A wise man fears his least enemy'', by which he meant his least important enemy.

Perhaps Ella and her colleagues think that an instinct for self preservation is irrational. Yet they are not achieving anything by baiting well meaning people online, at least nothing from a rational perspective.

Kate Smurthwaite is the sort of person who endorses Jeremy Corbyn and goes to events to commemorate the secular martyr Savita. She cares about social justice.

You can be bullied for any reason, but sometimes it is because the bully is jealous of you. Often, they hate you because you are simply a nicer person than they are.

We must resist scorn for sensitivity and emotional literacy. As an anti-bullying site says, if you're not sensitive, you're insensitive. What's good about that?

A psychologist might say that these lying troublemakers are so emotionally numb that they don't know who they are. In fact, their readers have little idea who they are.

They are not what they appear to be.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 02, 2016 9:12 pm    Post subject: aphorism Reply with quote

Ella Whelan may be a meat puppet who functions as a mascot for Spiked.
In contemplating this contemptible creature and the person who may have their hand up her arse, three aphorisms come to mind:

To oppose cruelty, you first have to recognise it.
Bullies are ignorant; they don't know why they behave as they do.
A wise man fears his least [important] enemy.

Ella stands up for what she grandiloquently terms freedom of speech by which she means verbal bullying. But she does not approve of freedom of thought or freedom to experience your own feelings.

She obviously thinks that compassion which she terms whingeing should be proscribed at least when it comes to public policy. She also disapproves of 'emotionalising' as this can be seen as a branch of therapy culture.

But the fact is we all have emotions. They can't just be destroyed by an act of will.

You can refuse to acknowledge your emotions. But it's not usually considered good to have your thoughts cut off from your emotions. In fact, this is the classical definition of schizophrenia.

If you did succeed in shutting down your emotions, you would be more like a robot than a human being. In what way would that be desirable?

Perhaps Ella is the first person ever to achieve this. She does present as an android.

I would suspect that she and her followers and manipulators do have emotions, even if they don't have access to them. Why else are they persecuting people online and telling straight lies about pay rates, genocide and the like?

There is no logical reason to do it.

It's not logical to go out of your way to make enemies of people who otherwise might be quite well disposed to you. Chaucer, paraphrasing Cato said, ''A wise man fears his least enemy'', by which he meant his least important enemy.

Perhaps Ella and her colleagues think that an instinct for self preservation is irrational. Yet they are not achieving anything by baiting well meaning people online, at least not from a rational perspective.

Kate Smurthwaite is the sort of person who endorses Jeremy Corbyn and goes to events to commemorate the secular martyr Savita. She cares about social justice.

You can be bullied for any reason, but sometimes it is because the bully is jealous of you. Often, they hate you because you are simply a nicer person than they are.

We must resist scorn for sensitivity and emotional literacy. As an anti-bullying site says, if you're not sensitive, you're insensitive. What's good about that?

A psychologist might say that these lying troublemakers are so emotionally numb that they don't know who they are. In fact, their readers have little idea who they are.

They are not what they appear to be.
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