Another 6 things that prove the world hasn’t gone to shit…

Oh dear. The news.

Boris Johnson is Foreign Secretary and the Department for the Environment and Climate Change has been scrapped, but astoundingly that’s not even close to the worst thing that’s happened in the past few weeks. If it’s not the ugly, power-grabbing underbelly of British politics then it’s racist abuse and attacks on our streets. If it’s not that then it’s the deaths of more innocent young black people at the hands of the police in the USA, or misguided, tragic attempts at ‘retaliation’ that also spread mindless violence. Then there’s more atrocious violence in Nice on Friday and Turkey not long ago (oh and the coup that seems to be occurring as I write this), as well as the continual bombing-to-shit of Baghdad by ISIS and the uncomfortable truth that we seem to care a little bit less when it happens there than in Western Europe or the USA. Then there’s the Chilcot Report, and all its unheeded reminders of the dangers of the ‘West knows best’ attitudes of so many powerful people. It’s enough to make you think that the world is unequivocally bad to its very core. Bleurgh.

Back in December, shortly after the Paris attacks and the UK’s decision to join in the bombing of Syria, I wrote a sort of ‘reasons to be cheerful’ post listing some actual good news stories that had been lost amidst all the horror. I thought that we could do with another one of those right about now. So here they are, 6 more things that prove the work hasn’t completely gone to shit…

1. Tanzania and Gambia just voted to outlaw child marriage.

On opposite sides of the African continent two governments have moved to put a stop to child marriage once and for all. 

Unlike the UK and many parts of the USA, parental consent is no longer a factor that can weigh in and ‘approve’ of marriage at an earlier age (nor should it be!)  – neither boys nor girls can marry before they’re 18. This will make it much easier for campaigners to save young girls from forced marriage, which can only be a good thing!


My favourite bit about this is how the Gambian president, Yayha Jammeh, affirmed his commitment to enforcing the new law:

“If you want to know whether what I am saying is true or not, try it tomorrow and see…”

Bad ass.

2. The United Reformed Church just voted to welcome same-sex couples to get married in their churches. 

This is one of those things that simultaneously shouldn’t be news at all and is actually AMAZING news. Slowly the church is cottoning on that loving who you love is something to be celebrated and marginalising LGBT people is probs not what Jesus would do.


Just last week the United Reformed Church voted to allow local churches to welcome gay couples to get married in their churches. Nice one.

Talking of churches…

3. One church in Tottenham has turned itself into a shelter for men that even charities won’t help.

A few years ago, one random church in Tottenham decided to put its money where it’s mouth was, literally. After every service the congregation stack the chairs away and give the space back over to its main purpose; a shelter for 50 destitute men. Many of them also donate 10-20% of their income to keep the shelter running.


These men are some of the most troubled people in our communities, sometimes addicts and thieves, sometimes dangerous – many charities and government services won’t touch them. By some miracle of bravery the church provides a space for people most of us would be afraid to walk past on the street, and they see results. A recent study estimated that For every £1 invested in Highway House, £5-£8 is returned to society due reduced strain on public services. Boom.

4. The Eiffel Tower has new wind turbines, and they are beautiful!


Clever engineering types have installed wind turbines on the Eiffel Tower and they are powerful enough to power the whole first floor (restaurant and all that jazz). Very clever, and very beautiful. Somehow they’ve also managed to make them look good and not interfere with Form of the iconic structure, daaaarling. (This video isn’t the best but you get the idea)

5. This guy…

Responding all of the racist, xenophobic bullshit that followed the leave vote, one lovely man posted this note through his neighbour’s door…

6. These guys…

Okay, this video isn’t new, but since there will inevitably much prejudiced nonsense spoken about Muslims and Islam after the Nice attack (#YouAintNoMuslimBruv), if you haven’t already seen this you really should…

This is the British version,  but check out YouTube for Dutch, German, Chicago versions and more. I defy you not to smile!

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Share the love, let me know some more good news in the comment section, tweet me or like my Facebook page.

‘Calm down dear!’ Mansplaining Brexit.

It’s almost two weeks ago now that a few colossal bellends managed to persuade half the country that voting leave would ‘stick it to the man’ whilst also making the NHS filthy rich. Sigh. A lot has happened since then. Mainly, two of most colossal bellends of them all have sort of just thrown their hands in the air, said ‘well, it’s nothing to do with me’, and then sloped off to write newspaper columns and go to dinner parties with their other Brexit-proof friends.

But it’s not them I want to talk about. Of course Nigel Farage is a cowardly plasticine-faced liar. Of course Boris Johnson is an over-privileged nonsense-monger who wouldn’t know a working-class protest vote if it pissed on his pasty. These truths were pretty self-evident to me from the outset, so this has been more of a confirmation than a disappointment to me.

nigel face

Ole plasticine face in all his glory.

The leave vote was a disappointment. A huge one. A heart-breaking one if I’m honest. And not because if will effect me in any real way; I’m a white, educated, employed British national who owns a house – I’m pretty Brexit-proof too. No, it’s because it just fucking sucks. But you can read about why it sucks on a million other blogs, so I’m going to talk about something else that got my goat in the aftermath of vote leave…

Like many people who feel passionately about the value of multilateral diplomacy, diversity and the free movement of people, I was pissed as hell on the morning of the EU referendum. Accordingly, I took to Facebook and I think I think I spoke for many with my succinct status update, which went something like “fuck this shit.” That’s all I had to say at that point. Luckily though, others step in where my usually verbose nature failed me.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, enter the mansplainers. When others get angry or sad about Britain voting to leave the largest economic and political union of democratic states in the world, thank goodness for the voices of reason, those who tells us to pick ourselves up and dust ourselves off; those who have no time for, you know, emotional reactions. *barely conceals rage*

They were all over the place! Everywhere I looked there was someone telling be to calm down! And no, they weren’t all men, but they were all mansplainers as far as I’m concerned.

Also, they were mostly men. White, British, privileged men. Left wing and feminist too, but still, like, sooo privileged. If that describes you then, you not, sorry but not sorry. Cos you guys need to know when to shut up sometimes, you have the floor for your entire lives, learn to pipe down occasionally.

There were three key arguments made by the mansplainers, and they went something like this:

“Calm down guys, it’s not helpful to call half of the country racist.”

Oh, isn’t it? Blow me down with a feather! There was I thinking hurling accusations of prejudice around at time of obvious division was a bloody brilliant idea! I mean, isn’t the best way to get across your differing political outlook just to shout ‘NAZI!’ really loudly at someone from across the street? It’s not? Awkward.

Of course this particular pearl of wisdom died down within a few days. You know, what with all the racism. 

The thing is that, as is usually the case when people dole out wisdom from on high, there was an abject failure to see the point. Leave voters weren’t all racists (I haven’t met anyone yet who thinks that they were, either), but the leave vote was seen as a win by racists; an implicit legitimisation for the shocking minority of bigoted, Britain-first garbage that has been rearing its ugly head since. Sorry leave voters, but shit just got real. This is the consequence of supporting a campaign that used refugee-fear as a persuasive tool. Deal with it.

nigel racist

The EU has failed us all, by taking in refugees. FFS.

“I think this a major lesson for everyone – social media is DESIGNED to be an echo chamber that reinforces your own biases.”

Yes, someone actually wrote this. On Facebook. Sigh. To be fair to the anonymous mansplainer there was a caveat about their own failings in this area but still, give me a break.

I saw  a lot of this around and about the place; the idea that the reason that we were all so shocked was we just listen to the ‘echo chamber’ of social media and treat it like a representative poll. Well, if you do that then – brace yourself – you are a moron. There’s a reason they’re called Facebook friends and not Facebook representative-samples-of-the-UK-population.

I wasn’t shocked because all my Facebook friends were voting remain (in fact I put an ironic status up about this before the vote and got mansplained to then, even after I’d explained it was a frickin’ joke!) I was shocked because the polls were close and I guess I just expected in the end that people would be cautious and vote for the status quo. Duh.

“One response is to simply throw our hands in the air, yelp in despair and give up. This is not an option. It would be irresponsible…”

This one comes straight from the pen of Owen Jones, who I usually love and largely agree with, but since the referendum result have found ever so slightly grating.

How lucky are all of us defeatist losers to have a figurehead like Mr Jones to shine a light in our darkest hour? I mean, I was literally going to give up on any idea of opposing social injustice or celebrating diversity ever again. I was just going to sit in my house and eat crisps and watch Love Island (which, by the way, will not be half as sexy when they can’t get Spanish visas anymore and have to film it on the Isle of Mann, brrr).

But I can still yelp in despair. Let me yelp in despair Owen!

“Okay, can the privileged white men on my Facebook feed stop lecturing people about ‘not demonising the disenfranchised’. Let us be angry for a day and stop being patronising fuckwits.”

Hmm, this may have been me. But I stand by it!

The very fact that there are so many people confusing the anger of Remain voters with some sort of haughty, middle-class disdain is pretty rich. I’m not saying that there was no class divide in this referendum – so please don’t mansplain the stats to me in the comment section, pleeeeaase – but what I am saying is that if all working-class people in all areas voted leave then how the hell would Scotland, Northern Ireland, Liverpool, Manchester and London boroughs like Newham have voted for remain?? How I ask ya?

I wonder if it ever occurred to the mansplainers that they were actually imposing a view on the ‘disenfranchised’ just as much as Farage and Johnson were. You don’t speak for them either, dickwads! And neither do I. I speak for myself, and myself is angry and confused and saddened by almost everything in the British media right now. So there. Now leave me alone and go and tell a woman how to put up a shelf or something.

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What do you think? Have you had the referendum mansplained to you one too many times? Or maybe you totes agree with the quotes I’ve put on here. Have your say in the comment section, tweet me @aafew or hop on over to my Facebook page.