Monday, 5 June 2017

Why Voting For Theresa May Is Not A Vote For Feminism

First of all I will say that I am biased. I am a member of the Labour party and a firm supporter of Jeremy Corbyn. However this doesn’t not mean you should instantly dismiss what I have to say, I may be a Corbyn supporter but I am also a follower of intersectional feminism.

The reason I am declaring my bias is because I want this post to help you make up your own mind on how to vote on Thursday (Labour, please… but the choice is ultimately yours) and I feel that we all get more out of opinion pieces like this if the writers own bias is easily distinguished.

Most people are biased, it doesn’t mean they will lie to you but it best to be aware.

The main reason I am writing this is because I worry that there will be some people among our electorate who believe that Theresa May is a feminist choice for prime minister simply because she’s a woman. This is not the case. Women and minorities have suffered under the Conservatives and will continue to do so if we elect them again.

I am not going to delve into the question of whether or not Conservative ideology is compatible with feminism because I just want to focus on our current Prime Minister and her record for harming women and minorities.

Child Benefits – The 2 Child Policy
This is a policy that came into effect in April of this year. Parents may now only claim benefits for their first 2 children (some exceptions are made, we will delve into those later). When implementing a policy like this you have to consider – who will this affect the most?

The answer to this question will be families on low income and lone parents. Also families where 1 or both partners have children from previous relationships.

We know that a disproportionate number of lone parents are women, Gingerbread (a charity that helps lone parents) puts the figure at about 90% (https://gingerbread.org.uk/content/365/Statistics). This would suggest that when relationships break down about 90% of the time women are left with the responsibility for raising the children.

This would also suggest that 90% of men in this situation could go on to have as many children as they like with no financial penalty – yet again, the cost lands on women’s shoulders, when lone mothers already bear the brunt of the social cost and stigma of being lone parents.

The Rape Clause
When you have to start making exceptions in a policy for victims of sexual assault you should probably be putting that policy in the bin. Policies requiring exceptions become very inefficient to navigate. That is before you even get into the ethicality of this particular clause.

I have read the paper work this government is asking victims and survivors of sexual assault to fill out. To me it reads like the person who set this form out is coming from a position of disbelief, victims must prove their honesty.

In particular I find “ In order to get this extra support, you must not be living with the other parent of the child.” to be extremely alarming. Theresa May’s government is saying ‘It’s not rape if you didn’t leave’ single headedly dismissing how difficult it can be to leave abusive relationships while also making victims more financially dependent on their abusers.

The clause also asks you to name the child you conceived non-consensually and requires that you have reported your rape to some kind of professional body. Only 15% of sexual assaults are reported to the police. (https://rapecrisis.org.uk/statistics.php). I desperately urge you to look though the document people who conceive non-consensually are required to fill out and decide if you think a feminist would support it? https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/606978/nnc1.pdf

LGBT+ Rights
My benchmark for feminism is intersectional, that means LGBT, BAME and disabled peoples rights hold as much sway as women’s rights.

While Theresa May did vote in favour of the Equal marriage bill I believe she did this because she was a cabinet minister at the time and the bill was put forward by her party leader. The reason I believe this is because this vote was not in line with other vote on LGBT+ rights.

·         1998 – Voted against reducing the age of consent for homosexual acts from 18 to 16 in line with the age of consent for mixed sex couples.
·         2002 – Voted against allowing same sex couples to adopt
·         2008 – Voted to deny IVF to couples with no “male role modle” effectively seeking to bar lesbians and bisexual women form fertility treatment.

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Who Do They Work For? Follow the Cashflow...

As sad as it is, this is what I do in my spare time. I ponder questions, google them, get frustrated at the lack of easily digestible and compatible information and compile my own!

Recently I've spent a fair amount of time contemplating the increasing crisis in the NHS and the motivation of our major political parties. Why is our government reducing taxes with one hand and decimating services with the other? Income based taxes continue to fall, while central funding for local government is also reduced leading to increasing council taxes, which inevitably hit the poorest hardest. So I beg the question, who do they really work for?

While the general public are the ones who vote our government into power, the political parties wouldn't exist without their donors. On the surface, decisions that advantage the rich at the expense of the rest of the country may look like incompetence, but if you're one the the 500+ individuals giving the conservative party an average of £22,000 in 2016 then what would you care about social care? You just got a massive tax break while many NHS trusts find themselves in massive financial deficit year on year.

I've compiled information from the Electoral Commission which helpfully layouts how much each party earns from donations from different sources (Individuals, Companies, Trade Unions, ect) and put them in a series of pie charts:

In 2016 the Conservative Party received a total of £21,116,169.17 in donations,distributed mainly between individual, and company donations



In the same period the Labour party received £22,698,544.18, mainly from Trade Unions and public funds



So if we suppose that political parties are out to keep their donors happy then the Conservative Party are much more beholden to wealthy individual donors than Labour are! These figures also explain a part of the Conservative attacks on Trade Unions in this government, by undermining the power of the Trade Unions they make them less attractive to those who would join them, potentially reducing the amount of money they are able to donate to the Labour party.

Like it or loathe it, we live in a capitalist age. Money is power.


Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Nightwish - Wembley Arena 2015

After seeing The Independents lazy review, I decided to write one of my own.

Many fans were dissapointed when Nightwish announced they'd only be doing 1 UK show on their European tour, but by playing that show at the SSE Wembley Arena they were finally able to bring their full production to the country!

The fans knew what to expect from the band: we expected them to be tight (not because of the click tracks, but because they're a fantastic group of musicians) we expected Floor to blow us away, but somehow they still managed to rise above and beyond our high expectations.

But before we get into the main event, let's first take a look at the support. Amorphis and Arch Enemy to me seem an odd combination to support Nightwish since they are both very different to Nightiwsh.

Never the less both bands (though not really to my taste) put on good performances. I'll give a special mention here to Arch Enemy's singer for being a truly entertaining lunatic jumping around that stage!

When the curtain came down after Arch Enemy's set, about 12500 people stood and sat round impatiently for the Nightwish crew to transform the stage ready for Nightwish. The anticipation in the Arena was a tangible, electric thing. I can only imagine how the band must have felt waiting the greet Wembley for the first time!

When at last the stage was revealed and the show began in earnest the whole room exploded into pure energy, which is something singer Floor Jansen seems to feed from, Shudder Before The Beautiful was performed better, even, than the studio version! It was a fantastic way to start the show.

To then announce to the audience that the show was being filmed just blew us away!

I'm not going to do a breakdown of the set list (which can be found here) but you should know that every song on it was absolutely perfect, and that there were a few surprises in there too! I for one never expected to see The Poet and The Pendulum on the same set list as Ghost Love Score, the that's Nightwish, they like to surprise you!

One thing I will say is that Floor just continues to impress, frankly the beauty and versitility of her voice is completely unfair! No one should be able to hit the lovely high clean notes she does in Poet and the Pendulum, Stargazers, and Ghost Love Score and also be able to produce that dark dirty growling on Yours Is An Empty Hope - Floor has far too much talent for one person and leaves Nightwish open to do whatever the hell they want!

I find Troy's vocals are also a welcome introduction to the band and the 2 of them with the legend that is Marco Hietala are a powerhouse not to be taken lightly.

Nightwish is a band that just keeps on evolving, when I left Wembley Arena I was sure I would never see a show to top this one - now I'm not so sure, because Nightwish always surprises you.