Political Correctness debate

The motion – “Be it resolved, what you call political correctness, I call progress…
for a “Munk debate”, and of course it’s the problem cos does the motion mean political correctness has brought about progress – I’m PRO – or political correctness is the same as progress – I’m CON.

Stephen Fry attended on the CON side cos of his concern that political correctness can restrict free speech, much as Orwell created Newspeak to show how control of  language could deny legitimacy to free thought.

If ‘youtube’ is a guide though, the ‘moment’ was when a black civil rights activist slammed a white philosophy professor as a “mean white man”, which when you see it delivered face to face seems offensive.  Yet the activist stood his ground, and was compelling – his charge was not based on the professor’s reputation elsewhere, but on the way he’d spoken at the event, overlooking the huge degree of privilege he’d already benefitted from.  “You’re doing so well. Why the rage, Bro?”

The Philosophy Professor does have a very peculiar take on people organising as groups, or having group interests.  One challenge – if you want group rights, how about group responsibilities? – seemed naive; as if there is not plenty on the statutes to require groups to take responsibilities already.

One of the nonsenses is equating the American left with lefts elsewhere; cos there is a big difference between Socialists from Liberals.  Indeed it emphasises the nonsense of reducing politics to one dimension.

Stephen Fry seemed to think that the Left were responsible for being defeated by the Right, and in part cos it embraced political correctness which is the Right’s strongest campaigning point.   But one rebuttal said that what the Right did was to insist on their right to call Barack Obama a muslim, or their right to say he wasn’t born in the U.S.A.  He was on stronger ground bemoaning the certainty he witnesses – that we are right and if you are not with us, you are wrong and you are against us.  I’ve certainly seen the equivalents of five minute hates on Facebook.

I think creating new words to give a profile to new aspirations and insisting on non-gender specific language has contributed to progress.


Windrush advice surgery

“Happy to help any constituents who need support.” – Lilian Greenwood MP.

The Pilgrim’s Church in The Meadows offered free consultations with 1stCallUK for 20 or so clients or friends this afternoon.
WP_20180502_16_25_34_Pro (2) IstCllUK advice
Advice is –
1. read up; above is a one-pager from 1stCallUK with some initial advice;
2. write out your situation; the blank form at the top-right hints at the minimum information required;
3. consider getting proper legal advice;
4. contact your local MP to find out what help or advice they can offer; copy your MP with any correspondence sent to Gov’t agencies.
Councillors have no role or special knowledge on immigration matters, but we can help in general ways.

As for the Windrush scandal, the surprise is how this came seemingly from nowhere. Whilst some people have been in trouble for years, MPs seem only to have started hearing about these problems recently.
There are some estimates of there being 57,000 people affected – that’s 88 per MP. Arguably more people are affected in areas like The Meadows, so 20-40 might need advice.
As for the resignation of the Home Secretary, no doubt the changing stories from Amber Rudd contributed, but the final defence – that she was unaware of a memo in her official boxes – cuts away at a fundamental premise in Britain’s governance, that a minister is accountable for her officials and this is underwritten by reading the papers provided.
I believe British governance would be better if committees focussed on versions of the ministerial boxes, rather than the current interrogatory questions and supportive questions model, backed up by scrutiny from select committees and supposedly The Lords

Discussing A Fantastic Woman

A discussion group at the Broadway to celebrate the Oscar win of “A Fantastic Woman” and discuss trans issues raised by the movie and in Nottingham now.
Hearing stuff I was unaware of.
One remark struck me in particular – (something like) – ‘I don’t know whether I want to start taking hormones, and then have surgery; I just know I’m happier when I’m trans.”
Other references to people in Nottingham being trolled, and stories of violence against trans people (particularly in Brazil).

Votes for Women

Women Nottingham City Councillors Linda Woodings and Wendy Smith are among many celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the Act that gave votes for women in the UK; well, most women, and at a minimum age 9 years older than for a man.
RotPA 1918 wiki Screenshot (837) ab0673h
Wikipedia shows the terms of the “Representation of the People’s Act 1918” was qualified, and in aspects confusing.
– Women over 30, but not all.
– Men over 21, but some younger than 21 if they served in the war at a certain point – something that might inform campaigns for the age of majority to be reduced to 16 since we call on people to join the armed services below 18.
A range of events are being organised to celebrate.

Cyrille Regis in a Shrewsbury shirt

So many spectacular goals by Cyrille Regis but not many will remember the one he scored wearing a Shrewsbury Town shirt.

Meeting an inswinger from the wing, getting ahead of the last line of defenders and powering in a header from 12 yards.  (“Good morning, ball”.)
Yes, 1981 and West Bromwich Albion wore either the classic navy & white stripes or the iconic green & yellow stripes – both deemed to clash with Salop’s blue & amber.  So when they drew Salop in the League Cup in an era before third strips (and universal TV coverage), the Albion had to wear our all red away kit.

It was a phenomenal match when the second tier side beat the top tier side 3-all at home.  By which I mean, the Albion were 3-0 up at half-time, thanks in part to Cyrille’s header, but we brought the game back to 3-all at full time (a last minute goalmouth dribble by Steve Biggins).

Regis’s death is so emotional for many reasons – the phenomenal footballer he was; Cunningham & Batson; that West Brom team; how he broke barriers for black players; the content of his character; that 59 seems no age for such a former athlete – and cos I witnessed it: vs Salop, vs Man U at The Hawthorns (1979) and the “match of the decade” (that wasn’t) at Anfield (also 1979).

It brings back memories of the racism – especially that gorilla chants were OK and good cos they put black players off (which I felt often was not the case – e.g. Wimbledon at home, Laurie Cunningham scoring at Old Trafford in the 5-3 victory).
You wanted to be on the Three Degrees’ side, cos of the victimization, cos it was right, and yes, because they were the heroes.

See Guardian tribute; and a cartoon tribute.  Look out also for the Youtube videos.

NHS Crisis

Time for people to reflect on what, with 3 General Elections, we have allowed to slip with regards to our health care and our NHS.

I received 2 tweets in quick succession from Theresa May boasting about a scheme that they claim will help a few thousand people onto the property ladder.
That evening, a BBC tv East Midlands political journalist lists the kind of conditions that warrant a visit to A&E (and I didn’t hear broken bones included).
Whatever was said, on top of the cancellation of non-urgent operations, this is a pretty shocking statement. And it’s the BBC announcing it! (Not someone from the NHS.)
Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, comes on national tele to say they’re trying to do it a different way this year – expressed in a way that makes it sound like he deserves some sympathy at least.
Another spokesperson has said that a range of factors have come together – including the cold weather. (Maybe it’s true that we didn’t have snow in Tony Blair’s era.)

Time to remember, the factors of growing demand (including more people, an older population, more cures (with greater expense) and more people surviving with challenging conditions) existed before 2010 when (after 13 years), New Labour more than trebled the spend on the NHS including the launch of the largest hospital building programme in our history. Targets for getting a GP appointment, being tended to in A&E and for operations, were set and were being met.

We deserve better. We used to get better.