f*ck ’em, they’re only students

So there’s this joke, Alan Davies told it on QI and it’s done the rounds – basically it’s two guys talking, one’s a good bee-keeper and one’s not and the punchline is ‘fuck’em they’re only bees”. It’s funny because, well, I’m not sure why, but I think it has something to do with taking on board all that responsibility and adulthood and caring and shit, and throwing it all away in a punchline. Fuck’em.

I recently left a Northern English University. I already have one degree, this was a Masters course loosely connected with art and stuff. I left it mid-way through and not because I’d finished the degree with a piece of paper and a happy experience.  I left because the teaching sucks. Big time. The university had got great big plush buildings that contrast sharply with its local town in their slick, modern, groomed grandiosity, it’s got a high opinion of itself and it’s got a bunch of lecturers for whom ‘fuck’em they’re only students’ is their working brief. I say working, but there’s a strong argument that that’s the only acquaintance with the concept of labour they appear to have.

They  live in a world where speaking to students is a massive inconvenience and emailing them back is optional, where they can mark an essay without apparently having read it, where literacy is an advantage, not a requirement and where their mendacity is only matched by their willingness to shirk their responsibilities. I’ve had better lectures from street preachers, more fruitful tutorials on YouTube and a greater sense of abiding interest in my work from, well, everyone, everywhere, all the time.

Students at the university of this town are not well served by the staff, many of whom appear to live by the notion that students are cash cows, impediments to their important work (yeah, right) and a bloody nuisance.

For this service they get long holidays, a very decent wage, a less than onerous work load and paid trips abroad from time to time. They have to live in the vicinity of Huddersfield I guess but hey, it could be worse. Students of course have to pay through the nose for this and accumulate huge debts. So everyone’s happy right? Fuck’em, they’re only bees.



The Trans ‘issue’

It’s estimated that rates of transgender identity or gender dysphoria range from a lower range of 1:2000 (or about 0.05%) of the population in the Netherlands and Belgium to 1.2% of New Zealand high-school students. Numbers collected about this subject are hazy to vague at best (for example the amount of female-to-male v male-to-female trans is estimated at 3:1 to1:1 – which is not a small difference). What seems to be inarguable is that this is a minority concern. I don’t mean that we shouldn’t listen, or that we should abuse anybody who is in this place – absolutely not. But we most probably should keep a sense of proportion.

Cis (if you’ll pardon the term) women are roughly 50% of the population and of those, quite a few are feminist. For many years feminists have been arguing (with some limited success) that biology is not destiny, that having breasts and a vulva doesn’t change your ability to think, and having an active uterus shouldn’t restrict your future success or present possibilities. There is virtually no evidence to suggest that there is a distinctive ‘female’ or ‘male’ brain across populations (naturally there will be individual differences) and no firm advantage to either sex generated from those any small differences.

We have argued that gender is a social construct and is fluid: you will most likely have a constellation of behaviour that places you somewhere between the masculine and feminine. Some societies have more rigid interpretations of gender than others, some are trying to break down the importance of assigning people to one or the other gender. It’s argued that toxic masculinity and the inequality of women is harmful to both sexes and that we should do are best to free people from the burden of acting out their assigned gender roles. Men would benefit perhaps with lowered rates of suicide, women would be able to seek fair representation in government and business. Society, we argue, doesn’t need hard edged and restrictive notions of what constitutes a man and a woman.

Which is why feminists and male to female trans activists don’t get on. The former are arguing that gender doesn’t matter, the latter are very keen to assure you that it does. Feminists want you to know that men and women are no different where it matters (ie in your brain) and that genitals are just simultaneously very useful, occasionally awkward, but not relevant to any discussion about how society operates. Trans activists want everyone to know that biology is indeed fate and that they won’t be happy until their genitals align with the sex of their brains.

Some trans activists will tell you that they knew they were a woman. I question how they knew – I have breasts, and a vulva (and I’ve had them for a while) and I used my uterus and vagina to have two kids. I know I’m female because my body tells me so.  But I have no interest is many things that are deemed to be quintessentially feminine, and I like quite a lot of supposedly ‘masculine’ activities. When I’m doing the latter it would never occur to me to imagine that my vulva is in the way but conversely  don’t need my vagina to knit or make cupcakes. I don’t think your brain is where your  biological sex resides – I think its considerably further south than that.

If you have a penis, you most probably think you’re a man: if you’re a man who is unhappy with masculinity, the male gender role, male clothes and societies attitude to mental health, that doesn’t make you a woman. And if you think that an additional interest in clothes and make-up will persuade a feminist that you’re a ‘woman’ – well there’s a very good chance she will fall out with you.

From a “Feminazi…”

Sex is occupying the media at the moment: Harvey Weinstein obviously, Kevin Spacey of course, and then quite a few serving MP’s in the British parliament seem to have trouble differentiating between ‘yes, yes. oh yes’ and a forced smile (‘sigh, go on then’). One MP called his assistant ‘sugar tits’ which apparently was a quote and therefore didn’t constitute sexual banter – he said. Nobody asked her, well obviously.

I’m pretty sure I’ve talked a lot about gender here and probably sex too, but having spent quite a lot of time shaking my head in disbelief and watching quite a few dramas featuring sex on TV, I thought it was about time to re-visit it.

I watched Rellik with my husband, which was probably a bit titillating for him and made me sigh…and not in a good way. The reason? Our middle aged ‘hero’, rocking that ‘anti’ with just a bit too much relish, and generally being a bit of a shit to all the women in his life, was nevertheless a hit with said women who were happy, nay delighted, to be had from behind and/or up against the window and in the bogs in a police station. Now let’s set aside all the sundry issues this threw up (eg, have you ever been in or close to a male toilet and thought that it smells like a great place to have sex?” or should you be having a relationship with a junior officer – at all) and concentrate on the sex as it was portrayed. Several points occurred

  • one – how come you get to see female actor’s tits and frequently their ass or crotch too, but almost never see so much as a sneaky peek of the male leads nether parts? Is that in their contract? Sometimes you get to see a bit of ass if it’s a junior lead, and very very occasionally a bit of dick if it’s a comedy. Actually, it’s so rare to see dick that I can almost count the occasions on one hand…ha.
  • two – rear entry – it’s a position that doesn’t um, tickle, any parts of a lady’s bits that need tickling to give her even the remote chance of coming*, and I suspect it’s often used to cover up his dick and ass, while allowing us her tits front and centre. Does it also play into the male obsession with anal sex? Hmm, good point.
  • three – we almost never see any man on woman foreplay or oral. I can think of one occasion actually – Kevin Spacey going down on Kate Mara in House of Cards – but it was a bit well, rape-y, so probably doesn’t count as enjoyable consensual foreplay, you might see a bit of implied blow job but see point one, of course there’s no chance of dick so… Anyway, despite this, women are immediately up for sexual intercourse and almost never have to be um, gotten ready, you know like in the real world.
  • four – when he comes, they end the sex. That’s it, he blows his wad, it’s all over. Did she come? Who cares….

(*Virtually all studies into sex have pretty much demonstrated that unless you are a very lucky woman, or there is some extra ‘digital’ involvement then most women don’t come during sexual intercourse. They come before, or after with a bit of oral or finger stuff but not during. And there is little or no likelihood of them coming during RE or anal sex as it doesn’t ding those necessary bells.)

Sooooo why do film and TV dramas always show nowt but (usually rough) sexual intercourse with a woman who never comes, and who always seems to be happy to take it from behind, or give a blow job or ….well etc etc, and why does porn never show anything but women taking it in various different orifices and giving blow jobs all the while (no female porn character ever seems to be having genuine fun or orgasms. You don’t have to take my word for it though, just open an new page and have a click….).  Why do some men still think it’s ok to feel up their employees? Because sex is still what men ‘do’ to women, and if this just seems like a 20th century attitude…. really?Really? Look around again.

“Filing cabinets for the poor”

My husband comes from Scotland, and we used to drive up every few months to see his parents and, as we rolled down towards his home town, we’d go past numerous tower blocks 30 or maybe 40 stories high, glowering down from the nearby hills. The phrase ‘filing cabinets for the poor’ always sprung to mind – I thought it was a quote from Jamie Reed, but I’ve had a look for it on-line and all you get is search results for office furniture, but it’s a powerful turn of phrase and tragically appropriate this week.

My nana lived in a small block on the 17th floor when I was a kid, it had a long balcony with brilliant views of the admittedly shittier parts of Manchester. But it also had big windows, a proper bathroom and a fitted kitchen. Nana loved it, it was on a busy bus route into the city and there was a row of shops nearby and space for kids to play.  I remember sliding in my socks on the the shiny lino, high on wax polish fumes, outside her flat, and the delirious adventure of sending a bag of rubbish down the shute.

The years passed, Nana stayed but her neighbours changed. The lifts weren’t reliable and it became hell for families with small kids. The shops closed and the local friendliness that I remembered dripped away and was replaced with hostility, unhappiness and mistrust; most likely because the only people who would live there were people who didn’t have any more options: the death spiral of the area had begun. The play areas ended up filled with rubbish and broken glass. I’m trying to think who would have been in charge of the government at the time, and I’d like to think that it was Thatcher’s Tories, but it was most likely the city council that deprived the area of much needed maintenance money. Saving money on housing the poor isn’t – regrettably – a new invention or the sole territory of the Tories

This week tower blocks and poor public housing standards are in the news because of an horrendous London fire with its frightening amount of likely deaths. But virtually every left wing commenter – like me – could have told you that this was simply the shitty end to a sequence of everyday tragedies. From Thatcher’s ‘Rght to buy” that removed social housing, from Blair’s inability to be the Labour leader we should have had (he didn’t replace the lost houses, even with a mandate that could’ve covered the country in council properties) to the current incumbents who cut services that impact the poor even as they hand more money to the rich. Housing is now viewed as an investment for those who can afford to buy, landlords get rich on those who can’t and the safety net designed to keep folk off the streets – clearly doesn’t work. Housing the poor means poor housing all over again.

From shoddy terraces, grim Scottish tenements, tower blocks that melt after a gas explosion (Ronan point 1968), council housing estates that stretch to the horizons with nary a shop to be seen, to tower blocks gift wrapped in flammable plastic for future private investors, we don’t seem to have learnt anything. We have continued to vote for parties that put profit over people, we have looked the other way while our brothers and sisters have ended up on the streets, we have disregarded the corners of our cities that offer their residents grim housing and not much else, while we watched ‘reality’ TV. We need to understand the lessons that are being offered at Grenfell Tower and while we mourn for the victims we should be saying ‘never again’.

Modern Britain

Modern Britain is a shitty place: you work all day, hardly see your partner, your kids or your home and you still might not have enough money to afford your rent, bills and food, never mind a holiday. The city streets are becoming de facto campsites for the homeless, Brexit gave bigots a great chance to air their racist views (I know, I know, not all Brexiters are racist, but I’d like to bet that most racists voted Brexit), the younger generation are being stuffed by the old, but they don’t have the energy to protest – instead they swallow anti-depressants and scarcely make a living in the gig economy.

Meanwhile in my little town and in the big city nearby, glossy mansions pop up and luxury flats are in development, shiny German cars (free from road tax despite their polluting diesel engines) pack the streets and swanky eateries are rammed. It’s like living in the 80’s again – but without the angry popular music and ranting right-on comedians.

The other differences are stark: back in the 1980’s my husband and I bought a house together: it was far cheaper than renting even with high interest rates, you could get a 100% mortgage and there was plenty of starter homes to buy. We shared the mortgage: but the bank manager wouldn’t let us borrow more than 3 times our joint income so it was manageable.

Nowadays I look in housing estate windows near us and I don’t see anything that a trainee nurse and a recent graduate just starting out in IT could afford to buy. And in any case how could they find the 10-20% deposit that banks now insist on? If you’re paying rent, buying food, keeping warm and getting to work, there’s not much left over to save. Especially now wages are permanently stagnant – and inflation is on the up again.

Todays young people have been royally screwed: student loans was the start of it, but their benefit entitlement is always in the cross hairs of governments wanting to move money from the poor to the rich – which pretty much describes any Tory incumbency.

And then along came Brexit, where old farts reminisced about a golden age without fancy foreign food and fancy dark-skinned foreigners and put a cross in the leave box. Which was a mighty fuck you to those under 30. There’s an argument that 70 or 80 year olds shouldn’t have been allowed to vote: they are involving themselves in a decision that might come to bitter fruition when they are good and dead.

I wonder how these older Tory voting, cheering-for-Brexit, property hoarding oldsters square their selfish “I’m all right Jack” attitude with the realities they see around them? Don’t they have grandchildren or children that struggle by without the gilt-edged pensions that they enjoy (but they voted away for everyone else), don’t they wonder why the kids they know and love can’t afford a home, barely afford a roof, can’t get on the property ladder (while they hug themselves in glee as their house price goes up)? Don’t they feel a whisper of guilt as they use the bus for free to get them home from the pub lunch, slightly tiddly,  while a 17 year old counts out change to get to the Job Centre? Don’t they have any insight into why the local library is closed, the streets are full of dog shit, the parks are filthy and the high street is full of shops that are a whisker away from closing?

Nothing to do with them of course. They just exercised their democratic right to vote and used it to to protect their interests – and bugger everybody else. Vote Tory for a selfish, bigoted, uncaring, myopic, grasping Britain.


John Fucking Harris – what does he know?

I wrote this email to John Harris after his latest piece of twaddle for the Guardian.
Who can rescue the Labour Party from irrelevance – a good question and one for which I suspect that you are unqualified to answer. I don’t know why you think you have some special insight into the future of the Labour party? Was it writing about Britpop? Was it growing up in a professional middle class household in affluent south Manchester? Was it being rejected by Oxbridge that did it or was it being involved in left wing politics when you were a teenager? Is it living in Hay on Wye (well known hot bed of Trot politics).

I come from a working class background (Dad was an lift engineer, mum worked at Sainsbury’s),lived in north Manchester, failed my 11plus, but nonetheless was the first kid in my family to go to University, came out with a good degree to find that Thatcher had removed all the jobs from the north so I went into nursing, did that until I couldn’t bear it any more, became a mum, then a travel writer of all things, local Labour councillor for a while and now run a small shop on a failing highstreet in the North. All the while I’ve been Labour, member or supporter. I reluctantly voted for Blair’s Labour even though I thought he was (frankly) a dick and his policy direction was the antithesis of everything I believed in (but he wasn’t Tory, I’ll give him that, not quite anyway) I voted Blairite Labour even though there politics were not mine, I stayed loyal even though I disagreed with the direction we were going in – even when the policy made me sick (Iraq – oh god Iraq) -I still voted Labour.
While I was a councillor the coalition started attacking local government and of course the Tories are now intent on removing Labour councils from the face of the country. Trying to do the best for your voters with a diminishing sum of money from central government was tricky but might have been less so if we had ever seen somebody from the PLP occasionally stand up and speak out on our behalf – they didn’t. In fact I had to unfriend Ivan Lewis from by Facebook page (he was then Shadow Northern Ireland secretary so presumably didn’t have much on) because we got into a row after I told him that he was as useful to Bury as a chocolate teapot (I’m paraphrasing). I met quite a few members of the PLP – very few of them garnered my respect because very few of them appeared to realise that radical policy, change, hope, a better future were essential for electoral success. I saw Ed Miliband and liked him –  but of course he was obliged to toe the PLP line and modify the tiny spark of radicalism that got him elected – I wasn’t surprised at all when he lost.
The Labour party – or rather the PLP – appears to believe that Blair held the only winning formula and it goes like this – oppose a deeply unpopular government, promise vague change, roll back from that over the years, stuff a bit of money at the poor (but don’t change anything that makes them poor) repeat until your electoral lead disappears. If you don’t have an optimistic alternative to the Tories (and the anti-Corbyn PLP don’t have appear to have the slightest clue) then people will vote Tory because the UK is naturally small ‘c’ conservative. (The Brexiteers knew this and boy, did they make the most of it)
Meanwhile I voted for Corbyn thinking he couldn’t possibly win, but knowing that I couldn’t vote in a leader who was another PLP certified dead-eyed clone of Tony Blair. I voted for a shift to the left, a chink of light and and change from ’same shit, different day’. When Corbyn won I was delighted. I knew that the PLP would struggle to get behind him, but I thought of all those years when I had supported Blair despite my misgivings, canvassed for Brown and Miliband despite my doubts and thought that eventually the PLP would shit – or get off the pot. Just like we had during the years when Blair and Brown had wilfully abandoned socialist policies to keep the capitalists happy.
I didn’t for one moment consider the possibility that they would put themselves and their petty arguments before party unity, jeopardise the future of Labour and continue to insist that the only way to win was to, well, invent a new messiah, turn the clock back to 1997 and stab their twice elected leader repeatedly in the back and in public.
I think that the Labour leadership now embraces policy I can get behind and the membership agree, and you are wrong in pretty much everything you say. No-one listens to people like me though – because I just vote Labour, am a Labour member, have been a Labour councillor and will vote for a Corbyn-led Labour again. I didn’t write for the NME, and cheer on Britpop – so what the hell do I know about Labour and its future?

too many deaths

As is usual on these occasions I will start out by stating my sympathies for the victims and families of the London attack – I can’t imagine the pain of loss.

Again we have seen a angry man, consumed by hatred, justified by his beliefs and encouraged by the notion that its okay to kill, maim or die for some cause or other. In this case its a criminal from Essex with a substantial history of violent offences. He’s attracting a lot of attention at home because the UK doesn’t usually witness this sort of event, he’s getting a lot of notice abroad because he converted to Islam a few years ago and his new name is Khalid. Inevitably his crimes are therefore being reported as terrorism and getting a lot more media attentioninternationally than they probably warrant .

But really he’s just another angry killer: a wee bit older than your usual terrorist (who tend to be in their middle to late 20’s)  but for all that, still just a man with a grudge. This is not to minimise the effect this will have on his victims, which will be terrible, but we should keep our reaction to the perpetrator sober and realistic. Each year around 500 people are killed in homicides in the UK.

Meanwhile, we have thousands of  people employed to go to war to kill  under orders, sit in the cinema and you will see plenty of violence, much of it presented for your enjoyment, and TV and literature loves a murderer. The US has a love of guns and violence – so much so that the NRA (National Rifle Association) is possibly more powerful than the president and using weapons to ‘defend’ yourself is enshrined in law. Worldwide ISIS and various other terrorist organisations (some loosely adherent to a bastardised version of Islam) commit violent crimes which they justify as some sort of fight against the West. In the recent past, violent men and a few  women have killed countless people because of their love of country, a hatred for their country’s current government, because they wish that they had a different government, because there is too many socialists or capitalists, too many Jews, too many blacks or just because they wanted a brief moment of fame.

We have experts that parade onto television at times like these to tell us what has gone wrong and how we can fix it – some people think that violent oppression of one sort of another is the answer, others that violent intervention abroad will do the trick.

Over time violence and death are indeed becoming less frequent in global terms, but you know what has fixed it? Prosperity, trade and civilisation – meaning increased respect for women and children and other races and for those who follow different sexual paths too. Better education and more cash to spend will protect your loved ones better than any amount of guns in a hall cupboard.  Ask the US – so many guns, so many deaths.

What has never worked? The glorification and justification of violence. Its about time we stopped viewing violence as entertainment, stopped believing that violent intervention was ever justified by governments or those opposed to them, and that violent oppression was ever going to be justified by your god, your ideology or your boss.

And the news should report soberly and minimally about these incidents because somebody somewhere is getting a kick out of seeing the attention this madman garnered and wondering if they could be the next martyr to the cause of minimally justified violence.


I’m so fed up of politics – aren’t you?  I know I’ll vote Labour at the next election because I couldn’t vote for anybody else, I’d be sick in the polling booth at the merest thought of voting Tory or LibDem. So let’s move on to a much less controversial arena – sexual politics.

Big knickers/pants are so comfortable. They sit on your natural waistline, keep your rude bits covered and well, they’re pants and we all wear pants.

But women are encouraged by clothes shops to choose from a range of pant styles (as are men of course but I’ll engage with that shortly). They can surely opt for big knickers but they are also offered a choice of alternatives which range from slightly smaller than waist high, down to bits of string that presumably floss your nethers. As a woman I have tried most of them at times and I can safely say that big knickers are the ones that work.

As mentioned, men are offered a choice too, but for the most part their’s are variations on a theme of maximum coverage and comfort. I just had a quick look at M&S and the very smallest man’s pants are effectively the equivalent of the mid-level ladies.

Funny that – or is it. In fashion history, women have frequently (some might argue invariably) been obliged to wear clothes that are uncomfortable, unpractical, revealing or the equivalent of human curtaining.  Men’s clothing has usually been primarily comfortable and practical with occasional excursions into exuberant colour and cut. Women have been corseted, had their feet broken and bound, worn lead based makeup that slowly poisoned them, tottered on high heels, been publicly shamed for short skirts, lampooned for leather trousers and men have occasionally been obliged to shave.

Why don’t women wear comfy stylish clothes over big knickers like men do? In the UK at least, women can wear whatever they like, but frequently they choose to wear things that are either uncomfortable, impractical or mandated by men. If you feel obliged to wear self-flossing thongs and heels, or a burka, can you seriously tell me that feminism is no longer necessary?

Bye-bye elections

Just before the recent set of by-elections, my dear one and I were chatting in the car about politics: we predicted a win for the Tories in Copeland and that Labour would hang on to Stoke, but with a low turnout. I don’t think we have unusual powers of prediction, just that in the current climate that seemed a likely outcome. I greeted the papers announcement that the Copeland result was a ‘shock’ with bafflement. Really? I thought that political editors were supposed to be experts in the field… and they were ‘shocked’. My cat could’ve seen that one coming.

I guess that if you’ve been bothered to follow my blog, you won’t be at all surprised to hear that I don’t hold Corbyn responsible for this debacle. And that’s not because I’m a Corbynista, or the occupier of a bubble that echos my views back to me. I am not blaming Jeremy Corbyn because there are so many other candidates for blame that I am surprised we are settling on one.

First up every single member of the PLP who have taken time out from their busy schedules to inform any passing stranger that their party sucks, their leader sucks and that we need a change of management at the top.

Second of all, any supposed ‘liberal’ journalist who took them seriously and reported these views in a national paper – without a corrective.

….and that’s it, because these two groups have become mutually reinforcing, and the conversation between them is so exclusive that sane and supportive voices never seem to get a look in.

For the past months I’ve followed PMQ’s via the Guardian, who have reluctantly agreed that – after a shaky start – Mr. Corbyn has found his feet. For a short while the party kept their arguments to themselves and things were looking better. Unity is always a better look than chaos – just look at the Tories. They have politicians of every stripe (from more or less libertarian to woman hating fascists) in their camp but they also have little or no public dispute.

And a change of leader now would be calamitous: you can’t have leadership campaigns every year without the public detecting a problem, you can’t make policy if you don’t know what agenda you should be following, and you can’t oppose the Tories if you spend your time opposing your fellow PLP members.

I don’t think that Jeremy Corbyn is the ideal leader, but he’s got an electoral mandate, policies that I can get behind and the strength to tough out a hateful campaign of invective against him. I think that the Labour party will lose heavily in the 2020 GE – and when it does I suspect that Corbyn will resign, but the loss won’t be his fault if significant members of the PLP (with the support of the liberal press) continue to brief against their elected leader.

We won’t win an election with a PLP that cannot respect a membership mandate and a real need for political change. And frankly if we can’t offer a coherent and radical alternative to Tory policy – politics of hate, oppression, selfishness and greed – then we don’t deserve to win anyway.


Twice last year I woke up with a sinking feeling: surely people wouldn’t be that dumb? Twice I was sorely disappointed in my fellow men.

At the weekend I was in a shop looking at the sad rows of sale items: a woman asked the assistant – have you got this in a 12? Yep, said the shop assistant, we’ve got heaps of the most popular sizes all hidden in the back just in case. Actually she didn’t say that because as most people know, sales are all about selling off the stuff that people didn’t really like/couldn’t fit into, cheaply.

Onto the supermarket where there were free recipe leaflets for healthy eating available. A customer pulled aside an assistant and asked if it was ok to take them. The assistant said, no, you dope, ‘free leaflets’ means you have to pay for them in Tescolanguage. She didn’t, of course. She smiled and said ‘of course’, brightly, between gritted teeth.

Now it’s possible that we have a post-truth society, but my feeling is that it’s actually a post-smart. Folks get their news from dumbed-down articles in the Sun, are spoon fed fact-free prejudice from the Mail and others, and listen to fellow dumb-asses on carefully selected Facebook pages (not selected by them, of course, but by a dead hand of technology). If they ever hear a dissenting viewpoint, its dismissed as “propaganda”. Ho ho ho, my sides. And as for evidence or facts, research or statistics well their news sources don’t have too much truck with that kinda thing.

But why? Why do people prefer smartened up opinion to evidence? Because it reflects their fears and worries more accurately. Politics is complicated and the reasons for the  current ‘state’ of our nation go back decades and decades. If you think about wages for example, these are low because of several factors: lack of unions, the economic crash of 2008 (when workers settled for lower wages instead of losing a job), the instability of the job market, the de-skilling of the workplace, economic pressures in the global market place (cheap workforces in outsourcing regions etc) and so on and so on. Employers choosing cheaper workers from abroad is indeed a factor and it probably does drive down domestic t&c’s and wages – but it’s much easier to point a finger at ‘them’ taking ‘our’ jobs and victimising fellow sufferers of a low-wage culture, than attempting to understand the complete political picture (and if you did, who would represent your position in parliament….yes, that). And of course, previously respected newspapers are happy to help you make the simplistic leap.

People are increasingly being herded into opinion groups like sheep: fed on an entertainment diet that keeps them docile and advertising that maintains their aspirations (but keeps them buying rather than thinking). No-one is rewarded for being smart. Smart doesn’t get you anywhere; smart and working class – still immense barriers to your ability to move up the ladders, smart and black, no chance, smart and a woman, well, maybe. Dumb and monied, dumb and part of the establishment, dumb and inherited your company and status. Welcome to the presidency Mr. Trump.