Monthly Archives: August 2015

What are gay people for?

Whenever I have a conversation with hard-line Christians about homosexual attraction, they are guaranteed to point out that it makes no sense, biologically. A gay couple cannot reproduce, they say. The species has no need of this couple, there is no evolutionary advantage to be had for same-sex attraction in any species that reproduces sexually.

Then I saw this Facebook post. I had entirely overlooked the adoption kerfuffle a few years back when the bill that was to become the Equality Act 2010 was still working its way through parliament. Of course, my favourite church was right at the heart of the mess and, of course, it was being belligerent and prejudiced into the bargain. The Catholic church had run adoption agencies in the UK for a considerable time and was howling that they would have to shut them down if they were covered by the legislation stating that they were not allowed to discriminate against gay couples who wanted to adopt.

It seems, according to the Facebook poster’s poster (based on the poster’s research about the research that has been done on this subject), that every sexual species we know about has individuals who do the whole courtship and/or mating thing with members of the same sex. To suggest that this behaviour makes no sense in biological or evolutionary terms doesn’t square with its prevalence in nature.

Gay sex is clearly not against nature, given how much of nature is getting jiggy with like-genitalled compatriots.

And same-sex coupling does seem to serve the species. A same-sex couple can adopt an abandoned youngster/egg and they have been observed doing exactly this in many species. And the Catholic church shut down its adoption agencies because of gay couples. Gay couples who wanted to look after a youngster who couldn’t be with its parents for whatever reason. Youngsters who were desperately looking for people to look after them, but all the straight couples were too busy breeding.

Face, meet palm.

Have a great week, everyone.

It’s not just me

It really isn’t just me. I had begun to think that I was the only person seeing this. The New Statesman is seeing it too. As I said last week, UKIP seem to be calling the tune and David Cameron’s government is dutifully dancing along.

How did we get here? Where is here? Is there a way back? Have we lost all semblance of decency?

Well, here’s my theory:

We got here as a result of the economic downturn caused, mostly, by gigantic banks lending recklessly to people who could never hope to repay and then betting billions on whether or not they could (does anyone remember Credit Default Swaps and the fact that entity A was taking on a CDS for a loan that entity B took from entity C?). So the US mortgage market imploded and took most of the rest of the world down with it. Banks failed. The UK government bought some of them to stop them from failing.

Then the coalition government was formed in 2010 and “austerity” was the new black. Billions of pounds of spending cuts rolled along. Mr Cameron’s big idea at the time was “big society” which seemed to mean “cutting funding to essential local services and hoping that someone else would provide the service for free”. Great idea that.

Then university tuition fees happened and the Lib Dems sealed their own coffin. In 2015, they were virtually wiped out: the final cruelty being that Nick Clegg kept his seat, so he gets to sit in the Commons and watch what is left of his noble army being thoroughly irrelevant for the next five years. To top the Yellow Party’s woes, UKIP got a whopping 13% of the popular vote. Our ridiculously disproportionate electoral system means that they only actually got one seat. This, I believe, doesn’t condemn them to the sidelines of politics: it merely makes for four million annoyed voters. If they get a little more support next time, their slice of the Commons could rise suddenly and dramatically.

UKIP’s popularity forced the pre-election debate onto the issue of immigration and of how the swarm/tide/torrent/redeployment of desperate people from some of the most dangerous places on Earth is bringing trillions of people to our shores to simultaneously take our jobs and claim our unemployment benefit. Combine this with continued brutal government spending cuts targetting the poorest and a continuing rise in the use of food banks and you find that you’ve created a situation where a huge number of people are feeling worse off (in spite of statistics showing that the economy is growing) and threatened. A proven method for redirecting public rage away from government is to find an external scapegoat to point at.

Enter the migrants.

It is best if your scapegoat can be portrayed as faceless and scrounging, massed and threatening. At some point, “asylum seeker” became a synonym for “illegal immigrant”, which has, in turn, become a synonym for “dangerous criminal.” It doesn’t matter that every body sinking slowly in to the Med is that of a person whose life is valuable by the very fact that it is a human life. It doesn’t matter that the lucky ones who make it to Italy or Greece alive are people too, with parents, friends, children, families, skills, aspirations, and value. Oh no. What matters is that these filthy, foreign beggars are showing up at our door, presumably drawn here by our stunning economic might (because Greece is full of that right now) who would be better dumped back in their country-of-origin where the local situation will take care of them so much more efficiently than our own.

Right now, my Englishness is an embarrassment to me. Mr Cameron’s government is pushing schools and nurseries on an anti-radicalisation agenda and promoting “British Values”, in spite of the fact that promoting ourselves is about as anti-British as you can get (except, possibly, for the colonial fervour exhibited by that certain class of upper-class empire-builder that Roald Dahl met on his ship bound for East Africa, chronicled in volume 2 of his autobiography: Going Solo). But no. Under the heading of democracy, the rule of law, and personal liberty and religious freedom, we are denying people representation in parliament, spying on our own citizens without cause or warrant, and deciding that one of the great world religions is just a front for international terrorism.

Is there a way back? I don’t know, to be honest. We are going to need senior politicians to speak up about this. Just now, Labour are headless, voiceless and pointless. The Lib Dems have been pummelled into near-non-existence. The SNP aren’t getting any air time at all. The other Opposition parties are being as ignored as always. This leaves the government, who have a vested interest in us blaming the powerless for the consequences of the decisions made by the powerful.

Have we lost all semblance of decency? Actually, I think we have.

From a Christian perspective, the Old Testament says it better than I can: You must not mistreat or oppress foreigners in any way. Remember, you yourselves were once foreigners in the land of Egypt. (Exodus 22:21).

In spite of what UKIP and the Conservatives want us to believe, the migrant crisis is a human crisis. They are people, and they need our decency more than they need fences and dogs.

From ex-pats to insects with a side-order of Nazi slogans

I’m back from my holiday. It was brilliant, thank you.

While I was away, it seems that our beloved leader decided to describe the huge flow of desperate people who are streaming across the Med into Europe and trying to find a better life in our rich lands as a swarm.

It is, of course, simple for us, one of the richest nations on the planet to look at those who are trying to clamber their way out of the mire and stand on their hands and say “No! Get back! This richness is mine by birthright and you don’t deserve it.” Birthright is, of course, a synonym for blind luck.

I’ve said it before, but people rarely do things they consider to be stupid. For most of us, we take risks based upon some kind of cost/benefit analysis. Naturally, this can be a bit brief and can be flawed (people have been injured and killed pissing off railway bridges and coming into contact with the power lines), but every action that most of us take is based on a decision we are able to justify to ourselves based on some kind of logical thinking, even if it is “just for fun.”

I’m speculating here, but I don’t think many people would join five hundred other people on a tiny fishing boat as it sets out on a journey across a deep and not-nearly-as-warm-as-it-looks sea. After that, should you survive, there is the journey of a thousand miles or more to find somewhere to live, possibly involving climbing onto a lorry or wandering along railway tracks only to find yourself in a country where public opinion has been so badly stirred up that your death would be celebrated.

It seems that Mr Cameron is still terrified of Mr Farage. Mr Farage and his chums got 12.6% of the votes in the recent general election but, due to the weirdness of our political system, only got 0.15% of the seats in the Commons. Mr Cameron, instead of growing a backbone, seems to have been running scared of UKIP ever since. During the election campaign and in the new Parliament, much of the rhetoric is about immigration and how all these filthy foreigners are swarming across the sea to steal our jobs, our spouses and our benefits system. The solution, of course, is to talk tough and ensure that no hungry, desperate migrant (they’re not people at this point, you see) gets food, shelter or, Heaven forbid, a welcome on our shores.

Migrants are all terrorists, you see. ISIS/ISIL/IS/Da esh/whatever it is called this week is sending across fighters in droves from the northern shore of Africa, possibly because the best way to infiltrate Brixton is via Lampedusa.

Migrants are a swarm. Like hornets, they seek to invade our habitat and sting us and our comfortable way of life to death.

Migrants only come to the UK because they like our economy. That’s why so few of them settle in other countries and a WHOPPING 1% try to make it to the UK.

Joining Cameron and Farage at the head of the misinformation stream is the Daily Mail. Comment sections are a sewer at the best of times and the DM’s is among the worst around on ‘mainstream’ websites, but this article makes me sad. Godwin’s law did not deter the guys there who were so disheartened by the nature of the comments on the stories of suffering and death that were pouring out of the browser that they decided to try some actual genuine Nazi propaganda and see where it went. They used extracts from Hitler’s speeches and other Nazi material and simply replaced “Jew” for “Migrant”. Some were blocked the the Mail’s moderators, but most got through. The results were consistently up-voted by the readers of the Mail.

Nice. It makes me proud to be British.

(that was sarcasm, by the way)

Of course, when we swarm overseas and take their jobs and healthcare but decline to learn the language, we are expats.

Maybe we’re all just people.