The World Needs A Trump Presidency 

America and The West has been sick for years. The fever had to break sooner or later.

Before I start this, let me make myself abundantly clear: I have not, am not, and never will or could be a supporter or fan of Donald John Trump Snr. This living breathing clown shoe represents everything that is wrong with America, and the world. His words and actions showing support for racism, bigotry, sexism, homophobia (to name but a few faults) are beyond my comprehension and barriers of taste and decency. That said, these do not appear to be beyond the boundaries of others. 

We’ve been hearing more and more over the last few months, and especially after the election, of the surprise in Trump’s following. His pledges pandering to the basic fears of the ill informed American (banning Muslims, reversing Obamacare, punishing abortion, building “The Wall”) has drawn back a curtain on a country so utterly divided it no longer deserves the title of United States. I mean it must be bad if an entire state like California wants to remove itself from the union. Right now America is no more united than England can realistically be part of a United Kingdom after Brexit. 

Given the frankly awful options America was forced to choose their next Commander-In-Chief from , I always saw Hillary Clinton as the least worst option out of her and Trump. But now, given this deep nationwide divide I do wonder if another President Clinton would have been a bigger mistake than Trump in the White House. Yes, you may say that’s crazy, nay impossible. But consider Clinton for a minute. Firstly, a female president, while very welcome by many and indeed needed, is clearly too big a step for a country, of which half its population  simply couldn’t cope with something just as progressive and hopeful as a black US president. Hillary Clinton’s presidency would have been blocked at every turn by the Republicans, and achieved less than Mr. Obama’s time in office, because she would be another Democrat in a Republican house. And God forbid, a female Democrat in that house! At the end of the day, being the first serious female contender for President is not enough to qualify you for the highest office in the land.

Hillary Clinton is also part of the very system that Trump supporters and those oh so important swing voters feel has let them down. All those jobs going to “foreign lands”, being “taken by those immigrants” (just one of the staples of many a Republican campaign that horrendously simplifies a complex situation to dangerous racial bias, yet which Trump claims he can magically fix). 

Ultimately, Clinton couldn’t be trusted because of her history, both in her career and personal life. Whether or not you believe the laundry list of corruption allegations going as far back as the Watergate scandal, to the perfectly timed FBI investigations in to (disproven) security breaching emails, whether proven false or not, mud like that sticks. And in a career spanning 40+ years, that amount of mud becomes a straightjacket, impossible to escape or convincingly hide from observers. For these (admittedly oversimplified) reasons, Clinton was the wrong choice for President, and for the Democratic nomination. The DNC failed to recognise that the people simply wanted someone they could trust and that a female candidate, while a great achievement, is pointless if she’s wearing one of those straightjackets. By pushing Clinton to the forefront, the Democrats failed the country they claimed they wanted to govern.

Source: CNN

And if, in some alternate reality, Mrs Clinton did become president, of course there would be elation from her supporters, but I do believe the backlash (or “white-lash” may be more appropriate) from disgruntled Trump supporters would have been just as disappointed/heart-broken/frustrated/angry (and possibly more violent) as what we’ve been seeing from the millions of Clinton/anti-Trump supporters. But this is the nature of democracy, heck any contest; to have a winner there must be a loser. You may argue that (see above CNN graphic) Clinton should have won based on the popular vote and that the Electoral Votes don’t truly reflect the views of the people. There’s only one problem with that; a victory of 0.1% isn’t a mandate to go against the rule of the land, or change the wishes of 52.6% of the country that didn’t want Clinton. As a Brit who voted remain in our ridiculous EU referendum, I can say this from experience; all your protests, your petitions, while valid and even required to voice your concerns and fears, ultimately accomplishes nothing except to further highlight the chasm within America. You have already spoken with your vote. You live in a democracy, you champion it. This is it. Deal with it. Fight your corner, please fight, but recognise that this is not just a battle against the next president, but against the very system that gave him not just the opportunity to be considered a candidate, but also the keys to the White House. 

The 45th President of this so called United States of America is a test. Half of Americans got what they wanted, which I believe will be a step back to the worst ideals of the 20th Century. The other half are now in absolute dread at the prospect of being dragged by there by their ankles. Like Brexit before him, Candidate Trump gave political validation to the worst aspects of modern society. But now he’s President Trump he claims he wants to unite the country, and in order to do that, the vile rhetoric of the last 18 months has to be dialled down. This inevitably means that some of his (often half baked, if not, raw) pledges that he has made to his baying rally crowds will have to be flipped. When 2017 starts let’s see what happens to that stupid wall of his that “Mexico will pay” an estimated  $25bn for. Let’s see what really happens when he tries to deport an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants from US soil. All of America will be watching to see if he can deliver on these and other ridiculous, populist pledges; half hoping he can, the other half praying he can’t.

Even up to the beginning of November the idea of President Trump was always a joke. The reality of it just isn’t funny. What this clown shoe represents isn’t just a failure of America, but a failure of the so-called “Civilised Society”. Across the Westernised world, its people are rising up and rebelling against authority like a hot headed teenager screaming “you don’t tell me what to do”! With President Trump, Brexit, and the growing popularity of right wing politics across Europe, we face the mother of a globalised hormone charged tantrum. So maybe it’s time to let loose the reigns. Let these societies, these metaphorical spoilt brats go out and make their mistakes. Indulge in their ill advised and poorly thought out vices. Then hopefully, in time, they’ll wake up with their heads in the metaphorical gutter, vividly remembering and forever regretting the stupid mistakes they made. Because they clearly have not learnt from their elders, or paid attention in history class when being told about the catastrophic rise of the right wing across Europe just 80 years ago. Or worse, maybe they just don’t care.

There are two further outcomes from this election that I’d like to quickly share. The first is that we now have concrete proof that time travel does not and will never exist, because no one in the future would look back at the last year of this destructive freak show of an Democratic election campaign and say “no, I wouldn’t change a thing” and not do something about it! And secondly, amusingly, possibly childishly, here in England Trump means “fart”. Next year we will be witness to the Fart Presidency. “Ladies and gentlemen, President Fart”!! Purile I know, but if simple pathetic jokes like that can still make you laugh this week, then we’re in with a shot of cleaning up this mess. You could say let’s wait for Trump’s follow-through.

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Government guidelines leave male abuse victims out in the cold

 

petitionEquality. It’s not just a word, it’s a battle. One that has raged since before we even knew how to say it. Whether it is based on our gender, race, beliefs, sexuality, hair colour…..we still fight to be recognised as equals even though many I listed here are affectations we are born with. We had no choice in. While open debate rages around the topics of the gender pay gap, equal employment opportunities and same sex marriage, there is another more disturbing discussion required that our own government seems intent on ignoring.

PLEASE CLICK TO READ THIS ARTICLE AT THE NEWS HUB.

Can we still call ourselves Great Britain?

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Right, I’m coming straight out with it – I’m embarrassed to be British.

A while ago I was staying in a hostel in New Zealand, and I saw a couple – blatantly American – checking in, trying to convince the receptionist they were Canadian. It wasn’t like the couple were going to get banned from staying there or anything, they just wanted it to be made clear – they were from Canada.  I ended up speaking with them a few hours later – nice couple, properly patriotic but at the same time embarrassed by what their country, or rather their President had been doing. It might be prudent to mention at this point that their president at that time was George W. Bush, so you can kind of understand their wishful anonymity, sad as it was to see. It was like watching a lion trying to convince the rest of the zoo he’s a vegetarian – cute but sad.

I’m embarrassed to be British, and for me that’s not cute. I was never the biggest patriot in the world to begin with, but watching the gradual and systematic destruction of our country’s values and ideals has made me realise just how great Britain is, or rather how great it used to be. And I’m not talking about the grand old days of colonialism and how our great nation ruled the seven seas. Our greatness came from our morals and beliefs. Unfortunately we have a group of people running our country who have done nothing but abuse the country’s systems, infrastructure and people, and then lie with the pretext that they are doing this to make the country better, safer and more financially viable. While I include previous governments in this, all the evidence from the Conservative governments recent activities suggests this is far from the case.

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There’s the tax credit cuts – something that David Cameron swore blind before the election wouldn’t happen. It hasn’t – yet – but not for the Tories lack of trying. When you parachute in as many of your honourary peers to vote for the cuts in the House of Lords, and it’s these lords who show they have more in common with the general public than those got voted in to power, then you must know something is wrong.

There’s the government secretly changing the rules – having recently altered their own ministerial code to effectively exempt themselves from international law. This mean that the UK is not obliged to observe any international laws or treaties that would prevent them from using military force in other countries. or even answering to a United Nations investigation believing that tax credit cuts are a human rights violation. This effectively means the government of the United Kingdom answers to no one but itself.

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There’s the recently passed Trade Union bill that will, among other things, greatly restrict the rights of professional individuals and their unions to vote on and participate in industrial action. It is also so draconian as to set back equal opportunities in the workplace, with women workers the most affected by the divisive bill.

There’s the Investgatory Powers Bill, or as it’s become known The “Snoopers Charter”. A piece of legislation drawn up by Theresa May and the Home Office that we are told is there to make us safer, by monitoring all of our personal communications. People are naturally sceptic of this, and the government has been accused legalising invasion of privacy. The act has been further questioned in light of the recent and horrific attacks in Paris by So Called Islamic State, with many noting that “keeping everyone’s online history for a year and passing that to the intelligence service will not make us safer.” Even IT business leaders have said it’s a “bad idea”.

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It will soon be a lot harder to vote the Tories out

There’s also the worry that the game is being rigged. Again, behind closed doors, this government is changing more rules, and this time it’s on how we as a nation vote. If you think they’re doing the sensible thing of scrapping First Past the Post in favour of proportional representation, I’m afraid it’s far more troubling. They are planning to cut the number of British MP’s, presumably under the cloak of streamlining the parliamentary system. This will also change how we register to vote, which has the potential to leave thousands of UK citizens unable to have a voice in an election. Effectively the Conservatives are making it more difficult for those citizens who are more likely to vote against them to vote at all.

Plus there’s proposed changes to the Freedom Of Information act, which will greatly restrict access to vast amounts of important data and will further entrench the government whilst covering up potential scandals. Remember the MP’s expenses story? That was published through gaining FOI. This new act will mean such stories that are well within the remit of public interest will be harder to divulge.

NHS

 

And finally, my personal (for want of a better word) favourite: the NHS. The UK’s health service has been chipped away at since the 1980’s, and now it looks like rhyming slangs best friend and current Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt is packing the whole thing with political dynamite! He wants a 7 day NHS, he wants to reform the NHS, he wants to impose new contracts on junior doctors…..and there’s the final straw. 53,000 doctors, ranging from the “just out of uni” stage to the “about to be a consultant” stage, have said no, with 98% of those balloted (76%) of all junior doctors) saying quite clearly they are “prepared to take part in industrial action” – something that if the previously mentioned Trade Union Bill was currently law would be much more difficult, nay impossible. And before we start saying “how dare junior doctors talk about striking, they have a duty of care”, it’s worth noting that our police force got to this stage back in January 2015, for similar reasons. Plus given that further cuts to the force are on the Tory agenda, I wouldn’t be surprised if we hear of more disquiet from our hard working law enforcers either.

Junior doctors have had enough because the contract being imposed on them – not offered to them – is unsafe, both for them and their patients. Mr. Hunt has said that he wants to negotiate, but has a funny way of showing it; from describing junior doctors as “militant” for balloting on strike action, to offering an 11% pay rise that is actually a 26% pay cut. The health secretary, aided by Conservative media cohorts Daily Mail and The Times, also tried to launch an ill advised smear campaign against British Medical Association leaders, which quickly fell apart (I mean Heaven forbid that medical professionals have interests outside of their career. MP’s would never do that #sarcasm.) There’s one thing you should never do if you’re going to pick a war of words and ideals with people: don’t start one with a group whose very job involves examining and scrutinising hard data and facts. It will win out against lies and spin every time.

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This isn’t another prolonged piece on the state of the NHS and defending junior doctors, because their doing a bang up job themselves. It’s just another piece in a very disturbing puzzle, and while what I’ve written here is by no means a complete picture, it must at least make you question the Conservatives true agenda for the UK.When you see the Prime Minister shaking hands with leaders of countries who have at least questionable records on human rights (China and Saudi Arabia) then you know that what it means to be British has changed for the worse.

Fear and lack of leadership alternatives got the Conservatives in to power, and now that they’re in they are doing everything they can to keep themselves there. They are taking steps to minimise any chance of a response from the public that disagrees with them, whilst making dangerous decisions on our behalf that may not affect us directly now, but may well affect the next generation. It’s not a dictatorship because it’s more than one person, but it’s pretty close.

Like I said, I’m embarrassed to be British.

 

It’s The 21st Century – Why Are The Fairer Sex Treated So Unfairly

A lot can change in a century. We humans have done some pretty amazing things – we’ve taken to the skies, flown to space, broken numerous records, destroyed 50% of the planets wildlife (minus 100 points). It still boggles the mind though that as a species that we could treat one half of us different, lesser to the other half.  Women have only had the right to vote since 1917 – that’s not even a hundred years. That’s when the race for equality started, and it’s sad to see that it’s still being run. What’s worse is the gap between men and women is still there, and just as big.

"Sexism is built into our society – it’s easy to miss and it’s easy to get used to it”.

“Sexism is built into our society – it’s easy to miss and it’s easy to get used to it”.

I read an interesting interview with actress Gillian Anderson just now, highlighting Hollywood’s attitude toward women. It’s short and to the point, but one thing stands out during the read – it’s not just Hollywood where it remains intolerable.

A survey published in August showed that female bosses are paid up to 35% less than their male counterparts. This is 40 years after the Equal Pay Act 1970, and the 2010 Equality Act were enforced to stop less favourable pay and conditions in the workplace for women.

Going back to the arts, female comedians are often talking about sexist heckling while on stage. One comedienne I follow on Facebook said “I wouldn’t mind if they were heckling me for the jokes, but they weren’t.” Miranda Hart, interviewed back in 2011, said that sexism is rife in comedy, and female comedians should be assessed only on their work, not their appearance.

GAThere’s also the cases of sexism turning sinister. You probably saw the news of a man jailed for abusing a woman over Twitter – threatening to sexually assault her, all because she wanted to replace Charles Darwin with author Jane Austin on the face of the £10 note. The campaign, started by Caroline Criado-Perez, a freelance journalist who writes for womens websites and blogs, was a response to the Bank Of England replacing social reformer Elizabeth Fry with Winston Churchill on the £5, leaving no female presence on any English bank notes. Despite the threats, Miss Criado-Perez made sure that we all knew that the abuse she received was just “a drop in the ocean” compared to the abuse other women receive.

Another, possibly more talked about example of this more tech-savvy sexism is the recent iCloud scandal, which saw celebrities such as Jennifer Lawrence, Rihanna, Kate Upton (to name but a few) learn that alleged nude photo’s of them had been leaked online. Note the celebrities were all female. The outrage was global, and instantanious. Debates were made as to how or why the pictures got online, or even existed in the first place. (The best example is this brilliant piece by John Sharp)

It seems like any time a woman tries to reach further than “the norm”, if they achieve something greater than what’s intended for them, then they must be brought back down to earth – to be mocked, ridiculed, sexualised. This is not right or acceptable.

Sept. 21 2014: Emma Watson's moving speech about gender equality and the he for she campaign

Sept. 21 2014: Emma Watson’s moving speech about gender equality and the he for she campaign

Emma Watson recently spoke at the United Nations in a bid to change all this, to change “gender inequality”. She launched the HeForShe campaign, asking for men to help in the cause. There was no men bashing, which for some reason has become synonymous for some reason with feminism. (That’s right – “feminism” isn’t a dirty word!) The sad thing is that literally hours after her moving, thought-provoking and often emotional speech, the one-time-woman-wizard was facing rumours of her own private pictures/videos of her being leaked on the internet. Yes it turned out to be fake, revealed to be some sick marketing ploy by something called Rantic. Ignoring this organisations disgusting motives for spreading such a malicious lie, it threatened to over-shadow Emma Watson’s speech, while at the same time highlighting the very thing she was talking about – women lack respect, whether for their ideas, their work, who they are…

The HeForShe Campaign has of course generated the requisite #HeForShe craze, giving people the opportunity to show the world through social media how much they support and agree with the cause. But a hashtag is not enough. If we really want to remove everything that I’ve mentioned in this article – the pay differences, the heckling, the threats, the violence – then we need to actually make those changes in attitude and perception towards women (and men), not just tweet about them with a suitable selfie. This is not to belittle Miss Watson’s message – it’s imperative that gender inequality stops. I sit here, the home-husband of a hard working doctor, nervous for my little girl growing up in this same unequal environment, and planning steps to ensure my son will never believe in the tripe that is said against women.